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Marx repeats itself

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- an irresistible application of the DoubleQuotes method to a well-worn aphorism ]
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History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farceKarl Marx, Eighteenth Brumaire.

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remediesGroucho

With appreciation of the wit and skill of artist David Levine and the New York Review of Books

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The religions: which is it to be – sibling rivalry or family feeling?

Monday, April 7th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- two images from recent Religion Dispatches posts neatly pose the question ]
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Sources:

  • Jeremy Stolow, Will Quebec Ban Religious Symbols in Public?
  • M Sophia Newman, Are Attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh Religiously Motivated?
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    Québec officially doesn’t seem to like what it terms “conspicuous religious symbols” — including the pictured “large” crucifix, hijab, and dastar (upper panel above, top row, left to right) and niqab and kippa (bottom row, left to right).

    I suppose that’s one way to achieve uniformity — maybe peacocks should be asked to tone down their feathers until they’re more in line with pigeons, too — but it’s instructive to note that most of the folk in the Bangladeshi march for religious harmony (lower panel, above) would be banned from wearing their identifying symbols if they tried to hold a similar parade in Montréal, Québec.

    Lac Zut, alors!

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    In the tiny middle panel of my DoubleQuotes graphic, where you’ll usually find a pair of spectacles or binoculars, the Swayambunath Buddha, just outside Kathmandu, Nepal, looks on, bemused — having seen so much, so very much, of human nature.

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    On sovereignty by motorbike

    Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

    [ by Charles Cameron -- so if they ride through Zürich, do they get to keep all the banks? ]
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    Matthew Burton asked an intriguing question on Twitter today [upper panel, below] — while 5,000 Russians pose a similar question [lower panel]:

    When was the last time sovereignty depended on bike club membership?

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    Addendum:

    Matthew Burton kindly pointed me to this WaPo piece, Obama speaks with Putin by phone, calls on Russia to pull forces back to Crimea bases, which includes the following wording:

    “In the case of any further spread of violence to Eastern Ukraine and Crimea,” a statement issued by Putin’s office said, “Russia retains the right to protect its interests and the Russian-speaking population of those areas.”

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    Frontline on the Papacy, and the questionable reliability of media

    Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

    [ by Charles Cameron -- noting once again that spin is slant and slant is spin ]
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    Last night, Frontline hosted a documentary on Popes Francis and Benedict, and the troubled Church the former inherited from the latter. Not unexpectedly, the child abuse scandal featured prominently in the discussion:

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    I happen to be of the opinion that Benedict XVI’s reign was largely devoted to restoring beauty to the liturgy, and thus strength to the inner, contemplative aspect of Catholic life, while that of Francis seems largely devoted to restoring generosity to the world, and thus strength to the church’s outer, active side. In my view these two pontificates are therefore complementary, with contemplation rightly preceding action.

    This, however, is not the view the mainstream press likes to take — for it is all a bit even-handed and non-partisan, which doesn’t grab as much attention as a lurid headline…

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    I cannot possibly comment on everything that was said in the documentary, much of which deals with known facts — abuses and coverups — but I did wonder, as I began to watch it, just how accurate it might be — and when I reached the point at 35′ 24″ where psychiatrist Martin Kafka MD of Harvard Medical School speaks [upper panel], I was surprised and a little dismayed:

    You see, I was already acquainted with the views of Billy Graham‘s grandson, Boz Tchividjian [lower panel, above] on this precise question.

    I am not in a position to evaluate the two claims: all that I can say is that Dr Kafka’s certainty seems to be in question, as does that of Boz Tchividjian, executive director of the Protestant investigative and reparative body, Godly Response to Abuse.

    Why didn’t Frontline mention this no-less-expert and widely reported contrary opinion?

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    As I say, I am becoming increasingly leery of believing my own eyes — when what they are viewing is opinionated reporting of any stripe.

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    Good karma, or paying it forward — piggy-back

    Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

    [ by Charles Cameron -- a frog, a snail, a praying mantis, yes -- but not a piggy in sight! ]
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    See also: At a snail’s pace

    Hat-tip: Faizah.

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    Sources:

  • Snail rides frog, photocredit: Lessy Sebastian / Solent News
  • Mantis rides snail, photocredit: Nordin Seruyan / Barcroft Media
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