I’ve learned that going to Renaissance Festivals can be a very educational experience. I mean, who knew that so many people back in the day had elf ears (see my most recent post prior to this one)? Who knew that there were cell phones in renaissance times, yet I saw them all over the festival. And did you know that they had Coca-Cola products then? Nope, me neither. See how educational such events can be?
Sometimes, however, you learn things that you wish you didn’t. I mean, we all know that there are people who get excited by various things…and those things sometimes are referred to as fetishes. These are typically things which people take to extremes and which are a bit out of the ordinary.
The word fetish originally meant “charm,” and it originates from the 15th century Portuguese word feitico, which means false power, object or charm. For example, when the Portuguese explored West Africa and encountered native religions, they called whatever talisman (totems, carvings, beads) they revered a fetish.
To the Portuguese in those days, the fetishists were those who worshiped the unusual. Later on, however, the implication of the word took on a whole different meaning.
First, a fetish involves the transfer of power from an original source onto a substitute. Second, a fetishist is someone who operates outside the circle of what is characteristically considered normal. Yeah right, what is normal nowadays?
There are “media fetishes” – such as someone who likes leather; there are form fetishes – where someone likes a certain shape like high heels; and there are “animate fetishes” which relate to humans, such as an eye fetish, where one is obsessed with eyes. (I just want you to know I had to look all the preceding up!!!!)
Then, there are the more weird fetishes, like the fetish of the fellow in today’s photo. You may have heard about such a fetish before, in this case, apparently an animate fetish…as this gargoyle clearly is into feet and nibbling on toes. All I can say is that I’m glad he was under lock and key…I didn’t want him nibbling on my toes!!!!
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1864, a dozen days of fighting around Spotsylvania, Virginia, ended with a Confederate attack against the Union forces. The epic campaign between the Army of the Potomac, under the effective direction of Ulysses S. Grant, and Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia began at the beginning of May when Union forces crossed the Rapidan River. After a bloody two-day battle in the Wilderness forest, Grant moved his army further south toward Spotsylvania Court House. This move was a departure from the tactics of the previous three years in the eastern theater of the Civil War. Since 1861, the Army of the Potomac had been coming down to Virginia under different commanders only to be defeated by the Army of Northern Virginia, usually under Lee’s direction, and had always returned northward.
But Grant was different than the other Union generals. He knew that by this time Lee could not sustain constant combat. The numerical superiority of the Yankees would eventually wear Lee down. When Grant ordered his troops to move south, a surge of enthusiasm swept the Union veterans; they knew that in Grant they had an aggressive leader who would not allow the Confederates time to breathe. Nevertheless, the next stop proved to be more costly than the first.
After the battle in the Wilderness, Grant and Lee waged a footrace for the strategic crossroads at Spotsylvania. Lee won the race, and his men dug in. On May 8, Grant attacked Lee, initiating a battle that raged for 12 awful days. The climax came on May 12, when the two armies struggled for nearly 20 hours over an area that became known as the Bloody Angle.
The fighting continued sporadically for the next week as the Yankees tried to eject the Rebels from their breastworks. Finally, when the Confederates attacked on May 19, Grant prepared to pull out of Spotsylvania. Convinced he could never dislodge the Confederates from their positions, he elected to try to circumvent Lee’s army to the south. The Army of the Potomac moved, leaving behind 18,000 casualties at Spotsylvania to the Confederates’ 12,000. In less than three weeks Grant had lost 33,000 men, with some of the worst fighting yet to come.
TRIVIA FOR TODAY: The Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) is home to the world’s largest parking lot. The Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport has the third largest runway in the world and is the alternate landing site for the space shuttle. Texas has more airports than any other state in the country.