Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Here's a link I hope Jeff Sypeck will see, after our conversation about cars not so long ago.

Just in time for Hallowe’en! Culture versus costume arises for someone other than Sexy Indians or Sexy Asians this year … witness the Maui costume from Disney. Because I guess someone thought we needed more diversity in bigotry. At least the character design for Princess Moana doesn’t look as inhumanly thin and malproportioned as other Princesses. One wonders how much she is allowed to speak in her own eponymous film.

Although apparently the word "three" has been transformed to mean something else here, I *will* say that, as a longtime eczema sufferer, I'll try anything ... "We found one particular gene which showed the biggest difference. And what's interesting is that we know this particular gene is involved in three specific diseases: depression, asthma and eczema, and cancer. This is a really striking finding." On the wonders of turmeric. Hey, beats taking drugs.

"Even neolithic art gets fat-shamed" ... The History Blog's piece on the recent Turkish find of a mother goddess figurine. Bonus goddess, from the comments section, a pre-Christian Cybele found in Anatolia.

Finally - this isn't a full blog post's worth of thought, but I have been struck a bunch of times lately by odd moments of synchronicity. Today, I read the article about turmeric above, and less than twenty minutes later when I went for lunch, one of the dishes on order was stewed chickpeas in tomato with cumin and turmeric (and, I suspect, the magic of nutmeg). Extremely good. Not half an hour after I got my lunch, the chef, whom I have NEVER seen on our floor before, just happened to come down the hall. So I got to tell him how good the chickpea dish was. It's interesting how things fall into place together sometimes, isn't it?


Colin Smith said...

I'm sure you've seen this, but in case you haven't I know it would interest you:

If Disney Princesses Were Historically Accurate

(Warning--it's a video with music, so if you're watching at work, turn the sound down!)

DLM said...

Good news, I saw your comment pretty soon after you made it! Yay - and thank you for popping in.

I have seen that - and the occasional "if they had actual human bodies" ones that are just shocking.

John Davis Frain said...

On the positive side, thanks to Disney and your blog, I have learned more about the culture of Pacific Islander people in the last hour than I had in the previous year. Once the film comes out, scores of other people will do the same. Not everyone, of course, but the net result IMHO is a positive and not a negative.

The world gets smaller...

Jeff said...

Ugh—yes, we're all going to be forced into Internet-connected cars whether we want to be or not.

I used to be an early adopter. I had my first modem in 1986, and I was on the text-only pre-web Internet in the early 1990s. I had a tablet way before most of my techie friends, because I recognized its usefulness as a way to carry around thousands of pages of notes and articles in one small package. But we've all gone insane in such a short amount of time, plowing ahead with "innovations" whether someone is asking for them or not, and I find myself caring less and less for new tech. Congratulations, America; you're buying your ten-year-old a $500 phone so she can take a photo of herself with a rabbit nose. Nope, we're not doomed at all...

DLM said...

John and Jeff, y'all make a great and intriguing mix of the fears and hopes we all face. As for the inspiration to learn - yes, I think most historical fiction authors would say they were first interested in some subject from a book, then read more; but the wide dissemination of incorrect info *is* depressing, because an awful lot of people do NOT read more. There are still people who do not know that Braveheart or The Other Boleyn Girl are wild misrepresentations of history. And the killer is that: the facts of history are SO INTERESTING. Why'd they need to be monkeyed with? Well, there's Mel Gibson's ego, but apart from that ...

But when I think of the $500 bunny nose, the thing that worries me isn't that a child has access to terribly expensive things, but that they're then exposing themselves permanently. Sure, the bunny nose is harmless, and pics of kids are innocuous ... but the habit of publicizing the private is something Jeff and I have discussed before, and we've become conditioned to sell our lives. Which means essentially we've put ourselves up for bids culturally, and invited the judgment of strangers into our identities.

That's just about as frightening as a certain mysterious-haired demagogue.

But we still have the friends we love. We still have silly pets in our homes. Good people abound. I saw it in the airport in Atlanta, that day Delta melted down worldwide. It was scary for infrastructure that gargantuan to fall apart, to watch the people who suffered from the fallout. But it was the best parts of humanity I saw most on display. People commisserating, being kind to each other, even being generous where they could.

For every bigot, there is someone gentle to soothe the soul. For every hideous news story, there's a fuzzy head to bonk us for a bit of kibble and then love on us a while. Those aren't small things.