the battle of roquecezière

on the recommendation of just about everybody that i know online (thanks, almost everybody!), i am reading graham robb’s The Discovery of France.

this, below, is by far the funniest story so far! and there are a LOT of funny stories like this in the book…and i’m only about a quarter of the way through! great stuff. hbd chick is amused! =P [pgs. 27-28 – link added by me]:

“An expedition into tribal France could begin almost anywhere and at almost any time. A hilltop in the Aveyron, for instance, where the limestone plateaux of the Causses turn into a crumpled map of rocks and gorges. The year is 1884. The priest of Montclar has found an exciting diversion from the monotony of life in a small town. His telescope is trained on a battlefield in the valley below. An army of men, women and children, wielding cudgels and lugging baskets of stones, is advancing on the village of Roqueceziere. But scouts have been posted. Another army has already emerged from the village and is preparing to defend its territory.

“On the bare rock that towers above the village, turning its back to the battle, is a colossal cast-iron statue of the Virgin Mary. The statue has been funded by public subscription — something of a miracle in this impoverished region — and has recently been placed on the rock to commemorate a successful mission.

“Incensed to see the sacred effigy pointing its bottom at their village, the invaders have come to turn it around. The battle rages for hours. Several people are seriously injured. At last, the Roquecezierain lines are breached and the statue is worked around to face the other village. To prevent a full-scale war, the Church authorities find a compromise. The Virgin is rotated ninety degree, supposedly so that each village can see half of her face. However, she now looks east-north-east, towards Saint-Crepin, which contributed more than half the cost of the statue, and still had her back turned to the little clutch of houses at her foot.”

heh! =P i think this must be the statue here:

roquecezière

it should be noted that roquecezière (indicated by red dot) is down in midi-pyrénées in a region having, for france, pretty high cousin marriage rates historically…

roquecezière - cousin marriage

…and it’s also fairly far away from the “core” of core europe (green circle here).

previously: the auvergnat pashtuns

(note: comments do not require an email. roquecezière.)

chinese cleaners smarter than western professionals

here’s the latest re. the most recent pisa test results (various news outlets are reporting that the below also applies to the u.s. and canada – check google news for pisa+oecd):

“China’s poorest beat our best pupils”

“Children of factory workers and cleaners in Far East achieve better exam results than offspring of British lawyers and doctors, says OECD.

“British schoolchildren are lagging so far behind their peers in the Far East that even pupils from wealthy backgrounds are now performing worse in exams than the poorest students in China, an international study shows.

“The children of factory workers and cleaners in parts of the Far East are more than a year ahead of the offspring of British doctors and lawyers, according to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development….

“As part of the study, children were asked to name their parents’ occupation to determine its effect on pupil performance. Across the world, children whose parents work in professional careers generally outperform those in elementary jobs such as caterers, cleaners, factory workers and labourers.

“The study, involving more than 500,000 pupils worldwide, found children of elementary workers in many Far Eastern nations outperformed the sons and daughters of professional British children.

“The children of UK professionals scored an average of 526 points in maths. But this was overshadowed by an average score of 656 registered by the children of professionals in Shanghai-China and 569 among children of the country’s elementary workers. The children of parents in unskilled jobs in the UK scored an average of 461, the equivalent of two and a half years behind.

“Elementary workers’ children in Hong Kong (542), South Korea (538) and Singapore (534), also outperformed more affluent British peers. In Japan, Vietnam, Liechtenstein, Japan and China-Taipei, relatively poor children were only marginally behind the wealthiest British pupils.

“The report said: ‘In the United States and the United Kingdom, where professionals are among the highest-paid in the world, students whose parents work as professionals do not perform as well in mathematics as children of professionals in other countries — nor do they perform as we as the children in Shanghai-China and Singapore whose parents work in manual occupations….'”

no idea if any of these results were broken down by race, ethnicity, etc.

and a related story from a while back:

“Report: Chinese Third-Graders Falling Behind U.S. High School Students in Math, Science”

“According to an alarming new report published Wednesday by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, third-graders in China are beginning to lag behind U.S. high school students in math and science.

“The study, based on exam scores from thousands of students in 63 participating countries, confirmed that in mathematical and scientific literacy, American students from the ages of 14 to 18 have now actually pulled slightly ahead of their 8-year-old Chinese counterparts.

“‘This is certainly a wake-up call for China,’ said Dr. Michael Fornasier, an IEA senior fellow and coauthor of the report. ‘The test results unfortunately indicate that education standards in China have slipped to the extent that pre-teens are struggling to rank among even the average American high school student….'”

(~_^)

(note: comments do not require an email. or an average pisa score above ca. 450.)

funniest line from true detective. ever.

here’s the funniest (truest) line from true detective. ever. so far.

retired detective martin hart (woody harrelson) is describing in an interview with two detectives — who happen to be black — how dedicated to investigating (obsessive!) his former partner rust cohle (matthew mcconaughey) was:

hart: “Rust spent a lot of off duty running DBs, weeks of it, coon hound in another life.”

detective papania: (sounding a bit annoyed/incredulous) “Coon hound?”

hart: “I meant raccoon hound. Everybody is a fucking drama queen nowadays. Jesus.”

heh. (~_^)

i’m tellin’ ya, if you’re looking to waste an hour of your life here and there, you could do a lot worse than to watch true detective. here’s the kind of reaction people tend to have to it.

dealing with cuckoldry in thirteenth century england

if you discovered your friend’s wife in bed with another man in thirteenth century england, you’d tell your friend, right? [edit: and/or conclude that one or more of you must be a time lord(s)!] how to tell him though? hmmmm. email? text? nooooo. send him a letter! yeah, send him a letter.

it would’ve been an awkward sorta letter to write, though, but you know what? there was a form letter for the occasion! i know! who knew that they even had form letters in the 1200s?! but they did! and they were kept in collections called formularies, some of which are still hanging around in archives like at the british museum.

here from Lost Letters of Medieval Life: English Society, 1200-1250 [pg. 222 – link added by me]:

“A Man Warns His Friend that He Has Seen the Latter’s Wife Naked in Bed with Another Man, and Sends Her Girdle [no, not one of these, one of these – h.chick] as Evidence

“F. tells G. that he has seen another man in bed with G.’s wife

“To his beloved friend A., B. sends greetings. Except that I believed it would offend you, I would reveal something that I lately saw. But because it is wicked to conceal wickedness, I prefer to disclose [it] rather than to have the odium of the heavenly realm. For I saw your wife in R.’s bed, the two of them alone and naked together. And so that she cannot deny it, I took her girdle [i.e., belt] as a token, which I send to you, and the sight of it should serve you as evidence of this misdeed. You should see to it that she is punished, together with him. Farewell.”

so there you go.

the editors of Lost Letters reckon that this form letter was composed a bit tongue-in-cheek, but still with a serious lesson in mind [links added by me]:

“At first sight, this would seem to be an odd candidate for inclusion in a collection of model letters, since the compiler is unlikely to have assumed that there was a need for a form letter in which one friend notified another of the adultery of the latter’s wife. It seems likely that this letter was included in the collection for somewhat different reasons. First, it may have been intended, at least in part, for the amusement of the business students and other male readers for whom the formulary was primarily designed. In a similar fashion John of Garlande included some smutty material in his ‘Dictionarius’, a contemporary treatise designed to teach Latin vocabulary but written primarily in the form of a walking tour of Paris. Second, and more seriously, this letter may have been included to remind readers that, if they ever made a serious accusation against another person in writing, they had better have solid evidence — such as the wife’s girdle, in this case — to support their allegation.”

in anglo-saxon england/the early medieval period, you could just kill a guy if you caught him sleeping with your wife, and everyone would be very understanding. by the 1200s, however, this course of action was no longer permitted [pg. 226 – link added by me]:

“Around 1215, Thomas of Chobham, a canon laywer and subdean of Salisbury, summarized the legal recourse available to an outraged husband, as he understood it: ‘It is worth noting that secular law once allowed a man to kill an adulterer found with his wife. This is no longer permitted, but only for him to cut off the man’s genitals so that he will never spawn another who will follow him in his vileness.‘”

so there was that possibility!

you had to keep your wife under control, though. if you didn’t, you couldn’t accuse her of adultery in the ecclesiastical courts or castrate anybody:

“[S]ince women were considered to be sexually voracious, and certain occupations, such as that of barmaid, exposed them to dangerous temptations, a husband who allowed his wife to work in a drinking-house was not permitted to press charges of adultery against her if she succumbed.

(~_^)

also:

“Canon lawyers also ruled that a wife who had been raped could not be charged with adultery….”

fair enough.

(note: comments do not require an email. master john of garlande!)

ethnic stereotyping in twelfth-century paris

this is fun!

from “Ethnic Stereotyping in Twelfth-Century Paris” in Difference and Identity in Francia and Medieval France [pgs. 117-118 – links added by me]:

“To what extent, then, did the young clerics in Paris resort to ethnic stereotyping…. The most famous and frequently quoted passage bearing testimony to stereotyping can be found in book VII of bishop and preacher Jacques de Vitry‘s (c. 1170-1240) ‘Historia occidentalis’, under the heading ‘De statu Parisiensis civitatis’. In a tirade against the immorality of students, who in Jacques de Vitry’s opinion gave preference to gambling and prostitutes rather than devoting themselves to serious study…”

big surprise there!

“…the author laments that the scholars from different regions not only ‘quarreled among themselves about the various sects or about academic discussions, but that they rudely hurled a multitude of insults and sneers at each other, their diversity of origin causing mutual dissension, envy and disparagement.’ Jacques de Vitry goes on to relate that the clashes among students from different ethnic backgrounds were frequently accompanied by verbal abuse in the form of ethnic stereotyping and ridicule. Most of the ascriptions in Jacques de Vitry’s catalogue refer to the vices of ethnic groups, stating that:

“‘the English were drunks and tail-bearers, the French arrogant, weak and effeminate, the Germans furious, with disgusting manners, the Normans vain and boastful, the Poitevins traitors and adventurers. The Burgundians were reputed to be vulgar and stupid. They reproached the Bretons for being frivolous and fickle, often teasing them about Arthur’s death. They called the Lombards greedy, malicious and cowardly; the Romans seditious, violent and avaricious; the Sicilians tyrannical and cruel; the Brabanters bloodthirsty, arsonists, brigands and rapists; the Flemish self-indulgent, rich, gluttonous, and weak and soft as butter.’

“Jacques de Vitry goes on to remark that as a result of the verbal abuse, the students often came to blows.”

and from footnote 14:

“Another example of a clash between students from different ethnic backgrounds, though this time in Reims and not in Paris, is related in the Vita of Adelbertus, where the students enter into a snowball fight and hurl abuse at each other.”

(^_^)

(note: comments do not require an email. jacques de vitry telling everyone to behave!)

ancient chinese hbd thinking

from wu qi, the fourth century b.c. chinese version of jared taylor (~_^) [pg. 12 – links added by me]:

Qin‘s nature is strong. Its terrain is difficult. Its government is severe. Its rewards and punishments are reliable. Its people do not yield; they are all belligerent. Therefore they scatter and fight as individuals. As the way to attack them, one must first entice them with profit and lead them away. Their officers are greedy for gain and will separate from their generals. Take advantage of their separation to attack them when scattered, set traps and seize the key moment, then their generals can be captured.

Chu‘s nature is weak. Its terrain is broad. Its government is disorderly. Its people are weary. Therefore when placed in formations they cannot maintain them long. As the way to attack them, strike and cause disorder in their camp. First ruin their morale by nimbly advancing and then rapidly withdrawing. Cause them fatigue and toil. Do not join in actual combat, and their army can be destroyed.”

apparently, wu characterized all of the nine cultural regions of china at the time like this, but i haven’t found them yet (to be honest, i haven’t looked that hard).

(note: comments do not require an email. flash mob!)

sh*t people believe

the other day i poked a bit of fun at some folks who believe in a cargo cult, and then i got concerned that ya’ll might think i go around making fun of people who are — let’s admit it — not very bright. i want you to know that nothing could be futher from the truth. i laugh at EVERYbody! all of us. as far as i can tell, humans will believe anything.

A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G.

by way of example, here is a short list of things that people believe — and this is just the tip of the tip of the iceberg:

– that the world was created in seven days
– that a bird created everything
– that a chicken created the land
– that a wagtail created the land
– that the world was created from birds’ eggs
– that humans are made of corn
– that humans are descended from bears
– that the earth sits upon a big tree
– that the earth sits upon the back of a big turtle
– that the earth is flat
– that the earth is the center of the universe
– that the sun is the center of the universe
– that they are the center of the universe
– that magic is real
– that some people are magical
– that the parts of some dead animals are magical
– that the parts of some dead people are magical
– that some smelly socks are magical
– that some woman gave birth to a child without having sex
– that another guy was conceived in a highly unusual way, too
– that a really old lady gave birth to a child
– that one guy was born an old man
– that you can get pregnant from a bunch of feathers
– that you can get prenant from a swan
– that a piece of bread can turn into the flesh of a man-god
– that there is a man-god
– that there is a god
– that there are many gods
– that there definitely isn’t a god
– that you can persuade people who believe in god to believe that there isn’t one
– that they’re definitely not brains in vats
– that there is life after death
– that dead people will need their things in the next life
– that dead people will need money in the next life (and that you can send it to them)
– that they’ll come back to haunt you if you don’t
– that there are many lives after death (gonna need a lot of cash)
– that little green men are drawing pretty pictures in fields
– that the little green men were invading on october 30, 1938
– that the world is gonna end this year (omg!)
– that the world is gonna end in 2060 (whew!)
– that the world is gonna end in 2240. or 2280. or 3797. (whatever.)
– that some people born in certain years are bad luck
– that certain days are bad luck
– that certain numbers are bad luck
– that certain animals are bad luck (or maybe good luck)
– that certain actions are bad luck
– that you can predict future events from the most mundane things
– that they are rational
– that they aren’t biased
– that they perform better than most
– that they are at all honest with themselves
– that fiat currency has intrinsic value
– that iq isn’t important
– that gender doesn’t make a difference

– that all people everywhere are fundamentally the same in almost every way

(note: comments do not require an email. be more skeptical!)