Quickies: Tender masculinity
The invention of the printing press and reviewing horror movies
In praise of tender masculinity – “While we have mental imagery of Macho Men (buff, distant) and Nice Guys (nerdy, brooding), the characters that embody Tender Masculinity are multi-layered and come from all backgrounds.”
So, Gutenberg didn’t actually invent the printing press – “The universal acclaim is, in fact, not so universal—and Gutenberg himself is a, but not the, source of printing. Rather, key innovations in what would become revolutionary printing technology began in east Asia, with work done by Chinese nobles, Korean Buddhists, and the descendants of Genghis Khan…”
I only want to hear about Midsommar and other horror movies from female critics – “This is not to say that only women can review female-centric films, but the canon is made up of films praised by white male critics, and until we get full parity across the board in terms of critics, I’m going to choose to stick to what women are saying about films—especially when it comes to horror films centered on women, because I don’t need guys to tell me what either is sexist or isn’t sexist, or what is or isn’t a good story about female trauma.”
Hi. Early modern European historian here.
That Gutenberg didn’t invent the printing press, but rather adapted earlier Chinese techniques, is nothing new. It’s History 101 to teach that Gutenberg got his ideas about woodblock technology and moveable type from the Chinese. I learned it in my earliest history classes and historians teach it today in theirs.
I’m not sure why M. Sophia Newman never learned this. Maybe she should have paid attention in her history classes.
(Okay, I just checked this ebook out of my library and it’s actually a very poorly written article:
1. “The printing press is often said to have been created by Gutenberg in Mainz, Germany, around 1440 AD,” Really? Who says this? No one. This is akin to a politician saying “people have said” when literally no one has said it. She has no sources to cite. If pressed, I’m sure she couldn’t come up with any recent historiography. The source she uses in the article in Mark Twain!
2. Newmann is upset about Davis citing a letter written by Mark Twain that’s 119 years old. Yet she ignores the article from Life Magazine that stated – in 1998 – that the Gutenberg Bible was the first WESTERN printed book. Furthermore, a cursory overview of Davis’ book shows that it isn’t about the development of moveable type or the woodblock technique, but rather tracing the genesis and provenance of one particular Bible that was printed by Gutenberg. Why she chose to ignore the fact that Twain was referring to a specific book or that times have changed in the past 119 years is unclear.
3. One of the things that annoys me most is when people seem to think your research should cover what THEY want you to cover. Newmann is guilty of that. She writes, “[s]he mentions China just a few times and Korea only once—and the Mongols, Uyghurs, and non-Christian aspects of printing history not at all.” Yeah, because the book WASN’T ABOUT the history of printing, but rather the history of one particular printed book.)
It looks like Newmann isn’t a trained historian, nor does she have any historical background, but she still should be able to grasp the basics about what a book is about. IMO she needs to retract this article, issue a correction and an apology to Davis.
Thank you for this breakdown, that’s really interesting!
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