Powdered Wigs, Syphilis, and Tradition

Today I was at a friend’s house watching the new History Channel miniseries about the Revolutionary War.   While we were watching it my friend asked me why people wore wigs back in that time period.  I had to find out and upon doing so found this article:

Why Did People Wear Powdered Wigs?

A sample:

For nearly two centuries, powdered wigs—called perukes—were all the rage. The chic hairpiece would have never become popular, however, if it hadn’t been for a venereal disease, a pair of self-conscious kings, and poor hair hygiene.  

The peruke’s story begins like many others—with syphilis. By 1580, the STD had become the worst epidemic to strike Europe since the Black Death. According to William Clowes, an “infinite multitude” of syphilis patients clogged London’s hospitals, and more filtered in each day. Without antibiotics, victims faced the full brunt of the disease: open sores, nasty rashes, blindness, dementia, and patchy hair loss. Baldness swept the land.

At the time, hair loss was a one-way ticket to public embarrassment. Long hair was a trendy status symbol, and a bald dome could stain any reputation. When Samuel Pepys’s brother acquired syphilis, the diarist wrote, “If [my brother] lives, he will not be able to show his head—which will be a very great shame to me.” Hair was that big of a deal.

The rest of the article is interesting as well.  Eventually Louis XIV, King of France, and Charles II, King of England, also started wearing wigs.  (Both of these kings were also thought possibly to have had syphilis.)  Well once kings start wearing wigs it is only a matter of time until others do.

So basically you had a bunch of rich people that were fucking too much, got syphilis, started wearing wigs, and then they influenced a whole lot of other people to start wearing wigs.  What is so funny is that judges used to wear wigs in the U.S.  Judges in England still wear them.  So you had and have all of these so called respectable people carrying on a tradition that in part started because of an STD.

It kind of makes you wonder what other respectable traditions have their basis in bullshit too…

10 Things America Does Worse Than Europe

10 Things America Does Worse Than Europe

I have been lucky enough to have traveled to Europe many times.  I felt in reading this article, based on what I have seen, that there is a lot of truth to it.  I have also been a lot of places where suggesting that America doesn’t do everything the best will drive people crazy.  That seems batshit insane to me.  It is like if you were on a really good football team and you saw another winning team in a different division.  Wouldn’t you try to watch them to see how they were winning, so that you could be even better?

The fact is that other parts of the world do some things better than we do.  Instead of being afraid of it we should try to learn from it and make our country better.  Being a self-declared champion is meaningless and delusional.

Hat tip to my friend Liza.  

GOP: Deport Dreamers

House GOP Votes to Block Protections for Undocumented Immigrants

The above article is from Huffington Post.  The fact that the House GOP are again trying to stick it to immigrants would be funny, if it weren’t so hateful.  The reason it would be funny is that they are unknowingly creating their own doom.  Not only is it wrong what they are doing, it makes no sense politically if you look at the demographics that are coming down the pike.  They have only been able to hold on to power as long as they have because of all of the gerrymandering that they have done to protect their seats.  Eventually this tactic won’t work.  As America becomes more and more of a multicolored nation, they are dooming themselves to eventual irrelevance.

Now that explains why it is stupid.  Why is it wrong?  Spend some time reading what immigrants go through in this country all of the time:  How they live in fear, how families are broken up, how they are thrown into a labyrinthine injustice system that makes no sense.  These are people.  These are moms, dads, brothers, sisters, uncles, cousins, that mostly just want to live a life of decency and follow their dreams.  Immigrants, dating all the way back to before the Civil War, have long been the scapegoat for America’s problems.  Read about the American Party (or The Know Nothing) or if you don’t want to do that much work, watch Gangs of New York to see a fictionalized version.  Here is the wikipedia page for The Know Nothing Party:

The Know Nothing Wikipedia Page

Hispanics are the targets now, but before it was Germans, Irish, Italians, whoever was the latest group of huddled masses looking for a new start.  Well yes, going forward there needs to be some kind of sane immigration policy that actually works to keep people out that enter illegally, but these people are here and they aren’t going anywhere.  We can either treat them with kindness or surrender to the powers of hate and ignorance.  I know which side I would rather be on.

Have Americans Gone Crazy?

Have Americans Gone Crazy?

A family member just sent me the above article from Salon.  It is about how many people in the world are increasingly viewing America as something to be watched closely, if not outright feared.  Although I have traveled less extensively than the author, I have been in several foreign countries over the last few years and can vouch for the overall sentiment of the article.

I remember specifically being in England during the Bush years.  Many people would be slightly cold and then sheepishly ask me what I thought of Bush.  Once I explained that I voted against him and hated his policies, it was like a party had started.  Shots and embraces came out, and suddenly I was everyone’s best friend.

So many Americans have no idea not only how the rest of the world views us, but also how much they know about us.  When you go to foreign countries you are often asked deep political questions by average people concerning the U.S. Often these are questions that you are not sure if many of your own countrymen and women could answer.

My Dad has related to me many times a story from a trip to Kenya.  He was walking down the street, in an area that was slightly impoverished, and a man walked up to him.  After finding out he was an American, the man asked him, “So tell me about Jesse Helms?”  Meanwhile I have gone out to drinks with girls here, during a U.S. presidential election, and been stupefied to find out they didn’t know who the vice-presidential candidates were.  Now I know that I am drawing conclusions from limited experiences, but there are many more stories that I have personally witnessed on both sides that make me believe that the author of the above article knows what they are talking about.  It’s strange out there…

Great Moments In American Politics: Pulling a Gun While Being Drunk in the Senate

A lot of people hate Congress, but what they don’t realize is that it has improved!  What follows is the behavior of Senator Willard Saulsbury of Delaware as reported in Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals.  (Sualsburg was pat of the group that opposed the Emancipation Proclamation):

In the Senate, Willard Saulsbury of Delaware took to the floor to prevent a vote sustaining the administration on the suspension of habeas corpus.  He could hardly keep his footing during a liquor-fueled harangue, while he inveighed against the president “in language fit only for a drunken fishwife,” calling him “an imbecile” and claiming that he was “the weakest man ever placed in high office.”  Called to order by Vice President Hamlin, he refused to take his seat.  When sergeant at arms approached to take Saulsbury into custody, he pulled out his revolver.  “Damn you,” he said, pointing the pistol at the sergeant’s head, “if you touch me I’ll shoot you dead.”  The wild scene continued for some time before Saulsbury was removed from the Senate floor.

Just remember what’s out there in the American bloodstream, right below the surface.  Happy New Year!

Racist Fun On the Internet

Racist Comment Section

If you are someone that believes hate doesn’t exist as an everyday part of America, click on the link above, skip the article, and go right down to the comments section.  Although I couldn’t read this kind of gibberish on a regular basis, I think every once in awhile it serves as a reality check that there is still much to be done.  These fools clearly believe that their magic America (A place that never existed in the first place) is being taken away from them by people who hold even less mainstream political power than they do.  (And please don’t tell me because Obama is President that black people hold more political power than white people.)

11 Unbelievable Weapons That Only America And Its Closest Allies Have

The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, ‘You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I’m just not close enough to get the job done. – George Carlin

I’ve always loved George Carlin.  The title of his book Napalm and Silly Putty comes from his amusement in the duality of man. People have not only invented something that can burn the skin off someone, but also created something used to copy the Sunday comics.

With that idea I give you this article from Business Insider about:

11 Unbelievable Weapons That Only America And Its Closest Allies Have

We’ve got some really creative sociopaths in this country!