The Sound of Ancient Voices
Last update
2023-01-09 03:15:34

    Broke: Barbie's many different careers are a way to sell dolls and accessories to little kids.

    Woke: Barbie had every single one of those careers and is an immortal timeless being.

    Bespoke: Barbie's different careers are different versions of Barbie from across the multiverse who occasionally swap place with each other or combine into one Barbie.




    I have often used Barbie to explain Greek mythology, and people laugh until I explain it, and then they get really serious and thoughtful. 

    I say, “The Greeks ascribed aspects to gods. Apollo had many aspects, but all were Apollo. He’s like Barbie that way. She’s an astronaut, a veterinarian, and a rollerskater, but no matter which of those things she is in the moment, she is always still Barbie. She is Barbie in her aspect as.” 

    Then people get not only the idea of “aspects” of godhood, but also, well, the changeable yet eternal nature of Barbie. 


    The amount of time that the Ancient Egyptian civilisation lasted is just so mind boggling. It lasted over 3000 years. That's such an insane amount of time. It ended around 30BC meaning that it will only be extinct for as long as it existed in around 950 years. Cleopatra lived closer to the invention of bitcoin than the building of the pyramids of Giza. They were already ancient to her. What the fuck


    We have a records from the time of Ramses II of ancient Egyptians doing archeology on monuments that were already a thousand years old to them.


    ancient egyptian archeologists. ancient egyptian archeologists. excuse me i have to go lay down and think about things


    If we take Egypt from the Pre-Dynastic period, before the Unification occurred, then their history dates back to c.6000 BCE, which puts the start of Egyptian civilisation about 5970 years before the death of Cleopatra. Even as an Egyptologist it can be sometimes hard to fathom.

    The records mentioned are even cooler than simply being from the time of Ramesses II. It was his fourth son Khaemwaset who became what we know as the 'first Egyptologist'.

    Since he originally wasn't supposed to be the Crown Prince, and that's a whole other story, Khaemwaset became the Overseer of Architects (sometimes referred to as Chief of Directing Artisans, if I remember rightly) and undertook expeditions across Egypt to restore various monuments and tombs.

    One such monument was a statue of Prince Kawab, who was the son of King Khufu; the man who had the Great Pyramid built. We're talking about roughly 1216 years between the two of them, which is the same amount of time as between me, sitting typing this in England in 2022, and King Ælfwald defeating Eardwulf in 806 CE. Next to this monument, Khaemwaset had inscribed:

    "It is the Chief Directing Artisans and Sem-Priest, the King's Son, Khaemweset, who was glad over this statue of the King's Son Kawab, and who took it from what was cast (away) for debris (?), in [...] .. of his father, the King of South and North Egypt Khufu. Then the S[em-Priest and King's Son, Kha]em[waset] decreed that [it be given] a place of favor of the Gods in company with the excellent Blessed Spirits at the Head of the Spirit (Ka) chapel of Ro-Setjau, – so greatly did he love antiquity and the noble folk who were aforetime, along with the excellence (of) all that they had made, so well, and repeatedly ("a million times").

    These (things) shall be for (for) all life, stability and prosperity, enduring upon earth, [for the Chief Directing Artisans and Sem-Priest, the King's Son, Khaemwaset, after he has (re)established all their cult procedures of this temple, which had fallen into oblivion [in the remembrance] of men.

    He has dug a pool before the noble sanctuary (?), in work (agreeing) with his wishes, while pure channels existed, for purity, and to bring libations from (?) the reservoir (?) of Khafre, that he may attain (the status of) "given life"

    He also restored the Pyramid of Djoser, better known today as the Step Pyramid, and erected a similar stela to the inscription he used for Prince Kawab's statue to inform people of his actions. The Pyramid of Djoser was built 1300 years before Prince Khaemwaset was born. Putting it in a modern framework again, that's me typing this in England in 2022, and someone writing an accounts of history in England in 449 CE during the Plague of Justinian... No, wait that's...that's pretty similar actually. Shout out to my bro Procopius of Caesarea who was also just absolutely going through it.

    Anyway, all jokes of living in plague times aside, the Egyptians having the care and forethought to monitor and repair monuments from their own civilisation that were as ancient to them as the Romans are to us now demonstrates a fundamental human trait; the need to preserve, repair, and record what's left of those who came before us.

    In the end, what else better demonstrates human connection to the past than repairing and caring for fragments of our past to say 'hey friend, you were here, and you left this as a marker to say you were here and you mattered. I acknowledge you and I'll take care of what you left to make sure everyone else knows you were here and that you mattered too.' We are strongest when we can recognise ourselves in the past, and Ancient Egyptian Archaeologists are something that call to us from across the millennia like a beacon.

    “Most historians and social scientists agree that homosexuality itself has existed roughly the same degree in all times and places. While the numbers may have remained relatively constant, gay visibility has fluctuated wildly, depending on the prevailing climate. The levels of homophobia have fluctuated as well, and a pattern emerges: the greater the visibility, the greater were the antihomosexual feelings. For homosexual men and women, history has been a grotesque seesaw: guarded toleration followed by angry backlash.”

    — William Wright (Harvard’s Secret Court)


    it's always so fucking funny to me when terfs are like "how can you say trans women and women are the same thing! being born as a man makes you different!" because like. yes. trans women and cis women are different. so are black women and white women. and straight women and queer woman. and women from different countries and different socioeconomic statuses. there's diversity in the experience of womanhood? what a wild concept


    incidentally, this why terfs tend to be white women. from the combahee river collective statement, 1977:

    ...we reject the stance of Lesbian separatism because it is not a viable political analysis or strategy for us. It leaves out far too much and far too many people, particularly Black men, women, and children. We have a great deal of criticism and loathing for what men have been socialized to be in this society: what they support, how they act, and how they oppress. But we do not have the misguided notion that it is their maleness, per se—i.e., their biological maleness—that makes them what they are. As BIack women we find any type of biological determinism a particularly dangerous and reactionary basis upon which to build a politic. 

    (emphasis mine)


    "To argue that transsexual women should not enter [women-exclusive spaces] because their experiences are different would have to assume that all other women's experiences are the same, and this is a racist assumption. The argument that transsexual women have experienced some degree of male privilege should not bar them from our communities once we realize that not all women are equally privileged or oppressed."

    (from "Whose feminism is it, anyway?" by Emi Koyama)


    This. This is the core of it. This is why trans-exclusionary radical feminism is rooted in racism, colonialism, and imperialism. It excludes the idea that there can be any other type of “woman” except one very (white, colonialist, imperialist) definition.

    After shoving Hansel in the oven, the witch turns to Gretel - who is currently fending the witch off with a gingerbread chair - and says:

    “I can’t believe you thought a trail of breadcrumbs would save you. I mean, honestly, this is a forest! It’s full of animals. Honestly, the very idea that a dumb shit like you thought you could get the better of me is absurd.”

    Gretel hits her in the face with said chair. To be fair to the witch, she takes the chairshot like a champ.


    “Did you know,” says Gretel, “that crows are capable of facial recognition?”

    “Eh?” Says the witch, clambering to her feet and pulling a candy cane sledgehammer off the wall. “What’s that got to do with anything?”

    “Not only that,” Gretel continues, “but they can remember both friends and enemies. And they’ll often follow people they remember as friends.”

    The two fence with their sugared weapons for a moment, before the witch knocks the chair out of Gretel’s hands.

    “Enough with the bird facts! Honestly, this whole attempted escape has been utter clownshoes. Get in the fucking oven!”

    She seizes Gretel by the collar. Gretel immediately sandbags, letting her whole body go limp. This eminently practical defense forces the witch to try and deadlift her. Which is hard, as the witch often skips leg day.

    “For example,” Gretel says, as the witch struggles and grunts, “if you feed crows a lot of breadcrumbs, they’ll probably start to see you as a friend and follow you in the hope of more food.”

    The witch stops. Outside, she hears the thunder of wings.

    “They’ll even bring you shiny things they find as presents!” Says Gretel, as a corner of the gingerbread ceiling is suddenly cut away by a large crow with a knife in its mouth.

    “Oh shitballs.” Says the witch, as the crows descend. “I hope you know this is a great unkindness.”

    “Technically,” Says Gretel, “It’s a murder.”


    Watching this (and fearing broken ankles with each loop) I can’t helping thinking about that old quote Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, except backwards and in high heels.


    But no, if you watch closely you’ll see she doesn’t even step on the last chair. That means she had to trust that fucker to lift her gently to the ground while he was spinning down onto that chair. That takes major guts. I’d be pissing myself and fearing a broken neck if I were in her place. Kudos to her. 


    I can’t stop watching this. 


    Okay so this is true, but a tiny part of a wider truth. 

    Ginger Rogers was a FUCKING BADASS. Ignore for a sec the rampant sexism in Hollywood (they once bleached  her hair blonde in wardrobe without telling her beforehand), the fact that she fought her whole career against typecasting and stereotyping from fellow actors (Katharine Hepburn famously said of the Astaire/Rogers partnership “she gave him sex. He gave her class” ) for starting out in musicals, and went on to have a career lasting over fifty years, winning a Best Actress Oscar (Kitty Foyle, 1940). But… JUST focusing on the Astaire movies…

    Not only did she dance “backwards” in high heels, the dances were a task in themselves. Astaire was an absolute perfectionist and choreographed for himself, so as a younger, less experienced dancer Rogers came in at a disadvantage and worked her ass off to match him. 

    Then there’s the filming complications… these numbers were filmed in ONE TAKE. So one thing goes wrong and you have to start over. Maybe you make a mistake or maybe your dress flies up because…

    Ginger had to contend with her wardrobe. Dancing in heels is the norm at this time, but dancing in a dress designed for cinema cameras… not so much. They were heavy, embellished, uncomfortable, restrictive and cumbersome and essentially a third member of the dance, strapped to the body of one partner.Not only did she have to dance and look good, she had to control the dress too!

    Take this routine from Swing Time… (it gets going proper at 1:30ish)

    This dress has weights, YES WEIGHTS, sewn in to the hem to make it fly out and create a visual effect. So it’s heavy, it hurts if it hits you, and your partner gets mad if it hits him. So you gotta control it. 

    Well it turns out all these factors on this set, this particular day aren’t going so well. So you’re doing take after take, here’s no labour laws, so at 4am after 18 hours you’re still going, even though part of the routine requires you to spin up those curved stairs with no rail at high speed….

    Okay so now back to those high heels. In Ginger’s autobiography she vividly remembers this night as the night she bled though her shoes. They did so many takes, her feet blistered, bled, and the white satin high heels she was wearing finished he night pink because they were literally full of blood. And still they keep shooting. She keeps dancing.

    The take they use in the film is the last. Early hours. Bloody feet. And she spins, acts and bosses out until that last second. Because she was that professional, talented and bloody minded. This is the last set of spins… 

    So I say once again. Ginger Rogers was a badass.

    She did everything Fred Astaire did backwards, in high heels, wearing a 20 pound dress, exhausted, injured and standing in a pool of her own blood. And watching her perform, you would never know.


    i would just like to add that the “old quote” about Ginger Rogers doing everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards in high heels…is originally (yes, really) from the comic strip Frank and Ernest.

    So add it to the list of great sentences from unlikely places.


    So add it to the

    list of great sentences from

    unlikely places.

    Beep boop! I look for accidental haiku posts. Sometimes I mess up.