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Blowing in the wind, blowing in the mind

Monday, June 27th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — hair, Brexit, Trump, Apocalypse Now, and a forceful analysis of Brexit as lose-lose ]
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The DoubleQuote above is amusing, and falls into an interesting category along with the fan-rotor to helicopter-rotor transition at the start of Apocalypse Now. The real equivalence the juxtaposition is driving at remains unstated, while a superficial resemblance makes its case. In the case of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, the wild hair in the wind is a stand-in for implied similarities between the BREXIT vote and the upcoming Presidential election US. In the case of Apocalypse Now, the rotors stand in for the frustration Capt. Willard feels stuck without a mission in a room in Saigon, and scooped out of there to be briefed on his mission up-river to Col. Kurtz in the very heart and horror of darkness.

**

Here’s a powerful comment by one Teebs at the Guardian, on the “no-win situation” the unfortunate Boris Johnson is now suffering:

If Boris Johnson looked downbeat yesterday, that is because he realises that he has lost.

Perhaps many Brexiters do not realise it yet, but they have actually lost, and it is all down to one man: David Cameron.

With one fell swoop yesterday at 9:15 am, Cameron effectively annulled the referendum result, and simultaneously destroyed the political careers of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and leading Brexiters who cost him so much anguish, not to mention his premiership.

How?

Throughout the campaign, Cameron had repeatedly said that a vote for leave would lead to triggering Article 50 straight away. Whether implicitly or explicitly, the image was clear: he would be giving that notice under Article 50 the morning after a vote to leave. Whether that was scaremongering or not is a bit moot now but, in the midst of the sentimental nautical references of his speech yesterday, he quietly abandoned that position and handed the responsibility over to his successor.

And as the day wore on, the enormity of that step started to sink in: the markets, Sterling, Scotland, the Irish border, the Gibraltar border, the frontier at Calais, the need to continue compliance with all EU regulations for a free market, re-issuing passports, Brits abroad, EU citizens in Britain, the mountain of legistlation to be torn up and rewritten … the list grew and grew.
The referendum result is not binding. It is advisory. Parliament is not bound to commit itself in that same direction.

The Conservative party election that Cameron triggered will now have one question looming over it: will you, if elected as party leader, trigger the notice under Article 50?

Who will want to have the responsibility of all those ramifications and consequences on his/her head and shoulders?

Boris Johnson knew this yesterday, when he emerged subdued from his home and was even more subdued at the press conference. He has been out-maneouvered and check-mated.

If he runs for leadership of the party, and then fails to follow through on triggering Article 50, then he is finished. If he does not run and effectively abandons the field, then he is finished. If he runs, wins and pulls the UK out of the EU, then it will all be over – Scotland will break away, there will be upheaval in Ireland, a recession … broken trade agreements. Then he is also finished. Boris Johnson knows all of this. When he acts like the dumb blond it is just that: an act.

The Brexit leaders now have a result that they cannot use. For them, leadership of the Tory party has become a poison chalice.

When Boris Johnson said there was no need to trigger Article 50 straight away, what he really meant to say was “never”. When Michael Gove went on and on about “informal negotiations” … why? why not the formal ones straight away? … he also meant not triggering the formal departure. They both know what a formal demarche would mean: an irreversible step that neither of them is prepared to take.

All that remains is for someone to have the guts to stand up and say that Brexit is unachievable in reality without an enormous amount of pain and destruction, that cannot be borne. And David Cameron has put the onus of making that statement on the heads of the people who led the Brexit campaign.

**

Here, by the bye, is another tweet comparing situations in the UK (Brexit) and US (Presidential) votes:

Here the comparison intended between US and UK is not implicit but explicit — and I have to say, I find it quite revealing. The answer, my friends, the answer is blowing in the mind.

Trend-watching humor

Saturday, June 25th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — the Brits, Google & Brexit, plus some arcane religious info for netizens ]
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A Brit response to Brexit results: Google!!

No, really!

**

And while we’re at it — you’ve probably seen this before —

Wondering which religion to choose? Google!!

**

Somewhere, a couple of machine learning algorithms are laughing at us.

Donald Trump and his Trumpalike, The Denald

Saturday, June 25th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — reality imitates parody, a subset of life imitates art ]
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The Denald Trump account posted this fake trumpery as satire:

This tweet was quickly followed by an all-too-similar one from the real Donald:

— the only problem here being that the Scots voted to stay..

**

And now the coup de grace — Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau‘s eye catches the match between parody and reality in these two quotes — and tweets them in juxtaposition, DoubleTweet-style:

— with the added bonus of a playful sideswipe at the Bostrom / Musk simulation idea..

**

It seems there really were Scots shouting at Trump to leave — he’s not well-liked over there — so was he the one who was being ultimately playful and ironic — deliberately misunderstanding them for the purpose of his tweet?

Brexit: gunpowder, treason and plot?

Saturday, June 25th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — conspiracies in the lead up to Jo Cox’s death and the Brexit referendum ]
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Amil Khan, aka Londonstani, is a London-based journalist and author of The Long Struggle: The Muslim Worlds Western Problem. If I recall correctly, he was roommate for a while with Andrew Exum, aka Abu Muqawama, and a frequent contributor to Exum’s Abu Muqawama blog.

**

Here are three tweets I found that answer Londonstani‘s question — two conspiracy theories and a conspirator with motive:

and:

and by way of motive:

**

See also:

  • Washington Post, Pencil or pen? An unusual conspiracy theory grips Brexit vote.
  • Veterans Today, BREXIT victory shocks NWO – were “conspiracy theories” responsible?
  • Qur’an 8.30: And Allah is the best of plotters.

    Sunday surprise: three entangled faiths

    Monday, June 20th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — two exhibits linking the Abrahamic faiths ]
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    For disciplinary as well as doctrinal purposes, the three Abrahamic faiths — Judaism, Christianity, Islam — are generally thought of separately — a separation which the two exhibitions this post revolves around are intended to bring into question.

    **

    One: Of gods and men: how Egypt was a crucible for multiple faiths

    For instance, there’s a “stele of Abraham” in the British Museum show from last autumn that is worth pondering:

    stele of Abraham

    The accompanying text tells us:

    On public display for the first time will be a gravestone, or stele, for a man called Abraham. “It commemorates someone with a Jewish name and yet it bears Christian symbols inside a classical frame next to the ankh symbol, the ancient Egyptian sign of life,” said O’Connell. “What is more, the engraving on it says he was ‘the perfected monk’ and is written in Coptic Egyptian.”

    More about the show:

    Curators at the London museum will use a series of items, many never put on public display before, to demonstrate the level of “entanglement” of religious symbols and rituals; with Egyptian emblems regularly appearing in classical Greek designs, depicting Jewish stories that were decorated with Christian crosses and Roman wreaths.

    “Over the last 10 or 15 years in scholarship, there has been growing interest across the disciplines in looking at the way religions interacted, rather than just in isolation,” said Elisabeth O’Connell, a keeper in the museum’s Department of Ancient Egypt and the Sudan and a co-curator of the exhibition. “It is becoming clear that a lot of religious history has been founded on our modern distinctions simply being projected back.”

    Note in the next paragraph the use of the terms ” troublesome” and subversive”:

    Two hundred of these troublesome objects, many deliberately ignored by scholars in the past, have been gathered together to challenge the conventions of religious history. From architectural fragments, jewellery, paintings, gravestones and toys, to the paraphernalia of religious worship, they are all subversive evidence that faiths were once amalgamated in a way that was accepted by the ordinary people of Egypt, regardless of their birth-race or family’s religion.

    Those are the Guardian writer’s words — Vanessa Thorpe‘s — not the words of the curators, but it seems the exhibit is intended to emphasize the “melting pot” side of Egyptian religion across the millennium after the fall of the Pharaohs rather than the separations:

    “If you only take the work we have from Dioscorus of Aphrodito, it blows apart these distinctions,” said O’Connell. “He was a lawyer and poet, who lived in Egypt and wrote in Greek, although he was a Christian Copt.

    “He is a great example of what was going on widely, because he used biblical sources and also wrote Homeric verse, one of them dedicated to a man with a Christian name, Matthew.”

    **

    Much the same impulse appears to have been behind a British Library exhibit in 2007:

    Two: Sacred texts that reveal a common heritage

    For the first time, the oldest and most precious surviving texts of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths have gone on display side by side at the British Library. They include a tattered scrap of a Dead Sea Scroll and a Qur’an commissioned for a 14th-century Mongol ruler of modern Iran who was born a shaman, baptised a Christian, and converted first to Buddhism, then Sunni and finally Shia Islam.

    Here’s a two-page spread of that “Mosul Qur’an“:

    quran
    reduced image via the British Library

    The Guardian article continues:

    The exhibition also has some exotic private loans, including an embroidered 19th-century curtain which once covered the door of the Ka’bah, the shrine which is at the core of the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, a hand embroidered Jewish bridal canopy – and a gold shalwar kameez worn by Jemima Goldsmith in 1995, when she married the former Pakistan cricket captain Imran Khan.

    Phew, pop-cultural enthusiasts will at least have had the shalwar kameez to give them comfort!

    More:

    Graham Shaw, the lead curator, said: “We were determined not to create faith zones, but to show these wonderful manuscripts side by side, and demonstrate how much we share – not least that these are three faiths founded on sacred texts, books of revelation.” Many exhibits are among the oldest of their kind, including a Qur’an made in Arabia within a century of Muhammad’s lifetime.

    The exhibition also shows how calligraphers and manuscript illuminators shared influences and styles. The microscopically detailed decorated capital letters of the Lindisfarne Gospels are echoed in Islamic and Jewish manuscripts, while Christian and Jewish texts borrowed Islamic-inspired decoration, so that a 14th century Qur’an and a translation of the gospels into Arabic are indistinguishable at a glance, and two 13th-century French texts, one Christian, one Jewish, use virtually identical images of King David.

    And this part tickled my fancy, and will surely find a place in my book on Coronation and Monarchy if it ever finds a publisher:

    A later psalter owned by Henry VIII outrageously uses his portrait as the great Jewish king – accompanied by Henry’s court jester, William Somer, beside a text which translates as “the fool says in his heart ‘there is no God'”.

    The wise fool Will Somer or Sommers wasn’t quite a member of Henry VIII’s Royal Family, but stands nearby, in the arch far right, in this detail from a family portrait of 1545 or thereabouts:

    detail Will Sommers Family_of_Henry_VIII_c_1545


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