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Ursula K Le Guin and a schooling in magic, mystery

Thursday, August 29th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — the magic of names, the mystery of creation ]
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Let’s begin with Russell Moore, controversial president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:

He’s concerned about deep fake, or more exactly deepfakes, in which AI is used to develop model of people’s faces, which can then be manipulated to “make them” say things the real people wouldn’t say and haven’t said. There’s a fairly well-known TED talk that explains:

The speaker, Supasorn Suwajanakorn, mentions towards the end of his talk that he’s working on software called Reality Defender, while DARPA is running a contest to catch deepfakes and other AI trickery.

Boom!! — we’re in the realm of untruth so subtle it can fool both ear and eye, so we can no longer trust that seeing is believing. Indeed, Charlton Heston’s Moses could no doubt now be persuaded to come down from the mountain and declare:

Thou shalt make unto thee fake images, and any likeness of any person that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth

From a strict Christian perspective this would be blasphemy — but fun from the POV of Dawkins and the antitheists, and entirely feasible from the perspective of digital manipulation of existing video.

And in Russell Moore‘s terms, the fundamental distinction here is between he who is the Truth, the Way and the Life, and that which is the Father of Lies.

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Which brings us to Ursula K Le Guin, and her magnificent work, Wizard of Earthsea. Ursula grew up in the household of her parents: her father, AL Kroeber was of the great wave of anthropologists trained by Franz Boas, while her mother, Theodora Kroeber, was also an anthropologist, celebrated for her 1961 book Ishi in Two Worlds, based on her husband’s curation, around the time of the First World War, of Ishi, the last surviving member of the Californian Yahi tribe.

Le Guin, then, grew up in the household of the UC Berkeley Professor of Anthropology — a household visited by numerous other anthropologists with their tales of shamans and the varieties of magical practice around the world.. Not surprisingly, her vision of magic in Earthsea corresponds with that of many varieties of shamanism..

Here we are dealing with magic as deep truth, or deeptrush, so to speak. And Le Guin‘s definition of magic is to know the true name of all that is.

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Here, it seems to me, we are in the realm of the Prologue to St John’s Gospel:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

with its extraordinary conclusion:

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us

And returning to Le Guin, we find the nature of Word as True Name spelled out in its cosmic glory:

It is no secret. All power is one in source and end, I think. Years and distances, stars and candles, water and wind and wizardry, the craft in a man’s hand and the wisdom in a tree’s root: they all arise together. My name, and yours, and the true name of the sun, or a spring of water, or an unborn child, all are syllables of the great word that is very slowly spoken by the shining of the stars. There is no other power. No other name.

Can we also hear in Le Guin‘s words that therein lies the deepmagic?

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And quoting from that video clip:

He who would be the Sea Master must know the True Name of every drop of water in the sea.

Magic exists in most societies in one way or another. And one of the forms that it exists in a lot of places is, if you know a thing’s True Name, you have power over the thing, or the person. And of course it’s irresistible, because I’m a writer, I use words, and knowing the names of things, is, I do, magic. I do, make up things that didn’t exist before, by naming them. I call it Earthsea — and there it is, it exists!

We’re close, here, to Genesis 1.3:

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

Here, as Tolkien noted, the human creator works within the greater work of creation in which she partakes.

Best ever game-politics metaphor! — 2.0

Wednesday, May 8th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — definitive — I’ve corrected the inset video ]
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Here’s a quick clip from a 1991 news report, refreshed in the news a couple of days ago — IMO, it’s the best ever game-politics metaphor!*****

“I have the best game metaphors, the best — can’t you hear him?

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DoubleQuote!

Buy! Buy! RARE SEALED President Donald Trump VINTAGE Trump Monopoly Collectors Edition:

Metaphoric chyrons 13, the Cohen testimony, continued

Friday, March 1st, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — that same history-making day of congressional testimony from michael cohen— part 2 of 2 ]
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Hardball:

Chyrons:

Steve Kornacki: .. dramatic split-screen when we return

Quotes:

Steve Kornacki: The unbelievable political theater from one Republican on the committee defending the president ..
Noah Rothman: I think in a lot of ways he’s trying to ingrate himself with the anti-Trump left, and he’s been singing the sermons of the Resistance to the hilt ..
42 Tulsi Gabbard: Kim saw what happened in Libya, he saw how we promised Libya’s dictator Gaddafi that if he gave up his nuclear weapons program, that we would not over that throw him. Well, he gave up those weapons, he gavee up that program and we blew him away. And so Kim’s not going to make this mistake..
Jackie Speier: I think we’re getting closer and closer to being able to put all those puzzle pieces together and have a pretty profound picture to show the American people ..

All In, Chris Hayes:

Chyrons:

Quotes:

14 Chris H: It’s a Chinese finger-art type of situation
Cohen: You don’t know him. I do. I sat next to this man for ten years and I watched his back ..
Rick Wilson: It’s the “my black friend” theory, it was cringe-inducing ..
It’s high school drama class ..
Danielle Moodie-Mills: The proximity to power and money — it’s an incredible aphrodisiac, and that’s what we saw today, that’s what Michael Cohen said, don’t be like me ..
Rick Wilson: You know who doesn’t give a damn about high school drama? Southern District of New York, Robert Mueller. The facts that Cohen’s revealing today today are going to be remembered, and known and litigated long after this playtime is over ..
[ 56 visual split screen ]
he doesn’t give you questions, he doesn’t give you orders, he speaks in a code ..
Hayes 58: he doesn’t tell you something,

Rachel Maddow:

Quote:

This is a feast-day for the news gods ..

And that’s it for yesterday, the 27th February, 2019

I have a huge dose of chyrons and a great ouroboros

Saturday, February 9th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — chyrons as news haiku, and various news and docu screengrabs ]
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I’ve described chyrons — those verbal banners in the bottom third or fifth of a TV news screen — as the newsperson’s haiku. Headlines have long served a similar purpose, with their writers, seldom the authors credited with the articles in question, preferring puns to emphasis — puns, the “lowest form of wit” as they are sometimes mistakenly termed, James Joyce qv.

Chyrons, now — shorter than most headlines, and therefore tighter in their demands — are an art-form that sometimes calls forth subtlety and wit. I love them, not least because they’re visual verbals.. combining the eye-catching quality of the visual with the point-making clarity of the verbal — a double hit.

Here, then, from today’s haul of yesterday’s chyrons:

That’s the killer — a major war. Here are two more for context:

And let’s not forget ISIS:

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Here’s a sporting metaphor — I suppose I should say, both literal and figurative?

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Two versions of Roger Stone‘s fight:

And Dems fighting words, with flying without a pilot as a bonus:

CNN for a change, and the tax returns — so many, many fights!

Back to MSNBC:

Comic strip!

And an MRI instance, medicin aat its most inquisitive:

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Okay, a screengrab from the documentary on the Oslo and Otoya terrorist actions by Anders Breivik, 22 JulyBreivik as network cog and Knight Templar:

Oh hell, let’s close with two grabs from another docu, Evil Genius, first episode, the first grab noting the way a scavenger hunt was part of the bank-heist murder:

And the second demonstrating the route the scavenger hunt was designed to take, marked on the map in red — note the arrow at the end of the trail landing up where it had started — a clear and fascinating image of ouroboros:

Too good to miss! And that’s it for now..

One delicious ouroboros and miscellaneous chyrons &c

Friday, January 25th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — all the way through to Roger Stone and a clip from Godfather II ]
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First, in the place of honor, this brilliant sign protesting the government shutdown. Ouroboric in form, simple, succinct, pithy:

That’s a protest haiku, if ever I saw one, in a detail from the original photo.

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And while we’re on the topic of haikus, chyrons — those texts at the foot of TV screens — are the haiku of news media. Here are some I’ve collected recently — I’ll add more here as we go, since adding them in the comments section requires tweeting them so as to have a URL to work with..

As I’ve said elsewhere, that Carter Page, Michael Caputo, Sam Nunberg, Jerome Corsi joint interview by Ari Melber was fantastic television.

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I generally pick chyrons to screengrab for their game or war metaphors, but pithy and witty will get me every time.

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Kelly O’Donnell (immediately above) said memorably, “It’s a sort of dueling banjos of legislation..”

Hey:

Double #FAIL

And now, the Roger Stone indictment, with its movie reference. There have been plenty of pundits an news anchors referencing the Godfather movies, and that “textbook mob tactics” reference from the new chairmen of the Oversight and Intel committees. but AFAIK this is the first such reference from the Mueller team in a court document, and notable as such.

Plus I guess I’ll need to revisit the Godfather series to keep up with current affairs..


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