MARY M THEOBALD—Finding cochineal would have been easier if the English had known what it was. To the naked eye, the dried bits of cochineal look like tiny peppercorns. Some said cochineal was a seed; others said it was an insect or dried worm. Some had it both ways, calling it “wormberry.” In an age when rotten meat was believed to spawn maggots and clams were thought to grow out of sand, spontaneous generation was a reasonable explanation for any mysterious form of life. Cochineal, some said, was a cactus berry that turned into a red worm.
CULTURE & COMEDY
- AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISMAMERICAN PROPAGANDAAMERICAN STUDIESAMERICAN WAY OF LIFECITIZENS COUNTER-PROPAGANDACULTURE & COMEDYCULTURE & CRITICISM
ROBIN WILLIAMS—Come Inside My Mind treats Robin Williams’ explosive comedy as well as his darker side, but largely ignores the social circumstances in which he matured and worked. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, it was not possible to be in New York City and San Francisco and not absorb something of the epoch’s radicalism. The receding of that radical, free-spirited wave had consequences for artists like Williams, whether he was aware of them or not. He was somehow stranded, brilliantly isolated, attempting single-handedly through his routines to make up for the increasing coldness and selfishness of the times.
- AMERICAN BRAINWASHAMERICAN DUPLICITYAMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISMAMERICAN PARTY DUOPOLYCITIZENS' MEDIACLASS ANALYSISCULTURE & COMEDYCULTURE & CRITICISMORPHAN TRUTHS-COMEDY
Lee Camp’s comedy, always packed with political message shows that social comedy is serious business and that while making people laugh is good and probably necessay, it is also important to make them think. In that he follows the model presented by the unique (and prematurely departed) iconoclastic George Carlin. This interview with his daughter, following her father’s traditions, should be of interest to anyone who believes morality belongs in all public commentary.
- ARTS & FILMCRIMINAL FOREIGN POLICYCULTURAL SAVAGERYCULTURE & COMEDYCULTURE & CRITICISMCULTURE & HISTORY
RAMIN MAZAHERI—But humanising the literal Hitler-lover Eva Braun? For one thing – that is not feminism at all. It is no more pro-feminist than this week’s absurd article from The New York Times: Was This Powerful Chinese Empress a Feminist Trailblazer? No, Empress Cixi (reign 1861-1908) was not. At all. Empress Cixi was a disaster for China during her 50-year rule. Drugs, foot-binding, colonial domination (for which she was the willing puppet), social disarray – all were rampant under her reign. Not every woman in power is a feminist, nor good to nor good for women…but this is simply not the view of the West in 2018.
- AMERICAN STUDIESAMERICAN WAY OF LIFECOMEDYCULTURE & COMEDYORPHAN TRUTHS-COMEDY
Brian Dennehy actually makes an uncredited appearance playing Dennis Finch’s firefighter father, Red Finch. He makes an unforgettable first appearance with an axe. Red is convinced Dennis is gay after watching a television movie. Dennis tries to convince him he’s straight. The Finchs are firefighters in upstate Albany, New York. Dennis is the complete opposite of his father and brothers. He works as an administrative assistant or secretary to Jack Gallo at Blush fashion magazine. Dennis is short and slim. When you watch the ending, you see how it all comes together and how the truth finally comes out in the Finch family with the final line, ” Pass the Salt.” It’s Dennehy’s first appearance in the series and it’s always unforgettable.