South Louisiana, the Gulf Coast, the jewel-like Atchafalaya region, and agricultural land roundabouts all have a cute but troublesome visitor. Nutria (species Mycastor coypusof the kingdom, Animalia; the phylum, Chordata; the class Mammalia; the order rodentia and the suborder, Hystricognathi; family, Myocastoridae; and, of course, genus Myocastor) is a native of South America. This huge rat’s native area is from the center of Bolivia, to the south end of Brazil, and further on to Tierra del Fuego – the land of fire.
Nutria (species Mycastor coypusof the kingdom, Animalia; the phylum, Chordata; the class Mammalia; the order rodentia and the suborder, Hystricognathi; family, Myocastoridae; and, of course, genus Myocastor) is a native of South America. . .
Either intentionally or accidentally, decades ago nutria from ranches and fur farms, back in the first part of the twentieth century, escaped or were set free. Now, the lushly-coated, orange-toothed vegetarian rats exist in troublesome numbers outside their “normal” habitat, with large populations also living in Asia, Europe, and elsewhere in North America.
Although the story of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, the fateful choice to buy at bargain basement prices just about a third of all the eventual United States, is about nations and global politics, much the real story rests in the lives of a handful of individuals. The folks who brought about this exchange of millions of acres included near geniuses, pathological egoists, visionaries, and the most squalid of colonial functionaries.
. . . details include greedy merchants . . . vanity filled functionaries, astonishingly brave explorers, and monarchs with king sized egos to match their blue blood, at times apparently unburdened by competency or sense of civic duty . . .
The details include greedy merchants. It’s about vanity filled functionaries, astonishingly brave explorers, and monarchs with king sized egos to match their blue blood, at times apparently unburdened by competency or sense of civic duty. Perhaps it was a time of incredible statesmanship; perhaps it was a time when our Constitution was rendered a blank scrap of paper. When the recrimination (or celebration) faded to silence, the ink dried, the people died, the living memory passed on, the Nation had become enormous, and its future potential staggering.
While watching movies, I wondered: presented with opportunity would consumers act in self-interest to create novel and expressive fashion motifs, especially involving human sexuality? human beings are, after all, cultural critters, and we learn culture from one another. Certainly we should learn – and teach – via the films we watch and make. Perhaps this is not always the case. But I’m guessing sometimes it is.
Women spend both more time and more money on fashion as communication. More dollars are spent, more retail outlets exist servicing women’s shopping, and more collateral matter is generated . . .
Still, before looking particularly at movies it was easy to determine that guidelines do exist, governing time, place, and magnitude of expressive clothing and dress, probably more for women than for men, if only because we can determine that women spend both more time and more money on fashion as communication. More dollars are spent, more retail outlets exist servicing women’s shopping, and more collateral matter is generated – more advertising, blogs, magazines.Continue reading “Stripper Fashion, Exotic Dance, & Expressive Sexuality in American Feature Films and Life”
Forget that familiar, beatific, mellow picture on the cover of the cigarette pack. Put aside those lingering images of the sensuous East so popular with Victorian Orientalists. Elbowing up to the steel fence around a camel wrestling pitch in Turkey and I suppose anywhere is more like spending an afternoon with the good old boys at a NASCAR rally in the broiling sun of the American Deep South than snoozing on a divan with a plump, warm odalisque. Continue reading “Camel Wrestling”
At some point after being born in Lafayette, Louisiana, I became aware of both how oddly common it was to see this name on the landscape and, later, I began to look into the history of Lafayette as a character. Part of my family lives up east, so I may have seen signs in Manhattan on a visit, and then slowly notes other examples. Think about it. You’ve probably come across a county, city, street, park, school, shop, or restaurant named for Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette more than just a few times by now.
The frisson existing between real and faux events, as between standard human mating ritual and performative settings such as strip tease is exceptionally well defined by the “latex nipples” case which went to court in Lafayette, Louisiana decades ago – way back in about 1994 or so. In Lafayette, a medium sized city in the center of south Louisiana’s “Cajun Land,” apparently part of the regulatory apparatus involved with so-called “gentleman’s clubs” is attached to the corpus of obscenity law.
One fine summer’s day, the great Lord Curzon, then British secretary of state for foreign affairs, received a delegation from Mosul,” historian Jacques Darras recalls. “When they were ushered in to his presence he was busy writing and he invited them to go to the window and to look at the people enjoying the sunshine in the park. They were polite men and they did so. After a while Lord Curzon joined them. ‘How many people do you think we can see?’ he asked. Since they were especially polite men the delegation ventured on a number of guesses. But the secretary of state soon put an end to the conversation. ‘It doesn’t matter how many there are,’ he said. ‘But you can be sure of one thing. Not a single one of them has ever heard of Mosul.’ Thus the delegation was put in its place. They knew how unimportant they were. Unlike Mosul, cufflinks can be important.
Lafcadio Hearn, great explainer of Japan to the West and well known for his narratives about New Orleans, soulful descriptions of that sultry city on the Big Muddy, said that “in order to comprehend the beauty of a Japanese garden, it is necessary to understand — or at least to learn to understand — the beauty of stones.” Hearn was writing at a time when Japan had only been widely opened to visitors for decades. And Europe and the US was in thrall to a “Japonais” rampage of fashion. Yet few were absorbing the great foundation philosophy underpinning much of the design flowing onto Impressionists canvases from Asia.
As creator of both the Face Book page and a blog devoted to Dr. Leisure’s Louisiana, it seems fitting to provide substantial background information about leisure activity, myself, and my journey to this point.