Philistines or Luddites?

Luddites breaking a loom, boo ya

Luddites breaking a loom, boo ya

Dear Copybara,

Philistines or Luddites?


Dear James,

Luddites. Although this is a tough one—the Philistine Pentapolis (already awesome name) was, according to the Bible, the Kingdom of Israel’s most dangerous enemy, which is pretty badass. They also managed to capture the Ark of the Covenant at one point, similar to Indiana Jones. And they have a pretty definite link to Mycenaean culture too, points for that. However, there’s something way cooler about Luddites. Here is everyone’s favorite proto David Foster Wallace, Pynchon, discoursing on how awesome they were/are:

 …the Oxford English Dictionary has an interesting tale to tell. In 1779, in a village somewhere in Leicestershire, one Ned Lud broke into a house and “in a fit of insane rage” destroyed two machines used for knitting hosiery. Word got around. Soon, whenever a stocking-frame was found sabotaged — this had been going on, sez the Encyclopedia Britannica, since about 1710 — folks would respond with the catch phrase “Lud must have been here.” By the time his name was taken up by the frame-breakers of 1812, historical Ned Lud was well absorbed into the more or less sarcastic nickname “King (or Captain) Ludd,” and was now all mystery, resonance and dark fun: a more-than-human presence, out in the night, roaming the hosiery districts of England, possessed by a single comic shtick — every time he spots a stocking-frame he goes crazy and proceeds to trash it.

There is a long folk history of this figure, the Badass. He is usually male, and while sometimes earning the quizzical tolerance of women, is almost universally admired by men for two basic virtues: he Is Bad, and he is Big. Bad meaning not morally evil, necessarily, more like able to work mischief on a large scale. What is important here is the amplifying of scale, the multiplication of effect.

The knitting machines which provoked the first Luddite disturbances had been putting people out of work for well over two centuries. Everybody saw this happening — it became part of daily life. They also saw the machines coming more and more to be the property of men who did not work, only owned and hired. It took no German philosopher, then or later, to point out what this did, had been doing, to wages and jobs.

Philistines getting captured by ancient Egyptians. LAME

Philistines getting captured by ancient Egyptians at Medinet Habu. LAME!


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