Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Taboo against Stepping on Auburn University Seal

The Plainsman [Auburn University, AL]
29 May 2017

By Kressie Kornis

The urban legend of the seal in front of Langdon Hall, placed in the 1970s, is arguably one of Auburn’s most well-known myths. Legend has it that if any student steps on the seal, they will not graduate on time or marry an Auburn man or woman.

Hannah Burke, junior in elementary education, learned this the hard way.

“I heard that if you step on the seal you won’t graduate on time, you won’t find true love at Auburn and you will have seven generations of Bama fans,” Burke said.

There are a few different ways to reverse the curse according to the legend, including jumping into the president’s fountain at midnight on the leap day of leap year. The next leap year is 2020.

“In order to counteract the curse, it used to be that you had to jump in the fountain but then they got rid of the fountain, so now you have to eat dirt out of the president’s garden or something like that,” Burke explained. […]

The Fox Hunt Tattoo

Al Di Lauro & Gerald Rabkin, Dirty Movies: An Illustrated History of the Stag Film, 1915-1970 (New York: Chelsea House, 1976), 73-4.

[There is] the perennial question of whether such Hollywood stars as Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, or Marilyn Monroe appeared in stag films. It is not impossible, of course, that sitting in the vaults of some producer or wealthy collector lie some of these mythic films. But the two largest American stag collections (those of the ISR and a well-known publisher) contain no such items. We are reminded of the tattoo artist’s myth of the fox hunt, in which a man’s back is completely covered with hunters and hounds pursuing a fox whose tail is disappearing up the man’s anus. No one has actually seen the fox hunt, but there is always a friend who has. Similarly, someone else has always actually seen Joan Crawford’s blue film. There is evidence, however, that pornographic scenes were spliced into such thirties films as Red Dust and Camille for showing in the “specialized” cinemas of Latin America, with look-alikes finishing what Harlow and Garbo started. Recently, the peep show tenderloin in New York City has displayed stag films ostensibly starring Jayne Mansfield and Barbra Streisand. The “Jayne Mansfield” film is so unclear as to defy identification, but the “Streisand” film, supposedly shot in Greenwich Village in the sixties, does offer an enthusiastic heroine who looks very much as Barbra must have looked a decade ago. In the absence of any corroborating evidence, however, we continue to stand on the fox hunt theory.

[I’ve actually seen a few photos of a tattoo of a hounded fox disappearing down a man’s butt crack; there’s one in Desmond Morris, Bodywatching (1985), 179. Unverified accounts of such tattoos go back to the nineteenth century. Sometimes they were offered as evidence of the crude humor of the low or criminal classes. But when supposedly sported by aristocrats, like Lord Beresford or the Duke of Connaught, no such aspersions applied. See the following excerpts from debates in the British House of Commons.]

HL Deb 31 January 1967 vol 279 cc936-50

LORD AILWYN - My Lords, may I say one word? Once upon a time, many years ago, my duty as a signal midshipman was to report a signal one day to my Admiral. The Admiral was in his bathroom. On being told to enter the bathroom, I was faced with the nude figure of the great man, who had modestly turned his back upon me. And in front of me, was the panorama of a complete hunt, in full cry, travelling down the great man's back: horses, hounds, and the fox. Well, my Lords, the fox was gradually disappearing. The pursuit was in a North to South direction. The great man was aged about 60 or 65 at the time. No harm had come to him, so far as I know. He commanded a Fleet and he was a very famous Admiral indeed.

HC Deb 21 January 1969 vol 776 cc266-70

Mr. Martin Maddan (Hove) - In another place, two years ago, in a debate initiated by the noble Lord, Lord Royle, Lord Ailwyn described an admiral under whom he had served who, on his back, had a full hunting scene, with riders and hounds pursuing, in a north to south direction, the fox, which was going to earth. It was, I think, Admiral Lord Charles Beresford to whom the noble Lord referred—[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker - Order. The hon. Member is asking leave to introduce a Bill and we want to hear about the Bill.

Mr. Maddan - That story is water under the bridge now, Mr. Speaker, and I will not repeat it. But it was just 100 years ago that Admiral Lord Charles Beresford acquired his edition of this famous hunt scene, which today would cost about £10 to acquire in full, covering the whole back from shoulders to cleft of buttocks.

Pampas Grass Sales Are Falling

The Telegraph [UK]
30 May 2017

    Olivia Rudgard, Social Affairs Correspondent

For decades it was a common feature of suburban front gardens throughout Britain, adding a touch of exoticism to more everyday native planting.

But an unfortunate association with liberal sexual practices appears to have heralded the end of pampas grass as a gardener's favourite.

Plant sellers says sales have plummeted - in no small part due to the plant being regarded as a secret signal to passersby that its owners are happy to indulge in swinging.

Many nurseries have stopped stocking it entirely, and even large suppliers have seen numbers plummet, as buyers shun the plant for fear of what it means. […]