Sunday, November 14, 2010

Freedom of expression: 1605

But all these inconveniences, and many more I have not mentioned, would cease, if some intelligent and judicious person of the court were appointed to examine all plays before they are acted, not only those made about the court, but all that should be acted throughout all Spain; without whose approbation under hand and seal, the civil officers should suffer no play to be acted; and thus the comedians would be obliged to send all their plays to the court, and might then act them with entire safety; and the writers of them would take more care and pains about what they did, knowing their performances must pass the rigorous examination of somebody that understands them.

--From Don Quixote de la Mancha--

Don Quixote goes mad from reading fantasy books, mistaking them for true stories. People burn books; it's portrayed as a good thing to do. And there are long passages, like the one above, where characters endorse government censorship.

Paternalism was seen as something all right thinking people should get behind.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Potty humor: 1605

Now, whether the cold of the morning which was at hand, or whether some lenitive food on which he supped, or whether the motion was purely natural, which is rather to be believed, it so happened that Sancho had a desire to do what nobody could do for him. But so great was the fear that had possessed his heart, that he durst not stir the breadth of a finger from his master; and to think to leave that business undone, was also impossible: and so what he did for peace sake, was to let go his right hand which held the hinder part of the saddle, with which, softly, and without any noise, he loosed the running point that kept up his breeches; whereupon down they fell, and hung about his legs like shackles: then he lifted up his shirt the best he could, and exposed to the open air those parts which were none of the smallest. This being done, which he thought the best expedient towards getting out of that terrible anguish and distress, another and a greater difficulty attended him, which was, that he thought he could not ease himself without making some noise: so he set his teeth close, and squeezed up his shoulders, and held in his breath as much as possibly he could. But notwithstanding all these precautions, he was so unlucky after all as to make a little noise, very different from that which had put him into so great a fright. Don Quixote heard it, and said: "What noise is this, Sancho?"

--From Don Quixote de la Mancha--

All those poop jokes they have on TV? Just subtle homages to Don Quixote.