The Rest Is History

The multiverse, God’s body, and Scabby the Rat.

By Jaime Fuller

Friday, March 17, 2023

A View of Naples Through a Window, by Franz Ludwig Catel, 1824. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund.

• “The oldest documented use of the term multiverse comes from William James. In an 1895 speech given to the Harvard Young Men’s Christian Association, James said, ‘Visible nature is all plasticity and indifference, a moral multiverse, as one might call it, and not a moral universe.’ The multiplicities of nature were not a positive to James but a dangerous pluralism that he described in gendered terms: ‘To such a harlot we owe no allegiance; with her as a whole we can establish no moral communion.’ James saw the everything everywhere of the multiverse as untrustworthy. He counseled his listeners to turn away from the seductions of the multiverse and to strive to create meaning in this one.” (The Yale Review)

• “Hoover also mastered the art of cultivating reporters and feeding them scurrilous items about his enemies. And when any paper, large or small, reprinted a speech or article of his, he sent a thank-you letter acknowledging its contribution to the war on crime.” (The Nation

• Found behind a door in France: a painting by Pieter Brueghel the Younger. (The Guardian)

• “It may be that God is just a slob like us, but because he created man in his own image, anthropomorphism is always political. God’s body is our battleground.” (New York Review of Books)

• “The Oglala Sioux Tribe recently secured the return of cultural objects kept for over a century in a tiny Massachusetts museum. Now it is seeking consensus on their final resting place.” (New York Times)

• The history of Scabby the Rat. (The Guardian)

• Revisiting John Woo’s Last Hurrah for Chivalry. (Current)

• This week in obituaries: Kenzaburo Oe, Dick FosburyIsabel Colegate, John JakesPatricia SchroederSuzy McKee CharnasBobby CaldwellPhyllida Barlow, SpotMasatoshi Ito, Paul BergAmy SchwartzFrank T. Griswold IIIJiang Yanyong, Jesus AlouTraute LafrenzRichard RosenbergMary BauermeisterLynn Seymour, and Robert Blake.