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Where did Britain go, RAND? Was it Brexit?

Monday, October 17th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — genuinely puzzled ]
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RAND has a terrific puzzle map for the cover of its Election 2016: The International Issues essay, but..

tablet-dq-rand-map

.. where did Britain go?

I don’t see Sweden either, so it can’t just be Brexit, can it? Not to mention chunks of Canada..

Sunday surprise the third & last — BlakeQuake

Monday, July 4th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — Blake, Britain, and Blake again — among the angels ]
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The irrepressible William Blake can’t keep himself from coloring outside the words:

Milton a Poem Huntington Library

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Okay, here’s the poem as poem — a very curious poem celebrating “arrows of desire” to have made its way into the hymnary of England, its royalty, and the Proms:

And did those feet in ancient time.
Walk upon Englands mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!

And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In Englands green & pleasant Land

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I posted the patriotic hymn-version of Blake’s Jerusalem earlier today in It’s not one pole of polarization that’s the problem, as part of a comment on Brexit, very very British.

Happily the United States — whose birthday is tomorrow — didn’t exactly lose ye olde English tradition, as is readily apparent in this rendition — this one by the West Point Cadet Glee Club:

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Oops, but England, my England — see what has become of it!

Like every generation since Ahab begat Behab right in the beginning, I fear for our young, even those now middle-aged, I fear for their young.. I fear for the future so fast spiraling out of our past.

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Blake himself had a high esteem of his work and purpose. He wrote:

I am more famed in Heaven for my works than I could well conceive. In my Brain are studies & Chambers filled with books & pictures of old, which I wrote & painted in ages of Eternity before my mortal life; & those works are the delight & Study of Archangels.

And he could paint the archangels’ likenesses by memory, too, with angelic felicity:

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A tip-of-the-hat here to David Auerbach.

And a shout-out to Michael Horovitz, who published my first poems in book form in his richly Blake-influenced 1969 Penguin anthology, Children of Albion.

It’s not one pole of polarization that’s the problem

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — polarization itself has a dehumanizing effect, eg Brexit — follow the music! ]
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I can sympathize with Matt Griff‘s frustration at the Brexit vote —

— however, a polarization of youth against the elderly is hardly an improvement. There’s something intangible the Leavers are loving, and perhaps Blake‘s Jerusalem, sung at the wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William, captures that love without the hateful rhetoric that has accompanied Farrage‘s side of the exit campaign:

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Speaking of which, I’m no great admirer of Bill Maher, who is too snide to be considered much of a wit in my book — but this little jewel of an aphorism may be the best haiku-like summation of Remainer’s regret I’ve seen.

Civilization requires civility — and polarization seems to encourage incivility on both sides of many, many issues. Sorry, folks.

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My friend Michael Robinson posted this elegaic comment the other day:

Flabbergasted | “The fearmongering and outright lies of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Nigel Farage, The Sun and the Daily Mail have won. The UK, Europe, the west and the world are damaged. The UK is diminished and seems likely soon to be divided. Europe has lost its second-biggest and most outward-looking power. The hinge between the EU and the English-speaking powers has been snapped. This is probably the most disastrous single event in British history since the second world war. …

The UK’s decision to join the EU was taken for sound reasons. Its decision to leave was not. It is a choice to turn its back on the great effort to heal Europe’s historical divisions. This is, for me, among the saddest of hours. ” (Martin Wolf FT)

Follow the music.

Sunday surprise the first — neat tweets from KarlreMarks

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — Brexit, graphical thinking, serpents — there’s never a dull moment with Karl Sharro on Twitter! ]
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Karl Sharro is reMarkable and indeed reTweetable:

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An hour or so before I saw that tweet from Sharro, I’d tweeted a quote from Suzanne Langer:

I was quoting Langer’s Philosophy in a New Key — hat-tip: Steven H. Cullinane:

Visual forms— lines, colors, proportions, etc.— are just as capable of articulation, i.e. of complex combination, as words. But the laws that govern this sort of articulation are altogether different from the laws of syntax that govern language. The most radical difference is that visual forms are not discursive. They do not present their constituents successively, but simultaneously, so the relations determining a visual structure are grasped in one act of vision.”

I think that’s generally right, and goes some way to explaining why “reading” a HipBone Game is cognitively different, even when the game is played entirely in verbal moves, from an equivalent reading of the same “move” tests in sequence.

I noted Sharro’s visual example — worth clicking all the way through to see it full scale — because although it’s a visual representation of a cluster of texts, it follows a timeline from left to right, and is thus simultaneously sequential and synchronic. A neat trick.

BTW, Sharro is celebrated for an earlier diagram I’ve posted here — with glee, and with his amazing purely textual equivalent!

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OK so now my focal length is just right for KarlreMarks Twitter feed, and I find this beauty — also about Brexit — too:

What’s so neat here? Well, it appears to be a paradox of self-reference — ourobouros, a serpent biting its own tail if you like — and it’s very nicely done. The “large numbers of people” gathered in London, of course, aren’t the “large numbers of people” they say shouldn’t be heard, and if Sharro had tweeted —

Large numbers of people gather in London to demand that large numbers of other people shouldn’t be heard”

— the paradox would have been gone, the serpent biting its own tail morphed into a serpent biting another serpent — a far less interesting spectacle.

Or would it? At the level of particular crowds, yes, the paradox would vanish, one crowd biting another, but at the level of implied principle, a crowd voicing the denial of the principle that the voices of crowds deserve a hearing would still be self-refuting in just the way Sharro plays on.

So the paradox would be like Schrodinger’s cat, dead while alive — or even better, the Cheshire Cat, niow here now gone, perhaps?

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Life, she is rich in paradox.

Washington wording..

Friday, July 1st, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — a DoubleQuote catches some WaPo weaseling with words ]
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This is a day or two late, but I’ve been sick, so here you go:

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It was David Auerbach who pointed out via Twitter that the Washington Post had changed its headline from an unseemly to a more seemly version:

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DoubleQuote! — in fact, DoubleTweet! since WaPo still has its original tweet announcing its Wonkblog article, and also a revised version:

and:

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So what?

Somehow, Washington the Post and We the People are not coterminous, although together they make for a nice alliteration. Government of the people, by the people, for the people is less convincing when some things just shouldn’t be decided by the people, ne?

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I dunno. Because then again, there’s Andrew Sullivan, Democracies End When They Are Too Democratic, and Roslyn Fuller‘s response, America Needs More Democracy, Not Less.

Forget Plato for a moment — what would Socrates say?


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