Merlin on Self-Fulfilling Prophesy and Destiny (Knightriders, 1981)

In this scene from George Romero’s messy, mystical, countercultural take on the Arthurian mythos, Merlin (Brother Blue) councils King Billy (Ed Harris) on the tensions between notions of destiny and self-fulfilling prophecy. The clip includes some shots from a later scene in which Merlin’s prophecy (and Billy’s dreams) come true, in the form of a … Read moreMerlin on Self-Fulfilling Prophesy and Destiny (Knightriders, 1981)

Festival of the Dead in the UK

This massive touring festival event has been a sell-out smash in the UK for several years, though of course it’s currently on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic. Festival of the Dead offers a cross-cultural mash-up of secular Dia de Muertos-inspired aesthetics with new circus/new burlesque performance styles; not what you’d call “deep” in comparison with … Read moreFestival of the Dead in the UK

Why Oscar Wilde Declined to Join the London Thirteen Club

Despite their distinct lack of streaming video options, the ladies and gentlemen of the late 19th century were not short of amusing and instructive pastimes. Late Victorian social media was centered around clubs running the thematic gamut from banal to whimsically outrĂ©. During the 1890s, examples of the latter kind ranged from the Whitechapel Club … Read moreWhy Oscar Wilde Declined to Join the London Thirteen Club

The Flowerskull Mask: A Thanatopositive Art Project

By Tony Wolf I recently took part in the month-long online course Make Your Own Memento Mori: Befriending Death with Art, History and the Imagination, which was organized and taught by Morbid Anatomy founder Joanna Ebenstein. This course combines extensive and fascinating weekly readings and viewings, lectures, discussions, art and writing prompts and so-on, towards a “final project” of each … Read moreThe Flowerskull Mask: A Thanatopositive Art Project

Flight From Death: The Quest for Immortality

This acclaimed 2003 documentary was inspired by the also-acclaimed 1973 book The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker. Positing that humans’ awareness (and denial) of their own mortality has been the driving force behind civilization, Becker won the Pulitzer Prize for literature and influenced generations of social anthropologists, philosophers and psychologists.