Still, the confluence of nostalgia, beauty and desire at the core of “Mad Men” always made me uncomfortable. With the show’s end, I have to ask, Did people watch “Mad Men” because it so profoundly challenged the self-absorbed world of advertising executives? Or did people watch “Mad Men” because they were nostalgic for a time when it was guilt-free, seductive and glamorous to be an affluent white person?

Nostalgia is complicated. Conservatives often wax poetic about a time when things were “easier,” by which they usually mean (even if they don’t explicitly say it) that women were at home taking care of the children and people of color knew their place in the social hierarchy. Nostalgia is rooted in a politics shared by anti-choice legislation and discriminatory policy — and in this sense, it is decidedly out of fashion and unsexy.

But the overt racism of social conservatives isn’t what makes nostalgia uncomfortable to me. It’s the peddling of nostalgia through high-culture, hipster remakes of certain eras. The so-called high-art subcultural obsession with the style of the 1950s and ’60s, no matter how ironic, always made me wonder if people actually knew what life was like then, specifically for women and people of color. Through that lens, it always felt tone deaf and slightly offensive.

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THE HISTORY OF BLACK HAIR  

by Chime Edwards, chimeedwards.com

Published on May 20, 2015

This is it, folks. This is a play based on @dril tweets that I facetiously wrote and submitted to a local theatre club’s playwriting contest, as a joke. They loved it and staged the play, along with four other plays (the top 5 submissions) in April. It was a success. The audience loved it. I had entertained an entire theater with a garbage play, purely by accident.

Now you, the internet at large, may also enjoy this play. Feel free to perform it at your own theaters, just be sure to tell me all about it and document the performance extensively! 

Preach, Shonda.

German folklore is the folk tradition which has developed in Germany over centuries. It shares many characteristics with Scandinavian and English folklore due to their origins in a common Germanic Mythology. It reflects a similar mix of influences: a pre-Christian pantheon and other beings equivalent to those of Norse mythology; magical characters (often pre-Christian) associated with Christian festivals, and various regional character stories. As in Scandinavia, when belief in the old gods disappeared, remnants of the mythos persisted: Holda, a supernatural patron of spinning; the Lorelei, a dangerous Rhein siren derived from 19th century literature; the spirit Berchta; the Weisse Frauen, a water spirit said to protect children; the Wild Hunt; the giant Rübezahl; changeling legends; and many more entities such as the elf, dwarf, kobold, and erlking. Popular holiday-related folklore includes Krampus and Knecht Ruprecht, a rough companion to Santa Claus; the Lutzelfrau, a Yule witch who must be appeased with small presents; the Osterhase (first Easter Bunny); and Walpurgisnacht, a spring festival derived from pagan customs. Character folklore includes the stories of the Pied Piper of Hameln, the trickster Till Eulenspiegel, the Town Musicians of Bremen, and Faust. Folklore elements, such as the Rhein Maidens and the Grimms’ The Story of a Boy Who Went Forth to Learn Fear, formed part of the source material for Richard Wagner’s opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen. Some of the works of Washington Irving, e.g. Rip van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, are based on German folktales. So are most Disney movies (American Walt Disney was quite the fan of Germany). Within Germany, the nationalistic aspect of some of these mystical stories was further emphasized during the National Socialist (Nazi) era of the 1930s and 40s. Folklore studies, Volkskunde, were co-opted as a political tool, to seek out traditional customs to support the idea of historical continuity with a Germanic culture. 

As a German, I will say that the remnants of this WW2 era still make me… reluctant to dive into many of the “Nordic/Germanic” folk legends as much of it was tainted by and is now linked to the WW2 era. I see blogs with a “Nordic” theme and they make me cringe just slightly. I’m sure I’m not the only German who feels that way - but as a people, we probably need to get over this now, 70 years on, and remember that long before any “Nazis” claimed and promoted this part of our culture, it already had existed for centuries.