Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Revisiting 36: Lafayette on tour

November 10, 2019

The earlier go-round: my 9/7/19 posting “Big sexy prime birthday gay ice cream”, with a section on the Marquis de Lafayette (among other things, a French hero of the American Revolution), because I share a birthday with him.

And now (note from Joelle Stepien Bailard) the Lafayette Trail organization. Its logo:

(#1)

With, as linguistic added value, the quite rare, but relatively learnèd-transparent N/Adj co-natalist ‘(someone) sharing a birthday with’. God is not my co-pilot, but Lafayette is my co-natalist.

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OUTiL: a historical note

October 23, 2019

For LGBT History Month, some notes on a little piece of that history in linguistics, in the loose network of academic acquaintanceship that formed at the Linguistic Institute at UC Santa Cruz in the summer of 1991: OUT in Linguistics, OUTiL, OUTIL (the abbreviation pronounced /áwtǝl/, through some wags joked about its being French outil /uti/ ‘tool’, with the expected sexual slang use). A notice went out on the Institute mailing list for an informal social gathering of the new group, with a characterization that then varied, from occasion to occasion, in its list of invitees; a version from several years later:

The group is open to lesbian, gay, bisexual, dyke, queer, homosexual, trans, etc. linguists and their friends. The only requirement is that you be willing to be out to everyone on the list as lgbt(-friendly); it’s sort of like wearing a pink triangle.

This was at a Linguistic Institute, so no one was fussy about who counted as a linguist; if you wanted to hang out with rest of us for the summer, you were welcome. Just so with OUTiL; if you wanted to hang out with the rest of us for an hour or two, you were welcome. OUTiL, however, was primarily social, and that was an excellent thing, especially at the time.

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Big sexy prime birthday gay ice cream

September 7, 2019

(References to gay male life, men’s bodies, and mansex, so not suitable for kids or the sexually modest.)

Yesterday was my birthday, my 79th, 79 being, as I noted in a 8/29 posting for the day, a sexy prime. 8/29 is also, every year, National Coffee Ice Cream Day, and coffee is my favorite ice cream flavor. Put all this together and you get this birthday present, delivered by Kim Darnell yesterday:


(#1) Coffee ice cream, plus a selection of Big Gay Ice Cream flavors for Big Gay Arnold

This will take us to the pornstars of the end of summer, to Greenwich Village, and to South Park, with a final side trip to visit with the Marquis de Lafayette.

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More dream linguistics

September 2, 2019

Every so often I have a spectacularly vivid dream in which the solution to some linguistic puzzle that’s been deviling me explodes in my mind. All I have to do is save it, in my mental cloud storage, until I can enter it into my computer. The idea is not only good and true, it is also very beautiful. Unfortunately, when I shake myself fully awake, I see that it is in fact crackpot crap.

So it was yesteday morning, after a sleep primed by a moving performance of Stephen Foster’s “Hard Times, Come Around No More” on my iTunes. The conviction that yes, that was it, that song was the answer to everything, persisted through three hazy toilet breaks, until I actually woke up and faced the hard truth that I didn’t even know what the question was. But, having had Anonymous 4 and Bruce Molsky take me to 1865 and into the world of the song, I was deeply sorrowful: hard times would surely come around again, and my linguistics was helpless against that bleak future.

I ended up spending the morning with Foster’s “Hard Times”, specifically mourning the tragedy of American chattel slavery, disasters of the 1850s, the Civil War, the Great Depression, and the poverty of Appalachia and the Ozarks, but then dissolving into free-floating anxiety over everything from the Babylonian captivity to the madness of our king (and there’s an awful lot to weep over in between).

All this driven by the music.

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Melon eaters of 1937

August 13, 2019

In the NYT on the 11th (in print on the 12th), the entire editorial page given over to an opinion piece by Brent Staples, “The Radical Blackness of Ebony Magazine: The publication was revolutionary for its depiction of middle-class African-American life”, in the middle of which comes an astonishing observation:

As a close student of Life [magazine], [Ebony founder John H.] Johnson would no doubt have seen the dehumanizing images of African-Americans that appeared in the infamous 1937 issue of the magazine whose cover caption read “Watermelons to Market.” The cover photograph showed an unnamed black man — shirtless and well muscled — sitting with his back to the camera atop a wagonload of melons [on a dirt road alongside a cotton field]. The inside photos offered what Ms. Greer describes as a hierarchy of watermelon eaters, with white bathing beauties at the top and pigs at the bottom; in between was an image of a black woman holding a slice of melon to her face with one hand and nursing a baby with the other. The equating of blackness with sub-humanity is unmistakable in the photographs. The photo caption drives home the point:

“Nothing makes a Negro’s mouth water like a luscious, fresh-picked melon,” it reads. “Any colored ‘mammy’ can hold a huge slice in one hand while holding her offspring in the other. … What melons the Negroes do not consume will find favor with the pigs.”

You will say that things have changed, and to some extent that’s true: these days you wouldn’t find such flat-out unthinking racism in a publication aimed at a large audience primarily of the middle class. But the attitudes and images lie just below the surface today, to bubble up in barely coded form for mass audiences (as well as in undiluted form on flagrantly white-nationalist sites).

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4th of July displays

July 6, 2019

(Much about men’s bodies and mansex, in street language, so not for kids or the sexually modest; also about military displays for Independence Day, but that comes after the raunchy stuff — Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral.)

So we have the 4th of July as a celebration of commercial mansex (every holday is a sales opportunity): selling premium men’s underwear by hawking men’s bodies; and offering gay porn sales, usually with a holiday-themed image (naked bodies wrapped in the flag are a conventional presentation, but there are many other possibilities). From this year’s rich crop of ads, I’ve chosen one of each type: a holiday ad for DJX homowear in the Trough line; and an ad for the political-satire gayporn film Cauke for President from TitanMen.

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Death, first as tragedy, then as farce

July 5, 2019

Today’s  Zippy brings us a Grim Reaper incarnated as a Twee Creeper:


(#1) Death Boy, who can still kill with cuteness

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Hunting mammoths in the Arctic

January 17, 2016

… 45,000 ago.

Passed on by Michael Palmer, from PastHorizons: adventures in archeology, “Mammoth injuries indicate humans occupied Arctic earlier than thought” (from the 15th):

The carcass of a frozen mammoth with signs of weapon-inflicted injuries suggests humans were present in the Eurasian Arctic ten millennia earlier than previously thought. These results, which provide perhaps the oldest known story of human survival in the Arctic region, date human presence there to roughly 45,000 years ago, instead of 35,000 years ago, as previously thought.

Sergey Gorbunov excavating the mammoth carcass. Pitulko et al., Science (2016)

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Fascinated with the history of English

August 5, 2012

A recent Zippy, in which Griffy is fascinated:

Don’t know about carving words into animal bones in England, but sheep’s knuckle bones were used as paving stones, devices for divination, and dice-like pieces in games.

 

Arrowheads

June 19, 2012

From Melinda Shore on Facebook, this image, presented as a puzzle:

Yes, a flint arrowhead, in remarkably good shape. As it happens, I have three such arrowheads, though not quite so beautiful as this one:

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