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From Inside the Velvet Mask
24 Mar

From Inside the Velvet Mask

We cannot outrun history’s arrow. d’Artagnan and his boon companions the Three Musketeers learned that over 5,000-odd pages of Alexandre Dumas’ rambling historical fiction.  History’s arrow? I should have said history’s cannonball, since that is what ended the real d’Artagnan’s life at the siege of Maastricht, an inevitability Dumas had to write into the life of his invented d’Artagnan, at the very end of the last Musketeers romance, The Man in the Iron Mask.

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Election Gear
13 Mar

Election Gear

How many of us have gotten caught up in the excitement of the campaign season over the past year and decided to smash the donate button and buy some merch?

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Vive la différence
10 Mar

Vive la différence

An old, old joke about a bunch of chauvinist French scientists at a convention.  The keynote speaker cautiously begins by announcing that there is only a small difference between the male and female bodies, only to be drowned out by a heartfelt Gallic “Vive la différence!” Something of the visceral, uncouth and unreconstructed gusto of that cheer comes to me whenever I think of the differences the seasons impose on our clothing, particularly in tailoring.

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Elegy
03 Mar

Elegy

There’s an argument that those of us who feel gloomy about the increasing sense of isolation never really had the things we’re now lamenting. And perhaps all mourning, like all thinking, is about the idea of the thing and not the thing itself. But there are concrete things.

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Bobson Dugnutt, Or, In A Name
25 Feb

Bobson Dugnutt, Or, In A Name

I have to hand it to my friend Hari Sakka, a member of long standing of the Pairov Institute, for reminding me of the ridiculous list of baseball player names made up in an attempt to sound American for a 1990s Japanese video game.  Among them, Willie Dustice, Sleve McDichael (which itself sounds like one of the nine billion names of Dave Ryder) and Bobson Dugnutt.

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Living Nobly
18 Feb

Living Nobly

Desiree Desierto of the University of Rochester and Mark Koyama of George Mason University have recently released a working paper on these laws, known as “sumptuary laws,” in pre-industrial Europe.  Along the way they find some delightful language from various medieval laws, such as the 1485 French law that restricted the use of gold, silver, and silk cloth to “nobles living nobly who are born and extracted of good and old nobility.”

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Book Review: Dandy Lion
11 Feb

Book Review: Dandy Lion

Most books on dandies attempt to suggest they are all of many conflicting concepts of the word, so that the very least of the dandies they feature is not just an eccentric who fetishizes dressing well, but also, supposedly, a political revolutionary, an intellectual incendiary, and a retrograde elegant gentleman to (champagne-polished) boot. Dandy Lion: The Black Dandy and Street Styleby Shantrelle P. Lewis, is not one of those books.

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Alternative Style Icon: The Bourgeois Revolutionary
04 Feb

Alternative Style Icon: The Bourgeois Revolutionary

Today’s Alternative Style Icon hails from Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the PeopleThe Bourgeois Revolutionary. What can he teach us?

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