blog blah, blah blog

So very meta …

I’m about to be incredibly long winded and self indulgent (nothing new there then).

I was looking forward to the Blogging 101 thingy today, but when I got the email, I was disappointed. Edit your title and tagline, it said – and I replied NO! So instead of obeying, I am going to defend my existing one.

Title = the blahpolar diaries.
The url is bipolar dyke, which made me go hmmm quite soon. I use blahpolar because it amuses me and alludes sweetly to my verbosity. It’s decent SEO to have the word bipolar in the url and idgaf that the text is a very feeble search term indeed.

Tagline = where folly holds her throne.
I found it in London and its Mad; it was on the entrance gates to Bedlam (Bethlem, Bethlehem Hospital). There is also this …

Close to those walls where Folly holds her throne,
And laughs to think Monroe would take her down,
Where o’er the gates, by his famed by father’s hand
Great Cibber’s brazen, brainless brothers stand;
One cell there is, concealed from vulgar eye,
The cave of poverty and poetry.
From: The Dunciad – Alexander Pope (1743)

An interpretation of the verse:

     Pope places the throne of Dullness in Bedlam, formally referred to as Bethlehem Hospital.  The hospital was founded in 1247 but did not begin to treat the insane until the early 15th century.  During Pope’s time the hospital was located near the London Wall on the south edge of Moorfields. 
     Conveniently for Pope, it was the King of Dullness, Colley Cibber’s father, Caius Cibber who executed the two statues that stand before the sanitorium–Raving Madness and Melancholy Madness.  These two statues, “Great Cibber’s brazen, brainless brothers” are naturally suitable emblems for Pope’s poem.


Madness and sadness …

These reclining figures dramatise the binary opposition between manic and melancholic symptoms which lay at the heart of pre-medieval and early modern understandings of mental ill-health. Raving Madness is depicted in furious agony (and in hospital chains, by the way) whereas Melancholy is free of restraint, but expressionless and unengaged.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. We freak out about chains, but use restraints. We define spectrums and then treat them as binaries.


I chose the tagline because I thought it was both beautiful and sad (and etymology and evolution of language fascinates me). I know it doesn’t offer any clear info or keywords – but I honestly just don’t care. Folly, in this instance, has the following definition.

Middle English: from Old French folie ‘madness’, from fol ‘fool, foolish’.

Bipolar was once known as la folie circulaire – circular madness. I actually like that, because a circle (obviously) is so much more than bipolar’s stupid polarised and limited binary. Also, I think such things ought to be honoured and remembered. They’re part of us. And the people who went before us deserve at least the occasional salute, imnvho.

I couldn’t find an image of the gates of Bethlem/Bedlam in the 18th century.


When it comes to readers and commenters, quality wins hands down over quantity. I like these little announcements though; I feel a bit like I did when I earned a Brownie badge.


I used to wear 501s all the time – they’re too expensive here though.

A few stats that interested me …


Thanks to everyone who ever commented on anything, and replied to my comments on their blogs. Facebook irks me so much, there’s so rarely a decent conversation. And I live far from the madding intelligentsia, so I really do need quite a lot of online interaction.


I didn’t use the read more function till fairly recently, so individual post views weren’t showing up until I did. Sometimes when I notice that an old post is still getting hits, I update it a bit if there’s anything new to say.

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