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DoubleVision: two troubles with religions

Sunday, May 19th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — religious violence and sexual abuse scandals from a perspective grounded in comparative religion ]
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Two images from my feed a couple of days ago, similar enough that they make a (visual) DoubleQuote:


The Atlantic, Abolish the Priesthood


WaPo, Sri Lankan government blocks social media and imposes curfew following deadly blasts

**

The first image above comes from an article in the Atlantic about child sexual abuse by members of the Catholic priesthood and accompanying cover-ups by the church hierarchy.

  • The Atlantic, Abolish the Priesthood
  • The abuses are horrific.They are horrific, horrific.

    My grouse here is that articles such as this focus on the Catholic Church, although Billy Graham’s grandson claims the situation is similar if not worse among Protestants; sexual abuse of spiritual authority and cover-ups are also found in so-called “sects” such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and in other religions altogether:

  • Vice, Billy Graham’s Grandson Says Protestants Abuse Kids Just Like Catholics
  • The Atlantic, A Secret Database of Child Abuse
  • Tricycle, a Buddhist magazine, Sex in the Sangha … Again
  • And if that’s not enough — consider this list of non-religiously specific sources of sexual abuse the Feeney Law Firm, LLC encounters in its practice:

  • Feeny Law Firm, Sexual Abuse and Assault Lawsuits
  • **

    The second image above is from a Washington Post piece of April 22nd, about “the aftermath of suicide attacks that killed hundreds of people” in churches and hotels across the island. The coordinated attacks were claimed by ISIS, but appear to have been locally planned and executed.

    Executed: what a word!

    My plea here is simple: that extremists should cease targeting followers of other religions in the names of their own various religions.

    As I’ve noted before, attacks here in the US and abroad have included:

  • The Gurdwara (Sikh temple), Oak Creek, WI, 2012
  • Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, NC, 2015
  • The Tree of Life and New Light synagogues in Pittsburgh, PA, 2018
  • The Al Noor and Linwood Mosques in Christchurch, NZ, 2019
  • and violent extremists can be found claiming affiliation to these religions:

  • Judaism
  • Christianity
  • Islam
  • Hinduism
  • Buddhism
  • **

    Violence in the name of religion — whether personal violence as in sexual abuse or political violence as in the case of terrorism — is both human and deeply abhorrent. Understanding how widespread the human urge to violence in fact is will tend to put our recriminations against any particular religion into a clearer perspective. Religions, too, can benefit greatly from acknowledging, and not hiding, the shameful skeletons in their various closets.

    As David Ronfeldt would say: Onwards!

    More metaphor &c

    Monday, October 22nd, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — continuing the series, with a choice gobbet of Updike ]
    .

    from Meet the Press, 10/21/2018

    **

    I continue to find the close reading of metaphors an invaluable analytic tool, and one that is also of interest to me personally, for writerly, poetic purposes. I’ve expanded my search from its original focus on games — specifically including sports, theater, war games &c as metaphors for politics — to cover something I’ll characterize as fine writing — giving me the ability to note and quote across a wider range of topics and usages.

    My last post in the series ran to 18 comments, each one containing a couple of dozen or so instances of metaphor or fine writing, and I don’t expect my expanded search criteria to expand my actual collection — if anything I hope to cut back in favor of writing other things. But when MSNBC’s Meet the Press splashes a great End Game banner on my screen, as it did today, see above, I still won’t be able to resist.

    **

    On the subject of fine writing, though, how’s this?

    Dorothy Dotto, thirty-eight, happily married for nineteen years, the mother of three, a member of the Methodist Church, the Grange, and the Ladies’ Auxiliary. She lives, and has lived all her life, in the town of Elm Corners, somewhere in the Corn Belt; as a child, she won seven consecutive pins for perfect Sunday school attendance, and she graduated with good grades from a public school where the remarkable truthfulness of George Washington and the durable axioms of Benjamin Franklin were often invoked. Her father, Jesse, who is retired but still alive (bless him), for forty years kept above his desk at the feed mill a sign declaring, “Honesty Is the Best Policy.”

    That’s John Updike, describing “the unimaginably tactful and delicate process whereby the housewife next door was transmogrified into a paid cheat” in what in retrospect looks like a major turning point in the American psyche — the loss of innocence that occurred when it was revealed that many hundreds of Dorothy Dottos had been suborned into a grand cheating system in what’s now known as the 1950s quiz show scandals:

    The American quiz show scandals of the 1950s were a series of revelations that contestants of several popular television quiz shows were secretly given assistance by the show’s producers to arrange the outcome of an ostensibly fair competition. The quiz show scandals were driven by a variety of reasons. Some of those reasons included the drive for financial gain, the willingness of contestants to “play along” with the assistance, and the lack of then-current regulations prohibiting the rigging of game shows.

    Back to Updike:

    Now, as we remember the flavor and ethos of that innocent era, we realize that the contestants, aside from their freakish passion for Hittite history or skeet-shooting statistics, were meant to be us — you and me and the bright boy next door. This was America answering. This was the mental wealth behind the faces you saw in a walk around the block.

    **

    Okay, game shows, in addition to Updike’s undoubtedly fine writing, that’s a game reference. But a loss of American innocence? That’s not nothing. That’s something worth pondering..

    In fact, a loss of innocence is fundamentally a loss of the default assumption of trust — and isn’t it precisely the loss of trust that leads to all those conspiracist theories of a mysterious “They” who run “our” world, Skull and Bones, the Bohemian Club, No Such Agency, whoever — and the ensuing distrust of and between political paetiues, leading us eventually to today’s:

    **

    And how’s that for a delicious paradox? The United States are now Divided as to whether they’re divided or united — with divided in the majority..

    Okay, loss of innocence, let alone loss of virginity, may be strong language to describe the impact of those 1950s quiz show scandals on the American psyche — but something broke, a ratchet slipped, and perhaps we haven’t been quite the same since.

    In any case, I’ll be collecting my usual snippets and gobbets of this and that — often sports, politics, war or strategy related, but also just plain curious or fine stuff — here in the comments section. And oh, btw, I’ve been misspelling gobbet as gobbit for years hereabout: forgive me, it’s spelt (spelled?) with an e, and means a chunk, primarily of meat or writing — no Gandalfian echo intended.

    Ad now, as my friend David Ronfeldt would say, Onwards!

    Metaphors and catchy phrases, cont’d

    Sunday, September 2nd, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — following on from Metaphors, more iv, featuring Oliver Roeder & Chris Cillizza ]
    .

    Trump’s War on the Justice System Threatens to Erode Trust in the Law:

    It is a once-unimaginable scenario: Sometime soon in an American courtroom, a criminal defense lawyer may argue that the prosecution of an MS-13 gang member is a politically motivated “witch hunt” built around a witness who has “flipped” and taken what the lawyer calls a plea deal of dubious legality.

    He will be quoting the president of the United States.

    That is potentially the gravest danger of President Trump’s sustained verbal assault on the country’s justice system, legal experts say. In his attempt at self-defense amid the swirl of legal cases and investigations involving himself, his aides and his associates, Mr. Trump is directly undermining the people and processes that are the foundation of the nation’s administration of justice.

    The result is a president at war with the law.

    at the end of a week that featured criminal conviction for Paul Manafort and a guilty plea by Michael Cohen, President Trump over the weekend took aim at the FBI. The president tweeting out new accusations against Hillary ..

    pick up the ball ..
    this is really a base play..

    Winners and losers from the Arizona and Florida primaries

    The story of the 2018 primaries usually centers on President Trump. And there’s plenty of that narrative in Tuesday’s gubernatorial, Senate and House primaries in Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma: For another week, Trump is in our winner’s column. But liberal Democrats are an even bigger winner, for reasons we’ll get into. Here are the winners and losers from some of the most consequential primaries of the year.

    Trump spars with Andrew Gillum, the surprise Democratic nominee in Florida’s governor’s race

    President Trump and Andrew Gillum, the surprise Democratic winner of Florida’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, exchanged barbs on Wednesday morning, underscoring the role the president is expected to play in a marquee race this fall.

    The life and character of John McCain in his own wordsBy Steve Almasy and Nicole Chavez, CNN

    After he was awarded the National Constitution Center’s annual Liberty Medal in 2017 for his lifetime of sacrifice and service to the nation, he delivered a pointed speech.

    “I’ve had the good fortune to spend 60 years in service to this wondrous land. It has not been perfect service, to be sure, and there were probably times when the country might have benefited from a little less of my help. But I’ve tried to deserve the privilege as best I can, and I’ve been repaid a thousand times over with adventures, with good company, and with the satisfaction of serving something more important than myself, of being a bit player in the extraordinary story of America. And I am so very grateful.”

    whether sen shumer is playing a 3-dimensional chess here ..
    unscrupulous golfing ..
    there may be a lot of balls in the air ..

    The greatest sports achievement in my lifetime?

    Football players seem even more like gladiators when they play in short sleeves in a winter storm, and baseball players who don’t wear batting gloves feel like throwbacks to a more rough and tumble era. What category of admiration should we reserve, then, for someone who ascends a sheer rock face of 3,000 feet using only a pair of climbing shoes and a bag of chalk?

    “He is under an attack like no president has faced,” DeSantis said. “The last thing I want to do is go up there and lob hand grenades at the president.” ..

    Maxine Waters (D-CA) is at again, this time saying she has “taken off the gloves” to fight President Donald Trump ..
    whatever he does himself, he assumes others are.. [katy tur]
    it’s like reading every fortieth page of moby dick .. [check when transcripts are available
    Ohr says Steele told him Russian intel believed they had Trump ‘over a barrel’
    every thread has three other avenues we want to go down ..
    so far they’re batting 1,000, and that’s pretty good ..
    where do you think .. if you had to put it on a hundred yard field .. ?

    Metaphors, more

    Thursday, June 7th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — continuing collecting.. with David Ronfeldt in mind ]
    .

    Let’s start with soem double-barreled good news

    and:

    **

    Okay, Game metaphors:

    Ari Melber, The Beat:

    Donald Trump is circling

    Chris Mathews on Hardball:

    You know, it has an aspect of, you know, Connections to Kevin Bacon, how many degrees of separation — how many people go to the Seychelles? Does Mueller believe it’s a coincidence?

    re the Summit:

    It feels more like a teenage romance, on again, off again

    Ashley Parker, In the Trump administration, the truth comes out after vigorous denials:

    The admission that Trump dictated his son’s statement is the latest example of where on a number of key issues — especially pegged to Mueller’s ongoing Russia probe and Trump’s legal woes — the White House and the president’s lawyers have offered contradicting stories and whipsaw about-faces, often revealing the truth only weeks later, when confronted with their inconsistencies.

    Katie, The Lid: a lot of post-game analysis ..
    it’s like a marathon, it’s a spring ..
    .
    Giuliani: pardoning himself woudld be unthinkable ..Trump: I have the absolute right to pardon myself ..
    Nemo iudex in causa sua ..
    or in the words of James Madison often found don our masthead:

    No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause, because his interest would certainly bias his judgment, and, not improbably, corrupt his integrity.

    Prettt much the definitive example of why the ouroboros form is one we should be on the alert for — everybody sees this one.
    .
    Macron Is French for Obama — an interesting way to describe a complex equivalence..
    .
    lawyers: we can talk out of both sides of our mouths ..
    trump: i cn kill this (investigation) ant time, this is my game..
    .
    I think they went 0 for 6

    Is he playing checkers, I think he’s playing chess..

    Your family (?) had a pitch- shot — something that appeals to all bases — Sen Flake

    [ attorneys on opposing sides being chummy ]:

    .. when the bell goes off and they return to their corners ..

    Ari, meta-metaphors:

    There’s a lot of metaphors in Rap and Law.

    And sheer fun:

    I don’t know quite what form of ouroboros this is, from WaPo’s No, Canada didn’t burn down the White House, but there’s something more troubling about Trump’s claim — but I semse one there, dom’t you?

    In fact, the burning of the White House may be the worst possible example to justify a trade dispute — one of the reasons the White House burned was because of a trade dispute.

    And here’s an ourosbouros, close kin to the serpent-bites-tail kind, brought to my attention by Karlie “New and Improved” Ann (many thanks):

    Orient yourself: The map is an Ourosbouros

    Here’s what I take to be the ouroboric part:

    But what does it mean for a machine to draw and follow its own map of the world? Would the result be, eventually, a map that is impervious to inaccuracies and bias? Or is that pure “technochauvinism”? After all, the computer still has to match its map to the world, similar to the way that humans do. The artificial intelligence that “learns” the map could still be confused by minor changes, like a sparkly sticker on a stop sign. That could easily cause an accident or pedestrian injury—more easily, in that instance, than it would with a human driver.

    In that case, what’s the purpose of a map that reads itself? And what potential subjectivities could still work their way in?

    Here’s a military and linguisttic one. From Anger Flares Up as Group of 7 Heads to Quebec:

    as he engaged in a contentious war of words over trade

    Soccer and the World Cup:

    From How Russian Meddling Gave Us This Year’s World Cup:

    In the spring of 2010, Christopher Steele, a former British spy with a shock of graying hair and a quiet, understated manner, received some alarming news: Vladimir Putin, a lifelong ice hockey fan, had taken a sudden interest in soccer.

    Putin, then serving a four-year term as prime minister, saw hosting the World Cup as a vital way to project his country’s power, and his own, around the world.

    Few, if any, will wonder whether Russia can actually take home the glittering trophy when the tournament ends on July 15. The truth is that it doesn’t really matter what happens on the field.

    Russia already won.

    it’s really a self-goal .. [if US gets out of G7]
    [Stavridis] there are no winners in a trade war ..
    i’ll bet my retirement ..

    Something to the effect that Trump walked into a room where people were playing poker and wanted to play ?half-and-half, tthrew all the cards up in the air ..
    .
    Nicolle Wallace:

    What do you think of that as the way to ?make a rodeo .. foreign policy?

    Donald Trump, conclusion of his press conference after Singapore Summit:

    Congratulations, everybody. This is, to me, an important event in world history and to be really true to myself, I have to add I want to get it completed. Mike and our team has to get to work and get it completed because otherwise we have done a good job. If you don’t get the ball over the goal line, it doesn’t mean enough.

    Thank you. Congratulations to everybody in the room. Thank you very much. I appreciate it. Thank you.

    oh, and btw:

    We will stop the war games which will save us a tremendous amount of money. Unless and until we see the future negotiations is not going along like it should. We will be saving a tremendous amount of money. Plus. It is very provocative.

    Sports analogy:

    The Goal That Sealed Russia’s Latest Victory on the World Stage

    A goal in the forty-third minute of the match, from Russia’s Denis Cheryshev, was a real and undeniable beauty, no matter how lacklustre the opposition.Video Courtesy Fox
    Watching the first game of the World Cup, an entirely lopsided affair between Russia and Saudi Arabia, burdened with the knowledge that the U.S. national team had not qualified for the tournament, I couldn’t help thinking that this was a sports-world reiteration of our country’s broader failures on the international stage.

    Danve metaphor, a striking one from a striking article:

    Artificial concern for people in pain won’t stop suicide. Radical empathy might.

    We perform empathy like a child learning to box-step for a school dance, one-two-three, one-two-three. It’s a performance we don’t really care about.

    War, metaphor?

    Mr. Trump goes to war [Korea, Gogre Will]
    ‘Prepared for war’: As Mueller moves to finalize obstruction report, Trump’s allies ready for political battle

    Bannon:

    Bannon: ‘I couldn’t be prouder’ of Trump

    “Donald Trump is accomplishing everything he committed to the American people on the campaign that I stepped in as CEO. I couldn’t be prouder of the guy,” Bannon said. “All he has to do is continue to hit those marks on that whiteboard and he’s going to run the tables.”

    **

    I am adding new materials as I find them, thus saving you from an endless stream of comment notifications.

    Return to form

    Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — on the East Coast at least, this can pass for a Thanksgiving greeting ]
    .

    I’ve been away sick for a while, with no notes on form, paradox, quincunx etc — but on my return, couldn’t resist this medieval ouroborus of a cat, courtesy Emily Stein

    **

    On the games politics gets compared with, we’ve seen various dimensions of chess, go, and also multi-game mixes such as Alasdair MacIntyre‘s assessment that we’re in a game where “moving one’s knight to QB3 may always be replied to by a lob over the net” — or CalvinBall.

    At the opposite end of complexity is simplicity, and there’s no simplicity to compare with PacMan, surely. and as WaPo noted a short while back:

    One Republican operative in frequent contact with the White House described Mueller’s team “working through the staff like Pac-Man.”

    That’s pretty cool — but is it as cool as Trump’s own use of Hillary-PacMan from a while ago:

    — and note that Trump also used PokemonGO in his campaign.

    **

    And myself? I’m hoping to return to form, too, slowly. It’s great to have a computer after a year without.

    I expect David Ronfeldt has noted the increasing usw of “tribal om MSNBC and elsewhere, though I’ve mainly seen it on TV without time to rewind & verify, take notes, etc. It has seemed quite remarkable to me, and I wonder whether Jim Gant or David have seen the same.

    Greetings, all, Happy Thanksgiving — let’s talk, let’s stir the pot!


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