Archive for February, 2014
23 Feb 2014

1929 Tory Poster

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1929 British Conservative Party Poster from the Bodleian Library Collection.

Hat tip to Walter Olson.

22 Feb 2014

Washington’s Birthday

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“Associate yourself with Men of good Quality if you Esteem your own Reputation; for ’tis better to be alone than in bad Company.”

–From a set of maxims which Washington copied out in his own hand as a boy: “Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation.”

22 Feb 2014

Funniest Story of the Week

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“‘Charles,’ said Cordelia, ‘Modern Art is all bosh, isn’t it?’

“‘Great bosh.’

Brideshead Revisited, (1945) Book 2, Chapter 1.

The Brisbane Times was one of many international newspapers chuckling over an Italian cleaning woman’s natural mistake.

A cleaner at an Italian art gallery has thrown away contemporary artworks valued at $15,000, after mistaking them for a pile of rubbish.

The unnamed cleaner swept up the paper, cardboard and pieces of broken biscuit that had been scattered on the floor of the gallery in the southern town of Bari.

The boss of the cleaning firm said the woman was “just doing her job” and that the company’s insurers would pick up the bill for the damage to the works, which included pieces by Italian artist Nicola Gobbetto and David Jablonowski from Germany. …

“It is clear the cleaning person did not realise she has thrown away two artworks and their value,” he told local press.

The cleaner’s mistake is just the latest in a series of incidents in which museum staff have confused modern art with rubbish.

In 2001, a cleaner at a west London gallery binned a pile of used ashtrays, newspapers and dirty beer bottles, not realising it was a work by notorious British artist Damien Hirst.

Hirst had arranged the junk the previous night at a launch party in a spontaneous installation.

“I didn’t think for a second that it was a work of art – it didn’t look much like art to me,” cleaner Emmanuel Asare reportedly said at the time. “So I cleared it all into bin bags and dumped it.”

In 1999 an installation by Tracey Emin composed of an unmade bed, used condoms and underwear was ruined after museum attendants tidied it up, believing it to have been vandalised.

And a similarly over-zealous cleaner wrecked an installation called Untitled (Bathtub) by German artist Josef Beuys in 1986. The piece, displayed in Dusseldorf, consisted of a dirty bathtub, which the museum worker scrubbed clean.

20 Feb 2014

Academic Freedom Under Question at Elite Universities

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Sandra Y.L. Korn, no liberal she, (who is already contributing to the Nation, as an undergraduate at Harvard) editorialized recently in the Harvard Crimson against academic freedom.

[T]he liberal obsession with “academic freedom” seems a bit misplaced to me. After all, no one ever has “full freedom” in research and publication. Which research proposals receive funding and what papers are accepted for publication are always contingent on political priorities. The words used to articulate a research question can have implications for its outcome. No academic question is ever “free” from political realities. If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals simply in the name of “academic freedom”?

Instead, I would like to propose a more rigorous standard: one of “academic justice.” When an academic community observes research promoting or justifying oppression, it should ensure that this research does not continue.

The power to enforce academic justice comes from students, faculty, and workers organizing together to make our universities look as we want them to do.

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Meanwhile at Swarthmore:

Robert George ‘77 and Cornel West’s [appearance] on Monday, hosted by the Institute for the Liberal Arts, culminated a campus-wide discussion on the meaning of discourse at Swarthmore. The Princeton professors, known for their friendship despite of their strongly opposing viewpoints, intended to build community and discuss questions like “What does it mean to communicate across differences regarding what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong?’”

The event was expected by many to be controversial, with rumors of student-led protest in the form of a boycott of the event or a rally after the collection, but no such protest occurred during the collection. Prior to the event, many students voiced concerns with the College’s choice of speaker in George, who is known for his strong opposition to abortion, stem cell research, and gay marriage. Some queer students attended the event wearing shirts that read “Beneath Human Dignity,” a reference to a George quote in National Review magazine about the New York gay marriage decision in June 2011. Students also created a zine which opposed tolerance of George’s viewpoints, stating that by doing so, we would be “condoning homophobia.”

After the talk, many students expressed dissatisfaction with the event, saying it did not accomplish any meaningful community-building or address substantive issues.

“What really bothered me is, the whole idea is that at a liberal arts college, we need to be hearing a diversity of opinion. I don’t think we should be tolerating [George’s] conservative views because that dominant culture embeds these deep inequalities in our society. We should not be conceding to the dominant culture by saying that the so-called “progressive left” is marginalizing the conservative,” Erin Ching ‘16 said.

Really old people like myself can remember the radical left’s adroit use of the so-called Free Speech Movement at Berkeley in the early 1960s. Allowing outside agitators representing the extreme left to recruit, propagandize, and proselytize on campus was, way back then, a vital issue of “free speech.”

Now, fifty years and a Gramscian long march later, the radical left effectively controls all our elite universities and the discussion of whether there is any real value in free speech, academic freedom, or diversity of opinion is now on the table.

20 Feb 2014

I Need One of These

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Photo from Rafal Heydel-Mankoo of a feature found in the dining booths of Bob Bob Ricard, a posh restaurant featuring Russian & English cuisine in London’s West End.

19 Feb 2014

Lady with Model 1911

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Illustration for a book or magazine story by Dean Cornwell (1892-1960), known in his day as the “Dean of Illustrators.” Cornwell’s work appeared in Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Redbook, and Good Housekeeping magazines, illustrating the work of authors including Pearl S. Buck, Lloyd Douglas, Edna Ferber, Ernest Hemingway, W. Somerset Maugham, and Owen Wister.

I wish I could identify the title this one comes from. I’d like to read it.

Hat tip to Madame Scherzo.

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UPDATE 2/23:

Lucas Machias came through with the ID: The illustration is for Illustration for “$2,000 Reward,” a story by Alma and Paul Ellerbe, published in Cosmopolitan, March 1924.

link 1

link 2

19 Feb 2014

Ukraine Protests

26 photos here

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19 Feb 2014

Winchester Model 12 Versus Ithaca Model 37 Featherweight

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Winchester Model 12

“If an ancient Athenian had to choose between an M12 and an M17-37, he would no doubt have chosen the sexier looking of the two, the Winchester. On the other hand, an ancient Spartan would have grabbed the Remington or Ithaca and shot the Athenian while he oogled the M12. Then the Spartan would have walked off with both guns.”

–Gil Stacy (a commenter of Steve Bodio‘s)


Remington Model 17


Ithaca Model 37

19 Feb 2014

Elite Financial Journalist Crashes Industry Club Party

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Oppressed peasant and champion of the laboring man (despite being himself a highly paid journalist and graduate of Brown) Kevin Roose gate-crashed a financial industry’s private club party at the St. Regis, and was shocked, shocked to find joking about the financial crisis (and cross dressing) going on.

Roose indiscreetly waved his cell phone around, recording songs and monologues, and taking snapshots, until they finally recognized him as an interloper and threw him out.

As I walked through the streets of midtown in my ill-fitting tuxedo, I thought about the implications of what I’d just seen.

The first and most obvious conclusion was that the upper ranks of finance are composed of people who have completely divorced themselves from reality. No self-aware and socially conscious Wall Street executive would have agreed to be part of a group whose tacit mission is to make light of the financial sector’s foibles. Not when those foibles had resulted in real harm to millions of people in the form of foreclosures, wrecked 401(k)s, and a devastating unemployment crisis.

The second thing I realized was that Kappa Beta Phi was, in large part, a fear-based organization. Here were executives who had strong ideas about politics, society, and the work of their colleagues, but who would never have the courage to voice those opinions in a public setting. Their cowardice had reduced them to sniping at their perceived enemies in the form of satirical songs and sketches, among only those people who had been handpicked to share their view of the world. And the idea of a reporter making those views public had caused them to throw a mass temper tantrum.

The last thought I had, and the saddest, was that many of these self-righteous Kappa Beta Phi members had surely been first-year bankers once. And in the 20, 30, or 40 years since, something fundamental about them had changed. Their pursuit of money and power had removed them from the larger world to the sad extent that, now, in the primes of their careers, the only people with whom they could be truly themselves were a handful of other prominent financiers.

Perhaps, I realized, this social isolation is why despite extraordinary evidence to the contrary, one-percenters like Ross keep saying how badly persecuted they are. When you’re a member of the fraternity of money, it can be hard to see past the foie gras to the real world.

Traditional WASP culture, any Ivy League graduate should know perfectly well, is not utterly and completely built around hard work, steady habits, and the Protestant Ethic. It occasionally lapses into self-mockery and carnival.

WASP culture has a recognizable penchant for creating extremely socially exclusive, but purely farcical, tongue-in-cheek “secret” societies devoted to holding occasional banquets featuring abundant alcohol, comedy sketches, and cross dressing.

The Financial Industry’s Kappa Beta Phi is clearly an institution created on the basis of the same impulses, and operating the same way, as San Francisco’s Bohemian Club. Membership in this sort of club is a rare honor, awarded only to persons famous and eminent, but it is also entirely a joke.

You clearly couldn’t have a mock secret society of progressive journalists with its own annual comedy dinner. They take themselves too seriously, and are too poorly informed to be capable of accurately identifying the causes of current events like the great recession. Kevin Roose thinks it was the financial industry’s “foibles,” rather than federal meddling in real estate finance followed by Obamacare, which produced “real harm to millions of people in the form of foreclosures, wrecked 401(k)s, and a devastating unemployment crisis.” He would never get the point of a comedy routine, mocking the failure of the News Industry to properly vet a radical democrat candidate for the presidency.

Hat tip to Tyler Carlisle.

18 Feb 2014

If You Feed Them, They Will Come

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The Japanese have an island devoted to rabbits.

Daily Mail story

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18 Feb 2014

Well-Armed Russian Soldier

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He has a PPSh-41 submachine gun, not one, but 2, Nagant Model 1895 revolvers, three fragmentation grenades and three concussion grenades, plus a belt of 7.62×54mmR cartridges for a not-in-evidence Moison Nagant rifle.

Hat tip to Ratak Mondosico.

18 Feb 2014

You Don’t Actually Have To Run Faster Than the Bear

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Just faster than one other photographer.

From grand.

18 Feb 2014

Some People Simply Aren’t Sheep

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David Frum (the poor man’s Andrew Sullivan), got a good deal of attention for his tweet last weekend: “Hypothesis: the people who most want to carry are the very last people on earth who should be allowed to carry.”

One of the best rejoinders came from David French.

In my experience, those individuals who carry do so because they very consciously do not want to belong to the class of citizens that is inherently helpless — totally reliant upon the state to protect not just themselves but their family, friends, and neighbors. If the choice is between protectors and protected, they choose to be protectors.

This identity is often inseparable from the notion that there is no set of government policies — no utopia — that can eliminate from human society the need for immediate protection. People can and will try to hurt others — using whatever means immediately available — and it strikes us as utterly reckless to be unprepared for this reality.

The protected class has a different view. The protected class is a dependent class — not economically dependent of course, but dependent on the state in perhaps a more fundamental way (for their very lives) – and like members of other dependent classes, they are terrified of flaws in the state’s protective apparatus. Walled off from gun culture, they read the occasional, aberrant story of (legal) gun-owner stupidity or recklessness and cower in fear of a nonexistent threat. (While of course blithely sending their kids off to far more dangerous activities, like swimming in neighbors’ pools or riding in neighbors’ cars).

To the protected class, private ownership of firearms is the flaw in the system that makes them feel vulnerable. It’s the barrier to the safety they crave but can’t provide.

Thus the irreconcilable cultural divide: The very thing that provides security and safety for the gun-owner and his or her family frightens their non-gun-owning friends and neighbors, but the root of the problem is not the gun but the protected person’s very sense of themselves.

Read the whole thing.

18 Feb 2014

Militarized Police: Just Another Epiphenomenon of Liberal Misgovernment

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Dan Greenfield explains that our modern militarized police did not come from nowhere. He argues that machine-gun-carrying cops, riding around in armored personnel carriers, constitutes just one more untoward after-effect of liberal policies.

The police escalation that shows up on countless videos exists because the people demanded it. And the people demanded it because liberal social policies made entire cities unlivable. The militarized police forces out of cities like Los Angeles filtered down to the suburbs and the rural areas as the same policies and populations that made cities unlivable began spreading outward.

The police state, associated with the right, worked in tandem with the social policies of the left, to dull the pain of those policies. That “dulling” has become the new role of conservative politicians in America who manage the disaster instead of rolling it back. The left realized that without the police state, its policies faced a much broader level of rejection so it learned to tolerate the pigs and the man.

Urban areas were still a disaster, but relentless computerized policing reduced crime enough to make it appear that things had improved. The visible crime statistics however were only the symptoms of the problem. The left had been right about that. It was just wrong about the cause. It was the cause all along. Its social policies had created social problems that the police state managed.

Having armed goons patrol the streets made cities viable again. And that brought in the tax base which allowed the left to experiment with more of the same social policies. The Giulianis made it safe for the Bloombergs and then the De Blasios to come back. In the same way Bush’s war policies paved the way for the Obama years by dulling the pain of international terrorism.

Read the whole thing.

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