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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...

Friday, June 22, 2012

That Head Gets Around II: Son of the Head

Massive advertising revenue from LoS has allowed me to do two things:  quit my job and hire a research assistant.  Now I spent my days drinking gin and tonics on the verandah while Eduardo combs various media archives for interesting imagery.

Guess what?  He's found a couple more film stills that support the claim that Bush's head on a spike in Game of Thrones occurred because the props department just happened to have a model of his head lying about.

Good work, Eduardo!

The following examples show that the head prop makes brief appearances in Beastmaster and Three's Company.  Wherever will it pop up next?



Sunday, June 17, 2012

That head gets around!

You may have heard about the kerfuffle surrounding the "accidental" use of  George W. Bush's severed head in an episode of HBO's Game of Thrones.  Producers insist they just happened to have one lying around for use in the scene.  I doubted that at first, but now, I'm not so sure.  For you see, the same head has already appeared in another popular film!

Take a look for yourself and let us know what you think:


Did you know?
  
* Oliver Cromwell's head has its own Wikipedia page?  Neither did we. The head had a pretty lively post-mortem history....

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Cannibal Spring

Eschatology by Dummies

I'm a bit late off the mark, sure, but I have a few observations about the so-called "Zombie Apocalypse" which occurred last month as the sun was moving from the house of the fish into that of the twins.  Is this the beginning of The End, marked by the transit of Venus, an event as rare as the earth passing through the tail of a comet?  Are the Mayans in on this?

The Cooked....

April 13.  The seeds of this post were planted after reading the strange and amusing tale of "asexual" Japanese chef Mao Sugiyama who, post-op, seasoned and served up his own "meat and two veg" for five diners at 250 bucks a pop.  Make that four diners, one balked at the last minute.  Sugiyama is a true Iron Chef!  This story appeared in Huff Po on May 24.

April 16.  I'd forgotten about the Brazilian cannibals I read about back when that story first broke and have only just now remembered.  There's not much amusement here, only strangeness.  Two ladies and a fellow lured at least two young women into their home with an ad for a babysitting gig.  They then killed the women and dismembered the bodies, making meat pastries which they sold to the neighbors.  This "cannibal cult" called themselves the "Cartel", perhaps an homage to the cartels to the north in Mexico, where dismemberment and beheadings have become par for the course in the drug-related violence which has claimed lives on the scale of a full-on war.

Calling a cult a cartel isn't so strange.  There's a cartel in Oaxaca called Caballeros Templarios, that is, Knights Templar.  A cult, a cartel, a chivalric order....without pushing things too far, one could say they all share quite a bit of characteristics, including laws of silence....

Concerned with reducing the population, the "Cartel" apparently intended to kill three women a year.  Symbolically significant, perhaps, but not quite enough to reverse exponential population growth.  Another motive was "to purify their souls" according to a police spokesman.  This would not be without precedent.  I've read somewhere that both the Aztecs and some Kali cults practiced cannibalism in order to please or approach their respective gods.  This is my body, this is my blood....

...and the Raw

    May 26.  Whatever amusement I got from the Japanese cook tale was completely absent from the events which went down in Miami.  Unless you've been living under a rock, you've almost certainly read about the "Miami Zombie," which began all this Zombie Apocalypse talk.  A naked Rudy Eugene was shot dead after being ordered to stop eating the face of a naked hobo by the name of Ronald Poppo.  We're told this attack lasted 18 + minutes and cost victim 70% + of his face:  nose, lips, one eye, forehead eaten to the bone.  The attacker is described by friends and family as a nice guy who smoked too much pot and read the Bible.  Obviously that book is a bad influence!  He was suspected of being on drugs, the current theory being "bath salts" after the newspapers suggested cocaine psychosis, then mutant LSD.  Even this is far from certain and apparently, some humanity remained in Eugene, for you see, no flesh was found in his stomach (it pays to wait before blogging).  In other words he spat, not swallowed.

    In an interview with his girlfriend after the attack, the girlfriend said that Eugene was either "drugged or cursed."  She hadn't believed in Voodoo before this incident but after she saw the victim's face, she was a believer.  Eugene, incidentally, was of Haitian descent and of course, the Zombie is associated with Haitian Voudon.

    May 25.  Another cannibal murder. Kenya-born Alexander Kinyua eats a houseguest, 37-year old exchange student Bonsafo Agyeai-Kodie, a Ghanaian.  Police were alerted when the head and hands of the victim were found in a trash bin by Kinyua's brother.  The killer had disposed of the torso and legs near a local church after consuming the victim's brain and heart.

    We've already looked into the significance of the severed head and severed hands, both symbols of power.  In a lighter post, we also discussed the Egyptian misunderstanding of the heart as the seat of intelligence.  Without this specifically Egyptian inspiration, I would propose the dismemberment was in fact a way to disempower the victim both literally and symbolically  (deep, huh?).  Eating the heart and brain might have been a way to ingest something of the victims intelligence and emotions, his character; in this the killing becomes the ritual accompaniment to an act of sympathetic magic.  As we will see, another recent cannibal killer took off the hands and head of his victim.

    The Kinyua killing happened, by the way, in Joppa, Maryland.  Joppa is another name for Jaffa, a port city in current-day Israel with a rich Muslim history (a history the Israeli authorities have done their best to gloss over).  It was also the turf of the Tribe of Dan.  A fitting provenance during the talk of a zombie apocalypse, for it is from this tribe that some Millenialist groups have ascribed the origin of....the Antichrist.

    Kinyua also ranted about death cults and mass human sacrifice and had been kicked out of the ROTC. His past violence and notoriety as a ticking bomb will do little to assuage people's suspicions that this kind of behavior was in fact programmed.

    Waiting for the War

    In some forums I've read, comments imply these cannibal attacks are somehow Barack Obama's fault!  Others don't beat around the bush.  According to one, these attacks are a sign America must cut all immigration (now!) according to a post I can no longer find.  [I swear it's true; I read these comments before I started the post and lost the articles I'd read them in among the welter that followed.  This makes what I've just written unreliable hearsay....]  Indeed the "race war" theme seemed to have gained steam in the wake of the Trevor Martin killing.  Drudge often has headlines about black on white crime, usually about gangs of black youths attacking a lone white or a couple, often with a quote "This is for Trevor".  Of course, these are real events, but it's also a none-too-subtle attempt to stir up fear; I propose Drudge is assembling these incidents on his perpetual front-page in order to create the impression of a pattern whose tempo is increasing, linking these events to the Obama presidency without directly saying it, so that swing voters might be persuaded that a black man in the White House is encouraging this kind of behavior.

    The specter of black mobs and violent uprising is a potent and visceral image, which, as well will see, has already been evoked by at least one mainstream politician--a year ago Mike Huckabee made the connection between Obama and the Mau Mau, for instance.

    Ooh Mau Mau

    A few days after all this cannibal stuff broke I got a message on Facebook:  Happy Madaraka Day.  This was on June 1.  This Kenyan holiday commemorates the day Kenya achieved self-rule.  I thought here of the Mau Mau uprising which preceded independence, grokking at the same moment that Kinyua was himself a Kenyan.  Incidentally, the Mau Mau were primarily from Kenya's largest ethnic group, the Kikuyu; the name Kinyua comes from their language and means "one who drinks".  Presumably, the reference is to water, but for our boy Alexander the thirst seems to have been for blood....

    It is said that:

    "The horrors they [the Mau Mau] practiced included the following: decapitation and general mutilation of civilians, torture before murder, bodies bound up in sacks and dropped in wells, burning the victims alive, gouging out of eyes, splitting open the stomachs of pregnant women."

    The Mau Mau uprising is another event evoked whenever someone wants to drop hints about the "upcoming" race war, and the Mau Mau have been linked to our Antichrist/President by more than Mike Huckabee.  There is some basis for this, in fact:


    Sarah Obama, President Barack Obama's grandfather's wife told him that her husband was imprisoned for six months and tortured before being tried in a British court.

    Thing is, this uprising was primarily "black-on-black" crime.  Only 32 white civilians were killed, the rest of the vicitms blacks and soldiers.  Many of these deaths were spectacularly barbaric.  But the English killed about 10,000 Kenyans supressing the uprising, which adds a little perspective.  The Mau Mau didn't hold a momopoly on savagery; English atrocities are well-documented:

    "[E]lectric shock was widely used, as well as cigarettes and fire. Bottles (often broken), gun barrels, knives, snakes, vermin, and hot eggs were thrust up men's rectums and women's vaginas. The screening teams whipped, shot, burned and mutilated Mau Mau suspects, ostensibly to gather intelligence for military operations and as court evidence."

    Cannibals All

    But let get back to the present.  A man, Chinese exchange student Lin Lun, 33, is reported missing on May 24.  In this case one Luka Magnotta, born Eric Clinton Newman (New Man) films himself murdering the poor fellow.  He masturbates with a severed arm and commits another sex act with the corpse.  He also eats some the victim with a knife and fork, so it's not entirely uncivilized.  Unlike another Clinton, our "new man" Magnotta inhaled.

    He mailed a foot and hand to the HQ's of Canada's major political parties.  The other hand and foot ended up in Vancouver, the nearest city to the series of discoveries of dismembered feet floating in local waterways.  Is Magnotta making a citation here?  Is he trying to plant the idea that he may have been responsible for these killings as well? 

    Earlier on, some papers were reporting that Magnotta claime to have dated notorious killer Karla Homolka.  Her tale involves the abduction, rape and torture and ultimate murder of three female victims.  Now papers suggest this was just another lie by Magnotta, whose very name is false.  (He played a rich porn star online, posing with fast cars and good clothes, but in fact was a bankrupt waiter).  Mythomania and narcissism among his lesser character flaws!

    This initial report of a liaison with Homolka is chilling.  Homolka, you see, did not act alone, but with her husband.  The Canadian feet mystery was first brought to our attention through the theory of the Smiley Face Killings.  This flawed theory suggests that a series of gruesome killing across the nation were carried out by an organized band.  Could the Magnotta/Homolka link be evidence that this is true?  Hey, even if its false, the seed is planted.  A kind of terrorism along the liminal.  Like Kinyua, seekers of signs that something fishy is going on are easy to find...an internet trail of animal cruelty and accusations of necrophilia already had people out for this guy even before he turned his attention to human victims.  An encounter with England's news media alarmed journalists there so much that they called Scotland Yard.

    Magnotta wrote:  “Once you kill and taste blood it’s impossible to stop.”  Another line: “I’ll be back — and this time the victims won’t be animals.”


    Apocalypse Whenever

    Magnotta's story has some parallels with Kinyau's:  both seemed to be mythomaniacs with violent pasts, known to the police.  Their victims were both foreign students.  They both  left a "large online footprint".  Like the Miami cannibal, the attack was captured on film.  Terrorism in the digital age.  Brings all the horror onto your laptop.  (The Brazilian cannibals may have also filmed their crimes).

    As it turns out, Magnotta also frequented white nationalist message boards and penned rather harsh anti-immigrant screeds....and some are questioning whether this was a racially-motivated killing or if the screeds were more of Magnotta's seemingly pathological need to create himself anew online.

    So, these killings are more than rife with weird conspiratorial details which lead us down a variety of rabbit holes.  Anyone looking to construct a conspiracy theory is well-equipped with tantalizing links.  The internet cesspool is a swirling miasma, where the murky waters turn round and round, bits of flotsam floating back into view again and again before going down the memory hole.

    2012 is the new Y2K and we here at LoS marvel at the continued strength of the apocalyptic mindset, how one incoherent book of the Bible continues to exert such force upon the American mind.  Then again, with footage of people killing, dismembering and eating each other so readily available, maybe it's not so difficult to believe that indeed, these are the last of days.

    Monday, June 11, 2012

    Plug-a-lug-lug

     
    Un peu de piston pour mes amies. Si vous êtes à Paris la semaine prochaine, allez-y!

    If yer in Paris next week check this out. Le grand os is run by a good guy and the books he publishes are a high caliber mix of poets of different nationalities and styles, all tending to twist and pick apart their respective native tongues.  He's an excellent poet himself, writing wild, mordant satire that manages to disturb and evoke guffaws at the same time.

    He and his wife also create unique books, works of art with Surrealist influences, especially French and Latin American antecedents.

    But enough blather; this plug'll prolly do zilch to incite attendance, cuz it ain't gwan reach the right ears at the right time no how.

    ****

    Le grand os est au 30e Marché de la poésie place Saint-Sulpice, Paris 6e, 14-17 juin 2012 stand 205-207 jeudi : 14h-22h30 vendredi : 11h30-22h30 samedi : 11h30-22h30 dimanche : 11h30-20h

    retrouvez les nouvelles parutions http://legrandos.blogspot.com

    Sunday, June 10, 2012

    Size matters

    "Kohr principles" is an interesting article (from the NYT's equally interesting "Borderlines" series) about the ideas of Leopold Kohr.  Kohr was a 20th-century academic interested in how the size of countries determines their interaction with other countries.  He proposed various new maps for Europe and North America which he figured would be closer to an ideal setup than what he saw before him.  Wrong or right, it's worth checking out.

    Wikipedia sez:

    Kohr described himself as a "philosophical anarchist." Kohr protested the "cult of bigness" and economic growth and promoted the concept of human scale and small community life....His vision called for a dissolution of centralized political and economic structures in favor of local control.

    From Leopold Kohr's most popular work The Breakdown of Nations:
    [...] there seems to be only one cause behind all forms of social misery: bigness. Oversimplified as this may seem, we shall find the idea more easily acceptable if we consider that bigness, or oversize, is really much more than just a social problem. It appears to be the one and only problem permeating all creation. Whenever something is wrong, something is too big. [...] And if the body of a people becomes diseased with the fever of aggression, brutality, collectivism, or massive idiocy, it is not because it has fallen victim to bad leadership or mental derangement. It is because human beings, so charming as individuals or in small aggregations, have been welded into overconcentrated social units.
    Personally, I found a lot of merit in these ideas....at least insofar as I can see here.  Not having read the man, I can't endorse him wholeheartedly, but he seems to articulate things which I have been thinking about quite a bit over the last few years.

    I think Kohr would agree that "bigness" is an obsession of Imperialist, Fascists....and the kind of Predatory Capitalists that have recently run the global economy into the ground.

    Growth is the key to survival, according to these businessman gamblers....making a profit is no longer good enough.  I can't tell you the number of times over the years that students of mine in management positions have repeated this mantra.  A small company can stay small and survive, but once it gets to a certain size it must grow even more....or die.  And it cannot simply be profitable, it must make more profit every year.  And even more the next, and the next, etc.  It seems self-evident that unemployment, inflation and environmental destruction are the inevitable outgrowths of such a position.

    This article from The Guardian puts it nicely:

    Bigness, predicted Kohr, could only lead to more bigness, for "whatever outgrows certain limits begins to suffer from the irrepressible problem of unmanageable proportions". Beyond those limits it was forced to accumulate more power in order to manage the power it already had. Growth would become cancerous and unstoppable, until there was only one possible endpoint: collapse.

    We have now reached the point that Kohr warned about over half a century ago: the point where "instead of growth serving life, life must now serve growth, perverting the very purpose of existence". Kohr's "crisis of bigness" is upon us and, true to form, we are scrabbling to tackle it with more of the same: closer fiscal unions, tighter global governance, geoengineering schemes, more economic growth. 

    It's all about the coin....European Union had a common currency before a political constitution....a constitution, btw, rejected by the French people in a referendum but then later rammed through parliament.

    Ask Spain, Ireland and Greece how it's all working out for them.

    Too big to fail you say?  Where've we heard that one?  Bigness is not the key to survival.  Whither the dinosaurs whilst the insects live on?