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A DoubleTweet in which two religious icons confront urban decay

Monday, August 19th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — I spend a fair amount of time showing the ways in which religious extremism across many religions results in violence — it’s my pleasure here to show how simple religious devotion can have a positive impact ]
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This is a very simple example of one positive aspect of religions, plural:

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BTW, anyone who wonders whether Twitter can be worthwhile might take a look at this exchange between scholars of religion, as an example of the simple notion that two minds are better than one.

In this case, I’m grateful both to Judy Silber, who posted How a Buddhist shrine transformed a neighborhood in Oakland, and to Andrew Chesnut, aka Dr. Death & Divinity, for his quick and profound reponse to my original tweet.

On the literary transmission of terror: 1: mirroring Twitter-feeds

Monday, August 5th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — IMO, these paired mass casualty shootings call for mass humility on both sides of the divide — let’s build a corpus callosum for the nation ]
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Let’s just do this with headlines, the El Paso shooter above, the Dayton shooter below:

The moral would appear to be: no matter what “side” you’re on, there may be some folk who take it to an extremist extreme. They may kill for ideas on “your side” — at least in contemporary American politics. I tend to the left, so Crusius is no surprise, but Connor Betts, WTF?

ANd you’ll tell me it’s the opposite way around for some of you — WTF are Crusius and others like him doing?

And BTW, DoubleQuote!

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Okay — Connor Betts:

The Dayton shooting was the 250th mass shooting “event” in the US this year, but its exact motivation is unclear at the time of this writing — the shooter, Connor Betts, who was wearing a bullet-proof vest, killed his sister among others, and had written a “hit list” of girls while at High School at one point — so school issues and family feud are among the possible explanations for his violence, which killed 9 in 26 seconds before he was taken down by police. He was far from a Breivik follower, however. His Twitter page revealed, as reported by Heavy:

Or quoting Heavy again —

[H]e described himself as “he/him / anime fan / metalhead / leftist / i’m going to hell and i’m not coming back.” He wrote on Twitter that he would happily vote for Democrat Elizabeth Warren, praised Satan, was upset about the 2016 presidential election results, and added, “I want socialism, and i’ll not wait for the idiots to finally come round to understanding.”

That’s pretty aggressively [is that the word?] left and male, eh?

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Sources:

  • Heavy, Patrick Crusius: Suspect’s Twitter Page Shows Trump Support
  • Heavy, Connor Betts: Twitter Posts on Being a Leftist, Guns
  • Readings:

  • Politico, What Both Sides Don’t Get About American Gun Culture
  • The Hill, Graham to offer bipartisan ‘red flag’ bill with Trump’s support [added]
  • Border crossing: Mexican folk religion, meet American pop culture

    Monday, August 5th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — this should really be a Sunday Surprise, but you probably won’t see it till Monday, so why not wait and post it in the morning? ]
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    A DoubleTweet killer: The Mexican cult of the skeletal sacred, Mictecacihuatl or Santa Muerte depending what century you’re looking at:

    :

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    Saint Death, to whom one might pray, or Holy Death, which one might pray for, with an implied positive afterlife — Santa Muerte can be translated, or understood, either way, or perhaps better, both.

    The idea that that Titanic ending love-image can be translated into a muerte santa tableau illustrates the imaginative power of the santissima muerte tradition — liebestod, lovedeath, if you love Wagner — or in Hilaire Belloc‘s version of Tristan and Isolde:

    My lords, if you would hear a high tale of love and of death, here is that of Tristan and Queen Iseult; how to their full joy, but to their sorrow also, they loved each other, and how at last they died of that love together upon one day; she by him and he by her.

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    Wagner, Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde, sung by the impressive Nina Stemme, and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by (I believe) my nephew Daniel Harding:

    A Sporting Sunday Surprise

    Sunday, July 14th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — Triptych, DoubleQuote and Single in sports, with a sermon you should really click through and hear, delivered by the inimitable Alan Bannett of Beyond the fringe ]
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    The London Review of Books sends me a weekly email, and this week it offered sporting articles that might be of interest. I can’t access all the articles in question, not being a subscriber, but the sort versions offered in the email provide me with this triptych of sporting paragraphs.. on the theme of suffering..

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    A Broad Grin and a Handstand
    by E.S. Turner, 2004

    The Paris-Madrid road race of 1903 was a wonderfully disgraceful affair. Three hundred cars set out, conferring death and dismemberment along the dust-choked roads south. Six of the drivers were killed outright and nearly twice as many gravely injured. The hospitals were stuffed with mangled sightseers. By the time the surviving drivers reached Bordeaux the race was called off, and in Madrid the garlanded welcome arches were quietly dismantled. City-to-city road racing was now over. However, the dawn of motoring was still one of those dawns in which it was bliss to be alive.

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    Everybody gets popped
    by David Runciman, 2012

    For Tyler Hamilton, as for many of the other leading cyclists, doping did not constitute an unfair advantage. Instead, it was a way of sorting out who was really the toughest. In an extraordinary passage, Hamilton writes that EPO made the sport fairer, because it ‘granted the ability to suffer more; to push yourself farther and harder than you’d ever imagined, in both racing and training’.

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    Bantu in the Bathroom
    by Jacqueline Rose, 2015

    The full citation from Corinthians tattooed on Oscar Pistorius’s upper back reads:

    I do not run like a man running aimlessly;
    I do not fight like a man beating the air;
    I execute each stride with intent;
    I beat my body and make it my slave
    I bring it under my complete subjection
    To keep myself from being disqualified
    After having called others to the contest.

    The line about making my body my slave is not in most translations from Corinthians, nor is subjection described as ‘complete’. Pistorius was raising the stakes. He was also punishing, or even indicting, himself.

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    So much for the Triptych: now, still with sports in mind, for a Twitter DoubleQuote:

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    And finally, for a Single, this delightful sports metaphor in religion quote, also from the LRB offering this morning, and worthy of the Alan Bennett sermon (to die for):

    6/4 he won’t score 20
    by John Sturrock, 2000

    In prelapsarian times, it was only ever a short step from the batting crease to the pulpit, as generations of cricketing vicars used the game that they played heartily, if not usually very well, on Saturday afternoon for a neighbourly source of Sunday metaphors with which to earth a sermon and reassure the congregation that the rules by which a good Anglican was urged to live were really no more arduous than those framed by the MCC.

    Howzzat?

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    Enemy of the people, battle rifles, Nikita Khrushchev too..

    Friday, August 17th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — a cascade from dangerous words to deathly deeds ]
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    There’s this tweet from Donald Trump, and it’s one among several like it:

    Certain media outlets are listed as enemies, which is pretty close to calling them targets..

    Remember Nixon‘s enemies list?

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    Okay, then there’s this tweet, from Alex Jones of InfoWars:

    Let’s give that a little more context — Alex Jones ups the ante:

    We’re under attack and you know that, and you pointed out mainstream media is the enemy.

    But now it’s time to act on the enemy before they do a false flag. I know the Justice Department’s crippled, a bunch of followers and cowards. But there’s groups, there’s grand juries, there’s — you called for it and it’s time politically and economically and judiciously and legally and criminally to move against these people. It’s got to be done now. Get together the people you know aren’t traitors, and aren’t cowards, and aren’t hedging their frickin’ bets like all these other assholes do, and let’s go, let’s do it. Because they’re coming. Now, in your wisdom you may be playing possum and waiting for them to come in. But America needs to know that they’ve got their little pathetic commie red teams ready. And they’ve got their targets picked out: the sheriffs, the judges, the police chiefs, the patriots, the veterans, the talk show hosts, everybody. And everyone’s going to be amazed when they come and when those cowards come and it’s going to hit in the middle of the night, and they’re coming. And they’re coming. And they’re coming.

    They think they can really take down America. And this is it. So, people need to have their battle rifles and everything ready at their bedsides and you got to be ready because the media is so disciplined in their deception. Antifa attacked all these people at the White House, beat up reporters, beat up women, children, no coverage. And they’ve got discipline folks, they’ve got criminal discipline because they’re a bunch of followers.

    I’m suggesting with this DoubleTwweet that Alex Jones is the compulsive “id” of Trump’s repeated attacks on the “faux” media as “the enemy of the people” — essentially putting a target on the backs of those media listed, and their hournalists..

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    In the historical background, almost buried in the hiss of defective memory, we hear the voice of Nikita Khrushchev. As the New Yorker points out:

    Nikita Khrushchev, in his memoirs, observed that Joseph Stalin, his despotic and bloody-minded predecessor, referred to “everyone who didn’t agree with him as an ‘enemy of the people.’”

    And here’s our chance to find out what that phrase, enemy of the people, may lead to:

    “As a result, several hundred thousand honest people perished,” Khrushchev said, underestimating the number of dead from Stalin’s mass repressions by many millions. “Everyone lived in fear in those days. Everyone expected that at any moment there would be a knock on the door in the middle of the night and that knock on the door would prove fatal.”

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    Now that’s a dangerous cascade, don’t you think, from Trump’s identification of certain “enemies of the people” via Alex Jones’ call for regular folks to have their “battle rifles” ready — via Khrushchev’s finding an earlier Russian echo of Trump’s phrase in Stalin’s, to Stalin’s tens of millions dead..

    Take a deep enough breath..

    Synonyms for shiver, the noun:

    tremble, quiver, shake, shudder, quaver, quake, tremor, twitch

    There’s quite a bit of poetry in that list. And..

    Shiver, the verb:

    shake slightly and uncontrollably as a result of being cold, frightened, or excited.

    I’d say that cascade frightens me, with maybe some excitement peering out from behind the fright, just because in it there’s a premonition of conflict.. oh, and fright rhymes with excite..

    Let me let you in on a secret: the poetry may be a distraction from the fright, but if so it’s a welcome distraction.


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