The Highland Clearances chief difficulty on Ross-shire has been the women. It was the women as you are aware who at Coigach, aided and abetted by the men, twice defeated Sheriff Cameron and the posse comitatus of the county. It was the women who, in the Invergordon riots, when the Military were called in, attacked the soldiers with staves and other missiles, and compelled the officer in command to charge them with the bayonet. It was only after this charge and after some of the women had been wounded with the bayonet that the mob was dispersed. In the present instance it was the women who, according to custom, maltreated the officers sent to execute the summonses by stripping them naked and burning their papers; and who violently obstructed the police in the execution of their duty, as to leave them no alternative but to repel force by force, or allow themselves to be defeated as their predecessors were at Coigach.

Sheriff MacKenzie, writing to the Lord Advocate c1854 about his problems with evictions. Quoted in Eric Richards' The Highland Clearances


I thought no-one on my flist had posted anything since September, but it turns out that the Android LJ app is just completely rubbish :( 

Strange Fruit

If you've never heard Strange Fruit, you should listen to it now. The most amazingly powerful song, the most amazing delivery. Listen. 

I've just read the biography of the song, which is fascinating. Excerpt here, and it's well worth reading (it's short too, I read it in a day).   Thanks to khalinche for throwing it my way.

Bad book, worse type: Disproving Christianity

I bought this fairly randomly from a recommendation on a blog I like, Friendly Atheist. So first off: beware book recs from Friendly Atheist. Second: any book that claims to 'disprove' Christianity and then says that it's only going to use the KJV because most denominations use it is pants. You can't disprove all of Christianity on the basis of what's recognised as a fairly shaky (though nicely literary) translation. Ok, you can say something about those denominations that rely heavily on the KJV, but not all of Christianity. Epic biblical scholarship fail. 

But what's the worst thing is the author's total addiction to italics. Every second sentence has at least one word in italics. The author doesn't believe that anyone could possibly deduce what was important without italicising the word. It feels like a creepy guy leaning into your face every time they want to emphasise something, simultaneously disturbing and really patronising

Unlike most books I dislike, I'm not chucking this one. I'm keeping it because I don't think people will believe me about the italics, so I can show it to them. 

The Veil

Some poor women put the veil on for economic reasons, or to protect themselves from men in the streets. Some Muslim women put on the veil as an anti-Western protest, or to assert their authentic, Islamic identity and indigenous culture. They do not know that the veil is not an Islamic dress. They think that they can protest against foreign invasion and Western economic exploitation just by putting a piece of cloth on the face. Some upper- and middle-class women import their veils from the West; some of them do not know their indigenous language or culture. They do not participate in any struggle to liberate their country from Western economic and political exploitations. Still, they think they are challenging the West by hiding their hair or face behind a veil.

...Some progressive left-wing people in the West tend to support the veil under the name of multiculturalism, or as a symbol of the authentic identity of Muslim women. But the veil is just a piece of clothing. How can an authentic identity be reduced to a piece of clothing? How can multiculturalism depend on confining women or hiding their faces?

'Islamic Fundamentalism and Women' - The Nawal El Saadawi Reader


I survived Hurricane Bawbag! I have no exciting storm stories to tell, merely that it was awffy windy. 

Does God Hate Women?

Interesting book, in that while it's written by two atheists and has a few references to a lack of god, it can be read as a 'how to be a religion and not be a dick' guide. It highlights that religion almost certainly isn't the original cause of generalised misogyny, but is a great perpetuator of it in current times - and that rigid adherence to doctrines that were made in different times and different places is the main thing driving this. A good, if depressing, read. 

Random selection of books

London Lore is a really excellent book, covering everything from ancient customs to modern urban legends. Ghost stories, forgotten fairs, secret passages - just fantastic. Form what I know previously it also seems very well-researched. Every Londoner or person interested in London should read it! 

Snuff - latest Terry Pratchett, excellent as always. One that really wouldn't make sense if you haven't read eariler ones in the series, especially Thud. 

Necropolis is the the story of London's burial grounds, and it just a bit superficial for my tastes. Perhaps if you've never read any book on death and burial before it might be better for you.