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The Whippet #166: What part of rubeville are you from?

McKinley Valentine — 6 min read

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Short one today friends.

First I wanted to share this story I came across in a Reddit thread. It's about a man who survives a bushfire (unharmed), so warning there for grim reminders of bushfires, but I was also like, "oh this is exactly what it's like to get ADHD overwhelm". My brain blanks out and I stand there doing nothing because brain cannot suggesting any next moves to me.

A man who (barely) survived horrific bushfires in Australia told of being stopped by a simple wire fence. He knew he had to get to his farm's dam or die, but the fire was so close and he was in such terror that when he came to the fence he couldn't process how to get past it and just sat down to die. His brain could just no longer process information.

By an astounding stroke of good fortune someone (it might have been his boss) called him at that exact moment. He sobbed (my assumption, he's probably too tough to sob) to his boss that he couldn't get to the dam, there was a fence. He said his boss was like "go over it" and suddenly he knew what to do, and got to the dam and survived.

This was a tough, practical farmer. It really brought it home to me that in extremity our brains can become just extra weight to carry.

(u/International-Bad-84 commenting on a reddit post about victims of the 2011 tsunami in Japan, so general content warning for bleakness on that whole thread.)

A weird little bonus of ADHD is that, while this sort of shut-down happens to me when confronted with, say, cleaning a room that has many varied categories of objects in it that all belong in different locations, it doesn't happen to me in a crisis. Adrenaline is nature's Ritalin. This guy doesn't have ADHD, he just has regular overwhelm caused by extreme circumstances.

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"What part of rubeville do you come from? Don't you know style?" (Vox Pop from 1923)

(A rube is an insult for an unsophisticated rustic person, it just comes from the name Reuben, which I guess used to be a country-type name? Anyway, cutting.)

Galoshes are gumboots so I was a bit confused about how they could be 'flapping open' but I found a picture of the style! The woman on the right is wearing hers flapping open. I love that there are these fads people are mad about, and they're completely unfamiliar to me, even as a thing to be mad about!

Galoshes, 1922. You might come across the theory that the term "flappers" comes from the flappy boots, but I couldn't find any evidence that's legit.

Arthur M Hallaman criticises women who wear furs even in the middle of summer, while Miss Leah Mona criticises women who wear silk stockings even in the middle of winter: "If women want to show they can afford silk stockings, they can wear wool stockings for warmth and comfort and carry silk ones in their hands."

James J Ryan dislikes it when women smoke, because they can never become true artists at it the way men can (????)

And someone else mad about footwear: Cossack (or Russian) Boots have wide, loose-fitting ankles –

Washington DC, also 1922

— which is a real disappointment if you're an ankles guy:

(Astrakhan is fur)

You can read the other responses in full at r/100yearsago, which posts newspaper opinion pieces from exactly 100 years ago.

Here's an article in The Guardian from December 1925, also critical of women wearing Russian boots:

There is something flamboyant about these boots which does not suit the average Englishwoman or go well with our sober English streets.

Even when the Russian boots are worn with furs or suitably wide and heavy skirts by Englishwomen, though they do not look absolutely absurd, they do not look quite at home.

If anyone else has any criticisms of women, please leave a comment!

(This is a joke please don't leave comments about what's wrong with how women dress these days, you can just burn those)


Ancient Romans arguing that fines should be means-tested

(firstly a quick FYI that an 'as', plural 'asses' is a Roman coin, not a donkey or anything else.)

Two asses. I know, I know.

Her is Aulus Gellus (125—180 AD), talking about a rich guy who used to walk around slapping random people, while his servant walked behind him paying out the fine:

Do not you yourself think that law too lax, which reads as follows with regard to the penalty for an injury:

"If anyone has inflicted an injury upon another, let him be fined twenty-five asses"?

For who will be found so poor that twenty-five asses would keep him from inflicting an injury if he desired to?

[...] One Lucius Veratius was an exceedingly wicked man and of cruel brutality. He used to amuse himself by striking free men in the face with his open hand. A slave followed him with a purse full of asses; as often as he had buffeted anyone, he ordered twenty-five asses to be counted out at once.

(Aulus Gellius' book was a commonplace book, meaning full of quotes and ideas from other people that he liked and wrote down, so he might be repeating someone words above, but I didn't look in enough to detail to be sure. Link if you're inclined to.)

Anyway, it's been 2000 years, I assume we've solved that "a whole segment of the law doesn't apply to rich people because the fines are trivially affordable for them" problem by now.


Remember that photo of the flapper with Russian boots earlier?

Well, I photoshopped it. By which I mean I clicked exactly 1 button in Canva called "Magic Eraser" and it creeped me out by doing an instant perfect edit.

Here's the original:

People who don't enjoy Spot the Difference, scroll down:











There's a swastika in the original photo. The thing is, this is from 1922. Nazis didn't steal the swastika until the 1930s. It was just a good luck symbol that Westerners travelling to India had seen and brought back with them, and it became a popular 'good luck' symbol. So there's nothing shady about the original version of the photo. But I felt like, when I was already introducing a bunch of new stuff – the Russian boots, the flappers, the ankle guy – a swastika would have been a distraction. You would have been like "Are we just not gonna talk about the swastika then??" and you might not have put "1922" + "no Nazis yet" together and you wouldn't have even taken the time to judge that woman for her ankle-spoiling boots. What part of rubeville are you from? Don't you know style?


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