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Hope Springs Eternal: The Mary Wheeler Interview

Mary and Tim Wheeler, with son Christopher.  Courtesy Mary Wheeler. Prepare yourself(s) for an amazing interview with a largely u...

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Assassin's Creed! Art that Kills! Art Imitates Death!

This is such a Postmodern mind fuck I don't where to even begin.  Picture of Russian ambassador's assassination wins World Press Photo award.  A photograph of an assassination in an art gallery with a photography exhibition entitled "Russia through Turks' eyes."  Russian victim, Turkish assassin.

A photo that looks staged but isn't.

The Tarantino-attired hit-man straight out of Reservoir Dogs yelled “Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria! Step back! Step back! Only death can take me from here.”

The Atlantic lays out some context and the Franz Ferdinand analogy that popped into my head.
It is also difficult not to draw historical parallels to other assassinations that have sparked broader conflagrations; despite the limits of the analogy many drew to the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in June 1914, which led to the First World War, global tensions today are such that seemingly small events could easily escalate, with dire geopolitical consequences. Though Turkish-Russia relations have thawed since the downing of the jet last year—after which, at one point, a poll found Turks viewing Russia as the country’s top threat—thousands of Turks have in recent days protested Russia’s involvement in Syria as the rebel-held enclaves in eastern Aleppo have collapsed.
The pristine white floor under the ambassador's back compared to the painterly strokes of blood around the dead assassin.  Burhan Ozbilici manages to get a perfectly crisp shot of the assassin while he's waving a gun about and yelling at the cowering patrons, but it all gets fuzzy and out of focus when the assassin is dead and no longer a threat.

Which is actually how it kind of works.  I've had a gun pointed in my face and I was as calm as an egg, everything before writ in crystalline clarity, all sharp edges and a purity of thought and action in an almost Zen-like harmony.

And then, when it was over, at the next red light, hands trembling, confusion, fear, a wellspring of emotion.

But this is old news now, just wanted to get a few random thoughts out there into the ether.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

C'mon Get Happy

Back in December I put up a few links to stories about and pages made by The Partridge Family Temple.  I didn't comment because to be honest, the group befuddles me entirely.  But I think I love them.

Dangerous Minds has now put up an article and asks a very sensible question:

But it’s really just a bunch of quasi-evil 90s vintage hipsters fucking with you. Clearly, it’s satire, but what’s the joke? That religion and TV are the same thing? It’s a lot easier to just say that. You don’t need to invest 20 years into a fake cult for that.
First of all, I'm not entirely sure it's satire or "fake."  I don't know what it is though, hence my initial reluctance to comment.

One day, Martha, I'll share the story about how a "fake" fraternity I co-founded circa 1990 ended up on the FBI's radar in connection with the so-called "Gainesville Murders".  Relax, they caught the guy and executed him in 2006.

But it just goes to show that a befuddling joke with a hard edge can make people think and say all sorts of things.  Sometimes when people are puzzled, they get hostile, especially when people think you're laughing at them.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Diese Stiefel wurden zum Gehen gemacht

A Southern California footwear company has recalled a pair of its boots after a Redditor posted a picture on Imgur of the footprint they leave: a mandorla in glory, with a lucky seven swastikas inside.  A surprise to be sure.

The Redditor writes "There was an angle I didn't get to see when ordering my new work boots...."

Conal International Trading Co., the manufacturer, issued an apology and stated the swastikas are completely unintentional, blaming their Chinese manufacturer for the mistake.

One Redditor countered "The soles don't look that much like swastikas, but the prints are unmistakable and whoever made the soles would have understood that."

That actually might be true.  In many Asian cultures, the swastika still signifies good fortune, which was how it was used in the West for decades until the Third Reich tainted it until now and probably for a long time to come.  Until WW2, it was used on everything from Scout badges to Coca-Cola mementos.  It has been used for centuries as a religious symbol, even on synagogues.

Neo-Nazi site The Daily Stormer called them a "Perfect footwear for Nazis....wanting to leave a good impression."  Hyuk hyuk.  Stern, a German magazine, notes that the boot's name Polar Fox -- Polarfuchs -- was an operation in WW2 in which German and Finnish soldiers captured a town in Finland from the Soviet Union.

If the Chinese maker of these boots did this on purpose or by accident, it wouldn't be the first time something like this has slipped through the cracks.  

Back in 2014 a German discount shop sold Chinese-made coffee mugs that featured flowers and....a portrait of Hitler.  Not to be outdone, Migros, a brand of Swiss coffee creamer, sold little doses of cream with a foil lid featuring the man, based on a cigar band.  The creamer company was mortified and issued an apology, but the third-party designer, Karo Shipping, didn't really understand the fuss.  Miglos severed their relationship.

In India, the use of Hitler is intentional.  Perhaps after a day of shopping for clothes at "Hitler" and Having a meal at "Hitler's Cross", you can have a "Hitler" Ice Cream, then go home for an episode of Hitler Didi or go to the movies and see Hitler Hero in Love.  Expat pedophiles need not worry either, because in Bangkok you can go to "Hitler" for a bucket of chicken.

Sometimes, like with Michael Graves' tea kettle said to look like Hitler, the resemblance is a bit of a stretch, as if people are out there looking to get offended, or just be silly.  But the kettle does, oddly enough, when seen from a certain angle, resemble Hitler. 

Then there those cases somewhere in-between.  When Trump was still but a long-shot waggling his tiny orange hands about, were the SS soldiers on one of his (hashtag) Make America Great Again tweets a gaffe, or was he trying to tell us something?  (and yes, I actually do think it was an error).  I guess we'll see; only 5 short days until the piss hits the fan.  Some people say not to worry, Trump's just playing to the crowd.  But watch out where them Polar Foxes go, and don't you eat that yellow snow....

Hitler and Nazi-related imagery seem to have popped up unexpectedly on products quite a bit recently.  It's as if the universe is telling us to examine what we buy closely.  You buy a coffee mug and you end up staring at Hitler every morning.

P.S.  Just to clarify what we're on about, here's the stock photo of some re-enactors in WW2 German uniforms that some witless (or very cheeky) graphic designer used in the offending Tweet.  And no, I don't think Trump did it on purpose.  I implied he's crazy like a fox, not stupid.  He could have vetted his propaganda better though  We originally posted on this here.