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Category Archives: Hedonism
Posted: November 29, 2020 at 6:14 am
A new book featuring photos of '80s Ibiza has been published.
Titled Ibiza 89, the new book captures the spirit of nightlife in the White Isles golden age, after Time Out's former nightlife editor, Dave Swindells, spent a week on the island.
Featuring images shot at Ku, Amnesia, Pacha, and Cafe del Mar, the photobook features over 100 photos from Ibiza during its time of peak hedonism, with some famous faces enjoying the clubs, including Culture Club frontman, Boy George.
Ibiza '89 also features a foreword from Terry Farley, an introduction from Swindells, and a reprised 1989 feature for 20/20 Magazine from Alix Sharkey.
The book, which is limited to 1,000 copies, is currently sold out at IDEA and Dover Street Market, but you can keep an eye out for a reprint on their respective online stores.
In the meantime, you can check out some of the images from the book here.
Read DJ Mag's feature with the man behind Ibiza Past, an instagram account dedicated to sharing images captured on the White Isle across the decades.
In October, a 70-minute documentary titledBorn Balearic: Jon Sa Trinxa and The Spirit of Ibiza was released online as part of Doc'n Roll's Film Festival.
(Photo: Dave Swindles, Ibiza '89)
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Posted: at 6:14 am
Here are some things that the pandemic changed. It accustomed some people those whose jobs allowed it to remote working. It highlighted the importance of adequate living space and access to the outdoors. It renewed, through their absence, an appreciation of social contact and large gatherings. It showed up mass daily commuting for the dehumanising drain on energy and resources that it is.
These changes do not add up to the abandonment of big cities and offices predicted by more excitable commentaries, not a future of rural bubbles and of tumbleweed blowing through the City of London, but a welcome shift in priorities. There will always be millions who want to live in cities and millions who want to live in towns and villages, but there are also those for whom these are borderline decisions, with pros and cons on each side.
These decisions might be based on life changes, such as having children. If you no longer have to go to an office daily, you can live further from the city in which it is placed. If the magic spell of the big city, which kept people in the tiny and expensive flats that now look so inadequate, is broken, then you might consider living in cheaper, more relaxed locations that hadnt occurred to you before. Those ex-urbanites, still valuing social contact and public life, might seek towns and small cities rather than a lonely cottage in a field.
Such changes could help to address, without the pouring of any concrete or the laying of a brick, the imbalance in the nations housing that was at breaking point before Covid. On the one hand there are overheated residential markets in London, Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh and elsewhere. On the other there are towns and small cities with good housing stock, an inherited infrastructure of parks and civic buildings and easy access to beautiful countryside, which through their location suffer from underinvestment and depopulation.
This is not to say that no new homes should be built, nor that there wont be problems with such a shift. It could simply be gentrification, if done wrong, at a national scale. And this vision assumes that Covid passes, and that it is not one of a future series of equally vicious viruses. But there is at least a chance that the travails of 2020 could lead to a saner approach to the places where we live and work. Rowan Moore, Observer architecture critic
The first kiss my baby niece blew me was bittersweet, because like so many pandemic interactions it happened not in person but on camera. Covid means that big chunks of her life have only been seen on a phone screen as she grows into a toddler. And Im one of the lucky ones: I havent had to say goodbye to someone on FaceTime or break the worst news to someone over the phone.
If you live by yourself, youve made do without human touch for months on end; if youre crammed into a small space with your partner, kids and your parents, you may have spent weeks craving time and space not encroached upon by other human beings. Totally different experiences of the same social earthquake: surely they cannot but profoundly change us for the long term?
Im not so sure. Lockdown, then not-lockdown, then lockdown again have served as a reminder of just how adaptable we are as human beings. I was amazed at how quickly the idea of socialising with friends indoors became a fuzzy memory, then the norm, then distant again. The emotions I felt so acutely back in March the sharp fear Covid could steal my parents, the communal endeavour of clapping for our carers every Thursday night soon faded into a new normal, impossible to sustain even though many of the realities have barely changed.
The pandemic has underlined the extent to which digital interaction is no substitute for the real thing. In some ways, Im more in touch with people than ever thanks to the numerous WhatsApp groups that revived themselves into a constant source of company. But tapping away in a couple of group chats while absent-mindedly watching the latest Netflix offering doesnt come close to the wonderful feeling of hugging a friend, or spending three hours giving someone you havent seen for ages your undivided attention over a meal, or of having a conversation based not just on words but physical cues. I doubt the pandemic will seed a long-term distaste for crowds; if anything, I suspect that, if all goes well with the vaccine rollout, summer 2021 will see a crop of riotous street parties and carnivals.
But a return to life as usual will not mask the emotional toll Covid will have had on so many people. People who suffer from anxiety and depression; women in abusive relationships; children experiencing abuse or neglect at the hands of their parents: they have had it the worst, and their experiences of isolation and loneliness during lockdown could have consequences for their personal relationships that will not magically disappear with a vaccine.
And that is before you factor in the added strain of the intense financial hardship so many are being forced to endure. As a society, recovering from Covid is about much more than antibodies: it cannot happen without support for those who have experienced its worst financial and mental health impacts. Sonia Sodha, the Observers chief leader writer
Britain has had an uncomfortable year in its battle to contain Covid. Failures to test, trace and isolate infected individuals allowed grim numbers of deaths to accumulate while deficiencies in the acquisition of stocks of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) left countless health workers exposed to danger and illness. However, these deficiencies have been balanced by the manner and striking speed with which our scientists have turned away from existing projects in order to focus their attentions on ridding us of Covid. Their work has earned global praise for its swiftness and precision.
The Brits are on course to save the world, wrote leading US economist Tyler Cowen in Bloomberg Opinion about our scientists efforts last summer while the journal Science quoted leading international researchers who have heaped praise on British anti-Covid work. Science in the UK is perceived, correctly, to have done well in facing up to the pandemic.
A perfect example is provided by the UKs Recovery trial, a drug-testing programme involving more than 3,000 doctors and nurses who worked with more than 12,000 Covid patients in hundreds of hospitals across the nation from the Western Isles to Truro and from Derry to Kings Lynn. Set up within a few days of the pandemic reaching the UK, and carried out in intensive care units crammed with seriously ill people, Recovery revealed that one cheap inflammation treatment could save the lives of seriously ill Covid patients while two much-touted therapies were shown to be useless at tackling the disease.
No other country has come close to matching these achievements. We had the people with the right skills and a willingness to drop everything else and contribute to the effort, says one of Recoverys founders, Martin Landray of Oxford University. That made all the difference. In a nation which had only recently reviled, openly, the concept of expertise, scientists like Landray have restored the reputation of the wise and the informed.
Fiona Fox, director of the Science Media Centre, also points to the willingness of our scientists to communicate. Time after time, we have asked for comments from leading researchers, epidemiologists and vaccine experts on breaking Covid stories, and despite being inundated with work, they have taken the time to provide clear analyses that have helped to make sense of rapidly changing developments, she says. It has been extraordinary.
And of course, the arrival of three effective vaccines against a disease that was unknown less than a year ago has only further enhanced the image of the scientist. Yes, they may be a bit geeky sometimes, but they have done a lot to help us win the battle against Covid. Robin McKie, Observer Science Editor
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
It may not feel like it at the moment, admittedly. But if this pandemic echoes other defining events in our recent history, from the 9/11 terror attacks to the 2008-09 banking crash, it will leave the political landscape utterly transformed in some respects yet wearily familiar in others.
Last weeks spending review, spelling out how the cost of battling Covid will shape national life for years to come, was a classic example. A public sector pay freeze, plus benefit cuts next April? Well, weve been there before; to many families it will feel like austerity all over again.
Whats different this time, however, is that Boris Johnson insists therell be no return to austerity-style spending cuts. Instead, taxes will rise. If he actually goes through with threats to target second-home owners or higher earners pensions, expect some mutiny in Tory ranks. (The bitter joke among Tory MPs is that theyre implementing more of Jeremy Corbyns manifesto than Corbyn ever will.) But the door to a long overdue debate about taxing wealth, as well as income, is at least now open.
The pandemic also seems to be changing what people look for in a leader. The last recession pushed angry, despairing voters towards populists with easy answers; make America great again, take back control. But Covid has been a brutal reminder that in life-and-death situations, competence is everything. Joe Biden isnt wildly exciting but at least he doesnt speculate aloud about the merits of drinking bleach. From New Zealands Jacinda Ardern to Germanys Angela Merkel and Scotlands Nicola Sturgeon, the leaders whose reputations have been enhanced by this crisis tend to be pragmatists and consensus-seekers, not excitable culture warriors. Keir Starmers rising poll ratings suggest a hunger for steady-as-she-goes leadership in Britain too.
Optimists will hope that this collective near-death experience brings a renewed political focus on what actually makes life worth living, from supportive communities to the beauty of a natural world that sustained many through lockdown. Pessimists, however, will worry that calls to build back better, or reset society along fairer and greener lines, could be an early casualty of a hard recession that leaves people focussed purely on economic survival.
For it would be naive not to expect a backlash against all of this. Nigel Farage is already trying to whip one up via his new anti-lockdown party, targeting voters angry at having freedoms curtailed. But if the last crash unleashed an era of radicalism and revolt, its not impossible this one will leave people craving a quiet life. After such turmoil, dont underestimate the longing to get back to normal, even if the normal we once knew is gone. Gaby Hinsliff, Guardian columnist
We know that the spaces from which culture emerges wont look the same after 2020 as they did before. Many theatres, bookshops, music venues and galleries wont survive the catastrophe of shutdown, and if they do emerge it will be with diminished resources. But what about the attitude and the focus of creativity. Will it be shadowed by the pandemic post-vaccine or will it celebrate liberation?
History suggests both. The terrible mortality, social distancing and economic hardship resulting from the 1918-19 Spanish flu epidemic that followed the war were shaping forces in both the doom-laden experiments of modernism and the high hedonism of the jazz age. The Waste Land and the Charleston emerged within months of each other. TS Eliot wrote much of the former while suffering from the after-effects of the influenza, haunted, as his wife Vivienne noted, by the fear that as a result of the virus, his mind is not acting as it used to do. Certainly, that poems most memorable lines, with their stress on the mass gathering, read more pointedly from our current vantage point: Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,/ A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,/ I had not thought death had undone so many./ Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,/ And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.
But, contrarily, the spirit of the post-pandemic age was equally alive in the bathtub-gin excitement of the Cotton Club, and the rarefied decadence of the Bright Young Things: raucous celebrations of seize-the-day freedoms after the misery of war and virus.
Not much literature or music that directly responds to the current pandemic has yet emerged. Zadie Smiths brief book of essays, Intimations, hazarded something of what that response might look and sound like. In a memorable phrase, she described the events of this year as the global humbling. That moment when we collectively realised that the confident certainties of what we used to call normal life were only ever a heartbeat away from unknown threats and that the US, Smiths adopted home, having led the world in many things, was now leading the world in death.
Will such experience engender a new and deepening age of anxiety in the books we read and the films we watch? No doubt that apprehension of apocalypse, of environmental emergency, that draws us to The Road or to Chernobyl will become more insistent. But as Eliot also noted, humankind cannot bear very much reality. After this year in which the young have been denied so many of their rites of passage chances to sing, dance, drink or love we can surely hope for a post-viral creative outpouring of all those things that make us most happy to be alive. Tim Adams, Observer writer
Imagine theres no commuting, its easy if you try, is a popular refrain in discussions of the post-Covid world of work predicting the imminent demise of the office. Sometimes its combined with the claim that low-earning hospitality and leisure jobs that have dried up mid-pandemic wont be coming back and so shouldnt get support now.
These different predictions are likely to be wrong for the same reason: they pay too much attention to crystal balls, and not enough to rear-view mirrors. Yes, the pandemic itself has meant big changes to the world of work. It has changed where some people (generally higher earners) work while hitting the ability of many lower earners to work at all. But imagining a world without lockdowns is best done by focusing on those pandemic-driven trends that reinforce, rather than run against, patterns visible pre-crisis.
So, expect the pandemics turbo-charging of retails online shift (with Arcadias likely administration the latest example) to continue there will be fewer cashiers and more delivery drivers. But dont believe the hype on the decline of hospitality and leisure. Workers in those sectors are twice as likely to have lost their jobs or been furloughed as the pandemic has left us spending more on buying things than going out, but the long-term trend is the opposite: hotels and restaurants accounted for a fifth of the pre-pandemic employment surge.
Working from home (or living in the office, as it can feel like) has been the big change for professional Britain. But history warns against the idea that the office is finished. Only one in 20 of us worked entirely remotely pre-crisis. But three times that number worked at home at least one day a week, a trend that was rapidly growing. Hybrid home/office working is the future. But be careful about assuming this transforms Britains disgracefully big economic gaps: some will benefit from more choice about where to live but offices in poorer areas, rather than those in central London, may be the ones that end up empty. And remember, were only talking about a fraction of the workforce here. Post-Covid, waiters and cleaners wont be doing their jobs from their spare room or kitchen table.
As well as predicting the future, we should be trying to shape it. Higher pay and more security for the low paid workers who faced the biggest health and economic risks from this crisis would be a good place to start. Torsten Bell, chief executive of the Resolution Foundation
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Letters to the Editor – The first Thanksgiving, column by Joshua Whitfield on our American character, column – The Dallas Morning News
Posted: at 6:14 am
Thanksgiving in Texas
Re: Thanksgiving feast revised for balance Teachers serving students a more fact-filled menu this year, Tuesday news story.
I read in this story about a teacher in Massachusetts who is now teaching the story of the Thanksgiving feast revised for balance. She is including the Wampanoags, the tribe sharing in the first big dinner with the Pilgrims in 1621. But, even with revision, that story is incorrect.
The first Thanksgiving feast was in Texas. Gen. Juan de Oate gained permission from the king of Spain in 1597 to lead 500 people colonists, soldiers, priests, wives, children with 7,000 head of livestock northward through the Chihuahuan desert to the Rio Grande. They made it!
Oate ordered a day of Thanksgiving. Joining the Spanish folk were the native Comanches of the region. They ate veggies that did not grow in Europe corn, chiles, tomatoes and potatoes. They also enjoyed barbecued goat. So the real Thanksgiving dinner is a cabrito burrito!
Rose-Mary Rumbley, Dallas/M Streets
Re: 2020 revealed our true character Our current social failure is the result of a hedonism that eclipses the sense of obligation to others, by Joshua J. Whitfield, Monday Opinion.
Whitfield makes excellent points about aspects of the American character and its origins. Yet our peculiar ritual: repeatedly to judge others and yet absolve ourselves and others like us, and to change nothing. Which allows us to feel atoned for sins we refuse to quit while still enjoying the judgment of others could as easily describe Christian churches on a Sunday morning.
We derive our national character, not least its thrall to hucksters and celebrities, as much from Christians peddling miracles and pie-in-the-sky while bishops deign to let their flocks kiss their rings as from cynical advertisers and attention-seeking celebrities. How much, for those of us who are Christians, does the shame sting? The answer has not been much. We might attend to that instead of the mote in our neighbors eye.
Robert Hunt, Dallas/Lake Highlands
Joshua Whitfield imputes guilt to the good citizens of Dallas and this country. He echoes the hyperbolic claim that no one is listening to medical professionals. He decries the small risks we take, the little things we do in our attempt to flourish amid social upheaval. In his judgment, we consciously commit the sin of irresponsibility towards the collective. He quotes Camus, our shame stings hardly at all. He wishes we had more.
He paints with the broad brushstroke of condemnation, masking the sacrifices and adaptations made by the citizenry. Weve endured a shutdown. Some of us have lost jobs while others work from home. Mental health is suffering. Relationships are strained. Suicides abound.
Yet Whitfield tells us of Camus Clamence, an attorney known for serving noble causes, like aiding the blind. But when Clamence was actually faced with an opportunity to genuinely care for another, he lacked compassion.
I ask Whitfield: As the prophet Nathan told King David, you are that man, I challenge you to provide a single example of a thriving collective motivated by guilt and shame.
Martyn Evans, Dallas
Re: Listen to one another, not to the pundits Many small town Trump backers want the same things from democracy as city residents, by David Thomason, Sunday Opinion.
Thomasons column on why rural Texans support President Donald Trump was chilling. He says they believe Trump is on a crusade to affirm were a nation that will do Gods will. Often when someone says they want others to do Gods will it means they think they know what God wants and are eager to force everyone else to obey. Which God are we talking about? The God who supported slavery, segregation and white supremacy? The God who condemns homosexuals? The God who says women are inferior to men and must obey them?
That God has loomed large in our nations past and is still trotted out today. Is this the God who says Muslims and Jews are going to hell, or the God who says Christians are infidels? Our founding fathers made sure we were not a nation based on doing Gods will. They knew there were many conflicting ideas of what that would be.
Instead, the Founding Fathers set us up as a secular nation which values equality, justice and individual freedoms rather than religious dogma and servitude. We dont need a crusade. We need to reinforce the wall between church and state.
Joel Hale, Dallas
David Thomason suggests that we need to listen to one another. He notes that rural Texans his group interviewed believe President Donald Trump is on a crusade to re-establish a democracy built on the will of the people (except for voters, I guess), civic virtues and doing Gods will. Yes, he has moral flaws, they allow, but so did Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, James Madison and Ben Franklin. Yes, these four had flaws, but morally bankrupt, no.
I would like to know on what basis I might have a conversation with people who plainly do not deal in reality. The Trump I have watched cares nothing about the truth, our democracy or the health and well-being of the American people. In fact, he has shown time and again that he will tear down the whole house if it serves him personally. His divisive rhetoric on COVID-19 resulted in half the people not taking it seriously, leading to the overwhelming crisis we are now facing.
If these people cannot discern his blatant dishonesty and are willing to accept his conspiracy theories without a shred of evidence, what can I talk with them about? Nice weather were having?
Donna S. Gregory, Dallas
Re: Encouraged by also discouraged, by Fred. R. Neary, Nov. 18 Letters.
This letter expresses dismay that 73 million Trump voters did not believe that character, decency, empathy and compassion are important qualities in our president. Were those the only issues we were considering with our votes? Perhaps many of those 73 million Trump voters voted against defunding the police, stacking the Supreme Court, giving Medicare to all, etc.
Tom Hopkins, Garland
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If Europe’s leaders had read the history of the Black Death, they might have been prepared for this pandemic – TheArticle
Posted: at 6:14 am
By the end of 1349 most people in England assumed that their year of suffering had finished. The terrible plague they called the Pestilence, the Blue Sickness or the Great Mortality and which we call the Black Death seemed to be over. They were wrong. It was only the first wave. The plague was to return in a second wave and then a third, fourth and fifth recurrence.
It had all begun six years earlier in the Crimea, when, in 1343, a Mongol army led by the fearsome Tatar king Khan Djanibeg besieged a trading colony in Caffa. The siege lasted almost three years and it only ended when, in the words of one Italian notary, Gabriele de Mussis, the hordes of Tartars were struck by disease characterised by swellings in the armpit or groin caused by coagulating humours, followed by a putrid fever. Thousands died every day. But before the remnant of the army withdrew the Tatar general ordered that the stinking cadavers of his dead troops should be catapulted into the city in the hope that the intolerable stench would kill everyone inside. It is said to be the first recorded use of biological warfare in world history.
Large numbers inside the city perished but a few Italian merchants escaped in an armed ship in the hope of returning to Genoa. They did not make it. They landed at Messina in Sicily where they died. They had brought the Black Death to Europe.
In 1348 the great plague swept across the entire continent. Modern scholars suggest that just under half the population was wiped out in a matter of months. And the speed with which it spread is now seen as far faster than could have been possible with a plague caused by fleas leaping to humans from dead rats the method traditionally given by historians for the method of transmission of the pestilence. The latest archaeological and epidemiological research suggests that the disease may have been a virus as deadly as Ebola but as infectious as Covid-19. No human epidemic has ever covered so much geographical territory so swiftly until Covid-19 struck in 2020.
The 1348 plague spread swiftly from place to place, following no obvious pattern. Everywhere it killed with devastating suddenness, usually within a few days. The first sign of illness was a sudden coldness or prickling sensation like pins and needles. The victim became extremely fatigued and depressed. Then there soon appeared painful swellings in the groin or armpit, and sometimes on the neck. They were known as buboes hence the name bubonic plague. Little blisters or discoloured blotches, caused by internal bleeding, appeared on the skin elsewhere. High fever, with severe headaches, followed. Some victims fell into a stupor. The body effluvia, as Rosemary Horrox delicately puts it, were particularly noisome.
Death could take several days, though some people actually recovered. A second form of the epidemic was more fatal. It attacked the lungs, producing chest pains, difficulty in breathing and coughing up blood. This form was invariably fatal.
The epidemic first took hold in Europe in Italy, as did Covid-19, and spread rapidly. No one, rich or poor, was safe anywhere near the sick or the dead. In Venice three-quarters of the population died. Padua was so devastated that its chroniclers deemed the plague more destructive than Noahs Flood following which God had, after all, left a few people alive. The city was so badly hit that its elders granted an amnesty to robbers and criminals if they would resettle in the deserted town. In Florence, the pestilence was so potent that it was said by Giovanni Boccaccio, writing some time between 1348 and 1353, that gallant men and fair ladies and handsome youths who appeared in perfect health at noon dined with their relatives and friends, and at night supped with their ancestors in the next world.Some people tried to protect themselves, wearing waxed gowns, goggles and masks with beaks filled with herbs to purify the air. They carried floral nosegays to combat the stench of the rotting bodies. All to no avail.
The suddenness and scale of the catastrophe shattered both social conventions and bonds of kinship. Boccaccio recorded that almost everyone adopted the same cruel policy, which was entirely to avoid the sick and everything belonging to them. In Siena a tax collector, Agnolo di Tura, who lost his wife and five children, recorded: Father abandoned child, wife, husband, one brother another None could be found to bury the dead for money or friendship Members of a household brought their dead to a ditch as best they could, without priest, without divine offices great pits were dug and piled deep with the multitude of dead No bells tolled and nobody wept no matter what his loss because almost everyone expected death And people said and believed, This is the end of the world.
By the summer the terrible disease had spread to France, and by the autumn to Germany and then to England.The epidemic crossed the Channel in June 1348. The dreadful pestilence made its wayalong the coast by Southampton and reached Bristol, where almost the whole strength ofthe town perished, as it was surprised by sudden death; for few kept their beds more thantwo or three days, or even half a day, wrote the chronicler Henry Knighton later that same century. In Bristol nine out of ten inhabitants died. The epidemic reached London at the Feast of All Saints, on the first day of November. Then it spread north to St Albans in April 1349, York by late May despite the prophylactic processions ordered by the Archbishop there the Lincolnshire Wolds by July, and Meaux Abbey in the East Riding of Yorkshire in August where the Cistercian Abbot was among those who perished, leaving only 10 monks alive.The plague hit capriciously; some places were hardly touched while elsewhere whole villages and hamlets ceased to exist with their entire populations totally wiped out.
That was just the first surge of the infection. The plague returned not once but in four later waves before the end of the century. Thomas of Walsingham, a Benedictine monk of St Albans Abbey who died around 1422, referred to the first wave as The Great Mortality in England, Now Called the First Pestilence.
Each time the virus reappeared it seems to have mutated, for it targeted different groups. In 1361 another ten per cent of the population died in an outbreak which lasted four monthsand killed many men but few women, according to the contemporary writer Ranulf Higden. So imbalanced did the population become that widows as if degenerate and not restrained by any shame, took as their husbands foreigners and other imbeciles or madmen, he wrote. Worse still some women forgetful of their honour began to couple with their inferiors.
The 1361 outbreak particularly impacted children, especially males, other chroniclers record. This pestilence of boys was seen as the death of the innocent in divine retribution for the sins of their parents, though it may have had more to do with the fact that the young had not acquired the immunity secured by the surviving adult population.
But it also went on to kill the elderly. Then a third pestilence came in 1369 again particularly fatal to children, but also to larger animals. The fourth wave in 1374 lasted five years and wiped out whole towns and villages. All in all, King Edward III saw his subjects reduced from some four million to perhaps two and a half million souls. A fifth wave from 1390 to 1393, during the reign of Richard II, suddenly attacked healthy men, who then died raving, out of their minds, according to Thomas Walsingham.
The aftermath of the plague saw the population continue to decline until the second decade of the 1400s and then only very slowly began to recover. It was a human disaster of almost unimaginable proportion.
The meaning attributed to the pestilence by the medieval mind has echoes today. Writing in the mid-1360s, John of Reading, a monk at Westminster Abbey, suggested that the plague was a punishment from God. Today Covid-19 has been seen by some as the revenge the planet is taking upon humankind for the prolonged despoilation of the environment in the decades since the Industrial Revolution began the process of anthropogenic global warming. With the Black Death the people of the 14th century felt that the Last Judgement had arrived. Todays may be a judgement of a different kind.
The return of the plague in those second, third, fourth and fifth waves was because, suggested John of Reading, the population had returned to their sinful ways after the first wave and their greed, scorn and malice were asking to be punished. In 2020 a parallel verdict might be reached on the hubris of both politicians and people after the first wave of Covid-19 was brought to an end by the first great national lockdown only to have that lockdown eased in a precipitate and uncontrolled fashion by over-optimistic governments like that of Boris Johnson. A valuable breathing space in which to prepare for the inevitable second wave was wasted.
William Langland, the author of the great medieval epic poem, Piers Plowman, concluded, as many politicians have in 2020, that those who fell victim to the plague were victims of their own irresponsible conduct. Twenty-first century politicians pointed fingers at drunken young revellers in the streets in Liverpool and London even as Langland, writing between 1370 and 1390, named gaiety and gluttony as the cause of the affliction:
Prayers have no power to prevent these plagues
God is deaf nowadays and deigns not to hear us.
But grinds the guilty into the ground.
And yet the worldly wretches are not warned by one another
Nor portion their plenty with the poor, as pure charity prefers,
But in gaiety and in gluttony guzzle their good things
And break not their bread with the beggar, as the Book beseeches
The human response of hedonism and abandon in the face of a pandemic is something which we have learned is not confined to the so-called Dark Ages.
In the religious societies of the 14th century, strange practices of contrition arose to placate divine anger. Barefoot penitents travelled from town to town, arriving in procession, two abreast, chanting and publicly whipping themselves with three-tailed knotted scourges until the flagellants backs were covered in blood. In places where there were no priests left to perform the last rites some plague victims attempted to bury themselves alive in holy ground. The end of time seemed near.
If it was not the end of the world it was certainly the end of life as the feudal system had known it something that was to change the relationship between the rich and the poor irrevocably. In fact, key changes had already begun within the medieval social economy. Increases in agricultural productivity in the 11th and 12th centuries had created surpluses of food and wool for trading. The rise of the merchant classes had seen the growth of towns. The economy became monetised. A new middle-class had begun to form which would break apart the tripartite system of nobility, clergy and serf.
Wealthier villeins, as serfs with greater freedoms, had already, even before the Black Death, persuaded lords of the manor to release them from their feudal obligation to labour on the lords land, in return for cash. The systems of surplus production, trade, capital investment, credit and rent which were the foundations of entrepreneurial capitalism had begun to coalesce. New forms of philanthropy began to emerge, with control passing from the clergy to the laity. What the 20th century historian of medieval charity Brian Tierney calls the fortuitous calamity of the Black Death accelerated this process.
With almost half the population dead, there was an acute shortage of labour. Fields went unattended, harvests rotted, ground went untilled, weeds and bushes overgrew the manorial strips of land, and the thatch fell from abandoned peasant hovels. In some districts, famine followed plague as crops were not sown or harvested. Lords and bailiffs were deprived of their rents or had to lower them.
More radically those labourers who had survived the plague found themselves with a new bargaining power and rose in open mutiny against the old feudal law and customs. Many simply deserted the lands to which they were feudally-tied and travelled to find landlords who were prepared to hire them at higher wages. In a society where previously change had occurred at a glacial pace, the market value of labour had been doubled almost overnight.
Feudal society saw the emergence of a new social category landless migrants, with no firm roots and no fixed prospects masterless men, to borrow A L Beiers striking designation. Villeins, scenting freedom from the old serfdom, aspired to a better life with better conditions, and better food. As Piers Plowman records:
Labourers who have no land, but live by their own hands,
Deign not to dine these days on leftover cabbage.
No penny-ale may please them, nor no piece of bacon.
Only fresh flesh, or fish, fried or baked.
Feudalism became untenable as the manorial system began to break up. The nobility did their best to resist the changing economic climate, persuading the King to outlaw the new liberated behaviour of the serf classes.
In 1349 Edward III issued the Ordinance of Labourers which tried to outlaw these new higher wages. It required all the able-bodied under the age of 60 to work and forbade lords of the manor from enticing away the servants of their peers. It prohibited, under pain of imprisonment, the giving of alms to able-bodied beggars. The Ordinance failed and higher wages continued to be paid. In 1351 the English parliament passed the Statute of Labourers, which sought to enact similar measures, with a similar lack of success. Similar measures to freeze wages and inhibit the movement of labourers were enacted in France and Aragon.
Feudal nobles tried to enforce the new laws, instructing local justices to track down absconding villeins and drag them back to servitude. Magistrates were also told to exact the ancient dues from those who remained on the land. Fugitive labourers when caught could, under a 1361 statute of the English parliament, be branded on the forehead with an F for Falsity.
But many labourers simply migrated to more distant estates where they were employed by other landlords with no questions asked. Others fled to the woods and became Robin Hood-style bandits; it was in this historical period that the legend of the man who robbed the rich and defended the poor has its roots.
It seemed to the feudal nobility that the pandemic had turned world topsy-turvy. The lower orders were getting out of hand and all-important social distinctions were becoming blurred. So threatened did the nobility feel that sumptuary laws were introduced to regulate the clothes which different classes of society could wear, and the food they could eat. In 1363 the same parliament passed A Statute Concerning Diet and Apparel to curb the alarming tendency of prosperous merchants to flaunt their growing wealth with conspicuous consumption daring to wear the same fashions, and eat the same food, as the noble elite. The law dictated what colour and type of apparel were allowed to persons of various ranks down to the detail of furs, fabrics and trims to outlaw the outrageous and excessive apparel of divers people against their estate and degree, to the great destruction and impoverishment of all the land.
This measure did not work either. At the end of the 14th century Henry Knighton was still lamenting in his Chronicle that the lesser people were so puffed up in their dress and their belongings that one might scarcely distinguish one from another not a humble man from a great man, not a needy from a rich man, not a servant from his master, not a priest from another man.
But there was no holding back the tide of change. As the great Whig historian GM Trevelyan concludes: No statute could make two loaves or two labourers where there was only one. No Act of Parliament could repeal the Black Death or abolish the spirit of the age. The statutory curbs on wages, the pursuit of fleeing serfs, the sumptuary laws, the imposition of a poll tax to fight anachronistic foreign wars, and the general refusal to complete the emancipation of the villeins, all created discontent. So did the huge rise in taxes which followed the plague, exacerbated by the cost of the Hundred Years War.
By the end of the century there were feudal rebellions in Italy and France and, perhaps most famously, in England, the great Peasants Revolt of 1381. The old order was in decline. Plague and pandemic had changed the world for ever.
Philanthropy from Aristotle to Zuckerberg by Paul Vallely is published by Bloomsbury.
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Posted: at 6:13 am
This will be an unforgettable holiday season for all of us, starting with Thanksgiving.
Unfortunately, Northwest wineries, retailers, restaurants and others in the hospitality industry are suffering as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each year, these businesses bank on October, November and December which they often refer to as O-N-D as their most critical time because of the celebrations and gift giving that we all enjoy as part of tradition.
Thats changed for many of us.
As the virus has spiked throughout the Northwest this fall, tasting rooms and restaurants across the region are dealing with a return of restrictions. Some will continue to offer outdoor tastings in chilly yet festive surroundings, but many have closed for the next several weeks.
Meanwhile, look to see if your favorite wineries are offering cyber week specials. In some cases, these might be deals on shipping, particularly for wine club members. Buying a few bottles and having them shipped to loved ones or friends is a delicious holiday greeting and helps the Northwest economy.
Heres something else to consider this season, particularly for those whose personal incomes and budgets havent been damaged support one of your favorite independently owned restaurants. Order at least one of these three holiday meals for takeout and/or delivery.
Regardless of your direction, here are several ideas for Northwest wines that will complement those special meals, whether they center around turkey, ham, prime rib or even barbecue fare. And when setting the table, place a pitcher of water within arms reach of anyone and make room for two wine glasses per person. One for white, another for red as well as a filled water glass.
Underwood Nouveau Pinot Noir, Oregon, $14: Ryan Harms of Union Wine Co., one of Oregons largest producers, uses pinot noir rather than Gamay to toast the annual November hootenanny in France and beyond that is Beaujolais Nouveau. Union harvested the grapes for this wine just a few weeks ago and rushed it to bottle in the spirit of the Beaujolais celebration that surrounds the first wine of each vintage. What began as an informal tradition prior to World War II was officially established in 1951 and famously promoted worldwide by the late Georges Duboeuf. Unions expression fits the nature of the wine, a fun profile of strawberry taffy, bubble gum, cherry punch and plum juice that will be ideal with turkey. Union makes it available by the bottle or in a four-pack of 375-milliliter aluminum cans, and its Nouveau Pinot Noir is only sold online for a limited time, as these wines are very much meant to be enjoyed in their youth.
Domaine Ste. Michelle NV Brut, Columbia Valley $14: The largest production sparkling wine in the Northwest also ranks among the best. Floral notes of orange peel and lime zest come with a sense of toastiness as the creamy mousse leads out with a touch of tropical fruit. Its an expertly crafted wine that checks in with 1.5% residual sugar and wont cost much at checkout. Its a perfect wine to launch the holiday season.
Mercer Bros. 2018 Chardonnay, Horse Heaven Hills, $17: Prosser native Jeremy Santo, a product of Washington State University, creates for Rob and Will Mercer a chardonnay with integrated oak that creates harmony alongside the touches of orange, apricot and pear. Its laid back in its structure with a medium-bodied sweet cream core, yet it finishes brightly with a hint of river pebble. This earned a gold medal at the 2020 Cascadia International Wine Competition.
Cave B Estate Winery 2019 Roussanne, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley, $27: Chef-turned-winemaker Freddy Arredondo uses this often-overlooked Rhone white grape to create a wine for the chardonnay lover looking for something new and special. Its a fruit cocktail in a glass, and the flavors show off with creamy spun sugar, white peach and pear. The brightness to the finish brings a bit of fresh spritz and pushes honey-lemon preserves out to the last drop.
Mt. Hood Winery 2019 Gewrztraminer, Columbia Gorge, $24: Drawing on vines from near the Bickford familys bucolic tasting room, Hood River, Oregon, native Rich Cushman crafted a wine with the bouquet of wild roses, spice and tropical fruit that resolves in the mouth into an appealing sipper with flavors of pink grapefruit, more spice and just-right acidity perfect to accompany a green salad, Asian fare or a turkey leg. This earned a gold medal at the 2020 Cascadia International Wine Competition.
Yakima Valley Vintners 2017 Coyote Canyon Vineyard Primitivo, Columbia Valley, $18: Trent Ball, Brad Smith and their students at Yakima Valley College collaborate on the wines under the Yakima Valley Vintners label, which are poured and sold at the tasting room on their Grandview campus, and this Primitivo is grown at Coyote Canyon Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills. Dusty black cherry and strawberry jam aromas come with a slice of peach. On the palate, its all about vine-ripened strawberry and cherry-skin tannins, along with the hedonism thats closely associated with this sibling of zinfandel. The school has earned a number of gold medals in 2020; this is one of them.
Claar Cellars NV Estate Fouled Anchor Port, Columbia Valley: $30: This three-generation vineyard-winery in the Columbia Basins proposed White Bluffs American Viticultural Area near Pasco, produces this delicious fortified bottling thanks to winemaker Israel Zenteno, who blends four Bordeaux red varieties with syrah. Its port-like from start to finish, beginning with a brickish brown appearance and just the right amount of age with Tootsie Pop, black currant, coconut, plum skin and leather. A structure thats rich and juicy with frontal tannins adds complexity. The long finish of plum, sarsaparilla, caramel and nuttiness will play well with pecan pie or chocolate cake.
Eric Degerman operates Great Northwest Wine, an award-winning media company. Learn more about wine at http://www.greatnorthwestwine.com.
Covid lockdown: Nicola Sturgeon needs to realise the damage being caused to hospitality industry John McLellan – Edinburgh News
Posted: at 6:13 am
A short, distanced wait at the door while the booking was checked, escorted in by a masked waiter, sat at a table big enough for King Arthurs knights, menus accessed by QR Code, and we were good to go. The nearest customer was about ten yards away and the hush was more like Morningside Library on Tuesday afternoon than Friday night in a big boozer.
A couple of beers, and a bottle of wine with dinner, and before you could say Shall we have a nightcap at the Cannys it was after 9.30 and with it the polite warning we would have to be out by 10pm.
Now, with Edinburgh firmly clamped down in Tier 3, booze is banned, everywhere shuts at 6pm and our one night out in nine months now feels like unbridled hedonism. But while it might be irritating not being able to meet friends for a pint, the hospitality sector and its suppliers face catastrophe at the prospect of the new Prohibition lasting until Easter.
Hundreds of premises across Scotland are on the brink of permanent closure, taking thousands of jobs with them, and all Nicola Sturgeon can say is she is scunnered at having to maintain restrictions.
Unfortunately, scunnered doesnt pay the bills or explain why good businesses which invested in improved facilities and staff training have to bear the brunt of the Scottish governments tactics. Nor does scunnered gloss over the absence of data to prove that well-run pubs and restaurants contributed significantly to the second infection wave.
At least now the prospect of vaccines lifting the siege is real, but like the families of soldiers killed on November 10, 1918, it will be no comfort to those who lose their livelihoods. And scunnered wont begin to describe the feeling of those who see their once-profitable premises snapped up by opportunists in the inevitable fire-sale of distressed assets which the end of lockdown will surely herald.
McLarens is part of the Signature Pubs chain run by Nic Wood, who with other members of the Scottish Hospitality group has launched a petition to persuade the Scottish government to agree a six-point survival plan, including longer hours. Significantly, theyre not seeking to sell alcohol, even though the drinks mark-up makes the difference between a thriving business and a charity.
Just to break even is all Mr Wood is asking. "We spent so much money before the July reopening trying to be as safe as possible, he told Edinburgh Live. We moved to restrict gatherings to six people from two households, then complied with the music ban, then finally they just told people not to go back to bars any more it's like the government have a basic inability to understand us as an industry.
Hes hardly alone, and across Edinburgh businesses large and small are wondering if national and local administrations truly understand and value what they do. As Mr Wood said, We need to be left with an economy and industry at the end of all this."
John McLellan is a Conservative councillor for Craigentinny/Duddingston
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Existential Dore: How I learned to stop judging and appreciate the Vanderbilt Experience – The Vanderbilt Hustler
Posted: October 29, 2020 at 6:23 pm
One Saturday during my first year, I finally mustered up the courage to attend a ZBT tailgate after waiting a few weeks. I was eager yet terrified to watch upperclassmen perform keg stands and shotgun beers at 8 a.m.. While this may be fun for some students, I saw pure anarchy.
Like many students here, I came to Vanderbilt because I wanted access to one of the best academic institutions in the country, but I also wanted to experience a fun environment. At the same time, I was initially perplexed by the outgoing party culture which seemed counterintuitive to the intellectual environment I imagined. I couldnt help but cringe at my snap stories of the 6 a.m. mass exodus to tailgate last season. I asked myself: Why do some students spend their time engaging in the most pointless activities that make no substantial contribution to the world? Is this what we call fun?
As much as we like to make fun of the title, its no secret that Vanderbilts students have been ranked Number 1 Happiest College Students in the country for the past five years. The ranking is nice, but I have struggled to understand how and why we are the happiest students. When I think of our status as the happiest campus, I immediately think of hedonism.
A school of philosophy popularized by the likes of John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Benthan, hedonism is defined as all theories of conduct in which the criterion is pleasure of one kind or another. In other words, hedonism allows us to evaluate personal decision-making based on our desire for pleasurable experiences.
So why should we care about hedonism? Because it explains why we all find meaning in activities for nothing other than the pursuit of pleasure. Specifically, hedonism can tell us how we, as Vanderbilt students, find meaning in activities that are intended to make us happy?
Initially, I found one of the most explicit forms of hedonism in the social scene. My perception comes with trademark memories of Lonnies Western Room and Greek Row, and is summed up perfectly by this Vanderbeat Boys video. However, I was often judgmental about this work-hard-play-hard mentality, always asking myself: with the time and resources we have, why do we choose to participate in frivolous activities?
As students at a top-tier university, couldnt we be spending our time on more productive things like academics, volunteering or research. I did not see any meaning in partying, and I looked down upon classmates who seemed to be occupied with meaningless pleasures.
However, my perspective on hedonism was short-sighted. I didnt identify as an outgoing student, so it was unfair to judge students who hit up Broadway on the weekend while I chose to stay in my dorm. Everything changed when I sat down with a friend at EBI for lunch. As an introvert, he rarely left his Gillette dorm unless it was for a class or a club. I asked my friend What things do you do for fun if you are not a partier? His answer surprised me: staying in the dorm, watching anime and scrolling through Reddit.
That was the aha moment for me: hedonism is the basic necessity of pleasure. The type of pleasure could be anything, so it wasnt necessarily a night out at Lonnies.
By understanding both sides of the student experience, I also learned to internalize what I enjoyed in my free time. For me, it was 6:30 a.m. trips to the Rec Center for a morning swim and then quality time with friends at Commons. I became at peace with hedonism: the act of seeking pleasure was not a taboo subject that only included partying, but a basic necessity for all students. In fact, taking part in meaningful activities can help reduce burnout in college students.
Now, as an existential dore, you must ask: what does hedonism mean when you attend Vanderbilt? Your answer may differ from mine, but thats what makes both of us special and unique. At the end of the day, we all choose to spend our weekends differently, leaving our work and other obligations far behind. So even if Saturday morning tailgates are not my thing, I understand why other students might value them as integral to their happiness.
That is why I also emphasize the importance of perspective when it comes to hedonism. We all should learn and appreciate how we can enjoy Vanderbilt from different viewpoints. By doing so, hedonism allows us to understand why we are the happiest students; through a nuanced understanding of the college experience.
Posted: at 6:23 pm
The third album from Sam Smith arrives amid mixed messages. Love Goes comes six months later than planned, renamed from To Die For. The latter is explained by Britains coronavirus death rate. The reasons for the former are less scrutable. Perhaps Smith deduced that mid-pandemic was not the right frame of mind to enjoy their latest album, which even hardcore fans would admit tends towards the self-absorbed and glum. There was also the crying selfie posted in March as Smith struggled to cope with lockdown: the inevitable criticism led by Piers Morgan prompted talk of a backlash.
Accordingly tweaked, Love Goes comes accompanied by a statement from Smith talking up its experimental nature and the collaborators who boldly embraced my creativity and direction and allowed me to be whoever I wanted to be in the studio that day, imploring fans to listen with an open heart, which seemed to suggest they might be in for a shock. Such talk was hard to square with their collaborators, including Shellback, Stargate and Steve Mac, the latter famed for his work with notoriously challenging Irish collective Westlife and for co-writing Rockabye, Clean Bandits 2016 Christmas No 1. Then Smith told Zane Lowe that they were not ashamed that Love Goes was tamer, creatively, than 2017s The Thrill of It All. Because at a moment of such unsafety in my life, all I wanted to feel was safe. So thats honest to me.
So, bold new departure, or more of the same? It would take a superhuman effort to call any of it experimental, but the music on Love Goes sounds different to that of its predecessor: out with the retro-soul affectations and the nods in the direction of Coldplay; in with misty pop-facing electronics, gentle tropical house shadings and Auto-Tuned backing vocals. Youve heard it all before, but theres a lot of melodically solid songwriting particularly on singles Diamonds and Kids Again, the latter enlivened by a George Harrison-ish slide guitar solo and the occasional mild surprise, as when title track bursts from piano ballad into martial brass, melodramatic strings and backing vocalists chanting hey! somewhat in the vein of Boney Ms Rasputin.
Equally, you sense Smith reaching for something that remains stubbornly out of their grasp. As its title suggests, Dance (Til You Love Someone Else) is clearly inspired by Robyns Dancing on My Own, and why not? Theres a compelling argument that the 2010 hit is the greatest pop single of the last 20 years, a brilliant electronic rebooting of the old disco trick whereby euphoric club music is paired with lyrical despair. But in Smiths hands it doesnt quite work, largely because their euphoric club music isnt particularly euphoric, four-to-the-floor beat or not: its solemn minor piano chords and synth washes feel opaque and mopey, and the disco string arrangement never quite spirals heavenwards, as if too careworn to muster the energy.
The lyrics stick fast to romantic misery, from infidelity to perfidious swine interested only in Smiths bank balance. These are perennial topics for Smith, though as they told Lowe, their first two albums were inspired by unrequited love; Love Goes is apparently their first proper heartbreak album. In truth the difference feels like splitting hairs, particularly when you consider how The Thrill of It All actually came at that well-worn topic from unexpected angles: Midnight Trains agonising over what their exs family thought of them; Burnings examination of the consolation of smoking cigarettes in the aftermath of a break-up.
Here, the travails of Smiths personal life seem to have drained them of the ability to speak in anything other than cliche: you get thorns in the side, poisoned chalices, darkest thoughts and rosy memories of summer wine in Breaking Hearts alone. There are intriguing intimations that these relationship disasters were underscored by nihilistic hedonism (drug-fuelled fights about your lows and highs) but the songs never probe deeper. The best moment comes on So Serious, where Smith gently mocks their image as pops leading purveyor of despair God, I dont know why I get so serious sometimes suddenly theres violins and movie scenes and crying rivers in the street and cannily acknowledges that at least its good for business: Put your hands in the air if you sometimes get sad like me.
And maybe theres something canny about Love Goes. Its gloom feels more amenable than that of The Thrill of It All: at no point here does Smiths falsetto sound as eerie as it did on that albums No Peace, and its shifts in musical style never obstruct its familiarity. For all Smiths talk of experiments, perhaps thats what they think their audience wants at this moment in time, 2020 having already delivered more than enough by way of the unfamiliar: an album that exists to waft sadly, but unobtrusively, in the background.
Lady Blackbird: Beware the Stranger (Ashley Beedles North Street West Vocal Mix)Gilles Peterson has described LAs Lady Blackbird as the Grace Jones of jazz: here her emotive vocal is remixed into subtly effective disco house.
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Posted: October 25, 2020 at 10:36 pm
Emily in Paris is a national embarrassment.
In the midst of a pandemic in a country that has mishandled global and social crises for the past four years, Emily in Paris sells viewers a tone-deaf, American escapist fantasy that can only be watched through cracked fingers in the depths of second-hand embarrassment. From its repulsive undercurrents of American moral superiority to its wince-eliciting, caricatured portrayal of French culture, there is very little left to love within these 10 episodes. Much of the writing relies on stereotypes to fuel plot points and force drama. For example, Emily (Lily Collins), the bright-eyed, naive American marketing intern at Savoir, a Parisian marketing firm, is often at odds with the hedonism of the French lifestyle. She is thrown by her coworkers leisurely attitudes toward work-life balance, the forwardness of French lovers a prominent trope on this show and the elitism of the Parisians she encounters.
The exaggeration of Emilys differences from her French counterparts creates a seasons worth of plot that is plain uncomfortable to watch as it mainly touts a sensationalized ideology of how the French view sex. Antoine (William Abadie), a married client, flirts with Emily while both his wife and his mistress are in the same room. Later on, he inappropriately gifts her expensive lingerie as a thank-you for helping his ad campaign, which Emily must hide along with her indignation at the blurring of work-life boundaries from her tough boss Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu), who is revealed to be his mistress. Its messy, its cheap, and it gets worse.
Emily, in all her prudish glory, later learns that it is a common thing for wives to be aware of their French husbands taking on mistresses, and that it is, in fact, encouraged, because no one wants to have sex with the same person for their whole life. Contrarian statements like this exist aplenty in Emily in Paris, acting as a mouthpiece for the French population a presumptuous move for a Sex and the City knockoff to think it can speak for an entire country. Furthermore, Emily in Paris doesnt seem like it even understands its own logic about the French. Antoines wife finds out about a secret trip he planned and assumes it was for herself, which upsets Sylvie, Antoines intended vacation partner who must stay home as a result. This contrasts with the end of the show when Antoines wife insinuates to Emily that shed make a better mistress to her husband than Sylvie, displaying a disorienting mix of awareness and lack thereof. Confusingly, these interactions barely acknowledge the rules the show sets earlier on about how French relationships work. As a result, the writing of these characters and their actions feels haphazard and nonsensical.
Finally, Emily in Paris tries to incorporate a laughable feminist agenda that puts the movement to shame. When Emily is not questioning why female body parts use masculine articles in gendered romance languages, she takes issue with French ad campaigns that exploit female sexuality for profit. The French client and boss argue to Emilys disagreement that a womans sexuality empowers her to have control over men, influencing her marketing strategy of posting these ads on social media with the caption SexyorSexist? The debate feels so contrived and cringeworthy, that at some point listening to metal pans scrape against one another becomes preferable to watching Emily teach the French how to treat women. And furthermore, any possible message about female empowerment is drowned out by the problematic portrayal of female characters and friendships in this show. Sylvie is needlessly hostile to Emily as a boss when she could recognize her ability to be a mentor and guide in a foreign country, Emily betrays her new Parisian friend by lusting after her boyfriend in secret and kissing him twice when she could have very well refrained from doing so, and Mindy (Ashley Park), the best friend from Hong Kong, as well as the only woman of color on the show, is just there. In this context, many of Emilys actions and pro-female stances feel hollow, further highlighting other aspects of the show that disappoint.
If you want a riveting exploration of Paris and French culture through fresh eyes, a strong female lead living her best life, and a relaxing vacation from your daily quarantine woes, this is not the show for you. Maybe it would be slightly easier to accept this show if it openly branded itself as satire, but considering the seriousness with which it takes itself, that might be a stretch as big as believing that any of Emilys marketing strategies would be successful in reality. In a time where we must recognize our shared experiences as human beings, Emily in Paris is more focused on hashing out and judging our differences. Thats reason enough to skip to the next show in your Netflix queue.
Grade: FCreator: Darren StarStarring: Lily Collins, Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu, Ashley Park, William AbadieRelease Date: Oct 2, 2020Rated: TV-MA
Image courtesy of Us Weekly.
Posted: at 10:36 pm
Halloween, more than almost any other holiday, is about fun, nearly unmatched in its unbridled hedonism. Its like New Years, but with corn syrup instead of booze. Ubiquitous with that theme is candy corn. It didnt start out as a Halloween treat, but jumped on the bandwagon in the 1950s, as Halloween pivoted into a full embrace of processed sugar. They may only taste good if youre starving, diabetic or a food coloring enthusiast, but apparently thats about half of all Americans.
Corn officially became spooky with the release of Children of the Corn, a 1984 movie about a Midwestern village where the kids took over and decided nobody was permitted to age beyond 17. In 1993, the worlds first for-profit corn maze was built in Annville, Penn. Since then, the tradition has taken off, and corn mazes aka maizes now number in the thousands.
When I lived in New Mexico, I learned about chicos, aka dried corn. Chicos means little boys in Spanish, as the kernels shrink when dried. The ones for sale at the store were dried to the hardness of popcorn, but when I make them at home, I let them stay a bit chewy, like real-life versions of candy corn but nuttier and corny-er. Each batch of chicos has a unique character, with different levels of coloring, crunchiness, chewiness and/or sweetness, depending on the corn and how long its roasted.
Many Halloween corn mazes are closed this year, thanks to the virus. And door-to-door candy-begging is largely out, too. If treat-seekers are left to their own devices, Im fine with that, because processed sugar is poison and a tradition that hinges on giving candy to kids isnt worth rescuing.
Luckily, nothing about the original spirit of Halloween demands candy. Spookiness, on the other hand, is in Halloweens DNA, as is my right to dress like Bootsy Collins. And corn? Its to Halloween like frost is to a pumpkin. So allow me to tell you how I make chicos, followed by with a few recipes, one sweet and one savory,
Chicos: The only ingredient is corn, preferably with the husk on. Traditionally, the process involves a clay oven or horno, but other ovens work too. Ultimately, youre doing little more than drying out the kernels.
Although usually made with fresh corn, Ive also made chicos with frozen corn, and the operation was surprisingly successful, even if the product lacked the soulful, smoky flavor that a roasted corn husk imparts.
Turn the oven to 300 and place the ears directly on the oven racks, not touching one another, and bake until the husks start to dry out and brown and even smoke a little about three hours. When cool, peel off the husks. If using husked or frozen corn, skip this step.
Now, put just the cobs on the oven racks, spaced so as not to touch one another, and bake at 225, until the kernels start to shrink and visibly dry out about four hours. Let the ears cool completely, and rub off the kernels try the edge of a spoon if they are stubborn. Store in a plastic bag in a cool, dry place. The drier you get them, the longer they will store.
If making chicos from frozen corn, spread the kernels on a cookie sheet and bake at 225. They will take less time about two hours and will quickly turn brown and then black.
Chicos and Milk: Fill a bowl with chicos and milk, with sugar to taste. When the chicos are gone and you sip the milk that remains, you may feel a distinct nostalgia for a time long ago, when you sipped the leftover milk from a bowl of corn flakes.
Beans with Chicos (serves 2)
Served alongside rice, youve got a delicious meal with complete protein.
1 strip bacon, chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil if skipping the bacon or if its lean
cup minced onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh oregano or thyme
1 can of plain beans (pinto, white, black, kidney ) including the liquid
1 can of water or stock
1 teaspoon paprika or chile powder
Salt, if the bacon doesnt add enough
Fry the bacon on medium heat. When half-crispy, about 5 minutes, add the onions, garlic and herbs. Fry until the onions become translucent. Add the beans and water, and stir together. Season with salt, if necessary. Heat to a simmer, stirring as necessary to prevent sticking. Adjust seasoning and serve. n
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