Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I Just Can't Explain What I Saw

A Letter to My Old Master

In August of 1865, a Colonel P.H. Anderson of Big Spring, Tennessee, wrote to his former slave, Jourdan Anderson, and requested that he come back to work on his farm. Jourdan — who, since being emancipated, had moved to Ohio, found paid work, and was now supporting his family — responded spectacularly by way of the letter seen below (a letter which, according to newspapers at the time, he dictated).

Dayton, Ohio, 

August 7, 1865

To My Old Master, Colonel P.H. Anderson, Big Spring, Tennessee

Sir: I got your letter, and was glad to find that you had not forgotten Jourdon, and that you wanted me to come back and live with you again, promising to do better for me than anybody else can. I have often felt uneasy about you. I thought the Yankees would have hung you long before this, for harboring Rebs they found at your house. I suppose they never heard about your going to Colonel Martin's to kill the Union soldier that was left by his company in their stable. Although you shot at me twice before I left you, I did not want to hear of your being hurt, and am glad you are still living. It would do me good to go back to the dear old home again, and see Miss Mary and Miss Martha and Allen, Esther, Green, and Lee. Give my love to them all, and tell them I hope we will meet in the better world, if not in this. I would have gone back to see you all when I was working in the Nashville Hospital, but one of the neighbors told me that Henry intended to shoot me if he ever got a chance.

I want to know particularly what the good chance is you propose to give me. I am doing tolerably well here. I get twenty-five dollars a month, with victuals and clothing; have a comfortable home for Mandy,—the folks call her Mrs. Anderson,—and the children—Milly, Jane, and Grundy—go to school and are learning well. The teacher says Grundy has a head for a preacher. They go to Sunday school, and Mandy and me attend church regularly. We are kindly treated. Sometimes we overhear others saying, "Them colored people were slaves" down in Tennessee. The children feel hurt when they hear such remarks; but I tell them it was no disgrace in Tennessee to belong to Colonel Anderson. Many darkeys would have been proud, as I used to be, to call you master. Now if you will write and say what wages you will give me, I will be better able to decide whether it would be to my advantage to move back again.

As to my freedom, which you say I can have, there is nothing to be gained on that score, as I got my free papers in 1864 from the Provost-Marshal-General of the Department of Nashville. Mandy says she would be afraid to go back without some proof that you were disposed to treat us justly and kindly; and we have concluded to test your sincerity by asking you to send us our wages for the time we served you. This will make us forget and forgive old scores, and rely on your justice and friendship in the future. I served you faithfully for thirty-two years, and Mandy twenty years. At twenty-five dollars a month for me, and two dollars a week for Mandy, our earnings would amount to eleven thousand six hundred and eighty dollars. Add to this the interest for the time our wages have been kept back, and deduct what you paid for our clothing, and three doctor's visits to me, and pulling a tooth for Mandy, and the balance will show what we are in justice entitled to. Please send the money by Adams's Express, in care of V. Winters, Esq., Dayton, Ohio. If you fail to pay us for faithful labors in the past, we can have little faith in your promises in the future. We trust the good Maker has opened your eyes to the wrongs which you and your fathers have done to me and my fathers, in making us toil for you for generations without recompense. Here I draw my wages every Saturday night; but in Tennessee there was never any pay-day for the negroes any more than for the horses and cows. Surely there will be a day of reckoning for those who defraud the laborer of his hire.

In answering this letter, please state if there would be any safety for my Milly and Jane, who are now grown up, and both good-looking girls. You know how it was with poor Matilda and Catherine. I would rather stay here and starve—and die, if it come to that—than have my girls brought to shame by the violence and wickedness of their young masters. You will also please state if there has been any schools opened for the colored children in your neighborhood. The great desire of my life now is to give my children an education, and have them form virtuous habits.

Say howdy to George Carter, and thank him for taking the pistol from you when you were shooting at me.

From your old servant,

Jourdon Anderson.

Snuff – All the Cool 18th Century Kids Are Doing it

snuff 1 Feature | Snuff   All the Cool 18th Century Kids Are Doing it
Move over smokes and dip, that "other-other" nicotine is retro-cool. Martin Pilkington talks the history, tradition, secret users, and refining process of the stuff called snuff.
Snuff – All the Cool 18th Century Kids Are Doing it
by Martin Pilkington
The law of unintended consequences strikes again. “Snuff is becoming more popular because of the smoking bans all over the world,” says Bob Gregory, GM of snuff makers Samuel Gawith & Co., founded in 1792.
You may, however, never actually see someone sniffing it – we’re talking nasal snuff here: “Snuff-taking is a bit of a dark secret – the number of people who take snuff but won’t admit to it is amazing, it’s a sort of secret society,” says Bob. In spite of that we know that Stephen Fry is a snuffer, and rather bizarrely it’s rumoured Princess Diana was. More predictably Philip K. Dick was in the habit. Now that’s a dinner party I’d like to have given.
snuff is back 6 Feature | Snuff   All the Cool 18th Century Kids Are Doing it
As you enter Samuel Gawith’s mill in Kendal, in England’s Lake District, the scents infused into the building’s fabric envelop you. I loathe cigarette smoke, but love the smell of tobacco. The oily, dark, rich aromas here are extraordinary, instantly permeating my clothing – but in a good way.
Using snuff seems so very 18th century: George Washington and Ben Franklin were aficionados; Mozart’s rapid writing of Don Giovanni was partly fuelled by the product; Napoleon purchased 7lb a month – no wonder he was hyper. In Bob’s factory even the snuff-grinding machinery is 18th century – dated to 1750, the canny founders buying it second-hand. It’s thought to be the oldest production machinery still in regular use anywhere in the world. Originally the giant cogs and pestles processed gunpowder, some maybe fired in anger against the American Revolutionaries – sorry about that, don’t know what we were thinking.
snuff is back 3 Feature | Snuff   All the Cool 18th Century Kids Are Doing it
The habit has already witnessed several evolutions: “In the 18th century it was a luxury item for gentlemen; then became popular with miners to help keep their nasal passages free of dust,” says online tobacconist Simon Jackson, “Here in the UK it’s mainly men in their 50s and onwards who buy it. In Germany though [where there are about a million users] it is fashionable for those in their 20s and 30s.”
Health experts argue about possible problems. It’s certainly addictive, and is unlikely to be better for you than abstention; but little or no link with cancer is evident, and some promote it as a replacement for cigarettes – no tar, no carbon monoxide, same nicotine hit. And there are far more dangerous things snorted. The intriguing words of a medico from the 18th century bear repetition here: Nicholas Andry de Boisregard wrote that those indulging in too much tobacco suffer “a withering of their noble parts.”
snuff is back 7 Feature | Snuff   All the Cool 18th Century Kids Are Doing it
It’s not just the freedom to use it in bars that may appeal to new users. Men like stuff. Snuff taking has its own paraphernalia: elegant little boxes if the shiny tins are not enough; brightly-colored cotton handkerchiefs, four square feet of cloth to catch the sneezes (and less pleasantly, ejected brown snuff); a vast range of flavours and styles to argue about – Gawith’s offer different degrees of fineness and moisture content; fruit flavours and scented oddities like Grousemoor and Otterhound; menthol versions of varying strength…
Then there’s the ritual. Tap the tin and open its lid. Take a pinch of snuff between thumb and forefinger. Shove that directly up the nostril and inhale; or put the powder on the back of the hand, or ‘the anatomical snuff-box’ – looking at the back of the hand stretch your thumb and index-finger apart to create a little pocket in the flap of flesh between them. Some advocate small quantities inhaled slowly. Others man up with clumps of the stuff snorted rapidly. Fodder for a million bar-stool debates.
snuff is back 4 Feature | Snuff   All the Cool 18th Century Kids Are Doing it
When you think about it we have already had the revival of the coffee-house, that other great Georgian institution. I look forward to writing about wig-powdering soon. It could happen.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Word on the Street

“Speak softly, but carry a big can of paint.” 

Banksy - Macdonna

“Well, while you were in the bathroom, I sat down at this picnic table here in Bumblefug, Kentucky, and noticed that someone had carved that GOD HATES FAG, which, aside from being a grammatical nightmare, is absolutely ridiculous. So I'm changing it to 'God Hates Baguettes.' It's tough to disagree with that. Everybody hates baguettes.” 
- John Green

Who needs a mirror?
RSVP necessary 
Priest - Molotovs


“Graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing. And even if you don't come up with a picture to cure world poverty you can make someone smile while they're having a piss.” 
- Banksy

Vinchen - The American
Vinchen - Patriot Act

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Barbie Art

Jocelyne Grivaud, a contemporary French artist, on her current work with plastic dolls:

“Here’s my personal contribution as a birthday present to my mascot, Barbie, superimposed on the vision of artists whose work I greatly appreciate.”

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Best of The Sartorialist

A few favorite selections of men's style, photographed by Scott Schuman, The Sartorialist.


Mary tells me you're a very nice fellow. What do you do?
Oh, I'm on vacation.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Lazy Sophism

Lazy Sophism. Darrel Perkins. Linocut. 2012. 7x21"

"I knew an old man who had been an officer in the First World War. He told me that one of his problems had been to get men to wear their helmets when they were at risk from enemy fire. Their argument was in terms of a bullet "having your number on it". If a bullet had your number on it, then there was no point in taking precautions, for it was going to kill you. On the other hand, if no bullet had your number on it, then you were safe for another day, and did not need to wear the cumbersome and uncomfortable helmet. If the future is fixed shouldn't we just resign ourselves to our fates?"
- Simon Blackburn -

The Myth of Sisyphus

Darrel Perkins. Linocut. 10 x 10". 2012

Albert Camus' philosophy of the absurd focuses on man's futile search for meaning, unity and clarity 
in the face of an unintelligible world devoid of God and eternal truths or values.

Dreams As Infantile

"What is unconscious in mental life is also what is infantile."
Sigmund Freud

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Degree Show Vision

Call it a premonition. See it in real life this June. (Big ups CH on the PS help!)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Real-Life Beavis & Butthead

Created by makeup artist Kevin Kirkpatrick.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

Tom Sachs - Color

Playing cards, color snobbery, and of course, Stanley Kubrick.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Artist

Fantastic movie. Go see it!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

Tough Mudder

Tough Mudder events are hardcore 10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. With the most innovative courses, half a million inspiring participants, and more than $2 million dollars raised for the Wounded Warrior Project, Tough Mudder is the premier adventure challenge series in the world.

Best of luck to JS3 in this year's event, wish I was there to join in!

John Updike - A & P

In walks these three girls in nothing but bathing suits. I'm in the third check-out slot, with my back to the door, so I don't see them until they're over by the bread. The one that caught my eye first was the one in the plaid green two-piece. She was a chunky kid, with a good tan and a sweet broad soft-looking can with those two crescents of white just under it, where the sun never seems to hit, at the top of the backs of her legs. I stood there with my hand on a box of HiHo crackers trying to remember if I rang it up or not. I ring it up again and the customer starts giving me hell. She's one of these cash-register-watchers, a witch about fifty with rouge on her cheekbones and no eyebrows, and I knowit made her day to trip me up. She'd been watching cash registers forty years and probably never seen a mistake before.