Considering bad motherfuckers: Hildegard of Bingen and Janelle Monáe

I, like all the best people, have spent the last month or so being absolutely amazed that there was a time before Janelle Monáe’s ‘Dirty Computer’ existed, and that apparently there was music before now. It’s a lot to deal with, you know? Obviously, this album is important for a number of reasons, the most pressing of which is that it BANGS. However, it is also an amazing record of queerness and female auteurship in a male dominated society.

And of course, all of this is rather like the work of Hildegard of Bingen.

Continue reading “Considering bad motherfuckers: Hildegard of Bingen and Janelle Monáe”

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On sex work and the concept of ‘rescue’

My lovely lambs, if you are not on Twitter, I mean first of all congrats for not getting involved in that hellsite? Second of all, however, you may have been missing out on SWARM (the twitter of the amazing Swarm Collective) taking over the legendary goal keeper Neville Southall’s twitter account in order to talk about sex workers’ rights. It has been a generally wonderful thing to see these voices elevated outside of the usual bubble, and I for one have been super pleased to see decrim discussed in a more public way.

Unfortunately, Big Nev and the amazing collective of sex workers behind SWARM have received much too much pushback from would-be ‘feminists’, including members of the so-called Women’s Equality Party here in the UK who have come at the genuine concerns of sex workers with offensive, degrading, and dehumanising stuff like this:

Walker
I’m sorry I made you look at this.

 

What these haters have in common is usually a belief in, and often financial backing from, what anthropologist Laura Agustín has dubbed ‘the rescue industry’. The rescue industry sees all women who engage in sex work as victims, relying heavily on modern ideas of such women as ‘fallen’ or somehow soiled or victimised. The latest part of the trend is to insist that sex workers advocating for their own humanity are part of the so-called ‘pimp lobby’ a theoretical cabal of men who somehow are able to lobby at a high-level for sex work so that they can control women, while also keeping sex mostly illegal world-wide. *thinking emoji*

Continue reading “On sex work and the concept of ‘rescue’”

On Mike Pence, Holocaust Memorial Day, and Christian interpretations of Jewish utility

If, like me, your primary form of entertainment is reading the news, becoming angry, yelling, and then drinking to try to forget about what you just read, you may be aware of the stupid offensive bullshit that Mike ‘If I’m in another room with a woman alone I might rape her, IDK’ Pence tweeted for Holocaust Memorial Day. If you have somehow escaped this and are blithely unaware, I am sorry to do this to you. Behold:
Pence

This right here, is a veritable parfait of wrong in that there is just layer upon layer of inappropriate, with a bonus cherry of apocalyptic Christianity on top. So, let’s talk about this.

Eagled-eyed readers (LOL) will note that every single thing this man has just said about the Jewish victims of the holocaust is set out here in Christian imagery. (There is a separate conversation to be had here about how this tweet also ignores the Romani, gay, and disabled victims of the Holocaust, of course. I am trying to cut down on my rage posting by just focusing on the largest and most glaring parts of the evil that is spewed by this administration, right now though. I’m tired, OK?)

Continue reading “On Mike Pence, Holocaust Memorial Day, and Christian interpretations of Jewish utility”

On the Medieval secret to a balling Christmas, for once.

Christmas, amiright? It is A Thing.  And every year it seems to creep a bit further into autumn as capitalism demands larger and larger blood sacrifices in order to slake its consumerist thirst. Tra la la.

Now, some people really really dig Christmas, some not so much, and some are just deeply ambivalent and stoked to get some time off. All of this is good and fine and you should be able to do you.

I have found through extensive research (i.e. living) that a lot of people sort of struggle with the Christmas thing because you have said GIANT BUILD UP, where everyone you know insists that you ‘get together before Christmas!’ Also, you need to buy a Christmas jumper to wear to the office do! Also, have you sent out Christmas cards? Also, Christmas is the most meaningful day of the year and you should be spending it with your family and if it isn’t magical, then maybe you don’t actually love them?

It’s a lot.

Continue reading “On the Medieval secret to a balling Christmas, for once.”

That’s not what chivalry is, but OK

My loves, we are now, as ever, surrounded by basics and their whack-ass understanding of medieval history. As a Lady Historian™ I am often subjected to tirades from Nice Guys lamenting how I, a lady, am breathing in public, but how they a Nice Guy are going to be chill about it because they ‘still believe in chivalry’.

That is not what chivalry is.

Now, I don’t even mean not believing an expert in a subject because of Dunning Kreuger isn’t exactly polite, when I say ‘that is not what chivalry is’. What I mean is that chivalry really isn’t about treating the ladies right (or whatever the fuck passes for right in your mind when you are out here actively harassing women who are smarter than you, which is to say all of them.)

Continue reading “That’s not what chivalry is, but OK”

A short history of Jan Hus, the Protestant leader you’ve never heard of, or, Martin Luther jacked Hus’s whole style

So because it is 2017, we are currently living through a cruel time in which people are attempting to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. This, in and of itself is problematic as hell, because it feeds into the idea that the study of history is a study of Great Men™ who came along in a manly way and moved the world forward. That ain’t the case. History is really more of a study of a number of trends. It’s looking at a million pieces of day-to-day writing and interpreting them in their context. Sure, dudes came along who – given this context – were able to influence society. However, society as a whole was not a blank slate, just waiting for some guy to come swing his dick around in order to change course.

This approach also massively privileges not just dudes, but *specifically* white dudes from Western Europe. Not because they necessarily achieved more than dudes from other parts of the world (AHEM – Alexander the Great v. Genghis Khan), BUT because the West has dominated the political sphere since the age of colonialism and therefore privileges its own history above the history of other places.

A part of this is a collective social tendency to privilege one’s one society because one is a part of it. We can’t escape culture, even if we can critique it. Another part of this is that historians are basic too, and don’t want to learn the other languages that it takes in order to do the work to study certain things.

The lionisation of Martin Luther and Reformation is a perfect example of how major social and religious movements get lost in the Great Men narrative in order to allow for ease of research.

Continue reading “A short history of Jan Hus, the Protestant leader you’ve never heard of, or, Martin Luther jacked Hus’s whole style”

Look up – this church is judging you

So, I went to Rouen last week in order to be the Biggest Geek in the World ™. I have returned with a video showing you how to catch churches judging the fuck out of you for being sinful. In particular we’re talking about how S. Maclou church, which was built in the late medieval period in the Flamboyant Gothic style (Yes. That is what it is called.), is judging you.

This is essentially what travelling with me is like, except you aren’t drinking with me. You are welcome.