Mash-Up: Ladies & Fashion & Shite, 1732-2016

If you haven’t been watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, here’s “The Sexy Getting Ready Song,” one of the many amazing songs from the show:

“The Sexy Getting Ready Song” reminded me of “The Lady’s Dressing Room” by Jonathon Swift:

Five hours, (and who can do it less in?)

By haughty Celia spent in dressing;

The goddess from her chamber issues,

Arrayed in lace, brocades and tissues.

Strephon, who found the room was void,

And Betty otherwise employed,

Stole in, and took a strict survey,

Of all the litter as it lay;

Whereof, to make the matter clear,

An inventory follows here.

And first a dirty smock appeared,

Beneath the armpits well besmeared.

Strephon, the rogue, displayed it wide,

And turned it round on every side.

On such a point few words are best,

And Strephon bids us guess the rest,

But swears how damnably the men lie,

In calling Celia sweet and cleanly.

Now listen while he next produces

The various combs for various uses,

Filled up with dirt so closely fixt,

No brush could force a way betwixt.

A paste of composition rare,

Sweat, dandruff, powder, lead and hair;

A forehead cloth with oil upon’t

To smooth the wrinkles on her front;

Here alum flower to stop the steams,

Exhaled from sour unsavory streams,

There night-gloves made of Tripsy’s hide,

Bequeathed by Tripsy when she died,

With puppy water, beauty’s help

Distilled from Tripsy’s darling whelp;

Here gallypots and vials placed,

Some filled with washes, some with paste,

Some with pomatum, paints and slops,

And ointments good for scabby chops.

Hard by a filthy basin stands,

Fouled with the scouring of her hands;

The basin takes whatever comes

The scrapings of her teeth and gums,

A nasty compound of all hues,

For here she spits, and here she spews.

But oh! it turned poor Strephon’s bowels,

When he beheld and smelled the towels,

Begummed, bemattered, and beslimed

With dirt, and sweat, and earwax grimed.

No object Strephon’s eye escapes,

Here petticoats in frowzy heaps;

Nor be the handkerchiefs forgot

All varnished o’er with snuff and snot.

The stockings why should I expose,

Stained with the marks of stinking toes;

Or greasy coifs and pinners reeking,

Which Celia slept at least a week in?

A pair of tweezers next he found

To pluck her brows in arches round,

Or hairs that sink the forehead low,

Or on her chin like bristles grow.

The virtues we must not let pass,

Of Celia’s magnifying glass.

When frightened Strephon cast his eye on’t

It showed visage of a giant.

A glass that can to sight disclose,

The smallest worm in Celia’s nose,

And faithfully direct her nail

To squeeze it out from head to tail;

For catch it nicely by the head,

It must come out alive or dead.

Why Strephon will you tell the rest?

And must you needs describe the chest?

That careless wench! no creature warn her

To move it out from yonder corner;

But leave it standing full in sight

For you to exercise your spite.

In vain the workman showed his wit

With rings and hinges counterfeit

To make it seem in this disguise

A cabinet to vulgar eyes;

For Strephon ventured to look in,

Resolved to go through thick and thin;

He lifts the lid, there needs no more,

He smelled it all the time before.

As from within Pandora’s box,

When Epimetheus op’d the locks,

A sudden universal crew

Of human evils upwards flew;

He still was comforted to find

That Hope at last remained behind;

So Strephon lifting up the lid,

To view what in the chest was hid.

The vapors flew from out the vent,

But Strephon cautious never meant

The bottom of the pan to grope,

And foul his hands in search of Hope.

O never may such vile machine

Be once in Celia’s chamber seen!

O may she better learn to keep

Those “secrets of the hoary deep!”

As mutton cutlets, prime of meat,

Which though with art you salt and beat

As laws of cookery require,

And toast them at the clearest fire;

If from adown the hopeful chops

The fat upon a cinder drops,

To stinking smoke it turns the flame

Pois’ning the flesh from whence it came,

And up exhales a greasy stench,

For which you curse the careless wench;

So things, which must not be expressed,

When plumped into the reeking chest,

Send up an excremental smell

To taint the parts from whence they fell.

The petticoats and gown perfume,

Which waft a stink round every room.

Thus finishing his grand survey,

Disgusted Strephon stole away

Repeating in his amorous fits,

Oh! Celia, Celia, Celia shits!

But Vengeance, goddess never sleeping

Soon punished Strephon for his peeping;

His foul imagination links

Each Dame he sees with all her stinks:

And, if unsavory odors fly,

Conceives a lady standing by:

All women his description fits,

And both ideas jump like wits:

But vicious fancy coupled fast,

And still appearing in contrast.

I pity wretched Strephon blind

To all the charms of female kind;

Should I the queen of love refuse,

Because she rose from stinking ooze?

To him that looks behind the scene,

Satira’s but some pocky queen.

When Celia in her glory shows,

If Strephon would but stop his nose

(Who now so impiously blasphemes

Her ointments, daubs, and paints and creams,

Her washes, slops, and every clout,

With which he makes so foul a rout)

He soon would learn to think like me,

And bless his ravished sight to see

Such order from confusion sprung,

Such gaudy tulips raised from dung.

This brought to mind Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s “The Reasons that Induced Dr S to write a Poem called ‘The Lady’s Dressing Room:’”

The Doctor in a clean starched band,

His golden snuffbox in his hand,

With care his diamond ring displays

And artful shews its various rays,

While grave he stalks down—-Street

His dearest—-to meet.

Long had he waited for this hour,

Nor gained admittance to the bower;

Had joked and punned, and swore and writ,

Tried all his gallantry and wit;

Had told her oft what part he bore

In Oxford’s schemes in days of yore,

But bawdy, politics nor satire

Could move this dull hard-hearted creature.

Jenny her maid could taste a rhyme

And, grieved to see him lose his time,

Had kindly whispered in his ear,

“For twice two pound you enter here:

My Lady vows that without that sum

It is in vain you write or come.”

The destined offering now he brought

And in a paradise of thought

With a low bow approached the dame,

Who smiling heard him preach his flame.

His gold she takes (such proofs as these

Convince most unbelieving shes)

And in her trunk rose up to lock it

(Too wise to trust it in her pocket)

And then, returned with blushing grace,

Expects the Doctor’s warm embrace.

But now this is the proper place

Where morals stare me in the face,

And, for the sake of fine expression,

I’m forced to make a small digression.

Alas for wretched humankind,

With learning mad, with wisdom blind!

The ox thinks he’s for saddle fit

(As long ago friend Horace writ);

And men their talents still mistaking,

The stutterer fancies his is speaking.

With admiration oft we see

Hard features heightened by toupee;

The beau affects the politician;

Wit is the citizen’s ambition;

Poor Pope philosophy displays on

With so much rhyme and little reason,

And, though he argues ne’er so long

That all is right, his head is wrong.

None strive to know their proper merit,

But strain for wisdom, beauty, spirit

And lose the praise that is their due

While they’ve the impossible in view:

So have I seen the injudicious heir

To add one window the whole house impair.

Nature to every thing alive

Points out the path to shine or thrive,

But man, vain man, who grasps the whole

Shews in all heads a touch of fool.

Instinct the hound does better teach

Who never undertook to preach;

The frighted hare from dogs does run

But not attempts to bear a gun.

–Here many noble thoughts occur,

But I prolixity abhor

And will pursue th’ instructive tale

To shew the wise in some things fail.

The reverend lover with surprise

Peeps in her bubbies and her eyes,

And kisses both, and tries–and tries.

The evening in this hellish play,

Beside his guineas, thrown away,

Provoked the priest to that degree,

He swore, “The fault is not [in] me.

Your damned close-stool so near my nose,

Your dirty smock, and stinking toes

Would make a Hercules as tame

As any beau that you can name.”

The nymph, grown furious, roared, “By God!

The blame lies all in sixty-odd,”

And, scornfully pointing to the door,           80

Cried, “Fumbler, see my face no more.”

“With all my heart I’ll go away,

But nothing, I’ll nothing pay.

Give back the money.”–“How,” cried she,

“Would you palm such a cheat on me!

I locked it in the trunk stands there

And break it open if you dare.

For poor 4 pound to roar and bellow,

Why sure you want some new prunella?

What, if your verses have not sold,

Must therefore I return your gold?

Perhaps you have no better luck in

The knack of rhyming than of——.

I won’t give back one single crown,

To wash your band or turn your gown.

I’ll be revenged, you saucy queen,”

Replies the disappointed Dean;

“I’ll so describe your dressing room

The very Irish shall not come.”

She answered short, “I’m glad you’ll write;

You’ll furnish paper when I shite.”

Meanwhile, on Facebook, SS shared another video from Inside Amy Schumer of the song “Girl, You Don’t Need Makeup:”

And (a different) SS shared “Women, Sort Yourself Out” from Mitchell and Webb:

In conclusion… the more things change…

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Swipes #49: Thorny Situations

This gallery contains 2 photos.

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Swipes #48: History repeats itself repeatedly

Some political cartoonists have drawn parallels to the (not that there is only one homogenous) American Indian experience:


Victor Gillam, “Speaking from experience. (Through Professor Macaroni’s wireless telegraphy) – American Indian (to Filipino) – ‘Be good, or you will be dead!’” Judge. Circa 1899. As seen in The Forbidden Book: The Philippine-American War in Political Cartoons.


“PROPHETIC — Big Injun: ‘I see Your Finish.’” Walker, LIFE, 1899, as seen in The Forbidden Book: The Philippine-American War in Political Cartoons.


Thomas Nast. “Every Dog (No Distinction of Color) Has Its Day,” Harper’s Weekly. 8 February 1879.

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Stanford University Field Trip

Recently saw two exhibits at Stanford University:

From ‘Curios’ to Ambassadors: Changing Roles of the Daggett Collection from Tribes of the Lower Klamath River” at the Stanford Archeology Center

Red Horse: Drawings of the Battle of the Little Bighorn” at the Cantor Arts Center

Didn’t take any pictures of the drawings, as no photography was allowed, but I did get some photos of banal colonialism in action at the nearby train station…


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If you find yourself in Chicago this month…

I’ll be giving two talks at the Newberry Library:

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The first will be at the 19 May 2016 Chicago Map Society Meeting at the Newberry Library: “‘Peoples of the Edge:’ Map Cartoons of Newfoundland, 1948-1949.”

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The second will be at the 20 May 2016 Newberry Seminar in American Art and Visual Culture Seminar: “Islands in the Inset: Representations of the Territory of Hawai’i in Carto-Caricatures (Map Cartoons), 1893-2011.”

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Rich Thoughts

“…the repetitious cycles of laundry, the night-wakings, the interrupted moments of peace or engagement with ideas, the ludicrous dinner parties at which young wives, some with advanced degrees, all seriously and intelligently dedicated to their children’s and their husband’s careers, attempted to reproduce the amenities of Brahman Boston, amid French recipes and the pretense of effortlessness…. I did not then understand that we–the women of that academic community… were expected to fill both the part of the Victorian Lady of Leisure, the Angel in the House, and also the Victorian cook, scullery maid, laundress, governess, and nurse. I only sensed that there were false distractions sucking at me, and I wanted desperately to strip my life down to what was essential.” – Adrienne Rich in Mother Reader: Essential Literature on Motherhood

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Zines & Comics

It’s been a while, apologies, etc.

Two things to share:

The Grand Newsstand is an awesome little kiosk selling zines on Market Street in San Francisco. If you are ever in the city, you should definitely check it out.

Bitch Planet is an amazing comic book series. A friend sent me one issue as a joke, but it is a very compelling universe with thought-provoking stories and character development. Definitely recommend.

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Thanksgiving Post

It’s a nice one – go check it out. :-)

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A Lament on Academic Spec Work: * Cry Cry *

Here is a piecemeal rant about the unpaid nature of so much (all?) academic work. (Here I am referring to the Humanities as I know it, though I am well aware that science is full of its own never-ending-post-doc-fueled nightmare job/less scenarios.)
A friend, HH, recently sent along a great comic about asking for free or “spec” work:
(Excerpt respectfully linked back to Maki Naro’s full piece, “What Happens When You Ask a Cartoonist for Free Work?” from 17 August 2015.)
The email immediately following hers in my inbox was from a list-serv and included the following call for — perhaps you guessed? — academic spec work:
I removed the name of the society because it’s not particularly relevant. This kind of call for submissions, blog posts, and other forms of academic labo(u)r go out All. The. Time. but nobody has made a great comic explaining why this is a crappity crap method of exploiting intellectual work.
The FAQ at reads, in part:

What is spec work?

Basically, spec work is any kind of creative work rendered and submitted, either partial or completed, by designers to prospective clients before taking steps to secure both their work and equitable fees. Under these conditions, designers will often be asked to submit work under the guise of either a contest or an entry exam on actual, existing jobs as a “test” of their skill. In addition, the designers normally unwittingly lose all rights to their creative work because they failed to protect themselves by means of a contract or agreement. […]

Why is spec work unethical?

The designers in essence work free of charge and with an often falsely advertised, overinflated promise for future employment; or are given other insufficient forms of compensation. Usually these glorified prizes or “carrots” appear tantalising for creative communicators just starting out, ending with encouraging examples like “good for your portfolio” or “gain recognition.”

Their questions regarding the pursuit of unpaid labo(u)r fit academia quite well with only a few tweaks (underlined – changed from artists and visual creativity to academics and written expression):
  • Will I equitably pay a researcher for the work rendered as if they were hired under contract to do the same thing?
  • Will I negotiate proper compensation for the usage rights commensurate to the scholar’s level of skill?
  • Will I return the working files and usage rights to all submitted writing?
In conclusion… maybe all academic work is spec work. I say this not only because of the competition mentioned above from some academic history society, but because a scholarly CV (or at least a so-called “good” scholarly CV) includes lots and lots of unpaid writing. Better yet, it sometimes includes your writing that you have to pay to see.
I don’t even have access to an article that I wrote!
TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) is now BPW;DR (behind pay wall; didn’t read)
Laments about graduate work are prolific and painful. As commentator EC so succinctly and articulately wrote:
grad fuI’ve pointed this out elsewhere, but it is hilarious when schools post positions for adjunct instructors to teach courses on Social Justice.
come on
Are you kidding me? You’ve got to be kidding me. Even the Jesuits are doing this! Come on!
Plenty more ranting on the topic of unpaid academic labo(u)r as spec work is possible, and likely necessary, but perhaps scratching the surface here will help others be a bit more aware of the issue and–perhaps–encourage some pushback to the many list servs, calls for papers, employment hopportunities (where you have to hop to it with little or no compensation), and journal submission processes that favo(u)r those who are unpaid and otherwise ill-served by the practice of spec work.
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Everything you never wanted to know about parenting

This is a deviation from the regularly scheduled programing about map-related research, but I did promise tangents in the blog byline… We will return to our regularly scheduled programming sometime – likely after this tiny mammal in my house turns 18 and heads off to McGill.

Having now read every book available in the English language on infants, I can tell you that only one of two anecdotes will emerge from any attempt made by any parents to do anything:

(1) We tried this one trick and now our baby sleeps 13 hours at night with two 3 hour naps during the day! Also does math! And light housework!

(2) I nursed him on demand around the clock and now his spouse is ambivalent about bedsharing with the mother-in-law 32 years later.

Some other great excerpts:

  • “Don’t allow your bedtime routine to last more than 45 minutes.” (WHAT HAPPENS AT MINUTE 46?!?! I’ll just assume that everyone spontaneously combusts.)
  • “You have to use sunscreen!!!!”
  • “Never ever ever, under any circumstances, use sunscreen. Your baby has a Vitamin D deficiency. I can tell, from looking out of the page.”
  • “Duct tape your baby into the crib.”
  • “Never even consider using a baby cage or anything other than organic free-range duct tape, you monster!”
  • “If you don’t let your baby cry it out for 10 hours, they will never learn to self-soothe.”
  • “If you let your baby cry it out for 10 minutes, you will give them PTSD.”
  • “Whatever you do, be consistent!”
  • “Try different approaches until you find one that works.”
  • “Your baby is too young to sleep 8 hours straight.”
  • “Your baby is too old not to be sleeping 6 hours straight.”
  • “You’ve given that baby a sleep disorder. Just give up now before you ruin things further.”
  • “One time, this one thing happened when a baby was 2 weeks old, and that baby grew up to be Prime Minister / a serial killer / a star athlete / a master chess player / a real creep / way too into Star Wars. Can’t possibly be a correlation! Must be a causal link.” (Pediatricians are especially great at drawing these types of data-based conclusions.)
  • “Breastfed babies have an IQ 1000 times higher than formula-fed babies.” (The pediatrician who actually said this to me clearly wasn’t too familiar with the IQ scale, which only goes to 11.)
  • “Formula-fed babies are 1000 times faster and wittier than breastfed babies.” (Omigod, why are people so invested in policing other people’s decisions!? Babies Need To Eat. Full stop. Unless you are feeding them thumbtacks, you are probably doing the right thing. If your pediatrician recommends feeding them thumbtacks, maybe you should think about finding a new one. Don’t take my advice – I am just thinking out loud over here.)
  • “You shouldn’t read other books about baby parenting because they’re too prescriptive. You should buy MY book though because it is in no way prescriptive as long as you follow these 8254 easy steps to cultivating a happy, healthy, non-mutant child.” (What’s with the mutant shaming?!)
  • “Night nursing will give your baby cavities.”
  • “Anyone who says that night nursing will give your baby cavities is a lying piece of sh*t and you should burn their house down.”

So, basically, as long as you always/never do everything/nothing, you should be fine/everything will be terrible.

All these “experts” drive me up the wall. Remember, “expert” is just another word for “@$$hole with a book deal.” Don’t even get me started on blogs and Facebook groups on any remotely parenting-related topic. People with keyboards are just @$$holes with keyboards. #mommywars

Lots of the books are written by pediatricians with x years of experience and x number of children (usually a different x-value). I find their appeals to the authority of “I am a pediatrician and parent” particularly galling because I don’t know your kids! For all I know, they are tiny terrorists! Why would I take advice from you, rando?!

On the other hand, when I call my aunt with four kids or friend who’s an OB, I appreciate and respect their anecdata because I know those kids are nice or that our friend wouldn’t give us wantonly terrible information. Thanks for all that, friends.

The most important things people have told me that I would like to highlight thus far (what are we, 100-odd days in? Expertise-sharing time!) in the parenting process are:

TRUST. Trust yourself. Trust your baby. Trust your instincts.

When I first read advice to “Trust your instincts,” I was like “WHAT INSTINCTS?! I DON’T HAVE ANY INSTINCTS!” Yes, yes, you do. Any parent who is paying half a percent of attention has instincts.

Not “I can anticipate my child’s every want and need because we are psychically linked” instincts (which is kind of what I thought I was supposed to be doing / feeling), but “Hey, he’s getting squirrely, it’s been a while since he napped, and every other status marker (food, diaper, etc.) is dealt with, so he must need a nap again” instincts.

You know stuff. Follow your heart. Do the stuff.

CONFIDENCE. This ties in to trust yourself. You don’t have to listen to anybody else. Yeah, your kid might not wind up going to McGill, but that won’t be because you swaddled her or let her cry for thirty seconds. It will be because you DIDN’T BREASTFEED or DIDN’T FORMULA FEED (whichever one you are doing is the wrong one, unless you are doing both, in which case you are twice as wrong).

All families are different and all babies are different. Unless your baby is the 50th percentile of ALL THE THINGS, and generally very middle of the road (and even if they are!), then some things will and won’t work (or even fit) for you and your baby at different times (swaddles, swings, newborn size onesies, whatever!).

As one friend told me, as long as you take all of the knives out of the crib, you’re doing okay.

Remember, the charlatans selling books on infant sleep aren’t real prophets–they are preying on your sleep-deprived self and auto-filled credit card information. After all, Jesus wasn’t a Bible salesman.

SUPPORT. SO MANY of these stupid, stupid, stupid child rearing / sleep training books are like “Well you really want to kid out of your bed so your partner can stop sleeping on the couch. Your partner has needs, too, you know!” ‘You gotta put that baby down for naps so you have time to clean the house and make dinner.” “You are a failure as a human being and a terrible wife / mother / doormat.”


What has been helpful is the amount of support we have gotten from family, friends, and, yes, hired help (let’s give a big woohoo for postpartum doulas!). Living far from family with a new baby is hard, but we have had so many great visits from helpful family members and friends, we have great local friends supporting us, and we have a postpartum doula. Plus we have each other, which while a very wishy washy thing to point out, is apparently not the case for 99% of parenting book writers.

If your family suuuucks, then I am sorry, but hopefully you can hire help! If not, ask around your church or join an online support group or, last ditch scenario, call the fire department.

CONSISTENCY. Babies literally just got here. They have no idea what’s going on. Bed time might sound a little post-Industrial Revolution, but having a consistent routine (versus maybe an EXACT schedule) seems like it can really help babies (and probably kids, but who knows anything?! no one).

Adults dig rituals, too, if you think about it. Wake up, have a coffee. Get to work, check Facebook. Patterns, habits, whatever you want to call it, seem to be a thing for which humans have an affinity.

Considering that your tiny mammal is going to grow 10-40 times their size by the time they’re done baking (assuming a 10 lb baby who grows up to be 100 lbs or a 5 lb baby who grows up to be 200 lbs), their bodies are changing every minute of every single day, so knowing that you will read them a story and then put them to bed can be one thing that kind of barely helps them hold it together during the otherwise traumatic experience of LIFE.

If you are INCONSISTENT one day, that is okay, too. Cut yourself some slack. Everybody is like “no has to mean no, don’t even give in once!” and that is very good advice, but if you can’t follow it every second of every day, it’s okay. Tomorrow is another day. You have time to straighten things out and if something’s not working, you can always try something else! I mean, maybe my kid is going to be pretty messed up, so don’t trust me – just trust yourself and don’t feel bad unless it makes you feel good to do so (which seems like it might be oxymoronic, but you do you).

PATIENCE. Babies don’t always care that you’re being consistent. They have youth, adorableness, and surprising pinching strength on their side, but you have the greatest tool in the parenting arsenal: patience. You can just wait for them to accept things (putting them in a car seat, taking them out of the bath, going to sleep).

You can help and encourage them to accept things (doing homework, eating vegetables), but waiting it out can work just because you have an iPad with a backlog of Dr. Who episodes and they don’t. (Unless you gave the baby an iPad in which case see “they are never getting into McGill,” above.)

That’s it. The five easy (or not so easy) tips that I’ve culled from family, friends, and an array of stupid, stupid, stupid parenting books.

May the wind be always at your back, etc.

Go forth and kick ass.

Special thanks to EM, TM, RY, EC, KP, LK, JKZ, TP, and all the other great parenting role models out their for their support, hilarious text messages, and frequent delivery of burritos.

Please send more burritos.


Here’s a great link from JH: “New Parenting Study Released” by Sarah Miller, 24 March 2014, The New Yorker.

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