Tuesday, 31 May 2016

cerulean or sky of blue, sea of green

With a battery of research and experimental that neatly dove-tailed into that red-carpet dress controversy of last spring, it seems that the human eye in general didn’t really make a distinction for the colour blue until very recent times, a master Redditor informs. Reaching back to the investigations into the connection between pigments and language of William Gladstone (future Prime Minister of Great Britain) in the early nineteenth century, a chain of scholars have built on the body of evidence.
The proof is highly anecdotal in citing the lack of the colour being invoked in the classical canon—not mentioned once in the Odyssey, and before dyes (and eyes) there was not much in Nature—other than the sea and sky that was brilliantly and unqualifiable blue. Incidentally, skies, eyes and water (plus scales and plumage) are not blue in their own right but appear so due to the scattering of light waves.
Many languages do not mark the linguistic difference between blues and greens, and interestingly in the Romance Languages, the words for green are derived from Latin and the words for blue from Germanic. For much of civilisation, identifying the palettes of the forest and other subtle differences would have been far more useful than figuring out coordinates and what clashes, and this point was illustrated through a series of trials that demonstrate our cognitive colour-blindness by putting our perception through the paces. What do you think is the odd square—the one that Namibian tribes with no word for blue—could pick out right away? Click on the source link above to find the solution.  Perhaps that’s why we have a green-screen for chroma key compositing and special-effects.

berchtesgadener land oder alpine redoubt

We learned that the name of the town Berchtesgaden means “hayloft-hayloft,” once in Latin and again in old German—the denizens having forgot what the original toponym meant, the settlement still known for the same feature and utility, and though that was an apt introduction for our weekend tour through the beautiful but haunted Alpine landscape on the Austrian border.
We encamped near the shores of the serene Königsee and once through the souvenir-stalls, enjoyed the amazing views of the towering mountains protecting this body of water—which awkwardly bore the redundant designation “Lake Königsee” for the tourists—not quite yet hoarding and given it was so vast, there was never a high density of holiday-goers. On the peak of the Kehlstein, visible from the lake and later, illuminated from the campsite—it was eerie to think about being looked down on even though Hitler visited the mountain-top retreat built on the occasion of the Fuhrer’s fiftieth birthday only a couple of times, stood the Kehlsteinhaus, known in most contexts as the “Eagle’s Nest” (conflated with the Adlerhorst near Bad Nauheim).
The structure has been given over to a charitable trust that runs a restaurant and not much mention is made about the place’s past in order that these places not be made pilgrimage destinations—an effort that does not seem quite so effective, given the throngs of visitors and the infrastructure in place to manage them all. Thanks to a rather ingenious bus pass whose network had a stop nearby, there was no need to decamp and find further parking and were chauffeured around quite at ease. A second bus took us more than a mile up the mountain on quite a harrowing journey, alighting before a long tunnel that led to a bronze elevator—the original, that hoisted us up the final hundred meters.
The views were breath-taking and we were treated to absolutely perfect weather. Descending below, we went to the Documentation Centre—a museum that is dedicated to the story of this area during the Third Reich, built on the razed ruins of the Obersalzburg half-way down the mountain side. This compound housed the elite of the Nazi party, and constructed over an ancient salt-mining operation, sits atop a system of cavernous bunkers, which had all the life-support and connectivity capacities to allow the regime to retreat underground—an Alpine Redoubt (Alpenfestung)—and continue persecuting the war.
Only a retaining wall of Hitler’s favoured residence, the Berghof, remains. It wasn’t that the outstanding beauty of this place was besmirched by its past but we did need something to cleanse the palette with so much to think about, and so went back to Königsee and took a little cruise down the lake.
Our guide played the flugelhorn in front of one flat rock face to have his tune echo and resound through the valley and told us more about the natural history. The trip took us to the very picturesque church of Sankt Bartholomä, named for the Apostle Bartholomew, patron saint of dairymen and Alpine farmers—and having miraculously, the ability to make things either very heavy or light as a feather, depending on what the situation called for.

Monday, 30 May 2016

we’re social

PfRC is giving Tumblr a try to bookmark interesting findings and hopefully to better attribute the other makers and hunters out there. I know there are already too many walled-gardens to be found on the internet but we don’t want to hold you to these bounds. Check out some of our echo-chamber and hopefully find some inspiration or at least an evening’s entertainment.

babel fish

Via the always excellent Nag on the Lake, we are offered the chance to fund a veritable Universal Translator in the form of an ear-piece that will make speakers of a foreign language mutual intelligible. Admittedly, I am a bit skeptical of such wonders—though I’d surely have gravitated to the same cause—plus at least in theory (not in rigourous practice yet) I was very impressed with Google Translate (especially how it matched the type-face)–but I am willing to defer judgment and vacation with confidence.
The device obviously makes me think of that other plot convenience of Douglas Adams, the Babel Fish, an organism that delivered on the same promises. This specimen willingly inserted in the auditory organs of every civilised and contacted denizen of the Universe was a wholly organic construct (as far as we readers are privy) rather than a learned but artificial feed-back loop, but this product of natural selection raised an important paradox, which I think we tend to miss when congratulating ourselves on our own cleverness. Such a devastating useful creature proved the existence of a divine creator, and thus God who must exist by faith alone and was understood to no longer be in the habit of manifesting himself like that disappears in a puff of logic. A keen little aide that might help bridge the communication gap like this may not in itself present an existential crisis, but maybe the full faith and confidence that we put in technology’s omnipresence and omnipotence does. What do you think? I would definitely try this ear-piece, listening-aid out.

Friday, 27 May 2016

fiat or take and bake

Pizza is an acceptable form of tender for settling debt, both public and private, a court in Padua has ruled. A divorced chef may pay alimony to his ex-wife with the equivalent of three hundred euro worth of pizza per month, the judge decided after examining the husband’s income. This would have been a funnier story if the alimony did not include child-support and the pizza chef was just exacting revenge on an avarice ex-, but at least the man is making the effort to ensure that his family is provided for.

sacrebleu ou tabarnouche, tabarnouche will you do the fandango?

Isolated from other French speaking populations and surrounded on all sides by Anglophones, the Québécois have cultivated a quite charming arsenal of swears, as Atlas Obscura reports.
The essay is quite a good one and explores the broader nature of profanities and shifting intensities, and does well to remind us that our vocabulary of curses and what we find unspeakable usually reflects what we fear as a society and the fount of that power.  While the English borrowing fuckée means merely broken (as in “La doorbell est fuckée”), there’s a whole colourful litany of metaphors, interjections and expletives derived from the trappings of Catholic mass called sacres that aren’t to be used in polite company (with the vulgar context, at least). One might employ the diminutive of the French for tabernacle, tabarnouche, to express mild displeasure—like saying darn. The words for show-breads and the communion chalice convey far greater displeasure and are reserved for choicer occasions.

going dutch

Kottke’s assorted links point us back to reporting on a sociological phenomenon that we first found merely revolting but decided to take another look into the deeper implications of not being about to censor our feelings or affinities so well these days: there’s an application for one’s mobile accoutrements that allows one to transfer small sums of money between friends frictionlessly but the quick descent into audacity and miserliness is really straining those bonds and changing the nature of the casual encounter that’s funded by these exchanges.
Like that ungrateful bride who graciously gave a guest the opportunity to top-up a gift that the bride deemed unworthy or pan-handlers, people engaged with this application are abandoning IOUs, trust, quid pro quo, simple generosity in favour of instant and monitored reimbursement for their contribution. Etiquette notwithstanding, I think that the loss of reciprocation—demanding payment-in-kind, marks the dissolution of civil cohesion. I know many people are struggling to make ends meet, but to allow this spectre of expectation to dampen the mood of going out for a drink is really beyond the pale. What would you do if a friend (the scenario is in the article), with this convenient and absolving outlet, were to digitally inform you that your accounts weren’t settled until you reimbursed her the difference in price between the martini you asked for and the beer you bought her in return? Really? I would not want to meet any of these pinch-pennies.

gonna put it in the want-ads

It was not until spying this delightful assortment on offer in a community newsletter whilst doing laundry at the laundromat that I realised I never wondered why they might be called “classifieds.” I assumed it was for taxonomic reasons—rather than some antithetical security designation—like automobiles, rooms for rink, or kitchen utensils, like this lovely Serving Tong: great for serving fries, asparagus. It turns out that they are called classified advertisements (regardless of how miscellaneous) to distinguish them in the print business from display advertisements, larger format ones and usually with photos or graphics. If there had to be a picture, however, I’d much rather have seen Sheep Pendulum Clock below. I’ve done my best to obscure the contact information for these rivals to Craig’s List, but I will have you know that these items and more come from the same individual’s emporium.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

drolleries or rabbit redux

The marginalia of medieval manuscripts often feature weird and wonderful and frankly impenetrable doodles of the faithful scribe, and via the fabulous Miss Cellania, we gain some insights in a common motif, that of bunnies doing violence to humans.
It does make one wonder why one would deface a text with idle graffiti that’s probably none too edifying in any context, but there was the viral convention of the drollery or the grotesque that represented an inversion of the expected order of things. A rabbit’s revenge was an obvious candidate as they were seen as characteristically weak, wilting but prolific—a compensatory measure that was an ill-advised tactic to adopt then and now. Perhaps there is something moralising and relevant after all in having bunnies marshaling the troops, jousting or roasting a hapless human.

age of aquarius

Appearing in only a handful of editions of comics since the early 1970s, Wundarr the Aquarian was commissioned as sort of a New Age, enlightened super hero—but has been largely forgotten and disdained, like all those other characters with questionable or dubious super powers. His story parallels that of Super Man (or Moses) with his distraught parents launching him into space for a life among mortal Earthlings.
Wundarr’s father’s apocalyptic prophesies did not come to pass, however, and the home world was not engulfed by its dying sun—leaving the family, to include their estranged son to be menaced by zealots who weren’t happy that one of theirs had left the flock. Having grown into adulthood in isolation (his escape pod crashing into the Everglades in 1951 but with sufficient life-support systems to sustain him until 1973), Wundarr emerged rather simple but a later communion with the Cosmic Cube—a Sword in the Stone type of talisman of such unbelievable power that no one could tolerate a full dose of its strength, save one with Wundarr’s extraordinary energy-damping abilities—gave him inarticulate insight of the nature of the Universe and instilled within him a sense of purpose. Afterward, Wundarr became the charismatic leader of a pacifist cult, trying to impart and give form to what he experienced when coming in contact with the Cosmic Cube—and welcome the coming of the Celestial Messiah. Too bad that Wundarr has been neglected—I think he’d make a good candidate for the next movie franchise once ideas for the current iteration are exhausted.

stardust

Via the inestimable Super Punch comes news of a company in Japan that will be able to deliver shooting-stars on demand.
These pyrotechnics of course are a bit more of a challenge than conventional fireworks, with orbiting satellites coming into position carrying a payload of pulverised metals to give an Earth-bound audience a dazzling show. These planned displays—though the Cosmos is pretty reliable as well when the Earth passes through the tail of a comet, provided one has a little patience and dark skies—of meteor showers can even be configured to rain down in different colours—using the same chemistry that’s behind traditional sparklers. Late-2017 is supposed to see the first show and the company will figure into Tokyo Summer Games of 2020, but there are practical applications as well, including clearing away some of the orbiting debris that we’ve accumulated.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

mass-transit or teb talks

Showcased at the latest Beijing International High-Tech Expo, the Transit Elevated Bus (TEB) could potentially alleviate some of China’s infamous traffic snarls. If deemed street-ready, production of such machines, whose bus stops would be raised above fray as well.
I suppose such a vehicle might prove viable if the omnibus could kneel and raise-up accordingly to negotiate bridges or lorries. I have to wonder, however, how many other arteries might be clogged above street-level with more and more eventually adopting this model, like the exponential potential for the skies to become clogged with fly-cars. Driverless cars might be better plenipotentiaries for managing traffic flow—perhaps, if allowed to communicate with one another and not at cross-purposes. Can such a vehicle be programmed to sacrifice its timely arrival for the sake of letting the flow continue? Can a driverless car sacrifice the life and limb of its single occupant to avoid a deadly collision with a TEB full of passengers. In any case, I hope such steamrollers go into production.

A3, M4

Though not equal to the experience of seeing the performance live in concert, Boing Boing’s appreciation of the 1979 treatment of Kraftwerk’s Autobahn to a rather surreal and psychedelic animated feature by Roger Mainwood—a devoted fan and back then fresh out of an prestigious London art school, is indeed a close second, a surprise but somehow vaguely familar. Although stylistically very different (from both Kraftwerk and A-ha!), the adaptation reminded of the music video for Take on Me, an imaginative visual correspondence with the lyrics.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

dichtum und wahrheit

We had the chance recently to scamper around Weimar for a return visit and take in the sites, for myself at least, with a fuller sense of appreciation, recognising how since the residence of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe overlapping with that of Friedrich Schiller, the town became a focus of pilgrimage for intelligentsia and academics.
The iconic statue by Ernst Friedrich August Rietschel, position before the court theatre and venue for many of Schiller’s plays under the direction of Goethe, is rather a quirky curiosity on its own, representing the cult-like elevation of the two figures, aligned with the town’s (and its independent avatar’s) tradition of patronage. Notwithstanding the republican experiment, the Bauhaus movement, and musical significance (plus all the other things to see and do), the bespoke and iconic monument to the two writers, scientists and collectors is a symbol of Thuringia and has been faithfully copied in America and China many times over. The gigantic likenesses place the two at equal height, though Goethe was quite a bit shorter in stature, and both offer their laurels for inspiration.

incident and diffusion or the worshipful company of carpenters

When I first read about the Royal Institute of Stockholm having engineered transparent wood—that could eventually replace windows and the glass of solar panels, I was bit sceptical as the announcement coincided with April Fools’ Day and was proud of myself for having not been taken and falling prey to a prank.
Now the development is confirmed, however, with the process of chemically stripping the lignin (which is the stuff of paper pulp) and replacing it with an epoxy, a strengthening agent, being reproduced by a team at the University of Maryland. As a natural insulator, replacing pains and other architectural materials with see-through wood could see immense savings in climate-control, not to mention industrial costs buried in extraction and refining. Can you think of other applications for this rather amazing sounding treated timber?

Monday, 23 May 2016

stør or edugraphics

IKEA instruction manuals getting a send-up with the time-honoured Simpson’s Couch Gag gave me a tickle.
Surely a bigger accolade than more ephemeral recognitions like being doodled (though still no smål achievement), this running visual joke began as a buffer to make the episode adhere to scheduled commercial-breaks has been a regular sequence since 1989 (with some repetition but used as an element of fore-shadowing as well). This news also makes me realise that I’ve no idea when the show premieres for domestic audiences, as the last I recall, The Simpsons was airing on Thursday’s line-up and led to the demise of the The Cosby Show, with its similar signature opening fanfare.

faux chateaux

Via the always thought-provoking Mental Floss, we learn of the rather questionable (though possibly nothing ought to be taboo in the name of science, and equally not surprising given our native stinginess and de-enterprising ways of finding short-cuts) endeavour of crafting wine without the fruit of the vine.  San Francisco-based Ava Winery simplifies and expedites the whole time-tested, involved process of growing, harvesting, fermenting and ageing through chemistry.

The preliminary results, after a tasting, were not however described in the usual savoury and celebratory vocabulary of foxy or smokey or smooth by oenolgists but rather with harsher descriptors, but I suppose this was just the Premier Cru and it takes time to perfect the formula. What do you think? I am not liking this (I think) and wonder what the point is. I wonder what sort of obnoxious name will have to be invested for grapeless wines—wintage, Vino Vidi Vici®—and feel that we ought not voluntarily give up on traditional methods while they are still viable.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

they'll be bluebirds over

For us, of course, Dover and its surrounds were more than a departure point and terminal, with its iconic chalk cliffs and stretches of beaches.  As always, click on any image to enlarge.
We were delighted, however, to also discover the series of white escarpments outside the town of Seaford (between Brighton-by-the-Sea and Eastbourne) in East Sussex called Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters. It was a pleasant hike through a tidal estuary, populated by cows and sheep, to the undulating cliffs, marching along pebbly strands that were abundant with the signs of partial fossil imprints—though no terribly exciting specimens were to be found.
The Seven Sisters, owing to their whiter character and lack of potentially anachronistic additions (there being only a sedate golf course a top the cliffs), are often favoured by film-crews as a substitute site, an understudy for the more famous White Cliffs of Dover.

détente or space-race

First recommended by the always interesting Everlasting Blört, with additional reporting from Gizmodo’s Paleofuture department, we learn about the pioneering work of one of the Soviet Union’s first missile and rocket test sites, Kaspustin Yar, whose existence was made public only to protect the secret identity of the cosmodrome of Baikonur. A cache of photographs from the test-ground’s early days has been recently declassified in celebration of the facility’s seventieth anniversary. Be sure to visit both of the links above (scroll down a bit on the Blört) to see video footage and a curated gallery of images.

gare d’orsay

Bored Panda reports that the French train network SNCF (Société nationale des chemins de fer français) has collaborated with an American firm specialising in large format displays in order to deck out the fleet of commuter carriages as moving galleries to bring the elevating experience of going to the world’s finest museums and stately homes to the masses. The Hall of Mirrors of Versailles and the Library of Louis XVI are some of the installations featured. This ongoing project called Art in Transit, which is being introduced to other metropolitan lines, also has curtailed vandalism, riders proud and protective of such national treasures.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

avalon and did those feet in ancient times

A few days after visiting the birthplace of King Arthur, we came to Glastonbury in Somerset, which also proved to be a pretty amazing coalition of traditions and myth coming together, primus inter pares, the fabled Island of Avalon, where the once and future king went to recover after being mortally wounded and live out the rest of his natural life.
Indeed, geological evidence suggests that the high-ground of Glastonbury, dominated by the Tor, a high, manicured hill topped with the ruins of the medieval Saint Michael’s Tower, was once an isle in a marshland that was long-since drained.
Climbing up was a rather mystical experience, accompanied by procession of druid women with drums and tambourines (though we weren’t to be privy to any performance or ritual), plus a ladybird that refused to fly away home until I brought her to the summit. Walking back down through the neighbourhood closest to the Tor, we saw that there was a burgeoning independence movement for Avalon—though there are other claimants to the location but local authorities don’t want to dispel any of these long-held beliefs and associations. In town, we explored Glastonbury Abbey, which may be the remains of the eldest church in the world—founded on the spot where Joseph of Arimathea, conveying the Holy Grail to England for safe-keeping, rested.
Where he struck his walk- ing stick into the ground, accordingly, a hawthorn tree blossomed—a phenomenon unique to the Glastonbury cultivars—though the tree presently at the site is a graft, clone of the original having succumbed to vandalism. Furthermore, on the abbey campus, just under the great nave, after a devastating fire in the late 1100s, monks claimed to have found the tomb of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere, and though attested by several contemporary historians and chroniclers, perhaps like the chalice called the Glastonbury Bowl (which is far too old to be a candidate for the Grail), the acts may be pious forgeries to attract pilgrims—especially after the fire.
The tomb’s relics and the entombed vanished, presumably sometime during the Reformation and subsequent Disillusion of the Monasteries. The setting was no less remarkable, nor did the myth and the general mood of the place, esoteric shops lining the streets that were fun to examine, detract from verifiable studies that are too intimately intertwined to try to separate.
We paused before venturing onward to reflect with a coffee outside of the medieval scullery and discovered that this style of picnic tables with the seating attached is called a Glastonbury, the carpentry having been developed there—though no answer whether the Knights of the Round Table had a similar seating plan.

shock and awe

As of 20 May, EU regulations dictate that cigarette packaging begin displaying large format “shock” photos (Gruselbilder) that graphically illustrate the deliterious effects that the habit has on health, much like other jurisdictions, like Australia have already implemented. I do like Dangerous Minds’ alternative proposal—piggy-backing off the suggestion of Germany’s die Tageszeitung, that instead, packs are to be demonised by the broader abject rubbish of the world, external threats rather than one’s own self-inflictions.

gieterse punter

In the middle reaches of the Netherlands, in the province of Overijssel, there is landscape formed by peat reclamation and in the centre of this transformative operation, one can find the so-called Venice of the North (Hollands Venetië, though I would have thought that nickname would be reserved for Amsterdam) in the old part of the village of Giethoorn, directed to our attention courtesy of the Presurfer. The network of canals, legacy of the intensive mining, make the predominant mode of transportation whisper-boats (punters with muted motors) or ice-skating in the winter time. The place certainly looks idyllic and relaxing and surely worth a stop next time we are in the area.

court of last resort or vade retro satana

In 1971, Weird Universe informs, plaintiff Gerald Mayo registered a class-action law suit on behalf of all of those down on their luck against the the Devil himself (plus his minions). The petition was elevated to a US federal court in Pennsylvania.
The docket was dismissed however, finding that such matters were outside of the court’s jurisdiction, and that Satan tended to vex individuals under unique—often ironic—circumstances that no summary judgement could hope to redress. I could find no other actual precedence for the Dark Prince being called before a magistrate in a legal context—even tried in absentia, however I do wonder how many times defendants have invoked the plea “the Devil made made do it.” That might be an interesting research project.

Friday, 20 May 2016

once and future

We’ve been posting these instalments a bit out of chronological order, but do hope you out there in TV Land are enjoying following along on our adventures. Solidified—but not without dispute—by the writings, commissioned in part for political propaganda by new minted king of a unified England Henry II, of Geoffrey of Monmouth as the birthplace and boyhood haunt of legendary King Arthur, Tintagel Castle was a masterfully enchanting place to visit.
According to the Matter of Britain, the wizard Merlin transformed Uther Pendragon’s appearance to the guise of his enemy Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall headquartered at Tintagel, so that he might sire Arthur through the vessel of his combatant’s wife, Lady Igraine, and thus over a generation, fulfilling a destiny himself to free the country from the Saxon yoke and unite England under one ruler.
Incidentally, among Gorlois’ legitimate issue was the enchantress and foil to Merlin, Morgan le Fay. Not that the beautiful scenery and archeologically troves needed the extra embellishment, this connection to Camelot had only one canonical mention and further associations have to be conjured by the imagination, which these wilds certainly do entertain. Some locals belief romancing the myth presently cheapens the experience by pandering to Arthurian legends, but Monmouth’s history was received quite uncritically until fairly recent times.
We hiked along the headlands with sweeping panoramic views to the ruined fortifications and took a stroll among the Norman walls and foundations of a medieval village, cured by the wind and surf, where one’s fantasy could run rampant.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

it came from the cineplex or darth by darthwest

The summer blockbusters are championed by a duo of my favourite bloggers, Bob Canada and Dr. Caligari, we are treated to a comprehensive preview of the 2016 box-office, which is predictably franchised, derivative and cannibalistic. I too wish I had invested in the punctuation mark known as the colon for all the subtitles. By the miracle of assiduous chronicling, however, the fact that there is nothing new under the sun is revealed by marking that on this day in 1999, the Star Wars saga (among other events) released its first prequel. Some clever individual, we also find, is bucking the tread with a brilliant mingling of Hitchcock and Lucas

pompeii or hornblower and hotspur

Whilst rambling through Devon and Hampshire, we stopped at the ancient city of Portsmouth, the oldest continually used docklands in the world awash with the trawling dragnets of historical connections. The harbour town is far too well regaled with references to pursue every footnote and link (though the local historical societies must have very fulfilling hobbies), but just to trace the city to its semi-legendary foundation by a Norman nobleman called Jean de Gisors whom famously harrowed Henry II into kingship and was allegedly the founder of the Priory of Sion I think gives one an idea. And merrily, we roll along.
One lawless exclave established on a tip of Southsea, called Spice Island, just outside of the city gates and thus beyond the crown’s jurisdiction was a regular Island of the Donkey Boys from Pinocchio for its bustling and brisk business attentive to visiting sailors, but rather gentrified and respectable since the invention of the steam-engine began to depreciate the importance of the trade routes that clung so near the continent.  The strategic significance of Portsmouth (nicknamed Pompeii) and attraction, however, has not waned. The naval presence has receded into its present boundaries but the defensive walls and garrison chapel with the statue of Lord Nelson are very much still the typifying landmarks, but a relatively recent addition in the Spinnaker Tower (named after the distinctive steering sail and which is probably the closest we’ll get to the Burj Dubai—at least for the present) adds an impressive element to the skyline, being the highest viewing platform outside of London.
Afterwards, we stopped to wonder at the massive, medieval Arundel Castle, seat to the oldest surviving earldom, and line of Anne of Arundel, Baroness Baltimore, wife to the first governor of Maryland and the province of present day Newfoundland called Avalon, named after the old lands in Somersetshire where Glastonbury lay—as the perfect transition to our next little tour.

agent provocateur

The conservateur extraordinaire Messy Nessy Chic presents the history of the violent Paris Riots of May 1968, which brought France to the brink of civil war, through protest posters and other art work of the revolution. Although much studied, vividly remembered by contemporaries and very much in keeping with the times when waves of societal unrest swept across the globe, no one can cite a quick or definitive explanation why the revolts occurred. The movement was an amalgam of various leftists student organisations consisting of anarchists, Maoists and anti-capitalists occupied factories and financial institutions and at the height of the riots, convinced more than twenty percent of the working population of France to go on strike.
After the violence dissipated, which saw the president flee the country, matters seemed to return to normal—perhaps a little too quickly, and the protesters fell short of their stated goals of promoting equality and social justice with the old regime that they rallied against returning to office with what they considered a stronger mandate, not that the acts were all in vain. I wonder what people will make of our contemporary movements that are just as contemptible to some in a few decades. Be sure to visit the website to peruse the extensive gallery of protest posters and to learn a bit more about getting caught up in le Zeitgeist.