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.
This week in Texas, America’s Most Normal State(™) one brave lawmaker has sprung into action to protect children. Don’t worry though, he didn’t decide that he was gonna, you know, do anything about the epidemic of violent white supremacy and the violence that easy access to guns for radicalised people can unleash on classrooms full of innocent school children. Oh no. The brave Bryan Slaton has elected, instead, to introduce a ban on allowing children to attend drag shows. Here is the brave brave little guy’s announcement:
As I continue to pull myself out of the hole caused by finishing a book and recovering from COVID, I was reminded of something that I wanted to write about in January but just didn’t have the time or health to do it. I was made aware of it due to a particularly bonkers piece of Twitter lore which I am absolutely not going to unpack here, but it stayed on my mind because it displays an honest to god medieval attitude towards women and sex. So, without further ado I give you this exchange:
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 inThe 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.
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:
This week I have extremely been back on my bullshit talking about and thinking about medieval dildos, as ones does. Real fans of the blog, of course will remember that I have written about dildos before, but this week over on the We’re Not So Different Podcast Luke and I were having a bit of a chat about them as well. One of the things I mentioned there was the fact that dildos have a specific place in the medieval mind because of the way that medical and religious writers thought about sex. Then I opened twitter this morning, because I am a masochist, and saw an honest to god neo-Nazi talking about dildos in the exact same way. Behold:
This week, I was very pleasantly alerted to the world of AI generated pickup lines via the medium of Janelle Shane’s substack. There were any number of beautiful, bonkers, lines from, “Hey, my name is John Smith. Will you sit on my breadbox while I cook or is there some kind of speed limit on that thing?” to “I’m losing my voice from all the screaming your hotness is causing me to do.” I was, however, struck by the very good pickup line by one AI called Babbage which was heard to remark, “You’re looking good today. Want snacks?” and I am still in awe.
Anyway, I was posting away about my now blossoming relationship with Babbage over on twitter when Kara wrote to ask me to write something about pickup lines in the medieval period, and I will be damned if that is not a great idea. Don’t we all deserve a little light diversion on a Friday in the midst of all of the pandemic, ships stuck in the Suez canal, and police brutality? So, here is one for Kara.
I had the distinct pleasure of talking to Christopher Ryan, whose work has been a huge influence on my own, on his Tangentially Speaking podcast. We talked about the misuse of history, how no one has ever been considered old at 35 ever, and of course George Michael. Check it out!