The case of the Rabbet Woman (also known as Mary Toft) is a particularly interesting one. Toft, on the advice of an unnamed accomplice, decided to engage in a scam which would enter her into the annals of history: she pretended to give birth to a series of seventeen baby rabbits and three tabby-cat legs, apparently by pushing their dead corpses up her vagina when no one was looking. Over the course of her fraud, she managed to convince many of the leading scientific and medical lights of the day that she was, in fact, giving birth to these rabbits (and three tabby-cat legs), including John Howard
(pdf) (and more
, also pdf), Cyriacus Ahlers
(one of the King's surgeons), Nathaniel St. Andre (Anatomist to the King), Samuel Molyneux, and Sir Richard Manningham, male midwife to the Queen.
Sir Richard Manninghan (Man Midwife!), although originally taken in by the fraud, eventually discovers the truth when a porter admits that he had been going to the market to buy baby rabbits for Toft. His Diary provides a pretty good summary of the case.
When the fraud was discovered, Toft was charged, although the charges were eventually dropped; more lasting were the effects on some of the medical professionals, whose reputations were permanently ruined. You can read a nice summary in A Cabinet of Curiosities
The case of the Rabbet Woman took the English world by storm. Scores of pamphlets--in this case the 18th century equivalent to tabloids--circulated, as the public devoured case depositions, scientific publications, satirical doggerel, and semi-erotic prints of rabbits bursting forth from Toft's nether regions (sanitized prints here
(pay special attention to the comments), previously
) [more inside]
posted by kittenmarlowe
on Dec 9, 2011 -
"Imagine a world where casual and hardcore gamers can enjoy games together? So instead of hardcore gamers pretending to like wii sports just so they can spend xmas with their family they actually prefer it as opposed to just going off and playing the best hardcore games such as Skyrim or Fable3." From the often hilarious fake Twitter account for "Peter Molyneux 2" comes cascore
. Finally, bowling and survival horror come together. [more inside]
posted by jbickers
on Nov 14, 2011 -
For decades Dawn Powell was always just on the verge of ceasing to be a cult and becoming a major religion. But despite the work of such dedicated cultists as Edmund Wilson and Matthew Josephson, John Dos Passos and Ernest Hemingway, Dawn Powell never became the popular writer that she ought to have been. In those days, with a bit of luck, a good writer eventually attracted voluntary readers and became popular. Today, of course, "popular" means bad writing that is widely read while good writing is that which is taught to involuntary readers. Powell failed on both counts. She needs no interpretation and in her lifetime she should have been as widely read as, say, Hemingway or the early Fitzgerald or the mid O'Hara or even the late, far too late, Katherine Anne Porter. But Powell was that unthinkable monster, a witty woman who felt no obligation to make a single, much less a final, down payment on Love or The Family; she saw life with a bright Petronian neutrality, and every host at life's feast was a potential Trimalchio to be sent up.
- Gore Vidal
posted by Trurl
on Nov 12, 2011 -
"I remember back in the '90s, when I first heard about their discovery of cell receptors activated by pathogenic microorganisms. I was in this bar called Alumni Club on Clark Street in Chicago. It's gone now, which is fine because it was terrible. Doesn't matter, I guess, but me and my buddies had just polished off a mound of wings and, like, seven buckets of Corona when this dude comes in blabbing about the critical role dendritic cells play in adaptive immunity. I almost kicked the hell out of him on the spot, but I have to admit the slides he brought made me a believer." Dennis O'Toole uses the Nobel Prize to satirize sports commentary in hilarious fashion
posted by jbickers
on Oct 4, 2011 -
, an art performance in which regular women replicate the poses struck by glamour models in fashion magazines, by Spanish artist Yolanda Dominguez (interview
posted by elgilito
on Sep 3, 2011 -
Over the centuries, the high seas have served as a blank canvas for cartographers’ worst nightmares. They have dotted the oceans with a whole crypto-zoo of island-sized whales, deathly seductive mermaids, giant sea serpents, and many more - a whole panoply of heraldic horrors. As varied as this marine bestiary is, mapmakers have settled on a single, favourite species for land-based beastliness: the octopus.
Bonus: Satire Maps and Fred W. Rose
(YT, 3:32); Fred Rose's Serio-Comic War Map
(YT, 1:52). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Aug 15, 2011 -
(1980) [part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10] was the film which ended Robert Altman’s relationship with Twentieth Century Fox, the studio for whom he had made M*A*S*H. ... During the editing of the film Altman’s main supporter, Alan Ladd Jr., left the studio and release was shelved. Altman distributed the film himself to the festival circuit. ... But it has never been released on VHS, DVD or BluRay and thus remains one of the least seen of Altman’s ouvre. This is unfortunate as it is a very entertaining film, even if it falls short of its ambitions as a political satire.
Ronald Reagan disagreed - calling it "the world's worst movie".
posted by Trurl
on Jul 8, 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 -
30 and Pregnant "How did this happen?" he said. I couldn't believe he didn't know. "We were so careful." I sighed heavily, twirling a piece of spaghetti around my fork, feeling overwhelmed that now I would officially have to come down on one side of the cloth versus disposable diapers debate.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero
on Jun 3, 2011 -
10 O'Clock Live
is a show currently airing on Channel 4 in the UK. It could be considered a British take on the Daily Show, but longer, weekly, with more discussion, and performed live. MeFi favorite Charlie Brooker
is one of their presenters, along with David Mitchel, Lauren Laverne and Jimmy Carr. While focused on British issues, the show sometimes covers international topics, and is wildly funny. Here are some highlights:
Charlie Brooker: On Gaddafi - On Berlusconi - On the 'Big Society' - On Sarah Palin -
On the iPad 2 - On the English Defense League & the Daily Star - On Ed Miliband (Leader of the Labour Party, beating out his brother David) - On Prince Andrew
David Mitchell: On political hyperbole - On language in the media - On encouraging rich people to immigrate - On what to do with the Olympic Stadium
Jimmy Carr: As Berlusconi - On Product Placement
Lauren Laverne: Guide for new democracies - Inside the brain of Ed Miliband - British PR companies helping tyrants
Everyone on David Cameron on The One Show (this one's awesome) [more inside]
posted by JHarris
on Mar 24, 2011 -
The Realist Archive Project (previously)
is now complete. The Realist, edited and published by Paul Krassner, was a pioneering magazine of "social-political-religious criticism and satire" in the American countercultural press of the mid-20th century. Although The Realist is often regarded as a major milestone in the underground press, it was a nationally-distributed newsstand publication as early as 1959. Publication was discontinued in 2001.
posted by Joe Beese
on Nov 9, 2010 -
GBH was a seven-part British television drama written by Alan Bleasdale [previously1] [previously2] shown in the summer of 1991 on Channel 4. The protagonists were Michael Murray (played by Robert Lindsay), the Militant Labour leader of a city council in the North of England and Jim Nelson (played by Michael Palin), the headmaster of a school for disturbed children. The series was controversial partly because Murray appeared to be based on Derek Hatton, former Deputy Leader of Liverpool City Council - in an interview in the G.B.H. DVD Bleasdale recounts an accidental meeting with Hatton before the series, who indicates that he has caught wind of Bleasdale's intentions but does not mind as long as the actor playing him is "handsome". [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu
on Aug 29, 2010 -