Recently, Kirin (a Japanese beer company) has been running a “dream campaign” where people can write in to the company explaining what their dream is, and if selected, the company sets out to make it come true.
Of all the people selected to have their “dream come true”, the most expensive and elaborate one was a normal guy who worked for a normal company who always dreamed of being in a Jackie Chan movie. When asked what kind of movie he wanted to do, his description was extremely thorough.
He knew everything that he wanted to happen in the movie, all of the actors he wanted to use, and had every detail so perfectly worked out, that Kirin decided to go for it, and make a commercial out of it, despite how expensive it would be.
(As you watch the actual commercial, you can see numbers rambled off, and each of numbers represents something that he requested to be in the commercial. (Ex. # 13 Fighting with a stool or chair, # 31 - have some massive Chinese pot broken)
Thanks to a Japanese Beer Company, My Buddy Got to Fight with Jackie Chan @ The Way
Were something like this to happen to me, my entire body would instantly ignite at the cellular level in a white-hot firestorm of accomplishment.
This is the greatest dream anyone could ever hope to have.
This just made my entire day
BLESS THIS MAN
This is the best shit I’ve ever seen in my life.
Oh my god.
This man is so damn awesome.
Fair flower, that dost so comely grow,
Hid in this silent, dull retreat,
Untouched thy honied blossoms blow,
Unseen thy little branches greet:
No roving foot shall crush thee here,
No busy hand provoke a tear.
By Nature’s self in white arrayed,
She bade thee shun the vulgar eye,
And planted here the guardian shade,
And sent soft waters murmuring by;
Thus quietly thy summer goes,
Thy days declining to repose.
Smit with those charms, that must decay,
I grieve to see your future doom;
They died—nor were those flowers more gay,
The flowers that did in Eden bloom;
Unpitying frosts and Autumn’s power
Shall leave no vestige of this flower.
From morning suns and evening dews
At first thy little being came;
If nothing once, you nothing lose,
For when you die you are the same;
The space between is but an hour,
The frail duration of flower.
- the Wild Honeysuckle, Philip Freneau
[ Image: Ophelia, John Austen ]
Plague doctors were individuals in the Middle Ages who were given the task of tending to people infected with the plague. In most cases, they were either second rate or under-trained physicians, incapable of maintaining their own practice. Many were not doctors at all, but people of various other employments paid by towns to cater to the sick.
Plague doctors were employed in various methods whenever plague set in. The earliest documentation of these individuals being hired go as far back as the mid 500s AD. The plague doctor image that we as a general public are familiar with was not seen until the 1600s. It was then that the “traditional” plague doctor costume was created. The costume consisted of a cloak made of heavy fabric covered in wax to protect the doctor’s body, and a mask to keep out the sick air. The masks had a long cone shaped structure at the nose, to be filled with scents that would protect the doctor from the bad air.
Because of the nature of their work, plague doctors often became victims of the plague themselves, or were quarantined for the protection of the public.
American student Gabrielle Turnquest was called to the Bar of England and Wales after passing her exams at just 18.
The average lawyer undertakes the Bar Professional Training Course when they are 27.
However, the young high-flyer will not go on to work in the UK as she wants to return to her native America to qualify as a lawyer there.
But her success means she is also called to the Bahamas Bar, the country of her parents, and she hopes to work there.
Gabrielle took the course, at the University of Law, along with her sister Kandi, who also passed her exams but at the ripe old age of 22.
The teenager, who is originally from Windermere, Florida, hopes eventually to be a fashion law specialist.
She said: “I am honoured to be the youngest person to pass the Bar exams but, really, I was not aware at the time what the average age was.
“I didn’t fully realise the impact of it.”
Gabrielle has already made history at her previous university, Liberty University in Virginia, where she was the youngest person to finish an undergraduate degree there, in psychology, at the age of 16.
How fucking impressive is she?
Agrimony from the the Lab garden!
Child of Jupiter and Air, Agrimony is an extremely portent protection and uncrossing herb. In Anglo-Saxon lore, agrimony was used as protection against malicious elves, and was particularly effective in warding against elf-shot.
Agrimony is utilized for general protection, and can be honed – through the combining of agrimony with other protective herbs - to safeguard against the wounds of slander, gossip, jealousy, and resentment.
This is a strong healing plant, and works best when the disease or injury is the result of psychic distress (self-inflicted, societal, or resulting from direct spiritual attack). It is an effective herb for healing others over a distance, and can also be used to help bring yourself or others into emotional equilibrium. Agrimony is a fine addition to sleep blends and sachet pillows if dreamless, deep slumber is your goal.
The leaves can be powdered and laid out on your front step or scattered whole in front of your front door to protect a home and shoo away negativity.
Clothes & the Quiet Movie Theater
How To Gain Super Powers With Your Clothing Alone
At the Movies with Anil Dash
At least in my quiet corner of the internet, all anyone’s talking about today is superblogger Anil Dash, and his defense of people talking during movies. Or maybe his assault on authorial intent and the film-going experience. Or maybe something else entirely. I’m fascinated by the debate Anil has generated, and it’s got me thinking about clothes.
A Quick Summary
Yes, Anil Dash says that maybe movie theater shushers and “put that phone away”-ers and the like are over-reacting. But he isn’t just saying that.
Dash’s article argues, essentially, for cultural sensitivity. Specifically, it argues for sensitivity towards the differing expectations people have about behavior in movie theaters. He recognizes that patterns of behavior - like being quiet rather than vocal and excited in a movie theater - are cultural constructions. They aren’t a Jesus’ words in red-style matter of Truth, but rather a loose agreement between a group of people that can vary quite widely even within that group. Add in people from outside the group, and you get a lot of trouble.
The tricky bit, of course, is that each of us take our own assumptions to be “normal.” For some people, for example, eating pork is a disgusting act. For some people, the pig is the perfect food. Each thinks their own idea is a natural Truth that reflects the obvious way of the world.
Dash uses the example of filmgoers in India, his ancestral homeland. Anil writes: “Indian folks get up, talk to each other, answer phone calls, see what snacks there are to eat, arrange marriages for their children, spontaneously break out in song and fall asleep. And that’s during weddings!”
Dash’s argument isn’t that all movie theaters should be like Indian weddings. He’s all for the Alamo Drafthouses of the world, where shared cultural standards support quiet and contemplative viewing. But he further argues that given the huge portion of people - in the US and elsewhere - who prefer their movie going raucous, maybe some of the shushers should shut up with the shushing.
The Uneven Playing Field
There’s one further layer to this thing, as well: power. The truth is that here in the United States, folks like me (moneyed, white, male) have power every which-a-way. Economic power, political power, and most importantly cultural power. These things add up to something called cultural hegemony. That’s the combination of that power with “norms” that privilege the cultural expectations of the powerful over those of the less-powerful.
In this case, roughly speaking: rich people and white people are more likely to expect quiet theaters. Poor people and brown people are more likely to expect a lively atmosphere. A billion Indians, apparently, “do not give a damn about what’s on the screen.” White people think they’re normal, and because they have power, they’re rarely confronted with other people’s ideas of normalcy.
Of course there are also capital-t Truths in the film-going experience somewhere. It’s fun to laugh with others for all humans, I think. The filmmaker has some kind of intent, whether you value it or not. That kind of thing. But most of the film-going experience is personal, informed by culture, not about some natural law. So Anil asks us to think about those things when we sit down to watch Pacific Rim. (Which you should, by the way; really fun movie.)
All of this brings us, finally, to clothes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sometimes folks email me asking why I defend, say, people sagging their pants, when I so clearly prefer to wear a coat and tie. Or why I believe so strongly in men wearing a suit to attend a wedding, when it’s what’s in your heart and prayers that counts. Basically, they ask why I seem to love traditional clothing so much, but so vociferously defend people’s choices that defy it. (Except square toed shoes, pretty sure the Higher Power is with me on those being awful.)
The Power & Value of Cultural Tradition
Clothing is an almost purely cultural construct. There may be a few Truth inputs in clothes - like a biological attraction to men who look like they can reproduce well, a need to protect the body from the elements, maybe a brain chemical preference for color combinations from nature - but everything else is, for lack of a better phrase, “made up.”
There is some value to this. In fact, I’ve written here defending this value.
The clothes you wear can communicate a message only if you and those you interact with have a shared grammar. That grammar is a shared culture. I see tuxedo, I think: formal. I see flip-flops, I think: eww gross. (Maybe the second one isn’t as good of an example, but you get the drift.) Clothes aren’t quite a language, they’re not specific enough, especially in a place full of immigrants like my home country. Maybe clothes are more of a trade language, like Swahili. Everyone comes to it a little differently, but you can usually get your point across.
The clothes you wear, when worn according to cultural tradition, can also create beauty. An aesthetic framework like, say, the traditions of menswear, helps us organize and process what we see, and makes beauty happen in our brains. It’s like a sonnet - the form gives power to the content.
Those are wonderful values of a shared system of clothing. A Swahili of how we dress. Great stuff.
Hegemony & You
But “traditional menswear” also has its roots in hegemony. It’s about the cultural values of the great European powers, especially England. It’s about wealth and white people. It carries that with it no matter where it goes.
So the question then is: when you dress that way, what are you wearing? And when someone else doesn’t, what do you do with that?
You Can Have Super Powers
Here’s my suggestion: getting dressed is a deeply personal act. Personal in that it reflects our most intimate values, but also our personal relationship with the world.
If we can understand that, it gives us two super powers.
The first is the power to make our own choices about how we present ourselves in the world. To use what’s useful about all these cultural values and traditions and so on, and leave aside what isn’t. For each of us. Personally.
The second is the power to be empathetic towards others’ decisions. To understand that the truth as seen through our eyes isn’t absolute, it’s reflective of our values. And that other people have different inputs and may come to different conclusions.
Getting dressed is different for all of us. “Traditional Menswear” has different value to Andre 3000, or to Ralph Lauren, or to Hardy Amies, or to me, or to my colleague Derek, who wasn’t even born in the West. But if we can approach the subject with sensitivity and empathy, we will dress better, and be better men.
The Aether Blog: “Few people know it, but poor 3 month old Sassafras is but one of the endless underage kittens responsible for Nike products in a third-world kittah country…”
What We Read: The special collections at the University of Virginia hold more than 2000 items relating to the celebrated Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges. If you go there, you can access first editions of every one of his books, as well as manuscripts and other ephemera. Above, a drawing by Borges from the “Viejo habito argentino” manuscript, from Otras inquisiciones.