The proliferation of ERROR

May. 3rd, 2016 02:07 pm
oursin: Painting of Clio Muse of History by Artemisia Gentileschi (Clio)
[personal profile] oursin

My dear rdrz will have heard me (for lo, they B heering the whingeing on the Moon) rant about certain popular works of history, sometimes by people who have some kind of relevant scholarly credential (and sometimes not) that have the pernicious effect of getting some complete misapprehension into the water.

And sometimes, at least within the scholarly community, you have people who NO BETTER undertaking the somewhat tedious task of historical revisionism (e.g. come on down, Helen King!) and bright or less-bright young things become apprised that you cannot take the popular and much-cited works as gospel, for, lo, they GOT IT RONG or left pertinent facts out, and so on.

The trouble with popular works of history is that quite oft, they fall into the hands of individuals who are perhaps not applying the critical methods that one trained in the discipline would apply, or do not realise that this is just one case in an ongoing debate, and sometimes, o deary deary me, they write plays or produce films (in the case of a certain canard, both) which are claimed to be based on HISTORICAL (or perhaps we should say, HYSTERIKLE) FACT.

I see that somebody has made a play out of Lauren Slater's Opening Skinner's Box (2004): which was, at that time

condemned for perpetuating – or at least failing to refute – the myth that the father of behaviourism, BF Skinner, tested his theories by keeping his infant daughter in an environmentally controlled box.
Which indeed, I blogged about at the time.


I thought I'd also posted about one or two egregious examples of playwrights/novelists ripping off historians' work without attribution and letting it be thought it was ORL THEIR OWN WERK, but can't find the posts if so.


May. 3rd, 2016 03:04 pm
selenak: (Tony Stark by Gettingdrastic)
[personal profile] selenak
Some post Civil War tales have been written already, to my fannish relief, for I crave them. Mind you, most of what's written is not compatible with my interests in the MCU, to wit: Reader/Anyone - not interested. Steve/Bucky - not interested. Loki/Anyone (this is still going on?) - not interested. Actually, Bucky/Anyone - not interested. (Bucky centric gen I might be more open for now, but still, not what I'm primarily looking for.)

Meanwhile, post Civil War or Civil War inspired tales I am interested in include:

Spoilery Stuff )

(no subject)

May. 3rd, 2016 09:44 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] forthright!

Elementary 4.23

May. 3rd, 2016 10:44 am
selenak: (Holmes and Watson by Emme86)
[personal profile] selenak
Okay, show, that was a really dumb bait and switch which I'm still hoping against hope wasn't one.

Read more... )

A further imbroglio

May. 3rd, 2016 09:34 am
the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)
[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

I stir and wake for a moment to hear a gentle tapping at my door in a particular pattern that signifies that our plan has succeed’d – sure I might like to hear more, but 'tis the middle of the night and much as I might like dear Josiah in my bedchamber, ‘twould not be prudent to invite him in.

So go I back to my slumbers, until I am quite wrencht out of 'em by a scream and a deal of running to and fro and crying out.

Alack that the role I have cast myself in requires that, instead of running out to find out what’s ado, I should be cowering in my bed with my head beneath the blankets.

I thus sit up in bed and try to discern from the noises what is afoot.

There is a gentle tap upon my door that I recognize to be Eliza; I unlock the door and let her in.

O, my dearest C-, she cries, such a to-do!

I apprehend, says I, sitting down upon the bed and drawing my feet under me, that there has been a to-do. Sure even a silly creature of no education might consider that the unwont’d noises in the middle of night were due to some to-do.

Eliza kisses me upon the nose and says she confides that their most curious of C-s is in quite a state of agitation to know what went forth.

O, you wick’d wild girl, do not teaze!

She sits down next to me and clasps her hands in her lap. You must apprehend that Mrs K- was taken in the very act of removing the leather bag containing her necklace from one of the hot-house beds –

Sure, says I, I am appriz’d of that matter –

- and while I doubt she may be taken up as a thief for purloining her own property, I confide that the story will get about extreme expeditious within Society and will not be to her credit. So, she was conduct’d to her chamber, along with her treasure.

And 'twas suppos’d that the both of them would be departing very early the morn. But scarce had all made their way back to their own beds, and been in their first sleep, when there was a horrible scream and a deal of noise and so there was a very general rush to the spot to see what went forth.

And will you ever arrive at what went forth? say I somewhat ill-temper’d.

Why, says Eliza, that provokingly kisses my nose again, 'twas Mr D- K- that had set about his good lady as if he intend’d murder, crying out upon her, and she screaming, and then – sure I do not know how it was he just happen’d to be passing, for his own chamber is nowhere near – Sir H- Z- broke in upon them and endeavour’d to drag Mr K- away from his victim –

And sure they made enough racket betwixt them all about the matter that it brought a deal of the company running.

Sure, says I primly, I understand that the law permits a husband to chastise his wife but this sounds somewhat in excess of what the law might approve.

Indeed I should hope so! So they are taken off to separate chambers with some distance between 'em, and her maid comes out to tend her injuries, and there is some talk of sending for a surgeon. So as I am sure she did not greatly desire a crowd standing about gaping upon her and exclaiming, I came at once to tell you the matter.

Well! says I, when thieves fall out! Sure, I go on, were I to engage in a plot that requir’d me to steal my own jewels, I think I would do somewhat that it would not look particular, by taking some that were not my own –

Sure she is not the equal of our most contriving of C-s!

But I daresay they should not be thrown out of the house too precipitate for fear he will then continue his attack. And while she is an entire b---h, and somewhat of a w---e, I would not have her murder’d by one who was her confederate.

That is our tenderest-heart’d of C-s!

This is our sleepiest of C-s, says I, sure this has been a broken night, and moreover tomorrow is Sunday and I confide that we must be up betimes in order to go to church.

My darling sighs. Indeed we must.

She leaves me (tho’ indeed I wish she might stay), and I crawl back into bed. I settle myself for sleep, for I do not need to puzzle about how Sir H- Z- came there. I confide that he must have had some assignation somewhere in the upper floors, for I daresay there are those among the footmen that are quite willing to be obliging to a gentleman.

I am woken rather earlier than I should entirely like by Docket with my chocolate, and the news that there was a great brangle in the house last night to do with those nasty creatures the K-s.

Well, Docket, says I, today is Sunday, and we should try to be in charity with our fellow-men.

Docket sniffs, and says she supposes I will be going to church?

Indeed, I say, 'tis proper behaviour.

I go down to breakfast dresst suitably sober to go to church after. I see Milord looking somewhat troubl’d, but making a hearty breakfast at least. I assure him that I do not require an account of the night’s occurrences. I am mostly heartily reliev’d to hear it, says he in an undertone, tho’ I should desire you to apply your talent for contrivances to the imbroglio we now find ourselves in.

I daresay, says I, that 'tis not like when two children have been fighting, and one makes them shake hands and be friends once more.

He sighs and says sure one sees better ton in the nursery at R- House. But let me get you a little breakfast, Lady B-.

I look about the room. The B-s are present, and Lord and Lady T-, Sir B- W- and Susannah, Biffle, Lady Z- (but not Sir H- Z-), and my darlings. I sit down in the place next to Milord, and he brings me a nice little plate of breakfast and a cup of coffee.

Lady Z- moves towards me and says how very providential ‘twas that Sir H- was sleepless last night, and did what he will usual do on such occasions, go see if he can climb onto the roof and look up at the night sky (sure, thinks I, I have never heard it called that before), for altho’ Mrs K- made herself very disagreeable, 'twould be even more disagreeable was she murder’d by her husband. And she cannot suppose that he did not know what she was about, for they ever had their heads together like confederates.

Entirely so, says I. I look around the room and say sure I confide that there will be several that sleep thro’ the sermon.

When we foregather in the hall to go to church Sandy is there looking upon us with the expression of one that will be beguiling the time by reading the sermons of John Knox: I confide that he will in fact be beguiling the time by smoaking a cigar upon the terrace and then going to read the works of Mrs Behn in the library, of which I inform’d him.

'Twould indeed be hard to remain awake during the sermon even if the company had not had such a broken night: the text is from one of the minor prophets of the Old Testament and the sermon very long and under several heads, deliver’d in a monotonous mutter. Sure we should have taken a deal more coffee beforehand.

But afterwards we return to where Seraphine has laid an extreme fine collation, and without the K-s present – they have been taken up trays to the chambers where they are confin’d – we are a far more congenial company. Lord T- comes to have some converse with me about the T-s’ work in the antipodes, which is entirely pleasing to me for I know he commands considerable interest that may be to their advantage.

Afterwards, I go see if there is anything I may do for Mrs K-. Her maid admits me to the room, where she is reclining in a chair with her feet upon a stool. One of her eyes has been blackt, even though her collar is cut high I can see bruising upon her neck, and there is a red puffiness about her hands that argues that she did not lye passive but fought back with fists.

She looks at me very hostile and says, What, Lady B-? come to gloat?

No, indeed, says I. I came to see was there anything you need’d.

She laughs very sarcastick and says that they are not objects of philanthropy that hold out their hands for charity, even are they quite roll’d up.

I see, says I, that I need not supply a recommendation for an asylum for penitent magdalenes; but you may wish to consider a matrimonial separation. There was a friend of mine had a very bad husband indeed, that manag’d to contrive the matter, 'tis possible to find out how 'twas done –

He is my husband! she flares out. I will not leave him. Sure he was in a great temper, but 'tis not a habitual matter, he was most greatly incens’d that our plans had come to ruin and that I had manag’d the matter so ill, was already in an evil mood and endeavouring to provoke fights. I daresay, she says very venomous, that you will not understand the kind of feeling there exists between spouses -

I daresay not, says I, for did a fellow raise his hand to me, I should close my door upon him. (Tho’ I do not say, after his unconscious body had been convey’d several streets distant by Hector.)

I cannot tell, from her expression, whether she despises me for my timidity or envies me the door I may close.

I rise and say, that as there is nothing she requires that I may supply, I will take my leave.

Penny Dreadful 3.01

May. 2nd, 2016 07:07 pm
selenak: (Malcolm and Vanessa)
[personal profile] selenak
My favourite late Victorian multi crossover is back!

Read more... )

Just wondering...

May. 2nd, 2016 05:54 pm
oursin: George Beresford photograph of Marie of Roumania, overwritten 'And I AM Marie of Roumania' (Marie of Roumania)
[personal profile] oursin

On the one hand, yes, I sorta see what's being got at here:

Yet there is a further curiosity here. This summer’s female-friendship movies do not just share a theme and a gender but a genre, too. They are all comedies. Could it be that this is another reason women’s stories can be taken less seriously? Cinema has long prized drama over everything else. The lighter something appears, the easier it is to dismiss.
but on the other hand I am also going, depending upon what you mean by comedies, they have a certain amount of staying power, and the screwball comedies of a bygone era still hold up pretty well (to mention a genre in which women played a prominent part: the romantic weepies, not so much, but the noir, yes, those too), and wottabaht Jane Austen, and so on, and comedy is actually difficult (says Tonstant Weader who has recently given up, sighing deeply, on a supposedly humorous sff satire/parody/pastiche as a) trying too hard and b) going for the obvious targets).


Dept of, I think there's subtext here, or am I being Old and Cynical in think this is all about the wanting to shag other people:

My girlfriend and I decided we would travel the world together for a year. The problem is that I’m having second thoughts about whether to go with her. Bearing in mind that we are both 25 years old and have been seeing each other exclusively for 10 years, I feel there may be more to experience going separately than together. Do you think I should bury this scepticism and go ahead with plans knowing that this may reveal future resentment in our relationship, or do we go our separate ways in hopes of living our desired futures?

(no subject)

May. 2nd, 2016 10:56 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] dakiwiboid and [personal profile] rysmiel!

A most uneasy e'en

May. 2nd, 2016 09:52 am
the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)
[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

No, says I to Sandy as we conclave in the cabinet of curiosities, you must present it as quite entire a matter of your own deductions. Perchance you may mention that my remark that Mrs K- did not wear the necklace last night provid’d a hint, but indeed, that is quite entirely the kind of thing some frivolous silly creature that is more interest’d in vain adornment than politicks might note.

Sandy sighs deeply and says he sees that this course is quite entire the prudential way of carrying it on, but really, he cannot like the ways in which certain of the party speak of Lady B-.

Well, my dear, fellows that are thinking more of my bubbies and perchance even lower parts are not going to be undue carefull in what they say to me.

Sandy sighs again but agrees that 'tis so. But indeed, he goes on, I find it most extreme hard that I may not go about to console G- and raise his spirits, for I can see how very troubl’d he is at present, even before this imbroglio, and I daresay he is having his nightmare and not getting enough restfull sleep -

Does he not already do so, he must send to Seraphine for some of the soothing drink that she has Mrs F-'s receipt for, 'tis a most beneficial thing, tho’ I daresay not as soothing to his spirits as the company of his bello scozzese.

I can see how very distresst by the matter Sandy is when he does not greet this with a dour Calvinistickal glare.

But, my dear, I continue, I must at once descend to await the announcement of dinner, which I daresay will be turn’d to gall in all stomachs by the sour expressions of the K-s, and you must, do you get the chance, solicit some of the other gentlemen to lye in wait with you. Mr F-, I know, is quite determin’d to aid you in the matter.

Sandy gives me a brief smile and says he will so.

One can see within the drawing-room that there are parties drawn up, Mr D- K- and his wife at one end of the room stand alone and shoot basilisk glances towards the group nigh unto the fire of Milord, the F-s, Sir B- W- and Susannah, Biffle and Viola, Mr and Mrs B-, and Lord T-. Lingering about the outskirts of this group is Sir H- Z-. Sir V- P- is bleating at Lady Z- near the piano. Lady T- sits as close as she may to a candelabra so that she may have light upon her lace-making. Mr W- Y- is staring out of the window with a determin’d air of poetickal abstraction.

Dilmer comes summon us to dine. Milord takes me in and I am sat 'twixt him and Biffle.

Sure Seraphine has quite outdone herself with the table that is set before us, but I fear that the company will by no means do it justice.

Conversation goes by stops and starts, for no-one wishes to be so unmannerly as to open the subject that is upon all our minds – save perchance that of Mr W- Y-, that wears the expression of one that composes poetry in his head, and does not respond to any conversational overtures from Susannah or Lady Z-, that are sat to either side of him. Mrs K- wields her knife and fork as if she wishes she was about employing them upon some person.

I say to Milord that I heard a most curious tale once from the Admiral, that lately marry’d Lady J-, he is a sensible practickal fellow yet will say that there are strange things at sea: I have somewhat sophistickat’d the tale as the dear creature told it me, in order to make it more telling for this company, but I hear a pleasing hush fall upon all except the K-s, that make somewhat of a point of continuing their own conversation.

Why, says Sir H- Z-, that I do not think has addresst a word to me these several days, Lady B-, sure you should write novels.

O, says I, lifting my fan to hide my face, sure I can repeat these curious tales that I hear from my acquaintance, but I lack those gifts to make up stories - I perceive my darlings in some discomfort at trying not to laugh – that would be requir’d for such an endeavour. But does any care to listen, there was a most remarkable account that I had from my man of law, Mr Q- of Lincoln’s Inn, a man not given to wild fancies –

This leads various members of the company to describe strange matters that they have encounter’d or that are family traditions or that they were told in some circumstance.

When the ladies withdraw, Lady T- is kind enough to say that sure I tell these tales exceeding well (indeed, the matter and the manner of the telling by some of the company were not entirely happily matcht) –

O, says I, in my girlhood 'twas thought I might make an actress and I was instruct’d in the arts of speaking &C.

Lady T- looks at me, and I daresay she is another that has been about supposing from the acquir’d polish of my manners that I am one of good breeding that fell into unfortunate circumstances. Tho’ indeed there are some of whom that is quite entirely true that venture upon the stage to make their fortunes.

I go about to offer ratafia and tea, both of which Mrs K- refuses as if I offer her a cup of poison. (Sure were she an actress I doubt not the criticks would accuse her of over-acting and failing at those subtle yet telling effects that we see in such glories of the stage as Miss A- and Miss R-.)

Lady T- pats the sopha next to her, inviting me to sit there. She makes herself most extreme agreeable to me – I am in some supposition that this is to show up Mrs K-‘s poor ton – in particular expressing her gratitude for asking Mr MacD- to look into the history of the lace. He has uncover’d some letters in the R- muniments from ladies of the T- family that are of most exceeding interest. She goes about to recount this.

Viola says that 'tis quite entire possible that there may be some similar matter among the muniments at M- House – she recounts some of the tale concerning the china and Greek pots that were discover’d in the attics. Lady T- remarks that there is some fine china also to be found among their own possessions –

But o, says Viola, I am a mere novice on the subject compar’d to Lady B-, whose judgements in the matter are very widely consider’d most exceeding nice.

I raise my fan and lower my eyes and say that Her Grace is entirely too kind. I have a very small collection: yet I consider it quite select. (I perceive Susannah trying to conceal mirth.) 'Tis nothing to the china at M- House, that includes some exquisite Chinese porcelain.

From china we move on to painting and thence by some route I cannot trace to philanthropy. Lady T- remarks that she supposes that Lady J-, that has most meritoriously gone about such matters rather than sitting at home and sighing for a swain, will now alas be abandoning her causes now she is marry’d. All who are somewhat better acquaint’d with Lady J- conceal their mirth, and Viola with a very straight face says that while Lady J- addresses herself most dutifull to matters concerning the estate the Admiral lately inherit’d, she would think it shame to give up responsibilities that she had already taken on.

At this moment enter the gentlemen, looking somewhat grim. Mr D- K- at once goes to his wife, that still stands brooding like Cassandra upon the company.

Sir B- W- comes over to Susannah and says in tones that are perhaps not quite subdu’d enough that that ruffian Mr K- has been talking as if he hop’d to provoke a challenge, but I confide that all thought that 'twould be showing him too much honour, the scrub. Was the Admiral of the company I confide we should be hearing of horsewhips.

We will not ask you, says Susannah, what was said, for it cannot be fit hearing for us.

The unease that lyes over the company like an evil miasma has the effect of sending all off to bed extreme early.

I confide that Sandy goes at once to the hot-house to lye in wait with Roberts and any others he has prevail’d upon to join the party.

I go up to my own chamber, and say to Docket that I daresay we may hear some turmoil tonight: there was a fine telling of ghost-stories over dinner, and I daresay there will be nightmares and even sleep-walking as a result. Do not let it disturb you.

Docket looks at me, saying nothing but with a very speaking expression


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March 2016


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