A reminder that while Thomas Jefferson is on the outs because of his hypocrisy about slavery, he remains a hero of religious liberty; the statue just removed from New York's City Hall was paid for Jewish naval officer Uriah P. Levy, because it was Jefferson who made it possible for Jews to serve in the Navy and to attend his creation, the University of Virginia. (NY Times)
Short history of Yanga, a community of self-liberated African slaves in eastern Mexico.
Mention here of a study that found 90% of people rated their own objectivity as above average. (NY Times) It is important to remember that while you feel your opinions are justified by the facts, because you are rational and objective, everybody else feels the same way.
A bit of Aztec cruelty: the Festival of the Flayed God. Just like the Aztecs to celebrate the new plant growth of spring with torture and human sacrifice.
Scott Siskind goes meta with QAnon: "My point is we're all engaged in this kind of desperate project of trying to feel like we're having new important insights, in a world full of people who are much smarter than we are." I think this is very broadly applicable, especially to academia but also to bloggers like me.
Long, somewhat strange article by David Graeber and David Wengrow about the remote human past, focusing on how flexible and diverse our political and social arrangements used to be, concluding by asking why they are so rigid now. I feel like population density and economic complexity are such obvious answers to that question that after displaying real learning and intelligence they end up making themselves look obtuse.
Archiving America's prison newspapers.
It's an old story in the US, low-grade wars between white settlers and Indians, with the Indian attacks remembered as crimes or "massacres" and the white attacks as law enforcement operations or justified revenge. But really it was just a slow-motion war of conquest. The post-Gold Rush California version is back in the news now because it turns out the man who founded the University of California law school hired a militia to kill Indians around his ranches. (NY Times)
Chaos in Haiti, where the country is running out of fuel because gangs are blockading the ports, the police lack the firepower or the will to take on the gangs, and gang leaders hold press conferences demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister, who probably colluded in the murder of the President, etc. Where should one start with such a place? (Reuters, NY Times)
Is this really a "take this job and shove it" moment"?
Gold mask from Peru, daring to around 1000 AD, was painted with human blood. But was it the artist's, or from a sacrifice? Both strike me as possible.
How Jacobite politics troubled the marriages and ghosts of 18th-century England.
Ethno-religious politics in Bulgaria, where Muslim citizens are still sometimes called "Ottomans."
The history of the Jackfruit, which has lately been touted as a meat substitute but was first grown outside south Asia by British planters as a cheap food for slaves.
Today in Republican drama, Marjorie Taylor Greene calls Liz Cheney a "Karen." Getting rough out there.
This week's music is Miles Davis and friends, Kind of Blue. As my eldest son put it, this is the jazz album that even people who hate jazz like.