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On negative space, private morality in the public square

Monday, May 7th, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — not entirely keen about Judgment, me, but.. ]
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Continuing on from my discussion of negative space in the painting, here’s the MSNBC clip I overheard waas on about:

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The clip, in other words, is about private morality in the public square.

Raw Story picks up there thread in a piece titled ‘Where are the preachers of America?’:

Evangelical leaders slammed for hypocrisy of Trump support:Former New York Times White House correspondent Howell Raines, who rose to executive editor of newspaper, called out the evangelical community during a Friday appearance on MSNBC’s “The Beat with Ari Melber.”

“I want to ask you about the negative space in the painting, the thing that’s not happening — that we are always told would happen — because the Christian right and the conservative values organizations and the evangelical right cared deeply about the personal behavior of politicians and especially the president,” Melber observed.

“The president now has squarely admitted to paying this woman in direct connection to the allegations of this extramarital affair,” the host continued. “I ask you for your view of why we’re not hearing any outrage for any of those groups affiliated with Donald Trump and the Republican Party.”

“Where are the preachers of America when morality is legitimately at the center of our national life?” Raines wondered. “I think Director Comey was correct today on CBS when he said this is about values and supporting our institutions and it’s imperative that Americans who believe in the normal political process and the rule of law start speaking out.”

“That’s what’s missing in the picture to me,” he concluded.

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That’s a significant question, to which various answers have been given — from a quick Google search:

  • The Nation, Why Evangelicals—Still!—Support Trump
  • Time, Why Evangelicals Support President Trump, Despite His Immorality
  • Atlantic, A Match Made in Heaven
  • but I’d like to leave — indeed emphasize — it as a question.

    How come the hypocrisy?

    And I think we should ask this, not as a question requiring a political answer, but as a moral question, hanging in the air, for the individual consciences of evangelicals to ponder..

    I have my own hyposcrisies to consider..

    Better bring a sword to a love fight?

    Thursday, March 15th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — or, a samurai’s weapon glistens more brightly than an assault rifle ]
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    Consider:

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    And in case your object that the proposed assault weapon ban (upper image above) is stereotypically associated wwith active shooters in schools, not issues of love and romance, take this, from Does anyone have the right to sex? in the LRB:

    On 23 May 2014, Elliot Rodger, a 22-year-old college dropout, became the world’s most famous ‘incel’ – involuntary celibate. The term can, in theory, be applied to both men and women, but in practice it picks out not sexless men in general, but a certain kind of sexless man: the kind who is convinced he is owed sex, and is enraged by the women who deprive him of it. Rodger stabbed to death his two housemates, Weihan Wang and Cheng Hong, and a friend, George Chen, as they entered his apartment on Seville Road in Isla Vista, California. Three hours later he drove to the Alpha Phi sorority house near the campus of UC Santa Barbara. He shot three women on the lawn, killing two of them, Katherine Cooper and Veronika Weiss. Rodger then went on a drive-by shooting spree through Isla Vista, killing Christopher Michaels-Martinez, also a student at UCSB, with a single bullet to the chest inside a Deli Mart, and wounding 14 others. He eventually crashed his BMW coupé at an intersection. He was found dead by the police, having shot himself in the head.

    It just didn’t have a headline tht would have made any sense in the DoubleQuote!

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    Okay, gunds and swords.

    There’s also the question of whether the pen is mightier than the sword, of course — even the samurain sword? — or to coin a phrase:

    Don’t bring ink to a blood fight

    I’m trying to figure it out

    Saturday, August 26th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — oh, i mean, the whole ball of wax, kit & kaboodle ]
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    I’m trying to figure it out by catching glimpses in other people’s work, finding somethat are part of their pretty obvious ideas that are assumptions for tuthem and indicative of the state of affairs for me. I suppose I’m always on the lookout for such things, but today I’m going to shoot for the big picture.

    Item #1 comes from David Ronfeldt, friend of this blog, who posted at TIMN:

    It is no longer possible to think of corruption as just the iniquitous doings of individuals, be they street-level bribe payers, government officials, or business executives. In the five dozen or so countries of which Honduras is emblematic, corruption is the operating system of sophisticated networks that link together public and private sectors and out-and-out criminals — including killers — and whose main objective is maximizing returns for network members.

    Boom! The main objective is to maximize returns, returns. Nobody says what retiurns are, everybody knows: returns are cash, money, moolah is what everyone is after, “follow the money” is equalled in popularity only by “cherchez la femme” — although “follow the dead Russians” has a temporary place in the sun if you follow John Schindler. Money, sex, that’s about it.

    Sex. I’ll need an item for sex, eh?

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    Item #2 is prestige. I ound it at Tom Whipple‘s post, Starman, whichb describes a Norwegian jazz player’s rooftop searches for items of stardust.

    So began the journey that would end with an autodidact gypsy-jazz musician publishing a scientific paper in a prestigious American geology journal,

    The item here is prestige, yes, in the words “prestigious journal” — and the thing here is that anm autodidact made it into some prestigious pages, a jazz musician, imagine that!

    Oh, and BTW, we are stardust:

    I suppose you could call Joni Mitchell a jazz musician too, but she’s not — as far as I know — Norwegian,

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    Money, prestige, stardust.

    Those are my findings so far, that’s what it’s all about. And I’m guessing, sex too, once I find an appopriate reference — oh, totally inappropriate, I’m afraid, not suited to office viewing. .

    Sorry about that, I should have used a title-srolling clip from Sex and the City. I mean, good-looking means do it, plain and simple. Those guys who make films know what they’re doing.

    I know, I know, I wemt from fishing phrases out of articles into fishing songs out of YouTube — but I’m still after “it” — and now we have money, prestige, stardust, sex..

    I am beginning to see a glimmer of the human condition, la condition humaine. I mean, wars — civil and uncivil, compromise, film makers knowing who to film in filmy nightgowns, tight short skirts, and so on, and frankly, Trump, who epitomizes Sex and the City, has moola and no tax returns, and is made of greater stardust than the rest of us, I mean, he Trumps!

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    What else? I ask you, what else are we?

    Frankly, there’s transcendence. We are golden. We’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden. This one’s from my memory trove — it’s from Thomas Traherne‘s little book, Centuries of Meditations:

    You never enjoy the world aright, till the Sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens, and crowned with the stars: and perceive yourself to be the sole heir of the whole world, and more than so, because men are in it who are every one sole heirs as well as you. Till you can sing and rejoice and delight in God, as misers do in gold, and Kings in sceptres, you never enjoy the world.

    Pistol, crucifix, condom

    Friday, May 12th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — covering all bases? — an astonishing display of symbols ]
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    Lists of three — sex, drugs and rock’n’roll for example, or wine, women and song, as we used to say — sex, lies and videotape — can usefully itemize / totemize the whole of life as it is lived — a jug of wine, a loaf of bread and thou beside me — at the individual, general, universal or transcendent level — when two or three are gathered in my name

    But this image, from a Ukrainian law enforcement advisor’s Instagram account beats all!

    Hat tip: Christopher Miller

    Pistol, crucifix, condom
    — I was wondering whether one could play scissors, paper, rock with those symbols, but..

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    Coleridge characterizes symbols thus:

    A symbol is characterized… above all by the translucence of the Eternal through and in the Temporal. It always partakes of the Reality which it Renders Intelligible; and while it enunciates the whole, abides itself as a living part in that Unity of which it is representative.

    At night, to be honest, a pistol, a condom an a crucifix might each be placed on the bedside table of someone in law enforcement as a matter of convenience, with no great symbolic import attached. But they are each nonetheless highly symbolic items. And the greater the degree to which these three items, when considered as symbols, are “translucent” to the individual resder here, the more astonishing their juztaposition in this image will appear.

    Sunday surprise — naval biology, the sad fact of the matter

    Monday, March 20th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — hilarious, with a hat-tip to Dr Farls — thundering herds of battleships, eh? ]
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