Anthropological Mash-up

Just a few things I like…

Body Ritual among the Nacirema” by Horace Mann is a good read.

Relatedly, from toothpastefordinner:


As Margaret Atwood writes in The Age of Lead, “An interest in the clothing of the present is frivolity, an interest in the clothing of the past is archaeology…”

Somewhat relatedly, “[Eric John Ernest] Hobsbawm’s interests is the development of traditions. His work is a study of their social construction in the context of the nation state. He argues that many traditions are invented by national elites to justify the existence and importance of their respective nation states.” (From Wikipedia. See also Hobsbawn, Eric and Terence Ranger (eds.). The Invention of Tradition. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press. 1983.)

And, of course, Eva Mackey does a stellar job of interrogating US and Canadian culture(s) and cultural hang-ups on land and territory!

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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

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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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