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Sunday surprise — literal rainfall ancient and modern

March 19th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — a DoubleQuote in the arts ]
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Guillaume Apollinaire:

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Il pleut

Il pleut des voix de femmes comme si elles étaient mortes même dans le souvenir
c’est vous aussi qu’il pleut merveilleuses rencontres de ma vie ô gouttelettes
et ces nuages cabrés se prennent à hennir tout un univers de villes auriculaires
écoute s’il pleut tandis que le regret et le dédain pleurent une ancienne musique
écoute tomber les liens qui te retiennent en haut et en bas.

Roger Shattuck, brilliant author of The Banquet Years: The Origins of the Avant-Garde in France) translates:

It’s Raining

It’s raining women’s voices as if they had died even in memory
And it’s raining you as well marvellous encounters of my life O little drops
Those rearing clouds begin to neigh a whole universe of auricular cities
Listen if it rains while regret and disdain weep to an ancient music
Listen to the bonds fall off which hold you above and below

As Edward Hirsch comments at Poetry Foundation:

The slanting lines of Apollinaire’s poem create the sensation of rain running downward across a windowpane. Graphic form and verbal music come together as each long vertical line becomes a rhythmic unit of meaning

— which is itself a verbal / visual DoubleQuote!

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Code running downward..

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This was brought to mind by the magnificent title sequence of the Le Carré thriller The Night Manager:

essentially completing a second DoubleQuote with those falling droplets. those rising bubbles — and there are several filmic equivalents of DoubleQuotes graphic matches aka match cuts — in the sequence itself: bomb cloud > martini, tea cups >machine gun, contrails > pearls..

I’m always happy to see more Le Carré on film..

Pincers on Aung San Suu Kyi

March 15th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — is her non-intervening stance now squeezed between Islamist warriors and peaceable Buddhists? ]
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Aung San Suu Kyi has been mute on the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State, Myanmar, see eg A new wave of atrocities is being committed against Muslims in Burma’s Rakhine state, but I imagine the pressure on her is growing — not just from the military or the bulk of the Buddhist population and many monks — but on the one hand from iolent Islamist jihadists and on the other from peaceable Buddhists elsewhere — exemplified here by Thich Nhat Hanh‘s close disciple Chan Khong..

Peaceable Buddhists — what other kind should there, could there be?

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Sources:

  • Jamestown, Myanmar’s Muslim Insurgency Gaining Prominence With Jihadist Groups
  • Lion’s Roar, Sister Chan Khong implores Aung San Suu Kyi to accept help
  • Talmud for today?

    March 15th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — two brief surface readings in Talmud, with a request for deeper understanding ]
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    As someone brought up with more of a focus on the Beatitudes than the Torah (I know, a huge question with many potential shades of answer opens up when I say that), I was not familiar with this Talmudic aphorism until the drone strikes that killed Anwar al-Awlaki and shortly thereafter his son Abdulrahman brought it to my attention:

    Ha-Ba le-Horgekha Hashkem le-Horgo is a teaching of increasing popularity among Israelis. Taken from the Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 72:1, its most precise translation is: ‘If someone comes to kill you, get up early to kill him first.’

    I imagine it also has relevance to the (presumed) Israeli targeted killing of (eg) Imad Mughniyah..

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    Yesterday I came across a second such Talmudic phrase, based on Genesis 50:

    The sages derived a principle from this text. Mutar le-shanot mipnei ha-shalom: “It is permitted to tell an untruth (literally, “to change” the facts) for the sake of peace.” A white lie is permitted in Jewish law.

    This aphorism may be of interest to bear in mind in the context of Israeli peace negotiations — but more directly (and literally) “it is permitted to change the facts” carries a sidelong resemblance to the concepts of alt-facts & faux news currently infesting our politicians and media…

    Sources:

  • Jewish Quarterly, Kill him first
  • Rabbi Sacks, When is it Permitted to Tell a Lie?
  • ^^

    Knowing the Talmud to be deeper and richer than my own understanding by many orders of magnitude, I’d like to invite commentary on these or other aspects of Talmudic thought that may play, directly or indirectly, into national security issues.

    Irony, much?

    March 14th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — Saudi girl’s council, all male ]
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    I believe this to be an example of the Ouroboros Moebius, or flattened snake twisted and self-biting — the negative or flipped version of the usual self-biter:

    Habitat not limited to Saudi Arabia…

    Source:

  • BBC News, Saudi Arabia launches girls’ council – without any girls
  • Obama explaining Trump’s success in 2008? inter alia

    March 12th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — and why white evangelicals feel Christians are discriminated against ]
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    An Atlantic headline yesterday read: White Evangelicals Believe They Face More Discrimination Than Muslims

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    That headline carried me back to Obama‘s “they cling to guns or religion” remarks —

    You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.

    And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

    — which now seem to me to be eerily prophetic of Trump‘s victory, and Hillary‘s very similar “basket of deplorables” —

    We are living in a volatile political environment. You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?

    The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now how 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric.

    — both of which must make those who feel addressed — many of them “White Evangelicals” — sneered at.

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    If I felt personally slighted by such remarks — and aggrieved by many other small injuries to my faith, monuments carrying the Ten Commandments removed or statues of Baphomet erected to “balance” crosses or crucifixes, for example — I might well answer a question about who faces more discrimination on the basis of that sense that I and my ways are despised — whereas if I am mainline Protestant, Catholic, or unaffiliated, I am less liable to be carrying that sense of personal injury and more likely to answer in terms of the news, in which Muslims (and Jews, why weren’t Jews included in the poll?) are on the receiving end of more overt violence than Christians..

    My explanation for the poll results, then, is that “White Evangelicals” have more to take personally than the other groups polled.

    And Trump’s victory? Doesn’t that Obama quote tell us pretty much all we need to know?


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