While we’re at it can we PLS NOT PUT DOWN AMERICAN ARTISTS just to proclaim BTS as “more relevant than all the American artists combined”? Like who the fuck are you to even say that? Yes be proud of bts being the first kpop group being invited and what not but chill, they didn’t fucking “invent billboards”, the American artists aren’t “irrelevant compared to bts” like sit the fuck down. BTS themselves STRIVED to be on billboards. BBMAs is a huge deal and there is no need to be shitting on the awards or the other artists just to make BTS seem like “kings”. Like fucking grow up
no but (among the 1424356 other things on my list) i so need to write a book about medieval history for a popular audience, just because the reality would blow people’s minds
there are so many things you can learn from it, so many misconceptions to destroy, and such an interesting social and cultural study of people learning to do things in different ways after rome fell. they had a period of almost 1000 years where classical culture was NOT the automatic standard. that is why we have gothic architecture and script. why they invented new literary and artistic genres, why they developed new laws. where, unlike in the ancient world, women and slaves were not relegated to a position of utter inferiority – in fact, slavery was abolished throughout most of the middle ages, and only began returning in the 16th-17th century when people were determined to replicate the criteria and legal systems of antiquity. same with women. you can find records of women doctors, bookbinders, copyists, shopkeepers, traders etc throughout the high middle ages. women religious were HUGELY influential; the abbey of fontevrault in france was required to have an abbess, not an abbot, in charge. queens regularly ruled whenever the king wasn’t around. it was only in 1593 that france, for example, decided to outlaw them from public/professional life. the salic law, made by philip iv in the early 14th century, barred them from inheriting the throne and later spread throughout europe, but that was not the case beforehand.
don’t talk to me about how “feudal anarchy” was a thing. feudalism was the last thing from anarchy, and it wasn’t about a lord mistreating or killing his peasants however he pleased. it was a highly structured and regulated system of mutual obligations – not a desirable condition for the serf, but still the bedrock on which society functioned. serfs were not slaves. they had personhood, social mobility, could own property, marry, form families, and often obtain freedom once they were no longer in an economic condition to make serfhood a necessity. abbot suger of france (late 11th-early 12th century) was most likely a son of serfs. he was educated at the same monastery school as the later king louis vi, ran the kingdom while louis vii was on crusade, and became the foremost historian of the period and partially responsible for establishing the tradition of ecclesiastical chronicles.
don’t talk to me about how everyone was a fervent and uncritical religious fanatic. church attendance on the parish level was so low that in 1215, pope innocent III had to issue a bull ordering people to take communion at least once a year. the content of clerical grievances tells us that people behaved and thought exactly as we do today – they wanted to sleep in on sunday, they wanted to have sex when they pleased, they didn’t believe the guy mumbling bad latin at them, they openly questioned the institutional church’s legitimacy (especially in the 13th century – it was taking assaults on every side as splinter and spinoff sects of every nature grew, along with literacy and the ability of common people to access books and learning for themselves). in the 14th century, john wycliffe and the lollards blasted the rigidly hierarchical nature of medieval society (“when adam delved and eve span, who then was the gentleman?”) partly as a result, wat tyler, a fellow englishman, led the peasants’ revolt in 1381. yes, the catholic church had a social and institutional power which we can’t imagine, but it was fought and questioned and spoken back to every step of the way.
don’t talk to me about how they were scientifically ignorant. isidore of seville, in the frickin 7th century, wrote books and books on science and reason from his home at the center of the andalusian “golden age” in muslim spain. toledo in the 9th century was a hotbed of theology, mathematics, and writing; admiring western european observers called multicultural, educated iberia “the ornament of the world.” in the 8th century in the monastery of jarrow in northumbria (aka in the middle of FRICKING NOWHERE) the venerable bede was able to open his “ecclesiastical history of the english people” with a discussion on cultural, linguistic, demographic, historical, geographical, and astronomical details, and refers to britain’s location near the north pole as a reason for its days being long in summer and short in winter (“for the sun has then departed to the region of Africa”). while bede’s information is obviously imperfect by virtue of his social and chronological location, he is a trained scholar with a strong critical sensibility and the ability to turn a memorable phrase; discussing an attempted imperial coup by an illiterate roman soldier, he sniffs, “As soon as he had seized power he crossed over to Gaul. There he was often deluded by the barbarians into making doubtful treaties, and so inflicted great harm on the body politic.”
don’t talk to me about how they were uneducated and illiterate. they were well versed in antiquity and classical authors through the high middle ages. they didn’t just suddenly discover them again when the 15th century started. the renaissance wasn’t about finding the texts, it was about deciding to apply them in a systematic way. beforehand, the 13th century saw the rediscovery of aristotle and the development of a new philosophical system to compete with the long-entrenched and studied works of plato. thomas aquinas and the dominicans were writing in this century. dante wrote the inferno in this century. i could go on.
don’t talk to me about the stereotype of the silent and oppressed woman – we already discussed that a bit above. i should also add, women usually had voting rights on the level of their community and this wasn’t regarded as odd. i already wrote a ranty post earlier on the myth that “it was just medieval times” and thus a rapey free-for-all.
we should also talk about how a form of gay marriage was legal for hundreds of years – two men could take wedding vows in a church and live together like any other married couple (though they called them “spiritual brotherhoods”). we should also talk about the cult of male bonds between knights in the 12th/13th century, and how it was idealized as the highest form of love. i also wrote a post a while ago about richard the lionheart and how sexuality worked. so.
we should talk about how all of this was happening in the time period that routinely gets written off as basically a wash between the fall of rome and the renaissance. we should remember that the renaissance was what led to modern structures of oppression for women, slaves, etc – everyone who had been worth nothing in antiquity. we should tear into the myth of historical progress and how it was invented to justify massive, wholesale colonization, genocide, and “civilization” in the supposedly enlightened 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries – because nothing we do now, apparently, can be as bad as what those bad ol’ bloodthirsty ignoramuses did back then.
we shouldn’t idealize the medieval era as a golden age either. that is never the right way to approach history. but we should take a long, long look at why we are so insistent on our simplistic, erroneous concepts of this time period, and how exactly they serve to justify our behaviors, mindsets, and practices today.
further reading to support any of these topics available on request.
In honor of woman’s history month I’d like to take a moment to thank the women who came before me, the women standing beside me and the women who will carry the torch of our future.
I’ve been in Halestorm for nearly 20 years. If it wasn’t for our “Fore Mothers of Rock n Roll” who came before me, I may not be where I am today. They showed me that it was possible, and that even with all the odds against you, and obstacles in your way… you can achieve your dream. They did not give in, they did not quit, they did not wither. They were a powerful force in inspiring and encouraging me to go after My dream.
It’s a reminder, ladies, of how important it is for us to encourage one another. We must be examples, and show our fellow femmes that society’s definition of a “woman” is false. To be a Woman is not One idea of what a woman should be. We are the sum of many women who were brave enough to take risks, carve paths, stand out and be unapologetically themselves. All the great women of history were not the ones who followed the rules, or kept their eyes to the ground. No, all the great women thinkers, inventers, artists and leaders were the woman who broke from the chain, and swam against the current.
As girls we are taught from an early age that beauty is our number one priority. We play with dolls we will never look like, we have make up kits and sticker earrings, glitter and pink. We wear dresses, are told not to get dirty, to be perfect, to be seen and not heard. We learn that “pretty” equals acceptance and love.
We are taught as young ladies that the world is a scary place, and that we should get married and settle down lest we die alone. And be sure to have a few kids before it’s too late and your ticking time bomb of a body blows up! And we need products! Products to grow our hair, soften our face, melt the fat, plump our lips, grow our tits, erase scars and stretch marks, make our asses bigger or smaller… because without all these things we are undesirable and therefore not worthy of love.
As we begin to grow, ask questions, and find ourselves as women, everything that makes us happy is somehow wrong…
They say, Be independent, but know your place. Make money, but not too much. Be smart, but not too smart, be strong but not too strong or you’ll be a bitch. If you like sex, you’re a slut, if you drink you’re a lush, if you cut your hair your a dyke, if you like rock n roll and metal obviously you’re on a path to hell. We are told that to be women we need to be the Un-be-able, and because societies view of women is such an unattainable goal… inevitably every women loses.
Before I go on, I must be clear that This post is not about a double standard. This is Not about boys vs girls. Because our boys are taught some pretty warped things too about what it means to be a “man”. This post is about the the history of women, battling social “standards” and the evolution of women as we move forward.
I stand on my meager platform, as a women I have fought to proudly do what I love everyday, I am living proof that it is possible and I am in a rare position to encourage… and empower.
So, Let’s empower, encourage and teach our girls to be strong, to be smart, to be independent, to ask questions, to be tolerant, to be kind, to be fierce, to love, be passionate and to dream. Show them that their beauty lies within their individuality and doing things that truly make them happy. Lets wear sizes that fit us, not try to fit into sizes that society tells us we should be fitting into. Let’s Get dirty, climb trees, be artists, mechanics, scientists, rockstars and presidents. Let’s stop listening to all the things we are supposed to be and truly start being who we are.
We are Women
A new exhibition at the Getty Research Institute explores the international concrete poetry movement, this exhibition focuses on the visual, verbal, and sonic experiments of the 1950s, ‘60s, and '70s. Featuring works by foundational figures Augusto de Campos and Ian Hamilton Finlay, Concrete Poetry explores how these artists invented new forms such as cube poems and standing poems and continuously re-created their projects across media. Poetry by contemporaries including Henri Chopin, Ernst Jandl, Mary Ellen Solt, and Emmett Williams also plays a prominent role.
Hijab is something that I’m sure many people have heard of by now as the coverage of this is huge. By non-muslims and others who don’t actually understand the religion may see it as a form of oppression or something that needs to go because it give men more of an authority (this is not true as far as Islam itself says - culture has turned it into this thing) however what does the Qur’an say about the hijab? Many things, for muslim women it is a way of feeling protected, a way of not being eye-raped by some guy and a way of feeling more part of the community. However, unlike what what many people may think, a hijab isn’t just the cloth part of it, hijab means modesty, peace, love, lowering your gaze so you stay faithful, and kindness for BOTH MEN AND WOMEN. Yes, men too, hijab on the eyes or whatever you may call it, men must lower their gaze just as much as women should and be modest just as much as a women should. It is a part of Islam, and we all have duties as muslim men and women.
However, culture comes into this, and mixes this all up and causes confusion between non-muslims and even muslims. And this is only coverage “Islam” gets. The honour killing, terrorism, hate crimes, murders, have you heard of the projects we work on or the things we invent? Or the athletes, artists, doctors, scientists, or teachers? Probably not because even being a muslim myself i hear of this off of social media, not the news outlets many trust. Islam IS a religion of peace, and kindness to everything (”speak no lie” [22:30], “speak justice” [6:152], “speak gently” [20:44], “speak kindly” [2:83], “whosoever kills and innocent human being, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind, and whoever save the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind” [5:32] ) it is culture, information with no evidence and media that turned it into a religion which allowes killing, encourages terrorism and creates an image or terror.
I was listening to a documentary about the history of music earlier today, a series by the BBC, and the episode I watched mostly focused on the transition from the Renaissance to the Baroque era. The narrator brought up an idea that I hadn’t heard before, but made a lot of sense. Part of the reason that Baroque music still sounds fresh to us, still resonates with us, was because the music was a reflection of its time: a time of invention, new discoveries, technological, artistic, and philosophical advancement. Thanks to the internet and globalization, we are in the “Age of Information”, and our rapid growth in these areas means that our lives are also seeing many advancements. I mean, I’m writing this post on an advanced piece of technology. So it makes sense that we are drawn to music that also sounds inventive, flowing through harmonies, driving, always moving forward like clockwork. But the robotic nature of Baroque music, the flowing through the measured circle of fifths, doesn’t take away from its humanity, its warmth and its outward emotions. This concerto comes from Vivaldi’s Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione [The Contest between Harmony and Invention], the same collection that the famous Four Seasons are published in, and it fits the mold of the typical Vivaldi concerto: rhythmically driven fast movements sandwiched around a longing slow movement, which is a special treat, to me the highlight of the work. This concerto has no nickname, no ulterior motive, it is music for the sake of music. A breath of fresh air, in this hectic world.