via: The Internet Archive
A children’s book full of stories about Christian saints and their friendships with animals. The stories are very loosely based on legends, but the author has spun them into fantastic folk tales of adventure. Abbie Farwell Brown was a prolific writer and published many children’s books, including a book about the Norse Gods. I rather like the idea of making fictional stories of the saints. I think it strips them of power and makes them easier to dismiss as merely characters in a children’s book, like Cinderella or Red Riding hood.
Unlike the graphic artwork in most books about Christian saints, the illustrations in this book are charming and sweet and very typical of their time at the height of the Art Nouveu period. My favourite drawing is St. Bridget & the King’s Wolf, followed closely by the energetic Saint Keneth and the Gulls.
Lets talk about easter and easter eggs and associated traditions.
Most readers of this blog grew up with germanic traditions regarding this holiday. Which are completely different from what I grew up with, so when I first heard about easter bunny, I had to look up what it is. Not that easter bunnies from chocolate were unknown to us, but they did not have any special meaning and for long I assumed that they are bunny-shaped just for the cutesies. About the only thing that is common between germanic and slavic easter traditions are the painted eggs, but they are used differently.
The symbols of easter here are willow twigs, coloured eggs and a lamb. Willow twigs decorated with ribbons and painted eggshells are used for decorations and lamb is usually baked from dough, or recetnly made from chocolate etc. The willow twigs and coloured eggs are carryover from pagan times, symbolizing rebirth of the year, although christians staunchly deny this and insist on easter being purely christian holiday etc. etc. It is not. It was appropriated by christians by blending christian and pagan traditions together, just as Christmas, as a way to make converting pagans easier. There is nothing in the bible about coloured eggs and willow twigs.
The lamb however is probably later addition and it does symbolize christ and other stupidities from the bible in all their goryness. Only the cutting of its throat and smearing of the blood over door hinges or tresholds before baking it was replaced by making it from dough. Much less gory and cheaper to do, especially in big populations that diverged from raising sheep to cattle centuries ago.
So far, so good. Nothing particularly egregious about these traditions. But there is more to it, and as much as I loathe christian superstitions and traditions for their immense stupidity, one of the carry-overs from pagan times I hate even more.
Those willow twigs and coloured eggs do not serve only as a decoration. On Monday, hardboiled eggs are given by women and girls as gifts to men and boys who are supposed to go from house to house (so-called koleda) and sing traditional songs and recite poems in exchange for the eggs. And they beat the women.
Yup. You read that correctly. In CZ and SL the men go from house to house with clubs (called pomlázka) woven from usually 8 to 9 long slender and supple willow twigs, decorated with ribbons, and they are supposed to beat the women with them, depending on region either shoulders, legs, ankles or simply their derrière. Some take it symbolically only, some take it literally and bruises can be raised, although it is expected to stop short of actually causing an injury. The beating of women with young willow twigs should magically transfer the youthfulness and freshness from the twigs to the women, or some such incredibly stupid shit. Thus the name of the club – po (prefix that can mean “to make”) mlázka (derived from “mladý” = young). Today nobody believes the magic, it is just “fun” and “tradition”. In this case, “tradition” really just means “an incredibly stupid thing that has been done for a very long time”.
In some regions today women are not completely defenseless – they can douse the men with cold water in return. But this is later appropriation in these regions, because originally it is the men who douse the women, in some regions instead of, in some regions in addition to, the beating, and there are regions where it is practiced as such still.
As a child I loved easter for the painted eggs. I loved the creative work involved with it and it was something to look forward to. But I loathed pomlázka from early on, de facto from as far back as I can remember. I did not like going about begging and beating people. I did not see how it is supposed to be good to spend a few joyful days with my sister and my mother painting eggs, and on monday beat them with a club whilst reciting some verses that have lost their meaning. Well, strictly speaking as a boy I was supposed to skip the painting and do only the begging and beating. Fuck that. Beating anyone with anything is just wrong, even symbolically, and creativity does not have gender.
I see no reason in preserving the tradition, it has no cultural value anymore and it produces nothing of value. Well, the women produce the beautifuly painted eggs, but the men are not expected to do anything worthwhile whatsoever. And in some regions even the eggs are already being skipped and exchanged for shots of booze, so the men instead of coming home with a basket of painted eggs come home drunk as a skunk. I would love for this tradition to die already. I will miss the eggs, but I think they are not worth preserving if the ritual beating is to remain too.
It won’t happen any time soon. What I find the saddest thing about this is that in loathing this despicable tradition I am the exception, not the rule. In fact, AFAIK I do not know a single other person sharing my view.
Edit: Due to my illness I have slightly lost track of time and I thougth it is saturday already. I have decided to leave it as it is.
I am beyond saddened by this news story in yesterday’s Toronto Star. A 9 year old girl in Calgary, a recent legal arrival to our country from Syria, has committed suicide. The paper reports:
A Calgary Syrian refugee family is dealing with the tragic death of their 9-year-old daughter, who they say died by suicide after being bullied at school.
Aref Alshteiwi discovered his daughter Amal’s body March 6, according to Sam Nammoura, co-founder of Calgary Immigrant Support Society. Nammoura has worked with the family, and details of Amal’s death were relayed to him by the parents.
Police conducted more than a dozen interviews following Amal’s death, and found no evidence of foul play, according to Calgary Police Service media relations.
The family escaped war in Syria more than three years ago as government-sponsored refugees.
Amal’s parents told Nammoura that Amal had been coming home from school upset, telling them she was being bullied. She had been fine until around six months ago, they told him, when she moved to a new school and began having issues in math. Nammoura said they told him that’s when the bullying started — Amal was called stupid and ugly on a daily basis by several classmates.
The parents told Nammoura they raised the issue with the school, but that their daughter didn’t get any help. She went to school happy, they told him, and came home sad. However, Nammoura wasn’t aware of the issues Amal was having until after she died.
In an emailed statement, the Calgary Board of Education said it is working with the school’s staff and students “to try to understand if there were concerns or issues.”
“The school is closely working with both students and families to heal from this tragic event and come together as a community,” the statement read.
The family eventually moved schools to try to get Amal away from the bullying. Before she left, Nammoura said Amal was told by her bullies that moving wouldn’t fix anything.
Four days after she switched schools, Amal’s father found the girl dead in her room.
Czechs and Polish languages are reasonably similar. Not mutually intelligible, but similar enough that we can somewhat understand each other when spoken very, very slowly (which can be hard, especially for Poles). Our histories are also reasonably similar – both our nations wandered in from east and south, displaced local Germanic and Celtic nations, both established their foot on the ground by fighting and subjugating smaller slavic tribes and selling them to slavery to richer tribes to the south and west. Both eventually became big kingdoms of significant clout and with great ambitions.
But whilst the Lands of the Bohemian Crown were torn from within with Hussite wars and subsequently came as a whole under Habsburg rule, the Poland-Lithuanian commonwealth was not only torn from within by squabbles between its different religious and national groups (like Orthodox Cossacks vs. Catholic Poles), but the part of commonwealth inhabited by Poles was itself totally plundered by Swedes and in few centuries torn from outside and divided between Austria, Prussia and Russia. This difference in historical development has, to my mind, played a significant role in one of the most significant cultural differences between our nations today.
I was blissfully unaware of this difference until my twenties when I decided that a literate and educated person should have at least passing knowledge of the writings of Henryk Sienkiewicz. I have already read one of his books as a child – In Desert and Wilderness – but that is more or less just an adventure book, nothing special (with extra helpings of racism, which flew over my head at that time). I have decided to start with Quo Vadis, because that is his most prominent book internationally and has brought him in the end the Nobel Prize in Literature.
And thus my attempt at reading his works started … and immediately ended. After I have read Quo Vadis I was left with a huge “What The Actual Fuck Did I Just Read?!?” feeling and I could not bring myself to pick up that book or any other of Sienkiewicz’s works ever again. I was appalled, I was totally disgusted and repelled. The writing is excellent, I have no reason to not believe that it is historically well researched, the story is captivating but…
The whole book reeked to me of christian, specifically catholic, propaganda. And this is the difference that I was talking about.
The Czech nation has undergone internal religious divide around Jan Hus, a significant portion of it has challenged the authority of the Holy Roman Church, was beaten into submission and had Catholicism forced it. But it retained some religious diversity and freedom throughout – and ever since then there always were Catholic Czechs as well as Protestant Czechs living with each other in no insignificant numbers. When national revival came, Czechs did identify mostly around shared language and religion has always played second fiddle (even though Catholics were seen as “no true Czechs” by some, that point of view never really became mainstream) and that fiddle became more and more insignificant with each generation ever since.
Polish nation was beaten up from outside and divided into different empires, each with different ruling religion – Orthodoxy in Russian Empire, Protestantism in Prussia and a teensy bit in the predominantly catholic Austria-Hungaria. And although they were not persecuted due to their religion per se in their respective parts throughout this whole time, language as well as religion remained at the core of Polish identity for most, because the non-polish invaders were also mostly non-catholics.
And thus, through a complicated historical route we arrive at present situation. Czechs are one of the world’s leaders in “Not Giving A Fuck” about religion, and Poles are still predominantly actively observant catholics. Czech Republic has freedom of religion, freedom from religion and freedom to say just about anything about any religion you like, as long as you are not engaging in hate speech. Republic of Poland has still has anti-blasphemy laws on books and you can get into trouble for making a mildly amusing parody video making fun or being critical of the Pope.
Remember when “liberals” praised Pope Francis for being so progressive? Our lovely progressive Pope had to deal with some nasty issues like priests massively raping kids for decades and of course he promised to do whatever he can. So you’ll be glad to hear that he’s found the culprit.
Yes, you heard right. The Devil. The literal horns and hooves devil, who did it to undermine the Roman Catholic Church. Oh, wait, did you think that the abused children were the victims here? You could not be more wrong! The real victim here is the church.
What an elegant way to absolve your horrible abusive institution from all the moral blame, especially those poor priest who were obviously under satanic influence.
Liz Crokin, right wing “journalist” has recently lost the tips of two fingers in a surfing accident and is blaming Hilary Clinton as the cause.
While she realizes that it was probably “just a freak accident,” that didn’t stop her from also asserting that it may have been the result of a curse that had been placed on her by Hillary Clinton or artist Marina Abramović or some other “witch” that is targeting her due to her efforts to expose the secret satanic cannibalistic pedophile cult that supposedly runs the world.
Is it just me, or do other people think that the right wing of America have lost their minds. I can almost get past their belief in their God (almost, but not really), but what is up with the belief in witches and spells and curses. Do they really think we live in Harry Potter World full of magic, and if so why isn’t their all-powerful, all-seeing God doing something about it? It seems to me that it just highlights the impotence of their sky God. It all seems so totally illogical and totally ridiculous. The full story is at Right Wing Watch, if you can stomach it. Just a word of warning, if you click on the links inside the story be prepared for even more ridiculous right wing thinking.
Kreator has sent us another Roman Cura mural, this one titled Voracious Lapse. I love this artist’s work. He has such an eye for the dangerous undercurrents in society and an unflinching ability to convey fear and loathing in bright happy colours and cartoonish shapes. Kreator tells us:
A small one. Located in the wall of the Luis Yllana canteen from the National University of Patagonia San Juan Bosco.
Thanks for sharing Kreator.
As most of you know, I started a new job a few weeks ago. New school, totally new area, totally new colleagues (who generally rock). One of those, a woman about my age who also freshly started on the job, is a Muslim woman who wears a hijab. This particular woman is ethnic German and converted to Islam via her first husband. She studied English and German and after finishing the second part of the training (we instantly bonded over how horrible that was) went looking for a job.
While I am no fan of hijabs, I am much less a fan of policing women’s bodies. Since her Christian German family would probably be very happy if she ditched her headscarf and she was divorced and a single mum before meeting her second husband, we can be very sure that nobody is forcing her in any way to wear her headscarf so it’s none of my personal business. On a professional basis I’m actually quite happy about teachers like her. She is the best role model our Muslim girls can have, showing them that they can be independent women who go to college and have careers outside of the home and Muslims at the same time. And she’s good for our Muslim boys because she can “teach those little Pashas to respect a woman in a hijab” (her words, not mine). She’s also good for our German kids and their parents, for pretty much the same reasons.
For those of you not intimately acquainted with the German school system: almost all schools are public schools, only very few are private. Almost all hiring of teachers happens on a state level via the ministry of education. Now, with women wearing a hijab, there’s apparently an extra rule: the ministry has to treat them like everybody else, but individual schools can reject them, so when she was looking for a job she was twice rejected by different schools, with some of the most outrageous comments.
At one school she got told that they were an open and tolerant school with many kids from many different backgrounds and with many different religions, and she would disturb the peace. At the other school they told her that “somebody like her couldn’t teach German”, so apparently she changed her ethnicity and origin and complete culture along with her religion.
Those remarks and attacks were made in the name of liberalism, in the name of tolerance. Those attacks on Muslim women (I don’t know, can Muslim men teach German even if they pray five times a day?) come from the middle of society. Their headscarves get seen as a sign of Islamism, the whole discourse is such that a woman with a headscarf is automatically seen as suspect, as having an agenda, a meaning that is imposed on her by actual Islamists and Islamophobes alike. It’s in that same vein that the German women’s organisation Terre des Femmes is asking for a ban on headscarves for girls.*
That they’re only getting support from right wing organisations should tell them something, but I guess it won’t. The further stigmatisation of hijabis isn’t going to do anything for their integration into society, yet should they complain they get told that Islamophobia doesn’t exist anyway and that they’re just hiding behind the word to avoid “legitimate criticism”, in this case the further policing of women’s and girls’ bodies.
*The organisation has been criticised in the past for racist tendencies and sex worker exclusive positions, in short, your run off the mill White Feminist organisation. Their Swiss sister organisation split from them over those issues.
For the person who ended up here searching for “fuck for brains anglicanum coitibus”, it helps to have your terminology correct. I have posted about Opus Anglicanum, which is a type and class of embroidery. What you’re looking for is Anglicanorum coitibus. Oh, the difference a couple of letters make. There’s a wiki about Personal Ordinariates and the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus of 4 November 2009 and its complementary norms. Now you can try a search with the right term. Best of luck, and I hope the irony of “fuck for brains” didn’t hit you too hard.
The antichrist will be…a homosexual Jew! So sayeth idiot Rick Wiles.
…Wiles said that this sort of “apostasy” is a sign that the End Times are near and warned that the Antichrist “will be a homosexual Jew.”
“What is the spirit of antichrist?” Wiles said. “It is anybody or anything that denies that Jesus Christ came to earth as God in human flesh. That is antichrist. If you deny it, then you are antichrist. And the Jews and Judaism is antichrist. Any Jew that denies that Jesus Christ is the son of God in human flesh, then he is antichrist. Judaism is antichrist. Islam is antichrist. Hinduism, Buddhism, all those isms [are] antichrist because they deny the virgin birth of the son of God.”
Yeah, yeah, only christianity is right, but you all can’t fucking figure out which christianity is right, you all think your particular flavour is right, and the rest are wrong. Nothing new to see here, although I am surprised to see atheism given a pass. I guess we don’t count against all those other isms.
“I personally believe that the Man of Perdition, the one that you call Antichrist, I personally believe he will be a homosexual Jew,” Wiles added. “Watch out for global Zionism taking over this planet through artificial intelligence. There are two things that you cannot publicly criticize now; you cannot criticize the homosexual agenda and you cannot criticize Zionism. Those two are together. They’re driven by the same spirit. And what is coming is a global entity that is going to be Zionism and homosexuality and it’s going to be operated through artificial intelligence and it’s going to be policed through the most high-tech surveillance society that you can imagine. It will be a nightmare.”
Sigh. Seems to me that I see a hell of a lot of public criticism of all things queer; and worse, much bigoted railing and open hatred. Same goes for any and all things and people Jewish. I haven’t noticed the nazis shutting the fuck up lately, or just your garden variety bigots, who are well known for their fear and hatred of Jewish people. So much for that declaration. The christian agenda of attempting to usher in the ‘end times’ is hardly a secret, and you have to have those pesky Jewish people around for that to happen, but it sure doesn’t mean you have to like them, right, Mr. Wiles? As for that ushering in, shouldn’t that really be the business of that lazy ass god of yours?
As for your pretend “global entity”, no, that’s not going to happen, anymore than the terminator showing up at your door. As for high-tech surveillance societies, well, that’s most of the major players, and has been for a very long time. No one loves tech more than governments. That’s not to say that most of them are very good at it, they aren’t. Mostly, they all spend time trying to shift blame and cover up all the mass fuck ups. Surveillance is a fact of life anymore. Well, unless you’re a cop.
“Israel embraces homosexuality,” he continued. “They need to be told, ‘You’re sinners, you’re going to go to Hell, you need to repent, you need to call upon the name of Jesus!’”
I’m pretty sure all of Israel is not a hotbed of queerness, and I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of bigotry and disapproval there too, just like everywhere else.
All around repugnant, immoral, evil person, Scott Lively has a new shtick in his bid for governor of Massachusetts: he’s going to be the voice of all those nice, properly closeted, quiet, conservative queers, who understand that heterosexuality must remain dominant. Mr. Lively is doing his damnedest to come across as reasonable and tolerant. Not at all the same Scott Lively who once called for the execution of all queer folk, no, no. If you want to read his glurgetastic appeal to “authentic conservative homosexuals”, you can do that at Lively on “Gays”. If you’ve eaten today, you might want to wait a while. In the meantime:
“One of my goals here in this campaign is I want to establish sort of a profile of what an authentic conservative homosexual looks like,” Lively said, quickly making clear that this should not be construed to mean that he would consider “ever endorsing homosexuality, because it’s something condemned by God.”
Lively asserted that “authentically conservative” gay voters are nothing like “the gay progressives,” because the former place “an emphasis on personal privacy instead of gay pride parades cramming it down everybody’s throats.”
Lively said that gay rights activists today are part of a “radical cultural Marxist warfare” movement whereas the founders of the fight for gay rights were simply seeking “the right to be left alone,” which is something he is willing to support because “we should respect people’s right to be wrong, because in God’s perfect timing, he works with every person.”
This is a truly astonishing pile of shit. I don’t believe for one second that Lively has at all softened his views on queer people, he has been utterly virulent in his hate and condemnation of them for decades. He really wants that governorship though, and he’s obviously more than willing to lie his arse off in order to obtain said office. I sincerely hope the people of Massachusetts show Mr. Lively the curb.
Lively declared that as long as gay conservatives “agree that mainstream society should be—and must be—heterosexual,” then society should be willing to accommodate them, especially when faced with the threat that the “gay cultural supremacy being driven by the hard-left progressives” is creating an environment in which “the natural family may actually be facing extinction.”
That is not going to happen. If anything, climate change will get us first, but people are not going to stop breeding. The majority of people on this planet are hetero, and most of them either want or end up with children, and there’s a fucktonne of people on this planet.
“If the concept of male and female complementarity actually becomes criminalized, and that’s where this is headed,” Lively warned, “we’re going to face some really serious problems.”
No, that is NOT where we are headed, you melodramatic asshole. Some people are now learning about gender, and coming to understand it properly, and expanding on the rigid gender definitions which have defined, and often devastated generations of people. That’s not a threat to hetros in any way whatsoever. Family has become a much larger umbrella, to embrace all manner of configurations, and in many cases, extended families are coming back, which is a good thing, because there’s a lot of support in that. There are a whole lot of children out there who are in desperate need of homes, and assholes like you, Mr. Lively, would stop queer folk from providing those homes. It’s good to remember that you don’t actually care about any people outside of evangelical fringe, and all you want is the power to oppress.