Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dr. Woody's Fascinating Factoid: "Harlot"

Here's one I betcha you didn't know: The first times the word "harlot" was heard in English, it was in reference to men.

According to my trusty Barnhart's, the etymologically, "harlot" as an English word was first used in the Middle Ages to describe masterless men-at-arms.

The key word being "masterless."

Particularly: To violent, unprincipled, unscrupulous, ungovernable men who were essentially mercenaries. Men with blood on their hands, and no aversion to shedding more. Unemployed soldiers hanging around medieval cities waiting for the next war. They were never long in coming or in short supply. The history of the middle ages is one long, continuous, bloody conflict after another: Hundred-Years' wars, and 30 years' wars, and 20 Years' wars, and crusades and invasions and repulses, and conquests by the dozens. The dogs of war were abroad, and they looked like men, and they were called "harlots."

You have to understand: If I had been born in 1346, instead of 1946, and by the VERY best luck and fortune, had survived to 1412, almost ANYWHERE in Europe, I almost CERTAINLY would have had to survive an international conflict or a civil war. That would likely have meant having had to kill to preserve my own life. On the blog, I've copied a list of the wars which history notes having occurred at the comparable time: 1370-1412.  There were 18 of them in just those 40-odd years, spanning the continent from Russia to Kosovo. Plus, between 1347 and 1453, the 100 Year's war ravaged the whole continent between Sweeden and Italy.
(Here's the list: of just the wars which began in the span:
Nearly ALL men had gone to war, and had faced the necessity of killing. They were inured to it. They also had the most advanced weapons of the day, and they were expert with them. And they were fearless, having survived medieval battles, which were fearsome things; bloody butchery, mainly. The injured were normally dispatched without benefit of either clergy or of surgery.

And so, when they congregated in medieval cities like London, and Paris, and Verona, between immewdiate local conflicts or wars, they preyed on ordinary citizens, often committing robberies, even murders. Blooded, used to killing, civic authorities were often powerless against them.

It was only a little while later that that sense of menace, of danger, to the polis which those merciless, blooded, armed warriors posed began to be ascribed to the women who 'serviced' them; whereby their "easy virtue" was seen, by the clergy, and thje "civis" as the equivalent danger to the souls of their parishioners as the weapons of the warriors they serviced were to the unsuspecting populace.

And of course, nowadays, "harlot" is a term only assigned to women.

Next time, I'll tell you how algebra relates to screams of pain...See varlets and harlots at the beach, hippies...

Monday, August 6, 2012

WWH/CJE SoapBox: Political Potlatch

In which Yr. Intr'p'd Inv's'g'tr intrerprets the apparent, incredible, hundred-million-dollar largess of the Owners in their campaign expenditures, NOT as a serious effort to achieve a particular political end, but as the sort of ceremonial generosity of Arctic hetmen by the Owners, returning some of the wealth to their satraps and functionaries.
A piece on the Huff-Post last week reported that a small majority of USers still remember that The Chimperor Bush was responsible for the recent financial unpleasantness.

I take that as evidence that Prez Obomber's second term is in the bag.

That's because he won't be removed until he finishes the job, and "average Murkin" blames him and the Dims for all their troubles. That'll take another four years.

Plus, we got "Teh Great Austerity" coming down the road...You thought the "Great Recession" was bad? You ain't seen NUTHIN yet.

THAT's gonna be bad enough to make the folks forget ALL about the Chimperor Bush, and his minions, lackeys and lickspittles, their failures and predations.

Sir Barry and the Dims are gonna take the fall for that. That's what they're there for. Obomber's MAIN job in the second term is going to be to sell "Austerity" to the people, and then take the blame for it: Ain't no WHITE folks could sell it, and they don't WANT the responsibility.

When the First Black President is deemed responsible for all the pain and suffering, then and ONLY then will it be "safe" for the White Folx to step back in and take over the Gummint again...

2016: Bush/Cheney (Jeb and Lizzie)

Mark my words...

But if that is so, folks wonder aloud, why are the Owners--like the Koch Brothers and the rest of the rightard Billionaires--spending hundreds of million dollars on the campaign?

Well, here's ol' Dr. Woody's take:

It's a form of pay-off.

The really rich guys don't care a stinky shit WHO the president is.

It's irrelevant.

Nothing changes for 'em.

But the campaign gives 'em the opportunity to spread their money around in ways which, without the campaign, would probably LOOK "illegal." It's like a quadrennial, political potlatch.

("Potlatch" is a ceremonial tradition practices mainly among indigenes of the Arctic/North, At potlatch gatherings, a family or hereditary leader hosts guests in their family's house and holds a feast for their guests. The main purpose of the potlatch is the re-distribution and reciprocity of wealth.

The owners are more interested in controlling Congress (which I predict they'll accomplish this fall: Hold the House, narrowly--less than 60 seats--take the Senate). Spreading the wealth around assists in this.

But, out little plebian, pedestrian minds rebel. They're spending hundreds of millions of dollars.

True! But one can't think about these things like a prole, as if money actually MATTERS. It doesn't.

The dozens, even HUNDREDS of millions they's spend is chickenfeed. Pocket change. Running-around money.

If you have a BILLION dollars, that's a THOUSAND MILLION. Every additional billion is another THOUSAND million. The KockBros sit on around FIFTY BILLION between 'em. That's FIFTY THOUSAND MILLION!

You can drop a hundred million and not even NOTICE!

The election, properly understood, is yet another "act" in the national "kabuki," whose end is already known but the playing out of which is the necessary part.

Bring you costumes with you when we gather at the beach, Hippies...
Citizen Journalist Dr. John Konopak answers those who wonder, if the fix is--as he believes-"in," why then  do the Rich Rightrards spend so much money in a "losing cause." In an effort to clarify the matter, Konopak compares the situation with the ancienmt, arctic tradition of "potlatch," in which the wealthiest, most successful leaders of the community return much of their wealth to the less successful, less prominent members of the group, thereby strengthening group solidarity.