A Fun Medieval Supplement to Warfare (Medieval Mondays #6b)

03-08-01/53

Fewer elements of medieval culture capture the modern imagination like the tournament.

Pictured as it often appears in period movies and shows, the medieval tournament calls to mind any number of the following images:

  • Scores of knights clad in the colours of their family crests with their horses caparisoned to match
  • Ladies in flowing gowns bestowing their scarves and other such fripperies upon their favourite competitors
  • Numerous contests of skill, honour, and sportsmanship, like the medieval version of the Olympic Games, of which the joust is most anticipated activity of all

And most importantly, a refined air of chivalry permeating the entire event.

Continue reading

My Deserted Island Albums for Leaving 2016 Behind

deserted-island

Some dayssome years – retreating to a deserted island sounds like a mighty fine proposition.

Of course, it would have to be a tropical island.  Being one of those people who is always cold, spending a year on an island in the Arctic – or worse, the Antarctic – would create a whole new set of problems.

I’ve been snow camping before during my great outdoorsy days, but never in -34°C (-29°F).

Continue reading

It’s Easy to Be Outraged on the Internet. It’s Much Harder to Be an Upstander IRL.

helping-hand

Like many people all over both North America and the world, I followed the live results of the US election on November 8.

Because I don’t own a TV, I attempted to stream the coverage on my laptop.  Yet, because so many North Americans and people from around the world were also watching, the stream timed out every minute or so, in need of constant refreshing.

It was in this way, along with commentary from a battery-operated radio and the #ElectionNight hashtag on Twitter, that the end result eventually – astoundingly, at least to me – became clear.

Continue reading

The Problem with Historical Fiction (and the Power of Historical Fiction)

The historical fiction shelf you won't find in most bookstores and libraries

The historical fiction shelf you won’t find in most bookstores and libraries

The problem with historical fiction is that it’s not actually genre.

Not the way romance or mystery or thriller are genres.

There are no defining characteristics – no genre conventions – of historical fiction other than the story taking place in a non-contemporary time period in which the manners, social conditions, and other details of the era are clearly depicted.

Continue reading

Making Merry in the Middle Ages (Medieval Mondays #6a)

Medieval piggyback wrestling

Medieval piggyback wrestling

People knew how to have fun in the Middle Ages.

In truth, in any age of history, people sought to amuse themselves during whatever moments they could spare from their workdays, however brief these moments of respite might be.

The medieval times was actually rather unique in this regard.  During the 13th century, people had more holidays and days off work than are granted in the modern western world.

Continue reading

Whitewashing vs. Racebending: Yes, There is a Difference

Samuel L. Jackson starring as a racebent Nick Fury

Samuel L. Jackson starring as a racebent Nick Fury

You can count on it.

Whenever a major media outlet posts an article about the problem of whitewashing in mainstream entertainment, there is a certain response that’s guaranteed to appear in the comments thread.

Well it’s no different than casting a person of colour in a role meant for a white person, so if they had a black James Bond, it’d be equally racist and offensive.

Continue reading

Whitewashing is Still a Problem in Mainstream Media (even if it’s not happening this time)

Benedict Cumberbatch in Star Trek: Into Darkness, playing the role of an important non-white character from the Star Trek universe

Benedict Cumberbatch in Star Trek: Into Darkness, playing the role of an important non-white character from the Star Trek universe

I’ve always had a fondness for stories about female warriors.

Among my favourites is Hua Mulan, the legendary subject of an Ancient Chinese epic poem about a young woman takes her aged father’s place in the military by disguising herself as a boy.

In the 1998 Disney cartoon, Mulan, she is shown exhibit bravery, ingenuity, and honour, and succeeds in helping save China from invaders.

Continue reading