Culture

How London Became A Playground For Putin’s Oligarchs

The UK is home to many foreign oligarchs—powerful and usually absurdly wealthy individuals that are deeply embedded in their country’s politics. Many of these oligarchs have money from questionable sources, such as corrupt governments. But why does the UK attract these sorts of powerful people? The UK has a ruling class with lots of power that’s romanticised in their culture; it’s the type of class oligarchs would like to belong to. Joining this ruling class has “become a process” with consultants who “help wealthy individuals from elsewhere become members”. Read full article here

Authenticity’s Imperative

What does it mean to be spiritually authentic? In the age of pick-and-choose religion, it’s an interesting question to ask. Some view picking and choosing as less authentic. You aren’t sacrificing anything by picking only the good parts of religion, which gives the message that all other choices are invalid. Many who fully commit to one religion acknowledge that other ways of living are equally valid, but they feel this one is most fulfilling for them. Read full article here

New Survey Shows How Much Money It Takes To Feel ‘Wealthy’ In The Bay Area

The San Francisco Bay Area is a notoriously expensive place to live in. And worse still, it feels like its cost of living is getting higher every year. A survey of 750 San Franciscans reveals that people feel they need to have a net worth of 1.7 million USD to be financially secure, up from 1.3 million USD in 2021. As a result, 43% of all respondents are interested in switching jobs within the next year, with salary being one of the major motivators. Read full article here

The Easter Witches Of Sweden

Often falling on Easter Sunday, the witches’ Sabbath is an old Swedish superstition from the 16th and 17th centuries where witches were said to commune with Satan in Blåkulla, a place where everything is reversed. On Easter Sunday, Swedish youth used to dress up as witches to convince people that a real witches’ Sabbath was occurring. They would cross-dress and play tricks like knocking over wagons and pouring ash down chimneys. The tradition survives today in a different form; young girls wear aprons and visit family during Easter Sunday. Read full article here

The Shifting Cultural Role Of Clothes

Historically, one’s clothing was determined not just by gender, but also by one’s class. Take the hijab. Hijab as a historically mandatory piece of clothing for Muslim women is a misconception; the scriptural evidence is shaky at best, and women from cultures that adopted Islam weren’t forced to wear the hijab. In fact, not even all Muslim women from the Middle East wore hijabs. Historically, it was worn by wealthy women and only when they went outside (if ever); women not endowed with as much wealth wore more practical clothing. Read full article here

Vibe, Mood, Energy

“Vibe” as a concept traces its roots to the late 1960s; it is a “vague, free-floating feeling” that resonates between bodies. Vibe is resurging today in part as a means for millennials and Gen Z-ers to understand and be understood by others. However, one of its main uses is to describe unpleasant or disturbing situations. For example, compilations of “vibey images” on the social media platform TikTok often elecit a sense of emptiness and existential hollowness from its young userbase. Read full article here

The Jokes That Have Made People Laugh For Thousands Of Years

The earliest recorded joke in human history is about flatulence, made thousands of years ago by the Sumerians. This joke showcases how humans have always found crudeness funny. Flatulence and general toilet humour have been found as a common element in jokes across cultures and time periods. Martha Bayles posits that this is the case for fart jokes because flatulence shows our “uncontrollable physicality”, and because farts — a universal bodily function — represent equality. Read full article here

Sacred Bones

“Cracks in bones, it seems, are hieroglyphs for those who know the code.” Many cultures believe that bones, animal or human, contain ancient knowledge and can communicate this knowledge. Bones (especially skulls, vertebrae, and shoulder blades) are popular objects of divination. For example, the Montagnais-Naskapi of the Labradorean Peninsula hold caribou shoulder blades over hot coals until they crack and get burnt; these cracks and burns are then “read” to answer questions, like which areas will yield success for their hunters. Read full article here

The Amoral Violence Of Folk Magic

A Furl O’ Fairies Ween (a whirl of fairies wind) is one of many supernatural phenomena that hail from Scotland. Encountering this fairy wind is dangerous, as they aim to steal mortals with the strong winds. To save yourself, you must quickly throw your left shoe, or a knife, or earth from a molehill while saying, “This is yours that is mine!” Throwing it quickly while saying the right words is key in tricking the fairies into thinking you’ve offered them something more valuable than yourself so you can escape. Read full article here

Sumo Is Getting Big in Texas

Sumo has its origins in Japanese Shinto rites dating all the way back to the first century AD. The Dallas Sumo Club, on the other hand, was created in January 2021. Its modern approach, taking the rules of Sumo wrestling (two wrestlers squaring off, and the first person to step out of the ring or hit the ground loses) and adding their own twist by hosting Halloween and Christmas themed matches, seemed to spur rapid online traction. Read full article here

FASCINATING READS, SUMMARISED

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