Announcing The First Annual Monthlong "Vows of the Peacock" Blogtacular! (Mmm… Marginalia)

Theme months–they’re what the kids today are into, yes?* Excellent. I’m all about jumping on the trends while they’re hot. If I were any trendier, I’d be twittering the hell out of this post in 140-character chunks.

Actually, here’s the deal: I realized I’ve got about a half-dozen or so images from the same manuscript that are metaphorically burning a hole in my pants**–or, possibly, my blog’s metaphorical pants*** and rather than spacing them out with filler, I’ve decided to just devote the whole month to them.

The manuscript in question is one that I’ve drawn from before, Pierpont Morgan Library MS G24, a fourteenth-century Flemish manuscript which includes, among other things, a copy of Jacques de Longuyon’s Vows of the Peacock (AKA Les Voeux du paon), a late chanson de geste that is only read these days because it contains a very early (and possibly the first) catalogue of heroes grouped into Nine Worthies.

So, without further ado, let me introduce the first of April’s marginal curiosities from MS G24. This guy:


I always do manage to find the classiest images, don’t I? This week’s touch of class is doing exactly what it seems like he’s doing: number one and number two at the same time. Luckily for the people who have to clean up the messes in the margins of manuscripts, he thought ahead and brought two appropriately-sized matching pots with him.

This little fella is probably going to make it into my upcoming presentation at Kalamazoo, because in addition to having his carefully-orchestrated double bowel movement, he also appears to be reading the text that he’s placed next to. I’m not sure if he’s doing it in a “wow, that’s so interesting it can even tear me away from my complicated business” or a “wow, that’s so interesting it made me poop and pee at the same time, lucky I was already naked and was on my way to throw these two pots into the recycling bin” kind of way. I suppose I should get that nailed down sometime soon.

And in case you’re worrying that this month-long theme is going to lead to stagnation and tedium, you really should trust me more. I promise, this manuscript is so odd that I could easily do a year-long feature and still not exhaust its strangeness. Already, it has provided such joys as the ass-kissing Templar, the ass-utilizing bagpiper, and the naked men disassembling themselves, and together these four are but the tip of the weird iceberg of weirdness.****

*The kids today sure are crazy, with their music that diverges from the music that I am fond of and their opinions on the optimum positioning of one’s waistband and/or hemline that differ from my own preferred norms.
**Which, as I indicated before, are worn with their waistband at the appropriate elevation, not like those crazy kids.
***Yes, my blog wears pants. Or metaphorically wears them. But unlike me, my blog is hep, man, hep, and wears its pants all freaky-deaky like you would not believe. Unless you’re one of the kids today, in which case you would find the distance between the top of its pants and its metaphorical belly button to be quite acceptable.
****Possibly an anal-fixated iceberg, come to think of it.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • hokuton-punch

    I am honestly not sure that I am classy enough to continue reading this blog; am fairly certain that tremendous giggling fits are not on the same level of classiness as that fellow.

  • Wacky Hermit

    Sure, the *distance* between the top of your pants and your belly button is acceptable, but does that distance run in the fashionably correct *direction*? That’s the question you have to ask yourself.

  • beatrixherald

    Has it occurred to you that perhaps the habit of reading on the pot is not a modern practice, but in fact a medieval one? Perhaps this man is just reading while he craps. I know lots of people who do that. I don’t think it requires a toilet, only a book and a place to poop. although, it would be hard to hold a book while holding two pots, but in theory, he could, if he wanted to, squat over pot #2 and only have to hold pot #1 and the book.

    Lucky for him he is in a book and can just look over his shoulder. Maybe he just WISHES he could read while pinching one off and since it is not possible due to his having too many pots in his hands.

    I like to write about poop.

  • Got Medieval

    The reading while you work (so to speak) theory is definitely worth considering.

  • a stitch in time

    Hmm… Is it just me, or are there lots and lots of hoods worn by people doing interesting marginalia things? And would there be some deeper cause? (Well, a deeper cause apart from wearing a hood because that’s a really hot and fashionable thing to wear, especially in the 14th century – and by the way not suited to be worn “trendy” like baseball caps. Or have you ever seen someone with the hood on backwards?)

  • Adam Roberts Project

    I also have an ‘is it just me?’ comment. Namely, is it just me, or is that guy’s dick not going into the pot, there? It looks like he’ll miss the receptacle altogether. Unless that is also the point: ‘too stupid even to piss in a pot held directly in front of him …’

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