Word Wednesday.

Götterdämmerung

Noun.

A collapse (as of a society or regime) marked by catastrophic violence and disorder; broadly, downfall.

[Origin: German, literally, twilight of the gods, from Götter (plural of Gott god) + Dämmerung twilight.]

(1909)

“The story he could have summarized if he had to. There was no need to read those last five chapters. The First Heaven was about the world before there were people in it. No people, no animals, and no birds, only sea creatures and insects, the whole ruled over by gods and goddesses, some with well-known names, some invented, but all with an Old Testament flavor. These deities behaved like human beings in that they loved and hated, committed crimes and performed heroic deeds, but were apparently immortal and therefore could watch the process of evolution, the gradual change of the tiny swimming things into land creatures and flying creatures. As the millennia passed, the gods foresaw the appearance on earth of man by a process of evolution but were powerless to stop it, though they knew it would mean an end to their immortality. It would mean a Götterdämmerung.” – Not in the Flesh, Ruth Rendell.

Jesus: Mything in Action.

David Fitzgerald, Author of Nailed, has a new trilogy out, Jesus: Mything in Action. A lot of people, including most atheists, aren’t overly willing to concede that christianity could have happened with some sort of actual Jesus somewhere in the mess. Most people have settled on “yes, there was, or might have been, a rabbi who wandered about preaching outside the box stuff, and it all blew up from there.” Fitzgerald argues that it’s more likely the case there was no outside the box rabbi at all. Valerie Tarico has an interview with him about Mything Jesus, and the difference between historicized mythology and mythologized history. Interesting reading!

Tarico: Walk us through how Christianity could have emerged if Jesus never existed.

Fitzgerald: There’s nothing implausible about Christianity beginning with a wandering teacher and his followers. And it’s no skin off my nose if there was – but that’s not what our evidence points to. The further we go back in Christian history, the more diverse it appears, and the less likely it began with a single founder. Instead there are abundant indications that its origins are tied to the pagan mystery faiths.

Not that Christianity is some cookie-cutter copy of the mystery faiths – it is a mystery faith; a uniquely Jewish version of this Hellenistic theology. When the Gospel of Mark is written generations later, the mystery faith savior of Paul, the book of Hebrews, and the earliest Christians becomes an allegorical figure built from pastiches from the Hebrew scriptures. Jesus doesn’t fulfill prophecy; Jesus is a collage constructed from prophecy and other writings. And his story grows by leaps and bounds in the second century.

As Bart Ehrman and other biblical scholars have demonstrated beyond a doubt, most of our New Testament books are forgeries. None are written by anyone who actually knew a Jesus. The only genuine books are seven of the letters attributed to Paul (though even these have been tampered with). And of course, Christian scriptures were edited and re-edited to suit the needs of different religious factions over centuries. We have no way of knowing how much has changed from the original writings; for the first 150-200 years, we have a blackout period with nothing but tiny fragments of New Testament texts until complete books begin to appear at the end of the second century. Our earliest complete New Testaments only go back to the 4th century; although they differ from each other – and from ours.

And of course Christianity continues to evolve and mutate for the next two millennia, a process still alive and well – a perfect textbook example of Darwinian evolution in action. Modern Christians would have a hard time recognizing their religion in the beliefs of their earliest spiritual ancestors. In fact, most Christians of today would be the heretics of 500 years ago. Please note that all these problems of evidence remain – whether there was a Jesus or not.

The full interview is here.

The Problem of Prettifying Trump for Children’s Books.

Michael Ian Black and Marc Rosenthal, A Child’s First Book of Trump.

Unfortunately, when it comes to history, there’s a long, ugly history in the U.S. of lying to children. Books are filled with euphemisms and omissions, desperate to find any way to praise past politicians and their acts. This is quite the problem with presidential bios, going all the way back. People were considered courageous to mention that the oh so holy Saint Jefferson was a slaveholder. They omitted the rapes, subsequent pregnancies, and those inconvenient little slaves Jefferson fathered. You don’t find sections or books on just how genocidal presidents were when it came to Indians, or how they spent time and money on being devious bastards, making promises they fully intended to break. Nothing about the rapes, murders, and stealing of children, no. There’s very little action across uStates to undo all the whitewash. That much has not changed, but even in an industry well practiced in the art of whitewash, Trump is presenting special problems.

…Rosman catches the Scholastic folks red-handed as they rewrite history to try to prettify Trump for their audience. In a prepublication draft of the book, under the heading “Troubling Statements,” its authors initially explained: “Some of Trump’s biggest supporters were white nationalists. Their comments and actions during and after the campaign were racist and often dangerous. Trump did little to speak against them.” But in the final version, we get, instead, a page called “Campaign Statements,” which explains that, “Some of Trump’s critics felt he did not speak out against prejudicial people and groups strongly enough.”

[…]

The problem with Trump is not that he did not denounce the racism, much less the fact that some people might have felt this way. It’s that he actively encouraged not merely racism but a particularly violent strain of it; one that helped create an atmosphere of menace toward almost all people of color among his most virulent supporters. What’s more, this racism, according to the best data we can find, was central to his appeal both in the Republican primaries and in the general election. The fact that he is now president of the United States presents an additional ideological problem for children’s book publishers. Not only must they find a way around the fact that their subject is a racist, sexist, ethnocentric, McCarthyite, lying con man, but also that nearly half the country’s voters knew all this and picked him anyway.

To be honest about Trump is to be honest about America, and right now, that is just not the kind of thing children’s publishers are set up to do. It’s not even the kind of thing The New York Times or The Washington Post is set up to do — at least not without blaming “both sides” for whatever crime against democracy, decency or common sense Trump has most recently committed. Joana Costa Knufinke, group editor for nonfiction books in Scholastic’s library publishing division, uses this time-honored excuse when she explains to Rosman, “We make an effort to show both points of view.”

[…]

The challenge regarding Trump, however, is not that he has flaws, as men and all presidents do. The problem is that he is all flaws and that it was these flaws that got him elected president. Without those flaws — the racism, sexism, jingoism, dishonesty, incompetence, ignorance and belligerence — there is nothing left to say about Trump… except perhaps to make fun of his hair. This puts the nice people in the children’s book business in the uncomfortable position of either ignoring the new president or running interference of his destructive qualities and teaching our children to, at best, ignore them, or at worst, emulate them.

An incisive look at how the children’s publishing industry is going to be very busy orange-washing and filtering all information about the current unpresident of uStates. Highly recommended reading.

Full article here.

Word Wednesday.

Fantod

Noun.

1. Plural a. A state of irritability and tension. b. Fidgets.

2. An emotional outburst: fit.

[Origin: perhaps alteration of English dialect fantique, fanteeg, perhaps blend of fantastic and fatigue.]

(1839)

That damn creek water had given Grim a serious case of the howling fantods, and every bit of reason that he could cling to was welcome indeed.” – Hex (U.S. Version), Thomas Olde Heuvelt.

Tuesday Teen Tip, It’s A Trip!

I am so loopy, out of it with pain, and likely to be a space cadet for a day or two, until I have meds and couple of nights of sleep under me. Earlier, I was looking for a book, and came across this little tome I picked up at a thrift store some time back, because it made me laugh so much. In 1970, I was already well aimed down the hippie path, and I never saw this book then, which was when it was published. It is stuffed full of all that horribly cringeworthy advice that adults aimed at you when trying to be hip. If I remember, I’ll do some at random on Tuesdays. Naturally, all these incredibly groovy tips for tuned-in teens is aimed at girls only.

From the Boys! Boys! Boys! Where to find yours, and how to keep him that way section:

“Most boys hate sarcasm in a girl. You may be a quick wit with your girl friends, but cool it when he’s around.”

“Know enough about sports to keep up a conversation with boys, but don’t know more than they do.”

“Want to make sure whether or not he loves you? The following is as good a method as any. Place side by side a glowing ember and an ice cube. If the ice puts out the ember, then his heart is cold. But if the ember melts the ice, you’ve won him!”

From The Look You’ll Love, it’s still you – only prettier section:

“After you get dressed, have fixed your hair, and put on your make-up, look in the mirror. Something’s missing, right? Right! You forgot your smile – perhaps the most important “final touch” any girl can put on. A pleasant smile can turn even a plain girl into a beauty. And it can turn a beauty into . . . wow!”

[I hated fake smiling then, hate it now.]

“Eye drops are an important cosmetic. Use it before applying make-up for that starry-orbed look and to erase redness.”

“Fasten a mirror inside your notebook for peeks between classes to make sure make-up is still on.”

“Many girls put on their prettiest faces only for school or dates. They’ll spend Saturday morning in curlers and creams. But suppose he suddenly turns up and gets frightened away? Don’t make this mistake. Be your best you all the time. If curl you must, tie on an attractive kerchief. As for beauty creams – please, stay off the street. As a matter of fact, stay in your room! Beauty demands a price, and pay this one willingly.”

[I vaguely remember rolling my eyes over such as that ^.]

“Fasten on a super long, superfake braid and let it be perky down your back. Makes shorties look like tallies!”

[Oh, I remember those things, they were everywhere. Mine was real. Still is.]

That’s all for today, groovy gals and guys!

Word Wednesday.

Chthonic

Adjective.

Also Chthonian.

Of or relating to the underworld.
Of or relating to the deities, spirits, and other beings dwelling under the earth.

[Origin: from Greek khthonios in or under the earth, from khthōn earth.]

1840-1850.

What’s bi-sub syndrome, anyway?” “Don’t know. I tried to look up some of Dr. Abraham’s work and found something titled ‘The Evolution of Hierarchical Behavior Expressed Through Chthonic Fetishization,’ and gave up after that. I don’t speak academic fluently enough.” – The Killer Wore Leather, Laura Antoniou.

Word Wednesday.

Words1Atrocious

Adjective.

1 : extremely wicked, brutal, or cruel: Barbaric.

2: Appalling, horrifying.

3a: utterly revolting: abominable. b: of very poor quality.

– atrociously, adverb.

– atrociousness, noun.

[Origin: Latin atroc-, atrox gloomy, atrocious, from atr-, ater black + –oc, –ox.]

(1658)

“Robespierre had paused briefly to finger his jabot.

I tell you that anyone who is trembling at this moment is guilty. Because innocence never fears the public gaze.

‘That’s atrocious,’ Adamsberg whispered back. ‘The most terrible of all, in my view.'” – A Climate of Fear, Fred Vargas.

As our quote finds us in the time of Robespierre, a bonus phrase: Sneeze into the sack:

“‘Hébert was famous for writing “fuck this” and “fuck that”, ever two lines in the paper, and Gonzalez liked imitating him, they were stirring sessions. “Let those toads in the Plain go and sneeze into the sack,” he would say. Robespierre was very shocked by Hébert’s vulgar language.’

‘Sneeze into the sack?’ asked Adamsberg.

‘A contemporary expression for being sent to the guillotine.'”

Word Wednesday.

Words1Glaucous

Adjective.

1 a: of a pale yellow-green color. b: of a light bluish-gray or bluish-white color.

2: having a powdery or waxy coating that gives a frosted appearance and tends to rub off.

– glaucousness, noun.

[Origin: Latin glaucus, from Greek glaukos gleaming, gray]

(1671)

Suddenly, a wave of very big rats, with glaucous eyes and lips drawn back from shining ridges of teeth, came boiling out of the darkness.” – The Wicked, Douglas Nicholas.

And, some other nifty color words:

Murrey / Perse / Cramoisy

 
Murrey, noun: a purplish black: Mulberry. [Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French muré, from Medieval Latin moratum, from neuter of moratus mulberry colored, from Latin morum, mulberry.] (15th Century).

Fastened to his surcoat was a brooch worn as a badge: a silver disk inlaid with murrey-colored enamel, against which the white fountain of Blanchefontaine stood out, rendered in raised silver.” – Something Red, Douglas Nicholas.

Perse, adjective: of a dark grayish blue resembling indigo. [Origin: Middle English pers, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin persus.] (15th Century)

Cramoisy: adjective: of a crimson colour. noun: crimson cloth.

[Origin: French cramoisi, from Spanish carmesi, from Arabic qirmzi, equivalent to kermes.] (1375 -1425)

She took the cramoisy gown from his hand and folded it, and then held the perse up against herself, looking down at it.” – Something Red, Douglas Nicholas.

A BIG Book!

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Oh, if I had young sprogs, I’d get these books in a heartbeat, which puts a whole new spin on interactive books.

The Big Book is precisely that – a children’s story that unfolds into a gigantic single sheet, revealing a beautiful illustration of something central to the story. The redesigned children’s fairytale adds another dimension of interactivity to storytelling, allowing kids read a story with their eyes, ears and whole body.

It was originally designed by Japanese illustrator Mao Fujimoto in 2011 as a school project (we actually covered it back then, so we’re super happy it’s finally been turned into a product). Fujimoto came up with the idea by following a keen fascination about what it would be like to ride on the turtle, which carries the young fisherman to a sub-sea palace in Urashima Taro, one of Japan’s most beloved stories.

Now, Urashima Taro and The Giant Turnip have been turned into real books thanks to Seigensha Art Publishing. Each features Fujimoto’s beautiful illustrations accompanied by story text in both Japanese and English. So not only is it great for storytelling, it’s also useful for learning another language!

Because it’s designed to be spread out on the floor and walked/crawled on, the books are made from water-resistant, highly durable paper so it holds up to toddler abuse.

You can see, and read much more at Spoon & Tamago.

Cool Stuff Friday.

Librairie Mollat.

Librairie Mollat.

These are some of the best photos I’ve have seen in a very long time, such a spirit of fun, and it’s amazing how well these book store employees match their picks! Whatever you’re doing, find a small window of time to go and look at them all, each one is a delight, this is pure treasure, and reminder of just how grand we people can be. A few more:

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Librairie Mollat.

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Librairie Mollat.

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Librairie Mollat.

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Librairie Mollat.

Oh, go look at them all!

Next up, some truly stunning photos … of people drenched in honey. Just one here, the rest below the fold, because nakedness, so watch yourself at work.

Blake Little.

Blake Little.

[Read more…]

Word Wednesday.

Words1Peregrine.

adjective.

1. having a tendency to wander; traveling or migratory.

2. coming from abroad.

[Origin: Middle French peregrin, from Medieval Latin peregrinus, foreign, from pereger being abroad, from per through + ager land (that is, beyond one’s own land)

(1350 – 1400)

There were a score or so of the peregrines, come from Carlisle, most them burghers, guild-brothers in the tanners’ guild.

– Something Red, Douglas Nicholas.

1984 for 2017.

Joe Baker, Room 101.

Joe Baker, Room 101.

…Part of 1984‘s appeal is the language Orwell developed for identifying fascist control methods that are increasingly visible today. Power structures like the Ministries of Truth, Peace, Plenty, and Love—each of which represents the opposite of its title—are reflected in an Environmental Protection Agency led by a climate change denier, and an education department run by someone who prefers “charter” to public education. Conway’s “alternative facts” sound a lot like the book’s “Newspeak,” the simplification and rebranding of common language, and “Doublethink,” whereby the government controls historical records and the news, sounds an awful lot like Breitbart retellings of current events.

With 1984‘s popularity, the constant debate about whether our current world is more like Orwell’s dystopia or the one described in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World has resurfaced as well. Both books warn of the dangers their authors perceived was on the horizon, but the living legacy of 1984 is its mark on language, so Creators asked artists to illustrate the terms and concepts from the book that they see reflected in today’s society.

Alex Gamsu Jenkins, Two Minutes of Hate.

Alex Gamsu Jenkins, Two Minutes of Hate.

You can see the rest of the fabulous artwork, along with each artist’s statement at The Creators Project. Fantastic work!

Game of Thrones Sigil Teaser.

I’ve never seen the show (or read the books), but I know most everyone else on the planet has, so here’s their opening teaser. If you head over to the Creators Project, you can also view their FB special:

A crew on Facebook Live placed a solid chunk of ice containing the release date on a pedestal next to a flamethrower. “Type ‘FIRE’ in the comments to reveal the #GoTS7 premiere date,” they instructed fans, and with each new comment they blasted the ice with fire. At the end of the 11-minute video, the date was revealed…

There’s more at the link!