Picture a big ol’ box of dicks. They’re wriggling around, they’re eating oats. Something about that image just sticks with you. It’s hard to stop thinking about it, especially if you have ever admired a worm bin. It’s jolly.
It may not strictly be a real thing. In fact, there is some talk that it is more like a bird’s nest of dicks, and not a box at all.
But this is the very image brought to us courtesy of a Heinrich Kramer–“Heinie” to his friends–who presented it in his 1487 opus, Malleus Maleficarum. In this book he lays out the case against witches along with advice on how to spot them and try them and burn them to a crisp. He was also the chief proponent of the idea that witches were mainly women, who were disproportionately drawn to the Devil due to their insatiable lust. At least, one assumes he was not able to satisfy them.
Women do seem to get a bad rap in certain circles that usually do not contain women. There is a very good reason for this, and it is that women have a way of making men feel funny in the tummy, but then they can’t always be counted on to do anything about it, and that ticks the men off. Women shouldn’t be able to just go around willy-nilly bewitching people into feeling things they can’t control. ‘Specially the real purty ones, amiright, Heinie?
Mr. Kramer was a Catholic clergyman with a particular interest in witches and he wrote his book shortly after he had to leave Innsbruck. He had been accused of inappropriate behavior; also, during a tribunal, he displayed such lurid and obsessive interest in the sexual habits of a female on trial that he even creeped out the bishop, who thought he was crazy and expelled him from the city.
One would think that would be that, but there’s a lot of evidence that being crazy is not an impediment to political success, especially if you’re really sure of yourself. Kramer soon received explicit approval from the pope via some Bull to continue to prosecute witches and then he wrote his book and went all in. About that box of penises: apparently, men kept discovering their penises missing, or much reduced, or inoperable, and the obvious conclusion was that witches had taken them and boxed them up, twenty or thirty at a whack, sometimes placing them high in a tree. One unfortunate fellow was said to have consulted a witch about his missing member and was told to climb a tree containing a nest of penises and pick out any one he wanted, but it didn’t work out for him. He picked one of the larger ones, as one does, but he couldn’t have it because it belonged to a parish priest.
This is a compelling story: great hook, strong arc, leaves the reader hanging on every word. But what evidence did Mr. Kramer present that it is true? Well. First he discredited his critics. Then, according to his manuscript, he declared: “This has been seen by many and is a matter of common talk.” Good enough! Sales went through the roof for the next 200 years. Only the Bible sold better.
Something about this penis story sounds awfully familiar, but I can’t put my finger on it. Oh wait.
“You know, a lot of people are saying that, and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening out there,” someone said recently, in response to a question about Obama being a Muslim and setting up Muslim training camps. It’s not much of an answer, so in all likelihood it didn’t resonate with anybody, and Muslims should have no fear of persecution, any more than women should fear being tried and executed for witchcraft. Some forty to fifty thousand were, right up through the 18th century, but that was then. People used to be stupid. Nothing like that could happen now.
If intelligence is learning from your mistakes, and wisdom is learning from other peoples' mistakes, then it is apparent that humans are neither intelligent nor wise, in the way that whales and elephants are. We may be clever, but that is not the same thing at all. I despair of humanity.
Plus, there's just too dang many of us. If we got thinned out a little we might not have such an awful effect. (I know, I know–you first!)
"Some people say there are too many people in the world, but no one wants to leave." Peanuts cartoon from years ago.
You used to be funnier. Today you are somewhat depressing….People seem to be getting dumber and dumber.
Augggh! Cut me to the quick!
Au contraire! That snappy ending had me thinking this ranks up with your finest. (Gotta agree about dumb people, though.)
You get what you pay for here in Everything is Free Land, and Murr can be whatever she damn wants. It's her blog, and what's going on in our country right is curdled stinking madness. Be funnier about that, wouldja, Murr?
Ma'am, yes ma'am!
"via some Bull" – nice!
I guess they calls it like they sees it.
"…there's a lot of evidence that being crazy is not an impediment to political success." Hilarious post. When the opening line came up in my facebook alert, I hurried on over. Nothing like a casual mention of a box of dicks to pique my interest.
I didn't think it would take much.
Well done! I bought a copy of the Malleus Maleficarium(yes, you can easily buy a copy) and it’s one of two books I’ve ever burned. It was horrifying to read.
I must know what the other one was. Did it stay burned? Or did it spring back to life on your shelf with its faceplate spinning around?
Yes! Please tell us! What was the other book?
Probably by this point I shouldn't be–but I am–still constantly amazed at Trump's simple, simplistic, and cunning lies. Where most people wouldn't have the gall to say anything, and most politicians would say something roundabout and evasive, he just lies. Bald-faced, unashamedly, transparently. Every lie is like a huge schoolyard Nyah Nyah Nyah. It's unbelievable. And yet he keeps doing it, and his supporters see nothing wrong with it.
We have to remember that a large number of people in this country are operating on an entirely different set of "facts." We're in propaganda land.
Sigh. And I am not going to thank you for the eye-worm you have given me either.
And I thought "Bizarro World" was a comic book…
There's nothing so weird it hasn't happened somewhere, sometime.
You are one of the few people who can actually make me laugh about this bullshittery.
Because if we didn't laugh…
"Nothing like that could happen now."
You hope. We all hope.
If only men's brains were in their heads instead of in their pants.
That's a messy visual.
I knew you were going somewhere with this, but wasn't sure if it would end up being Tr*mp or Weinstein et al.
Actually, I didn't know I was going anywhere with it myself, and then it meandered that direction. I don't always know. In a similar development, I have an observation about dishwashers that I KNOW is a great metaphor for something, but I haven't figured out what yet.
Another great post. Reminds me of a joke I told after my last girlfriend left me for a man — I don't know why she thought she needed him. We had a whole drawer of penises at home.
COMMENT OF THE YEAR!