Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley, new biography


This video from Britain is called The Life of Mary Shelley.

By Susan Darlington in Britain:

Gripping account of romantic outlaws’ pains and pleasures

Saturday 27th June 2015

Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley by Charlotte Gordon (Hutchinson, £25)

THE SHELVES are already groaning under the weight of books about Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley. Romantic Outlaws, however, distinguishes itself by being a dual biography about mother and daughter.

Charlotte Gordon, who has previously written about poet Anne Bradstreet, examines the lives of the radical authors in parallel chapters in what is a hefty tome and in doing so shows how their lives were inextricably linked, despite Wollstonecraft dying 10 days after giving birth as a result of puerperal fever.

It would have been difficult for Shelley not to grow up in awe of her mother. She learned the alphabet from her headstone and Wollstonecraft was venerated by her father, the political philosopher William Godwin, and the intellectuals who visited their house, including Coleridge and Percy Bysshe Shelley, with whom she would elope at the age of 17.

Her upbringing, surrounded by enlightened views, was far removed from that of Wollstonecraft, whose political views were formed as an adolescent growing up with a weak mother and an alcoholic father who squandered the family’s money on failed projects. This made her determined to live on her own terms, free from financial or social dependence on men.

It was a resolution that resulted in her chasing pirates in Scandinavia and visiting Paris during the revolution. It was a city her daughter would visit 20 years later under very different circumstances, amid concerns over the new industrial age.

This would affect their writing — Wollstonecraft’s travel journals were largely optimistic while Shelley’s Frankenstein voiced a note of caution about science without ethics.

Yet while this writing gave both mother and daughter a degree of financial independence, their lives had a central contradiction in their emotional subservience to the men they loved. Wollstonecraft became obsessed with unscrupulous businessman Gilbert Imlay while her daughter suffered periods of depressive anxiety over the faithfulness of Shelley.

Their belief in free love affected not just on their own lives but had tragic consequences for women on the periphery, the book being littered with the suicides of Shelley’s first wife Harriet and Wollstonecraft’s daughter by Imlay, Fanny.

It’s a pain for which Shelley would later come to feel she was being punished for inflicting and this absence of sisterhood where love was concerned is an area that deserves more detailed analysis.

Another aspect that could be covered in more depth is the footnotes of their lives, with Godwin’s memoir of Wollstonecraft having the unintentionally damaging effect of portraying her as a hysteric. Shelley’s reputation was equally damaged by her conservative daughter-in-law Jane, who shaped her as a respectable literary wife at the cost of her desire to live along feminist ideals.

These minor points aside, this is an engaging book that shows clear affection for its subjects. It subtly points out how little progress feminism has made in some areas — the central tenets of chick lit being the same as the ones Wollstonecraft decried in 18th-century novels — and it certainly demonstrates both the excitement and pain of being a romantic outlaw.

Donald Trump, today’s Benjamin Tillman, Dylann Roof with money?


This video from the USA says about itself:

Dylann Roof’s Burger King Meal Proves A Devastating Point

23 June 2015

“The man accused of gunning down nine people inside a historic black church in South Carolina was “polite” and “quiet” while he was in police custody in North Carolina, according to a police chief who spoke with the Charlotte Observer.

Dylann Roof, 21, was apprehended by Shelby police on Thursday. He has been charged with nine counts of murder in a mass shooting inside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, last Wednesday.

Police arrested him without incident.

Shelby Police Chief Jeff Ledford told the Charlotte Observer that when Roof complained he was hungry, cops went to a nearby Burger King and bought the accused mass murderer a meal while he was in custody.”

Read more here.

Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, breaks it down.

Let us stay in Charleston, South Carolina, in the USA, where Roof committed his massacre, for a comparison.

On 4 April 2015, in Charleston, African American Walter Scott was stopped by police. Was Walter Scott a suspect of murdering nine people? No, Mr Scott was ‘suspect’ of a malfunctioning brake light of his car. Did police buy Walter Scott a Burger King meal? No, Police Patrolman 1st Class Michael Thomas Slager murdered Walter Scott.

Weeks later, at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, racist Dylann Roof said: ‘You rape our women and you’re taking over the country. You have to go.’

And then, Dylann Roof proceeded to murder three men and six women; not one of them had ever harmed him. Not one of them had ever committed rape. These nine people were in South Carolina because their ancestors had been kidnaped from Africa and transported in chains on trans-Atlantic slave ships.

Is Dylann Roof an isolated phenomenon? No. Roof stands in a long tradition of racism and violent crime in South Carolina. A racist and violent heritage which is often not rejected, but honoured in South Carolina today, where Dylann Roof grew up.

Benjamin Tillman (1847-1918) played a big role in South Carolina’s political history. He was proud that he had murdered black people. Like his fellow Confederate flag waver Roof today, Tillman ‘justified’ his crimes by saying that black people (‘black fiends’ according to Tillman) were supposedly rapists. And were supposedly ‘taking over the country’, by having the right to vote. As governor of South Carolina, Tillman abolished African Americans’ voting rights in 1895.

This video from South Carolina says about itself:

Clemson Quotes Tillman at Tillman

8 March 2015

“People from Clemson University read quotes from founding trustee and former governor of South Carolina—racist, white supremacist, murderer, Benjamin Tillman—whose name adorns the University’s Main Building.

In 1962, the Main Building on the campus of Winthrop College in South Carolina was renamed Tillman Hall in the late politician and self-confessed murderer’s honour.

Tillman is not only still honoured at Deep South universities. There is a bronze statue honouring the memory of the late Governor and U.S. Senator Benjamin Ryan Tillman in front of the Statehouse in Columbia. Columbia is the capital of South Carolina; and it is also where Dylann Roof was born and lived.

So, now to millionaire and presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Daily Kos blog in the USA wrote:

Thu Jun 18, 2015 at 09:22 AM PDT

Donald Trump Said Much The Same Thing That Dylann Storm Roof Said Before He Pulled The Trigger

This is what happens when you stoke the fires of racism, bigotry, stupidity, hatred and fear.

“I have to do it,” the gunman was quoted as saying. “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.” Dylann Storm Roof

“They (Mexico) are not our friend, believe me…The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems…When Mexico sends its people, they are not sending their best. They are not sending you. They are sending people that have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems to us. They are bringing drugs and they are bringing crime, and they’re rapists.” Donald J Trump

In which way is Trump similar to, and in which way is he different from, Dylann Roof and Benjamin Tillman?

Well, Tillman was a Democrat. Trump is a Republican. In the wake of Barry Goldwater’s and Richard Nixon’s ‘southern strategy‘ for the Republican party, which drove away most southern African Americans (traditionally mainly Republican voters, at least the minority who had any voting rights) and attracted many white southern racists.

Donald Trump has a lot more money than Dylann Roof. And probably also more than Benjamin Tillman, though Tillman was rich.

Donald Trump‘s quote differs from Dylann Roof’s in making Mexicans and other Latin Americans scapegoats of his racism. But Trump’s racist accusations of rape are rather similar to Roof’s and Tillman’s. Tillman supported the 1898 neo-colonial war with Spain; but was against taking over the Spanish colony Puerto Rico because non-white people lived there.

And, of course, contrary to Tillman and Roof, Trump did not kill anyone. However, if Trump would become president of the USA, he would get the power to kill lots of people. Not a comforting idea.

Many political pundits say that is very unlikely that Trump will become president of the USA. However, a recent poll in New Hamphire says that Trump is second of the many Republican candidates. Trump got just three percent less intended votes than Jeb Bush, the vulnerable front runner, who has only 14% of the intended Republican New Hampshire vote.

Also, many political pundits today don’t look whether a candidate is an honest person. Whether a candidate has good ideas. Whether a candidate is racist or not. Not even whether a candidate is good-looking. Or whether his wife is good-looking. They look at how much money a candidate’s campaign has. And Trump does have that money.

From Blue Nation Review in the USA today:

Univision Dumps Trump, Miss USA Pageant Over Remarks On Immigrants

The Donald may largely be considered a joke here in the United States, but across Latin America, especially in Mexico, the sting of Trump’s remarks on Mexican immigrants has left many incensed.

So much so that Univision, a broadcast television network with the largest Spanish-speaking audience in the world, has severed ties with Trump and the Miss USA Pageant, which the Republican presidential candidate partially owns, the Associated Press reports.

Donald Trump to sue Spanish-language TV network for dropping coverage of Miss USA pageant over his comments about Mexicans: here.

Millions of Egyptian mummified dogs discovered


This video says about itself:

Why ancient Egyptians mummified 8 million dogs found in Anubis ‘God of Death’ mass grave

22 June 2015

In ancient Egypt, so many people worshiped Anubis, the jackal-headed god of death, that the catacombs next to his sacred temple once held nearly 8 million mummified puppies and grown dogs, a new study finds.

By James Gerken:

Millions Of Mummified Dogs Discovered In Ancient Egyptian Catacombs

06/22/2015 3:59 pm EDT

Ancient Egyptians are well-known for having worshipped animals, and archaeologists are used to unearthing nonhuman mummies. But a recent investigation in an ancient tomb south of Cairo led to a find of amazing proportions: an estimated 8 million mummified dogs that have been underground for more than 2,000 years.

Researchers from Cardiff University in Wales chronicle their discovery in a study published this month in the journal Antiquity.

The researchers found the remains within the catacombs of a temple dedicated to the jackal-headed god Anubis, in a burial ground called Saqqara. The center passageway is about 568 feet long and side corridors make the tomb up to 459 feet wide, according to Live Science. Many of the mummified canines have disintegrated or been removed by grave robbers.

“It would be quite difficult to easily find complete, nicely wrapped mummies,” Cardiff University archaeology professor and lead researcher Paul Nicholson told CNN. “What you have got is the decayed remains of the mummies.”

The archaeologists examined the number of mummies in a portion of the catacombs and used that count to estimate how many likely filled the tomb.

The tomb, which was likely built in the fourth century B.C., was first discovered in the 19th century, but archaeologists had no idea how many mummies it housed until this latest discovery. Researchers also found the remains of jackals, foxes and several falcons, The Independent reported.

The surrounding area was quite busy in antiquity, according to the researchers. The temples brought economic activity from visitors, merchants and breeders who raised dogs to be mummified for the Anubis temple.

“It would have been a busy place,” Nicholson told Live Science. “A permanent community of people living there supported by the animal cults.”

Oldest Frisian language text discovery


Oldest Frisian text

Translated from the Leeuwarder Courant daily in Friesland province in the Netherlands:

June 23, 2015, 13:45

Leeuwarden – On a few scraps of parchment, almost 900 years old, notes in Frisian have been found. Linguists have never seen before such old written Frisian.

“It’s a great find”

‘Lesa mi’ [Save me] ,’helpe mi’ [Help me] is written in neat letters under a Latin text. Was here perhaps a Frisian youth at work who wanted to become a priest? The words are a translation from the Latin. From the shape of the letters experts can deduct that the text must have been written between 1100 and 1125.

,,It’s a great find”, said former Frisian language researcher Han Nijdam of the Fryske Akademy. ,,So far we had only written Frisian from the thirteenth century and now suddenly we go back a century in time. We already suspected that Old Frisian had already been written then, but now we really have it.”

See also here.