We can dance, we can dance
July 5, 2018 2:34 AM   Subscribe

Also an episode on Sawbones (Justin and Sydnee McElroy's medical history podcast)!

I've been to Strasbourg on holidays two months ago and spend the whole time sick in bed - yet I was glad to learn that it could have been significantly worse.
posted by bigendian at 3:27 AM on July 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

We can dance if we want to
We can leave your friends behind
Cause your friends don't dance
And if they don't dance
Well they're no friends of mine.
posted by parki at 3:28 AM on July 5, 2018 [11 favorites]

but what was their mix tape?
posted by ouke at 4:36 AM on July 5, 2018

We are due for another outbreak.
posted by pracowity at 5:19 AM on July 5, 2018

We can dance if we want to

I am disputing this post by parki. By all accounts, this dance seems to have been very unsafe.
posted by solarion at 5:30 AM on July 5, 2018 [6 favorites]

The rich burghers who ran the city were not amused. One of them, writer Sebastian Brant, had devoted a chapter of his moralising bestseller, Ship of Fools, to the folly of dance. Mystified by the chaos in the streets, he and his fellow city councillors consulted local doctors who, in keeping with standard medical wisdom, declared the dancing to be the result of “overheated blood” on the brain.
The councillors implemented what they felt was the appropriate treatment – more dancing! They ordered the clearing of an open-air grain market, commandeered guild halls, and erected a stage next to the horse fair.
Wow, DSM kinda sucked in those days. I guess the treatment was surprisingly humane considering the usual diagnosis at the time would have been WITCHCRAFT!!!! and treatments totally lethal and usually involving hot pokey things.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 6:09 AM on July 5, 2018 [3 favorites]

posted by octobersurprise at 6:11 AM on July 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

Dancing in the Streets... Ship of Fools...

I think I was at that concert.
posted by M-x shell at 6:11 AM on July 5, 2018 [4 favorites]

I see ergot gets blamed, too.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:27 AM on July 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

It's fascinating to me that the dancing was cured by a pilgrimage:
They were given sacred red shoes and started a pilgrimage to Saverne. It involved a gruelling climb to a remote monastery, which was thick with incense and candle smoke. This extravagant ritual awoke something in their deep-rooted piety. Between holy relics and religious imagery, they had reason to believe the curse would be raised. and the curse was lifted.
And, while the New Historian article's explanation makes sense--"Just as neglect has immense psychological potential, so too does religious attention," it kinda feels a little too dry for how sensory of an experience it all must have been.

I much prefer this joke, said to be Aleister Crowley's favorite joke (told here by Robert Anton Wilson) as a way of explaining what happened:
"It was on a train," Crowley said. "This chap had a basket under his seat and another passenger asked him what was in it. 'A mongoose,' he said. 'A mongoose!' said the other. 'What on earth do you want with a mongoose?' 'Well,' said our hero, 'my brother drinks a great deal more than is good for him, and sometimes he sees snakes. So I turn the mongoose on them.' The other passenger was baffled by this logic. 'But those are imaginary snakes!' he exclaimed. 'Aha!' said our hero. 'Do you think I don't know that? But this is an imaginary mongoose!'
posted by overglow at 6:33 AM on July 5, 2018 [17 favorites]

I wonder if it’s the inspiration behind the inexplicable styling decisions of Tim Pope’s completely bananas video for the song. It would be nice to think so.
posted by tardigrade at 2:21 PM on July 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

Another from the popular musics: Moribund the Burgomeister
posted by the Real Dan at 10:56 AM on July 7, 2018

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