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It’s snowing metaphoric chyrons 6

Tuesday, February 19th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — brewing, churning, fighting, lashing out, crush, slam, push back, skewer, walk away, road warrior, hit job, full court press, cage match, power grab, bombshell, wow ]
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It’s almost a chyron blizzard today, after the calm weekend!

A Mad Max film ref, perhaps?

— and the ideal Full Court Press example — I’ve had quotes before, but never a chyron. Excellent!@

Fast tracking — is that a spooorts term? Not sure:

A shutdown fight? Okay:

Best mano a mano.. definitely a trove!

IO think I had an explosive interview chyron recently — here’s another, just in case:

And I’ve been tracking arcs, moral and otherwise — trajectories belong in that collection:


**

New batch:

pushback — nothing much:

power grab — better:

skewers — excellent

sparring:

hmm: — move along:

lashes out:

slams as treasonous — that’s quite a hit ~

**

Time for a break:

Judge Jackson and those cross-hairs

**

Okay, how about some quotes — not many, this has been chyron season with a vengeance — but a few:

Robert Costa: Through the churning political waters of the Robert Mueller investigation and everything else that could come ..
Hardball, we Biden: walk up to the starting gate, and then walk away .. ?
One thought that comes to mind, Ben, is the bullet that was dodged in Sessions having to recuse himself early on, given the account McCabe gives of Sessions behind the scenes ..
it was actually the general counsel of the FBI who said That’s a bridge too far, we’re not there yet ..

**

Back for some headers and a tweet:

hm, hit job:

cage-match is a pretty good one..

and this one goes to our continuing liminal / borders collection:

McCabe and Melber, bright lines and fuzzy borders

Friday, February 15th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — exploring the notion that liminality is the strangeness of borders ]
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Gadi Schwartz follows the border wall in the dunes where Trump’s prototypes have already failed the test

**

The topic area this post will explorenis that of liminality — one of the more helpful concepts anthropology provides us with — and borders — of considerable interest in terms of our southern border at this time, and closely related to the concept of liminality.

In case you’re not familiar with liminality, my post Liminality II: the serious part, offers our best introduction to the concept. Trying to put it in brief: liminality is the strangeness of borders.

**

McCabe’s lines:

Let’s start with Andrew McCabe and his forthcoming book The Threat, as excerpted in The Atlantic under the title Every Day Is a New Low in Trump’s White House.

I’m starting here because McCabe mentions various types of lines — :

McCabe writes that the President calls him — “It’s Don Trump calling” — on a phone line, unclassified, insecure as it turns out — but although that’s a line connecting two places and two people, it’s not the kind of line I’m interested in.

He writes of a finish line, which he felt he’d crossed as he left the Capitol after briefing the Gang of Eight with Rod Rosenstein — in a secure SCIF — and that’s closer to my interest, with a quasi-geographical border-line, between the Capitol itself and the Capitol steps — as well as its mental component, a temporal border if you will, the completion of a significant task.

He writes about “drawing an indelible line around the cases we had opened” during that brief, and the phrase “indelible line” has a definite, even definitive quality to it that’s significantly closer to my interest.

And then he writes about the moral lines, the ones that really interest me because they’re so clear they’re called bright:

The president has stepped over bright ethical and moral lines wherever he has encountered them. Every day brings a new low, with the president exposing himself as a deliberate liar who will say whatever he pleases to get whatever he wants.

There’s no mistaking lines of that sort, they are real moral borders: light is on one side, wrong on the other

**

Bright lines and grey areas:

There are, of course, what are known as grey areas, where the moral lines are not so bright.. and here’s where we can turn to Ari Melber and his special, Live at the Border, on MSNBC yesterday, which deals with a physical, geographical border-line that’s bright and definite — cannot be crossed — in some places, and far less distinct — an irritant in daily life, no more — in others.

Melber’s Border:

Some comments made by journos and interviewees in Melber‘s documentary stood out for me because they touched on this liminal nature of borders. It’s one thing to see lines on a map, and quite another to visit the varied landscapes and sociologies across two thousand miles of river, mountains, cities, desert..

We keep talking about this border like it’s one thing, like its one place, like it’s a national crisis..

The US southern border with Mexico is two thousand miles from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico: desert, mountains, farmland, cities, concrete, scrub grass, farmland, and a whole lot of sand, and one long river ..

Texas:

  • The debate over the border and a wall may seem loike politics in Washington DC, but here it’s a way of life ..

  • Here the landscape takes over ..

  • The natural barrier here makes it almost impossible to cross ..
  • New Mexico:

  • The southern border of New Mexico is one of the most [unintelligible] parts of the country ..

  • t stretches across roughly two hundred miles of rugged terrain and barren desert, making it hard to know where the US ends and Mexico begins ..

  • e city of Sunland Park is actually at the point where both the state of New Mexico and the state of Texas meet, but also with the state of Chihuahua which is in Mexico.

  • It’s one region with one culture here, because, you know, I have families that live here in Sunland Park during the week, and on the weekend they go back home to visit their mom, their parents, their aunts, in Mexico ..
  • Arizona:

  • .. the interconnectedness of both sides ..

  • he reality is, the people who live in El Paso are the people who live in Juarez, they’re the same people, a hundred thousand people commute back and forth every day to go to work, to go to school..

  • In the State of Arizona it has 353 miles of border .. so long and varied the stories there are as varied as the terrain

  • This administration is using the desert to kill people and they’re dying from lack of water ..

  • This is Nogales, Arizona, but that’s Nogales, Mexico ..

  • .. it’s the rhetoric behind the border ..
  • California:

  • A massive sea of sand dunes spans the desert ..

  • It would be really hard to build a full-blown wall here, because the sands are constantly shifting throughout the year, but a floating fence, that is a different story ..
  • The issue:

    The wall is not the issue. And the border, this very real stretch of land with people, and families, and businesses, and churches, on both sides of the line, is not the issue. The issue is what this country as a whole looks like, and who gets to call it theirs — which is why the wall will never be built, and always be needed, why the border will never actually be secured but always need to be secured.

    The border is not what we need to secure; what we want is for people to be secure; we want people to feel secure. And that, that’s heart [hard?], and getting there and all that it would mean is something that no amount fencing is ever going to provide..

    **

    Further readings:

    Here are some of the other Zenpundit posts on liminality and borders:

  • Of border crossings, and the pilgrimage to Arbaeen in Karbala
  • Violence at three borders, naturally it’s a pattern
  • Borders, limina and unity
  • Borders as metaphors and membranes
  • Umpires, Brexit, and the State of the Union

    Thursday, January 31st, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — the UK looks to be teetering over the White Cliffs of Dover, with 22 miles of channel separating them from the rest of Europe — and a hard border with Éire ]
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    There are few more tumultuous games on earth than the British House of Commons, with its two sides lobbying and lobbing insults at one another, while the no-side-works-for-me cross-benchers face the no-side-I’ve-retired-from-the-fray Speaker across the length of the chamber, no doubt relishing the spectacle but, in the Speaker‘s case, regulating it with roars of “Order, order!!!”

    And fray it is, glorious in its freedom, so wild as to demand frequent pruning — the Speaker, in the New Yorker‘s words, “presides over whatever fare — technical, listless, boorish, crazed — is unfolding in the chamber at a given moment. The House may be full with paper-waving cries of “Foul!” “Fiend!” Recant!” or even these days, I suppose, “Repent” — we do live, after all, in a remorselessly secular age..

    **

    But then..

    Pattern recognition: there seems to be a pattern of Speakers disinviting Donald Trump.

    **

    Sources:

  • NYorker, Is the Speaker of the House of Commons Trying to Stop Brexit?
  • WaPo, Sorry, judges, we umpires do more than call balls
  • WHOtv, Speaker Pelosi Tells President Trump State of the Union Won’t Happen
  • Dates and Times:

  • te [re-invited] State of the Union is scheduled for 6.00pm Pacific, Tuesday, February 5
  • the Superbowl is 3.30pm Eastern, Sunday, February 3rd
  • Brexit will occur in un-negotiated form if nothing stops it, at 11pm GMT, Friday, March 29.

  • One way or another, fun times ahead..
  • Borders as metaphors and membranes

    Monday, January 14th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — i continue in the opinion that limina, thresholds borders, have an archetypal importance that transcends and is embodied in individual cases ]
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    **

    With the Wall the dominating issue of the current US government shutdown, tracking the penumbra of borders is all the more important: things look very different when you squint at them.

    **

    Previous posts in this topic area:

  • Zenpundit, Liminality II: the serious part
  • Zenpundit, The Korean border / no border dance
  • Zenpundit, Borders, limina and unity
  • **

    Alexis Madrigal, A Border Is Not a Wall:

    Borders are an invention, and not even an especially old one. Predated by the printing press by a good 200 years, borders are constantly under revision. Even the zone of a border itself, the Supreme Court has held, extends far beyond the technical outline of a nation. Imagine a border as the human-made thing that it is, and it’s no longer surprising that it takes a multitude of forms: a line on a map, a fence, a bundle of legal agreements, a set of sensors, a room in an airport, a metaphor.

    As Elia Zureik and Mark B. Salter explain in a book on policing, a controlled border creates the notion that domestic space is safe. Protecting “the border” safeguards the home, the family, and a way of life. This idea of safety is so potent that it has shut down the United States government.

    But the border itself—the line on a map, or the gate at a crossing—isn’t what’s at issue; it’s the idea of the border, a membrane that defines a nation while maximizing its market power.

    **
    _
    Humanitarian concerns:

    Dr John Sullivan‘s paper, Determining Reasonable and Proportional Use of Tear Gas offers a number of provocative insights, including the prohibition on the use of tear gases (CN> CS< CR), pepper spray (OC, capsicum), and sleeping gas on battlefields -- provocative since we normally think of battlefields as "worse" than peacetime situations, and thus that what's prohibited in wartime should be so a fortiori in times poof peace..

    Here’s the border-specific instance / comment that caught my eye:

    In the border control setting, the recent use of tear gas by CBP agents against migrants seeking asylum at the San Ysidro port of entry has been criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), among others. The cross-border issues are also controversial and Mexico has demanded an investigation into the use of nonlethal weapons in the Tijuana incident.

    **

    In another post I hope will follow quickly on the heels of this one, I quote MSNBC host Bryan WIlliams telling Jon Meacham:

    if you’re going to clear those better angels of yours fo takeoff, remember the air traffic controllers are working without salaries..

    That’s an interesting juxtaposition if you think about it: angels and air traffic controllers f unction in two different above-earth atmospheres — heaven and sky, respectively — which used to be one at a time when myth and history were one, astrology and astronomy, alchemy and chemistry.

    Might we say there’s now a border between heaven and sky? If so, that next post can be considered an entry in this series, too.

    **

    Addendum, 1/15/2019:

    An excellent set of photos under that title educates us via our visual sensibility on the history and variety of walls:

    The current debate in the United States about building up and reinforcing the border wall with Mexico may have distinctly American roots, but the problems, and the controversial solutions, are global. Growing numbers of immigrants, terrorist activity, continued drug trafficking, and protracted wars have sparked the construction of temporary and permanent border barriers in many regions worldwide.

    Recommended!

    **

    Additional addendum:

    Ha, yes!

    From exceeding dark to joyous light

    Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — via Strange Fruit and Jonestown, deviously wandering, to Merton and thence O Happy Day ]

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    Let’s start with the exceeding dark, brilliantly brought to us by Billie Holiday:

    **

    I got there via the phrase “strange fruit” — which cropped up without any overt reference to the song in an account of the aftermath of the Jonestown mass-suicide / murder in Guyana — Gaiutra Bahadur‘s The Jonestown We Don’t Know in the NYRB.

    A sapling had lifted a child’s patent leather shoe off the ground like “strange fruit that some rare and exotic plant had produced.”

    As I tweeted on reading this, “shades of Southern trees bear strange fruit / Blood on the leaves and blood at the root” — Ms. Bahadur responded, “I also thought of this song when I read those lines” to which I replied, “I’m betting Jan Carew. was conscious of it, too.” — Jim Carew being one of Ms. Bahadur‘s sources and the grandson of the Carib chief who had observed Jonestown from its inception to its post-destruction, albeit invisible to the participants from the fringes of the forest surrounding Jim Jones‘ settlement.. “I agree, he probably was” Ms Bahadur commented in closing out our little Twitter ping-pong.

    Ms. Bahadur is a vivid raconteur.

    Here’s more on the Carib chief, his grandson Carew, and Jonestown from her marvelous piece and those forest fringes:

    Jonestown was built in the Kaituma region, heartland of the Caribs, who had dispersed to various islands from their historical homeland in Guyana over centuries. Named after the river running through it, Kaituma means Land of the Everlasting Dreamers..

    With candle flies in bottles to light the way, I walked amongst their dead. They’d died in circles, like worshippers around invisible altars

    the old man recounted singing Carib death-songs among the suicide victims. The elder explained that he was calling on the homeless spirits of the Americans to reconcile with the ancestral Carib dead, because they had never asked for permission to share the land

    and:

    Carew reflected that if anyone understood mass suicides, it was the Caribs, whose mythology marks sites across the Caribbean islands where they jumped from cliffs to their deaths rather than accept slavery at the hands of European colonizers..

    I hope you can appreciate with me the poetry to be seen in these quotes.. dark though the Jonestown tragedy indeed was..

    **

    Here’s how I was taking this: it seemed like another glimpse, from another angle, of the rich stew of religions bleeding into everything and blossoming anew where the Americas meet, that I’d mentioned in a tweet the day before — a tweet I was, let me admit, just a wee bit proud of:

    For the record, far & away most fascinating, explosive area of religious studies these days is the cross-border Mexico-USian folk-syncretic part-narco-theological terrain, Santa Muerte, Templarios cartel &c, studied by Andrew Chesnut, Kate Kingsbury, Robert Bunker and David Metcalfe, with more doctorates between them than I can count.

    and here’s my follow-up:

    Life lives at the intersection of cultural anthropology, comparative religion & depth psychology — not studied as three separate fields, but as one breathing whole, since the drivers of human actions found at that hermetic crossroads are among the most radical, powerful for change

    These have been a rich couple of days for my stumbling onto materials of this sort.

    **

    Here are some more mythico-anthro-religious quotes of keen interest — two concerning the Northern Lights:

    In ancient China and Europe, the auroras were dragons and serpents, flitting around in the night. In Scandinavian folklore, they were the burning archway that allowed gods to move between heaven and Earth.

    and:

    According to Sami mythology, spirits are present in everything, from rocks and trees, foxes and reindeer, and the northern lights in the sky.

    Those quotes are from what’s ostensibly an Atlantic “science” article, An Ancient Tradition Unfolds in New York, subtitled “The recent light show over the city tapped into a deep vein in human culture”. The city, here, is New York. Is it always?

    Neil Kent, The Sámi Peoples of the NorthA Social and Cultural History.

    Next up, from another source:

    their camouflage is so perfectly tuned that they appear ethereal, as though made from storm clouds

    Who they? Rangers? SEALs? Storm clouds themselves? the Fay? Angels? –Who knows? I’ll give you a hint — Peter Matthiessen. Beautiful, no? who or whatever they are..

    And then there’s Thomas Merton, Trappist monk, priest, hermit, writer, world traveler, on his final journey from Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky to visit his Buddhist monastic equivalents in Thailand…

    I dreamed I was, temporarily, back at Gethsemani. I was dressed in a Buddhist monk’s habit

    Merton’s, i suppose, was one of my poet transmissions, delivered by letter. I was just two days into 21 at the time., more than a half century ago.

    **

    We’re getting lighter, time to close these files and give you the final video.

    Jonestown was gruesome with its strange fruit, lynchings, lynchings and lynchings likewise. It is, I surmise, the depth of our griefs and wounds that allows in us an equal height of joy — as though our griefs hollow us, and thus we can be filled with joy..

    Within the profundity of Billie Holiday mourning, then, let us find the possibility Ray Charles embodies in his song, O Happy Day:


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