Archive for the ‘Language and religion’ Category

The white and the red

April 19, 2019

The (Christian) liturgical colors for the season: white for Easter Sunday, red for today, Good Friday, the day of crucifixion (and for some churches, red for all of Holy Week). White the color of purity and perfection, and so of Jesus as Christ. Red the color of blood and sacrifice, and so of the crucifixion.

As it happens, yesterday’s events included a visit to the Gamble Garden in Palo Alto, where I encountered two especially notable flowers, one white, one deep red. First, the flowers, not (at first) identified:


(#1) Blanchier


(#2) Rougier

(more…)

Wading with Vladimir and Estragon

February 19, 2019

That, at least, is where it started, with this bit of playfulness on Facebook:

(#1)

One among a great many available versions of Wading for Godot (like this one, hardly any have an identifiable origin, but just get passed around on the web, along with jokes, funny pictures, and the like: the folk culture of the net). I’m particularly taken with #1, as a well-made image and as a close reworking of lines from Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot:

(more…)

Uri and Avi

January 22, 2019

Uri and Avi
Sitting in a tree
K-I-S-S-I-N-G!

The US/UK children’s chant — meant to embarrass the kids named in it –realized in this photo of an Israeli Jew I’ve called Uri and a Palestinian Muslim I’ve called Avi (not sitting in a tree, but standing flagrantly in public):

(#1)

The photo came to me from Michael Nieuwenhuizen, who found it (unsourced) on Facebook and was moved by it (as was I), as a depiction of men kissing openly and as a depiction of romantic attachment across the boundaries of race and religion — doubly transgressive, and for gay men like Mikkie and me, doubly satisfying.

(more…)

On the euphemism watch

January 22, 2019

The Daddy’s Home cartoon (by Anthony Rubino Jr. and Gary Markstein) for January 20th:

Doubly peculiar euphemisms heck and gosh: they’re replacing straightforward religious uses of hell and God, rather than transferred uses in cursing; and in any case the taboo associated with these cursing uses has ebbed to such a degree that euphemizing them has a decidedly quaint feel.

(more…)

Three Kings from 1900

January 5, 2019

The audience for tomorrow’s moment of revelation, in J.C. Leyendecker’s remarkable Saturday Evening Post cover for Christmas 1900:

A portrait of the Magi, the Three Kings (or Wise Men), owing much to Art Nouveau style, and with the artist’s characteristic attention to the physical masculinity of his models.

(more…)

On the 8th day

December 27, 2018

(Despite its theme, this posting is notably lacking in salaciousness and jokiness.)

News for penises. Mail from a colleague reminds me that on the Christian liturgical calendar, January 1st (coming up next Tuesday), is the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ. And points me to the peculiar history of the Holy Prepuce.

Circumcision of Jesus, by Fra Angelico (1451-2) — one of an enormous number of representations of the subject, in both the Western and Eastern church traditions

(more…)

The 12 days of Christmas

December 25, 2018

(Hunky model in his prominently bulging underwear, but otherwise not salacious.)

This Daily Jocks sale ad appeared yesterday (Christmas Eve), and for the first time in 12 days I actually attended to the ad copy (all the ads used old images from the company’s stock, so I’d skipped over them as sources for posting on this blog):

(#1)

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Get early access to our end of year sale 20% off storewide.

Shop 600+ products from over 20 brands, in all your favorite styles. From Jockstraps to Wrestling Suits you will be sure to find something you love.

This is our biggest sale of the year!

By DJ’s reckoning, December 23rd, the day before Christmas, was the 12th (and last) day of Christmas. Whoa! By (Western) Christian reckoning, January 5th, the day before Epiphany (the day with the Magi, or Wise Men), is the 12th day of Christmas (and today, Christmas Day, is the 1st). There are obviously two different schemes at work here, and the carol’s words give no clue as to which one it refers to; in particular, those words have no religious content at all.

(more…)

News for (massive) dogs: St. Bernard of Menthon

December 5, 2018

It’s about the lives of the saints (like some other recent postings); it’s about Switzerland (for some value of Switzerland); and it’s about dogs, really big dogs. St. Bernard of Montjoux, and the dog named after his 11th-century refuge for travelers in the Alps.

(more…)

News for bears: St. Corbinian

December 5, 2018

Recent news flashes for bears: the 11/17/18 posting “Teddy Bears’ Picnic Day” (with the customary bow to possible gay subtexts); and the 12/4/18 posting “Santa Barbara: smite him with lightning”, with image #2 — Corrado Parducci’s Horace Rackham Fountain at the Detroit Zoo (1939), featuring a pair of sculpture bears. Now, continuing the lives of the saints theme, but disregarding the many saints named Ursus or Ursula, we come to St. Corbinian, the patron saint of bears (thanks to the 8th-century Miracle of the Bear).

(more…)

Santa Barbara: smite him with lightning

December 4, 2018

Today is Saint Barbara’s feast day. Draw near and sit with me, for today’s telling of the lives of the saints. There will be miracles.


(#1) St. Barbara as envisioned by sculptor Corrado Parducci at St. Barbara’s Church in Dearborn MI

(more…)