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Archive for the ‘liminal’ Category

Can you believe it? We’re at Chyrons & metaphors 19

Friday, March 8th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameronnuke is about as fierce a military metaphor as you can use, though bringing on Armageddon may surpass it, while being grilled can’t be nice, eh, Kirstjen Nielsen? — but for unabashed cliché wizardry in the dark arts is hard to beat. And much more ]
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All in With Chris Hayes 3/6/2019:

Harry Littman:

It’s very kind of clock and dagger and ham handed, but just ham handed enough to be potentially a Rudi Giuliani signature move..

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Rachel Maddow:

possession of brains ..

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The Atlantic:

Will John Bolton Bring on Armageddon—Or Stave It Off?

Bolton is a sovereigntist,” John Yoo told me. “He thinks the U.S. should not be bound by international organizations, and we should not be ceding our authority to the United Nations or NAFTA.” After the Cold War, “the U.S. tied itself down with multilateral institutions, primarily run by Europeans, to constrain our freedom of action—to tie down Gulliver.” Every time the United States joins an alliance, or consents to arbitration on equal terms with, say, Latvia or Guinea, one more rope is lashed over Gulliver’s limbs.

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New Yorker:

Morning Joe 3/7/2019

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grilled

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The Atlantic:

California Is at War With the Trump White House
Governor Gavin Newsom called President Trump’s border wall and immigrant bashing “a national disgrace.”

From the moment Donald Trump took office, California has been ground zero for the resistance against him and his administration, in terms of both grassroots citizen activism and legal and administrative action by its Democratic-dominated state government. But since the inauguration of Governor Gavin Newsom in January, the Golden State has often seemed to be in a state of total war with the White House.

At the same time, California’s once-mighty Republican Party—which gave the nation Earl Warren, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan—is at war with itself, and weaker than it’s been in decades. The GOP’s new state-Senate leader was once quoted as suggesting that California’s epic drought was divine punishment for abortion, and last weekend the party elected its first female and first Latina state chair, only after a bitter internecine fight that left its conservative wing enraged.

ground zero, the resistance, a state of total war, at war with itself, divine punishment for abortion, a bitter internecine fight..

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The Atlantic:

A hideous DoubleQuote from Eliot Cohen, Socially Acceptable Anti-Semitism
It is the religion of people too lazy to accept the complexity of reality.

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The Atlantic:

nuke, wizardry in the dark arts

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How to Cheat at Xi Jinping Thought
A newly mandatory app is eating up Chinese workers’ time—so they’re finding ways around it.

The origin of the app has some obvious parallels to Cultural Revolution-era drives to study Mao Zedong’s Little Red Book. For example, the first two characters of the app’s logo are written in Mao’s calligraphic style. Mao once encouraged youths to study hard and make progress every day, while Xi has highlighted several times the importance of study in a digital era of media.

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And this one’s for the liminal, borders and walls collection:

When the Frontier Becomes the Wall
What the border fight means for one of the nation’s most potent, and most violent, myths.

n Election Day, 2018, residents of Nogales, Arizona, began to notice a single row of coiled razor wire growing across the top of the city’s border wall. The barrier has been a stark feature of the town’s urban landscape for more than twenty years, rolling up and over hilltops as it cleaves the American town from its larger, Mexican counterpart. But, in the weeks and months that followed, additional coils were gradually installed along the length of the fence by active-duty troops sent to the border by President Trump, giving residents the sense that they were living inside an occupied city. By February, concertina wire covered the wall from top to bottom, and the Nogales City Council passed a unanimous resolution calling for its removal. Such wire has only one purpose, the resolution declared—to harm or to kill. It is something “only found in a war, prison, or battle setting.”

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Some final notes:

Ali Velshi 3/7/2019:

Jennifer Rubin:

We’re going to see sort of what he does when he’s finally looking at years and years in prison, is he then kind of sober up, and decide well maybe I should be cooperating with these people after all, or does he just at this point go down for the count, and take whatever secrets he has with him..

Hardball:

Malcolm Nance:

I would make it clear there are more chips in the bag of the Special Prosecutor

All In:

Eric Swalwell:

As a former prosecutor, I think you’re seeing a white collar, white-washing sentence here [ .. ]

We learned a lot about the Trump code, that people like Paul Manafort and others know the code, that Donald Trump speaks to them in the code that they’re supposed to talk to him. And when the lawyers saying words that mimic or parrot what Donald Trump is saying, it’s as if the fix is in, and Paul Manafort knows if he just keeps quiet, a pardon is coming his way [ .. ]

I saw someone [DJT] who games the system ..

Rachel Maddow:

That was supposed to be the start of a whole new Paul Manafort, right? Coming clean, pleading guilty, admitting guilt on the charges on which they didn’t retry him, right? At that moment, when he decided to plead and become a cooperator, that was him joining Team USA .. joining Team USA, joining the prosecutors, admitting his guilt .. the cooperation aspect of Paul Manafort’s case is another fascinating curve-ball..

team USA, curve-ball

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And here’s another border and liminality header:

Belfast Shows the Price of Brexit

I took a guided tour of some of the scenes of the Troubles. The tour was led by a former IRA paramilitary, now working with an association of former prisoners partially subsidized by EU funds. A few hundred meters to the north, former Loyalist paramilitaries lead tours on their side of the defensive barrier that still separates predominantly Catholic from predominantly Protestant neighborhoods. The EU helps underwrite those tours, too.

Limina, thresholds, more on spaces-between & their importance

Sunday, March 3rd, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — from one thing to another — and it’s the gaps — the in-betweens — the leaps — the links — the bonds between them that truly matter ]
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Blog-friend Bryan Alexander concludes his blog post Casualties of the future: college closures and queen sacrifices with a clip from Babylon 5. What exactly does that have to do with Admiral McRaven?

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A difference between bricks and bricks

That’s from near the top of Bryan‘s post.

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Bryan, lately of Vermont and now at Georgetown, is our keenest observer of the higher educational future. He coined the term peak higher education in 2013 — like peak oil, but for education, right? — and has been tracking it since then. At some point, he added the notion of queen sacrifice — “A queen sacrifice is when a college or university cuts faculty, especially full-time professors, usually as part of shrinking or ending certain academic programs” — and has made at least sixty posts in which queens are sacrificed, and one on a knight or rook sacrifice? (sports). Bryan‘s latest post is Casualties of the future. In it, he writes:

That academic phase hasn’t been clearly replaced yet. The new phase’s nature isn’t fully evident. Perhaps its outlines will become apparent after several years of change. I’ve speculated on what that next higher education phase might look like here and elsewhere. But for now, let’s consider the present as a moment in between those two phases. That’s our time, right in the midst of a switching period, a liminal space, marked by uncertainty and instability. We’re in a boundary zone.

Okay: a gentleman scholar as wise as he is bearded — and that’s a considerable double-barreled compliment — sees fit to emphasize the liminal in his latest broadside on higher education and its current obsession with cutting arts and humanities programs and various faculty members — ahem, bringing new and far broader meaning, in fact, to the concept of cutting classes. And why?

Why provide a graphic of brick wall(s) unless, somehow, the idea of breaks, gaps, thresholds, borders, leaps, in short the liminal, is of intrinsic importance?

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Picking up on What does it mean to be a Canadian citizen? where we left off in Walls. Christianity & poetry. And nations, identities & borders, with the questions:

Is citizenship a kind of subscription service, to be suspended and resumed as our needs change? Are countries competing service providers, their terms and conditions subject to the ebbs and flows of consumer preference? Edmund Burke long ago articulated an ambitious vision of society as a “partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.” Does any of that still resonate? Or is it a bygone idea of a vanished age, dissolved in a globalized world?

We can consider the cases of women from the US, UK and elsewhere who volunteered for ISIS and now wish to return home.

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Here’s a paragraph to transition us smoothly:

How easy should it be to give up your citizenship? In the era of Oswald, it could be difficult—like joining an especially selective monastic order that turns away aspirants until they kneel in the snow for a few days outside the monastery or consulate’s doors. Now a U.S. citizen can stop being American with a single visit to a consulate. (Most renounce not for ideological reasons but to avoid the complications of living as an American expatriate, subject to dual taxation and bureaucratic requirements far more onerous than for expatriates of almost any other country.)

That’s from Graeme Wood, Don’t Strip ISIS Fighters of Citizenship

See also:

  • Amarnath Amarasingam, Revoking Citizenship of ISIS Members is Not the Answer
  • Dan Byman, The wrong decision on Hoda Muthana
  • That’s a liminal issue, questions of citizenship and borders are liminal. And Bryan is talking liminality when he talks education.

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    Here’s a quick liminal zing from Abigail Tracy, in the title and subtitle of here Atlantic piece:

    I’d have been happy to include this in my chyrons and headers collection, but between the lines is too nicely liminal to miss.

    **

    A limen is a <threshold: it ‘s neither one thing nor the other, it’s in-between. And in-between is a time or state of transition, often tricky — think of the interregnum between the election of a President and his or her Inauguration — and often deeply human — we’re stuck with human nature, every one of us, which as Solzhenitsyn noted has a fault line in it more significant perhaps than even the fissure that separates our left and right cerebral hemispheres. Stunning us, he wrote:

    If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?

    There’s liminality for you.

    **

    Here’s how Bryan ends his post:

    Babylon-5:

    Listen:

    There is a greater darkness than the one we fight. It is the darkness of the soul that has lost its way. The war we fight is not against powers and principalities, it is against chaos and despair. Greater than the death of flesh is the death of hope, the death of dreams. Against this peril we can never surrender. The future is all around us, waiting in moments of transition, to be born in moments of revelation. No one knows the shape of that future, or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain.

    The war we fight is not against powers and principalities — see my earlier post today on spiritual warfare. And The future is all around us, waiting in moments of transition, to be born in moments of revelation — the horror, the blessing of liminality.

    And Admiral McRaven:

    He too deals with the fight against chaos:

    SEAL training is the great equalizer: If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart — and that deep sense of being equalized by sand. tide, and fatigue, brings with it fine-grained humility and profound bonding with ones’ fellows.

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    Victor Turner was the anthropologist who made liminality the corner-stone of his great work, The Ritual Process — see how closely his ideas correspond with McRaven‘s SEAL training. Back in my early post on the topic here on ZP, I wrote:

    Basing his own work on van Gennep‘s account of rites of passage, Turner sees such rites as involving three phases: before, liminal, and after.

  • Before, you’re a civilian, after, you’re a Marine — but during, there’s an extraordinary moment when you’ve lost your civilian privileges, not yet earned your Marine status, and are less than nothing — as the drill sergeant constantly reminds you — and yet feel an intense solidarity with your fellows.
  • Before, you’re a novice, not yet “professed”, after, you’re a monk — but during, you lie prostrate on the paving stones of the abbey nave as you transition into lifelong vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
  • There are two things to note here. One is that liminality is a *humility* device, the other is that is creates a strong sense of bonding which Turner calls *communitas*: in one case, the Marine’s esprit de corps, in the other quite literally a monastic community. Part of what is so fascinating here is the (otherwise not necessarily obvious) insight that humility and community are closely related.

    **

    earlier Zenpundit posts on liminality and borders, among them:

  • Liminality II: the serious part
  • Of border crossings, and the pilgrimage to Arbaeen in Karbala
  • Violence at three borders, naturally it’s a pattern
  • Borders, limina and unity
  • Borders as metaphors and membranes
  • McCabe and Melber, bright lines and fuzzy borders
  • Walls. Christianity & poetry. And nations, identities & borders
  • But go back to that first post, Liminality II: the serious part, and read the whole thing. The story of the USS Topeka, SSN-754 alone is worth the effort..

    Walls. Christianity & poetry. And nations, identities & borders

    Monday, February 25th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — continuing our probing of borders, and liminality, with hints of mirroring and parallelism ]
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    Let’s start with a “borders” video for your consideration:

    That’s worth viewing, though it’s no more the final word on the subject than Robert Frost‘s poem, Mending Wall:

    Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
    That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
    And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
    And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
    The work of hunters is another thing:
    I have come after them and made repair
    Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
    But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
    To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
    No one has seen them made or heard them made,
    But at spring mending-time we find them there.

    Walls here, I’d, suggest, are liminal as forming borders between one part of the neighborhood and another — but those gaps are likewise liminal, separating if you will one section of all from another. As this (minor) reading suggests, the situation is more complex than a simple statement that walls are bad / good.

    Indeed, as here, poetry is often deployed in the service of nuance..

    **

    We’ve had earlier Zenpundit posts on liminality and borders, among them:

  • Of border crossings, and the pilgrimage to Arbaeen in Karbala
  • Violence at three borders, naturally it’s a pattern
  • Borders, limina and unity
  • Borders as metaphors and membranes
  • McCabe and Melber, bright lines and fuzzy borders
  • **

    My interest here is first drawn in by succinctly stated patterns of mirroring and parallelism found in an Atlantic article, What Does It Mean to Be a Canadian Citizen? The first comes from JFK, and may indeed be his most frequently quoted utterance:

    Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country

    That’s the mirroring example.

    The parallel universes example suggested here is no less succinct:

    The time-honored saying “No taxation without representation” does seem to imply, as a corollary, “No representation without taxation.”

    **

    Okay, those are the two quotes that caught my eye for reasons of formal symmetry. The rest of the article, I’d suggest, is extremely interesting for what it says about borders, nationalities and Canada in particular. Here’s one of the writer’s crucial observations:

    About 24 percent of immigrants from Hong Kong return to the territory after acquiring Canadian citizenship, as do 30 percent of immigrants from Taiwan.

    You can see the appeal. Hong Kong’s economy is growing much faster than Canada’s. Its income-tax rates top out at 17 percent. Canada does not tax the foreign-source income of nonresident citizens, in effect creating a geopolitical arbitrage opportunity too attractive to miss: the protections of Canadian nationality at low Hong Kong prices.

    And this, from the concluding para, will give you an idea of the questions the article leaves us with:

    Is citizenship a kind of subscription service, to be suspended and resumed as our needs change? Are countries competing service providers, their terms and conditions subject to the ebbs and flows of consumer preference? Edmund Burke long ago articulated an ambitious vision of society as a “partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.” Does any of that still resonate? Or is it a bygone idea of a vanished age, dissolved in a globalized world?

    It’s snowing metaphoric chyrons 6

    Tuesday, February 19th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — brewing, churning, fighting, lashing out, crush, slam, push back, skewer, walk away, road warrior, hit job, full court press, cage match, power grab, bombshell, wow ]
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    It’s almost a chyron blizzard today, after the calm weekend!

    A Mad Max film ref, perhaps?

    — and the ideal Full Court Press example — I’ve had quotes before, but never a chyron. Excellent!@

    Fast tracking — is that a spooorts term? Not sure:

    A shutdown fight? Okay:

    Best mano a mano.. definitely a trove!

    IO think I had an explosive interview chyron recently — here’s another, just in case:

    And I’ve been tracking arcs, moral and otherwise — trajectories belong in that collection:


    **

    New batch:

    pushback — nothing much:

    power grab — better:

    skewers — excellent

    sparring:

    hmm: — move along:

    lashes out:

    slams as treasonous — that’s quite a hit ~

    **

    Time for a break:

    Judge Jackson and those cross-hairs

    **

    Okay, how about some quotes — not many, this has been chyron season with a vengeance — but a few:

    Robert Costa: Through the churning political waters of the Robert Mueller investigation and everything else that could come ..
    Hardball, we Biden: walk up to the starting gate, and then walk away .. ?
    One thought that comes to mind, Ben, is the bullet that was dodged in Sessions having to recuse himself early on, given the account McCabe gives of Sessions behind the scenes ..
    it was actually the general counsel of the FBI who said That’s a bridge too far, we’re not there yet ..

    **

    Back for some headers and a tweet:

    hm, hit job:

    cage-match is a pretty good one..

    and this one goes to our continuing liminal / borders collection:

    McCabe and Melber, bright lines and fuzzy borders

    Friday, February 15th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — exploring the notion that liminality is the strangeness of borders ]
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    Gadi Schwartz follows the border wall in the dunes where Trump’s prototypes have already failed the test

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    The topic area this post will explorenis that of liminality — one of the more helpful concepts anthropology provides us with — and borders — of considerable interest in terms of our southern border at this time, and closely related to the concept of liminality.

    In case you’re not familiar with liminality, my post Liminality II: the serious part, offers our best introduction to the concept. Trying to put it in brief: liminality is the strangeness of borders.

    **

    McCabe’s lines:

    Let’s start with Andrew McCabe and his forthcoming book The Threat, as excerpted in The Atlantic under the title Every Day Is a New Low in Trump’s White House.

    I’m starting here because McCabe mentions various types of lines — :

    McCabe writes that the President calls him — “It’s Don Trump calling” — on a phone line, unclassified, insecure as it turns out — but although that’s a line connecting two places and two people, it’s not the kind of line I’m interested in.

    He writes of a finish line, which he felt he’d crossed as he left the Capitol after briefing the Gang of Eight with Rod Rosenstein — in a secure SCIF — and that’s closer to my interest, with a quasi-geographical border-line, between the Capitol itself and the Capitol steps — as well as its mental component, a temporal border if you will, the completion of a significant task.

    He writes about “drawing an indelible line around the cases we had opened” during that brief, and the phrase “indelible line” has a definite, even definitive quality to it that’s significantly closer to my interest.

    And then he writes about the moral lines, the ones that really interest me because they’re so clear they’re called bright:

    The president has stepped over bright ethical and moral lines wherever he has encountered them. Every day brings a new low, with the president exposing himself as a deliberate liar who will say whatever he pleases to get whatever he wants.

    There’s no mistaking lines of that sort, they are real moral borders: light is on one side, wrong on the other

    **

    Bright lines and grey areas:

    There are, of course, what are known as grey areas, where the moral lines are not so bright.. and here’s where we can turn to Ari Melber and his special, Live at the Border, on MSNBC yesterday, which deals with a physical, geographical border-line that’s bright and definite — cannot be crossed — in some places, and far less distinct — an irritant in daily life, no more — in others.

    Melber’s Border:

    Some comments made by journos and interviewees in Melber‘s documentary stood out for me because they touched on this liminal nature of borders. It’s one thing to see lines on a map, and quite another to visit the varied landscapes and sociologies across two thousand miles of river, mountains, cities, desert..

    We keep talking about this border like it’s one thing, like its one place, like it’s a national crisis..

    The US southern border with Mexico is two thousand miles from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico: desert, mountains, farmland, cities, concrete, scrub grass, farmland, and a whole lot of sand, and one long river ..

    Texas:

  • The debate over the border and a wall may seem loike politics in Washington DC, but here it’s a way of life ..

  • Here the landscape takes over ..

  • The natural barrier here makes it almost impossible to cross ..
  • New Mexico:

  • The southern border of New Mexico is one of the most [unintelligible] parts of the country ..

  • t stretches across roughly two hundred miles of rugged terrain and barren desert, making it hard to know where the US ends and Mexico begins ..

  • e city of Sunland Park is actually at the point where both the state of New Mexico and the state of Texas meet, but also with the state of Chihuahua which is in Mexico.

  • It’s one region with one culture here, because, you know, I have families that live here in Sunland Park during the week, and on the weekend they go back home to visit their mom, their parents, their aunts, in Mexico ..
  • Arizona:

  • .. the interconnectedness of both sides ..

  • he reality is, the people who live in El Paso are the people who live in Juarez, they’re the same people, a hundred thousand people commute back and forth every day to go to work, to go to school..

  • In the State of Arizona it has 353 miles of border .. so long and varied the stories there are as varied as the terrain

  • This administration is using the desert to kill people and they’re dying from lack of water ..

  • This is Nogales, Arizona, but that’s Nogales, Mexico ..

  • .. it’s the rhetoric behind the border ..
  • California:

  • A massive sea of sand dunes spans the desert ..

  • It would be really hard to build a full-blown wall here, because the sands are constantly shifting throughout the year, but a floating fence, that is a different story ..
  • The issue:

    The wall is not the issue. And the border, this very real stretch of land with people, and families, and businesses, and churches, on both sides of the line, is not the issue. The issue is what this country as a whole looks like, and who gets to call it theirs — which is why the wall will never be built, and always be needed, why the border will never actually be secured but always need to be secured.

    The border is not what we need to secure; what we want is for people to be secure; we want people to feel secure. And that, that’s heart [hard?], and getting there and all that it would mean is something that no amount fencing is ever going to provide..

    **

    Further readings:

    Here are some of the other Zenpundit posts on liminality and borders:

  • Of border crossings, and the pilgrimage to Arbaeen in Karbala
  • Violence at three borders, naturally it’s a pattern
  • Borders, limina and unity
  • Borders as metaphors and membranes

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