Bugs and Beasts Before the Law - "Murderous pigs sent to the gallows, sparrows prosecuted for chattering in Church, a gang of thieving rats let off on a wholly technical acquittal – theoretical psychologist and author Nicholas Humphrey explores the strange world of medieval animal trials." More on the theme of barnyard scapegoats from the BBC podcast documentary: Animals on Trial.
“Deep down, historically speaking, the Jews are God killers." And also, according to an Italian bishop, the culprits behind the Catholic Church's sex scandals. [more inside]
Sometimes, especially in winter, Kenneth Westhues can hear a flock of crows tormenting a great horned owl outside his study in Waterloo, Ontario. It is a fitting soundtrack for his work. Mr. Westhues has made a career out of the study of mobbing. Since the late 1990s, he has written or edited five volumes on the topic. However, the mobbers that most captivate him are not sparrows, fieldfares, or jackdaws. They are modern-day college professors. [more inside]
Mimetic rivalry on a planetary scale. Rene Girard is the author of several books developing the idea that human culture is based on sacrifice as the way out of mimetic, or imitative, violence between rivals. When one rival is successful in obtaining the love object, violence is precipitated, which falls on the head of certain scapegoats, of whom Jesus Christ is the archetype. The violence can be traced in literature.