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The Things They Fancied

For a zine about "the sick and twisted hobbies of rich people throughout history," little time is spent actually indicting the aristocracy.

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In theory it's a zine about "the sick and twisted hobbies of rich people throughout history," but Molly Young's The Things They Fancied doesn't spend all its time indicting the aristocracy. As people climbed up out of poverty, Young shows, they found new ways to entertain themselves. In the 16th century, for example, Europe saw a proliferation of pets, pineapples, and porn.

In her discussion of dentistry, Young notes that public smiling was taboo in France before the late 18th century. But the proliferation of bars and coffeehouses throughout the country led more Frenchmen to socialize in public instead of at home. As people got richer, "substances historically linked to mirth," such as booze, sugar, and tobacco, became more common. "The Enlightenment brought a blossoming of public spaces where people could gather," and smiling caught on as carousing spread.

Not everything spread equally, of course. Young adds that "as soon as it became possible for a slice of society to have good teeth, it became possible for them to humiliate the rest of society for having bad teeth." Though dental care has thankfully become more affordable over time, such class dynamics are still around today.

The zine, physical copies of which can be ordered online, ends up telling a Schumpeterian story in which living standards have improved over time not just for the upper classes but for commoners. Whether we're queens or factory girls, today we all can eat pineapple and enjoy smut if we so choose.

NEXT: Brickbat: Did Somebody Say McDonald's?

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24 responses to “The Things They Fancied

  1. Then they created dental insurance and it became more expensive.

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    1. Then the National Health Service in England and then everyone had teeth like Margaret Thatcher and David Bowie.

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  2. Political journalists are weirdos…

    “…there’s even more wrong with being a weirdo who spends his days projecting his own interests, obsessions, anxieties, pathologies, and ideologies onto an unwitting and normal population that is nothing at all like him, while claiming that he is giving a voice to that same unwitting and normal population. Increasingly, I see it accepted that “Twitter isn’t real life.” Well, journalism isn’t, either, I’m afraid.

    Yesterday, Punchbowl’s Jake Sherman noted that Joe Biden had said, of journalists: “You’re the brightest people in the country.” Then he added, sadly: “Trump didn’t say that.” But why would Trump have said that? Why would anyone say that — other than, perhaps, a paid therapist? I’m sure there are some bright journalists out there, just as there are some extremely stupid journalists out there. But is there anybody with a pulse who believes that, as a class, journalists are the “brightest people” in the United States? If their output is any guide, half of them can’t even read.”

    Biden is such a pathetic creature.

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  4. As people climbed up out of poverty, Young shows, they found new ways to entertain themselves. In the 16th century, for example, Europe saw a proliferation of pets, pineapples, and porn. more detail open this link…….VISIT HERE.

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  5. The writer of this book, Molly Young is one of my favorite. The book that she co-wrote with Joana Avillez is also good to read.

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  6. > Whether we’re queens or factory girls, today we all can eat pineapple and enjoy smut if we so choose.

    No reason we can’t combine the two.

    1. Thus the conjunction “and” …..

      1. The Encogitationer subtly points out I missed the first conjunction.

        1. Like the song “Conjunction Junction” said: “‘And,’ ‘But,’ and ‘Or’ will get you pretty far now!…”

        2. Dammit! I ended up flagging myself!…And it didn’t even feel good!

    2. What, the pineapple and smut or the queens and the factory girls? Or all of the above?

      Guess that’s why they made pineapple corers as well. 🙂

  7. In the 16th century, for example, Europe saw a proliferation of pets, pineapples, and porn.

    Interviewer: “All on the same day?”

    Benny Hill: “No, all on the same plate.” 🙂

  8. For a zone about “the sick and twisted hobbies of rich people throughout history,” little time is spent actually indicting the aristocracy.

    Someone in the editing department misspelled “Zine.” OK, Boomer.

  9. For a zone about

    ”Zine’ Its ‘Zine.

    Do you guys write and edit your stuff on the phone while in the toilet at Starbucks?

    1. While I can’t rightly speak for them, I’ll hazard a guess and say: “Yes.”

  10. Then they created dental insurance and it became more expensive.

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