On Odious Debt

This week, one of you, my very dear readers, tipped me off to an excellent article. (Thanks George!) In said article my colleague at LSE, David Graeber, has an extensive and extremely interesting discussion with Disenz, “On harmful jobs, odious debt, and facists who believe in global warming”, which is very much worth your time. 

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On the Lusty Month of May

Today in London it is the sort of hot that it should not be in May. I am talking about wearing short shorts and writing on the deck hot. I am talking I ate mangoes and hot sauce for lunch hot. I am talking the sort of hot that it should be in August, not May, the middle of Spring. Instead of thinking about how this means that the planet is going through a series of changes that are going to be a very serious challenge for life as we know it, I am going to talk to you about how on days like this you can sort of understand why medieval people were extremely horny for May.

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My fav [not] Saints: St Guinefort

Given the general state of the world, I thought today would be a good day to consider the best saint to ever have the title stripped of them, and what that means about personal religious devotion versus Church ideals in the medieval period. Yes there are some very high minded reasons why we can discuss St Guinefort, but my interest has nothing to do with that, as will soon become clear.

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Podcast alert: Talking sex in the medieval times on Holly Randall Unfiltered

I had the absolute pleasure of talking medieval sex, dogging, and how conferences are wild with Holly Randall the other week. Have a listen!

If you do apple, try here.

For everyone else, there’s this link here.

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On “alpha” men, sexual contagion, and poorly disguised misogyny

So, this week on Twitter, aka the place that Mufasa would have warned you that you must never go, we met a new dude. I became aware of him because he had some advice to world’s strongest man, and holder of the new world deadlift record Hafþór Björnsson, aka the Mountain, on how to stand next to his wife.

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On the King’s two bodies and modern myth making

There is a historical conception pioneered by Ernst Kantorowitz outlined in his book The King’s Two Bodies, which argued that medieval kings had – wait for it – two bodies. Historians refer to these as “the body natural” and “the body politic”.[1] The body natural is the king’s actual physical body. It is born, grows, has sex, gets ill, an dies. You know, like bodies do. The body politic on the other hand is a symbol of the office of the king. It transcends the king himself and instead is a symbol of his divine right to rule. It is bigger than any one actual king and is bestowed onto whoever becomes the next king when a king’s body natural dies. This is where you get the phrase, “The king is dead, long live the king.” The conception of the king is larger than any one actual person and it is a stand in for the conception of a kingship within that kingdom itself.

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Chatting about plague for HistFest

Want even more of me yammering about Black Death? Lucky you! Rebecca Rideal – who is a specialist in seventeenth century plague (It is not as good. It is still very interesting.) – was kind enough to have me on to discuss Black Death stuff even more. What, you got somewhere else you gotta be? Something you need to do?

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A Black Death reading list

Lovelies! I have had a bunch of requests for a Black Death reading list, which is all I have ever wanted to provide. Because there is so so much to read, I have tried to break it down for you by type of reads.

A lot of these are classics, so check with your fav local bookstore if they have them in. (That is provided that they are doing delivery! But support your local independent shops!)

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On individual blame for global crises

Permit me, if you will, a slightly rambling introduction: we are all, still, in the midst of a pandemic, and coping as best we can in whatever ways we can. Here in the UK our “government” has us on a sort of partial social distancing thing. So, if you can work from home, you are supposed to, and there are no restaurants open, and we have to line up to get groceries. One of the bright spots (other than booze – shout out to my legendary friend!) that we have in the slurry of same same days is that we are allowed out of the house for exercise. This makes a lot of sense! It is in the interest of public health generally, and in maintaining a stretched to breaking point and under assault from our ruling party. Tra la la.

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