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Taylor Swift keeps on truckin’

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron — Swift, Bach, sharia, semi-trailers, and a quick look at Ferguson / St Louis ]
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I offer you Ms Taylor Swift as captured in a very clever DoubleQuote in the wild which I discovered via a friend, Deborah Tobias:

Taylor Swift DQ via Deborah Tobias FB

By way of comparison, here — as seen in my earlier post Ms Swift, Sara Mingardo, JS Bach and a quiet WTF — is the remarkable Ms Swift’s mouthing of Bach‘s Chorale Prelude for organ BWV 732, Praise God, you Christians all together, as posted on YouTube by VoiceOfShariah:

Quite how sharia comes into the picture I don’t claim to know…

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You wanna nother DQ, nothing to do with Ms Swift this time? I took a fancy to this one:

Those two images coduld be polarizing — or they could serve as bridges: that’s one of the interesting things about some, if not all, DoubleQuotes. There’s a good commentary from Erik Wemple blogging at WaPo.

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Obama & Ferguson: the split screen as DoubleQuote

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron — the favorite word used on twitter to describe tonights’s split screen show was “surreal” ]
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Those of you who read me here regularly know that I believe juxtaposition is a key tool for both thinking and understanding. The split screen reporting of Obama‘s Ferguson speech, for instance…

DQ Obama Ferguson Fox

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I was watching the speech on the White House site, and they were giving Obama the full-screen treatment — so I was unaware that things were any different elsewhere.

I feel the single screen-shot from Fox above does justice to the power of juxtaposition, but for good measure I’ll also post a screen-shot from CNN, where the “violence” is portrayed more crisply perhaps:

DQ Obama Ferguson CNN

although the “lower third” caption doesn’t quote Obama to such powerful effect.

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For those who would like to see how the split screen treatment fared in its quieter moments as well as its more vivid ones, here’s the Fox report in full:

I find it interesting that while splitting the screen in two halves adds to the power of the effect, the attempt at a three-way split fails miserably by comparison.

ABC‘s coverage is also dramatic:

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Finally, Tina Nguyen on Mediaite offered a smörgåsbord of split screen images, and closed with a tweet from Ta-Nehisi Coates:

Good question: Obama clearly wasn’t in the loop about the loop he was in

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The Art of Future War?

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron — coloring outside the lines of the challenge ]
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http://www.desura.com/mods/dune-wars/images/new-soldier-and-infantry-units
Civ4 Dune mod, “Worm attack”, from Desura

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I’m all in favor of the Atlantic Council‘s Art of Future War Project:

It is a moment to seek out new voices and ideas from artists who can range much farther out into the future. Artists are adept at making sense of disorder while also having the ability to introduce a compelling chaos into the status quo. In other words, they are ideally suited to exploring the future of warfare. Writers, directors and producers and other artists bring to bear observations derived from wholly different experiences in the creative world. They can ask different kinds of questions that will challenge assumptions and conventional ways of tackling some of today’s toughest national security problems. Importantly, they can also help forge connections with some of most creative people in the public and private sectors who otherwise struggle to find avenues for their best ideas.

That’s excellent, and as a poet and game designer with a keen interest in war and peace, I hope to contribute.

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Funny, though, their first challenge looks, to my eyes, just a little bit back to the future:

The Art of Future Warfare project’s first challenge seeks journalistic written accounts akin to a front-page news story describing the outbreak of a future great-power conflict.

Why would we want to produce something “akin to a front-page news story” at a time when news stories are already more web-page than front-page, and perhaps even tweet before they’re breaking news?

In any case, the good people at Art of Future War offered some clues to those who might want to take up their challenge, and I took their encouragement seriously —

The historical creative cues included below are intended to inspire, not bound, creativity.

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Their first clue did indeed inspire me, though not to write anything akin to a front-page news story, “between 1,500 and 2,500 words long”. The clue they gave was the Washington Times lede I’ve reproduced in the ipper panel below —

SPEC DQ slomo death

while the lower panel contains the quote their clue led me to, by an associative leap of the kind artists are prone to — drawing on the vivid imagery of Peter Brook‘s play, The Mahabharata, which I had the good fortune to see in Los Angeles, a decade or three ago.
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My own leap backwards — to an ancient and indeed originally oral epic, the Mahabharata, rather than to century-old newsprint — won’t win me the challenge, since it doesn’t answer to the rules, nor will it provide useful hints as to what war will look like a decade from now.

The sage Vyasa, who wrote the Mahabharata at the dictation of the god Ganesh, might have been able to predict the future of war — I certainly cannot.

What I can do, and hope to have done, is to suggest that the whole of human culture has a bearing on war and how we understand it.

James Aho‘s Religious Mythology and the Art of War should be on every strategist’s reading list, as should Frank Herbert‘s Dune (see gamer’s mod image at the top of this page), JAB van Buitenen‘s Bhagavadigita in the Mahabharata and Brigadier SK Malik‘s The Qur’anic Concept of War — and Akira Kurasawa‘s Kagemusha on the DVD shelf, too:

There, I have managed to contribute something useful after all.

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Dabiq issue #5 – Ibrahim challenges Nimrod

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron — tracing the same tale from Ibrahim challenging Nimrod as quoted in Dabiq back to Midrash Rabbah ]
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I ended my last post, An end times update & the Islamic State, with a DoubleQuote:

SPEC DQ sunrise west

Sources:

  • Foreign Policy, In a New Ukraine, the Sun Rises in the West
  • Discovering Islam, Rising of the Sun from the West
  • **

    But then, d’oh, a new issue of Dabiq comes out, and on p 4 there’s a reference to Qur’an 2.258:

    Have you not considered the one who argued with Ibrahim about his Lord [merely] because Allah had given him kingship? When Ibrahim said, “My Lord is the one who gives life and causes death,” he said, “I give life and cause death.” Ibrahim said, “Indeed, Allah brings up the sun from the east, so bring it up from the west.” So the disbeliever was overwhelmed [by astonishment], and Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people [Al-Baqarah: 258].

    What’s that book title? The Sun Also Rises

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    That’s quite an intriguing exchange, you know, for Dabiq to be quoting — especially considering that Ibrahim is the caliphal name of al-Baghdadi, that Dabiq preaches the millah Ibrahim, and so forth.

    There’s more to the story, of course.

    The Qur’an 21.51-71 goes into more detail:

    We gave Abraham aforetime his rectitude — for We knew him — when he said to his father and his people, ‘What are these statues unto which you are cleaving?’ They said, ‘We found our fathers serving them.’ He said, ‘Then assuredly you and your fathers have been in manifest error.’ They said, ‘What, hast thou come to us with the truth, or art thou one of those that play?’ He said, ‘Nay, but your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth who originated them, and I am one of those that bear witness thereunto. And, by God, I shall assuredly outwit your idols, after you have gone away turning your backs.’ So he broke them into fragments, all but a great one they had, for haply they would return to it. They said, ‘Who has. done this with our gods? Surely he is one of the evildoers.’ They said, ‘We heard a young man making mention of them, and he was called Abraham.’ They said, ‘Bring him before the people’s eyes; haply they shall bear witness.’ They said, ‘So, art thou the man who did this unto our gods, Abraham?’ He said, ‘No; it was this great one of them that did it. Question them; if they are able to speak!’ So they returned one to another, and they said, ‘Surely it is you who are the evildoers.’ Then they were utterly put to confusion saying, ‘Very well indeed thou knowest these do not speak.’ He said, ‘What, and do you serve, apart from God, that which profits you nothing; neither hurts you? Fie upon you and that you serve apart from God! Do you not understand?’ They said, ‘Burn him, and help your gods, if you would do aught.’ We said, ‘O fire, be coolness and safety for Abraham!’ They desired to outwit him; so We made them the worse losers, and We delivered him, and Lot, unto the land that We had blessed for all beings.

    And behind that telling o the story, there’s the Midrash Rabbah, in which we read [p. 311] that Abraham mocked customers of his father’s idol-manufacturing business, with the result that his father handed him over to the King, Nimrod — himself an idolater:

    Thereupon he seized him and delivered him to Nimrod. ‘Let us worship the fire’ he [Nimrod] proposed. ‘Let us rather worship water’, which extinguishes the fire,’ replied he. ‘Then let us worship water!’ ‘Let us rather worship the clouds which bear the water.’ ‘Then let us worship the clouds!’ ‘Let us rather worship the winds which disperse the clouds’ ‘Then let us worship the wind!’ ‘Let us ratherworship human beings, who withstand the wind.’ ‘You are just bandying words,’ he exclaimed; ‘We will worship naught but the fire. Behold, I will cast you into it, and let your God whom you adore come and save you from it.’ Now Haran was standing there undecided. If Abram is victorious, [thought he], I will say that I am of Abram’s belief, while if Nimrod is victorious I will say that I am on Nimrod’s side. When Abram descended into the fiery furnace and was saved, he [Nimrod] asked him, ‘Of whose belief are you?’ ‘Of Abram’s,’ he replied. Thereupon he seized and cast him into the fire; his inwards were scorched and he died in his father’s presence. Hence it is writteN, AND hARAN DIED IN THE PRESENCE OF (‘AL PENE) HIS FATHER TERAH

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    I shall have more to say about Dabiq 5 in further posts — the whole magazine is a bit much to digest at once.

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    An end times update, & the Islamic State

    Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

    [ by Charles Cameron — apocalyptic date-shifting, Baghdadi as the Sufyan, and somehow that ties in with the Fatima apparitions? ]
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    Here, in frozen real time, you can witness the updating of an end times prediction:

    announcement

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    If you look here, you will see:

    The book reveals that the first phase of the End Times will start in late 2013 with the emergence of the first evil person (Araj, Dajjal, etc.) which triggers the emergence of the Mahdi and will end in 2022 after the emergence of the last evil person (Dajjal, Anti-Christ, etc.) which triggers the descent of Prophet Jesus Christ (p) from Heaven.

    That’s “as of June 29, 2012″. Furthermore:

    The book includes in-depth analysis of specific dates (the day, month, and year) on which important End Times events will occur, such as : (1) Beginning of the End Times and emergence of the first Dajjal and the Mahdi , (2) Destruction of New York, London, Sydney, Vancouver, (3) Bringing of Tabut Al-Sakina (Ark of Covenant) and a copy of the original Torah, (4) Dajjal’s resurrection of people of some cities, (5) Destruction of the Aqsa Mosque, (6) Discovery of a copy of the original Gospel, (7) Tariq Star and switching of the Poles of the Earth, (8) End of the U.S. and Canada, (9) Liberation of Palestine, (10) Muslims’ Conquest of Britain, (11) Muslims’ Conquest of Russia, (12) Emergence/Return of the last Dajjal, (13) Descent of Prophet Jesus (p) from Heaven, (14) The last day on which repentance and becoming a Muslim can be accepted by God., (15) End of the first phase of the End Times when people will be classified as either Believers or Unbelievers.

    Without exaggeration, this book is one of the most significant Islamic books that have ever been written.

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    As you’ll have noticed above, however, revisions have been necessary, and are being made as we speak.

    The current website offers these predictions:

    The beginning of the End of Time, including the emergence of the Imam Mahdi (Mehdi), will most likely be either in 2015 or 2016, while Jesus Christ (p)’s return [or second (2nd ) coming] is in 2022, in-sha-Allah (if God is willing).

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    What I find even more interesting, though, than the updating of one of the most significant Islamic books that have ever been written, is the updating of the real-time news invoked to include ISIS / Daesh, and specifically to suggest al Baghdadi may be the Sufiyani:

    The quick victories of the Islamic State in Iraq & Syria (I.S.I.S.) in Central and Northern Iraq and its establishment of an Islamic Caliphate, headed by Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi who seems to fit the characteristics of a man called the Sufyani mentioned in several Hadiths of Prophet Mohammad. However, please note that the Hadiths about the Sufyani are mostly considered weak. This means that it is possible that Prophet Mohammad did not mention these Hadiths and therefore, it is possible that there will be no Sufyani emerging.

    The Sufyani is supposed to :

    (a) seem to be a religious Muslim.
    (b) be a butcher who kills and slaughters innocent people.
    (c) be an enemy of the Mahdi.
    (d) emerge within a short period before the Mahdi.
    (e) defeat his rivals, rule Al-Sham (Greater Syria) and attack cities in Iraq.
    (f) send an army to attack the Mahdi, but his army will encounter a Khusf (land slide/collapse or a catastrophe).

    The Islamic State in Iraq (I.S.I.) was established on October 13, 2006 which is the anniversary of the last apparition (vision) of the 3 children, regarding the End Times, in Fatima, Portugal which happened on October 13, 1917.

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    Fatima?

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    And you know how I stumbled across all this? I was amused by a headline in FP that read In a New Ukraine, the Sun Rises in the West & recalled that the sun rising in the west was one of the signs of the soon coming of the Mahdi– and when I went to find an appropriate citation to back that up, I ran across this page, Rising of the Sun from the West — which had a sidebar note:

    The End Times:
    Based on Numerical Analysis of the Quran, Hadith, Arabic Words, and Historical Events.
    Imam Mahdi in 2014
    Jesus Christ (p) in 2022
    www.EndTimes2014.com

    Hey — an apocalyptic DoubleQuote: totally irresistible!

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