Yet another busy day

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9 1 Yet another busy day
Sorry.

BTW, when we were searching for a suitable graphic for this post on the cover browser, we found a listing for “Punishment Postcards.” Candidly, we’re hard pressed to point out what is more remarkable about this set.

a) That in what looks to be the 18th century, people so enjoyed public torture of miscreants that a Topps-like series of postcards was circulated with additional fanciful punishments to recall the fun.

7 1 1 Yet another busy day

b) That one of the tortures involved walking around wearing a giant cone-shaped comic strip. Hello? Jeet? Domingos?

The site contains no more information on these — we’re quite curious as to whether they were contemporaneous or a modern adaptation.

Comments

  1. Strafe (yes, that’s an “S” on the second card) and Bestrafung translate to punishment (duh).

    The first one is kind of difficult, as I can’t find a translation for “reiker”. Might be archaic. But Toten refers to the dead. Can’t read the sign, or understand the symbolism of the mask. Maybe he was digging up graves…

    The other one… Luederlichkeit loosely translates to “slackerness” or idleness or hedonism. The cartoon on the barrel is merely a visual billboard of the lout’s offenses.

    Sorry my Churmin is so poor… I was more inclined to study the girl next to me rather than book in front of me. (That’s the reason I almost flunked AP Calculus as well… concentrating on the wrong curves.)

    These cards most likely served as admonitions against certain acts. While the Puritans were more likely to place you in the stockade, the Germans had more fun. (Google “Eulenspiegel”)

    For a more horrific use of punishment postcards, consider the lynching postcards produced in the United States.

    If you’re really curious about these postcards, I would suggest either the Goethe Institute in the United States, or possible the Wilhelm Busch Museum for Charicature and Critical Graphics in Hannover, Germany. (Busch crafted delightfully wicked cautionary tales, “Max Und Moritz” being the best known. My fave is “Hans Huckebein”, and if you like monkeys, “Fipps, der Affe”.)

  2. “The first one is kind of difficult, as I can’t find a translation for “reiker”. Might be archaic. But Toten refers to the dead. Can’t read the sign, or understand the symbolism of the mask. Maybe he was digging up graves…”

    It’s not a K, but an ß (increasingly rare and often substituted by “ss” in the computer age, but still officially used in many terms), which stands for a sharp S sound.

    As for what a “Totenreißer” is, no idea – it’s archaic, and all I could find on the web were German World of WarCraft sites. It means “Ripper of the Dead,” loosely, so it might be anything from a cannibal (unlikely) to a grave robber. The dog mask kind of works for both.

  3. Oh, and the Text on the board in the upper picture is archaic German for “Punishment for Foulness,” so it doesn’t provide much of a clue either.

  4. demann says:

    It’s “Zotenreißer”, not “Totenreißer”.

  5. Andy F. says:

    Hi,
    The german word ” Zotenreißer ” describes an individual who is vulgar and publically tells dirty jokes. “Zoten” is an old german word for bad (usually dirty) jokes. In Germany we have the expression “to rip a joke” which means someone is overly eager to tell a joke most people don’t want to hear.Therefor, a “Zotenreißer ” is a “Dirty Joke Ripper”which, of course, was a horrible offense in medieval (and catholic) Germany.
    The german letter “ß” is pronounced like an “s” but is now obsolete and is substituted with “ss” in spelling.
    I hope this explanation answers the questions that were being asked by several people on this blog.

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