A Brief History of the Cat Lady

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From the tenth to the eighteenth centuries, countless thousands of cats across Europe were tortured and burned to death alongside the women whose “familiars” in witchcraft those cats were presumed to be.  Sometimes the cats themselves were believed to be witches.  The women were usually single and often elderly.  Medieval and Early Modern society’s mistrust of single women, cats, and any bond between the two lingers in today’s conception of the “cat lady.”  Like her persecuted “witch” predecessors, the cat lady is our culture’s envisioning of the woman who has failed to remain within the social order, who lies precariously outside it.  Continue reading “A Brief History of the Cat Lady”

Big Sound Saturdays: Very Superstitious

My favorite kind of party is so loud and crowded and happening that everyone loses their center about it and bumps into each other and runs between rooms and bars and forgets most of it by the morning. Some holidays are built for it. And some are the worst! I’ll take a pass, for example, on the Fourth of July: I love a good barbeque, but all those American flag outfits bum me out and living, as I do, as a medium-old lady in a college town, I’m actually kind of nervous walking around with all the roving late-teens, their vacant beer-eyes, and their booming firecrackers. Or the much less real holiday that is SantaCon, when the self-same wasted frat-bros-turned-bank-bros that stood on the lower balconies of the buildings around Zucotti Park hassling the Occupy Wall Street protesters rub their Santa-costumed bodies all over every beer glass in Manhattan. Bad carnivals. The best carnival—next week!—is Halloween. Continue reading “Big Sound Saturdays: Very Superstitious”