Thursday, January 29, 2009

President Rochester, 2009

President Wilmot would probably spend all our tax money on booze and hookers, but that's not too far removed from what most politicians do anyway. In fact, I think he'd have to come up with some new deplorable behaviors to even register on the CNN ticker...maybe like texting sexual messages to his young male intern while doing crystal meth and auto-erotically asphixiating himself in an airport bathroom as he waits to sell senate seats on the black market.

I don't even know what's scandalous anymore. In the 17th century all you had to do was write a funny epigram.

Internet Rochester, 2009

Internet Fad Rochester
Build your own Blingee

YES! This is the best picture ever.

Awhile ago I started a series called Rochester Through the Ages, but this trumps it. Big time. It was so fun that I'm going to start another series in which Rochester embodies abstract ideas or states of being, but for now I think we should just enjoy this. Needless to say Internet Rochester would have the blingest myspace page ever.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A statute for swearers and drunkards, 1624

The moral of this ballad is that you shouldn't get sloppy-ass drunk and say dirty words, which is pretty standard stuff on the early-modern moral front.

I think what makes it special is that the guy, even though it's a pretty crude woodcut, really does look sloppy-ass drunk. He's got his booze and his pipe and his nagging wife, and I can't tell if that's supposed to be a fashionable kerchief or vomit running down his front (I'm going with vomit). Also, is he straddling a chamber pot? If so, that's kind of awesome.

But then that wife of his is coming in all like, "quit drinking!" and harshing his buzz and making threats. Party-pooper. She used to be cool.

Actually, the more I look at it, maybe that's not a ladle, but another pipe, and the wife's pissed because her husband smoked her stash. This is a very complicated picture.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A New Voyage Round the World, 1697

The explorer William Dampier made this map, but it's pretty useless without all my notes and insider tips. That's probably why Dampier was kicked out of the Navy...the whole story about dropping some guy he didn't like off in a Brazilian prison is just a red herring.

(p.s.-- I did two sweet Literary Makeovers you should probably check out.)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ouer-throw of an Irish rebell, 1608

If there was ever a contest for "most pwned race in history," I think the Irish might win.

This pamphlet tells the story of Sir Cahir O'Doughterty, an Irish lord who resisted the English presence in Ireland. O'Dougherty is offended when George Paulett, the English Governor of Derry, punches him in the face and threatens him with a death sentence. So O'Dougherty sneaks into Derry, kills Paulett and almost everybody else, and destroys the settlement. Then he marches with rebel forces to a few more English plantations and fortresses and burns them down in a fairly rash and unorganized rebellion. Finally, he gets shot, and the English stick his head on a pike. The End.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Renaissance, you're so gross!

We all know the Renaissance had its share of perverts and dirty messages, but I think my delicate sensibilities have finally been tested in this initial installment of "Renaissance, you're so gross!" I give you the following images of early modern ass kissing.

The first image comes from Strange Nevvs from Newgate and the Old-Baily: or The Proofs, examinations, declarations, indictments, conviction, and confessions of I. Collins and T. Reeve (1651). The pamphlet describes crimes of two clergymen (and others) accused of blasphemy and partying too hard on Sundays. I've included the accompanying text that describes the terrible (actually it's pretty funny) blasphemy above the image of the two men engaged in such "uncivil behavior as the kissing of one another's breeches, more lively represented by this figure:"

Wow. I don't know what's worse, the ass kissing or the whole thing about drinking the Blood of Christ and then pissing out God.

The pamphlet is full of descriptions of blasphemous and sexual acts, but the author certainly seems to revel in telling us all the dirty details for, uh, "educational purposes."

The next image is from A letter to Mr. Marriot from a friend of his: wherein his name is redeemed form that detraction G.F. Gent. hath indeavoured to fasten upon him, by a scandalous and defamatory libell, intituled "The great eater of Grayes Inne, or, the life of Mr. Marriot the cormorant" (1652). John Ben Marriott was a lawyer known as "the great eater" who's name became a by-word for gluttony. He was the subject of several coarse pamphlets like The Great Eater of Grayes Inne, which described at length how he ate a banquet set for 20 men, stole dogs and other strange things to cook, and concludes with a few gross recipes. Basically, he was a fatty. Here's the frontispiece of A Letter, his answer to the attacks:

Burn! That'll show 'em.

I especially like how the publisher felt he could show a picture of an ass, but not spell out the word "arse". Because that would just be crude.

For good measure, I'll include one more dirty thing from the 17th century-- the best "long s" ever published:

Whew! I'm officially grossed out.