article up over at The Toast:
On March 5th, the Associated Press asked: “What are seemingly jet-propelled cats and birds doing in a 16th century German artillery manual?” It was a good question.
What the cats and the birds were doing was the same thing everything else in the manual was doing: being recommended by one Conrad Haas as instruments of war.
The sparse comments from the historian the AP interviewed were even more unsettling than rocket cats are already: “I really doubt this was ever put into practice, it seems like a really terrible idea.”
First: “I really doubt”? What is that? Like, isn’t the historian rule that you do history until you’re sure there aren’t rocket cats and then you talk to the AP after that?
And then second: Click here to read the rest.
Mallory Ortberg called it "funny as shit" which, coming from the world's funniest misandrist, is high praise. Special thanks to Nightwck Evan for historical expertise.
Also at The Toast (and D&Dish), is a great piece by Anne Thériault on how before fairy tales got turned into cautionary tales for children, they started as stories women told to each other about their lives and ideas….
Wilhelm also began to alter the structure of the tales, introducing moral judgments and motivations that previously hadn’t been there. Traditionally, fairy tales had seen luck and chance count for more than hard work and obedience, but Wilhelm put a stop to that – instead the sweet, well-behaved, godly women were rewarded, and those who deviated from that mold were punished….And so fairy tales began to feel less like women’s stories and more like a guidebook for how women were expected to behave. MOREI find this extremely resonant in the ongoing "RPG-as-imagination-exercise" vs "RPG-as-surrogate-parent" debates, but it's also just got some neat historical and fairy-talical tidbits generally.