One of the most intriguing personalities in Southern medical history of the nineteenth century is Dr. Henry Clay Lewis (1825-1850), whose fame rests not on his accomplishments in medicine, but upon his humorous writings published under the pseudonym "Madison Tensas, M.D., the Louisiana Swamp Doctor."
Though Lewis was a practicing doctor, his true identity as the author of the "Southern grotesque
) pieces was not known until after his death
. His works pre-dated the Southern Gothic style
), and are unusual for their time in that "[Lewis] presents his black characters with as much pain and grotesqueness as his white characters, steering away from the time's usual stereotypes
." You can read a longer biography and a summary of his style here
, or just dive in and read his works, which available online in
Odd leaves from the life of a Louisiana "swamp doctor"
, which was also published as
The swamp doctor's adventures in the South-west
(also available with fourteen illustrations
) on Archive.org.
posted by filthy light thief
on Jun 20, 2014 -
Anyone familiar with the contemporary Russian humorous folklore (jokelore, or in Russian anekdoty) knows that one of the most popular series of such jokes revolves around the Chukchis, the native people of Chukotka, the most remote northeast corner of Russia. These jokes, especially popular in 1990s and 2000s, fit the international genre of ethnic stupidity jokes . . .
posted by jason's_planet
on Nov 10, 2012 -
The Onion's great for a witty skewering of current events. But its historical editions, as collected in the book Our Dumb Century
, are a gem all their own, full of razor-sharp satire, trenchant social commentary, period-accurate advertisements, running gags, historical irony, photoshoppery, and even some editorial cartoons for every year of the twentieth century. Luckily for history (and humor) buffs, nearly the whole run of the series is available piecemeal on their website. Click inside for an organized timeline of links to all the front pages from this brilliant work (plus a bonus!). [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Oct 25, 2012 -
A decade on, the Coen brothers' woefully underrated O Brother, Where Art Thou? [alt]
is remembered for a lot of things
: its sun-drenched, sepia-rich cinematography
(a pioneer of digital color grading
), its whimsical humor
, fluid vernacular
, and many subtle references
to Homer's Odyssey
. But one part of its legacy truly stands out: the music
Assembled by T-Bone Burnett
, the soundtrack is a cornucopia of American folk music, exhibiting everything from cheery ballads
and angelic hymns
to wistful blues
and chain-gang anthems
. Woven into the plot of the film through radio and live performances, the songs lent the story a heartfelt, homespun feel
that echoed its cultural heritage, a paean and uchronia of the Old South
Though the multiplatinum album was recently reissued
, the movie's medley is best heard via famed documentarian D. A. Pennebaker
's Down from the Mountain
, an extraordinary
concert film focused on a night of live music by the soundtrack's stars (among them Gillian Welch
, Emmylou Harris
, Chris Thomas King
, bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley
) and wryly hosted by John Hartford
, an accomplished fiddler
, riverboat captain
, and raconteur
whose struggle with terminal cancer made this his last major performance. The film is free in its entirety on Hulu
-- click inside for individual clips, song links, and breakdowns of the set list
's fascinating history. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Dec 22, 2011 -
How Computers Work.
Recently recovered & scanned in by the good folks at BoingBoing, this was an early textbook explaining the fundamental concepts & inner workings of modern computing systems. I believe a slightly different edition of this book was my own introduction to computers when I was in 6th grade or so, which explains a lot about my approach to using them.
posted by scalefree
on Dec 22, 2011 -
is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe
(later The Cartoon History of the Modern World
), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies
) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit
. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn
chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States
, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides
to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment
, and (yes!) Sex
. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention
, assorted math comics
), the Muse magazine
mainstay Kokopelli & Co.
(featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"
), and more
. See also these lengthy interview snippets
, linked previously
. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jun 6, 2011 -
Edward Mike Davis was the owner or Tiger Oil, an oil company operating in Houston during the 1970's. His irascible memos
have been an Internet sensation
for the past few years
Good things are not meant to last forever, and in 1980, Tiger Oil filed bankruptcy. Davis' hatred of people did not confine itself to the office, as this case
shows. Tiger Oil was in litigation in relation to the bankruptcy filing as late as 1989
posted by reenum
on Aug 3, 2010 -
Diseased Pariah News
started in 1990 as "a patently offensive publication of, by, and for people with HIV disease (and their friends and loved ones). We are a forum for infected people to share their thoughts, feelings, art, writing and brownie recipes in an atmosphere free of teddy bears, magic rocks, and seronegative guilt." It ran for 11 issues over the next 9 years, 8 of which can be found here
. (NSFW, irritating interface) [more inside]
posted by GenjiandProust
on May 6, 2010 -
Polio: A Virus’ Struggle
is a Graphic Novella by James Weldon.
When we eradicate a disease, do we ever think about how it may effect the disease?
Learn all about the history of Poliomyelitis, as he tells his story to the group.
posted by vertigo25
on Apr 12, 2009 -
History's greatest replies.
Any attempt to compile history's greatest replies—or history's greatest anything, for that matter—is fraught with difficulty, so it might be more accurate to refer to the replies that follow as simply my all-time favorites.
posted by psmealey
on Mar 3, 2008 -
A man, just back from a trip abroad, went to an incompetent fortune-teller.
He asked about his family, and the fortune-teller replied: "Everyone is fine, especially your father." When the man objected that his father had been dead for ten years, the reply came: "You have no clue who your real father is."--that's one of the jokes from The Laughter Lover (Philogelos),
an ancient Greek joke book published in the 4th or 5th century AD. The New Yorker commented on it, and other old jokes here,
stating about one of the possible authors: ... there is some scholarly speculation that the Hierocles in question was a fifth-century Alexandrian philosopher of that name who was once publicly flogged in Constantinople for paganism, which, as one classicist has observed, “might have given him a taste for mordant wit.”
posted by amberglow
on Jul 10, 2004 -
The recent post that revived the rude ‘Rainbow
’ kids show sketch reminded me of the our (that is, British) obsession with comic double entendre
- the ability to accept the filthiest things as long as there is a parallel innocuous interpretation. I think it is something to do our love for wordplay and subtext, our innate hypocrisy and the belief that sex is, in fact, rather naughty. Perhaps the prime example are the Julian and Sandy
sketches that ran on the BBC Radio show ‘Beyond Our Ken’
from 1964-69. Over Sunday lunch, millions (there was ONLY the BBC in those days) listened to two very camp characters saying outrageous things in Polari
(underground gay slang). A much earlier prime example is the great dirty joke
(it’s the one in blue at the bottom of the page) that got comedian Max Miller (died in 1963) banned from the BBC for 5 years. A more recent case of innuendo is, of course, Mrs. Slocombe’s pussy
. Of course the double entendre
can also be unintentional
posted by rolo
on Feb 27, 2004 -
made me laugh. Why had I never heard of Newman and Baddiel before? (I suppose because I'm American and my English friend hadn't sent me that link until today.) Don't read the transcripts, watch the videos.
posted by boredomjockey
on Feb 19, 2004 -
No, seriously, they score by touching the opponent in the Valid Target Area. The touches are monitored electronically via wires coming out of the fencers' backs, similar to the technology used to control Dan Rather.
-from Dave Barry on Fencing
in the humor
section of Fencing Sucks.
posted by Shane
on Jun 30, 2003 -