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Double No Trumps?

Friday, January 29th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — silly fun.. ]
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I’d say that here Kim Jong-Un

would easily Trump, ahem, Vladimir Putin

if he’d had access toi a camera and Photoshop.

Trump, Barthes and Calvinball

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — not to mention Alasdair MacIntyre ]
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First, Calvinball:

all_games_turn_into_calvinball 2 panel 602

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If you’ve been following my stuff for a while, you’ll know I’m interested in situations where two teams or individuals are playing two different games. As the philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre put it:

Not one game is being played, but several, and, if the game metaphor may be stretched further, the problem about real life is that moving one’s knight to QB3 may always be replied to by a lob over the net.

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Roland Barthes, the French philosopher, made a related observation:

This public knows very well the distinction between wrestling and boxing; it knows that boxing is a Jansenist sport, based on a demonstration of excellence. One can bet on the outcome of a boxing-match: with wrestling, it would make no sense. A boxing-match is a story which is constructed before the eyes of the spectator; in wrestling, on the contrary, it is each moment which is intelligible, not the passage of time… The logical conclusion of the contest does not interest the wrestling-fan, while on the contrary a boxing-match always implies a science of the future. In other words, wrestling is a sum of spectacles, of which no single one is a function: each moment imposes the total knowledge of a passion which rises erect and alone, without ever extending to the crowning moment of a result.

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So what does this have to do with Donald Trump?

Just that one of the more interesting things I’ve read about Trump’s campaign is Judd Legum‘s This French Philosopher Is The Only One Who Can Explain Why Trump Is Skipping The Republican Debate — and his key graph essentially applies Barthes’ distinction to MacIntyre’s observation:

In the current campaign, Trump is behaving like a professional wrestler while Trump’s opponents are conducting the race like a boxing match. As the rest of the field measures up their next jab, Trump decks them over the head with a metal chair.

If, like me, you find that idea illuminating, by all means read the whole thing.

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Bingo!

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Ah, but..

.. now that Go, like Chess, has fallen to the wiles of the computer, I suppose we can chuck our games of strategy books and cast our pleading glances towards the new overlords.

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Throw away books? Never!!

And just for the record, here’s Calvinball, the full version:

calvinball2012

Rumsfeld and Churchill’s game, also..

Monday, January 25th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — two Churchill games suitable for militarily-inclined cigar mavens ]
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First, because Rumsfeld here releases Churchill‘s own game in digital form, we have Churchill Solitaire:

And second, more interesting from my POV because it’s a variant on what I’ve called “threeness games” —

Enjoy!

Juxtaposition: chess in Wahhabism and Buddhism

Sunday, January 24th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — on the focus of similarity — sameness or differences? ]
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SPEC chess is haram

As I said recently, juxtaposition does not imply eqivalence.

It is only too easy these days to see a headline like Chess is ‘haram and a waste of time,’ says grand mufti of Saudi Arabia and view it purely in terms of Islam. It is in fact an Islamic ruling, though non-binding (there was, in fact, a chess tournament scheduled to take place in Mecca today, January 22, 2016), and can also be found in Shia sources (Grand Ayatollah Sistani of Iraq has also ruled against the game) — but many people who intensely dislike Islam may nonetheless admire Buddhism, and the Buddha dispproved of the game, even when played “in the air”..

Hey, to get a better sense of what “in the air” means here, let’s take a look at a different, more informative translation (albeit on that would not have fit into the procrustean bed of my DoubleQuote format:

Whereas some honorable recluses and brahmins, while living on food offered by the faithful, indulge in the following games that are a basis for negligence: atthapada (a game played on an eight-row chess-board); dasapada (a game played on a ten-row chess-board); akasa (a game of the same type played by imagining a board in the air); pariharapatha (“hopscotch,” a diagram is drawn on the ground and one has to jump in the allowable spaces avoiding the lines); santika (“spellicans,” assembling the pieces in a pile, removing and returning them without disturbing the pile); khalika (dice games); ghatika (hitting a short stick with a long stick); salakahattha (a game played by dipping the hand in paint or dye, striking the ground or a wall, and requiring the participants to show the figure of an elephant, a horse etc.); akkha (ball games); pangacira (blowing through toy pipes made of leaves); vankaka (ploughing with miniature ploughs); mokkhacika (turning somersaults); cingulika (playing with paper windmills); pattalaka (playing with toy measures); rathaka (playing with toy chariots); dhanuka (playing with toy bows); akkharika (guessing at letters written in the air or on one’s back); manesika (guessing others’ thoughts); yathavajja (games involving mimicry of deformities) — the recluse Gotama abstains from such games and recreations.

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I trust that that juxtaposition of Mufti and Buddha carries an element of surpise. By way of contrast, one could always make a less surprising (less challenging?) juxtaposition, between the Grand Mufti — Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh — and Benjamin Franklin:

SPEC-chess-is-haram 2

Politics as a pocketful of curiosities

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — a brief addendum to the previous post ]
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While we’re on the topic of religion and politics, so to speak, here’s a theological curiosity — a pocketful of the current presidency:

I’ll leave it to individual viewers to decide whether that’s an interfaith pocketful or a pocketful of theological impossibility — either way, it’s thought provoking.

Quick summary: Christianity 2, Hinduism 1, Buddhism 1, Casinos 1.


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