Posts tagged: history
from the National Institutes of Health’s US National Library of Medicine’s Islamic Medical Manuscripts Collection. this is a 16th century copy of a 13th century MS.
On Friday, NASA’s space shuttle Endeavour landed in Los Angeles, California, after completing its final flight, a cross-country farewell journey with flyovers and stops in Texas, Arizona, and several locations in California. Endeavour completed its last space voyage in June of 2011, and has since been undergoing a decommissioning process in Florida, preparing to be delivered to the California Science Center. Now that the shuttle is in Los Angeles, it will undergo a few weeks of preparation before being carefully towed through city streets to its new home. Collected here are a few snapshots of Endeavour’s farewell flight. (Bonus: The last four images are 3D anaglyph images, for those with a pair of red/cyan glasses handy.)
See more. [Images: NASA, AP, Getty Images]
Whenever people ask me for a tip on becoming a writer, the first tip, literally the first one that comes to mind, is to build a library. Seriously, whenever I can, I go to bookstores and I buy up anything on their remainder shelf relating to history in particular. Biographies and reference books as well, but history first.
I believe that a shelf full of history books is the greatest possible idea machine someone can have. The internet is not the same, exactly, holding a history book and reading the close details of our past in particular serves as inspiration every single time. Many, many stories you guys might have read of mine had their roots in these books I bought on clearance at sidewalk sales and in remainder aisles.
For example, the first villain I created, The Black Swan, in Deadpool, is based on a biography of King Ludwig II, the ‘mad king of Bavaria,’ who was obsessed with the fantasy operas of Wagner, and helped create a renaissance of architecture and art that has lasted to this day.
You can’t read history as a writer and not get ideas, it’s just impossible.
I’m sure a lot of you already know this, but Kilmainham Gaol is a real place, a prison built in Dublin, Ireland, built right around the year 1800. At the time, it was considered quite ‘humane’ and progressive, even. It’s been out of commission since, I think, the 1980’s, and is now a museum.
It’s disturbing as hell, and was one of the least ‘humane’ places I have ever been in. It held, at one time or another, nearly all of the imprisoned Irish Nationalists, and at one time, public hangings were held right out in front, later, the executions were no longer public.
There are things about it that are very haunting…it’s several levels, the main room is shaped like an oval, so a few guards could see every cell. Doors did have this design, that of an eye with a viewing hole in the center, on the cell’s interior, so that the prisoners felt they were being watched 24 hours a day by both the guards and by God, never a moment’s privacy. They were made to feel like hopeless sinners. No peace, even in sleep.
They were also not allowed to speak, not even to themselves.
Perhaps the oddest thing is that the jail did not separate men from women, even children. They were tossed together, five and six in a cell, regardless of sex or age. Children as young as five were incarcerated for petty theft.
Also, it’s odd, but women were deliberately treated worse than the men, at both an institutional and practical level. Men had beds, cots, anyway, women slept on filthy hay on the floor and were often subject to particularly brutal torture and treatment.
One of the most horrifying stories is that of Anne Devlin. In another issue of Secret Six, Jeannette describes having been a prisoner here at the Gaol, and her story is essentially an abridged version of Anne’s story.
Anne was an Irish nationalist posing as a housekeeper for Robert Emmett, who was planning an uprising. She was arrested and tortured, but would not reveal anything.
Later, she was arrested again, and became the particular target of brutal treatment, vengeful actions because she refused to tell anything about her employer. Police surrounded her with bayonets and stabbed her, she refused to talk. They tried to bribe her, they threatened her with ‘ribald’ comments, and she refused to say anything.
Robert Emmett was captured, and when he heard of her refusal to say a word against him, he begged her to tell the guards everything about him that she knew, he was doomed anyway and it would end her torment. She refused.
She was repeatedly tortured, and deliberately kept in a cell where, as Jeannette says, all the sewage from the jail ran over her feet each day. She was tortured and otherwise abused, kept in the dark and in solitary, for three years. Her family was arrested, her twelve year old brother died in jail just a few cells away.
She refused to utter a single word against her compatriots, and this became an embarrassment for the police, who treated her with endless cruelty. When she was released, she had several illnesses that would stay with her the rest of her life and looked like a broken old woman at the age of 28.
Again, the people who built the gaol were quite proud of the ‘humane’ qualities of the prison.
If you read the Secret Six volume, DEPTHS, much of that story is informed by Kilmainham Gaol, as well as prisons in North Korea and China that function to this day. It was about moral relativism, and how being in power doesn’t necessarily mean being moral, or decent, or humane. About how the state can be allowed to do things that would make us aghast if committed by a serial killer. Some of the tortures used in these places, and even, as we have seen, by our own government, are little different from what we have seen the worst serial killers do, the only difference is the tacit or explicit approval of that country’s government.
This is why I believe we can’t listen to the family friendly rebranding of torture as ‘enhanced interrogation.’ It is still torture. It is still applied to force confessions from the innocent. It is applied for political gain. It is applied to silence opposing viewpoints. It is applied against the poor, the disadvantaged, and in greatly distorted numbers against the ethnic and religious minorities.
But it is still torture.
It’s said that you can judge a country by how it treats its prisoners. I leave it to the reader to decide what that says about your own country.
In any case, the entire story was inspired by a visit to Kilmainham Gaol.
Say you were thinking about taking a trip this summer to Italy, and were considering a drive northward from Rome to the ancient coastal city of Ravenna. How long would it take? How would you go about finding that out?
Most likely, you’d use Google Maps, which would tell you that by car you could take a variety of routes, all of which would get you to Ravenna in about four and a half hours.
Now say, just hypothetically, that you wanted to make the same trip except — and it’s kind of a big exception — that the year is not 2012 but 200, you’re not traveling by car but by ox cart, and, just for a little extra challenge, let’s say it’s February. How long would that journey take?
To answer that question there’s ORBIS, a sort of “Google Maps for Ancient Rome,” which will tell you that the fastest way for a third-century traveler to get to Ravenna will be to take your ox cart to the sea, board a ship, and sail around Sicily, around the southern coast of Italy, and northward to Ravenna. It will take you nearly 15 days and cost nearly 400 denarii. Over land, the trip will last a month.
Read more. [Image: ORBIS]
Why you should be in passionate horny love with Elizabeth ‘Nellie Bly’ Cochrane
- Born in 1864/65, Elizabeth, one of 15 children, was always ‘the rebellious one’. Fierce as fuck from an early age, she testified against her abusive stepfather in her mother’s divorce trial.
- In 1880 she enrolled in a teacher-training college but had to leave after her first semester due to lack of funding - then moved to Pittsburgh to help run a goddamn boarding school.
- This is where we get to the good shit. Age 18, she wrote a letter-to-the-editor of the Pittsburgh Dispatch bitchslapping the everloving fuck out of a sexist ballsack of an article entitled ‘What Girls Are Good For’.
- The editor was so goddamn wooed by her razor-sharp tongue that he RAN AN AD asking her to identify herself. Elizabeth owned up, and was hired instantaneously, her badassery radiating from her pores and intoxicating all within a twenty mile radius.
- Working under the pen-name Nellie Bly, Elizabeth kicked the butts of morons everywhere, writing articles aimed at social justice, particularly labour laws to protect working ‘girls’ and reform of Pennsylvania’s divorce law, which greatly favoured men.
- Not content with changing the world from behind her desk, Elizabeth became a founding mother of investigative journalism. She was expelled from Mexico for exposing political corruption, and henceforth wrapped in cotton wool by her editors. Infuriated by their mollycoddling, Lizzie left them a note essentially telling them to fuck themselves and hot footed it to NYC. She was still only 23.
- Within six months she was hired by Joseph fucking Pulitzer himself, and continued her batshit crazy investigations uninhibited. Her very first assingment had her feigning mental illness to expose repulsive conditions in Blackwell’s Island Insane Asylum. Her cutting report was so fucking horrifying, compelling and persuasive that it triggered public and political action, leading to reform of the institution.
- In the next couple of years she had herself thrown in jail and hired by a sweatshop, all for shits and giggles. Oh, and to uncover incomprehensible injustice, cruelty, poverty, and the concealed, heinous treatment of the vulnerable and voiceless.
- But was pioneering journalism, social revolution and batshit badassery enough for our Liz? Like fuck it was. On a whim Nellie did what any self-respecting 25 year old woman in the 1800s would do - she emulated Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days, and did it in 72.
- Millions followed her journey, and its appeal to a semi-literate populace resulted in greatly increased newspaper readership. So while travelling the entire globe (IN THE 1800s, AS A WOMAN) by ship, train, burro and balloon, she helped the world to read.
- Having essentially conquered the entire goddamn universe before hitting 30, Nellie retired, and wed 72 year old industrialist Robert Seaman. Their marriage was a happy one, and after his death she took over Iron Clad Manufacturing Co.
- But Lizzie was a writer, what would she know about the metal industry? Well, she INVENTED the steel barrel that became the model for the widely used 55-gallon drum and turned her inherited businesses into multimillion-dollar companies, so apparently a fuck ton.
- Furthermore, she set a precedent for working conditions, ensuring her workers had good pay, gymnasiums, staffed libraries, and health care, all completely unheard of at the time, while still writing to further the plight of the Suffragette movement.
- Nellie may have died age 58 of pneumonia, but HBICs live on forever.
If even a fraction of this is factually accurate, I will now begin worshipping this woman as my personal goddess.
Trailer for the Czech animated feature, Alois Nebel. The film will be screening at both the Toronto International Film Festival and the Venice Film Festival. Cartoon Brew has more.
Nothing is difficult. Everything is a challenge. Through adversity. To the stars. From the last plane. To the last bullet. To the last minute. To the last man. We fight!
Catch the trailer after the jump.
Random as hell: I could’ve been a paid extra in this, and now that…
Illustrator Claire Hummel re-interprets Disney princess outfits through a historical lens. click through for more. Via Bookshelves of Lesser Doom here on Tumblr!
Cartoonist Tim Jackson has a meticulous and amazing Salute to Pioneering Cartoonists of Color, including an index of creators, strips and characters as well as galleries of single panel comics, dailies, editorial and sports cartoons spanning the 1920s through the 1960s. Make sure to check out Jackson’s work while you’re there. (via Out Of The World)