The Rest Is History

The (historic) future of shopping, marketing, and working in America.

By Angela Serratore

Friday, April 29, 2016

 Baruch Spinoza, artist unknown, c. 1665. Herzog August Bibliothek.

A post-Orwell reconsideration of the Spanish Civil War. (The New Republic)

A seventeenth-century philosopher’s persecution—and modern-day relevance: “Everyone loves an iconoclast—especially a radical and fearless one that suffered persecution in his lifetime for ideas and values that are still so important to us today. Spinoza is a model of intellectual courage. Like a prophet, he took on the powers-that-be with an unflinching honesty that revealed ugly truths about his fellow citizens and their society.” (Aeon)

The future of shopping in 1956. (Pictorial

• The first brave woman to use her face as a marketing tool: “When Lydia Pinkham first put herself on a bottle of her bestselling Vegetable Concoction, men sent her hate mail, harping on her haircut and her ‘cast-iron smile.’ Journalists mixed her up with other famous women. College choirs made fun of her in song. All because she dared to put her portrait on a label.” (Atlas Obscura)

• Walker Evans and the changing face of the American worker. (The New Yorker)

• A sixteenth-century sex manual is rediscovered two centuries later: “I Modi or The Ways was a book of engravings depicting sixteen sexual positions. Think of it as The Joy of Sex for Renaissance times. The book, also known as The Sixteen Pleasures, was published by the engraver Marcantonio Raimondi in 1524. Raimondi based his explicit illustrations on a series of erotic privately owned paintings by Giulio Romano. The book was widely circulated. It led to the first prosecution for pornography by the Catholic church. Raimondi was imprisoned by Pope Clement VII. All copies of the book were destroyed.” (Dangerous Minds)