Author Archive | Haystack

“The Moral Underground” Explores How Ordinary Americans Subvert an Unfair Economy

Kathleen Burge at the Boston Globe has this review:

As Newton resident Lisa Dodson, a Boston College sociology professor in the thick of a research project, was interviewing a grocery story manager in the Midwest about the difficulties of the low-income workers he supervised, he asked her a curious question: “Don’t you want to know what this does to me too?’’

She did. And so the manager talked about the sense of unfairness he felt as a supervisor, making enough to live comfortably while overseeing workers who couldn’t feed their families on the money they earned. That inequality, he told her, tainted his job, making him feel complicit in an unfair system that paid hard workers too little to cover basic needs.

The interview changed the way Dodson talked with other supervisors and managers of low-income workers, and she began to find that many of them felt the same discomfort as the grocery store manager.

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Dictionary Contains Dirty Words: SoCal Parents Move to Protect Children After Shocking Discovery

Source: Booksworm (CC)

Source: Booksworm (CC)

This from Alison Flood at The Guardian:

Dictionaries have been removed from classrooms in southern California schools after a parent complained about a child reading the definition for “oral sex”.

Merriam Webster’s 10th edition, which has been used for the past few years in fourth and fifth grade classrooms (for children aged nine to 10) in Menifee Union school district, has been pulled from shelves over fears that the “sexually graphic” entry is “just not age appropriate”, according to the area’s local paper.

The dictionary’s online definition of the term is “oral stimulation of the genitals”. “It’s hard to sit and read the dictionary, but we’ll be looking to find other things of a graphic nature,” district spokeswoman Betti Cadmus told the paper.

While some parents have praised the move – “[it's] a prestigious dictionary that’s used in the Riverside County spelling bee, but I also imagine there are words in there of concern,” said Randy Freeman – others have raised concerns.

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La Maupin: 17th Century’s France’s Cross-Dressing Duelist Opera Star

The fictional Mademoiselle de Maupin, from 'Six Drawings Illustrating Theophile Gautier's Romance Mademoiselle de Maupin' by Aubrey Beardsley, 1898

'Six Drawings Illustrating Theophile Gautier's Romance Mademoiselle de Maupin' (Aubrey Beardsley, 1898).

La Maupin once scandalized a ball by kissing another woman on the dance floor. She was challenged to a duel by three men, beat them all, and promptly returned to dancing. Jim Burrows is writing a novel about her, and has this account of her life:

La Maupin, 17th century French swordswoman, adventuress and opera star, was like something out of a novel by Dumas or Sabatini, except for two things.

First she was real, and second few authors would have attributed her exploits to a woman.

Theophile Gautier borrowed her name and a few of her characteristics for the heroine of his novel Mademoiselle De Maupin, but in many ways his character was only a pale imitation of the original. The real Maupin was a complex creature.

Well born and privileged, she knew how to use her influential friends and contacts to get what she wanted or to escape danger, but she was also proud and self-reliant.

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Images of 19th Century Paris’s Hell-Themed Café

Manning Krull at Cool Stuff in Paris has posted some rare pictures of a Hell-themed café that was founded in late 19th century Paris.

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Little is known about the establishment, which appears to have operated into the mid-20th century. National Geographic has this to say:

“A hot spot called Hell’s Café lured 19th-century Parisians to the city’s Montmartre neighborhood—like the Marais—on the Right Bank of the Seine. With plaster lost souls writhing on its walls and a bug-eyed devil’s head for a front door, le Café de l’Enfer may have been one of the world’s first theme restaurants. According to one 1899 visitor, the café’s doorman—in a Satan suit—welcomed diners with the greeting, “Enter and be damned!” Hell’s waiters also dressed as devils. An order for three black coffees spiked with cognac was shrieked back to the kitchen as: “Three seething bumpers of molten sins, with a dash of brimstone intensifier!”

Next door was a less interesting café called Le Ciel (Heaven). See more at Cool Stuff in Paris.… Read the rest

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Chilean Miners Rescue Saga Exposed as Masonic Mega-Ritual

Vigilant Citizen combs popular culture for hidden esoteric meaning:

The rescue of the 33 unfortunate Chilean miners has definitely turned into an international media event. All aspects of the rescue have been carefully staged to make the entire thing a spectacular show inspiring emotions, admiration and national pride. For those knowledgeable of Masonic and occult symbolism, it is hard not to ponder on the numerological and symbolic facts of the event.

To the initiated, the deep significance of 33 miners being rescued in 33 days could not be more obvious. Can you guess how many characters were used in the first note sent by the miners?

Vigilant Citizen has also published dangerous exposés of the Illuminati infiltration of K-Pop, the occult symbolism of Kanye West’s Power, and an esoteric interpretation of Pinocchio.

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Before “The Secretary,” Hannah Cullwick was “The Maid”

secmaidCullwick claimed to be able to tell where her husband had been by the taste of his boots. Kathryn Hughes reviews Love and Dirt in the Guardian:

The secret marriage between minor man of letters Arthur Munby and his servant Hannah Cullwick has become one of the great set pieces of 19th-century social history. Whenever a case study is needed to show the sheer weirdness of Victorian men in the bedroom, the story of how the gentlemanly Munby stalked, caught and loved the huge, dirty Cullwick over a period of 40 years is pressed into play … At Munby’s direction, Cullwick produced thousands of pages of letters and memoir which told the strange story of how she came to spend 40 years in a sado-masochistic relationship where her greatest treat was to be allowed to lick her husband’s dirty boots (horse shit was her favourite relish).

Cullwick’s private name for Munby was “massa”, an uneasy term that looked back to her native Shropshire dialect and elided it with that of the negro slave whose blackness she replicated with soot, as much for her own pleasure as for his.

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Children of the Victorian Era, Post-Mortem

If you notice a sleeping or vacantly-staring figure in an antique photograph, it might not strike you to wonder if the subject is even alive. In the 21st century, we rarely see photographs of the dead that are not connected with crime scenes or accidents; dead relatives are instantly removed to funeral homes, where their bodies are embalmed by well-paid specialists. The Victorians, however, were not so disconnected from death, and a common practice was to have portraits taken of the recently-deceased. In these post-mortem photographs, the dead may appear in coffins, but were also quite frequently arranged among family in lifelike poses. As it was a period of extremely high child mortality, images like the ones in this video were often the only keepsakes 19th century families had by which to remember their short-lived sons and daughters:

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