Saturday, November 13, 2004

Comet in Moominland never too soon to start in on the Moomin books again!! (thanks Chris for the painting link) Posted by Hello

Jonathan Franzen on the oddly underrated Alice Munro Posted by Hello

Friday, November 12, 2004

this vivid contemporary account of the 1913 Nanaimo coal strike (and more) in the Socialist History Project--

"The manner in which the accused miners were brought to and from the courthouse is aptly illustrated by the following excerpt from the News-Advertiser:

They were brought up in a body, under the escort of fifty special police, and a guard of soldiers with fixed bayonets.

Martial law had not been proclaimed, yet Russia was never more militarized than was Vancouver Island. Soldiers armed with rifles and bayonets searched the trains, looked under all the seats, (presumably for machine guns) and subjected all passengers to an inquisition as to their business, etc. All persons travelling to Nanaimo by boat, had to pass an examination at the hand of special police, reinforced by a file of soldiers. It was impossible to send telephone or telegraph messages out of the city without the military knowing the text of such messages. The following excerpt explains the origin of some of the stories which afterwards appeared in the press:

Special to the News-Advertiser.

Nanaimo, Aug. 20.—Indications point to the possibility of the extension of the power of the military authorities here over the telegraph and telephone lines leading out of Nanaimo and the strike-affected district..

Already the telephone headquarters here are under guard, and all messages, especially long distance ones, are overheard by a military representative.

The telegraph lines to a certain extent are supervised, military men being stationed at the railway station here to overlook all messages received or sent.

Now, so the rumor emanating from the military headquarters indicates, the next step will be the exercising of some measure of control over the messages sent out by the newspaper representatives.

Some members of the newspaper fraternity have had the suggestion made to them that they should first submit their press copy to headquarters, where it could be looked over before being sent.

In all, 179 miners were arrested and thrown into prison where they were held, bail being refused."
Liberal Groupthink

"The dangers of aligning liberalism with higher thought are obvious. When a Duke University philosophy professor implied last February that conservatives tend toward stupidity, he confirmed the public opinion of academics as a self-regarding elite -- regardless of whether or not he was joking, as he later said that he was. When laymen scan course syllabi or search the shelves of college bookstores and find only a few volumes of traditionalist argument amid the thickets of leftist critique, they wonder whether students ever enjoy a fruitful encounter with conservative thought. When a conference panel is convened or a collection is published on a controversial subject, and all the participants and contributors stand on one side of the issue, the tendentiousness is striking to everyone except those involved. The False Consensus does its work, but has an opposite effect. Instead of uniting academics with a broader public, it isolates them as a ritualized club."

happy birthday Jo Stafford--warmest and most lucid of singers Posted by Hello
Random Frog Generator

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Ched Myers' powerfully argued Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark's Story of Jesus

[20] And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.
[21] And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.
[22] And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.
[23] And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan?
[24] And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
[25] And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
[26] And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.
[27] No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.
liberation theologian and activist Ched Myers reads Mel Gibson through the Gospel of Mark--

"Mark's social criticism, though necessarily historically specific, is addressed to every culture and political formation. To limit it to late Second-Temple Judaism is not only to miss his point badly; it is to perpetuate the murderous historical legacy of misunderstanding and oppression that has too often characterized the attitude of gentile Christians (and pseudo-Christians) toward the Jewish people. The opponents of Mark's Jesus were, to use apocalyptic semantics, "powers," a rubric that embraces not only members of the Roman and Judean ruling classes then, but also those in North American now."

I will not cease from mental fight
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.
 Posted by Hello

Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour:
England hath need of thee: she is a fen
Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen,
Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,
Have forfeited their ancient English dower
Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;
Oh! raise us up, return to us again;
And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power.
Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart:
Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea:
Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free,
So didst thou travel on life's common way,
In cheerful godliness; and yet the heart
The lowliest duties on herself did lay.

-- William Wordsworth
 Posted by Hello
Cruel and Unusual--the end of the 8th amendment--

"The ghost of slavery is built into our legal language and holds our prison system in its grip. To the extent that slaves were allowed personalities before the law, they were regarded chiefly—almost solely—as potential criminals. During the second session of the 39th Congress (December 12, 1866-January 8, 1867) debates raged on the meaning of the exemption in the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. It abolished slavery “except as punishment of crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” The parenthetical expression guaranteed enclosure, a bracketing of servitude that revived slavery under cover of removing it. Those who were once slaves were now criminals, and forced labor in the form of the convict lease system ensured continued degradation. As Charles Sumner warned, the locale for enslavement would move from the auction block to the courts of the United States. "

Monday, November 08, 2004

Helen Levitt's graffitti photos from the 30's Posted by Hello

"Spirit of the Beehive" director Victor Erice On the Uncertain Nature of Cinema

"A ghost always carries with it a specific and factual truth: the death or disappearance of someone or something. In the history of cinema, beyond its episodic deaths--real or symbolic: the death of classical cinema, Modernity - there exists a primordial mourning, practically forgotten nowadays: the mourning and sorrow caused by the disappearance of silent cinema in the moment of its maximum splendour, sacrificed for the sake of the spoken word. A premature death, without a doubt; a death of which Manoel de Oliveira is the only active filmmaker who can offer an embodied and heartfelt testimony, a death felt by him as an essential loss. A loss, above all, of a certain specificity of a cinema elaborated under the protection of montage theories, wherein the image worked in favour of an expression that substituted the word." Posted by Hello
Speegle--talking Google!

rounding up the numerous centennial A. J. Liebling re-issues--

"There are three kinds of writers of news in our generation. In inverse order of worldly consideration, they are:

1. The reporter, who writes what he sees.

2. The interpretive reporter, who writes what he sees and what he construes to be its meaning.

3. The expert, who writes what he construes to be the meaning of what he hasn't seen.

All is manifest to him, since his powers are not limited by his powers of observation. Logistics, to borrow a word from the military species of the genus, favor him, since it is possible to not see many things at the same time. For example, a correspondent cannot cover a front and the Pentagon simultaneously. An expert can, and from an office in New York, at that."  Posted by Hello

Anodyne on Tim Lee and Kevin Schmidt

"Kevin Schmidt's "Fog", at Presentation House Gallery, is a two-piece installation. Facing you in the darkened gallery is an eight foot by eight foot slide projection of a West Coast forest interior at night. Huge gnarled trees are covered by beards of pale green moss and lichen. Evergreen boughs crisscross the image plane. Sword ferns' sharp points protrude from an opaque white mist that swirls across the foreground. The projected image's enormous size and crystalline clarity makes it seem like a doorway to the distant river valley where the photograph was taken. You feel that if you stepped forward, you would find your feet scuffling through the ferns, and kicking up clouds of mist."

("Kevin Schmidt's "Fog" is on display at North Vancouver's Presentation House Gallery from 6 November through 19 December 2004. Tim Lee's exhibition, "The Askance View", is on display at Vancouver's Tracey Lawrence Gallery from 28 October to 27 November 2004.) Posted by Hello