Podcast alert – Fare Thee Well: the timeless endurance of Renaissance Faires for 1A

I stopped by 1A to talk about Renaissance Faires, medievalisms, and how big imaginations help us push back against ahistorical white supremacy

On looking in the past for a better future

This month I am very proud to say that the media collective that I am a part of Alternative Leftist Entertainment (or ALE, to friends) has launched. (You can follow us on Twitter, here.) This is a very nice thing for me, because it is a treat to have colleagues. Also it will be very nice for you, the lovely person reading this, because it means I have to do a piece each month along with everyone else in the collective that focuses on the monthly theme, so that is a nice thing to force me to write. Yay! (We like that right? We agree that me writing things is good, yes?)

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On periods, and the dudes who fear them

So today I had to see what is probably a joke about men’s attitudes towards periods, but which also might be a really stupid take about periods from some man on the internet, and I thought that was as good an excuse as any to talk about conceptions of menstruation in the medieval period. In theory, we have come a long way towards understanding how and why uterus’s bleed. In practice there’s a sad number of guys like this out in the world who just…feel the need to say things like this:

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On Margery Kempe and the Bad Art Friend

So, I am like a week later than this than I wanted to be because I got really sick, but have you read “Who is the Bad Art Friend”? You should read “Bad Art Friend”. This will all make so much more sense if you just go read “Who is the Bad Art Friend”. If you do not want to go read “Who is the Bad Art Friend” I will do my best to recap one of the most bonkers pieces of writing that I have read in sometime for you so that the rest of this article makes sense, I guess. It is easier if you go read it though.

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On apocalypticism, extinction rebellion, and ahistorical cosseting

Yesterday my colleague Dan Jones did a shift down at the bad take factory and decided to write an article seemingly aimed at making me incredibly angry. To be fair to him, he seems to be as embarrassed about it as is suitable, being as he hasn’t tweeted that he wrote it at all, and LOL neither would I. He is out here trying to plug his new book – and hey aren’t we all! – and so has written as confusing a statement as ever I have seen associating Extinction Rebellion with … apocalyptic preaching in the medieval period. In it he manages a rare feat – he both seems to treat his subject of study – medieval people – and the people involved with XR completely under the bus for no ostensible reason.

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On semen retention

Mostly because my life is cursed/an unending nightmare, I have been subjected to a lot of takes about semen retention lately. Part of this has to do with the fact that it is a specific alt-right talking point, with certain nazis going so far as to make statements like, “The (((elites))) [Jewish people] fear men who practice semen retention”, which…IDK man I don’t even know where to start with that one. Also, like, whatever the hell this is, which made me take psychic damage earlier this week:

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On the power of pushing back against the marginalisation of sex workers

So over the course of the course of the last week OnlyFans decided that they were going to suddenly ban adult content from their site. This may be seen as an inexplicable decision given that this is, actually, the thing that they make all of their money from. It is especially odd, given that a majority share of the company was bought in 2018 by Leonid Radvinsky, who has for over twenty years been working expressly in the porn industry. It would seem like he knew what he was getting into and exactly what it is that people were using OnlyFans for.

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On bad summers

In London everyone is complaining because we are having one of those summers that just isn’t a summer. This happens, from time to time. Instead of temperatures in the twenties/seventies we get a progression of teens/sixties and a bunch of rain. The grass loves it, and most people complain about it, because somehow they have been fooled into believing that the Island of Britain is reliably a warm place. (Citation extremely needed.)

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On leisure in August

It’s August, and while you might not realise that here in London by looking at the weather, we are headed into the month that many Europeans generally associate with time off. As a rule of thumb, here when one is planning a summer holiday, one does so in August. In some places life shuts down specifically for the holidays, as a result, with offices running skeleton staffs. Usually, a lot of us slope off somewhere else for a while, though in the pandemic that is happening less and less of course. Travel plans notwithstanding, August is often the time when we expect people to relax more and work less.

This phenomenon is not exactly newsworthy. If you have every been anywhere in Europe during August I am sure you would have noticed the high proportion of tourists. What is interesting to me is that the association of rest with August is a relatively new idea. If you asked a medieval or early modern European, instead they would likely tell you that August was one of the busiest times of the year.

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On damsels and influencers

So, the other day I was over on my extremely good Patreon that you would like if you joined, having a chat in a video about my research methodologies and some books I have used lately. I gushed about one book in particular, Kim M. Phillips’s Medieval Maidens: young women and gender in England, 1270-1540, which absolutely rules. The book focuses on the idea of “maidenhood”, which especially for the aristocratic, was a phase of life was strongly correlated with the conception of a nebulous “youth” similar our own teenage.

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