The First Thanksgiving

Yeah, yeah, I know. The first Thanksgiving wasn’t a real thing. It’s a legend which encapsulates the gratitude felt by white settlers in a new land, particularly in an age where starting off and settling somewhere new was living off the land and surviving scores of diseases and natural threats. But Americans love nothing if not an origin story, cultural or religious, and so we get these depictions of ‘the First Thanksgiving’ in which people in Puritan garb share food with their Native American neighbours. Often there’s a white dude standing up and talking, because that’s what white dudes do.

There’s no evidence anything like a real ‘First Thanksgiving ‘ took place on the fourth Thursday in November — that’s just when, much later, Thanksgiving was enshrined into American secular religion. (Washing originally instituted the holiday; FDR changed the date to the fourth Thursday.) Which makes me think, whenever I see these depictions of Thanksgiving feasts — WHY PEOPLE ARE EATING OUTSIDE IN NOVEMBER. AREN’T THEY FREEZING?

Classic case. This is NOT November in Massachusetts.

gerome

 

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This is looking a bit more chilly with pink-purple skies. But still, dining outside upon the hoarfrost, bringing our only infant who survived the winter without a blanket to cover her head…um??

outdoor

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White beardy guy: “The tribesmen tell me it is unseasonably warm in November: so this is where the term ‘Indian Summer’ came from. I and my colonising impulses are duly chastised.”

preach

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It’s so cold they’re not even bothering to sit down, just saying a big thank you outside then moving indoors where the chairs and fire are.

first-tg-photo

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Screw this cold. Let’s get back on the ship. Better to die at sea than face winter in New England. #blizzard #puritanwoes #youregonnaneedmorecloaksthanthat

landing-at-plymouth

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Tribal leader to colonial leader: ‘I’m sorry, you want us to eat outside in the freezing cold? In addition to teaching you to cultivate food in this land, can we introduce you to the longhouse, the wigwam and basically any other form of shelter in which to eat like civilized people?’

tribe.jpg

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The last three renditions have been in black and white because there’s snow everywhere in late November in Massachusetts.

Snow. Everywhere.

drawing.gif

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Saint Cecilia is not amused

Patron of musicians, brave martyr, philosopher, leader in the early church…Why is Cecilia, whose feast day is today, 22nd November,  always so pissed off in art?

Por ejemplo:

Saint Cecilia thanks you for the flower crown; now would you please leave her alone to practice her arpeggios?

flower-crown

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Saint Cecilia is understandably narked that her musical instrument is really more of a prop than an instrument.

julia-margaret-cameron

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Saint Cecilia was trying to pray but then both a dude in tights AND an angel intruded. UGH.

prayer-angel

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Saint Cecilia WAS PRACTICING and then this WEREWOLF DUDE interrupted.

dude

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Saint Cecilia: ‘Yep, yep, just keep screeching along on those viols…that won’t impede my ability to nap at all…’

violins

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Saint Cecilia is resting her arms because holding up an entire row of organ pipes is exhausting.

organ-1

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Saint Cecilia is annoyed that someone turned off all the lights in the practice room.

dark-eyes

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Hold up, angels: Saint Cecilia is just gonna rock a solo here, OK, angels?

solo

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Saint Cecilia can’t make up for this angel’s utter inattention to time signature.

with-angel-violin

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Saint Cecilia really things there’s only room for the angel, the little woman, and herself in this tiny room, thanks dudes.

tiny-room

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Saint Cecilia cannot see the music when you hold it over there, cherub!

cherub

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Saint Cecilia has reached Peak Pre-raphaelite and just don’t care anymore.

preraph

 

Clare of Assisi is Very Much Awesome

Me again, shamelessly stealing other people’s representations of awesome women and supplying captions of dubious hilarity. This time: Clare (or Ciara) of Assisi. First woman to be granted her own Rule of Life for a religious community. The one who kept Francis on the straight and narrow when he wanted to go become a hermit instead of shepherding the burgeoning Franciscan movement. General badass.

Let’s go!

c1

Do you know how long I’ve been carrying this monstrance? A long, long time. Bow down, already.

c5

Can’t…carry…monstrance…anymore…must…lie…down…

c7

Those bitches are lame. I can carry this thing with ONE HAND and also SAY THE ROSARY AT THE SAME TIME.

c2

I AM THE SAINTLY EQUIVALENT OF THE STAY PUFT MARSHMALLOW (WO)MAN IN THE WOMEN-ONLY GHOSTBUSTERS.

c3

I am wearing a star and smiling and I want to introduce you to my friend Jes–Wait! Jesus! Where’d you go?

c4

I am wearing a saucy little one-shouldered 12th century number but refusing to marry any dudes. Instead I am going to found a ladies-only religious community where we don’t even have to talk to dudes. #misandry

c6

It’s OK Francis, I didn’t need that hair anyway. Or the blonde jokes.

c8

I SAIL ON CLOUDS AND SAVE CHILDREN FROM WOLVES. WELL AT LEAST MOST OF ONE.

c12

But can you save a ship from drowning? I can!

c9

I am so fabulous I have my own personal Madame Tussaud’s in the crypt of my very own basilica! Beat that.

c11

Um Janice — what the hell are you doing? There’s no need to check out my holy feet.

c14

I’m not actually the patron saint of cats but this one is my friend. I’m a Franciscan, after all.

 

 

Images of Mary Magdalene in art history

So, all you need to know today is that it’s the feast day for Mary of Magdala AKA Mary Magdalene AKA the first apostle or the ‘apostle to the apostles’ if you’re being picky.

With the demise of The Toast, sadly there is no one regularly providing snarky commentary on artwork. I feel that Mary Mag would have greatly enjoyed such snark, and so as my act of devotion for her feast day, I offer you the following.

m1

This Mary has clearly been up all night looking after some dudebros — I mean disciples — who are upset about Jesus. She’s breaking out one of those squeeze stress-balls that pharmaceutical companies give away.

m2

 

DOUBLE MARY TIME. Here we’ve got Big Mary (Jesus’ mum) holding little Mary (Magdalene).

Big Mary: ‘How cool is it that we share a name?’

Little Mary: ‘Like, so cool. It’s a name strong ladies have.’

Big Mary: ‘I know, right? I mean NOBODY in the future will ever get us confused, or any of the other Marys.’

Little Mary: ‘Nobody. I think we should both keep wearing red all the time. That’s not confusing.’

m3

This Mary has realistic hair. Ain’t nobody wearing a headscarf without flyaways, I tell you.

m4

This Mary is my spirit animal because of her enviable Resting Bitchface.

m5

According to the title of this painting, here Mary is ‘penitent’. She’s also clutching a skull and rolling her eyes. I leave this to you to decide whether or not that is something a penitent person would do.

m6

This Mary: ‘Jesus Christ! You’re alive!’

Jesus: ‘Can’t touch this.’

m7

This Mary: ‘Sorry dudes fighting about women being priests, I’m just over here, looking fine and praying for you. Peace out.’

m8

This Mary is having a day where staying in pyjamas and pondering the meaning of the universe (also watching Netflix) is all that’s gonna happen.

m9

This Mary: ‘Looketh at my face. Is this the bothered face thou seest before thee?’

m10

This Mary’s so awesome she went and got herself a suit of hair.

m10b

This Mary’s hirsute hair suit is better than hers ^^. Damn right.

m11

This Mary moonlights as a vampire hunter.

m12

This Mary was totally just having a topless nap in the forest, again with skulls and books. Nothing to see here.