Fairy Gothmother

I think I visited the website before in 2006 when it used to sell Goth clothing, albeit very stylish ones at that where I think those kinds of clothing caught on with the non-Goth audience and so began shifting to doing bridal dresses outside of the Goth subculture. There were other Goth fashion websites I visited before, though I think with Fairy Gothmother it hit a cord with the non-Goth audience with its beautiful, well-made dresses that it changed market to sell lovely bridal dresses this way I think.

Now compare the dresses at Drac in a Box, a defunct Goth clothing store and website, where the dresses and outfits are well-done but nowhere as stylish as the Fairy Gothmother versions are. Either that Drac in a Box didn’t expand its market to cater to a non-Goth audience or that the styling’s very subculture as to not pander to them without even trying or something.

Fairy Gothmother’s a very interesting store that started out as a Goth clothing store, hence the name and some of its designs are still in use today before branching out to do bridal clothing. It made very beautiful, stylish gowns that I think has caught the interest of non-Goths which says a lot about the quality of clothing. Not that the outfits of other Goth stores are any less stylish but there’s something about Fairy Gothmother that caught the eye of non-Goths that made the change to selling and making bridal clothing.

Nonetheless, the bridal outfits are just as beautiful as its old Goth clothing are which says a lot of the quality and craft that’s poured into those clothes.

On the Marquis de Sade

He’s a rather fascinating figure where he was born to an aristocratic family but he also had something of a temper especially in his childhood days where he even beat up his cousin, likely read porn and wrote porn later on in his life. He was wealthy from owning land but also made money from writing stories, sometimes anonymously to avoid detection by moral guardians or something like that. I pretty much stumbled upon him in 2017 where I even read his works such as the 120 Days of Sodom.

He had an influence on some writers who even called him the Divine Marquis, even though his works are practically short of saintly but because of how charismatic he seemed to them that justified the epithet. He even influenced a DC Comics character called DeSaad who was a torturer and so was his sidekick Justeen (as in Justine, one of his works). His surviving writings include 120 Days of Sodom, Justine, Juliette, Oxtiern, Crimes of Passion, Dialogue Between a Priest and a Dying Man and Philosophy in the Bedroom.

He was something of a staunch atheist, who was very critical of the Church and viciously attacked it until the day he met a very short priest named Abbe Coulmier where he eventually moderated his stance on the Church and began attending Mass. I’m not sure whether if he may be in Heaven or Hell, that’s up to you to decide. (His wife, Renee-Pelagie, on the other hand obviously turned to the Church when she ended up in a convent.)

I also think he’s personally fascinating if because he’s one of those atheists who aren’t involved in the sciences where it’s like a recent stereotype for scientists to be atheistic, even if there are religious ones out there who even compare the Holy Trinity to the three states of matter (for water). There was even something like the parson-naturalist, a religious scientist who studies the world around them for contrast.

He may not be alone in this regard, as Denis Diderot is his contemporary when it comes to attacking Christianity and the Catholic Church in particular though it could be said that he’s the more vitriolic of the two until the time he met a dwarf priest. He still influences some artists today who’ve made adaptations of his work, ranging from Justine to Salo the latter which was controversial and put an end to one director’s career and life.

It’s practically both

I’m inclined to think that dog domestication was more complicated than being either tamed by humans or taming themselves and it actually involved both where the wolves were tamed by humans but also roamed, scavenged and hunted independent of them. It wasn’t an either or but rather both at different times or even at the same time where you have tamed wolves scavenging on their own, roaming about which may’ve even been encouraged by their owners as with some contemporary dog owners today.

There’s actually a study on Mexican village dogs where they’re owned but they’re also allowed to roam by their owners, especially in farming villages where I suspect there’s a lot of wide open spaces for them to roam around at will. There’s a pretty good chance that tamed wolves also roamed a lot on their own, though if true then proto-dogs were most likely to be semi-domesticated at that as with contemporary stray and village dogs today.

Now when it comes to fox domestication, that too involved both processes where foxes scavenge and tame themselves along the way in addition to some foxes being deliberately tamed and bred for their fur, even though I think fox fur’s not that popular so it makes it likelier for foxes to go commensal. Then again there’s a good chance that wolves are more adaptive than one realises, so if dogs did domesticate themselves then wolves must be real adaptive at that.

It’s an ability that ironically some dog nerds and wolf fanatics underestimate, especially in light of wolves rummaging on rubbish then that goes to show you how adaptive wolves really are. But I still think when it came to proto-dogs, tamed wolves also spent a lot of their time hunting, scavenging, mating and roaming at will so it seems very likely that proto-dogs were semi-domesticated animals which’s true for their modern descendants roaming about in villages and farms.

Thoughts on livestock domestication

When it comes to domesticating livestock, that inevitably comes with requiring a lot of land to raise those animals even if the owner themselves aren’t a landowner. For instance, you need white open spaces of greenery to raise sheep, goats, horses, cows and pigs with. While cats, dogs and monkeys can be eaten they’re usually and generally not raised for meat so it’s easier for them to get away with living in areas with less land than say what goats and pigs usually get. A dog can live in a small backyard or flat if a building allows it to, a goat needs a bigger backyard to thrive in to eat the veggies it wants.

Domesticating sheep, goats, cows and pigs (as well as horses and buffaloes) require a lot of land to do so, which necessitated the growth of feudalism and capitalism. You need those white open spaces for them to graze and breed there or something like that, given my knowledge of livestock farming is rather meagre at that. It’s necessary where they don’t just roam about and eat, but also need to grow more feed this way to feed them while rearing them in farms and to some extent, private homes with large gardens.

You really need large plots of land to rear those animals with, even if it’s for private use and that necessitates greater deal of protection than what dogs and cats used to get. If because nobody wants their food and clothing sources to be gone, so people may take a lot of care of them even if they get slaughtered in the way (there’s such thing as a merciful killing in Judaism). I even think those kinds of animals, with the exception of pigs, were deliberately domesticated and never lead commensal lives at least not to the same extent cats, dogs and monkeys get.

With the exception of chickens, you really need a lot of land to raise pigs, cows, goats and sheep with in order to feed them and why they thrive on feudalism in ways cats and dogs needn’t to.

For the love of cats and dogs

I actually think that even in the Middle Ages and Renaissance where cats and dogs get persecuted for their association with witchcraft, there were likely some people who do love, value and tolerate them in any way. One good example would be Mr Francesco Petrarca who mummified his own cat in the style of Egyptians and evidently valued it very much. Likewise there were monasteries with a habit of owning cats and dogs for pest control and guarding, some monasteries like New Skete still do this.

Even in some African countries where you have people associating cats and dogs with witchcraft, there are those who do value and love their pets very dearly. I suspect in Nigeria where you have people who persecute cats in the South, there are those who do defend and love them very much or at the very least tolerate and respect them especially in the North and outside of it to some extent. That too’s likely the case for almost any animal in other African countries whenever those superstitions persist.

So it’s just as likely in medieval and Renaissance Europe that there are people who do value, cherish and love their cats and dogs dearly whether in monasteries or outside of them. Just because those animals were associated with witchcraft doesn’t mean everybody else associates them with that as there are others who believe otherwise so it’s just as likely in contemporary Africa as it would be in medieval Europe.

On dog domestication

I still think when it came to domesticating dogs, it’s a whole lot more complicated and likely involved both processes where wolves were tamed to hunt but also spend their time scavenging on human faeces as there weren’t any toilets before in prehistory. Based on what I’ve read from the study ‘A Dog is for Hunting’ dogs did assist people in hunting but they also hunted on their own and scavenged when possible.

It’s like the thing with fox domestication wherein you have foxes being bred for their fur but also foxes taming themselves whenever they hang out in human suburbs and cities for food that changes occur when the females and males start resembling each other more, having stronger and shorter snouts and stuff. With wolves rummaging on rubbish, there’s a high chance that wolves would’ve been just as adaptive as foxes are when it comes to encounters with humans.

Some people feed stray dogs so it’s just as likely that they also fed wolves, some dogs scavenge for scraps and so do some wolves. People did tame wolves but the latter were just as likely to scavenge on scraps and faeces when given the chance to do so and hunt on their own like with some hunter-gatherer dogs do. If a good number of dogs in the world are semi-tame, there’s a chance that the earliest dogs were semi-tame too.

In the sense of having owners but also frequently left to their own devices whether by scavenging, hunting or mating independent of humans which’s the case with many contemporary dogs today. The semi-tamed dog’s the closest to the dog in prehistory which was owned but also scavenged, mated and hunted independent of humans. It had owners but also bred and mated freely, can hunt without human interference and stuff.
Thus the semi-tame dogs are the closest to the proto-dogs of yore.

Why stray dogs exist

I actually think it’s not always careless ownership is the problem, not even the main problem but rather a combination or continuum of things some owners don’t have full control over like say living somewhere so remote that the nearest pet store and veterinary might still be far away so dogs roam a lot at will for better or worse. Then comes poverty where even leashes and spaying might turn out to be too expensive for some owners to handle, so stray dogs persist to whatever extent (some of which may apply to stray cats).

If poverty and distance were combined, then it’s inevitable for stray dogs and cats to happen and why some people don’t have full control over it because of that. They may want to leash a dog but sometimes it’s something they don’t always have full control over like say a dog strays around to mate with another dog or if that dog strays to hunt animals. They do have some control like say setting up fences to stop this from happening (my father did this to stop a dog from hunting frogs a lot).

But other times it’s something they don’t always have full control over like say a dog strays to mate with another dog, dogs straying around between households (this happened in my grandmother’s compound which shares the same frontyard with my cousin who lives in another house) and dogs straying from farms and villages to forests, though cats may do the same as well.

It can coexist

When it comes to the debate between evolution and creationism, I actually think they can coexist with one another in the context of an author creating a story which undergoes multiple drafts where the character does start out differently then given relatives and further developments in later drafts and stories. If it does sound like phylogeny, we’re getting onto something. There are Christians who do believe in evolution, the most notable example being CS Lewis who proposed prehistoric situations for Adam and Eve.

I’m a Christian and I accept evolution to some extent in the sense of how characters develop, ranging from personalities to relatives they have in later installments and stories. I’m not saying that evolution is bad or doesn’t exist, but rather it coexists with creation and why it’s like writing and revising stories over a period of time where we get to see the character and story as they are.

For instance, Roald Dahl had a draft that included several more characters and Charlie Bucket was going to be black. Another can be said of the Marquis de Sade having written tamer versions of Justine, which’s one of his works. If that’s how God developed humans and species, he also has a good idea of their developments and his love for them. Much like how an author has a specific vision for how they want the characters to turn out to be.

I’ll repeat myself in here where I say that I believe in God and accept evolution, I’m not entirely antagonistic to evolution and creation and I do think that they coexist with one another.

It’s a continuum

I actually think dog domestication’s much less straightforward than one realises in that it’s more of a continuum of domestication depending on the niche and socialisation to humans and that prehistoric dogs are practically both scavengers and hunters, both independent beasts and dependable pets. It’s a continuum of domestication where at one end you have ownerless dogs scavenging for food and begging a lot of it from humans then you have owned dogs hunting, scavenging, roaming and mating at will.

Sometimes this is deliberate where some humans do kick their dogs out when they got older, so the dogs begin to distrust humans a bit and begin to prefer doing things on their own. Had this occured in prehistory, that would’ve been no different so owned wolves would be practically semi-feral dogs. Semi-feral in the sense that while they are tamed, they also resort to wild behaviour when left to their own devices such as hunting at will which’s the case with some hunter-gatherers’ dogs.

If dog domestication’s a continuum, that does explain the variety of niches dogs occupy where you have feral dogs living independently of humans but also semi-feral dogs that rely on humans to a certain extent especially for scavenging and guarding as well as truly domesticated dogs. Andrei Poyarkov noticed this and made a study out of it where the first stage to being feral’s by being not too socialised to humans, even if they’re still tamed and personal.
Then this is lost by the fourth stage where those dogs are truly feral with the intermediate ones having a degree of socialisation of humans but not necessarily this personally intimate. I still think this goes back to my prior point that you have ownerless dogs scavenging for food from humans on one hand and owned dogs hunting, roaming, mating and scavenging at will on the other hand.

Wolves would’ve been no different in that you have tamed wolves hunting and scavenging on their own but also wolves taming themselves by scavenging on human waste and rubbish. It’s not straightforward with dogs but rather a continuum of domestication.

My theory about dog domestication

My theory about dog domestication is that it involves both domestication by humans and commensalism coexisting with each other, often at different times and depending on the animal where you have wolves being tamed and made to hunt but also scavenge for food and hunt at will as well as wolves taming themselves whenever they scavenge for human faeces (there were no toilets in prehistory).

I don’t think dog domestication’s as straightforward as others make it out to be in that you have two different modes of domestication coexisting with each other where you have wolves being tamed to hunt but also scavenge at will and wolves scavenging around for faeces and other waste products in human villages that’s very much the case with contemporary dogs in some communities.

That’s the case with some village dogs where they do serve practical purposes for their owners such as hunting and guarding but they also hunt, roam, mate and scavenge independent of them. That’s closer to how prehistoric dogs were like before, where they do have owners and serve them but also lead independent lives. Not to mention dog domestication parallels that of foxes in some regards.

Especially in how complicated and unstraightforward this is when it comes to foxes being both tamed by humans for their fur and taming themselves whenever they scavenge for food in cities and towns. There are even changes done to urban foxes where they have different skulls suited for rummaging through rubbish and less sexual dimorphism whereas fur farm foxes come in a variety of colours.

Likewise there are studies of wolves and dingoes scavenging through food, which’s closer to how dogs started out as even if they have owners but that’s closer to reality when it comes to studies on village dogs having owners and stuff. If dog domestication did parallel fox domestication, it would be more similar than say the domestication of sheep and cattle. Dogs could be bred for meat, just not en masse for whatever reason and sentiment.

People who do eat dogs are in the minority as there’s not much of a big industry demand for it in addition to the varying antipathy against dogs as food so it’s easier for dogs to be commensal even when owned, rummaging through rubbish and human waste products. Likewise even if fox fur’s valued, there’s a big sentiment against the usage of animals for their fur so it’s likelier for foxes to go commensal.

One way dog domestication parallels fox domestication is whenever humans feed dogs and foxes with scraps and leftovers that it’s still the case today with the former, not to mention with stray dogs begging for food that this is a stronger case for dogs to be part time commensals at the very least. There are people who do feed foxes food so there’s that.

Fox domestication does give a better idea of how dogs come to be, however usually when it comes to wild animals adapting to human habitation and them taking advantage of humans whenever they beg for food that there’s a sound argument for dogs being commensal. I think even when owned, a commensal lifestyle’s inevitable when it came to the lack of toilets in prehistory.