My loves, I have been remiss in writing for you because, well, I wrote a book. I don’t know if you have heard this but that is very hard. As a result, I have been doing a lot of work to see it safely out into the world and hopefully into your hands at some point. And lo, it is now out in the States, and will be out in the UK/Aus/NZ in March. The book, in question, is entitled The Once and Future Sex: Going Medieval on Women’s Roles in Society.
Well it’s been an incredibly normal month to live in the United Kingdom. So normal, in fact, that I have mostly been gawping, horrified, as the most normal things possible unfurled about me like some sort of noxious algae bloom. As people queued up over-night in a very normal way, and people holding signs that said “Not My King” were threatened with arrest even more normally, I have been at times equally amazed and disgusted. Overall, however, the entire period has been instructive to me, as someone who works on propaganda and imperialism.
I have read and worked extensively on the measures that dynasties take in order to prove their “right” to rule, as well as the establishing the intended recipient of said right. It turns out that all these same propaganda tactics that Charles IV implemented when he needed to establish the Luxembourg dynasty in fourteenth century Prague were alive and well in THE YEAR OF OUR LORD 2022 in London, and boy oh boy did I ever have to learn about it. So now you do. Sucked in.
You will no doubt be unsurprised to learn that last night I went to the pub. There are several reasons for this, chief among them being that in the discomfort of summer, going to the pub is quite the best thing you can do with your time in London. Also, it is the best thing to do with your time when it is cold in the winter. Also, in autumn and spring. Anyway, the point is that conditions have been so miserable here that it has sort of been impossible to do anything except drink beer as a form of recreation, so I have been doing that.
This state of affairs made me think about medieval people, as I do, for a couple of reasons. One, I am very happy that I am not doing manual labour in a field bringing in the hay right now, as is usual for August for the majority of medieval Europeans. I cannot imagine having to do that now that we have 34 degree days for some reason. No thank you. Second, my sitting around enjoying many delicious beers made me think about how chicks rock.
I was at my local pub on Saturday just trying to have a nice time after a bad week. Trying to be hopeful and enjoy my new George Michael homage t-shirt. Things of that nature. While at said local, I got talking to someone else who claimed to also be a regular (lol, FALSE) and we had a nice time discussing NWA and Tupac. But then he started to ask me if I had kids. I said no, and then for half an hour he proceeded to tell me why I should have them, as I repeatedly stated that I have absolutely no interest at all whatsoever in being a parent. Ever. Anyway, I am sensitive to how cultural hegemony works and why people say these types of things, but that guy was on my mind when I made the mistake of logging on and saw two things making the rounds.
Content Note: this post discusses the existence of sexual assault. It does not go into any detail, but does talk about it as a sociological and legal construct.
By now you have probably seen that there is a new show set in the Game of Thrones/ASOIAF universe coming up called House of the Dragon. This is OK news if you are me, because I am extremely going to watch that garbage one way or another. This is because of who I am as a person. I am not, however, gonna, like, get my hopes up that it will be good after … the unpleasantness of the ending of GoT. ANYWAY that is not what I am here to talk about today. Instead, I want to talk about the statement of one of the showrunners Miguel Sapochnik, who when asked why there was so much sexual assault in the upcoming series was heard to remark that, “You can’t ignore the violence that was perpetrated on women by men in that time”. And man, do I have something to say about this.
OK look, things have been very distracting, what with the continued unravelling of both the US and UK. This week in the UK, our government has collapsed because a known Tory sex-pest was suddenly a problem, even though he had been Torying around most Tory-ly for years. But apparently by Tuesday it was an issue and now Boris Johnson has resigned (sorta kinda not really, IDK.)
With a major sex scandal like that you would think that our newspapers would have their hands very full! But the ever diligent Times apparently saw all that and said, “You know what? Let’s do another hit piece on BISH for talking about consensual kink. Sounds good.” Normal stuff! So, I am forced to stop refreshing news websites and actually write the second kink blog that I promised you all, because the Tory media in this country simply cannot leave my household alone.
My loves, I know I promised you part two of medieval kink this week, but world events have overtaken me. Instead, I have put together a list of articles about abortion in the medieval period, and I believe that reading them is likely a better use of your time. Later today over at my podcast, We’re Not So Different, we will also have an episode out about the topic.
I have tried to select articles that you can read, but near the bottom you will also find some books on the subject if you want to know more later.
Because my job is what it is, and my partner’s is what his is, we have the delightful opportunity of occasionally getting to be the subject of hit pieces from the absolute muck-raking depths of the UK media industry. The other week, we went through that again while a bunch of people pearl clutched over the amazing and important relationships and sex education over at BISH (where I have also written before!) was targeted because it dared to acknowledge the fact that kink exists to young people. (Please support BISH and the work going on over there, just by the by. It will piss off the Daily Mail.)