My Respect for Dooce Grows

Because I love you guys, I am leaving in every picture I took today, from the ones with my glove in the way to the ones where Mrs. Wigglebottom is just wiggling like there’s no tomorrow. I will say, a couple of them capture her better than any still shot could.

“Radical Spirits”

I finished up Radical Spirits yesterday which makes me an expert on Spiritualism in the 19th century! Ha, no, of course not. It’s the channeling of the 19th century spiritualists that tell me things that makes me an expert.

I kid, historians who spend their whole lives studying this stuff. I kid.

The take-away from Radical Spirits is just how tremendously influential the Spiritualist movement was in giving women room in the public sphere to speak and be heard, but how, once women having a more public role in society became less marvelous (in the sense of something people stood around and gaped at), Spiritualists lost influence and mediums had to up the stakes, basically by knowingly conning people. And, even then, as Braude says (though I’m paraphrasing), looking at a woman in a sack nailed to the floor just wasn’t that spectacular.

So, in a way, Spiritualism’s success at liberating women was the thing that finally did it in as a wide-spread movement.

And yet, the idea of that power lingered so long you can’t help but appreciate why the con artists would have gotten in on it at the end, with even more spectacular spectacles!!!!

But it’s also funny how you basically never hear anything about the Spiritualist movement. I guess because there being a wide-spread non-Christian movement that was highly influential and devoted to freedom and equality that lasted the better part of a century but powered by ghostly visitations throws a lot of monkey-wrenches.

I just find it funny how it’s dropped out of public knowledge.

We lose things so easily here in America (possibly everywhere, but this is the place I know).