Look it is hot here in London. The sort of hot that London is not supposed to be and was also not built for. Your girl doesn’t like or function well in the heat. As a result, my brain is very tired and slow. Also, petty. So, this week despite the fact that this blog has called for the abolition of the police, I am back on my Plague Police bullshit. This is because we all live in hell, and as a result are dealing with the generalised basics who are still, still, still, even now going around saying stupid things about the plague. Presumably this is just to wind me up when I am already in a bad mood about the heat.
Well congrats, bitches. Here’s a rant about how you are wrong and I hate you.
In an extremely normal turn of events, this week I was forced to learn that Donald Trump, having never left his bullshit, was of course on it. The leader of the free world has been retweeting videos made by the good Dr Stella Immanuel, a Houston-based pediatrician who says the things he wants to hear. (Masks = bad. The drug that he has a financial interest in = good.) Turns out Dr Immanuel also has some, uh, spicier opinions as well.
This Dr Sara Öberg Strådal, the other half of Medieval Dick Twitter and kick- ass art historian working on medieval medical visual culture is BACK. Follow her on Twitter for excellent meme action, and generally correct opinions.
Because I am an historian and can do stuff like this and call it work, I spent several hours yesterday playing with this incredible zoomable version of the Agas map of Early Modern London. If you just went over there and played with that and didn’t read the rest of this post I would make peace with it eventually. But why not do both?
Now that you are aware that this map exist, if you are still here first – thanks! Second, there are hundreds of reasons why this map is so amazing, but today we are going to talk about how it offers us a rare glimpse into everyday life in Early Modern London.
Because I am absolutely responsible for all of my own problems, my lovely readers often send me bad medieval takes in order to watch me get mad. This is effective. Today, one of my fantastic Patreon patrons did so by sending me this truly terrible take in the New York Times. Yeah you think it is going to be an innocuous take about messaging in the American presidential election because Thomas L. Friedman is chirpily writing about what “Should be Biden’s Bumper Sticker”, but then, well…
This week, at the behest of the good Dr Öberg Strådal, I have been thinking about martyrdom, as one does. As someone with a documented interest in saints it could be that this particular sideline thought is just a result of, you know, being a dork-ass medievalist who should get out more but can’t because there is a pandemic on. Instead, however, I am forced to admit that this pondering has been spurred by a tweet from none other than Trump’s lawyer (a thing I defo knew and did not have to google), Jenna Ellis.
I was absolutely thrilled to join Varsha and Matt on Drinking with Historians last Friday. My wifi was bad, but the vibes were big! We chatted about sexuality, the apocalypse, preaching, and cops. Enjoy!
In the midst of the global Black Lives Matter discussion, many are now learning for the first time about calls for the defunding and abolition of police. Although there is a rich political and philosophical discourse for such calls, still many react to these calls with confusion and the reason why is understandable. As Alex S. Vitale has argued eloquently in his The End of Policing, (a free ebook of which you can find here!) the austere conditions of government over the past decades have effectively made police a one-stop shop for any societal issue. A neighbor experiencing mental distress? Police wellness check. Trouble in schools? Assign police officers. Opioid overdose? Call the police. Broken windows? The police fine for that. Meanwhile, a proliferation of budgeting for police departments has seen ever expanding and hyper militarized police forces exert ever more forceful control over the communities that they are meant to protect.
This week’s blog is by regular contributor and friend of the blog, and the other half of Medieval Dick Twitter, Dr Sara Öberg Strådal, a kick ass art historian working on medieval medical visual culture. Follow her on Twitter for excellent meme action, and generally correct opinions.
In the last week American police forces responded to demonstrations against state brutality and the recurring extrajudicial murders of Black people with, predictably, more violence. Donald Trump, unencumbered by critical thinking and with an internal monologue consisting entirely of old-timey slurs, called for even more violence. Upon his request, tear gas and rubber bullets were used to drive away peaceful protestors so that he could walk down to St Johns, ‘the Church of the President’s’, and take a series of creepy photos holding a book he has almost certainly never read.