Every day I wake up with the grinding worry that some non-historian has had a very mad medieval history take, and every day that is true. Sadly, yesterday was one of those days once again as some basic wrote a bad take in The New York Times about how the Black Death allegedly improved conditions for workers. This, of course, is something I have rebutted at length, both on here, and also in The Washington Post (because ya girl is fancy now). It is one thing to complain about how this is bad history that has been roundly debunked, as I do that all the time. However, today I want to talk a little where in medieval history we can look for good news.Continue reading “On finding inspiration for change”
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.Continue reading “On apocalypticism, extinction rebellion, and ahistorical cosseting”
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.Continue reading “On leisure in August”