Evening Reads: Sick of the GOP Going Medieval on My Genitalia

Illustration by Marcel Ruijters, click image for direct link to his website.

Girls Kick Ass!

Damn straight…

Good Evening, I don’t know about you but I am sick and tired of the GOP going Medieval on my ass, or specifically my genitalia.

Let’s forget the news reads, and dive in to some weirdness…of the medieval kind.

No I am not kidding…tonight’s news reads will have a bit of a dungeons and ovums kind of feel to it.  I know ova is plural, but it didn’t quiet fit the rhyme with dragons…neither did ovarians, but you get the point.

So we’ll kick off this chastity belt edition of the evening news reads with a link from one of my favorite blogs:

The Wonderfully Weird World of Marcel Ruijters (Sunday Showcase #1) — Got Medieval

These days, it’s getting harder and harder to track down pictures of nuns riding flying fish, or fighting off hordes of misshapen pygmies, or falling prey to the fiendish war machines of the ape king. And if you want medieval-inspired versions of the same, forget about it!

That’s what I used to think, anyway, until I stumbled across the works of Marcel Ruijters, an artist from Rotterdam who’s taken the sorts of weird medieval art I feature here regularly in Mmm… Marginalia and doubled down on the weird, with some pretty cool results.

For example, aforementioned warrior nuns, fighting aforementioned weird hybrid men:

You know what I love about this image, is the beastie shaped men that seem to mimic bodily organs. Some of the look like stomachs and that one with the reaper’s scythe even appears to have a uterus shape about him. Honestly, I feel like one of those nuns fighting the powers that be, namely to fuck up men with sharp pointy weapons of destruction…or the more proper term, trans-vaginal wands of encroachment.

Please go to the Got Medieval link to read more about the Dutch artist Marcel Ruijters…and to see more artwork. I have to link to one more:

And being judged and found wanting in a monkey court:

Yup, looks like she is going to get one of those sick twisted lectures about the religious conscience and liberty of religious freedom…

The artist has some webpages I want to bring to your attention…

Marcel Ruijters

Marcel Ruijters | Facebook


As I mentioned up top, we are sticking with Medieval links today. Got Medieval has another post I want to share with you. All the talk of sex from “frothy dick” to the red beanie brigade makes this Valentine’s Day selection all the more special. ♥ The Medieval Bestiary Loveline ♥ — Got Medieval

Written in the first quarter of the 14th century, Richard Fournival’s Bestiary of Love takes the form of a male lover’s argument with his female counterpart in which he explains how the various important facts about animals apply equally well to people in love. It was a popular enough text that it survives (in part) in a fair number of manuscripts and spawned a couple continuations and even a Response written as if from the lady, disputing all those things her male counterpart said about the animals.*** The Bodleian has a particularly lovely copy (MS Douce 308), so let’s peek between the pages and see what the animals have to teach us about love.

Wondrous pictures at the link. Please go look at the artwork…my favorites are the Cock and the Wolf…love the expressions of the woman as she is getting lectured about the Cock, and the expressions on the sheep as they watch the wolf chew off its leg. Too fantastic, you need to just go and look.

Here is another link to love via Happy Valentine’s Day from the Posts of Valentines Past — Got Medieval  Check it out.

In honor of the year and Mayan end of days, you can read more about how Medieval Judgement Day is on the way: Leicester historian on Medieval ‘end of days’ research

The English scholar Bede (c.673-735) is often regarded as the father of English history, principally because of his five-volume epic Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum. But a new volume by Dr Peter Darby from our School of Historical Studies concentrates on a less well known aspect of Bede’s multi-faceted career.

Using his extensive Biblical knowledge and the impressive library of the monastery at Wearmouth-Jarrow where he spent his life, Bede wrote many works of theology and exegesis (the interpretation of biblical texts). Within these volumes Bede dealt at length with eschatology, the study of the end of days, and this is the subject of Dr Darby’s new book, Bede and the End of Time.

At this point, the Bible (still in Latin and copied by hand of course) was regarded as the definitive, literal work of God which, as well as describing history – the Old Testament period (from the Garden of Eden onwards) and the New Testament accounts of Christ’s life and times – also provided a framework for what was going to happen before, during and after Judgement Day. Bede was able to use his detailed memory of scripture to pick references to future events from throughout the Old and New Testaments and then sought to correlate them into a workable whole, including resolutions of the contradictions and paradoxes which he encountered.

If you would like to read the academic paper, click here: Judgement Day is on the way: Leicester historian on Medieval ‘end of days’ research — University of Leicester

Now…if you thought the chastity belt reference up top was a joke, well…think again. Santorum Good for Chastity-Belt Sales? Manufacturer Says, “We’ve Had a Boost” | Blogs | Vanity Fair

The underlying tenor of this debate begs a natural question: what about chastity belts? Are there pockets of America where they’re still in use? If so, where you can buy them? (Outside of a Medieval Times gift shop, that is.) A quick, eye-opening search revealed that Amazon offers a couple dozen different models in its Health & Personal Care store, while eBay offers more than 200. It should be noted that many are models for men, and that the design and packaging of many belts made for men and women alike imply they are used for role-playing and bondage activities rather than strictly for ensuring continence. (Certainly a “ chastity belt G-string thong”  sends a mixed message.) But many other chastity-belt models look as if they will do the old trick.

I phoned one of the leading manufacturers, Chastity Belts USA—maker of “The Keeper” and “The Guardian,” among other models to seek further enlightenment.

 VF Daily: Have you noticed an uptick in sales given the recent debate about contraception?

 Donald Hayes, owner, Chastity Belts USA: We’ve had a bit of a boost in sales, but that’s typical this time of year, at tax time. I think [tax refunds] drive sales of any kind of non-essential items. People have some extra money, they say, Okay, I’ll buy some toys.

 Do you have a sense of how many of your belts are bought for “play” and how many for actually keeping someone chaste?

For most people who buy them, there’s a control factor, no doubt about it. It kind of depends on the kind of belt. If they buy a leather model, that’s usually for play. If it’s stainless steel, it tends to be more of a control thing.

The other day someone tweeted about the 2012 GOP candidates having a debate about science and scientific knowledge.

I could not help but give this reply:

So it should be no surprise that I have Monty Python on the brain, and this last link just grabbed my attention. I had to include it tonight.  Coconuts in Camelot: Monty Python and the Holy Grail in the Arthurian Literature Course

Teaching Arthurian literature affords a perhaps rare opportunity for medieval specialists to use the medium of film to interest undergraduate students in a period that is otherwise often considered foreign to their cultural world or concerns. The significant number of Arthurian films in die twentieth century reflects the continuous appeal of the Arthurian legend, a legend whose survival can be attributed to its adaptability, shifting throughout the centuries between elite and popular cultures, and disseminated in different forms through visual, oral and textual traditions. While there has always been a ludic dimension to Arthurian tradition, one postmedieval comédie portrayal of Arthur and his knights, Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in Kitig Arthur’s Court, has had a significant impact on how Arthurian material has been adapted on the silver screen. One possible consequence of Twain’s comic vision and its early transposition into the newly emerging film medium is that, while Bresson’s brooding tale of Arthurian ennui may be the hallmark of the twentieth-century cinematic Arthurian corpus, the film that has come to represent the Round Table’s cinematic incarnation in the minds of the generations that now fill the postsecondary classroom is Monty Python and the Holy Grail, a comic masterpiece that embodies the spirit of Twain’s dismissive coinage, “holy grailing.”

That is all folks…think of this as an open thread for you to post real news links if you like. For now, I must prepare for battle. Those foul GOP nitwits can have some very mean tempers and a mouthful of awfully nasty pointy teeth!

Thursday Reads: Male Politicians and Pundits should Worry about their “Erectile Dysfunction” and STFU about Women’s Health (and Other News)

Morning News by Ellen Day Hale (1855-1940)

Good Morning!

I thought this painting was appropriate, since we are being dragged back into the 19th Century by both Democrats and Republicans these days. We all know about the war on women being waged by Willard “Mitt” Romney, Rick “the Dick” Santorum, Nasty Newt Gingrich and Ron “White Power” Paul. But Democrats have now been empowered the Catholic Church’s attack on Obama’s attempt to protect women’s health care.

But now “liberal” pundits like Chris Matthews, Mark Shields, and E.J. Dionne have joined the battle to remove any semblance of privacy and autonomy from women.

Today former DNC Chairman and Governor of VA–and likely Senate candidate Tim Kaine came out against the requirement that contraception be included in health insurance policies.

Pat J is right. We need a women’s freedom party. Aren’t any of these dinosaurs aware that birth control (and abortion) have been with us during most of recorded history? Check out this series of photos in Newsweek drawn from the history of birth control.

Did you know that Aristotle recommended birth control methods for women in the 4th Century BC?

The philosopher recommended that women “anoint that part of the womb on which the seed falls” with olive oil in order to prevent pregnancy. His other top picks for spermicides included cedar oil, lead ointment, or frankincense oil. If the lips of the cervix were smooth, he noted, then conception would be difficult.

Sponges used for contraception

Ancient Egyptian women used sponges.

Long before Seinfeld’s Elaine Benes weighed the merits of a man to determine his spongeworthiness, women were using sponges as a method of preventing pregnancy. The sponge has its roots in early Egyptian civilization, and this photo depicts the variety of models available in the early 20th century. Those sponges were made of a variety of materials, and were sometimes drenched in lemon juice or vinegar to act as a spermicide. Today’s sponges (called, in fact, Today’s Sponge) are synthetic, and use a chemical spermicide.

Another early method was the chastity belt. Perhaps religious nuts like Rick Santorum and Mark Shields would find that one acceptable?

At Wonkblog, Sarah Kliff thinks the Obama administration “sees political opportunity in the contraception battle,” because of the data shown in this chart:

(Public Religion Research Institute)

Kliff writes:

while Catholic leadership has blasted the new regulation, polls show that a majority of Catholics are actually more supportive of the provision than the rest of the country. A poll out Tuesday from the Public Religion Research Institute finds 52 percent of Catholic voters agreed with the statement, “employers should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception and birth control at no cost.” That’s pretty much in line with overall support for the provision, which hovers at 55 percent – likely because Catholics use contraceptives at rates similar to the rest of Americans.

A majority of Catholics – 52 percent – also agree with the Obama administration’s decision to not exempt religious hospitals and universities from the provision. “Outside the political punditry, most Catholics agree with the administration on the issue,” says one Obama campaign official, explaining the view that this could be a political win.

And a lot of this likely isn’t about Catholic voters at all.

Rather, it may well be about the demographics that are most supportive of this particular health reform provision: young voters and women. In the PRRI poll, both groups register support above 60 percent for the provision.

Those two demographics are important here for a key reason: they were crucial to Obama’s victory in 2008. Third Way crunched the numbers earlier this month and found that the “Obama Independents” — the swing group that proved crucial to his 2008 victory — are, as Ryan Lizza put it, “disproportionately young, female and secular.”

Let’s hope Obama keeps all that in mind instead of bending to the will of the old gray white male Catholic Bishops and the elderly male fake-liberal pundits who won’t STFU and let women make their own choices.

Even some of the saner folks in the GOP are warning their wingnut colleagues that a fight against contraception would be a “disaster” for their party.

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