Until the 18th century, the seashore was not a place most people would go to relax. In ancient times, it was where you might run into a variety of monsters like Scylla and Charybdis. The shore is also where one might encounter pirates, smallpox, or even a wayward Kraken. Then something changed. Sorbonne University historian Alain Corbin explores this unusual history in the book The Lure of the Sea: The Discovery of the Seaside in the Western World, 1750-1840, one of the sources for a fascinating Smithsonian magazine article about "Inventing the Beach":
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Around the mid-18th century, according to Corbin, European elites began touting the curative qualities of fresh air, exercise and sea bathing. Especially in Britain, home of the Industrial Revolution, aristocrats and intellectuals became preoccupied with their own health and hygiene. They viewed workers, whose numbers were multiplying in factories and new industrial towns, as strengthened through labor. By comparison, the upper classes seemed fragile and effete: lacking in physical prowess and destined for decline. The notion of the “restorative sea” was born. Physicians prescribed a plunge into chilly waters to invigorate and enliven. The first seaside resort opened on England’s eastern shore in the tiny town of Scarborough near York. Other coastal communities followed, catering to a growing clientele of sea bathers seeking treatment for a number of conditions: melancholy, rickets, leprosy, gout, impotence, tubercular infections, menstrual problems and “hysteria.” In an earlier version of today’s wellness culture, the practice of sea bathing went mainstream...
Tracing this remarkable turnaround, “the irresistible awakening of a collective desire for the shore,” Corbin concludes that by 1840, the beach meant something new to Europeans.
This year I have become Fish-Man! The idea was inspired by the fish-man character, Toby, in the show Ugly Americans. I think the idea of a fish wearing pants is pretty hilarious, and luckily the costume turned out to be as funny as I hoped it would. I've already worn it out on the bus and train home from work and it made quite a few smiles all around :)
The head is chicken wire, screen door mesh, paper mache, foam and fabric. I also had to special order some very large pants which I velcroed to the fish head. Oh, and the eyes light up too-- they're those battery-operated closet push-lights ;)
I'll be walking in the 16th Annual Halloween on Halsted Parade this Wednesday in Chicago at 7pm CST. Hope to see you Chicago readers there-- Happy Halloween!
In our Epic Halloween DIY Costume thread, Boing Boing reader slippy0 shares these snapshots and says, "Mine really isn't that fancy, but the stars aligned and gave me a week of time to work on props. I was Marshall Lee from Adventure Time, and decided to make his axe-bass instead of just painting a 2D cutout. The results aren't amazing, but they're more than I planned to do, and very DIY. I went with my friend who was Fionna. We got a lot of compliments. :) " Read the rest
Twig Case Co. in Minnesota makes nice iPhone cases out of paper and bamboo, including this beautiful Jim Woodring model, called "Frank in the Tempest."
The founder of Twig Case, Jon Lucca, is an illustrator, too, and I really like his art on "The Bunker" bamboo case. I saw a little easter egg in it that made me smile! (Click thumbnail for enlargement.)
(UPDATE: use the code 'boingboing' and get 20% off anything until the end of the month.) Read the rest