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Avant-Garde in a Different Key: Karl Kraus’s The Last Days of Mankind

Act 1, scene 1. "The stage directions read, “Vienna. The Ringstrasse promenade at Sirk Corner. Flags wave from the buildings. Soldiers marching by are cheered by the onlookers. General excitement. The crowd breaks up into small groups.”[2] The newsboys with their “Extra Extra,” announcing the outbreak of war, are interrupted by a drunk demonstrator who shouts “Down with Serbia! Hurrah for the Hapsburgs! Hurrah! For S-e-r-bia!” and is immediately kicked in the pants for his mistake (LTM, p. 69). A crook and a prostitute exchange insults, even as two army contractors, talking of possible bribes the rich will use to avoid the draft, cite Bismarck’s words, in Neue Freie Presse (Vienna’s major newspaper at the time of the assassination of the archduke in Serbia), to the effect that the Austrians deserve kissing. One officer tells another that war is “unanwendbar” (of no use) when he really means, as his friend points out, “unabwendbar” (unavoidable) (LTM, pp. 70–71). A patriotic citizen praises the coming conflict as a holy war of defense against “encirclement” by hostile forces, and the crowd responds by making up rhymes (in Viennese dialect) denigrating the enemy (LTM, p. 72)." [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jun 10, 2014 - 9 comments

Knowledge as Politics by Other Means: An Interview with Wael Hallaq

Throughout the last three decades, Wael Hallaq has emerged as one of the leading scholars of Islamic law in Western academia. He has made major contributions not only to the study of the theory and practice of Islamic law, but to the development of a methodology through which Islamic scholars have been able to confront challenges facing the Islamic legal tradition. Hallaq is thus uniquely placed to address broader questions concerning the moral and intellectual foundations of competing modern projects. With his most recent work, The Impossible State, Hallaq lays bare the power dynamics and political processes at the root of phenomena that are otherwise often examined purely through the lens of the legal. In this interview, the first of a two-part series with him, Hallaq expands upon some of the implications of those arguments and the challenges they pose for the future of intellectual engagements across various traditions. In particular, he addresses the failure of Western intellectuals to engage with scholars in Islamic societies as well as the intellectual and structural challenges facing Muslim scholars. Hallaq also critiques the underlying hegemonic project of Western liberalism and the uncritical adoption of it by some Muslim thinkers. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jun 9, 2014 - 6 comments

For them, every valley and desert was home.

Travel was always desirable to them / And they visited every continent … They considered travel and homeland synonymous / For them, every valley and desert was home. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jun 8, 2014 - 7 comments

Project Mogul

You may have heard how sounds travel farther during a temperature inversion, when air near the ground is cooler than the air above. But do you know how this phenomenon is related to the 1947 UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico? [more inside]
posted by mbrubeck on Jun 8, 2014 - 14 comments

German Rocket Cats: A Meditation

On March 5th, the Associated Press asked: “What are seemingly jet-propelled cats and birds doing in a 16th century German artillery manual?” It was a good question. [...] European History People sent burning pigs stampeding toward their neighbors regularly and would put a rooster on trial for real actually with a lawyer and everything if someone said it laid an egg without a yolk. If someone like that was soberly strapping a rocket to a cat and you interrupted them in their cat-to-rocket-strapping-room they’d look up like “Yeah?” and they would have this big pinky white person expression on their face like it wasn’t even a little bit weird. [more inside]
posted by 23 on Jun 6, 2014 - 34 comments

70ème anniversaire de la libération de Paris

50 photos de la Libération de Paris se fondent dans le présent. [Via] [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Jun 6, 2014 - 16 comments

“Rangers, Lead The Way!”

Experience D-Day like your grandparents did, if they weren't in the military on June 6, 1944. Archive.org has the the complete D-Day broadcast from CBS radio.
posted by COD on Jun 6, 2014 - 31 comments

"Let's go get 'em, boys," he said, arming himself with a fungo bat....

The 1974 Cleveland Indians baseball team "were a smorgasbord of mediocre and forgettable talent playing in an open-air mausoleum" where 85% of the seats at home games went unsold. So the Indians tried to drum up business with a "10-Cent Beer Night" promotion. What could possibly go wrong? The final tally, 40 years ago this evening: 25,134 fans in attendance. 60,000 Genesee beers at 10¢ each. 50 cops. 19 streakers. 7 emergency room injuries. 9 arrests. 2 bare moons. 2 bouncing breasts and 1 sportswriter, punched in the jaw. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 4, 2014 - 28 comments

Vroom aww

My Mom's Motorcycle "This is a short film about how my mom became the owner of a motorcycle ... more deeply it is about how people use objects to connect with times, ideas, and people."
posted by pwally on Jun 4, 2014 - 9 comments

"You Crazy Bastards. What Have You Done? Now I Have To Rebuild!"

In 2003, Andy "waxpancake" Baio created Upcoming, "a collaborative event calendar focused on interesting arts and tech events around the world, curated by its community. It surfaced weird and wonderful events that usually fell under the radar of traditional event listings from newspapers and local weeklies." In 2005, it was acquired by Yahoo!, who killed the site last April with little warning, and no way to back up events. Fortunately, the complete site was saved by the Internet Archive. But Upcoming isn't dead yet! Two months ago, Yahoo! offered to sell the domain back to Baio. And now, with a fully-funded kickstarter, he's planning on "rebuilding it for the modern era using tools and platforms that weren't available when it was first designed." Welcome to the brilliant life, stupid death, and improbable return of Upcoming.org. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 3, 2014 - 22 comments

Bread riots were as rare as the prized Semper Augustus tulip

The Austerity Kitchen (previously) on the Dutch abundance of the 17th Century
posted by The Whelk on May 31, 2014 - 7 comments

The Hidden Paintings of Angkor Wat

Hidden Paintings Revealed at Ancient Temple of Angkor Wat. "New, digitally enhanced images reveal detailed murals at Angkor Wat showing elephants, deities, boats, orchestral ensembles and people riding horses — all invisible to the naked eye." [Via]
posted by homunculus on May 29, 2014 - 7 comments

Ambassadors from Mars

The strange, tragic story of the Brothers Muse. The sideshow called them Eko and Iko, cannibal savages from Borneo, sheep-headed men, ambassadors from Mars, highlighting their signature white dreadlocks in every poster. In reality, they were George and Willie Muse, taken from their parents in 1899 in rural Roanoke, Virginia by bounty hunters working for sideshow producers fascinated by their albinism. [more inside]
posted by Gucky on May 29, 2014 - 7 comments

A painting, a smile, a director. Dido Elizabeth Belle; Amma Asante

The enigma of Mona Lisa's smile? Who cares? The mystery of Dido Belle is much more intriguing. The double portrait Dido Elizabeth Belle and Lady Elizabeth Murray, once attributed to Johann Zoffany and now hanging in Scone Palace in Perth, depicts two elegant 18th-century women in silks and pearls at Kenwood House in London. Beyond them, you can just glimpse St Paul's and the rest of the Georgian cityscape. Nothing unusual about any of that, but for one detail – Dido is mixed race. Belle is about slavery and follows on the heels of Steve McQueen's Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave. An impossible act to follow, you might suppose. Yet the two films could hardly be more different. "I wouldn't want audiences to come to Belle and think they were about to see '12 Years a Slave Mark 2'," Asante says. Based in Britain and rooted in fact, Belle is an extraordinary story, she tells me: Dido Elizabeth Belle (1761-1804) was the daughter of John Lindsay, a British admiral, and an African slave. She grew up in Kenwood House, Hampstead, under the guardianship of Lord Chief Justice Mansfield. One delicately speculative Guardian article about a painting and its context leads to a fascinating portait of a Ghanaian/British filmmaker and the circumstances that formed her. Asante has always had an "extra eye" and sees herself as an insider and outsider (all directors, she believes, need to be emotionally ambidextrous).
posted by glasseyes on May 28, 2014 - 12 comments

"on the lands recently abandoned by rebel leaders"

To enforce his orders—and to make Arlington uninhabitable for the Lees—Meigs evicted officers from the mansion, installed a military chaplain and a loyal lieutenant to oversee cemetery operations, and proceeded with new burials, encircling Mrs. Lee's garden with the tombstones of prominent Union officers. The first of these was Capt. Albert H. Packard of the 31st Maine Infantry. Shot in the head during the Battle of the Second Wilderness, Packard had miraculously survived his journey from the Virginia front to Washington's Columbian College Hospital, only to die there. On May 17, 1864, he was laid to rest where Mary Lee had enjoyed reading in warm weather, surrounded by the scent of honeysuckle and jasmine. By the end of 1864, some 40 officers' graves had joined his.
So what's more fitting after Memorial Weekend to read about than how the US government took over Robert E. Lee's very own mansion and turned it into the nation's foremost military cemetery to honour the Union's war death?
posted by MartinWisse on May 27, 2014 - 168 comments

One plus one is equal to two - calculus in text is left as an excercise

I was surprised to learn that few people knew that almost all maths was written rhetorically before the 16th century, often in metered poetry. Even our wonderful symbol for equality – you know, those two parallel lines – was not used in print before 1575.
posted by sammyo on May 24, 2014 - 39 comments

The Songs of Summer

To kick off (in the U.S.) the long Memorial Day weekend (traditionally the unofficial start of summer!) the Boston Globe presents an interactive chart of iconic songs of summer from each of the last 100 years! No word yet on the 2014 earworm to be.
posted by Curious Artificer on May 24, 2014 - 60 comments

“Where do left and right meet? At the truth.”

Politically Incorrect was an American late-night, half-hour political talk show hosted by Bill Maher that ran from 1993 to 2002, first on Comedy Central and then on ABC. Four guests (usually including at least one comedian) would debate topics across the political spectrum in what Maher once described as “The McLaughlin Group on acid.” Of the 1300+ episodes produced, 190 can be viewed on YouTube. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 23, 2014 - 66 comments

Illustration Is Story-Telling

Longtime veteran courtroom sketch artist Gary Myrick gives us a look inside his profession.
posted by gman on May 22, 2014 - 5 comments

"By our unpaid labor and suffering..."

"To celebrate freedom and democracy while forgetting America’s origins in a slavery economy is patriotism à la carte." Slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation both de jure and de facto--Ta-Nehisi Coates on The Case for Reparations.
posted by ilicet on May 21, 2014 - 153 comments

Thug: A Life of Caravaggio in Sixty-Nine Paragraphs

Thug: A Life of Caravaggio in Sixty-Nine Paragraphs
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse on May 20, 2014 - 14 comments

The Brewstorian

"With over 200 breweries, Oregon is often considered the craft beer capital of America. Beer geeks and casual drinkers across the country can also thank the state’s farmers for their brews: hops, the essential ingredient that gives beer its bitter flavor, is a rare crop throughout the U.S. but not in Oregon. Last year, Oregon State University established the Oregon Hops & Brewing Archives (OHBA), the first archive in the U.S., dedicated to preserving and telling the intertwined story of hop and beer production and the craft brewing movement. They're posting materials from their collection to Tumblr, Flickr and Zotero.
posted by zarq on May 20, 2014 - 31 comments

Perhaps Wikipedia is the ideal venue

I call on historians to dedicate their precious few hours of spare time to improving Wikipedia; as an incentive, I call on ­administrators to integrate Wikipedia contributions into the publication requirements for tenure.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on May 17, 2014 - 71 comments

Within Sight And Gunshot

This indignant map exposes the seamy underbelly of 1890s Washington, D.C., naming and locating “saloons” and “bawdy-houses” in the so-called Murder Bay neighborhood, located east of the White House. The Library of Congress, which holds the map, tells us that it’s a newspaper clipping from the 1890s, without a known author or publisher. (Slate.com)
posted by The Whelk on May 15, 2014 - 14 comments

You scream, I scream, we all scream...

The song "Turkey In The Straw" is one known to millions of Americans as well as many, many others around the world. Here's a National Public Radio article that shines some light on the virulently racist lyrics that attended that familiar old melody in its earlier incarnation. WARNING: Do not go to the link if you wish to avoid racist imagery and slurs.
posted by flapjax at midnite on May 14, 2014 - 117 comments

The Santa Maria found?

"More than five centuries after Christopher Columbus’s flagship, the Santa Maria, was wrecked in the Caribbean, archaeological investigators think they may have discovered the vessel’s long-lost remains – lying at the bottom of the sea off the north coast of Haiti."
posted by brundlefly on May 13, 2014 - 61 comments

"This Phineas was proud, well-dressed, and disarmingly handsome."

On Sept. 13, 1848, at around 4:30 p.m., the time of day when the mind might start wandering, a railroad foreman named Phineas Gage filled a drill hole with gunpowder and turned his head to check on his men. It was the last normal moment of his life. Other victims in the annals of medicine are almost always referred to by initials or pseudonyms. Not Gage: His is the most famous name in neuroscience. How ironic, then, that we know so little else about the man—and that much of what we think we know, especially about his life unraveling after his accident, is probably bunk.
Phineas Gage, Neuroscience’s Most Famous Patient by Sam Kean.
posted by Kattullus on May 13, 2014 - 36 comments

Long Player

Long Player is a fortnightly show presented by [British music journalist] Pete Paphides. Conducted in a relaxed setting, these interviews see some of Petes favourite artists revisiting the highs and lows of their careers. Interviewees include Allen Toussaint, Linda Thompson, Neil Finn and Jimmy Webb. [more inside]
posted by jack_mo on May 11, 2014 - 7 comments

The Evolution of London, mapped through its roadways

In seven minutes, you can see the evolution of London, as seen in its road network, from the Roman port city of Londonium through the Anglo-Saxon, Tudor, Stuart, Early Georgian and Late Georgian, Early Victorian and Late Victorian, Early 20th Century and Postwar London, set to the scale of the 600 square miles of modern London, though the original city core is a very dense square mile. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 10, 2014 - 15 comments

Dragons are totally real tho

The uncommonly well-moderated and researched Ask Historians subreddit answers the question: What common medieval fantasy tropes have little-to-no basis in real medieval European history?
posted by The Whelk on May 8, 2014 - 54 comments

By 1909, the hatpin was considered an international threat

In March 1910, Chicago’s city council ran with that idea, debating an ordinance that would ban hatpins longer than nine inches; any woman caught in violation would be arrested and fined $50. The proceedings were packed with curious spectators, men and women, and acrimonious from the start. “If women care to wear carrots and roosters on their heads, that is a matter for their own concern, but when it comes to wearing swords they must be stopped,” a supporter said. Cries of “Bravo!” from the men; hisses from the women. Nan Davis, there to represent several women’s clubs, asked for permission to address the committee. “If the men of Chicago want to take the hatpins away from us, let them make the streets safe,” she said. “No man has a right to tell me how I shall dress and what I shall wear.” [more inside]
posted by JujuB on May 8, 2014 - 50 comments

A maze of twisty little borders, all alike

The world's most complex borders. Bonus: a closer look at Baarle, the Belgian Dutch Belgian enclave in the south of the Netherlands.
posted by MartinWisse on May 6, 2014 - 29 comments

40 Maps of the Middle East

Forty maps that explain the Middle East. Includes sections on Middle East history, the region today, Israel-Palestine, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and oil, Iraq and Libya, and "points of light." [more inside]
posted by Halloween Jack on May 6, 2014 - 8 comments

"What Girls Are Good For"

Today is the 150th birthday of Elizabeth Jane Seaman, née Cochran -- best known by her pen name Nellie Bly. She is perhaps most famous for her re-creation of Jules Verne's epic Around the World in 80 Days, but this real-life Phileas Fogg did it in a record-breaking 72 days, 6 hours, and 11 minutes, and wrote a book about her adventure. She was a pioneering investigative journalist, brave enough to get herself committed to an insane asylum to expose its practices, which resulted in the book Ten Days in a Mad-House. As she wrote, "I was too impatient to work at the usual duties assigned women on newspapers." [more inside]
posted by Celsius1414 on May 5, 2014 - 26 comments

playful technologies can help students understand how history is created

Pastplay: Teaching and Learning History with Technology. The fourth book from the digitalculturebooks imprint of the University of Michigan Press, Pastplay includes a wide range of essays, all available online for free. T. Mills Kelly reflects on his historical methods course which resulted in a historical hoax, “the last American pirate,” declared one of the 10 biggest hoaxes in Wikipedia’s first ten years. Matthew Kirschenbaum discusses if board games work better than computer games for teaching history. The book's chapters cover successful combinations of play, technology, and history. Yet, many are wary, as a "playful approach to teaching and learning with technology can seem like the worst of all possible worlds: the coupling of strategies developed for entertainment with tools created for commerce." [more inside]
posted by spamandkimchi on May 4, 2014 - 17 comments

Spy satellite images reveal Middle Eastern archaelogical sites

The Corona Atlas of the Middle East uses spy satellite imagery to reveal as many as 10,000 previously unknown archaeological sites.
posted by MoonOrb on May 3, 2014 - 8 comments

Does telling history honestly justify resurrecting human zoos?

As part of the bicentennial celebrations of the constitution of Norway, two artists are recreating the "human zoo" featured at the 1914 Oslo World Fair. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on May 2, 2014 - 22 comments

The devourer and the devoured

"Nobody would believe how difficult it is to be the mother of a Wunderkind. Everything I do is wrong; everything the child does is “for effect”; everything we say is utterly untrue. If Vivien runs up to me and kisses me, I hear it murmured that she is trained to do so. (“Whipped to be affectionate in public!”) So I tell her never to do it again. Immediately people remark how cold I am to the child; how the poor little creature evidently fears me and prefers Fräulein Muller. We take her with her hoop and skipping-rope to play in the park? It is said we make her pretend to be infantine, force her to act the “happy child” when people are looking on! So we take her toys from her and conduct her for prim walks between us. “Poor little unnatural creature!” say our friends: “she has no child-life at all.” The Devourer and the Devoured is a long essay by Emily Hogstad about the intertwined lives of the novelist Annie Vivanti and her daughter Vivien Chartres, a world-famous violin prodigy, at the beginning of the twentieth century.
posted by escabeche on Apr 29, 2014 - 16 comments

Her Majesty's High Court of Chivalry of England and Wales

In England coats of arms and other issues of heraldry are registered and administered by the College of Arms. But what if some base scoundrel displays your family's ancient and noble coat of arms without the right to do so? You sue them in the Court of Chivalry. [more inside]
posted by jedicus on Apr 27, 2014 - 21 comments

Photographs of some historical & archeological artifacts

Michael Faraday's chemical chest, 19th century.
The end of Darwin's walking stick.
Galileo’s original telescope.
Napoleon’s toothbrush, c 1795 (with engraved "N“ at bottom).
Carved Olive Pit, China (1737).
Throne of Charlemagne (790). Until 1531, it served as the coronation throne the Kings of Germany, being used at a total of thirty-one coronations.
Ishtar Gate, ca 575 BC. Built on the orders of Nebuchadnezzar II, it was a gate to the inner city of Babylon.
Tolkien's service weapon from WWI.
Breastplate, North Peru - A.D. 1000/1470. [more inside]
posted by growabrain on Apr 27, 2014 - 33 comments

Lionpower!

In 1967, you needed the best filmed entertainment humanity could produce, it was important.
posted by vrakatar on Apr 26, 2014 - 26 comments

American Museum of Natural Unlocks 1000's Of Old Photos

The American Museum of Natural History will unlock thousands of old photos from their vault, they announced this week. The new online image database (officially launching on Monday the 28th) will take you behind the curtain, delivering images that span the 145-year history of the Museum. The collection features over 7,000 images—many never before seen by the public—and includes photos, rare book illustrations, drawings, notes, letters, art, and Museum memorabilia. They say "it’s like stepping into a time machine and seeing a long ago NYC or just catching glimpses of ghosts from a forgotten world now seen only by researchers and Museum staff." Previously. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Apr 24, 2014 - 6 comments

Anyone can see the road that they walk on is paved in gold

The 1998 hit "The Way" by Fastball was based on the real-life disappearance of an elderly couple in Texas: The song’s lyrics -- about an elderly couple who disappears from their home, finding immortality on the road -- seem sweet. That is, until "shadows" on the highway are referenced. The promises that the unnamed couple will never go home, grow old, or be hungry again seem a great deal less reassuring. Perhaps, the listener thinks, the "immortality" they found on the open road is purely allegorical.
posted by Cash4Lead on Apr 24, 2014 - 33 comments

How Hip-Hop Failed Black America

The Root's ?uestlove on the invisibilizing of Black culture... "...you can point to this as proof of hip-hop’s success. The concept travels. But where has it traveled? The danger is that it has drifted into oblivion. The music originally evolved to paint portraits of real people and handle real problems at close range — social contract, anyone? — but these days, hip-hop mainly rearranges symbolic freight on the black starliner. Containers on the container ship are taken from here to there — and never mind the fact that they may be empty containers. Keep on pushin’ and all that, but what are you pushing against?" [more inside]
posted by artof.mulata on Apr 23, 2014 - 32 comments

Mali's Ancient Manuscripts

Bonfire of the Humanities. "Nobody goes to Timbuktu, right? Patrick Symmes did, to discover what happened when jihadi rebels set out to burn one of the world’s finest collections of ancient manuscripts. Bouncing around by truck, boat, and boots, he got an intimate look at West ­Africa’s most mythic locale." [Via] [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Apr 21, 2014 - 12 comments

The Broadway community has always been at the forefront of this issue

If you go to see a Broadway or off-Broadway show this June, the masthead of your Playbill will look a little different; for the first time in its 130 year history, the program, along with their digital properties and social media sites will turn rainbow during the last week of June to commemorate Pride weeks in New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, and other major cities around the world.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Apr 19, 2014 - 4 comments

What's New?

What's New With NCSA Mosaic?
posted by Pope Guilty on Apr 19, 2014 - 33 comments

Rose Rose I Love You

In 1952 Malaya, cabaret dancer Rose Chan's bra snapped on stage. Noticing the enthusiastic response from the audience, she decided to capitalise on this, and transformed herself into Malaysia's first (and so far only) Queen of Striptease. (Many of these links have NSFW pictures) [more inside]
posted by divabat on Apr 18, 2014 - 13 comments

The Hundredth Anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre

Alan Prendergast writing in Westword reflects on the history of "Bloody Ludlow."
posted by audi alteram partem on Apr 18, 2014 - 25 comments

Bottles and ballast stones!

NOAA's Okeanos Explorer (previously 1, 2) is currently exploring the Gulf of Mexico. Today, they're exploring a 19th century shipwreck! Watch the discoveries on three live streams.
posted by mudpuppie on Apr 17, 2014 - 17 comments

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