“Dressing for the King by Madeleine Schwartz” | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books

“The Renaissance accountant Matthäus Schwarz often took note of the outfits in which he looked particularly fine. In 1520, at age twenty-three, he hired an artist to draw his most notable getups and collected these in a book that he continued to fill throughout the rest of his life.”

I would love to see men dress like this again!! So much fun!!

Source: Dressing for the King by Madeleine Schwartz | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books

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“Denmark has figured out how to teach kids empathy and make them happier adults” — Quartz

Empathy, or the ability to read another person’s emotions, is a critical life skill. Many fear children are losing it—and that they’ll be less happy as adults as a result. A University of Michigan study of nearly 14,000 college students found that students today have about 40% less empathy than college kids had in the…

via Denmark has figured out how to teach kids empathy and make them happier adults — Quartz

The Politics of Deception: History, Knowledge, and the First Amendment

 In a 1988 lecture Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia declared that originalism was “The Lesser Evil” over other methods of constitutional interpretation. (1) Born out of a resentment against what was perceived as an activist liberal Supreme Court, the movement to make originalism the way to interpret the Constitution did not begin with Scalia’s speech, but his appointment to the Supreme Court in 1986 was a watershed moment for it. In the 1970s conservatives began calling for a return to the Constitution and its “fixed” original meaning as a way to restrain Justices and “depoliticize the law.” (2) As the movement expanded, history, as a resource in which to discover the original meaning, was set to go from a side-show in constitutional law to the main event. A contested past was now required to yield certainties, and to do so without the appearance of ideological bias. Nonetheless, it soon became clear that the push for originalism was a political strategy to reshape constitutional law in favor of conservative principles. (3) But for this to happen, originalism had to yield the “correct” original meanings. This need to yield the “correct” history ensured that the well-known abuse of history in law would reach new heights. Despite their ideological underpinnings, the products of originalist jurisprudence are packaged in the language of certainty and impartiality. For this reason, as noted by Eric Berger, “Originalism is particularly worthy of criticism.” By “creat[ing] an especially misleading illusion of certainty” it operates by deception. (4) Contrary to Scalia’s assertion, originalism is not, in fact, the lesser of two evils, but by virtue of its pretense to objectivity the greater evil. It is politics disguised as legitimate scholarship.

Associate Justice Antonin Scalia during the group portrait of the U.S. Supreme Court at the Supreme Court Building in Washington, Friday, Oct. 8, 2010. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Associate Justice Antonin Scalia during the group portrait of the U.S. Supreme Court at the Supreme Court Building in Washington, Friday, Oct. 8, 2010. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Despite its many flaws, especially the very problematic historical record, originalism has gained in popularity and enjoyed broad application. (5) Given its popular appeal and the fact that so many legal scholars and organizations are dedicated to this method it is unlikely to disappear any time soon. Even if the jurisprudence of originalism faded into obscurity, there is no doubt that history will remain a crucial resource to bolster legal arguments. History is seen to confer legitimacy upon constitutional arguments and enjoys broad popular appeal. But the motives, sensibilities, and training of legal scholars diverge considerably from that of a historian. This makes it more likely that they will abuse history in order to bolster their arguments in favor a pre-determined conclusion.

In response to the frequent misuse of history in law some have recommended that its use by jurists be abandoned altogether, but others recognizing the implausibility of this solution have instead offered advice and/or rules to help them use history responsibly. (6) Regrettably, there is little evidence that lawyers, judges, justices or legal scholars have taken the advice of these well-meaning scholars. With busy schedules and no professional consequences, other than the occasional historian calling them out for their mischief, there is little incentive to change. There are two factors that work in tandem to encourage the abuse of history. The first comes from within the field itself. Lawyers are trained in the adversarial method in which the point is to make the best possible argument in favor of a particular claim. This methodology is well-suited in the service of ideological goals. This gets to the second factor, which gets at the incentives and motives driving the abuse of history, and in part explains why attempts to improve historical scholarship in law have failed. The desire to further one’s ideological agenda is encouraged and supported by the proliferation of partisan political organizations, funded by wealthy donors. To understand how these considerations contribute to the poor state of historical scholarship in the legal profession, it will be necessary to examine each in more detail. Continue reading

“Hungary: Unearthing Suleiman the Magnificent’s tomb” – News from Al Jazeera

“Small Hungarian town hopes discovery of Ottoman sultan’s tomb will bring much needed visitors and revival.”

This is really exciting!! And maybe just maybe it could help turn around Hungarian-Turkish/Muslim relations!! (Doubtful as long as Hungary’s Prime Minister Victor Oban continues to stoke the flames of nationalism and Islamophobia!)

Source: Hungary: Unearthing Suleiman the Magnificent’s tomb – News from Al Jazeera

“The Myth of the Olympics by Jasper Griffin” | The New York Review of Books

“There are those, said Plato, who go to the Olympics to compete; there are those who go to watch; and there are those who go to buy and sell things. Of the three, he characteristically adds, the noblest are those who go to watch, for their activity is closest to pure contemplation, the highest activity of the human mind.”

olymics

Source: The Myth of the Olympics by Jasper Griffin | The New York Review of Books

“Legends say China began in a great flood. Scientists just found evidence that the flood was real.” – The Washington Post

“Chinese geologists uncovered evidence of a catastrophic flood some 4000 years ago — right around the time that legends say a mythical founding flood occurred.”

Source: Legends say China began in a great flood. Scientists just found evidence that the flood was real. – The Washington Post

“Himmler diaries found in Russia reveal daily Nazi horrors” – BBC News

“Chilling details emerge about the daily life of Heinrich Himmler, the Nazi SS chief who sent millions of Jews to their deaths in the Holocaust.” This is an important find.

It’s hard to believe that these dairies will expose even more hideous crimes committed by Himmler (although it is possible). But their main value lies in the hope that they will help shed light on one of the world’s most revolting crimes against humanity.

Source: Himmler diaries found in Russia reveal daily Nazi horrors – BBC News