Turks Head anyone?

Turks Head

The Turks Head was a culinary joke of the Middle Ages in Western Europe which had a distinctly dark origin.  The classic Turks Head is a game pie with pistachio nuts, dates, sugar and spices indicating its origins in the Arabic world.  Very similar to the modern pigeon pie of Morocco; the Pastilla.  It is likely that the dish came to Western Europe during the Crusades.

The Turks Head gains its name from the habit of decorating the pie with the head of a Saracen.  It was normal practice to decorate a pie with an image of the animal used to make the pie, and using a human head is intentionaly shocking.

One suggested origin of the pie is the apocryphal tale of Richard Lionheart at Acre.  After feasting on a pie he asked the cooks to show him the “Head and Feet” of the animal (a tradition recorded all the way back to ancient Persia by Herodotus when King Astyages fed his General Harpagus is own son).

The cooks brought Richard the head of a Saracen slain in the siege.  Instead of being offended the Lionheart guffawed that his soldiers would not go hungry with such a good supply of meat available.

Making light of cannibalism in Outremer (the Crusader Kingdoms) goes back all the way to the first Crusade and the fall of Maarat in Syria on December 12th.  The crusaders besieged the town in November and on December 11th they took the walls.  Breaking into the city they found it had been cleaned out of any food by the inhabitants.  The starving crusaders then resorted to cannibalism.

Meat.gif

 

Immaculate

HD Jim Morrison Wallpapers – HdCoolWallpapers.Com

December 8th is the feast of the immaculate conception in the Roman Catholic tradition, and happens to be the birthday of Jim Morrison, the Christ-Like frontman of the 1960’s sensation that was The Doors.

The immaculate conception as a concept was invented in the 11th Century by a gang of men who liked nothing to do with womens body parts, wombs leaking blood and period pains.  They always felt that Christ Jesus had to be born in a special womb that was pure and spotless.  But in the 11th Century the church leaders decided that they needed to go back another generation.  It was not enough that Jesus was magically born without the corruption of the flesh (normal sexual activity) but the mother of Jesus, Mary, also had to be born of immaculate conception.

So Mary was conceived in the absence of an erection, and to celebrate this nonsense all Irish people mark this day by erecting their Christmas Tree.

 

 

Stoned Inmaculate; by Jim Morrison

I’ll tell you this…
no eternal reward will forgive us now
for wasting the dawn.
Back in those days everything was simpler and more confused.

One summer night, going to the pier
I ran into two young girls
the blonde one was called Freedom
the dark one, Enterprise
we talked and they told me this story
now listen to this…

I’ll tell you about Texas radio and the big beat
soft driven, slow and mad
like some new language
reaching your head with the cold, sudden fury of a divine messenger.
Let me tell you about heartache and the loss of god
wandering, wandering in hopeless night.

Out here in the perimeter there are no stars
out here we is stoned
Immaculate.

 

Light My Fire (Live at Felt Forum, New York CIty, January ...

Bunga Bunga

The Dreadnought Hoax was a very embarrasing prank played on the Royal Navy in 1910 by  the Bloombury Set.  Led by the Irish Born prankster; Horace de Vere Cole, born in Ballincollig, Co. Cork.

Cole reprised an earlier prank, where he led a delegation of the Royal Family of Zanibar on a tour of Cambridge in 1905, greatly upsetting the Mayor who hosted a reception for them.

For the Dreadnought they pretended to be the Abyssinian Royals, with Virginia Wolfe sporting a beard and blackface as one of the delegates (far left in photo).  Today we look a the photo above and marvel that they pulled it off with such poor disguises and obvious stage makeup, but the world was a smaller place in those days.

The visit was a diplomatic farce in any case.  The Royal Navy had no Abyssinian flag on board so they flew the flag of Zanzibar and played the Zanzibar national anthem.

As the delegation wandered about the Royal Navy ship they called out “Bunga-bunga” to marvel at the various wonders.  The phrase was taken up by the press and used as a catch all for the embarassment of the royal navy.

A hit song in the music halls that year was:

When I went on board a Dreadnought ship
I looked like a costermonger;
They said I was an Abyssinian prince
‘Cos I shouted ‘Bunga Bunga!

Cyber Monday Pawns

Howeswho: Doctor Who - The Rise of the Cybermen

Happy Cyber Monday.  There, if ever there was one, is an oxymoron.  Happy nothing!  Cyber Monday is an out and out marketing scam designed to wrest any remaining contents from the wallets of Black Friday shoppers.

Marketing people fight for what they call “Share of Wallet”.  Not their wallet of course, they are dipping into yours.  They know that because of the twinkly lights and the happy songs that you are feeling all warm and fuzzy and Christmassy right now.  You are full of the joys of the consumerist season, ready to enrich the lives of all about you with the wonderful presents you will give.

Come January all that warm fuzzyness will have descended into a cold, hard, grey reality when you see what you have done to your wallet.  January is a long month, and because the December paycheque usually arrives early the gap between the December and January paycheques is a chasm.

Blue Monday, the saddest day of the year, is the Monday of the final week in January before that new year paycheque arrives in your torn and battered bank account.

The Cybermen were a race of cybernetically augmented humanoids from the Dr. Who series.  They are the equivalent of the Borg Collective from the Star Trek series.  They want everyone to become like them.  They are devoid of emotion, like the Borg they are a collective and see themselves as an upgrade to normal humanity.

The Marketing Industry want to to become an upgraded human.  Enhanced by your PC, Laptop, Tablet or Smartphone and granted instant access to the Global Marketplace you are their pawn.  They lure you into making poor decisions with incomplete information in the very opposite of what the Internet was supposed to provide.

They harvest your search information and use that knowledge to gouge you on the prices for the items of most interest to you.

Instead of becoming a Cyber Monday Pawn today why not defy marketing manipulation.  Be Human, be a Mensch.  Save the planet from consumerism.  Refuse to purchase.  If you need to give gifts why not give gifts that save the planet?  Plant a tree!  Plant a dozen.  One dollar plants one tree.

Spending your money well now will make you feel so much better come the January Blues.

Telling Lies #13: Gaslighting

The term is popularly thrown around as an accusation in arguments on social media and I have seen it misused in many circumstances where people were just accusing others of lying but dressed it up in the fancy term of gaslighting.

Gaslighting is derived from a plot point in the Patrick Hamilton play “Gas Light”.  Jack Manningham is searching for jewels in an upstairs flat.  During his disappearences his wife Bella notices the gas lighting in her own flat dimming.  Jack tries to convince her that she is imagining this, knowing that it is he who is causing the dimming by lighing the lamps in the upstairs flat.  This is part of a larger pattern of Jack causing Bella to doubt her own experiences, as he attempts to convince her she is going insane.

Effective gaslighting involves a relationship of some kind.  It involves one party in the relationship intentionally leveraging their influence to convince the other party they are mistaken in what they have seen, or heard, or experienced.

Sexual abusers will gaslight victims into believing that the abuse never took place, or that it was consensual, or that the victim actually instigated the events.

A business owner engaged in fraud will manipulate staff members who notice irregularities and will attempt to convince them that they have seen 1+1 and arrived at an answer of 3.

The person doing the gaslighting is generally in a position of power in the relationship.  The victorian patriarchal husband, the paterfamilias, the wealthy Dowager Aunt, the boss, a teacher, a mentor, a politician, leader or a tribal elder.

Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation.  It is not a one off event.  You can’t be gaslighted in a single interaction.  It requires a long term pattern of behaviour.

It is a behaviour prevalent in religious cults where the “glorious leader” through a structured programme of interactions leads acolytes to doubt their entire belief system and replace it with a blind faith in the paradigm of the leader.  Gaslighting is preparatory to brainwashing.  By gaslighting you have the acolyte doubt their reality, opening them to manipulation.  Then you are free to replace their reality with your own – which is the brainwashing piece.

A form of gaslighting is highlighted in the George Orwell novel 1984.  History is edited to reflect current reality.  A back issue of a newspaper showing the award of a medal to a war hero is replaced to reflect the current reality where the hero has become an enemy of the state.  If you seem to remember the individual was some kind of hero, and you go back to check, you will find your memory of the past is flawed.

These days with Deep-Fake technology you will see evidence of people saying and doing things that never happened.  But how will you know the truth?  What is reality in a post-truth society?

Bloody Sunday 1920

 

Auxies

Auxilliaries having a laugh in 1920’s Ireland

If any single day can sum up a war the events of Bloody Sunday in Dublin, 99 years ago today, do just that.

Early in the morning the Irish leaders of the War of Independence; Michael Collins and Cathal Brugha, despatched IRA squads to assassinate a list of 35 British Intelligence Officers and informers.

There were mistakes made, and many failures, but when the smoke settled 14 men were killed and six were wounded, one mortally.  Two of the killings were mistakes, what the military today terms “collateral damage”.  One IRA volunteer was captured, but later escaped.  Another was injured; shot in the hand.

The work of the morning was highly effective in dismantling the British Intelligence operation.  Many of the surviving intelligence agents holed up in Dublin Castle and were unable to carry out further work for fear of their lives.  The list of targets clearly demonstrated that the secrecy of the agents had been compromised.

The retaliation by the British was a complete and utter Public Relations disaster.   Dublin and Tipperary were playing a football match in Croke Park that afternoon.  The British forces thought that it would be a good idea to drive into a football stadium and announce by megaphone that all men were to be searched.

One and a half years previously the British under General Dyer slaughtered over 400 civilians in Amritsar in the Punjab, India.  In that context it is inconcievable to believe that British Authorities thought it might be a good idea to send armed men into a football stadium.  But they did.

They never got to announce their intention to the crowd.  A column of British soldiers approached from Clonliffe road to the North.  A mixed column of Black and Tans, regular RIC and led by Auxiliaries approached from the Canal end to the South.  The Black & Tans started shooting as soon as they entered the ground.

The result was predictable.  A mad scramble to safety by the crowd and loss of all control of both the crowd and of the Crown forces.  The combined troops and police fired 114 rounds of rifle ammunition, 50 rounds of machine gun ammunition from an armoured car stationed outside the ground and the revolver ammunition was not documented.  The machine gunner at least had wits enough to fire in the air over the heads of the crowd.

Seven were shot to death, one of whom was the Tipperary Goal Keeper; Michael Hogan.  Five more were mortally wounded and died later.  Two more were trampled to death.  Dozens more were shot, wounded and survived and many more were wounded in the scramble to safety.

None of the security forces was killed or wounded in the action.

Later that night three men who were being detained in Dublin Castle as suspects in planning the assassinations were shot to death, supposedly while trying to escape.

Bloody Sunday removed any final sympathy for the Crown position that might have lingered in even the most West British parts of leafy south county Dublin.  The behaviour of the Black & Tans was recognised as the actions of rabid dogs, unordered, and “exceeding the demands of the situation”.

The finding of the British military courts of enquiry were suppressed, and some of the senior British Officers on the ground resigned their commissions in protest at Government’s tacit support of the actions of both Military and Police forces on the day.

That was the day Britain lost Ireland.

 

 

 

 

Rape and the Republic

Rape of Lucretia

Lucretia by Artemisia Gentileschi

On Wednesday 13th November 2019 Lucretia sold for €4.8 million establishing a record price for the work of the 17th Century Female Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi.

The subject matter, the suicide of Lucretia, is the founding event of the Roman Republic. Sextus Tarquinus, the son of Lucius Tarquinius Superbus (last King of Rome) raped the virtuous wife of the chief magistrate Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus.  In front of her husband and father she accused her rapist and took her own life in shame.  Her self sacrifice led to the overthrow of the monarchy and the creation of the Roman Republic.

Lucretia is one of those memes that has re-occured in art through the centuries, an icon of virtue, an innocent despoiled by brute power.  The rape itself forms one subject and the suicide another, both lurid, sexualised and even pornographic.

The story is a patriarchal morality story.  Despite her innocence the “path of virtue” for Lucretia is to take her own life.  That way she does not saddle her upstanding father and husband with “damaged goods”.

When Christianity rose to power suicide was deemed a sin.  But the raped innocent was expected to commit a symbolic form of suicide.  She was removed from polite society.  If she was pregnant she was sent away to bear the child in secret, in a convent if rich or in a Magdalene Laundry if she was poor.   Many an Irish girl was put on a boat to England to have her child abroad, or to avail of an abortion.  Good Catholic families specialised in sweeping their morality under the carpet of convenience.

To this day the legal systems in most countries are weighted in favour of the rapist and against the victim.  Her silence is rewarded with discretion as the rapist trots off to find his next victim.  Her accusation is questioned in detail and her character is torn to shreds in the courtroom where her sexual history and clothing choices will be used to paint her as a loose woman, a woman of dubious virtue, no Lucretia.

Lucretia