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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.

Orlando Tweets One

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — on the variety of possible motives ]
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On twitter alone, there’s far too much going on as we scramble to understand the Orlando massacre for anyone to make a useful summary, although I must say that Rukmini Callimachi‘s twitter feed since yesterday has been superb. My own first assortment of relevant tweets focuses on the question of motive, but even with that narrowed focus it’s too extensive to present visually tweet by tweet, so I’m mostly going to post relevant texts with links. First, though, I’ll let Jeffrey Goldberg set the overview:

**

Mental Illness:

Yaroslav Trofimov, Orlando killer’s ex-wife says he was a wife-beater with a short fuse who liked to work out and wasn’t religious.
CBSN, It is definitely mental illness…no one ever expected that he would do this.

Mental illness or mental instability may arguably be present in many or all cases of rampage shooting, suicide bombing, etc — it’s a judgment call, and one most properly made by psychiatric or psychological professionals who have observed and interacted with the subjects personally. Sadly, however, continued use of this explanation as the explanation for acts of this kind avoids recognition of other factors in what is inevitably a multifactorial situation — and also contributes to the popular misperception that “mental illness” is a shameful failure of character rather than a complex of medical conditions.

**

Susceptibility to violence:

Lilith, Was Orlando shooter’s domestic violence history a missed warning sign?

**

Islamism:

JM Berger, Orlando gunman tied to radical imam released from prison last year, say law enforcement sources
Program On Extremism, Omar Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS, official says

**

Homophobia:

Mona Holland, His father says he wasn’t religious, but was furious abt 2 gay men kissing a week or so ago in public
Murtaza Hussain, “Ty Smith & Chris Callen recalled the eventual killer being escorted drunk from the Pulse bar on multiple occasions”
Matt Pearce, “Do you think he was gay?” The shooter’s ex-wife was silent for three seconds. “I don’t know.”
Frances Traynor, speaking from experience, the most virulently homophobic are the most deeply closeted

It seems to me we may have two different forms of enantiodromia to consider here — enantiodromia being the Jungian term for sudden psychological reversal, a pattern I’ve explored elsewhere. The two versions here, which in practice might well be one, but which we can distinguish for analytic purposes, would be (a) psychological, ie the sudden revulsion at forms of sexuality one previously found acceptable and (b) religious, as in a sudden, emotional conversion experience or repentance by which someone non-religious is precipitated into a religious enthusiast.

**

Anti-semitism:

Molly Crabapple, According to the Trump fans in my Twitter replies, somehow the homophobic Orlando murderer is the fault of Jews

**

And finally, Rebellion against Empire:

Excerpt:

An al Qaeda fighter made a point once in a debriefing. He said, all these movies that America makes, like Independence Day and Hunger Games and Star Wars, they’re all about a small scrappy band of rebels who will do anything in their power with the limited resources available to them to expel an outside, technologically advanced invader. And what you don’t realize, he said, is that to us, the rest of the world, you are The Empire, and we are Luke and Han. You are the aliens and we are Will Smith.

Of sundry musicians and their moon walks

Sunday, June 12th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — a jeu d’esprit, really, because i already have my sunday surprise for this week lined up, and this was too much fun to miss ]
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I ran across this tweet this morning from Husain Haqqani, former ambassador of Pakistan to the United States and author of Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military and Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding, currently with the Hudson Institute:

Neil Armstrong? Heard the Islamic Call to Prayer? On the moon?

**

Poets love the moon, almost by definition — the Chinese poet Li Po supposedly drowned while attempting (under the influence) to kiss her face in the Yellow River — so this alleged, though dubious, story was definitely too rich in possibilities for me to ignored. And the Islamic Call to Prayer? According to Nicholas Kristof in the NYT:

Mr. Obama described the call to prayer as “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.”

You may or may not agree, but if you want to hear the Call and judge for yourself, you could try listening to one of these videos:

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUHDYlJHaOQ
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otdgbR3yso0
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8o6WKTQpMc
  • **

    That’s what led me to my second discovery –one which might be excused by blaming autocorrect, twice, for suggesting that Neil Young — he of the voice, upper panel below — and Louis Arnmstrong — he of the trumpet, lower panel — were each the first man to land on the moon, per (in both cases) NBC.

    Tablet DQ 600 at 75 blank Musicians on Moon

    In all fairness, it’s worth noting that other candidates for moon walks include Buzz Lightyear, Lance Armstrong, and Michael Jackson.

    **

    Sources:

  • Mix 104.1, Twitter Confuses Neil Armstrong With Lance and Louis
  • Buffalo News, Ch.4 moon landing is historic mistake; Best to avoid NBC’s “The Slap”
  • **

    None of these mistakes are critical, however, if you believe the late Srila Prabhupada, who introduced Krishna Consciousness to the United States. As someone fascinated by different cosmologies and theologies, I remember reading of Prabhupada’s claim that the moon landing was faked in a California film studio in his magazine some time in the 1970s. No longer having access to the magazine, and looking for confirmation of that memory, I found this page, Srila Prabhupadas statements about the moon landing, of considerable interest:

    Srila Prabhuapda himself said different things at different times. Sometimes he directly said they didn’t go and it was some kind of hoax. And at other times he said they didn’t go to the moon because they didn’t experience the higher dimensional nature of the moon planet, which is a rational way to harmonize the Vedic perspective with the idea of three dimensional space travel. At other times he just said the whole idea was foolish and a waste of money. He saw material space travel as a foolish attempt to reach higher dimensions which can only be reached by yogic practice.

    Bear in mind too that both Joseph Smith and L Ron Hubbard also taught their followers about significant planets that do not form part of the standard astronomical account of deep space — or the heavens, in other words.

    And Charles Williams — the brilliant Dante scholar, Arthurian poet, novelist, theologian of Romantic Love, and friend of JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis — offers a striking near-contemporary Christian example of the genre in the opening paragraph of his book, The Descent of the Dove: A Short History of the Holy Spirit in the Church.

    The beginning of Christendom, is, strictly, at a point out of time. A metphysical trigonometry finds it among the spiritual Secrets, at the meeting of two heavenward lines, one drawn from Bethany along the Ascent of the Messias, the other from Jerusalem against the Descent of the Paraclete. That measurement, the measurement of eternity in operation, of the bright cloud and the rushing wind, is, in effect, theology.

    See also my post, A metaphysical trigonometry.

    Single birds

    Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — crow, racing pigeon — swan? ]
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    Tablet DQ 600 single birds 75

    See the swan, yeah? Okay!

    **

    When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions.. Shakespeare, right? Not so with insights.

    Sources:

  • Robert De Niro et al., Red Lights
  • Robert Krulwich, After Tens of Thousands of Pigeons Vanish, One Comes Back
  • After Tens of Thousands of Pigeons Vanish is an extraordinary tale of what (presumably) happens when a Concorde overflies a mass of racing pigeons — compare the video accompanying How Our Consumer Culture Is Killing Whales.

    Boom!

    On the felicities of graph-based game-board design – seven

    Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — the series continues from six ]
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    What a pleasure to discover Matt Damon does graph theory in his spare time!

    Matt Damon draws graphs

    — or that the female face. similarly, is viewed by some as the basis for graphical analysis:

    Facial recognition

    — and that even war-gaming boards, such as this one from PAXsims’ ISIS Crisis game, can feature the node and edge / circle and line format, along with cards, dice, hexagons…

    Geek and Sundry

    **

    Sources:

  • Matt Damon, Good Will Hunting
  • PBS Digital, The vague Horror of Face-Swap
  • Geek & Sundry, Can Gaming Inporove Strategic Military Planning?

  • Incidentally, I have a brief exchange with Rex Brynen in the comments section at PAXsims
  • Previous posts in this series:

  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: preliminaries
  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: two dazzlers
  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: three
  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: four
  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: five
  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: six

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