Art and Thoughts


The Loveliest Rose in the World

I had a casette tape of Hans Christian Andersen stories I used to listen to to fall asleep, but they were all shortened and simplified for children. The ones it had were The Nightingale, The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, The Snow Queen, The Princess and the Pea…

Anyway, they were also completely secularized, which was nice. Because it turns out the real ones are very, well, Christian. Take The Loveliest Rose in the World, for example. The Queen is very ill, and only the sight of the loveliest rose in the world can stop her from dying. Everyone in the kingdom tries to think of the loveliest rose there is— is it the rose from the Garden of Love? The White Rose of Grief? The Magic Flower of Science? The rose from Romeo and Juliet’s tomb?

Nope! It’s the Bible. Surprise!

“Mother,” cried the little boy; “only hear what I have read.” And the child seated himself by the bedside, and read from the book of Him who suffered death on the cross to save all men, even who are yet unborn. He read, “Greater love hath no man than this,” and as he read a roseate hue spread over the cheeks of the queen, and her eyes became so enlightened and clear, that she saw from the leaves of the book a lovely rose spring forth, a type of Him who shed His blood on the cross.

“I see it,” she said. “He who beholds this, the loveliest rose on earth, shall never die.”

And that’s the ending. It’s actually quite interesting— I’m guessing that she actually does die there at the ending, and that it’s like a John 3:15 reference. “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” So she dies, but goes to heaven; that’s my interpretation.

But that’s not the sort of story I needed to hear as a kid. Also I’m not Christian.

He has another story called The Jewish Maiden about a Jewish girl who is just a really good person all her life, but can never touch the New Testament or convert to Christianity because her dead father promised her dying mother that she wouldn’t. But she’s just so good that in the end, they still bury her just outside the wall of the church graveyard, where— don’t worry! She’ll be going to heaven when the resurrection comes.

And God’s sun, which shines upon the graves of the churchyard of the Christians, also throws its beams on the grave of the Jewish maiden beyond the wall. And when the psalms of the Christians sound across the churchyard, their echo reaches her lonely resting-place; and she who sleeps there will be counted worthy at the resurrection, through the name of Christ the Lord, who said to His disciples, “John baptized you with water, but I will baptize you with the Holy Ghost.”

Well, it’s much nicer than what Grimms’ Fairy Tales had to say about Jewish people, at least.

Another interesting one is The Little Mermaid. She doesn’t give up her voice just because she falls in love with a Prince, she does it because mermaids can’t go to heaven, because they don’t have souls. But if a human marries them, then they can share in the human’s soul. Getting to heaven instead of dying permanently is what’s important to her.

But also— he has some secular ones. The Great Sea-Serpent is a fairy tale about the laying of the transatlantic telegraph cable! It’s not super exciting as a story, but it’s like historically interesting to me.

Holy crap, this Grimm’s Fairy Tale, Die ungleichen Kinder Evasor “Eve’s Unequal Children.” Possibly the most status-quo-reinforcing fairy tale of all time.

When Adam and Eve were driven from paradise, they were forced to build a house for themselves on barren ground, and eat their bread by the sweat of their brow. Adam hoed the field, and Eve spun the wool. Every year Eve brought a child into the world, but the children were unlike each other. Some were good looking, and some ugly.

After a considerable time had gone by, God sent an angel to them to announce that he himself was coming to inspect their household. Eve, delighted that the Lord should be so gracious, cleaned her house diligently, decorated it with flowers, and spread rushes on the floor. Then she brought in her children, but only the good-looking ones. She washed and bathed them, combed their hair, put freshly laundered shirts on them, and cautioned them to be polite and well-behaved in the presence of the Lord. They were to bow down before him courteously, offer to shake hands, and to answer his questions modestly and intelligently.

The ugly children, however, were not to let themselves be seen. She hid one of them beneath the hay, another in the attic, the third in the straw, the fourth in the stove, the fifth in the cellar, the sixth under a tub, the seventh beneath the wine barrel, the eighth under an old pelt, the ninth and tenth beneath the cloth from which she made their clothes, and the eleventh and twelfth under the leather from which she cut their shoes.

She had just finished when someone knocked at the front door. Adam looked through a crack, and saw that it was the Lord. He opened the door reverently, and the Heavenly Father entered. There stood the good-looking children all in a row. They bowed before him, offered to shake hands, and knelt down.

The Lord began to bless them. He laid his hands on the first, saying, “You shall be a powerful king,” did the same thing to the second, saying, “You a prince,” to the third, “You a count,” to the fourth, “You a knight,” to the fifth, “You a nobleman,” to the sixth, “You a burgher,” to the seventh, “You a merchant,” to the eighth, “You a scholar.” Thus he bestowed his richest blessings upon them all.

When Eve saw that the Lord was so mild and gracious, she thought, “I will bring forth my ugly children as well. Perhaps he will bestow his blessings on them too.” So she ran and fetched them from the hay, the straw, the stove, and wherever else they were hidden away. In they came, the whole coarse, dirty, scabby, sooty lot of them.

The Lord smiled, looked at them all, and said, “I will bless these as well.”

He laid his hands on the first and said to him, “You shall be a peasant,” to the second, “You a fisherman,” to the third, “You a smith,” to the fourth, “You a tanner,” to the fifth, “You a weaver,” to the sixth, “You a shoemaker,” to the seventh, “You a tailor,” to the eighth, “You a potter,” to the ninth, “You a teamster,” to the tenth, “You a sailor,” to the eleventh, “You a messenger,” to the twelfth, “You a household servant, all the days of your life.”

When Eve had heard all this she said, “Lord, how unequally you divide your blessings. All of them are my children, whom I have brought into the world. You should favor them all equally.”

But God replied, “Eve, you do not understand. It is right and necessary that the entire world should be served by your children. If they were all princes and lords, who would plant grain, thresh it, grind and bake it? Who would forge iron, weave cloth, build houses, plant crops, dig ditches, and cut out and sew clothing? Each shall stay in his own place, so that one shall support the other, and all shall be fed like the parts of a body.”

Then Eve answered, “Oh, Lord, forgive me, I spoke too quickly to you. Let your divine will be done with my children as well.”

Damn. I had thought at the beginning that Eve was going to be punished for favoring the good-looking kids. Nope.


In “Love is an Open Door” (which is possibly the best song in the movie), Hans and Anna dance in front of a lighthouse’s lamp, and their shadows are projected onto the sails of a ship.


They’re actually still in the background, over on the left, but in this shot we watch their silhouettes dance instead.


But wait, their shadows aren’t standing on anything! They’re just hovering in midair. Either their feet should be outside of the circle of light, or the deck  they’re standing on should be casting a shadow too (and possibly that railing?).

Thanks, Disney, the whole movie is ruined now! I hope you issue everybody refunds.

…But seriously the animation for that song in particular is super beautiful and goes so well with the music, and duets are great.


From Elon James White Tuesday night.




CNN’s Jake Tapper Telling the Truth about Ferguson

Jake Tapper exposing the truth! He earned his stripes today.

this is crazy!!!

"Young woman falling asleep listening to radio." 1920

"Young woman falling asleep listening to radio." 1920


Some pages from the Byzantines chapter I’ve been working for awhile on.

Damn that is informative. I like this presentation.

Saw Guardians of the Galaxy tonight. It’s a fun movie. Lots of things to grin at. Very minor spoilers below.

It’s also really consistently predictable, but there were some very very nice sci-fi tableaus to take in, and they didn’t overuse jokes. Like, you’d expect every scene that Rocket’s in, him being a raccoon would always be the butt of a joke, but he’s probably the least-ridiculed character. Though much of the movie was basically an intentional grab bag of moments from other sci-fi movies (in Terminator 2, the Terminator jumps onto a helicopter windshield, punches through it and tells the pilot to “get out” [itself a reference to Terminator 1] in midair, and in Guardians of the Galaxy a cyborg jumps onto a spaceship windshield, punches through it, and tells the pilot to “get out” in midair).

There were a couple of things I’d never seen before, which was cool. An enormous mining colony inside a giant dead alien’s skull — cool. A guy in one of these pods from 2001 using the pod’s grabber hands to open up another, larger ship and pilot it from inside his ship — cool. Some cool spaceship designs too— the “starblasters” were neat.

Less cool— there are a handful of women in the movie, both main characters and extras. But iirc the extras were all prisoners, secretaries or slaves, while every single unnamed pilot, cop, evil bad guy armymember, or pirate (and there are lots of those) we see is a man. Women wanna fly defense force fighters in their equivalent of the Death Star run,too, it’s not the ’70s anymore, but the Nova Corps are exactly as inclusive.

There are also a few black aliens, like 2 Asian extras in the background once, but overwhelmingly the movie shows a galaxy full of white people. And aliens. But mostly white people.

There’s a new World of Warcraft cinematic trailer out, this is a still from it. You could see the beads of sweat dripping down his shoulders. I don’t even know how they did that. They just keep getting more and more detailed…

I hope the Warcraft movie is this good-looking.

There’s a new World of Warcraft cinematic trailer out, this is a still from it. You could see the beads of sweat dripping down his shoulders. I don’t even know how they did that. They just keep getting more and more detailed…

I hope the Warcraft movie is this good-looking.

…The design philosophy in Starcraft presents objects and characters much larger and overbuilt than realistically possible, while such a design sense works 99% of the time female characters are still challenging.


Phill Gonzales, 3D Artist at Blizzard Entertainment, 2010

Everyone here knows I love Starcraft, and I think Phill Gonzales is a great guy, but stuff like this needs to be reformed. The company’s vision for design works 99% of the time, but doesn’t work on women? Oh right, because 99% of their characters are men, how silly of me.