Happy Labor Day! (Mmm… Marginalia #84)

My, my, how time flies. Labor Day once again? Time to celebrate our labor with a day of idleness.  The medievals would not be pleased.  For them, labor and idleness–ahem, I mean Labour and Idleness–were mortal enemies squabbling over the soul of Everyman.*  Or, at the least, standing around being all symbolic while the soul of Everyman** sauntered by.  Like so:

That’s Labour in the center of the panel futzing around with a net, with Idleness on the right, holding a lure.  Now, I know Idleness looks more appealing, what with her long flowing tresses and her seriously Jessica Rabbit-esque physique, and yes, Labour sort of resembles Cathy*** (titular hero of the soon-to-be-ended comic strip), but this is your immortal soul we’re talking about here.  Show some restraint!

*As I’ve said before, the medievals never met an abstract concept they couldn’t personify as a woman.
**OK, so technically that’s “the Pilgrim” on the left, and not “Everyman,” but he’s basically the same thing.  From Le Pelerinage de la vie humaine.
**You’ve seen this Andy Samberg/Justin Timberlake/Jessica Biel sketch from Weekend Update a few years back, right?

It’s basically that.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • NaProus

    Well then, I guess I should be pleased that my college's administration, in its infinite wisdom, has chosen today, Labor Day, as the first day of classes. Yay for my immortal soul!

  • limpey

    I don't know if it is true or not, but years ago I remember reading that the average 14th century peasant had more "leisure time" in a given year than the average modern cubicle drone (of course, the cubicle drone gets flush toilets, more than one change of clothes, color TV, hot showers and penicillin, but I digress). I can't remember where I read this (might it have been Tuchman's "A Distant Mirror"?).
    The irony, of course, is that I suspect we have a lot more to choose from in terms of what to do with our little bit of leisure time… and I wonder how "work time" is accounted. I've worked in offices where people spent long hours doing very little other than updating their FB page, sending tweets and bidding on eBay. Is that counted as "work" or "leisure"?

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  • Annah

    lol that last picture is epic. Happy Labor Day!

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