Sunday, 22 December 2013

Some history of Christmas Misrule.

Those good chaps at have produced this lovely article on Medieval Christmas traditions - so for any one interested in children misbehaving at Yuletide, check out these, especially 3.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Burning pants, farting donkeys and the Lords of Misrule.

I was going to start this blog with a quasi academic article about modern orality and snobbery but I figured "it's Christmas". So, to quote my favourite children's film of recent years, what we're going to do is... we're going to have a little fun.

Before we begin, a handful of things that will come up a lot in this blog:

  1.  In a literate culture, the oral tradition is generally the preserve of those on the borders of literacy - traditionally,  this would be women and children.
  2.  In a culture of partial or even full literacy, the relationship between oral and textual forms is symbiotic.
  3. Orality, particularly what Ong calls "secondary orality" is frequently subversive, offering acomment on established power structures.
  4. Therefore it totally justified for me to say:

Jingle Bells, Batman smells,
Robin laid an egg...

Yeah, that's right. The kids smirking that out in the back row of a carol concert?  Defenders of the folk tradition, every one of 'em.