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Yet another useful use for DoubleTweets

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — in hindsight it looks like what — foresight? prediction? prophecy? predestination? ]
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Use-case: confirming that intel was available ahead of time.

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It should be noted, though, that the intel may have been scatter-shot, from a source of questionable reliability, lacking in precision as to date & place, methodology, etc.

Arguably this is too little, too late.

Paris, Charb quotes Zapata or Sartre — or Hobbes?

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — chasing a wild, but eventually mummified and golden, goose ]
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quote-it-is-better-to-be-the-widow-of-a-hero-dolores-ibarruri

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Richard Landes wrote a piece on Paris the other day for the LA Times Review of Books’ Marginalia blog, in which he said:

In the words of the martyr in chief, “Charb,” taken up as the manif’s motto: “Better to die standing than live on one’s knees.”

Indeed, in an interview with Le Monde, Charb is quoted as having said:

Je n’ai pas de gosses, pas de femme, pas de voiture, pas de crédit. C’est peut-être un peu pompeux ce que je vais dire, mais je préfère mourir debout que vivre à genoux.

Stéphane Charbonnier — Charb — the editor of Charlie Hebdo, lived those words. But was he quoting?

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There’s a passage in Joseph Heller‘s Catch 22:

“They are going to kill you if you don’t watch out, and I can see now that you are not going to watch out. Why don’t you use some sense and try to be more like me? You might live to be a hundred and seven, too.”

“Because it’s better to die on one’s feet than live on one’s knees,” Nately retorted with triumphant and lofty conviction. “I guess you’ve heard that saying before.”

“Yes, I certainly have,” mused the treacherous old man, smiling again. “But I’m afraid you have it backward. It is better to live on one’s feet than die on one’s knees. That is the way the saying goes.”

“Are you sure?” Nately asked with sober confusion. “It seems to make more sense my way.”

“No, it makes more sense my way. Ask your friends.”

**

The quote has been attributed, with greater or lesser validity, to:

  • Albert Camus
  • Jean-Paul Sartre
  • In Australian jest, it has been attributed to Thomas Hobbes:

    In the December 1982 edition of Rolling Stone, Thomas Hobbes published a scathing review of Midnight Oil’s ‘10-to-1’ album. Midnight Oil, Hobbes claimed, were corrupting Australian youth with such politically incendiary tracks as ‘Short Memory’ and ‘US Forces’. But it was the lyrics to ‘The Power and the Passion’ with which Hobbes took particular issue, writing:

    We hear that “It’s better to die on your feet than to live on your knees”. How foolish! What vainglory! Who penned such rot? Was it Hirst, Moginie or Garrett? Have The Oils taken leave of their senses? Anybody who has lived through the English Civil War and who can ratiocinate knows that the opposite is true. Standing up for political ideals can only lead to political subversion, civil unrest and, ultimately, civil war. And with civil war comes a return to the State of Nature — a state in which all persons, upright, kowtowed and procumbent, face the constant threat of death; a state in which, as I have argued elsewhere (see my Leviathan (Bohn, 1651)), life for all is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”. All things considered, therefore, it’s better to live on one’s knees than to die on one’s feet.

    In this entry I’ll give a few working examples of political idealism and political realism before moving onto Hobbes’ criticism of the former and his argument that domestic peace and commodious living require us to forfeit our political ideals lest they undermine the sovereign’s authority.

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    Jennifer Speake, in A Dictionary of Proverbs, attributes the quote to Dolores Ibarruri, La Pasionaria, in a speech given on September 3rd, 1936. La Pasionaria was a Basque, and a Republican in the Spanish Civil War, to whom the similar but so different quote at the head of this post is also attributed. Speake goes on to list Emiliano Zapata as another to whom the quote is often attributed, and to list various later uses.

    And hey, the quote has also been attributed toL

  • Che Guevara
  • **

    Okay, so who actually died on his knees? Tutankhamun, apparently:

    The pharaoh’s injuries have been matched to a specific scenario – with car-crash investigators creating computer simulations of chariot accidents. The results suggest a chariot smashed into him while he was on his knees – shattering his ribs and pelvis and crushing his heart.

    Tutankhamun 602

    No, no, please don’t go zones

    Saturday, January 24th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — a thought-teasing DoubleQuote, Daniel Pipes meets Hakim Bey ]
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    I thought it might be interesting to compare Daniel Pipesrecalibration of the term he invented, No Go Zones, to accord with the French concept of Sensitive Urban Zones (upper panel, below):

    SPEC DQ SUZ TAZ

    and contrast it with Hakim Bey‘s term, Temporary Autonomous Zones, as described by John Jordan (lower panel, above).

    **

    What say you?

    I believe we’re in John Robb‘s analytic territory here.

    Not Paris, much nearer home

    Sunday, January 18th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — religious satire USA, plus two Charlie Hebdo resources ]
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    Jesus dinosaur detail 602

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    I hadn’t realized that comic book satire had entered the religion vs science debate — foolish of me, it’s an obvious medium for the task:

    jesus-and-darwin 602

    And here for total impact is the full page of Jesus riding the dinosaur (detail above), text included:

    jesusdinosaur large

    I have to say, neither these nor the Charlie Hebdo and Jyllands-Posten cartoons disturb me personally — but in our discussions of free speech and blasphemy, I think the voices of those who may be offended deserve a hearing.

    **

    Sources and Resources:

  • Popperfont, Did Jesus ride on a dinosaur?
  • Beliefnet, Jesus and Darwin fight
  • Daily Beast, 16 most ‘shocking’ Charlie Hebdo covers
  • Understanding Charlie Hebdo, Charlie Hebdo’s satire
  • Paris, a literary DoubleQuote

    Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — I was tempted to call this post “Hebdoevsky” but resisted ]
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    SPEC DQ Hebdo Dosto

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    Today I was reminded of Dostoevsky‘s Grand Inquisitor, portrayed here in some apparently rare 1975 footage by Sir John Gielgud:

    A tip of the hat, then, to Akil N. Awan, whose post The Charlie Hebdo Attack: The Double Alienation Dilemma suggested this DoubleQuote to me.

    **

    Interestingly, The Grand Inquisitor can now be read online in at least three translations:

  • HP Blavatsky, which should be of interest to occultists
  • Constance Garnett, the old classic standby translation, nicely formatted, and
  • Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky, horribly formatted, reputedly the best modern version

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