This is the internet: Ignorant people shouting dumb things at each other, while we cheer them on. I’ve seen so many celebrations of this “perfect response” to a hateful meme, and none of those celebrations pause to wonder if a response can be “perfect” when it asserts that “it is the Wright brothers who have taken the credit” for […]

Sometime in the late nineteenth century there appeared the anonymous bawdy ballad “The Bastard King of England.” Rumor attributed it to Kipling, with no real evidence; and rumor goes on to assert that the ballad and the attestation so scandalized Queen Victoria that she refused to knight Kipling. (Other rumors hold that he was offered, […]

We’re all mad again, and we’re all mad at Marvel. By “we” I mean comics readers, or at least a certain demographic of comics readers, and we’re mad because, and I’m quoting io9’s headline here, Marvel VP David Gabriel “blames women and diversity” for a decline in comics sales. That sounds like a spectacularly boneheaded […]

[Major spoilers for the comic book series Kill or Be Killed follow. You should probably go read it, it’s been called one of the best comics of last year.] I once read (it may have been in an Anne Rule book) that with serial killers it’s the first kill that “counts.” That is to say, […]

(More or less continues thematically from here.) We live in an odd time, one in which the past is both readily accessible and consciously avoided. On the one hand, every issue of Life magazine, almost every book and periodical from before early in the last century, and a healthy proportion of legal and illegal copies of […]

There was  a time when grown adults would go door to door in crazy costumes on Halloween, demanding treats. It was called mumming.* Now we (we meaning twenty-first century Americans) call it trick or treating, and only children do it. Depending where you live, children might not do that any more, and it’s possible that the […]

1. The first time someone got a wedgie: A.D. 96 Whenever you get up out of your chair (I often have been noticing it now), your wretched tunic sodomizes you. And when you go and try to pluck it out —now straining with your right hand, now your left— you only work it out with groans […]