"The idea that Medieval people drank beer or wine to avoid drinking bad water is so established that even some very serious scholars see no reason to document or defend it; they simply repeat it as a settled truth. In fact, if no one ever documents the idea, it is for a very simple reason: it's not true
posted by jedicus
on Feb 27, 2014 -
In the academic sphere, at least, the "Conflict Thesis" of a historical war between science and theology has been long since overturned. It is very odd that so many of my fellow atheists cling so desperately to a long-dead position that was only ever upheld by amateur Nineteenth Century polemicists and not the careful research of recent, objective, peer-reviewed historians. This is strange behavior for people who like to label themselves "rationalists".
-- The Dark Age Myth: An Atheist Reviews “God’s Philosophers”
posted by Pater Aletheias
on Dec 29, 2013 -
Is Psychometric g a Myth?
- "As an online discussion about IQ or general intelligence grows longer, the probability of someone linking to statistician Cosma Shalizi's essay g, a Statistical Myth
approaches 1. Usually the link is accompanied by an assertion to the effect that Shalizi offers a definitive refutation of the concept of general mental ability, or psychometric g
." [more inside]
posted by kliuless
on Apr 11, 2013 -
"But you have not told us a syllable about the greatest general and greatest ruler of the world.
We want to know something about him. He was a hero. He spoke with a voice of thunder; he laughed like the sunrise and his deeds were strong as the rock and as sweet as the fragrance of roses. The angels appeared to his mother and predicted that the son whom she would conceive would become the greatest the stars had ever seen. He was so great that he even forgave the crimes of his greatest enemies and shook brotherly hands with those who had plotted against his life. His name was Lincoln and the country in which he lived is called America, which is so far away that if a youth should journey to reach it he would be an old man when he arrived..." [more inside]
posted by Iridic
on Apr 4, 2013 -
"The word reclaim came up more than once to describe the rising tide. It is a revealing word, more narrative than simply descriptive: it hints at some larger backstory, some plot twist in a longer saga about our claims and the water’s counterclaims to the earth.… This story was already ancient when it was adapted for the biblical text—which is to say, it records a very old fear. Like all old fears, it has the uncanny feel of a vivid memory. It may be a memory of an actual flood in an actual Sumerian city, Shurrupal, ca 2800 B.C.E. In fact, it may be even older than that."
posted by the mad poster!
on Nov 13, 2012 -
The Mythical Rise of Asian Americans The model minority myth perpetuated by the Pew research is misleading. At its core, it contains a highly objectionable assumption that other minorities do not work hard enough to succeed. In addition, as others have eloquently argued, the topline numbers and statistics hide wide variance within the Asian American community itself. Finally, insistence on holding up Asian Americans’ “success” often serves as an excuse to overlook the very real challenges that they face.
posted by infini
on Jul 31, 2012 -
The myth of English as a global language One would have to say that English, far from being a pure maiden, looks like a woman who has appeared out of some distant fen, had more partners than Moll Flanders, learned a lot in the process, and is now running a house of negotiable affection near an international airport
posted by infini
on May 26, 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 -
Rabbi Rami Shapiro is a self-described holy rascal, with an often sarcastic twitter feed
. His blog, Beyond Religion
, has covered a wide variety of issues, both spiritual and political, from descriptions of God
, the relationship between religion and science
, the reality of Christian law
, and the role of women in Israel
In today's post, he defines and defends the role of myth in religion: “Myth” is not the same as “falsehood.” Myth is a narrative structure used to convey some of the deepest truths we humans can glean. Myths are not believed in but unpacked and lived."
posted by JustKeepSwimming
on Dec 7, 2010 -
Way Down Under The Ground.
's journey through the Underworld has been retold so many times, on stage
, in film
. Tennessee Williams saw it as Orpheus Descending
. Neil Gaiman
took the myth on in the pages
. Today, we have Hadestown
, a new album from Anais Mitchell
. Mitchell recorded "Hades & Persephone" for a previous release
, but Hadestown
is a fully-realized folk opera
, five years in the making
, a collaborative effort featuring contributions from Greg Brown
, Ani Difranco
, The Haden Tripletts
and Justin Vernon (the voice of Bon Iver
). [more inside]
posted by grabbingsand
on Mar 9, 2010 -
What do you mean by the "trauma myth"?
The title refers to the fact that although sexual abuse is usually portrayed by professionals and the media as a traumatic experience for the victims when it happens — meaning frightening, overwhelming, painful — it rarely is. Most victims do not understand they are being victimized, because they are too young to understand sex, the perpetrators are almost always people they know and trust, and violence or penetration rarely occurs. "Confusion" is the most frequently reported word when victims are asked to describe what the experience was like. Confusion is a far cry from trauma.
NYTimes: "Abusing Not Only Children, but Also Science
posted by andoatnp
on Feb 5, 2010 -
CSI Myths: The Shaky Science Behind Forensics
Forensic science was not developed by scientists. It was mostly created by cops, who were guided by little more than common sense. And as hundreds of criminal cases begin to unravel, many established forensic practices are coming under fire.
posted by Pragmatica
on Jul 27, 2009 -
epic poem Idylls of the King,
Lyonesse is the place where the final, epoch-shattering battle between Mordred
and King Arthur
takes place. In the older Arthurian romances, Lyonesse
is the birthplace of Sir Tristan
, and it is supposed to have bordered Cornwall
in the southwest of England. No historical evidence of Lyonnesse has been found, and the academic consensus seems to be that the French author
of the Prose Tristan
got his British geography catastrophically wrong, and that he really meant Lothian in Scotland.
that Lyonesse was a real realm which once reached from the Scilly Islands
to Land´s End.
The people of Penzance
and southwestern Cornwall certainly seem fond of stories about sunken lands
, church bells in the deep
, and drowned forests.
According to family legend
, the ancestor of the local Trevelyan family
was a sole survivor who rode across the causeway to Cornwall as Lyonesse crumbled into the sea behind him.
posted by the_unutterable
on Sep 27, 2008 -
"Women and children
, first," is a familiar cultural refrain, with its popular roots in the gallant sacrifice made by the male contingent aboard the doomed Titanic
. Their sacrifice has inspired poetry
, male social clubs
, and, of course, cinema
. Yet, this sacrifice of near-mythic scale was in some respects a myth
, with survival statistics
skewing well in favor of men of higher social and economic class than children (and, to a lesser extent, women) of lower status.
posted by Blazecock Pileon
on Aug 25, 2008 -
In an intriguing blog entry
the mysterious jasminembla muses about the man in the moon, and his relationship with thorns, linking finally to a most remarkable collection of sourced and footnoted Victorian Moon Lore
authored by a Rev. Timothy Harley, 1885. In the "Man in the Moon
" section, we learn that, indeed, the man in the moon has been traditionally linked with thorns, variously being exiled to the moon for stealing a bundle of brambles, strewing brambles on the path to church to hinder the pious, or cutting wood on the Sabbath, among other infractions - and that this folktale has existed since at least 1157, when an English abbot asks, in Latin, "Do you not know what the people call the rustic in the moon who carries the thorns? Whence one vulgarly speaking says,
"The Rustic in the moon /
Whose burden weighs him down /
This changeless truth reveals /
He profits not who steals."
Furthermore, no less a personage than Shakespeare has mentioned the thorny situation of the poor man in the moon... and most interesting, perhaps, the rather convincing theory that the bramble-burdened man in the moon may very well be an older "Jack" of Jack and Jill fame, who did not steal, but was stolen by the moon, along with his sister. [more inside]
posted by taz
on Jun 26, 2008 -
The Devil's Tramping Ground
is a barren circle in the forest in North Carolina. As a result of nothing having grown within the circle for at least the last hundred years, it has become the subject of some of that state's oldest legends. John Harden, a journalist, newspaper editor and author said of that place "... the story is that the Devil goes there to walk in circles as he thinks up new means of causing trouble for humanity. There sometimes during the dark of night, the Majesty of the Underworld of Evil silently tramps around that bare circle; thinking, plotting, and planning against good, and in behalf of wrong. So far as is known, no person has ever spent the night there to disprove this is what happens."
. No person until you came along and played this neat interactive flash movie
, that is.
posted by Effigy2000
on May 29, 2008 -
: See folk tales, myths and legends from around the world, brought to life by twenty Australian animators.
posted by dhruva
on Jan 2, 2007 -