The Death of Pennsylvania’s Forgotten Funeral Pie Of all the parties to crash, a funeral in the traditionally parsimonious Mennonite community doesn’t seem like an obvious choice. But the funerary feast was a rare opportunity for extravagance among Pennsylvania Germans. Instead of the usual cabbage and dumplings, there was beef, ham, or chicken. Instead of the usual coarse rye bread, there was white or wheat. The fixation on funeral food even made its way into slang: In 1907, a grandmother recounted how “thoughtless youngsters” called funerals weissbrot-frolics, or “white bread frolics.”
But the sweet star of the funeral banquet was raisin pie, a dish so tied to the event that it became a euphemism for death itself. When an ailing member of the community took a turn for the worse, it was not uncommon to hear someone solemnly declare, “There will be raisin pie soon.”
- A sense of sameness pervades the creative world
- The dominant themes feel static and repetitive, not dynamic and impactful
- Imitation of the conventional is rewarded
- Movies, music, and other creative pursuits are increasingly evaluated on financial and corporate metrics, with all other considerations having little influence
- Alternative voices exist — in fact, they are everywhere –but are rarely heard, and their cultural impact is negligible
- Every year the same stories are retold, and this sameness is considered a plus
- Creative work is increasingly embedded in genres that feel rigid, not flexible
- Even avant-garde work often feels like a rehash of 50-60 years ago
from Hobbes Leviathan/The Fourth Part (1651)- This considered, the kingdom of darkness, as it is set forth in these and other places of the Scripture, is nothing else but a confederacy of deceivers that, to obtain dominion over men in this present world, endeavour, by dark and erroneous doctrines, to extinguish in them the light, both of nature and of the gospel; and so to disprepare them for the kingdom of God to come. . . .
Secondly, by introducing the demonology of the heathen poets, that is to say, their fabulous doctrine concerning demons, which are but idols, or phantasms of the brain, without any real nature of their own, distinct from human fancy; such as are dead men’s ghosts, and fairies, and other matter of old wives’ tales. Thirdly, by mixing with the Scripture diverse relics of the religion, and much of the vain and erroneous philosophy of the Greeks, especially of Aristotle. Fourthly, by mingling with both these, false or uncertain traditions, and feigned or uncertain history. And so we come to err, by giving heed to seducing spirits, and the demonology of such as speak lies in hypocrisy, or, as it is in the original, “of those that play the part of liars,”* with a seared conscience, that is, contrary to their own knowledge.
The ecclesiastics take from young men the use of reason, by certain charms compounded of metaphysics, and miracles, and traditions, and abused Scripture, whereby they are good for nothing else but to execute what they command them. The fairies likewise are said to take young children out of their cradles, and to change them into natural fools, which common people do therefore call elves, and are apt to mischief.
In what shop or operatory the fairies make their enchantment, the old wives have not determined. But the operatories of the clergy are well enough known to be the universities, that received their discipline from authority pontifical.
When the fairies are displeased with anybody, they are said to send their elves to pinch them. The ecclesiastics, when they are displeased with any civil state, make also their elves, that is, superstitious, enchanted subjects, to pinch their princes, by preaching sedition; or one prince, enchanted with promises, to pinch another.
The fairies marry not; but there be amongst them incubi that have copulation with flesh and blood.
On 27th August 1883, Island of Krakatoa, Indonesia exploded in a huge volcanic eruption. Sound produced from explosion was loudest in recorded history; sound wave travelled around planet 7 times.
📷 Lithograph by Parker & Coward, Britain.
— Archaeo – Histories (@archeohistories) September 20, 2022
Meanwhile in Iran:
This is incredible – Iranians are fighting back like I’ve never seen before.pic.twitter.com/06zKSUBaeJ
— Gabriel Noronha (@GLNoronha) September 21, 2022
KA-CHING!: via-appia: Memento mori mosaic from Pompeii… Roman, 1st century BC
A Serious Critic for Unserious Times ||| Matisse was, for Kramer, the greatest painter of the twentieth century. Matisse sought what the artist called “an art of balance, of purity and serenity, an art devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter.” Kramer loved The Red Studio (1911), which hangs at MoMA. He loved Matisse’s palette and considered him a brilliant colorist but also admired his quiet sense of order. Most early critics of Matisse thought that he was too decorative, in contrast with Picasso’s strength and passion. Kramer saw him as the ultimate heir of Giotto, Piero della Francesca, and Raphael. Matisse’s quest for balance, purity, and tranquility was the most egalitarian of journeys, spanning centuries and the full range of human emotion. For Kramer, Picasso and Matisse were the twentieth century’s two Modernist giants—standing at opposite poles.
Paris’ Moulin Rouge; built in 1885, known for its Champagne-filled parties that pioneered cabaret and famous French cancan dance.
This picture of Moulin Rouge was taken just shortly before a historic blaze took down building in 1915. It was rebuilt and opened again in 1921. pic.twitter.com/0cZupE88C0
— Archaeo – Histories (@archeohistories) September 20, 2022
Geesje Kwak was a model of the Dutch painter and photographer George Breitner. She became known for the famous series of seven paintings (and accompanying photo studies) that Breitner made of her in 1893 and 1894 (when she was 17) as the girl in a red and white kimono lying on a sofa and standing in front of a mirror in an oriental interior.
Breitner had visited an exhibition of Japanese prints in The Hague in 1892, and subsequently purchased several Japanese kimonos and a few folding screens. Kwak, a hat seller and a seamstress, soon became his main model. She walked around the studio and Breitner took pictures and sketches of her. This is how the series of paintings of Kwak in kimono was created, of which Girl in a white kimono and Girl in red kimono is the best known. However, Kwak did not pose for Breitner for very long. In 1895 she emigrated to South Africa … There she died of tuberculosis in 1899 aged 22. Kwak was paid for her work, and the relationship between her and Breitner appears to have been strictly businesslike. Breitner kept a meticulous note in a preserved notebook about when and how long she had posed for him, and what amount of money he had given her for it.
I HAVE taken scales from off
The cheeks of the moon.
I have made fins from bluejay’ wings,
I have made eyes from damsons in the shadow.
I have taken flushes from the peachlips in the sun.
From all these, I have made a fish of heaven for you,
Set it swimming on a young October sky.
I sit on the bank of the stream and watch
The grasses in amazement
As they turn to ashy gold.
Are the fishes from the rainbow
Still beautiful to you,
For whom they are made,
For whom I have set them,
Oregon Greaser: 1942 | “Grant County, Oregon. Malheur National Forest. Greasing a logging truck.”
Montaigne’s Rule for Reading: The Promiscuous Pursuit of Pleasure – We can also get a glimpse of the kind of reader Montaigne considered himself: A pretty lazy one.
I leaf through now one book, now another,’ he wrote,’ without order and without plan, by disconnected fragments.’ He could sound positively cross if he thought anyone might suspect him of careful scholarship. Once, catching himself having said that books offer consolation, he hastily added, ‘Actually I use them scarcely any more than those who do not know them at all.’ And one of his sentences starts, ‘We who have little contact with books…’
His rule in reading remained the one he had learned from Ovid: pursue pleasure. ‘If I encounter difficulties in reading,’ he wrote, ‘I do not gnaw my nails over them; I leave them there. I do nothing without gaiety.’
The uniform mob of smiling humanoid mice seen here were gathered for an early meeting of the Mickey Mouse Club in Ocean Park, California, circa 1930
“The infantryman hates shells more than anything else,” Bill Mauldin wrote about the front lines in Italy. His phrasing makes it sound like the men were expressing an aesthetic preference, like a choice among distasteful rations. But “shells” weren’t a few rounds of artillery floating in at odd intervals. They were deafening, unrelenting, maddening, terrifying. One fortified American position in the Pacific recorded being hit in a single day by 16,000 shells. In the middle of an artillery barrage hardened veterans would hug each other and sob helplessly. Men caught in a direct hit were unraveled by the blast, blown apart into shards of flying skeleton that would maim or kill anyone nearby. Afterward the survivors would sometimes discover one of their buddies so badly mangled they couldn’t understand how he could still be breathing; all they could do was give him the largest dose of morphine they dared and write an “M” for “morphine” on his forehead in his own blood, so that nobody else who found him would give him a second, fatal dose. (One soldier marked with that “M” was Bob Dole, wounded in Italy in 1945; he wasn’t released from the hospital until 1948.) Commanders came to prefer leading green troops into combat, because the veterans were far more scared. They knew what was coming.
THE WRECKERS\ THE WORSE THE BETTER
Institutions targeted for dismantling:
– Psychiatric hospitals
– Reliable electrical grids
– Homeless shelters
– Merit-based schools & universities
– Police stations
– Modern agriculture
– Jails & prisons
– Drug courts
– Equal justice under law
— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) May 20, 2022
Memes are information objects that are in some sense alive, able to morph and become sufficiently viral to take over a host and produce copies of itself from its resources. Just as melodies can reproduce so can perversion. Such a thing would act like Barron’s demon, turning “seminaries into ‘cesspits’” or converting ancient universities into foundries of civilizational destruction as the case may be. Working on the hypothesis that the liberal project was temporarily stymied by a random rogue fad, the social media companies took energetic steps to both contain it and prevent it from going viral. This was accomplished by suspending accounts, censoring “hate speech” and algorithmically shadow banning ideas whose replication they wanted to prevent. This would theoretically limit the hostile ideas to a backwater where they would stagnate, wither and die. Theoretically.
On Flight Decks. — When boarding a commercial flight, passengers often get the chance to peer into an open flight deck to see the pilots running through pre-flight checklists. The flight deck (more commonly known as the cockpit) is about as cramped as a typical walk-in closet. Inside this tiny control room are two pilot seats, one or more jump seats, and short walkways much narrower than the aisles in the passenger cabin. Within arm’s reach of each pilot is a dazzling array of switches, levers, buttons, and screens – hundreds of user interface elements, packed tightly together with only the tiniest of labels.
How does a slave fulfill his will to power, then, if he lacks agency? Through vicarious cruelty. The dependency of the natural slave on cruelty comes as a direct result of his own lack of agency. Whereas the will to power of the master is fulfilled by seeing his influence on the world around him, and especially on the lives of others, the slave can enjoy no such feeling for he lacks influence –the world does not move for him. What he can depend on are sensations that arise due to sympathetic connection, for they require no input from the slave. Cruelty, like empathy, is a sympathetic sentiment– whereas empathy arouses feelings of pain in those who witness someone in pain, cruelty arouses feelings of power and joy instead. And whereas empathy requires identification with the sufferer, cruelty requires instead identification with the tormentor.
Impressive. Ukrainian troops speak fluent English with an American accent. pic.twitter.com/ygJnN5P00H
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) September 14, 2022
“The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it.” H.L. Mencken