Non biedt kat vis aan in ruil voor penis
March 12, 2015 7:29 PM   Subscribe

Flaisch macht Flaisch: Instructions unclear, cat's got my dick. mlkshk and Reddit explain a 16th century German nun joke.

Some more traditional cats from the Rijks Museum can be found here.
posted by maryr (26 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
You can have your fish and dicks and eat them too.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:41 PM on March 12, 2015


Cat: "Thanks for the fish!"


[scats]
posted by clavdivs at 7:42 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


i read both the reddit and mlkshk links and I still don't get it. Plz help.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:46 PM on March 12, 2015


The nun and the cat each desire what the other has.
posted by kenko at 7:48 PM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


All the cats bring the milkshake to my yard? Honestly I don't get it either; I'm not sure if my confusion is linguistic or historical.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:49 PM on March 12, 2015


My understanding: Both the nun and the fish represent abstinence from flesh. But the nun's trying to trade the fish in for some tasty tasty meat. I'm not sure why the cat is important, except that it's vaguely logical that the cat might trade the penis for the fish.
posted by maryr at 7:51 PM on March 12, 2015


Also, there's something going on with the penile crucifix on the nun's rosary.
posted by CrystalDave at 7:52 PM on March 12, 2015


"It's mostly funny because the cat has a disembodied penis in its mouth," explains my roommate.
posted by maryr at 7:52 PM on March 12, 2015 [9 favorites]


Also, there's something going on with the penile crucifix on the nun's rosary.

I think that indicates that the nun is a cockmonger.
posted by kenko at 7:53 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


That's not a phrase I expected to type today...
posted by CrystalDave at 7:53 PM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure why the cat is important

Is the word pussy (and cat, kitty, etc) a double entendre in German of that era?
posted by Dip Flash at 7:55 PM on March 12, 2015


A disembodied penis? Pardon my male perspective on this, but I can't help thinking about the disempenised body.
posted by uosuaq at 7:56 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


He's fine, his penis is detachable.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:08 PM on March 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


mlkshk user GroggyGrognard, from the above link:
Now that I'm reading up on this print, this is really one hell of a joke.... Currently in the Rijksmuseum, 1555, German. Satire against the Catholic nuns by perhaps those with Protestant leanings. The fish could have represented the eating of fish on Fridays by Catholics. The 'Flaisch macht flaisch" is part of a longer saying of "Meat givess meat, fish give nothing." Throw on top of this that cats were one form of depiction for the Devil, and this drawing becomes rather mean.
So, yes, a layered political joke that takes stabs at the Church, nuns, and cats.
posted by mosk at 8:08 PM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, there's something going on with the penile crucifix on the nun's rosary.
Makes Tom Ford a plagiarist.
posted by unliteral at 8:10 PM on March 12, 2015


If you're a Protestant in 1555 you're probably a bit of a firebrand. There are lots of stories about nuns and the things they get up to. So on the basic level, this is a rude caricature of a nun trying to get a cat to give back her dildo.

The caption refers to a saying "Fleisch macht Fleisch, Fisch macht nichts." It rhymes, sort of. I think it literally means that eating meat helps you get big and strong while eating fish doesn't, but there may be a dual meaning here: fish, associated with purity and abstention (e.g., no meat during Lent or on Fridays), are useless: a lusty woman wants a piece of man-flesh! This meaning is further implied by the nun's crucifix, which is another miniature dildo: she pretends to pray, but she's really thinking about S-E-X.

One interpretation of the cat is that it's associated with witches and Satanism, in which case she's offering her purity to the devil in exchange for the aforementioned S-E-X. Alternatively, cats can also symbolise femininity, and perhaps the nun is hypocritically trying to push her professed faith on another woman, while she ignores it herself.

I have no idea about the guy with the fool's cap dangling the ... garment? Perhaps it's supposed to be a bishop, or the Pope? Perhaps they're the 16th-century equivalent of panties? No idea.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:12 PM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh! Look! I found some medieval underwear! So yeah, the jester/minstrel/bishop is dangling some undies in a lascivious manner.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:17 PM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Die Katze gewinnt!
posted by clavdivs at 8:20 PM on March 12, 2015


That's s coxcomb, Joe.
posted by clavdivs at 8:20 PM on March 12, 2015


You have to admit, it is a eunuch situation!
posted by clavdivs at 8:21 PM on March 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


That's s coxcomb, Joe.

Yes, but is it a comment on the nun or on the Church? And did it have the same connotations of pride and foolishness in Germany as it did in England?
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:24 PM on March 12, 2015


This just occurred to me, but the nun is holding a fish (ichthus = ΙΧΘΥΣ, i.e. Jesus Christ, of God the Son, Savior) out to a cat (PUSSY, i.e. vagina) with a dick in its mouth, while a JOKER (who just wants to watch the world burn) looks on. It could actually have a Christian moral (don't give up that tiny savior in your hand for that tempting dick in your pussy: that's what Satan wants you to do).
I'm not a Christian and I'm probably beanplating the hell out of this. But I think we can't just look at references made centuries ago and know what they're about. Think about all those "the dress is white and gold!" jokes made in the past week or so -- *no one in the world* will have any idea what that was about just five years from now.
posted by uosuaq at 8:31 PM on March 12, 2015


It could actually have a Christian moral (don't give up that tiny savior in your hand for that tempting dick in your pussy: that's what Satan wants you to do).

I think, if it's anything, it's probably more like that Aesop fable where like a fox or something makes a bird talk and some food falls out of its beak and the fox or whatever eats it? Like the nun's tempting the cat with the fish so it'll drop the dick.

It's also probably worth remembering that eunuchs were a thing then, so there were probably dismembers in a big pile somewhere. Cats probably had to get shooed away from the pile all the time.

It's purely instructional!

You can have your fish and dicks and eat them too.

Kanye?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:19 PM on March 12, 2015


I think Joe in Australia is right that the woman is a witch -- though she may also be a nun, of course.

Malleus Maleficarum was published in 1487 and became the handbook for persecuting witches for more than a century.

And this could almost be an illustration of something of a joke recounted in the Malleus:
Kramer and Sprenger's Malleus Maleficarum [Hammer of Witches], written in the fifteenth century as a guide to prosecuting alleged witches, was a central source for the European witch craze. This article examines a narrative included in this work, one that relates how witches steal men's penises and keep them alive in birds' nests. In one case, Kramer and Sprenger record that a victim tried to choose a big penis to replace the one he had lost, but was told that it belonged to a village priest. This narrative has been derided often by scholars as a sign of the authors' instability, but in fact the story expresses several levels of traditional lore. This paper explores three of these: penis theft in traditional love magic; the representations of penis-as-bird in art, slang, and jokelore; and the image of the hypersexual priest in anti-clerical jokes from the Middle Ages to the present. Although Kramer and Sprenger believed that penis theft was a genuine psycho-medical phenomenon, the evidence shows that they recognized this story as a bawdy joke and meant their readers to do the same.
posted by jamjam at 10:21 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Think about all those "the dress is white and gold!" jokes made in the past week or so -- *no one in the world* will have any idea what that was about just five years from now.
Speak for yourself, I will be cursing that goddamn dress on my deathbed.
posted by Clueless in Crocodilopolis at 12:16 AM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one who thinks the nun and jester were screwing just outside that door, when the cat stole his penis? That would explain why the jester -- who's not wearing his underwear, but dangling it about -- looks so unhappy. The nun is trying to get the jester's cock back from the cat with her offering of the fish. Note also how the nun's frock is slightly askew.
posted by mikeand1 at 4:10 AM on March 13, 2015


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