Monday, September 20, 2010

Rubens: Negro Head Studies

We were at the bakery yesterday (record day!), and a caterer was working alongside us briefly. She told us that she was working at the Renaissance Festival, a commercial affair featuring lots of jester's hats, sword fights, and hey-nonny-nonny. Her being at the Ren Fest was remarkable only in that she is black. Who cares, right? There really was nothing remarkable about it.

It reminded me of these Rubens studies, and that Africans in Renaissance Europe would have been about as exotic as it gets. It also reminded me that the people of five hundred years ago believed a lot of baloney, and tortured you to death if you didn't share their superstition. In fact, within living memory, only Europeans and Africans were allowed to become US citizens, and not that much further back, it was only Europeans.

Did you know that a fifth of Americans agree that the universe revolves around Earth, and another tenth aren't sure? (I could find my source if I had to.) I'm becoming less charitable about people who are full of beans. The Constitution may allow us to believe any dumb thing we want, but there is no unalienable, Creator-endowed right to perverse opinion.

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