Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Empress Eugenie's Pearl Diadem

 From Tatler:

In celebration of June’s birthstone, the Tiara of the Month is this monumental pearl diadem by Gabriel Lemonnier, which was commissioned by Napoleon III in 1853 as a wedding gift to his bride, Eugénie de Montigjo. The tiara features 212 pearls and nearly 2000 diamonds set in foliage scrolls with upright pear-shaped pearls, set in silver.

The stones had belonged to the French State Treasury, as was the practice at this time, while France journeyed in and out of monarchical rule. After his defeat by Prussia in 1870, Napoleon and Eugénie took exile in England where they were hosted by Queen Victoria, and the tiara was returned to the French State. In 1887 during the Third Republic of France the tiara was sold, and out of the 69 lots put up for sale, 24 were purchased by Tiffany & Co, the most successful bidder at the auction.

 In 1890 the tiara was resold and bought by Albert, 8th Prince von Thurn und Taxis as a wedding gift to his future bride Archduchess Margarethe Klementine of Austria. The House of Thurn und Taxis were German nobility who had amassed a fortune largely due to their early involvement in establishing the European postal service.

The tiara was seen again when the 11th Prince of Thurn and Taxis, Johannes, married German aristocrat Countess Gloria von Schönburg-Glauchau in 1980. Aged just 20, her new husband was 34 years her senior and she soon became known as the 'Punk Princess' for her extravagant appearance and lifestyle. For the Prince’s 60th birthday party she dressed as Marie Antoinette and was lowered down to join the other guests on a golden cloud attached to a zip wire.

It was only when the Prince died in 1992 that Gloria turned herself into a devout Catholic businesswoman to repay the £300 million debt which she had unexpectedly inherited. The precious tiara was therefore put up for auction once more, and this time was purchased by Friends of The Louvre, where it is still on display today - reunited with its homeland. (Read more.)


The Hidden Trauma of Overachievement

 From Entrepreneur:

We are a society that values success above most, if not all, things. Success can be wonderful, when it comes from a place of authenticity, purpose, and alignment. However, success does not always equal happiness or fulfillment, especailly when we chase success blindly with no sense of purpose and we use that success as a measure of our own self-value and worth. 

Many of us subconsiously chase success out of unrelenting need to be perfect, to gain external validation that we never got in childhood, and to prove ourselves worthy of love. In her book How to Do the Work, Dr. Nicole LePera writes that the overachiever "Feels seen, heard, and valued through success and achievement. Uses external validation as a way to cope with low self-worth. Believes that the only way to recieve love is through achievement." 

As overachievers, we often use our careers as a way to distract ourselves from unhealed wounds and keep ourselves busy enough to avoid any real type of intimacy. This was true for me. I chased success in a corporate job for over 10 years, constantly ignoring my authentic self while chasing achievement for validation and using work as a way to ignore my past and my pain. It certainly worked in making me "successful" — I was making six figures as a manager in a global consulting firm by age 25. 

It was great, until I woke up one day and realized I was depressed, unfulfilled, and doing anything I could to avoid feeling this huge gap in my life. Constantly overworking myself and striving for perfection burnt me out. I didn’t want to stay in my job, but I had no idea what I wanted to do. I had no idea what made me happy, or what was fulfilling to me. The thought of being anything less than perfect and successful in a "good" job seemed like failure to me. Plus, the money I was making was a form of validation and protection. I didn't want to risk that. (Read more.)


Fourteenth Century Inequality vs Modern Inequality

 From The Big Think:

Note that there are two substantial declines in inequality. Both are tied to truly apocalyptic events. The first is the Black Death, the common name for the bubonic plague pandemic in the 14th century, which killed off anywhere between 30 and 50 percent of Europe. The second, at the dawn of the 20th century, was the result of World War I and the many major events in its aftermath.

The 20th century as a whole was a time of tremendous economic change, and the periods not featuring major wars are notable for having large experiments in distributive economic policies, particularly in the countries Piketty considers.

 The slight stall in the rise of inequality during the 17th century is the result of the Thirty Years' War, a terrible religious conflict that ravaged Europe and left eight million people dead, and of major plagues that affected South Europe. However, the recurrent outbreaks of the plague after the Black Death no longer had much effect on inequality. This was due to a number of factors, not the least of which was the adaptation of European institutions to handle pandemics without causing such a shift in wealth. (Read more.)


Monday, June 14, 2021

The Complicated Legacy of Betty Crocker

Personally, I love aprons. And I loved my Betty Crocker Cook Book that I received for my sixteenth birthday. From Lit Hub:

Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book is the best-selling cookbook in American history, with approximately 75 million copies sold since 1950. Not only did it guide generations of women in the kitchen; it was a cultural force, functioning as a blueprint for what it meant to be a good wife and mother. Cookbooks are one of those banal texts that we might ignore or dismiss, but this one, like so many others‚ tells a story about U.S food and everything that is wrapped up in it: family, power, class, culture, ethnicity, gender—and what it means to be American.

When eight-year-old Eleanor arrived to the US from Sicily in 1920, anti-Italian sentiment still gripped the nation.

“There was a lot of pressure for them to assimilate,” my grandmother said of her family. “My grandfather demanded that more than anything—if his wife slipped back into being too not American, or not American enough, he would remind her that that was important.”

Her grandmother’s English was poor and heavily accented, and despite her dresses and high heels—“she looked like Betty Crocker,” my grandmother remarked—some people still stared at her as if she were “less than a human.” The family took pains to assimilate, and by the time my grandmother was growing up the message was clear: We are Americans.

Around the same time my Sicilian family arrived on the East Coast, Betty Crocker was “born” in Minneapolis to the Washburn Crosby company (what would soon merge with other milling companies to become General Mills). Betty’s birth had been something of an accident. In an advertisement for their signature product, Gold Medal Flour, Washburn-Crosby included a puzzle that readers could solve and send in for a prize. Much to the surprise of the all-male advertising team, thousands of women included letters alongside their completed puzzles, asking why their dough was lumpy or how to make their cakes rise.

The male employees were loath to sign their names to any letters in response, and so they invented a new name—Crocker for William G. Crocker, a recently retired executive, and Betty because they thought it sounded wholesome. After an informal contest among the women of the office to sign the letters, a secretary’s signature was chosen. With that, a handful of businessmen selling flour invented a fictional homemaker—and the perfect woman for the first half of the 20th century was born. 

With the rise of radio in the early 1920s, Betty Crocker quickly became a star, with actresses and staff of General Mills bringing her to life on the airwaves. The arrival of World War II skyrocketed Betty to a new level of fame. General Mills distributed millions of pamphlets on the war effort, while Betty broadcast a message of community and patriotism on her widely popular radio show. In 1945, Betty Crocker was named the second-most influential woman in America by Fortune magazine—just behind Eleanor Roosevelt. At her height, she received as many as 5,000 letters per day. (Read more.)


Mothers Against Critical Race Theory

 From The Daily Wire:

KEISHA KING: Good morning. Thank you for having me speak. My name is Keisha King. I’m a mom of two, one who’s in the Duval County Public School System, and one in private school, thanks to school choice. I’m also a member of Moms For Liberty, representing thousands of parents. Just coming off of May 31st, marking the 100 years of the Tulsa riots, it is sad that we are even contemplating something like critical race theory, where children will be separated by their skin color and deemed permanently oppressors or oppressed in 2021.

That is not teaching the truth, unless you believe that whites are better than blacks. I have personally heard teachers teaching CRT and we have had an assembly shut down because a Duval County Public School System consultant thought it would be a great idea to separate students by race. This is unacceptable. CRT is not racial sensitivity, or simply teaching unfavorable American history, or teaching Jim Crow history. CRT is deeper and more dangerous than that. CRT and it’s out working today is a teaching that there is a hierarchy in society where white male heterosexual able-bodied people are deemed the oppressor and anyone else outside of that status is oppressed. That’s why we see corporations like Coca-Cola asking their employees to be less white, which is ridiculous. I don’t know about you, but telling my child or any child that they are in a permanent oppressed status in America because they are black is racist, and saying that white people are automatically above me, my children or any child is racist as well. This is not something that we can stand for in our country. And don’t take it from me, look at the writers of these types of publications, our ancestors, white, black, and others hung, bled, and died right alongside each other to push America towards that more perfect union. If this continues, we will look back and be responsible for the dismantling of the greatest country in the world by reverting to teaching hate and that race is a determining factor on where your destiny lies. Thank you. (Read more.)


From Fox News:

A Virginia mom who endured Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution before immigrating to the U.S. ripped a Virginia school board at a public meeting Tuesday over its stubborn support of the controversial critical race theory.

"I’ve been very alarmed by what’s going on in our schools," Xi Van Fleet told the Loudoun County School Board members. "You are now teaching, training our children to be social justice warriors and to loathe our country and our history."

She likened CRT, which critics deride as a form of "neo-racism," to China’s Cultural Revolution, a Mao-led purge that left between 500,000 and 20 million people dead from 1966 to 1976. The estimates vary greatly and many details have been shrouded in secrecy for decades. (Read more.)


The Winegrowers of Heaven

 From Aleteia:

They are about 30 men, lined up face to face in two rows, on either side of a path that crosses a plot of vines. They are young, vigorous and full of strength, and yet their smile is as disarming as that of children. Some of them wear a tonsure, the ancestral sign of their renunciation of the world. They are dressed in their traditional monastic habit. They are Benedictine monks from the abbey of Saint Madeleine du Barroux, whose church tower can be seen from a distance, on the heights overlooking the vineyards. At their feet are empty crates that will be filled in a moment with the first grapes of the harvest, sun-drenched clairettes.

For the time being, the monks are meditating, singing the praise of God, before picking under the Provencal sun the new fruits of the vine, which the good weather has brought to maturity. “Ora et labora” (“Pray and work”) is their motto: They work in silence with precise gestures and a regular, unfaltering rhythm. They look up from time to time to thank God for such abundance. The hard work of the vineyard assures their subsistence; it also allows them to earn a path to heaven. (Read more.)


Sunday, June 13, 2021

Origins of the Sonnet

From JSTOR Daily:

The Sicilian School of poets had several traditions to draw from. Because “sonnet” roughly translates to “song,” even though it’s believed that few lyrics were ever actually set to music, scholars have searched for the form’s origin beyond poetry. The most obvious candidate is the eight-line strambotto, a peasant song to which may have been added a sestet.

There are also non-Western candidates, with scholars having long suspected that da Lentini drew from Arabic poetry. This was unsurprising, for Sicily was at the confluence of the known world. By the thirteenth century, Sicily had had periods of rule by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Ostrogoths, Byzantines, Arabs, and Normans, with strong cultural influence from all of them. Buffeted between the Latin West, the Byzantine East, and the Islamic world, the Kingdom of Sicily was ruled over by Frederick, a Swabian German, who established a Palermo court known for its efficiency, tolerance, and innovation. With a large population of Jews and Muslims, Arab influence remained vital, with the Emirate of Sicily having fallen to Norman invaders only a bit more than a century before.

The scholar Samar Attar claims in Arab Studies Quarterly that the “formation of Italian literary texts between 1200 and 1400 cannot adequately be understood without reference to the various Arabic and Islamic sources that date back to the seventh century onwards.” Likewise, literary scholar Kamal Abu-Deeb writes in Critical Survey that the sonnet has “schemes, or structures, that are variations… on structures of the muwashshahat produced by Arab poets,” a genre which unlike the sonnet is traditionally set to music, while Oppenheimer notes that several scholars have argued that the form “derived from the Arab zajal, a rhyming stanza popular with the Arabs living in Sicily in Giacomo’s time.” Even more evocative than the morphological similarities are the thematic ones; with its volta, the sonnet mirrors the dialectic argumentation that marked Islamic and Jewish philosophy, and in its celebration of secular love there are antecedents in Sufism. “The idea that a beloved woman can be the manifestation of divinity or the emanation of God was acceptable among the Arabs much earlier before the thirteenth century” writes Attar. In short, Petrarch’s Laura has Islamic precedents.

There is the potential for other idiosyncratic influences on the sonnet. From 1209 to 1229 the town of Albi in Languedoc faced a bloody crusade waged by the Church against a group of Christian heretics known as Cathars (though sometimes referred to as Albigensians, after the seat of their movement). Much romanticized in the ensuing centuries, the neo-gnostic Cathars promulgated a gospel that saw the material world as evil, argued that the universe was dualistically split between good and evil, extolled the equivalence of the sexes, and celebrated Platonic spiritual union (including a belief in reincarnation).

The Cathars shared their Occitan tongue (closely related to both French and Catalan) with the troubadours, a movement of poet-performers who set their verse to music. There is academic disagreement about the relationship between the Cathars and the Languedoc troubadours, but some scholars argue that the latter were the artistic vanguard of the former, with Michael Bryson and Arpi Movesian in Love and its Critics: From the Song of Songs to Shakespeare and Milton’s Eden arguing that “the massacres that followed affected the poetry of the thirteenth century. No longer were poets free to flout the morality of the Church without trepidation.” The result was that later troubadour poetry encoded Cathar beliefs rather than explicitly expressing them.

From French Provence, many refugees from the destruction of Catharism made their way across the Mediterranean at the invitation of Frederick, and they may have influenced the nascent sonneteers. Writing in Speculum, the poetry scholar Elias L. Rivers declares that there is a “consensus with regard to most poetry of the Sicilian School, namely that the concept of love on which these sonnets are based is in general the same as that of the Provencal troubadours: the poet ‘serves’ his lady as a vassal.” A tradition of idealized platonic love, so identified with Medieval poetry, finds its way into the early sonnets through Islamic and troubadour influence. Elias confidently declares that the “newly invented sonnet form so shaped, and merged with, the subject-matter of the troubadours as to constitute a coherent poetic genre of great vitality.” (Read more.)


Not a 'Birthing Person'

 From Red State:

As I’ve aged I’ve navigated my changing female form; my relationships with women, with men, with my husband, my children. I’ve viewed every part of this journey through many lenses, not the least of which is one we call ‘WOMAN.’

I say all this because suddenly and tragically there is a movement afoot to erase womanhood. The “woke left,” progressives, some well-meaning conservatives, and even my own President have decided that in order to appease the tiniest of slivers of humanity who believe they can change their genders by surgically altering their bodies they must completely erase womanhood for all of us. It has come to the point where our own governmental and academic institutions have replaced the word “mother” with “birthing person,” as if that is some type of equality.

You’ll notice we are not replacing “father” with “sperm producer” or some other idiot term. There is something so grossly misogynistic about the movement to erase womanhood. It’s as if none of the notions of women have changed in the last 1000 years. One philosophy is to the far right and one is to the far left, but both paint womanhood as inherently disgusting, flawed, misshapen, and grotesque. The natural form and function of our bodies are repulsive to each extreme. One extreme sought to eliminate our gender through silence – keeping us tucked away at home, away from the reaches of “civilized” society. The other extreme seeks to eliminate our gender through erasure – denying us the privilege of the markers that make us different than men and seeking to nullify the most beautiful aspects of our bodies. It is vile. (Read more.)


The Continental Army at Valley Forge

 From The Journal of the American Revolution:

Beginning in the 1890s, publications describing the iconic Valley Forge winter rounded this troop strength down to a simplified “11,000,” an easily remembered number routinely cited for the next 125 years to the present date as Washington’s entry strength on December 19, 1777.[5] From an unknown source, some publications have increased that number to “approximately 12,000 troops.”[6] After consulting “the most meticulous scholars and researchers,” the two authors of a recent publication accepted the range of 11,000-12,000 and also acknowledged estimates up to 2,000 higher than this for the number of soldiers that left Whitemarsh (eight days before they entered Valley Forge).[7] The tradition was that, after entry, disease and hardships from inadequate food, clothes, and supplies reduced Washington’s army significantly below 11,000. According to a National Park Service teaching guide, “It may have been as low as 5,000-6,000 at some point,” before turning steeply on an upswing due to a combination of factors including several thousand new recruits and levees, and the influx of previously hospitalized and furloughed soldiers.[8]

Regardless of these scant and unattributed suggestions of a possibly higher entry force, that original figure of 11,000 as well as the revised 12,000 have never been seriously challenged. The following assessment for the first time analyzes thirty official returns: twenty-seven completed during the six-month encampment of Washington’s Continental army as well as three others surrounding it. The results of this analysis should force a reconsideration not only of the traditionally accepted size of Washington’s force that entered Valley Forge, but also to his army’s actual numerical strength throughout the first half of 1778 in his winter encampment, and the size of the army that departed Valley Forge on June 19, 1778 to embark upon the Monmouth campaign. (Read more.)


Saturday, June 12, 2021

Font of Splendor

 From Victoria:

Described by Napoleon Bonaparte as “the true residence of kings,” Château de Fontainebleau was occupied and shaped by esteemed magnates for nearly eight centuries. In its earliest form, the property was a hunting estate, a haven where rulers would retreat to enjoy the forest’s abundant wildlife. As early as 1137, Louis VII and his successors took reprieve here, establishing their own additions to the grounds.

 What some would call the palace’s “second birth” came at the hands of Francis I, who commissioned a near total transformation of the medieval fortress into a Renaissance-style palace, leaving only the foundation and a single tower from its previous iteration. Subsequent rulers made notable expansions, designing great new wings, courtyards, and gardens to both house and entertain their courts. The castle’s rooms, of which there are 1,500, were masterfully refurnished in the ornate fashion coveted by occupants such as Catherine de Medici and Marie Antoinette, while walls and ceilings were adorned with the frescoes and stucco that helped form an important period in France’s art history. (Read more.)


When the State Comes for Your Kids

 From City Journal:

Being a teenager is no picnic. But removing minor children from their parents’ home didn’t used to be a matter of a parent–child “cultural disconnect”—or the young person’s views not “quite align[ing] with their at-home support.” The point was to provide sanctuary for children who would otherwise suffer physical harm or psychological torment.

Today, a teenager can declare an LGBTQ identity that is unsupported in her home and claim that this lack of support puts her mental health at risk. “For our young people experiencing homelessness, over 90 percent of them cite family conflict as a cause of homelessness,” said Suzanne Sullivan, Chief Advancement Officer at YouthCare, who confirmed for me that almost 30 percent of the young people at her shelter identify as LGBTQ+. “We see a lot of young people who have different sexual identities or gender identities that are not supported at home. At YouthCare, we believe that every young person deserves to live their life to the fullest and that includes gender and sexual identity. We are affirming at all of our locations and we don’t feel that it’s acceptable not to be,” she said. YouthCare houses adolescents and young adults ages 12 to 24.

For child services in states that regard “gender affirming care” as the only humane way to treat a troubled teen who’s suddenly decided she’s transgender, the power the state grants them to undermine and even remove parents who object to these treatments is alarming. I asked Sullivan if the teens who come to YouthCare are being abused at home. “There are a lot of individual young people, so each story is unique and each story is different. And there are all different forms of mistreatment and neglect and abandonment. In some cases, kids are kicked out. In some cases, they leave.”

In a state that grants minors aged 13 and up control over their mental health treatment—in a society that increasingly defines “abuse” as any of a variety of limits a parent might place on the gender or sexual exploration of a minor—it is easy enough for a troubled teen to decide that parents are “bad for my mental health.” A credible threat of suicide seems sufficient to earn a child an indefinite right to stay in a youth shelter, where she can hang out with other teens and free herself from meaningful supervision. (I spoke with one parent outside of Washington whose troubled 15-year-old was able to smoke marijuana and develop an alcohol problem at a youth shelter, according to a psychiatric evaluation I reviewed. In Julie’s case, she told me that, while Kayla was at the YouthCare shelter, she was often able to skip Zoom school.)

After Sullivan refused to answer more questions over the phone, I emailed her for comment on the claim by parents that “once their teens choose to stay at one of the shelters, if they are over 13, they are hard to extract.” Sullivan—who many times during our call invited me to email her with questions—wrote back to say that she had no comment.

It isn’t hard to see why a rebellious teen struggling with mental health problems might not want to return home from a youth shelter, even to a loving family. Take Lambert House, a “safe place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth ages 11-22,” according to its website. Activities include “Minecraft,” “Poetry Slam / Art Share,” “Saturday Night Lambert Live!” and “Boys Who Like Boys Group.” That might seem like a fun set of social activities for college students. It’s a little more troubling to consider that, based on a perusal of the activities calendar, many of the events seem to facilitate socializing between 22-year-olds and adolescents as young as 11. I called Lambert House several times for clarification, but never received a call back.

I did, however, speak with Vernadette Broyles, president and founder of Child and Parental Rights Campaign. A Harvard-educated lawyer, Broyles represents parents in child custody, child protective services, and school cases.

I asked Broyles point-blank: Was she seeing the same the pattern I had noticed—namely, loving parents bringing a suicidal, trans-identified teen to the E.R., which ensnares her in a child services network that will not relinquish her? “Yes, that is one of the patterns,” she said. “We’re seeing national patterns. . . . One is the very deliberate and systemic erosion of parental rights.” Broyles believes that this erosion leaves girls, especially, “disproportionately vulnerable.”

According to the parents I’ve talked with, it’s hard to argue with that. One mother I spoke with had had Child Protective Services called on her by her own therapist, after she had explained in therapy why she had chosen not to “affirm” her young trans-identified teen daughter. In that instance, the mom said, the social worker accepted the mother’s explanation that this did not constitute abuse. She counts herself lucky.

What advice does Broyles give parents if Child Protective Services shows up at their door? “Without a warrant or court order, you do not talk to them. You do not let your child talk to them. You should absolutely not let them interview your child with or without you. You don’t let them into your home, you don’t let them into your car. You don’t let them into your hospital room if you’re there in the hospital, you don’t let them into the room with you if you’re in a doctor’s office. You don’t let them in without a warrant or a court order, regardless of what they say. Because once they’re in they will take whatever you say or your child says and potentially use it against you. And then the next thing you know, there’s a possibility that they go to a court, to a judge, ex parte, and get a court order to remove your child. That’s distinctly possible.” (Read more.)


Viking Treasure Hoard

 From BBC:

The Galloway hoard was discovered in 2014 by metal detectorist Derek McLennan from Ayrshire and was acquired by National Museums Scotland (NMS) three years later. It has been described as "one of the most important UK archaeological finds of the century". NMS senior curator Dr Martin Goldberg said it still had the power to surprise.

"There is something unexpected about the Galloway hoard at every turn," he said. "It just keeps telling more and more stories." The latest is about a lidded vessel which held some of the hoard's most precious treasures. It was thought to come from continental Europe, but a new 3D model of the container suggests it might come from much further afield.

 Research has also shown that the wool wrapping the vessel is older than expected and pre-dates the Viking era.

"This is only the third silver-gilt and decorated vessel to be found as part of a Viking-age hoard in the UK, and so we might have expected it to be like the other two," said Dr Goldberg. "However, the 3D model reveals that the vessel is not from the Carolingian (Holy Roman) Empire of continental Europe as we'd expected based on other similar examples.

"Instead, the decoration and design show leopards, tigers and Zoroastrian religious symbols, all of which suggest that it is a piece of central Asian metalwork from halfway round the known world." (Read more.)


Friday, June 11, 2021

Tilghman Island

 Definitely worth the trip. From Chesapeake Living:

The museum houses artifacts donated by people who live on the island or visit. They’ve moved into a restored “W” house, one of 12 built on the island around the turn of the century. They’re unique to the island, according to locals. Only five are left on the island.

It’s also a popular cycling route from St. Michaels to the island and back, about 15 miles one way if you go to the end of the island. The highway is a bike route and has wide shoulders up to the island; traffic is relatively light.

Dogwood Harbor (21308 Phillips Road) about mid-island still has rows of watermen’s boats. These are working boats and may be one of the largest collection in one spot on the Chesapeake Bay. (Read more.)


More HERE.


Adams vs. Jefferson

 From HNN:

On July 14, 1798—nine years to the day after the storming of the Bastille—President John Adams signed an American Sedition Act into law. The 1789 Parisian incident had set in motion events that ultimately toppled and killed King Louis XVI; his queen, Marie Antoinette; and their heir to the throne, the dauphin. Adams’s signature likewise led to his own ouster, but the president; his lady, Abigail; and their heir, John Quincy, got to keep their heads in the transition and thereafter. On two telling dimensions—orderliness of regime change and avoidance of bloodshed—Federalist-era America showed itself vastly superior to Revolutionary France. But the events of 1798-1801—America’s first peaceful transfer of power from one presidential party to another—were in fact far more fraught than is generally understood today and in myriad respects cast an eerie light on the not entirely peaceful transfer of presidential power in 2020-21.

UNDER THE TERMS OF THE Sedition Act, anyone who dared to criticize the federal government, the president, or Congress risked a fine of up to $2,000 and a prison term of up to two years. But venomous criticism, even if knowingly false and violence-inciting, that targeted the vice president was fair game under the law. Thus, in the impending 1800 electoral contest between Adams and his main rival, Thomas Jefferson—who was also Adams’s sitting vice president—Adams and his Federalist Party allies could malign Jefferson, but Jefferson and his allies, the Democratic Republicans, could not reciprocate with equal vigor. Congressional aspirants attacking Congressional incumbents would need to watch their words, but not vice versa. Just in case the Democratic Republicans managed to win the next election, the act provided that it would poof into thin air on March 3, 1801, a day before the new presidential term would begin.

On its surface, the act seemed modest. It criminalized only “false, scandalous, and malicious” writings or utterances that had the “intent to defame” or comparable acidic motivation. The defendant could introduce into evidence “the truth of the matter contained in the publication charged as a libel.”

This was more generous than libel law at the time in Britain, where truth was no defense. Indeed, truth could actually compound a British publisher’s liability. “The greater the truth, the greater the libel,” because the libelee would suffer a greater reputational fall if the unflattering story was, in fact, true. British law was thus all about protecting His Majesty and His Lordship and His Worshipfulness from criticism; it was the product of a residually monarchial, aristocratic, and deeply deferential legal and social order. British freedom of the press meant only that the press would not be licensed or censored prepublication. Anyone could freely run a printing press, but printers might face severe punishment after the fact if they used their presses to disparage the powerful.

Back in the 1780s, Jefferson had urged James Madison and other allies to fashion a federal Bill of Rights that would go beyond English law—but not by miles. As Jefferson envisioned what would ultimately become America’s First Amendment, “a declaration that the federal government will never restrain the presses from printing any thing they please, will not take away the liability of the printers for false facts printed.” Jefferson evidently could live with publisher liability for “false facts printed.” But what if the falsehood was a good-faith mistake, or a rhetorical overstatement in a vigorous political give-and-take? Could an honest mistake or mere exuberance ever justify serious criminal liability and extended imprisonment? (Read more.)


Exhibition of Slavery

 From ArtNet News:

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has unveiled its landmark exhibition, “Slavery” (through August 29), an unprecedented survey of 10 personal stories of those who were involved in the slave trade, either as profiteers or victims, as it made its way across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and into the Netherlands’ various colonies.

The show, which has been four years in the making, includes 140 objects from the 17th through 19th centuries, and includes two towering Rembrandt portraits of Oopjen Coppit and Marten Soolmans, who were the ultra-wealthy beneficiaries of a sugar refinery, as well as disturbing artifacts such as collars that were forced on enslaved peoples and gifts exchanged between an African monarch and a slave trader.

Among the stories told is that of Wally, an enslaved man forced to work a sugar plantation in the colony of Suriname. Along with others, Wally organized a failed revolt on the plantation and fled, a crime for which he was executed by immolation in 1707.(Read more.)


Thursday, June 10, 2021

Hummingbirds: Between Science and Magic

From Brainpickings:

Frida Kahlo painted a hummingbird into her fiercest self-portrait. Technology historian Steven Johnson drew on hummingbirds as the perfect metaphor for revolutionary innovation. Walt Whitman found great joy and solace in watching a hummingbird “coming and going, daintily balancing and shimmering about,” as he was learning anew how to balance a body coming and going in the world after his paralytic stroke. For poet and gardener Ross Gay, “the hummingbird hovering there with its green-gold breast shimmering, slipping its needle nose in the zinnia,” is indispensable to the “exercise in supreme attentiveness” that gardening offers.

Essential as pollinators and essential as muses to poets, hummingbirds animate every indigenous spiritual mythology of their native habitats and are sold as wearable trinkets on Etsy, to be worn as symbols — of joy, of levity, of magic — by modern secular humans across every imaginable habitat on our improbable planet. (Read more.)


Ring of Fire

 From EarthSky:

The new moon will sweep in front of the sun to create this year’s first solar eclipse on Thursday, June 10. On that day, the moon in its elliptical orbit of Earth will lie too far from us to cover over the sun completely. So a bright annulus – or ring – will surround the new moon silhouette at mid-eclipse. It’s the outer rim of the sun, not quite hidden from view. People have taken to calling these “ring of fire” eclipses. Essentially, they are partial eclipses, albeit very dramatic ones. As with any partial eclipse, you need eye protection to watch an annular eclipse. Watching with the unaided eye will cause eye damage.

From much of North America, people will see the sun in eclipse at sunrise on June 10. Northerly and easterly locations in the U.S. have the best view. More below. (Read more.)


Saving Survivors of Human Slavery



Are Birds Dinosaurs?

 From Live Science:

What do sparrows, geese and owls have in common with a velociraptor or the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex? All can trace their origins to a bipedal, mostly meat-eating group of dinosaurs called theropods ("beast-footed") that first appeared around 231 million years ago, during the late Triassic Period

The earliest birds shared much in common with their theropod relatives, including feathers and egg-laying. However, certain traits – such as sustained, powered flight – distinguished ancient birds from other theropods, and eventually came to define modern-bird lineage (even though not all modern birds fly).

Today, all non-avian dinosaurs are long extinct. But are birds still considered to be true dinosaurs

In a word: Yes. 

"Birds are living dinosaurs, just as we are mammals," said Julia Clarke, a paleontologist studying the evolution of flight and a professor with the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. 

In spite of the physical differences that distinguish all mammals from other species, every animal in that group — living and extinct — can trace certain anatomical characteristics to a common ancestor. And the same is true for birds, Clarke told Live Science.

"They're firmly nested in that one part of the dinosaur tree," she said. "All of the species of birds we have today are descendants of one lineage of dinosaur: the theropod dinosaurs." (Read more.)


Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Pride and Property: On the Homes of Jane Austen

From Lit Hub:

Jane Austen’s life, like that of her fictional characters, was lived in and around the houses of the very wealthy and the middling members of the educated classes. Born in 1775, the seventh child and second daughter of a clergyman and his wife (who was marginally his social better), she grew up in a lively household. Her parents went on to have another son after Jane, and to this brood were added half a dozen or so school-age boys whose fees as boarding students provided a much-needed supplement to the Reverend George Austen’s income. Nevertheless, they lived in a sort of modest gentility. George Austen, while not profligate, was never quite able to live within his means and often borrowed from relatives to keep his large family in good circumstance. However, despite the fact that they could not afford the trappings of wealthy society, their standing was such that they still moved comfortably within it, and were well acquainted with families that boasted grand houses and substantial property, all of which had an impact on Austen’s fiction.

The first property that had any importance to Jane Austen was, of course, the house she grew up in: the rectory at Steventon in Hampshire. This was a plain sturdy structure, built in the early seventeenth century and renovated in the 1760s for the Austen family. It had seven bedrooms, a central hearth and a pretty, trellised porch. The house was surrounded by fields, where her father farmed, and by gardens, where Mrs. Austen grew vegetables. There were also many trees—elms, firs, and chestnuts; Jane’s characters often take note of such things. Overall, the aspect is not so unlike her final, beloved home at Chawton or Mrs. Dashwood’s Barton Cottage, or the famously unglamorous rectory to be taken over by the noble Edmund Bertram in Mansfield Park. Austen clearly had a fondness for a well-kept cottage, as she did for a well-appointed mansion.

The sprawling rooms at Steventon accommodated not only all of the Austen children and their boarders, but also, later, brothers returning from university with friends and relatives, who stopped for days or weeks at a time. During these visits, it was not uncommon for the family and guests to perform plays, either of their own creation or those that were popular at the time. Unlike the production so heavily frowned upon in Mansfield Park, these theatricals were greatly enjoyed by family and friends, all of whom were avid readers of any new fiction or drama. Though the rectory is no longer standing, some sketches exist and, in any case, it is almost better to imagine this house full of bright, competent children, tumbling through the halls and practicing their fine sense of wit and their stage personas on one another, all diligently rehearsing their lines against their improvised sets and backdrops. (Read more.)


Chinese Defector with Knowledge of Bioweapons Programs

 From Becker News:

FBI Director Christopher Wray, appointed by Donald Trump in 2017, has been considered by his critics to have been a thorn in the side to the former president. Wray’s misleading comments about the threat posed to the nation by “white supremacists” and “far right domestic extremists” do not comport with present day political realities that grave threats are posed by both the right and the left, including radicalized Black Lives Matter activists and Antifa extremists who have caused billions in damage to communities nationwides, as well as hundreds of injuries and dozens of deaths.

Wray’s blatantly political bent is unprofessional and is undoubtedly sowing distrust within the ranks of the nation’s security agencies. The motivation for the DIA keeping highly sensitive, top-secret revelations from a Chinese defector is unknown, but the ramification that the American people can not undoubtedly trust the FBI to seize on the intel and use it effectively against a known enemy is an undermining of public confidence that should disturb American citizens.

“Sources say the level of confidence in the defector’s information is what has led to a sudden crisis of confidence in Dr. Anthony Fauci,” Van Laar noted in the RedState report, “adding that U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) personnel detailed to DIA have corroborated very technical details of information provided by the defector.”

The political implications of the communist Chinese weaponizing “gain of function” virus research at the Wuhan lab, which was partially funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases run by Dr. Anthony Fauci, are sweeping in import. They would call for a Cold War-level overhaul of American intelligence agencies to counter a burgeoning threat to the nation’s security last seen in the nuclear standoff between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. during the Cold War. (Read more.)


Odd Jobs That No Longer Exist

 From Pioneer Woman:

Every morning in the 1950s, like clockwork, the milkman would deliver bottles and jugs filled to the brim with milk. If you were lucky, sometimes he would even deliver other kitchen essentials like eggs and butter. With the rise of home refrigeration the milk stayed, but the profession expired. Maybe if they delivered cookies too, milkmen would've had a better chance?

Elevators didn't always move with the simple push of a button. Back in the day, elevator operators were in charge of controlling everything from the doors and direction to the speed and capacity of the elevator car — a lot of layers, or should we say levels, to the position. In the '50s, automatic elevators became more common and individuals had to push their own button (gasp!). (Read more.)

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Anne Boleyn’s Prayer Book

 From Smithsonian:

Following Anne’s beheading, her devotional Book of Hours, which included several inscriptions in her own hand, disappeared for centuries. As Craig Simpson reports for the Telegraph, the illustrated manuscript only reemerged in the early 20th century, when wealthy businessman William Waldorf Astor purchased Anne’s childhood home of Hever Castle.

Now, a former steward at the castle thinks she knows what happened to the text for at least part of the time that it was missing. Per a statement, historian Kate McCaffrey, who studied the Book of Hours for nearly a year, found markings bearing the names of women who may have passed it along—at great personal risk—so it could be preserved for Anne’s daughter, the future Elizabeth I.

“It really comes full circle,” McCaffrey tells the Telegraph. “What makes the book so dangerous to preserve, its association with Anne, actually becomes the main reason for preserving it when Elizabeth I comes to the throne [in 1558] and wants her mother to be remembered.” (Read more.)


As Birds Die

 From Bird-Watching Daily:

In the last 10 days, people in the Washington, D.C., metro area have been reporting increasing numbers of sick, blind, injured, and dead birds. For the most part, they have been juvenile Common Grackles, European Starlings, and Blue Jays.

“Eye issues were reported in what otherwise looked like healthy juvenile birds, causing blindness and the birds to land and stay on the ground,” said the Animal Welfare League of Arlington in a statement. “Animal Control is now seeing additional species of birds affected. Other agencies and localities across the region and state are reporting similar issues.”

City Wildlife, a wildlife rehab nonprofit in Washington, said on its blog that the eye issues lead to “blindness and neurological problems affecting the birds’ balance and coordination. Other regional agencies are reporting the same, as well as many dead fledglings.

“City Wildlife and other agencies in surrounding states have submitted samples to appropriate pathology laboratories and are awaiting results of those tests. As the first and only Wildlife Rehabilitation Center for the District of Columbia, we take this matter very seriously and, in coordination with other governmental and wildlife rehabilitation centers, are making every effort to mount an effective response to this avian emergency.” (Read more.)


Venus Mystery

 From Space:

As the sun's activity waxes and wanes, so too does the ionosphere of Venus, a key layer in the upper atmosphere, according to new observations that cinch a decades-old suspicion. The new observations come from NASA's Parker Solar Probe, a spacecraft that launched in 2018 on a daring path to inch ever closer to the sun. That trajectory relies on a series of seven close approaches of Venus that serve as steering maneuvers — and the spacecraft team decided to gather data during those flybys. 

During one such maneuver in July 2020, the probe made observations that support an intriguing and longstanding idea — that Venus' upper ionosphere contains many more charged plasma particles when the sun is more active and fewer when the sun is less active.

"When multiple missions are confirming the same result, one after the other, that gives you a lot of confidence that the thinning is real," Robin Ramstad, a physicist at the Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder and co-author on the new research, said in a NASA statement. (Read more.)


Monday, June 7, 2021

The Return of Event Dressing




From Tatler:

‘Dressing up’ to go out will take on a new meaning this summer. Whilst some will turn up the volume in the style stakes, using their outfits to showcase their heightened enthusiasm as they break free from the confines of lockdown, others will need to re-adjust and rewire. Either way, great thought will (and should) go into event dressing and what better social platform than a wedding to mark this monumental occasion. (Read more.)


Keystone XL Isn't Dead

 From The Western Journal:

 The Keystone XL Pipeline project — and the jobs that come with it — may still be alive if the attorneys general of nearly half of America’s states have anything to say about it. On Thursday, according to The Washington Times, Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen announced that two more attorneys general, Alaska’s Treg Taylor and Florida’s Ashley Moody, had joined the lawsuit declaring President Joe Biden’s executive order revoking the pipeline’s permit unconstitutional.That brings the total number of states represented in the lawsuit, which seeks to resurrect the project, to 23.

In addition, the government of the Canadian province of Saskatchewan also announced it would file an amicus brief in support of the lawsuit, which argues the president unconstitutionally changed energy policy set by Congress, which is granted sole authority to regulate foreign and interstate commerce.

“Several exhaustive studies undertaken by the Obama State Department … concluded the Keystone XL pipeline would boost the U.S economy, create American jobs, and safely transport oil throughout the country without increasing greenhouse gas emissions,” read a news release from Knudsen’s office announcing the move. “Despite not having the power to do so, Biden revoked the permit via executive order on his first day in office. (Read more.)


Fauci Under Fire

 From Fox News:

An epidemiologist and professor at Stanford University said Friday that Dr. Anthony Fauci’s credibility "is entirely shot" after revelations from his emails show a reversal on the subject of mask wearing to prevent COVID-19.

"I think he's been all over the place on masks," Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at Stanford said on "The Ingraham Angle." "There are emails you can find in the treasure trove of emails that have been released where he acknowledged the virus has been aerosolized -- well the cloth masks people have been recommending, they're not particularly effective against aerosolized viruses. 

"I really don't understand his back and forth and his answer made absolutely no sense," he said.

A trove of Fauci’s emails were released via Freedom of Information Act requests this week, which include a February email in which he advised someone not to wear a mask to the airport.

"Masks are really for infected people to prevent them from spreading infection to people who are not infected rather than protecting uninfected people from acquiring infection. The typical mask you buy in the drug store is not really effective in keeping out virus, which is small enough to pass through the material," he said, in one of the emails obtained by BuzzFeed News. "It might, however, provide some slight benefit in keep out gross droplets if someone coughs or sneezes on you. I do not recommend that you wear a mask, particularly since you are going to a very (sic) low risk location." (Read more.)


From The Washington Examiner:

A book about Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser, has been scrubbed from major online retailers after it made headlines earlier on Wednesday.

Expect the Unexpected: Ten Lessons on Truth, Service, and the Way Forward, an 80-page book about Fauci's response to the coronavirus pandemic, was removed from both Amazon's and Barnes & Noble's stores on the internet, a review by the Washington Examiner found.

The book, which retailed at $18 for preorders, was listed as being set for release on Nov. 2. However, National Geographic Books, which said it developed the book in connection with an upcoming National Geographic Documentary Film about Fauci, said the book was posted earlier than intended for pre-sales and therefore removed. (Read more.) 


There and Back Again

 From The National Catholic Register:

University professor, author and Word on Fire academic fellow Holly Ordway has been fascinated by The Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien since her teen years. Indeed, her doctoral thesis was on the subject of modern fantasy literature, which naturally included an in-depth analysis of Tolkien and his influence on the genre.

But what of Tolkien’s influences? After all, he didn’t invent fantasy literature. Such works existed before Tolkien, and he was known to have read and studied ancient ones, including Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Norse mythology, and so on. But how much modern and contemporary fantasy had Tolkien read, and did it influence his groundbreaking contribution to the genre? 

Ordway’s curiosity about this question was the jumping-off point for her newest book, Tolkien’s Modern Reading, a deep dive into the sources and inspirations of Tolkien’s creative imagination outside the Medieval scholarship that was his professional expertise. 

During the course of her investigations, Ordway discovered that Tolkien’s official biographer, Humphrey Carpenter, had provided the “definitive” answer: “the major names in twentieth-century writing meant little or nothing to [Tolkien],” wrote Carpenter. “He read very little modern fiction, and took no serious notice of it.” 

That biography was published in 1977, and, since then, every account of Tolkien has dutifully and uncritically transmitted these magisterial “facts” about him: that he was “fundamentally backward-looking, happily living in total rejection of the modern world” and that he scoffed at contemporary literature as not worth his time or attention.

However, Ordway’s exhaustive research and meticulous scholarship has proven that this widely accepted view of Tolkien is totally false. Not only did Tolkien read modern fantasy; he read widely in many genres: science fiction, children’s stories, detective fiction, poetry and general fiction. Ordway has thoroughly debunked Carpenter’s “one Rule to rule them all.” 

Her criteria for what constitutes Tolkien’s “modern reading” is quite specific. First, the work in question must be a work of fiction, poetry or drama published in English from 1850 or later. Second, demonstrable evidence must exist that Tolkien had read it or that he was at least familiar with it. Ordway examined archival interviews, letters, talks and recorded statements of friends, family members, correspondents, colleagues and others. Even photographs of Tolkien provided visual proof that he at least owned a book: A photo of Tolkien in his study reveals many modern titles on the bookshelf behind him, such as Arthur Ransome’s Secret Water (1939) and Mary Norton’s Borrowers series (1952-1961). The findings are winsomely discussed throughout the text of the book and cleverly distilled into a handy chart showing that Tolkien “interacted with … a total of 148 [modern] authors and more than 200 titles.” (Read more.)


Sunday, June 6, 2021

In the Berkshires

From Traveler:

When Edith Wharton moved to the Berkshire Mountains at the turn of the last century, she framed her departure from city life as a personal liberation. In her autobiography, amid ecstatic descriptions of the gorgeous scenery she found in western Massachusetts, she wrote that she had “at last escaped from watering-place trivialities to the real country.” Wharton was 40 years old when she left the society circles of Manhattan and the “flat frivolity” of Newport, Rhode Island, where she had a summer home, for 100-plus acres of rolling farmland just outside the village of Lenox. It was her attempt to forge a second act, a more enriching and affirming writer's life. Still, she wasn't exactly roughing it in the country. She designed and erected a stately 35-room white stucco mansion she called The Mount, which included terrazzo floors, marble fireplaces, a stable, and a spree of manicured flower gardens. The Berkshires offered Wharton her fantasy of a pastoral paradise, along with enough creature comforts and high culture to delight snooty friends like Henry James when they dropped in for a visit. She described her Berkshires bolt-hole as “my first real home.” (Read more.)


Congo’s Nyiragongo Volcano

 From Atlas Obscura:

On the evening of May 22, 2021, Nyiragongo, a mountainous volcano in Democratic Republic of the Congo, suddenly erupted, killing dozens and triggering a pandemonious exodus of swaths of Goma, the city that sits on its flanks. As lava scoured anything it touched, the night sky itself hummed with deep crimson—the heavens themselves looked to be burning down.

The eruption appeared to be mercifully short-lived. Molten rock poured from fissures on Nyiragongo’s flanks and sped toward Goma, but ultimately missed the city proper. The lava, which began flowing on Saturday, stopped erupting out of the volcano sometime on Sunday morning, encouraging many to return to their homes. But that lava still left a trail of heartbreaking destruction in its wake: It ploughed through 17 villages, destroyed hundreds of homes, killed dozens, separated hundreds of children from their families, and cut off water pipelines and power supplies. The United Nations estimates that it left 20,000 without homes. (Read more.)


Chocolate in Ghana

 From Saveur:

Starting a bean-to-bar chocolate business in Ghana wasn’t the sisters’ original career trajectory. Kimberly, 31, studied French and international relations with a concentration in social justice at Boston College; Priscilla, 33, majored in French and international development, with a focus on food security, at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. Both were interested in non-profit sectors addressing women’s education, human trafficking, value chains, and agriculture. But then a visit to one of Switzerland’s largest chocolate factories inspired their venture into confectionery.

“Work brought me to Geneva, where our parents were living at the time,” says Kimberly. “And my dad talked to us about entrepreneurship, and the potentials of going back to our native country.” (Read more.)


Saturday, June 5, 2021

Portrait of Renaissance Queen Catherine de’ Medici to Go on View

From Smithsonian:

Last week, officials revealed that the sumptuous image has been returned to Walpole’s former home and museum at Strawberry Hill House, a medieval-style castle in west London. Now, after nearly two centuries in private hands, this historic painting is set to go on public display. Per a statement, visitors will be able to examine the work up close when Strawberry Hill reopens on May 17.

The portrait’s anonymous owners returned the work to its former home in lieu of paying £1 million in taxes. As Claire Selvin reports for ARTNews, this program allows families to pay off some or all of their inheritance taxes by transferring heritage objects into the public domain.

As the museum notes in the statement, Walpole was a history fanatic obsessed with the Tudors, the Medicis, the House of Valois and other prominent European families. Experts don’t know exactly how this French portrait arrived in England, but records reflect that Walpole purchased it in 1742 “from a Mr. Byde Herfordshire.” The monumental work cost Walpole £25—a “sizable sum” for the time period, as Dalya Alberge observes for the Guardian. (Adjusted for inflation, this sale price equates to almost $6,000 today.)

Walpole had once considered writing a history of the Medici family—even preparing initial research for the project in 1759—but eventually dropped the project due to a lack of archival material. According to the Art Newspaper, he decorated his eccentric mansion with fireplaces, bookcases, Gothic carved ceilings and other fantastical elements inspired by the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. (An avid collector, Walpole even dedicated an entire room of the house to his trove of Tudor artifacts, per the statement.) (Read more.)


Critical Race Theory Amounts to Identity Theft

 From Dr. Alveda King at Newsmax:

What is systemic racism? Systemic racism is the process of embedding a premise of racism into legal systems of a society. Systemic racism occurs within a government that uses money from people of influence who want to control human populations to elect government officials who will promote their agendas.

Systemic Racism, paired with the socially engineered Critical Race Theory (CRT) makes bad business for America. What is Systemic Racism? Here’s an example: Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, a renowned racist and eugenicist, helped to promote an agenda of genocide which included birth control to what she considered to be the less needed communities of people on the planet.

In Sanger's own words, Sanger declared that colored people were like "human weeds" who needed to be exterminated. Even though Sanger died years ago, her legacy is well funded through private donations and political strategies paying lobbyists to promote the abortion agenda legislatively. Many laws are on the books, making abortion a lucrative contender in the system.

Here’s another example. Then Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., helped to escalate marijuana from being a misdemeanor to a federal offense in order to incarcerate low hanging fruit that included the black communities. Changing the laws helped to incarcerate thousands of Black men; systemically crippling families and communities for generations.

Systemic racism sometimes works through efforts of population control. There are many examples of systemic racism. For example, when America was seeking independence from Britain, the soldiers gave Native Americans blankets infested with smallpox to reduce the communities of the Native American Communities.

That was population control. That was systemic racism.

Systemic Racism coupled with Darwin’s theory of a superior race of humans is a dangerous threat to the survival of the one blood human race. This is the basis of a Critical Race Theory. What is the basis of this phenomenon? (Read more.)


Fashion Shows are Back

 From Vogue:

With normal lockdown restrictions loosening, NYFW will be back in a “big” way, says Leslie Russo, president of global fashion events for IMG.

Physical runway shows are powerful in the way they harness the presence of the “right” people — executives, editors, celebrities and influencers — who travel between the world’s fashion capitals, to keep the wheels of a multi-million-dollar industry that brings both investment and tourist spending into New York, London, Milan and Paris whirring. Over the past year, all of that had been erased by the pandemic. The four cities missed out on more than $600 million in economic activity at the most recent Autumn/Winter 2021 season, according to data compiled by Bloomberg

“Rebuilding begins with a collective commitment to New York Fashion Week,” says Russo, who added that NYFW has more economic value than any other fashion event across the globe. “In that regard, we see the success of NYFW as critical… and we hope others follow in our shared path to really fortify a robust fashion economy post-pandemic.”

IMG’s Russo expects brands will supplement their physical events with digital features that enhance the experience and enable consumers worldwide to take part. “Last year gave everyone an opportunity to step back and try different things, to see what worked for their brand,” she says. “That said, it’s really hard to replace the energy of being in the room for a live show, so I would absolutely expect a lot of ‘live’ in the future.” (Read more.)


Friday, June 4, 2021

An Illuminated Year


From Daily Art Magazine:

The Très Riches Heures is the name of probably the most famous book of hours in the world. A book of hours is a prayer book with texts for each liturgical hour of the day. It often contains psalms, masses and calendars, as we can see here. Twelve pages dedicated to each month show the usual activities and customs of the month, as well as the zodiac signs of the month. The illuminations are a clear example of late International Gothic style, we can see it in typically elongated figures, little or mistaken spatial depth, and elaborated ornamentation and attention to detail. Check out the lavish costumes from the January page: the Duke is sitting on the right, he is wearing a furry hat and a blue robe, coloured with the most expensive pigment made from crushed Middle Eastern stone lapis-lazuli. (Read more.)

No Priestesses Allowed

From Dr. Taylor Marshall
Pope Francis and the Vatican have approved substantial changes to Catholic canon law that automatically (latae sententiae) excommunicate any woman who attempts to receive ordination to bishop, priest, deacon AND to anyone who attempts to ordain a woman. Woman cannot and may not be ordained. And this rule pertains to ordination as deacon as well. (Read more.)