Monday, July 30, 2007

on the origins of equity (a meditation on hegel’s phenomenology of spirit, iv.a)

Artimisia Gentileschi, "Susanna and the Elders" (1610)

the first experience of equality is the experience of violation. it is awakening from a dream where forces of which one is not conscious play about at their whim. awakening with a gasp, screaming, sobbing, in the night, in the bed of a stranger you thought you knew, but upon whom your eyes gaze now for only the first time

with violation there is for the first time an assertion against belongingness – belonging-to is not responsibility-to but ownedness: engulfment, a form of suicide where one has not simply given over one's will and body to another, but has annihilated the will so that the body is not one's own.

in violation, the first experience of equity, one stakes one's claim, forging the self as the labor of one's own hands. the gathering of forces which, however overpowered, are for the first time real in their desecration. violated, one gathers up the shards of self and tries to make sense.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007 isn't just for conservatives anymore

of course we know that it never really was, but nonetheless, liberals are typically more sly about it. i have lost count of how many times these "liberal" yankees have told me how intolerable it would be for them if they had to live in the socially backwards south, but who don't lose sleep as the supreme court of the state of connecticut repeatedly instructs the city of hartford (*ahem* state capital) to desegregate their schools. not to mention how many connecticut cities drug their feet and openly resisted the idea of a martin luther king jr. holiday. but enough of that little rant...

from two noted liberal cartoonists...

i have to say, when even democratic cartoonists are painting clinton and her supporters as man-hating, it is hard to imagine her winning the overall election. other than the stereotypes of the mis-andrist t.v. viewers (i.e., women who do not conform to societal canon of feminine beauty and are unable to keep/attract a man), one can also note the angry sneer on clinton's face.

Jeff Danziger, 23 July 2007

Meanwhile from someone who is typically one of my favorite political cartoonists (I love the little guy who adds commentary), evidence that China bashing is totally chic at the moment...oh, and a swipe at Confucius while we are at it.

Pat Oliphant, 24 July 2007


Monday, July 23, 2007

remembering (for metz)

"...memory is also of central importance for any theory of history and society as a category of resistance..."
-Johann Baptist Metz, Faith in History and Society (1977)

John William Waterhouse, "Sleep and His Half-Brother, Death" (1874)

and i stood and watched in horror as snow fell upward
and no one cared.

their blood stopped flowing
but they walked on

words stopped meaning
but they continued to talk

history stopped moving
and everyone forgot

a people without memory is capable of the greatest atrocity
even against themselves
without a second thought
because only memory can speak for the dead


Thursday, July 19, 2007

the cola wars come to pan-arabia

while this post is meant to be enjoyable and fun, it is nonetheless important not to forget that the fight for control of the middle east is not only about oil. the primary american export is "culture". by this we usually mean american film and american music, etc., but the flow of american products into the middle east also includes coke and pepsi.

in an earlier post i have already pointed out (see "nancy ajram: life in the circus") the large stake that coca-cola has placed in nancy ajram trying to help the sales of coke in market that is dominated by pepsi. coke has been a large sponsor of her videos and spun the videos directly into commericials. here we see another example. notice the more traditional nancy ajram storyline-style video has been replaced by a sea of red and her name in large letters using the coca-cola font (and indeed in the commericial version it says 'coke' not 'nancy'). the song is no less enjoyable for its use as a marketing tool. sit back and enjoy "oul tany keda" and its accompanying commerical.

Nancy Ajram, "Oul Tani Keda" ["Tell Me That Again"] (2005)

Nancy Ajram, "Oul Tani Keda -- Commercial" (2005)

on the other side, nancy's main competition for queen of arabian pop, elissa (see "elissa: queen of pop"), is the vehicle of choice for pepsi in the middle east. in this well conceived commercial, elissa sings part of a song that had not yet been released at the time the commercial went to air. this both promoted the pepsi product and served as hype for the forthcoming album. this is "arrably", shot as a commericial... enjoy.

Elissa, "Arrably--Commercial" (2004)

pepsi is very aware that part of what they are selling is a piece of american culture, and that part of the appeal to the buyer is this ability to buy a bit of america. in recent commercials elissa has been paired with christina augilera. here the fusion of arabian and american cultural images is a central theme. augilera, while singing in english, belly-dances, while on the other hand a very international and cosmopolitan appearing elissa sings her arabic hit "bastannak". the arabian elissa ultimately ends up with the can of pepsi.

Christina Augilera and Elissa, "Pepsi Commercial" (2006)

this final pepsi commercial is in fact a full blown music video, and its content is probably deserving of a full blog of its own (unfortunately you will have to settle for coming and hearing the conference paper on it instead). the video features american pop stars brittany spears, pink and beyonce, and the undisputed king of arabian pop, amr diab, and is performed entirely in english. despite this though, pepsi is not offering a vision of happy fusion. while in the previous video (filmed much more recently) augilera and elissa were portrayed as on the path toward some manner of cultural convergence, in this video the message seems to be one in which arabia is able to master the pop-culture of americanism and ultimately conquer it. amr diab rules as the caesar, the americans are enslaved and there for his entertainment. the apparent disruption of his power by americanism is really nothing more than an appearance, a momentary abberation. ultimately amr diab reasserts his authority and reveals the situation was within his control all along.

but here one has the capitalist myth that consumption is mastery. and it is no surprise, then, that in order to tell such a myth the setting is not arabian at all but roman. to go down the consumerist path already places one within the myth-history of what we have been here calling americanism (which is only accurate insofar as the united states has dominated capitalism since ww2): one is overtaken by the very roots of western culture; one has already surrendered to the invading power before the war begins. so a commercial that at first glance appears to promote easy mastery of americanism by consuming it, in truth envisions the consummation of the exporting of americanism by subsuming arabia with its mythic field. one can already see this playing out in the ajram video insofar as it completely elides any distinctions between performance, rehearsal and spontaneous moments from "real life". no part of reality falls outside the capitalist reduction. capitalism is not primarily about the occupation of land, but about the occupation of minds and society. prepare to be rocked!

Amr Diab, Brittany Spears, Beyonce and Pink, "We Will Rock You -- Commerical" (2004)


Monday, July 16, 2007

the carnival of the arts

Well I think my interest in art, in various forms, is fairly well attested on this blog, so just for fun I present to you, for your pleasure, The Carnival of the Arts.

Television and Film

In case some of you have forgotten there was this little show called the Sopranos that spent several seasons on HBO and ended last month. I believe I was one of only 3 people in the English speaking world who did not watch the show, but even I heard the controversy that followed the final episode (any show that ends with music from Journey gets my vote. I am child of the 80s). With that in mind, Rickey Henderson presents Rickey's Obligatory Sopranos Post posted at Riding with Rickey. He provides a thoughtful review of the final episode.

Conan Stevens presents Powerkids Movie posted at Conan Stevens Online. Here the author reflects on how he got into the Thai film industry and tells about his role in a "new movie about to be released in Asian Cinema and US DVD".

Interior Design

Sarakastic presents The Modern Master Bedroom posted at Home Decorating Princess. This particular post is simply one example of a number of posts in Sara's blog that deal with interior design and providing what are usually very simple ideas about how to improve the aesthetics of a home. I encourage those do-it-yourselfers out there, who clearly have more energy than I do, to check out her blog.

Mark Cutler presents Voices of Design: Scott Flax posted at Mark Cutler Design, saying, "I hope you like this posting I did of an interview with Scott Flax, an architectural colorist". Culter is himself a well established architect with some pretty high profile work to his credit. His discussion here with Scott Flax on coordination of color with space and function is fascinating. And who knew there was such a thing as a professional colorist?!


So, I am sure that there are many persons other than She waiting for the final installment of Harry Potter to arrive this weekend. In the meantime I will point you towards a couple other reading options.

Aspeth presents A Review of The Professor and the Madman posted at Twelve Years Of Being Annoyed By Chloe Sevigny, calling the novel "Perhaps the best novel I've read this year. I would have easily passed this one by had a friend not wholeheartedly recommended it." The post provides a thorough and thoughtful review.

First of all let me just tell you, there is such a thing as Christian Chick Lit. Now that you have processed that bit of information, I can tell you that Camy Tang is the queen of CCL bloggers. She is on the verge of being a twice published writer herself (Sushi for One, anyone?), but she also has interviews and bookgiveaways from other CCL-ers. There were a lot of choices but I decided to link to her interview with Jenny Jones concerning Jones's debut called In Between.

Painting and Photography

I think we all know this is the area closest to my heart, and I will refer you my own posts on Han-Wu Shen. But there are other people out there painting.

Among those persons is Susan Borgas who presents her own work entitled Water's Path - Willochra Creek posted at Arts & Stuff. She says "My work as an realist artist promotes the Flinders Ranges and I hope that viewers of my work will consider visiting this region. There is nothing like sitting under a gum tree with a cool drink in one hand and a camera or drawing tool in another along with some flies for company. What more can anyone want!"

Henk ter Heide presents Stained Glass Window posted at See me draw. His blog is a collection of numerous sketches and this is his most recent post. He says that it does not have any religious significance, but a stained glass window of a tree with apples fallen around it...maybe its just me but I think I could get a lot of theological mileage out of that.

Ruth Mitchell presents Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art posted at Buy Outside the Box. She brings our attention to a "New American Art Museum being built by the Wal-Mart heiress" and some of the controversy around it. The Crystal Bridges Museum is likely to a necessary stop for those interested in the history of American painting.

If you have never followed the link in my sidebar to Umm Ibrahim's blog, With One Eye, you are not only missing out on a very interesting woman, but a very talented artist and photographer. And I am not the only one who thinks so since her work has been put on show in France recently. Go over and check it out. I provide one example, that accompanies her post entitled Simplicity?

And now for a bit of fun. Kilroy_60 presents The Power In The Eye of the Beholder posted at Fear And Loathing - The Gonzo Papers. Follow the link and let Kilroy bring out your inner-Jackson-Pollock.

Sculpture and Craft

Samir Bharadwaj presents Rediscover The Pure Pleasure Of Paper Crafts And Pop Up Cards posted at Samir walks the viewer through the steps of designing this elaborate little paper sculpture and shares the rather beautiful result of his own work. Enjoy.

Meanwhile, Lori Greenberg provides us with An Introduction to Polymer Clay over at her blog, BeadNerd. Here she introduces us to some rather remarkable jewelry designs and provides further links to the artists.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

concerning the reader

Morteza Katouzian, "Dead End" (1981)

in order to read well, one must be a generous reader. to read with charity is not to forgive all wrongs, or to overlook failings, but instead to actually experience where the failings are: i.e., where the author has genuinely failed to accomplish the task which they undertook and why that task was important. the miserly reader sees only the extent to which the writer did not carry out the task which the reader wished to see accomplished. in this manner the reader locks the book shut in the very act of opening its cover. this is a moral failing.

...of which i have been more-than-once guilty.


Monday, July 9, 2007

communio sanctorum (a meditation on bonaventure's triple way iii,1)

Marc Chagall, "Adam and Eve" (1912)

If we desire Peace, then we must somehow surpass the brokenness of the present. But the path beyond is not an arbitrary one, nor is it chosen in a kind of unrestricted freedom: no decision is ever made solely in the moment. History gave us birth, and it is out of that inheritance that the possibilities for action are given to us. To ignore this is not merely a self-defeating turning against oneself, it is a heretical declaration that one is absolute in their sovereignty. There is no future without recovery of the past. But likewise, History reveals that we never act alone. Not only must we act in partnership with those with whom we journey now. The pursuit of Peace is also undertaken in communion with those who have gone before us, who we must never forget because they too still desire Peace. The struggle now always models itself on those who were faithful in the struggle before.


Thursday, July 5, 2007

3 July 1988

Morteza Katouzian, "Flight 655" (1988)

Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of thy Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in thy will,
and walk in thy ways,
to the glory of thy Name. Amen.

from the Penetential Order of the Latin Rite

now rated for your convenience

Free Online Dating


according to the site that issued the rating, i say 'shit' alot and discuss sexuality and violence in a graphic manner. consider yourself warned.

best wishes,

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

dorothy day: we are un-american; we are catholic

Fritz Eichenberg, "Pax Vobiscum" (1969) [Woodblock Etching]

"What would we advocate? Wholesale disloyalty to Americanism. Wholesale refusal to fight. Wholesale withdrawal of labor (a general strike) from all industries that further the war effort. We would urge a mighty band of Catholic Conscientious Objectors who will refuse induction, who will follow Jesus of Nazareth, Prince of Peace, in the way of non-violence, in love for all mankind!"

-Dorothy Day, from "We Are Un-American; We Are Catholic", The Catholic Worker (1948)