my friends and i had other plans, but we ended up in the pantheon. they had a concert. we listened to the music, cried about Veil and Curie and Dumas and Zola, looked at the paintings. it was all very cathartic.
In unrelenting rain, more than 60 world leaders—Presidents and Prime Ministers, kings and princes, from a third of all the nations on Earth—shared big black umbrellas as they marched together down the Champs-Élysées, in Paris, on Sunday. They gathered to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended the fighting of the First World War, and to express global unity. Donald Trump was not among them. He drove to the ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in the dry comfort of his limousine.
Strolling amongst the parade of animals at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle is a state of awe. This beautifully designed spectacle is truly greater than the sum of it parts.
Many of the animals individually were taxidermied in the 1800s or early 1900s. Though from a distance and in such a mass, our eyes are delighted.
And, one has to marvel at the craftsmanship of a taxidermy specimen from 1850 still delighting the public today.
That’s why I wanted to share some photos also of the ‘bad taxidermy’ from this museum and make a case for it.
In museums such as this in the later 1800s, it was common for the preparator / taxidermist to have limited (if any) information about the animal. They were not the collector, usually not a biologist and certainly did not have access to google images or Wikipedia. They mostly likely had some illustrations and writings from field biologists— if they could track them down in the museum’s library.
What they had to work with was typically a dried skin perhaps stuffed with straw and a cleaned skull with teeth. Everything had to be prepped in the field and sent along in crates as there was no refrigeration. Many times this would take months and there was no communication between the collectors and the taxidermist.
So, while some pieces may have been done by a skilled naturalist / taxidermists like John Gould or Carl Akeley, most were done by confused museum employees doing their best with what they had.
So, while the rest of the museum patrons see an ‘angry Hippo’ or a ‘bad Seal’, I get to walk through time. I see an 1800s taxidermist who heard terrifying stories about Hippo attacks. I see a very confused Parisian taxidermist from the early 1900s who was guessing about how flippers worked. (He guessed wrong, but A for effort.)
And yes, I imagine future taxidermists, walking through museums, pondering my mistakes.
hey oh boy xD ok hold on. I apologize if it’s a bit messy.
The Gilets Jaunes (yellow jackets) political movement started in response to a new eco-tax on petrol and diesel. it was like the match lighting the fire - the movement spread and grew among the people, and as it did so (and keeps doing) the revendications also changed, now including a range of diverse demands: lower taxes, higher pensions and an improvement in ordinary French people’s spending power. Some are asking that the President Macron quits. The lack of response/disregard from the governement was criticized and led to the protests to take a violent turn the past week-end. The police was deployed in Paris, many were injured, shops were pillaged, and national, historical monuments such as the Arc de Triomphe were vandalized.
The Gilets Jaunes movement suffers from a lack of leader and proper organization;
which is mostly due to the fact that so many people from different age range, gender, backgrounds etc feel they are concerned. It’s for now impossible to find a voice that unites all of them. A few tried to make themselves leaders and were immediately verbally shot down.
there are not yet officials who are ready to meet representatives from the governement in order to discuss possible outcomes and solutions calmly. After last week-end the Prime Minister, Edouard Phillipe, announced that they were putting a hold on the eco-tax and that it might even be cancelled, but Emmanuel Macron later said nothing would change.
The movement has also spread to high schools and colleges. My uni has been blocked since the beginning of the week, right before finals, by a group of people who protest against the rise in uni fees for foreign students
In the blocked high schools there were reports that older youth was kinda wreaking havoc and encouraging high school kids to do the same.
A video was posted earlier that week that shows a bunch of CRS (the french police) armed and surrounding high schools students who were made to kneel on the ground with their hands behind their heads. the chief of police responded to the controversy by saying we had to consider the context of the CRS’ interventions.
The police has been known to be violent as well. Today, in what was the fourth protest of the movement, as many as 717 people (last time I saw the news) were arrested throughout the country in the morning. The governement feared more violence would take place, mostly because of looters (des casseurs). Looters don’t necessarily wear a gilet jaune nor are they here for the political movement. Some are gilets jaunes who’ve had more than enough of living on low income and desire a change and see no other way than violence to get it; some are not and they’re just here to pillage shops, set cars on fire and breaks things.
Today 8000 CRS were in Paris to control the protests. They had armed vehicles. They use tear gas and flashballs to resist the protesters when they get violent. There are a few videos out there of protesters being injured because there were shot by a flashball in the face. But the police has also said that they “had never seen such violence”, were exhausted, wanted a response from the governement as well and many of them support the Gilets Jaunes movement.
Today was relatively calm compared to last week. Paris had taken precautions : many shops were closed, there were lots of CRS on sight, etc. But most people don’t desire violence : they just want to be heard. There were images of some people kneeling in front of the CRS as a reference to the video I mentioned with the high school students.
People are saying “Macron démission”, calling out for the french president to quit.
The movement is scheduled for another protest next weekend. French President Macron is supposed to say something about all this at the beginning of next week. We’re hoping it will settle down, but if nothing is done, it probably won’t.
Fun fact from today : there was also the March for climate change taking place today in Paris (which went very well. some gilets jaunes were seen supporting this), and Trump mixed the two and believed the Gilets Jaunes movement was somehow linked to the climate change march, and that we (the french people) were in disagreement with the Paris agreement on climate change. We are supposedly chanting “we need trump.” in the protests. WE ARE NOT. EVER. STAY IN YOUR COUNTRY.
(il est con putain jpp)
So thaaaaaaaaat’s basically it. I didn’t go into details but that’s the rough, gist of it. It’s a bit of a mess atm, but hopefully it’ll get better.
A few images :
And if you want to go further and understand it better I suggest you check out the Guardian website - they’ve been covering the subject quite well from the start. :)