Thursday, June 19, 2014

William Hogarth's Beer Lane

I continue to feature high-resolution pictures of gemlike details from the works of Mr. William Hogarth. One of the great benefits of modern digital technology (such as the G---gle Art Project) is in its ability to help us comprehend our distant cultural past in more precise detail.---though the universal categories of mankind need not necessarily be thereby affected.

Conceived in man’s satiric imagination, Mr. Hogarth’s work show us more than just the mundane physical world, but as that world may be imagined by us. The following engraving from 1751, called “Beer Lane” (presented here courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York), is the companion piece to the more famous “Gin Alley.” The two pictures contrast the evils of drinking gin with the merits of drinking beer. 

Dreamy sign painter presiding over Beer Lane.

Merry butcher.

 Drayman seducing a housemaid.

 Porter taking a break.

Fishmongers singing "New ballad on the herring fishery."

Cheers to our King George!

Friday, June 13, 2014

William Hogarth's The Four Stages of Cruelty

In this posting I  present for my readers the following representation of the great 18th artist Mr. William Hogarth’s four-part series of engravings collectively titled, “The Four Stages of Cruelty.”  The utter boldness and bluntness of Mr. Hogarth’s style is perfectly suited for constructing his message for the the vulgar minds of the 18th century. 

I've reduced these highly teeming pictures to a single memorable detail, for the modern distracted mind, and present it in spectacular resolution (courtesy of G—gle Art Project).

First Stage of Cruelty: Children Torturing Animals

Second Stage of Cruelty: Coachman Beating a Fallen Horse

 Third Stage of Cruelty: Cruelty in Perfection-Murder

Fourth Stage of Cruelty: The Rewards of Cruelty

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Pinch of the Cock, or the Adventures of Signor Dildo

Dear Mr. Richardson,

Being a trustworthy confidante of mine, I would like to relate for you the following account of a most peculiar nature. Though you will find revealed herein matters of intimate details concerning my private life, I allow you to publish this letter in your blog anyway. And as I am a well-bred daughter of a suburban dentist father, I pray that you judge me not too harshly on my actions.

It all began one evening behind closed doors of my boudoir. While I was preparing for bed and performing my evening ablutions, all of a sudden I heard a voice addressing me from the nightstand; I was much amazed to discover my Dildo speaking as if he had a mouth. He spoke to me in the following way, which I here reproduce in his exact words.

“I was born,” said the Dildo “in a plastics factory in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where I was molded according to the proper Priapic shape and dimensions. Fortune bestowed on me the honor---unlike that of many of my other plastic Cazzi---of a fully Silicone constitution. After my birth, one of the industrious human laborers who were buzzing about the factory floor tossed me into a prodigious pile of what must have been thousands of other new-molded Phalli heaped atop each other”

Here I must interrupt the Dildo’s story in order to insert a point---that I came into possession of Signor Dildo, as he is more properly called, only few weeks before he miraculously opened his mouth to me.

“‘Twas no surprise,” continued Dildo, “the workers being a mostly male crowd, that some of the more waggish ones would employ us, from time to time, for a bit of immature drollery; they staged mock sword battles using us; they pummeled one another over the heads with us, and such like profane antics.  Sdegno! my blood was roused by such behavior brutale. How dare they treat us, who are so many incarnations of Priapus, in this manner? Striving the best we could to ignore their simpleminded diversions, we awaited our real commissions.”

“Since time immemorial, we Dildos have been fulfilling our duties coniugales with the Donnas who allure us to their bed chambers; hence our manner of referring to them as our ‘sposas.’ But whether those historical notions were originally innate in me or whether I was informed of them by one of my fellows non fa caso. But, I assure you, the nobility of our lineage is grounded upon vero merito, just ask any honest Lady. 

“My commission did not take long to arrive; for, as the world’s shrewdest economists have known, the world has never suffered for a shortage of Dildo demand. Laying in that pile, I saw as a number of us would be snatched away a poco a poco---the workers placing us into plain cardboard boxes, then handing us off to another set of factory workers, then to the postal workers, agent of that mail delivery system which ultimately dispersed us throughout our homes. With childish glee I did contemplate this busy scene in front of me, from the vantage of the first link on my Circulation chain, trying to conceive the young Signora who  awaited me at the other end. How I yearned to make her cry out---Bravissimo, Bravissimo!---upon my sake every evening.”

But here I end the Dildo’s narrative, for he went on to use language rather too coarse to be reproduced here---thus, the rest of it you shall hear in my words. But first I would like to address a more general question regarding Dildo ownership; that is, whether a Lady ever should share her Dildo with another Lady? Indeed there happens to be a misconception among the public---our understanding on this matter being based upon the analogy with real human marriages---that Dildos ought to be as exclusive with their Ladies as the Ladies with their Husbands. But are there any real reasons why a Dildo cannot have two wives, or perhaps even an occasional mistress? I certainly don’t think so. Provided that certain modern prophylactic measures are taken, are there any real reasons why a Dildo cannot be shared among two or three, or even four Ladies?

However, I refused to share the Signor with any one; I wanted him all to myself.

Do not be surprised, therefore, if I say that I was not the Signor’s first Mistress. The Signor was acquired by me from a certain friend of mine, Miss Jenkyns, she being his first true lover. Shortly after she came into possession of the Signor, the news of her adoption became public knowledge, given wings by Miss Jenkyns’ fulsome praises for the Signor’s virtues. How she raved about the Dildo’s potency! How he raised her animal spirits, she claimed! She spoke of him in most affectionate terms! Over brunch one weekend she decided to display him for us. Mark my friends’ reactions---

“Wow, what a beautiful Dildo”---said Miss Carrington---“A spectacular Dildo”---said Miss Haverford---“A  marvelous reproduction, worthy of the Old Masters”---said Miss Hutchenson---"Oh the suppleness of his shaft, and those charming globules"----said Miss Muscrat---“I agree; splendid proportions, splendid, and what clarity and boldness of line, yet not too sculptural”---said Miss Farquhar---“So much finer than my Roger’s, much SHAPELIER,”---said Mrs. Haverford---“I wish the two of you many years of happiness”---said Miss Shanka.

Thus spreading among her circle of friends, the information about the Dildo’s vigor soon spread across the entire city of Kingston, then to Saugerties, and soon enough across the entire Ulster County, New York. Stirring all the Ulster ladies into a frenzy of envy and desire, the Signor aroused an inordinate amount of craving---and no one was more affected than I.

Having raised such a fire in me, I need to quench it, especially being so near the famed Signor himself. I was even willing to resort to mischief to gain my ends.

The short end of it, few weekends later over brunch I did steal the Signor from her (for she got into the habit of carrying him in her purse everywhere she went). I simply pluck't him from her purse while she was turned away. ‘Twas the first time I had ever been guilty of such a flagrant folly. I know I abused my friend’s trust; yet all I can say on that count is that the pleasure I received from his company more than compensated me for my loss in the moral department.

So now you have the story of my crime in all its unvarnished truth. I leave it  to you, Mr. Richardson, to imagine the strain of Miss Jenkyns' tormentings over her loss. I encourage you to compose a verse epic in heroic couplets upon this subject, to be entitled “The Pinch of the Cock.” My imagination is not nearly as fancy as yours, Mr. Richardson, as you are no doubt among the company of the greatest English writers.

For my part, perhaps I shall compensate Miss Jenkyns by treating her to brunch one weekend, or to a pair of fine shoes. Forsooth, no one loves shoes more than does Miss Jenkyns! I can well testify on behalf of all women who have these two things, that in the course of our lives shoes are the next thing in degree of importance to a Dildo. Or, if that fails to satisfy her, perhaps I will exhort a handsome male friend of mine into courting Miss Jenkyns until she forgets the loss of her Dildo and can move on with her life.

Yet no matter what happens, I am not surrendering the Signor, now that I have him. And no matter what, I continue to remain, Mr.Richardson, your most loyal admirer