Mar 12, 2014

Humperdink’s Extraordinarily Average, Nondescript, Totally Unremarkable Family

Industrial espionage was a forbidden topic at the dinner table.

Same with religion, capitalism and free initiative (except for my parents’ rabid apologias).

When I graduated from UC Berkeley, I took holy orders in the Anabaptist Temple of the Messiah.

Oh, if only I had known.

painting by Agostino Arrivabene

Fun facts:

Historically, industrial espionage goes back a couple of centuries.

Anabaptists didn't spring fully formed from an ahistorical void in the fifteen-hundreds, either. Movements such as Gerard Groote's Devotio Moderna in the 14th century had already begun to pave the way to the Reformation, with its call for rediscovering piety through intentional community.

While nobody knows who invented capitalism, capitalism as we presently know it -- some historians argue -- derives from a fourteenth-century crisis which affected not only the structure of property and ownership but also owed to demographic causes. Let us say that, roughly, you had two sides: lords and serfs. Agricultural technology was stretched to breaking point, which led to famine. Hungry people tend to not stay put and do what they're told -- if they can, they move, if not, they riot. Join war bands. Kill their own brothers and sisters. Not trying to make light of human suffering, but these circumstances make for compelling stories, no?

OK, so these weren't fun facts at all. There's an art flood after the jump.


Audrey Kawasaki


Alice Duke


Arthur Rackham


Some more Agostino Arrivabene for you


Bogdan Zwir


Eric Yahnker


Yoshitaka Amano


Matthias Verginer


Tim Flach


Heinrich Kley


Michael Whelan

Marian Wawrzeniecki, via


Robin Eley


Franz Stuck


Edmond Heuzé


NC Wyeth


Ivan Bilibin

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