No. That’s Just Wrong.

I was happily lost in The Public Domain Review the other day, and came across High Frequency Electric Currents in Medicine and Dentistry from 1910. I know there was great excitement over electricity, and there were phases of “miracle cures” where it was concerned, but in this case, it was the photos which got my attention, including one which just about had me screaming, and I’m not even a parent:

The text reads:

Plate XXII. – This beautiful picture (as exquisite as Manet’s “Boy with the Sword” which is one of the classics of the Painting Art), sets forth this boy bringing his pocket “Tesla” for the enjoyment of his beloved tonic. His sturdy strength at the age of three is a tribute to the efficacy of high frequency currents, for at the age of three days, when his treatment with them was begun, he was an illy-thriving and frail infant with but the feeblest hold on life. Look at him well, and think how many myriads of pallid children – of all ages – need the same remedy.

There is So. Much. Wrong. there, it just leaves me sputtering. Applying electrical currents to a three day old infant? All I can think is how very easily that could kill said infant. As for the photo being as exquisite as Boy with a Sword, let’s see:

L'Enfant à l'épée'' par Edouard Manet, 1861.

L’Enfant à l’épée’ par Edouard Manet, 1861.

Yeah, I don’t think there’s any honest comparison there at all. There are other questionable and frightening photos to be seen with the magical Tesla wand, but have a care, there’s some nudity, so NSFW.

The Philosophy of Beards.

Thomas Gowing felt the mighty yet fragile English Beard to be threatened with extinction by an invasive foreign species, the Razor. So he set out to defend the furry face mammal in every conceivable way. The resulting lecture was received so enthusiastically by a bushy-faced audience in Ipswich that it was soon turned into The Philosophy of Beards (1854) — the first book entirely devoted to this subject.

It is Gowing’s ardent belief that the bearded are better looking, better morally and better historically than the shaven.

[…]

In the last section, Gowing gambols through the ancient and modern past, attaching a beard or lack thereof to thousands of years of heroism and cowardice, honour and deceit. Viewing history through the prism of the beard makes things nice and simple: “The bold Barons outbearded King John, and Magna Charta was the result,” … “Henry the 7th shaved himself and fleeced his people”. Napoleon I only allowed men in his empire to have an “imperial”, an upturned triangle of a beard, as a way of letting them know “that they were to have the smallest possible share in the empire”.

[…]

Finally, he dismisses as “a foul libel” the idea that ladies don’t fancy a beard. He declares, presumably without much survey data to hand, that “Ladies, by their very nature, like everything manly,” and cannot fail to be charmed by a fine flow of curling comeliness.”

You can read much more at The Public Domain Review, including the book itself. The book has also been recently republished by the British Library, for the first time since 1854. You’ll find a link at The Public Domain. I’d think the book would be a fine gift for anyone’s bearded friends and loved ones.

You might also be interested in Beards of Time:

Two photographs of the same unknown man, each taken at a different studio in Texas – Source: left and right.

Two photographs of the same unknown man, each taken at a different studio in Texas – Source: left and right.

Women’s Suffrage Mapped.

Click for full size.

Click for full size. Map created by Cuba Holidays.

The map above shows when women got the right to vote in each country around the world.

2018 marks the centenary of Women’s suffrage in the UK and even then only with several restrictions (had to be over the age of 30 and meet property qualifications).

You can read much more (with links) at Brilliant Maps: Women’s Suffrage Mapped: The Year Women Got The Vote By Country.

Cheddar Gorgeous: Let’s Get Visible!

Trump in Drag, credit: Cheddar Gorgeous / Facebook.

Trump in Drag, credit: Cheddar Gorgeous / Facebook.

Oh, I would give so much to be a part of this, it sounds absolutely fabulous and it has the added bonus that it will make the Tiny Tyrant squirm all over.

Queen Elizabeth won’t the only queen greeting Donald Trump when he visits the U.K. in July.

A thousand people have signed onto a Facebook invitation for a drag-queen protest to greet the president in London on July 13. Another nearly 7,000 people are interested in attending.

Manchester drag performer Cheddar Gorgeous and four other performers have issued the call to all drag kings, queens, queers and our allies.

“Due to the appalling way the Trump administration has regarded the rights and welfare of the LGBTQI communities in the U.S., the idea of a Trump visit to the U.K. is unacceptable,” the invitation says.

“Let’s get visible, stand with our sisters, brothers and others in America.”

You can read much more at LGBTQ Nation, and The Guardian. Cheddar Gorgeous on Twitter.  I wish all the attendees the very best, and I hope there are going to a ton of photos.

The Book of Exposition: The Secrets of Oriental Sexuology.

15th Century erotica! Oh my. This looks to be very interesting, and I do plan on reading it. Unfortunately I can’t do that right away, the day before chemo is always a busy one.

A decade or so after the famed Orientalist Richard Burton translated Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Nafzawi’s The Perfumed Garden of Sensual Delight (1886), an anonymous translator became the first to critically assess and introduce for Anglophone audiences another of the Middle East’s more controversial and enigmatic texts — Kitab al-Izah Fi’ilm al-Nikah b-it-Tamam w-al-Kamal, or The Book of Exposition — a collection of fifteenth-century erotica. Despite there being much dispute over the authorship of the work, from both Western and Middle Eastern scholars over the centuries, The Book of Exposition is nowadays credited to a fifteenth-century Egyptian polymath called Jalal ad’Din al-Suyuti (1445-1505). Although perhaps best known for his co-authorship of Tafsir al-Jalalayn (Tafsir of the Two Jalals), a classical Sunni exegesis of the Quran, al-Suyuti was also a prolific erotologist, writing at least twenty-three treatises on various aspects of the sexual arts.

The two dozen stories he presents in The Book of Exposition are an exploration of promiscuity and sexual taboos under the societal constraints of the Arab-Islamic world. In “The Strange Transformation that Befell a Certain Believer’s Prickle” a man is granted a “Night of Power” in which he is given three wishes to be fulfilled by Allah.

[…]

In his opening essay and commentary, An English Bohemian sets out to dispel Victorian attitudes to sexuality through the idolisation of the Oriental — setting up “Oriental Sexuology” as a mystical alternative for aspiring libertines/hedonists. He doesn’t just limit himself to the Orient in his examination of sexuality. He offers an insight into the sexual customs of other lands he claims to have travelled and researched extensively as a former practitioner of medicine: from Loango to the Aztecs, Paraguay to Samoa, Europe to Arabia. Despite his intentions, we perhaps end up learning more about Western attitudes to sex than the those of the non-European cultures he examines. His assertions, in their elevation of Orient over the Occident, appear to be motivated more by a desire to rebel against the prevailing establishment of his own culture than offering a nuanced picture of a foreign culture’s attitudes to sex.

You can read more at The Public Domain Review (the book is also available there), or go straight to the book here.

Indian Country Today Is Back!

Who Will Be Our First Founding Member? The new Indian Country Today is launching a membership drive and an auction. Top bid will be forever known as Indian Country Today’s: “First Founding Member.”

Who Will Be Our First Founding Member? The new Indian Country Today is launching a membership drive and an auction. Top bid will be forever known as Indian Country Today’s: “First Founding Member.”

Indian Country Today is back! The NCAI has taken over, and this is grand news.

From September through February I have heard about the importance of saving Indian Country Today. So many people across Indian Country had the same idea:

What if … What if we all contribute?

What if I step up to make certain Indian Country has solid, accurate, fair reporting?

Is it worth it to save this voice? A national media platform for Indian concerns?  And how much will it take?

Yes. Yes. And the answer is a lot  — or perhaps a few tax-deductible dollars if we all contribute together.

We are building a new Indian Country Today on a public media model. We will have some advertising, but most of our resources will come from members, tribes, enterprises, and non-profits.

We need you.

We are launching a membership drive and an auction.

The membership drive will solicit help from our “members” as $100 Founding Members, $500 Sustaining Members, and $1,000 for Premier Members.

Unlike public media we don’t have nifty gifts as a thank you. No t-shirts. No coffee mugs. Just a better news report. We want to use the money to build our news operation, a multimedia reporting platform about what’s going on across Indian Country. We’ll stretch your dollars by partnering with other organizations, and amplify our reporting by letting others repurpose our editorial content.

We will serve.

This is great news, but to work, ICT needs help from people. If you can drop a few dollars into the fund, please do, and if you can’t do that, please, please, spread the word, get it out everywhere! You can read more by Mark Trahant at Indian Country today, or go straight to the membership drive. This is so very important, it’s vital for Indigenous peoples to have a voice.  Also, be sure to check out the new edition, there’s all manner of interesting reading!

ETA: I should point out that it’s possible to donate $5.00 to the membership drive, which is all I can manage right now, but I’ll be dropping more fives each week.

Daniel Pešta.

Daniel Pešta, “Scream III” (2015-2016), acrylic on canvas, (all images courtesy of DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague).

Daniel Pešta, “Scream III” (2015-2016), acrylic on canvas, (all images courtesy of DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague).

Daniel Pešta is an artist with a lot to say, and he’s well worth getting acquainted with, to say the least. His work is deeply expressive, profound, and stirring. Many times it’s frightening, because people can be quite frightening, and Daniel Pešta has a good deal of insight when it comes to human nature.

Daniel Pešta’s largest exhibition to date, drawn from his high-flying decade starting in 2007 , which has included three Venice appearances and Second Prize in Painting at 2017’s London Art Biennale, dominates Prague’s DOX Centre for Contemporary Art. Pešta’s work is timely, disturbing and profound. His extraordinary artistic range encompasses photography, video, assemblage, installation, sculpture, drawing and painting; his materials include wax, leather, resin, textiles, paper, plaster, wood, acrylic, latex, gum, paint, neon lighting, and stone. Two generative objects pull this exhibition together. One is red string, signifying blood, genetic coding, fatalism, or humanity’s endlessness, variously. The other is the mask. A central motif in Pešta’s practice, it is meant to evoke disguise, dissemblance, and anonymity.

Born in 1959, Pešta lived according to the larger Czech struggle for self-determination. He was painting as the Czechs stumbled out of the darkness of Communist rule in 1989. In the mid-1980s he entered into the underground music scene, anticipating what has been dubbed the “Velvet Revolution” — the demise of what former Czech President Vaclav Havel had called “post-totalitarianism” (in his 1978 samizdat essay “The Power of the Powerless”). After a trip to New York, in 1998, Pešta saw the possibilities of multimedia art.

You can read and see more at Hyperallergic.

Angry White Men.

LOS ANGELES — Judging from the paintings and drawings on view at Susan Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Nicole Eisenman has been thinking a lot about angry white men. They are almost the exclusive population throughout the expansive gallery. There is a large contingent of shooters, each confronting us from behind a firearm aimed directly outward, so that to look at the drawings is to stare down a gun-barrel. These shooter drawings are almost all from 2016, with a few from 2017 and one from 2018, elaborated in ink, charcoal, oil, acrylic, and pencil. This last is the largest, and the only one bearing a title, “The Shooter.” One of the untitled drawings, in pencil and blue ballpoint pen, shows a man pointing his gun at us with one hand while the other grasps his penis. Along the bottom margin Eisenman has written “BAMSPLOOSH.”

Nicole Eisenman, “The Tea Party” (2012–2017), ink on gessoed paper, 40” x 35″ paper size, 52” x 45.50” x 2″ framed (photo by Robert Wedemeyer).

Nicole Eisenman, “The Tea Party” (2012–2017), ink on gessoed paper, 40” x 35″ paper size, 52” x 45.50” x 2″ framed (photo by Robert Wedemeyer).

While there is nothing original about equating guns with penises, the full array of drawings in Dark Light reveals Eisenman’s mind ping-ponging through a number of visual rhymes, adding up to many of the show’s most compelling moments. The circle of the gun barrel becomes the end of a cigarette smoked by impassive men. In one case, smoke billows from a man’s right nostril; in another, a sooty cloud issues from a cigarette belonging to an African American in a drawing titled “A Moment of General Anesthesia” (2018), suggesting this man’s need for relief from pain of America’s continuous police shootings of black men. Further iterations of the black circle appear: in a small 2016 sketch it is a bullet hole in the middle of someone’s face, in others it is a darkened sun. A 2015 ink drawing titled “Black Sun” has the cheerless orb spewing fecal liquid that piles like a mound of pudding below, resembling a pipe depositing sewage in our waterways. Finally and inescapably, the circle is an anus.

Nicole Eisenman, “Heading Down River on the USS J-Bone of an Ass” (2017), oil on canvas, 127.25” x 105” x 1.75″(all images courtesy the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects; photo by Robert Wedemeyer).

Nicole Eisenman, “Heading Down River on the USS J-Bone of an Ass” (2017), oil on canvas, 127.25” x 105” x 1.75″(all images courtesy the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects; photo by Robert Wedemeyer).

Nicole Eisenman: Dark Light continues at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects (6006 Washington Blvd, Culver City, Los Angeles) through April 21.

Fascinating viewing and reading, you can do more of both at Hyperallergic.

The Amazing Egg Dance: Peasants to Politics.

Contrast between Carnival and Fasting (ca. 1550–99), artist unknown — Source.

Contrast between Carnival and Fasting (ca. 1550–99), artist unknown — Source. Click for full size.

Whoever the artist of the above piece was, I’d say they had been most impressed with Hieronymus Bosch. The Egg Dance, from village revelry to romance to politics. This is a wonderful piece of history, which demonstrates several cultural shifts throughout the centuries.

The egg dance was a traditional Easter game involving the laying down of eggs on the ground and dancing among them whilst trying to break as few as possible. Another variation (depicted in many of the images featured here) involved tipping an egg from a bowl, and then trying to flip the bowl over on top of it, all with only using one’s feet and staying within a chalk circle drawn on the ground. Although, as shown in many of its depictions in art, the pastime is associated with peasant villages of the 16th and 17th century, one of the earliest references to egg-dancing relates to the marriage of Margaret of Austria and Philibert of Savoy on Easter Monday in 1498.

[…]

This blindfolded version of the egg dance features in Goethe’s novel Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship (1795). … According to some scholars Goethe’s mention gave birth to the phrase “einen wahren Eiertanz aufführen” (to perform a true egg dance) which refers to moving carefully in a difficult situation. This particularly association of the egg dance with navigating danger was expressed time and time again in political cartoons of the 19th-century: various political figures, from Bismarck to Disraeli, precariously trying to make there way about a floor strewn with potential upsets.

Democracy’s Disastrous Egg-dance, (1884), Joseph Keppler. A woman labeled “Democracy” wearing a blindfold labeled “Stupidity” is pushed by Samuel J. Randall toward a chair labeled “Presidenti[al] Chair”, with several eggs in the way on the ground, they are labeled “Honest Naval Appropriation, Civil Service Reform, Honest River – Harbor Appropriation, Economy, Anti-Silver Coinage, National Banking System, Tariff Reform, [and] Prompt Legislation”, two of the eggs are broken; among a group of men laughing, in the background on the right, are John Logan, John Sherman, and William D. Kelley. — Source.

Democracy’s Disastrous Egg-dance, (1884), Joseph Keppler. A woman labeled “Democracy” wearing a blindfold labeled “Stupidity” is pushed by Samuel J. Randall toward a chair labeled “Presidenti[al] Chair”, with several eggs in the way on the ground, they are labeled “Honest Naval Appropriation, Civil Service Reform, Honest River – Harbor Appropriation, Economy, Anti-Silver Coinage, National Banking System, Tariff Reform, [and] Prompt Legislation”, two of the eggs are broken; among a group of men laughing, in the background on the right, are John Logan, John Sherman, and William D. Kelley. — Source.

The Journalistic Egg Dance (ca. 1840), Andreas Geiger. A caricature of press censorship before the 1848 revolution in Austria. During the Restoration after the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, the European powers, led by Austrian Chancellor Clemens von Metternich (1773-1859), restricted the freedom of speech and expression to contain any kind of critical, nationalist or anti-authoritarian movement — Source.

The Journalistic Egg Dance (ca. 1840), Andreas Geiger. A caricature of press censorship before the 1848 revolution in Austria. During the Restoration after the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, the European powers, led by Austrian Chancellor Clemens von Metternich (1773-1859), restricted the freedom of speech and expression to contain any kind of critical, nationalist or anti-authoritarian movement — Source.

You read and see much more at The Public Domain Review.

Swedish House-Gymnastics (1913).

These exercises and the photographic illustrations are splendid! Exercises anyone can do, without taking up much time, and can be done conveniently at home.

These wonderful photographs, which make such innovative use of multiple exposure, are from a 1913 German book titled Schwedische Haus-Gymnastik nach dem System P.H. Ling’s by Theodor Bergquist, Director of the Swedish Gymnastic Institute in the Bavarian spa town of Bad Wörishofen. As the title tells us, this style of “Swedish house-gymnastics” demonstrated by Bergquist (and his mysterious female colleague) is based on a system developed by Pehr Henrik Ling (1776–1839), a pioneer in the teaching of physical education in Sweden. Inventor of various physical education apparatus including the box horse, wall bars, and beams, Ling is also credited with establishing calisthenics as a distinct discipline and is considered by some as the father of Swedish massage.

I think I could choose a series to do each day from these, without over exertion, and it might really help to be a bit more flexible these days. You can see much more at The Public Domain Review.

The Last Fiction.

This looks to be fascinating, and it’s a great way to learn too. The Last Fiction is a feature-length animation based on a Persian legend told in the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi. I will be looking for it, and looking forward to seeing it. The best bit might be that it’s out of an Iranian studio, so it will not end up being a stupid, offensive, Disnified version. If you could use a bit more information: Shahnameh (The Book of Kings), and Abu ʾl-Qasim Ferdowsi Tusi.

The Last Fiction.