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Archive for August, 2017

Grief and joy in shoes at mosque and church

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — part for whole, what’s that called, synechdoche in Kabul, Houston ]

Shoes outside places of worship tell two very different tales in these two recent news photos.


The shoes here are those left behind by worshippers who entered the Shiite mosque in Khair Khana area of Kabul, Afghanistan, which was blown up by ISIS. The death toll was 43 as I am writing this.

As day follows night follows day…

Houston, Texas:

This picture is of shoes donated for those in need of them at Joel Osteen‘s Lakewood Church, which had taken something of a PR beating after Osteen said it hadn’t been opened as a shelter because the authorities hadsn’t requested it — whereas many Houston area mosques were openws without any official request begind given.

Buzzfeed reported on the resentment of OSteen that may lie behind the criticisms leveled against him on this occasion:

The speed, tone, and volume of criticisms leveled against Osteen and Lakewood Church speak to the seriousness of the flooding crisis in Houston, but also to a larger powder keg of resentment directed at a particular strain of American Christianity — Osteen’s pro-wealth prosperity gospel, and the larger evangelical movement it’s associated with — that many see as failing to be charitable to people who are truly in need.

That’s worth pondering — the backlash in itself is a significant “marker” in the sociology of American religion.

WWJD? — Matthew 6.19-21, anyone? Where’s Osteen’s treasure?



  • TRTWorld, At least 43 dead in Daesh-led attack on Shia mosque in Kabul
  • Buzzfeed News, The Joel Osteen Fiasco Says A Lot About American Christianity
  • ShiaWaves, Dozens of Houston Area Mosques are 24/7 Shelters without being Asked
  • Okay, Renaissance photography?

    Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — Caravaggio at Berkeley, maybe ]

    So, David Burge has tweeted that this photo looks “like a Renaissance painting of stupid”:


    First, let’s get Karl Popper out of the way: I don’t think that’s a fa;sifiable statement. But does it ring true for me?

    I’d go with Caravaggio, maybe, a bit of a street-brawler himself, who can project himself into the brawl of the arrest of Christ —

    — and notice whose hands, fingers interlaced, are calm amid the hurly-burly,

    Caravaggion himself fled Rome to escape a death penalty for murder, perhaps that’s a pre-requisite for his tenebrist style of painting, perhaps not, who knows? And the photographer? Dare I ask? Apparently the photo credit goes to Marcus Yam/LA Times via Getty Images.


    The photo again, since it may have risen out of screen, out of mind.

    The photographer certainly (my view) has an eye for framing, but that’s largely what photography is all about, isn’t it?

    That slashing diagonal — powerful. Who’s the guy standing, left, a bit detached? Not a Buddhist, I think, in that balaclava. Is that individual. isolated, or the entirety of the clash, what Burge sees as painterly — forget the Renaissance for a while here — ?

    Black-clad anarchists attack conservatives at Berkeley rally runs the headline in the South Chibna Morning Post, and they’d know, right? South China, Northern Cal..

    I’m weary.

    The brush strokes — there are no brushstrokes in photography. Unless you use an app to put them there. Is there a brish stro0kes equivalent? Chiaroscuro — light-dark contrast — arguably, the sun’s too bright for much of that in Berkeley, and the anarchists’ black will have to make up for it. Not so when Christ is arrested — that’s simply dark, and Caravaggion illuminates the players.

    How much light-dark contrast does the headline’s reference to “black-clad anarchists” add to the viewer’s perception of the image? Is it the word “black” or the word “anarchist” that does it?


    Following the news is a complex affair.

    But a lover affair in any case, if that’s your preference, as it is mine — it gets me from Berkeley and stupidity to Caravaggio and Chirst, okay?

    And all the chairs are musical

    Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — two cases of unreal real estate, Moscow & Washington ]



    This I must watch on Netflix

    Monday, August 28th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — continuing in the pesky socratic tradition ]


    Here’s the possible parallelism, d’you dare say it’s a moral equivalence, are the scales even close to equal, or isn’t that the moral point anyway?

    Just a few years after the destruction of European Jewry, the soldier wonders, have we now become oppressors? Have the Arabs now been sent into exile?

    Here’s the whole paragraph:

    In 1949, Yizhar Smilansky, a young Israeli veteran, national legislator, and novelist writing under the pen name S. Yizhar, published “Khirbet Khizeh,” a novella about the destruction of a lightly fictionalized Palestinian village near Ashkelon, some thirty miles south of Tel Aviv. Writing from the point of view of a disillusioned Israeli soldier, Yizhar describes the Army’s capture of the village and the expulsion of its remaining inhabitants. The time is 1948, the moment of Israel’s independence and its subsequent victory over five invading Arab armies that had hoped to erase the fledgling Jewish state from the map. It would be forty years before the New Historians—Benny Morris, Avi Shlaim, and Simha Flapan among them—marshalled the nerve and the documentary evidence required to shatter the myth that hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs had all voluntarily “abandoned” their cities and villages. Yizhar was there to bear witness in real time. He wrote from personal experience; he had been an intelligence officer in the war. In “Khirbet Khizeh,” Yizhar’s protagonist is sickened as he comes across an Arab woman who watches as her home is levelled: “She had suddenly understood, it seemed, that it wasn’t just about waiting under the sycamore tree to hear what the Jews wanted and then to go home, but that her home and her world had come to a full stop, and everything had turned dark and was collapsing; suddenly she had grasped something inconceivable, terrible, incredible, standing directly before her, real and cruel, body to body, and there was no going back.” Just a few years after the destruction of European Jewry, the soldier wonders, have we now become oppressors? Have the Arabs now been sent into exile? And why can’t I bring myself to protest? “Khirbet Khizeh” eventually became part of the Israeli public-school curriculum.


    Source & resource:

  • David Remnick, How Do You Make a TV Show Set in the West Bank?
  • Netflix, Fauda
  • **

    With any luck, I’ll report back at some point. It seems to me that a love of the individual Palestinian should nest within a love of the State of Israel as the circles in the tai chih symbol rest within the swirls of the opposite colors. But what a charged topic!

    A koan!

    What the tweet proclaims..

    Monday, August 28th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — c’mon, WaPo ]

    What the tweet proclaims at time of posting [upper panel].. and what you get when you go there [below]:



  • WaPo, tweet
  • WaPo, article
  • Unified is not duelling: please make up your mind, WaPo.

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