Saturday, December 26, 2015


"Trying to get that music out on the page is just absolute hell, so you fail." A great writing clip from Unleaded - Fuel For Writers, with Ta-nehisi Coates.

For my Asian art loving nerd readers ... The British Museum blog has three interviews with manga artists - Nakamura Hikaru, Hoshino Yukinobu, and Chiba Tetsuya.

Unleaded also has a GREAT pie chart - How Shakespeare Killed off his characters. Some of the more obscure methods are kind of hilarious, taken out of the usual obligatory sober literary context. "Baked Into Pie" ... eep! Hee.

The history girls has a phrase I love for what I usually rant about under the "popular misconceptions" and "oh the dirty stupid past" tags - recency illusions. I love this way of putting it, and hey - I love 40s platform shoes, too.

And ... because I *was* historically inaccurate ... when a picture speaks a thousand words. (The much later artistic rendering of) the coronation of Pharamond - a Frankish king very close to my period, and indeed a name I chose to use in The Ax and the Vase. From People of Color in European Art History.

Also from the POC in European art blog, an image of St. Maurice - one of my favorite saints, actually.

Dena Pawling has a look at the treatment of women attorneys. It's not pretty ... so to speak. Sigh.

From the Portuguese machete, to its little-known political symbolism, to Tiny Tim: the ukulele has a rather remarkable history. Its *present* includes some virtuoso work by one of my nieces, but its past is interesting too. Thanks to If It Happened Yesterday, It's History.

Courtesy of, Seven Myths of the Crusades - a nice look at historical scholarship, though sadly it's not as nice a look at Terry Jones as a lot of Python fans might hope to see. I own his The Crusades series - and, like a lot of tele-history, it suffers ... some weaknesses. This is a good start to looking at the much more complex realities of this series of religious wars and battles.

For a lighter-hearted Python allusion, you could wander by to learn about cocunuts in medieval England. "(M)edieval England was lousy with coconuts" - OSUM.

Playboy’s hackneyed idea of what a nude is, and who it’s for, seems increasingly narrow in the selfie age. When Kim Kardashian is celebrating her own body in superabundant selfies and many less famous people are doing the same, the nude is neither oppressive nor commodified – it’s a part of how human beings communicate with one another.

The last point here is what arrests my attention ... The Guardian has an extremely curious take on the abolition of nudity from Playboy's pages ... I'm not sure I'm persuaded by its argument that this is in fact a culturally dismal move; given the wider picture of our culture, it's not as if the objectification and sexualization of women is (a) on the decline, or (b) something I can accept as wholesome and positive. But the point about shame is one to pause upon, even if Kardashian selfies make a challenging argument for cultural elevation. It's worth a ponder, at least, to contemplate the wider ideas on display in this article. The reference to Indian and Shunga art helps, for me, to take it out of my personal moral context and look at art (erm) objectively.


Jeff said...

Thanks for the link to the Crusades book, which appears to be informed by a rare commitment to fairness and skepticism. (As much as I like Terry Jones as a comedian, I'm glad to see that scholars are no longer afraid to question him for fear of appearing uncool. His book Who Murdered Chaucer? was a bizarre mess, and no one without the privilege of celebrity ever could have gotten it published...)

DLM said...

Thank you! I have a soft spot for Jones, of course, but not for his scholarship, to use the term loosely.

This is yet another of those times my book wish list stands in grave danger from just a waffer theen meent.