A police helicopter flying over Glasgow, Scotland last Friday lost control and crashed into the roof of a crowded Irish pub, killing three on board and six customers. An additional 32 persons present in the bar were injured.
Meanwhile, French prosecutors announced today that preliminary charges of “public insult and inciting hate” were filed last month against Bob Dylan for comments made in the course of a Rolling Stone interview last year during which the singer-songwriter discussed race relations in America.
Curiously, the offended parties were the Croats. What Dylan said was:
If you got a slave master or [Klu Klux] Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.
By a curious coincidence, the Republic of France was also awarding Dylan the Legion of Honor around roughly the same time that French prosecutors were indicting him for hate speech.
Theodore Dalrymple reflects, in Taki’s magazine, on the modern state’s law enforcement priorities and their deeper meaning.
A couple of American filmmakers came to Paris to interview me—it always surprises me that anybody would take so much trouble to interview anybody, let alone me—and decided that the little park opposite my flat, with a pretty little bandstand, would be a good place to do so. They set up the camera, but a few seconds later, before they could ask me a single question, a municipal policeman arrived. They were not allowed to film here without a permit from the mairie of the arrondissement, he said. I explained that these were Americans, come all the way from Texas expressly to interview me. He, a very pleasant and polite man of African origin, phoned his chief to see whether an exception could be made. As I suspected, it could not.
I told the film crew that we should make no fuss; the man was only doing his job, silly as that job might be. As it happens there were several drunks in another part of the park making aggressive-sounding noises and breaking bottles, but them he did not approach, perhaps wisely, as they were several and he was only one. He thought he would have more luck with someone wearing a tweed jacket and corduroy trousers as I was. We found a café willing to accommodate us.
The contrast between the authorities’ alacrity on one hand in preventing innocent filming for a matter of a few minutes (the policeman said authorization was necessary because it might cause a disturbance, and, being kind, I refrained from laughing), and on the other their slow response to a nasty incident that might have ended in murder, was emblematic of the modern state’s capacity to get everything exactly the wrong way around, to ascribe importance to trivia and to ignore the important. There are, of course, many more employment opportunities in trivia, since there is much more that is trivial in the world than is important.
France is not unique in this respect, or even the worst example I know. In London I once parked outside a hotel where I proposed to stay. Parking was forbidden outside, but I stopped only to take my baggage inside. I received a parking ticket within sixty seconds, a miracle of efficiency (I genuinely admired it in a way), though it was perfectly obvious from my car’s open doors that I did not propose to stay long and was only taking my luggage into the hotel. But on another occasion when my wife telephoned the police to inform them that youths were committing arson in our front garden before her very eyes, they had no time to attend to it. A more senior officer, however, did find the time a quarter of an hour later to complain to my wife that she had wasted police time by complaining in the first place.
It often seems, then, as if modern state authorities live in a looking-glass world: What normal people regard as important is for them of no importance, while what they regard as of supreme importance normal people regard as of no importance. For them the respectable are suspect and the suspect respectable. A tweed jacket is a sign of menace, while a broken bottle is a sign of harmless intent.
One must not exaggerate the degree to which official idiocy impinges on our lives. The exaggeration of misery is one of the royal roads to political disaster. Still, I have seen the future, and it is idiocy.
For the occasion of the victory parade on the Champs Élysées on 14 July 1919, marking the end of hostilities in World War I, the military command ordered the airmen to participate “on foot” – like the infantry. This was a provocation to the pilots, who regarded themselves as “heroes of the air”. At a meeting in the “Fouquet” bar located on the Champs Élysées, a group of aviators decided to address this affront by selecting one of them to fly through the Arc de Triomphe during the parade. The choice fell on Jean Navarre, who had twelve air victories and was considered to be an ace among the fighter pilots. However, Navarre was killed in a practice flight on 10 July. With 500 flying hours, Charles Godefroy considered himself experienced enough to take over the task, which excited the young aviator. With his close companion, the journalist Jacques Mortane, he inspected the Arc de Triomphe several times to examine the air route and the air currents; then he began to practice at the bridge over the Small Rhône at Miramas.
On 7 August 1919, three weeks after the victory parade, under cover of secrecy and dressed in his warrant officer uniform, Charles Godefroy took off at 7.20 a.m. from the airfield of Villacoublay in a biplane “Nieuport 11 Bébé” (Bébé = baby – because of its low wing span of 24.67 ft / 24’8’’ or 7.52 m). He reached the Porte Maillot shortly thereafter. Coming from the west, he circled the Arc de Triomphe twice and began the approach along the Avenue de la Grande-Armée. He gathered speed and forced the plane down and through the Arc. He did not have much clearance – the width of the Arc is 47.57 ft / 47’6’’ (14.50 m). He passed at a low level over a tram in which passengers threw themselves to the ground, and many passers-by ran away frightened. Godefroy flew over the Place de la Concorde before returning to the airfield, where his mechanic checked over the engine. No one at the airfield had taken any notice of the flight, which had lasted half an hour.
The journalist Jacques Mortane had the whole event filmed and photographed. Articles have been published in many newspapers. The film screening was banned by the Commissioner of Police. Godefroy stayed officially in the background, but his name could not be kept secret for long. The authorities disapproved of the event and were afraid of it being imitated, but Godefroy escaped with only a warning.
A researcher from Paul Sabatier University, Julien Cucherousset, heard from local fisherman that in River Tarn of Southwestern France catfish hunt pigeons in addition to other prey. He and his team set up cameras to capture the amazing predator in action.
A group of catfish in River Tarn are seen swimming close to a flock of pigeons on land. When a catfish gets close enough, it lunges forward to grab the bird’s neck and drag it back to the water to swallow its meal.
“These particular catfish have taken to lunging out of the water, grabbing a pigeon, and then wriggling back into the water to swallow their prey,” the researchers wrote in their study. “In the process, they temporarily strand themselves on land for a few seconds.”
The hunting footage is so fierce that the researcher dubbed the carnivorous catfish as “freshwater killer whales,” after killer whales in Argentina that swim close to shore and snatch sea lions on the beach.
The predatory fish in question are Wels catfish (Silurus galanis). They can grow up to 2.49 m (8 ft 2 in) long and can weigh up to 89 kg (200 lb), so they could potentially go after even larger prey than pigeons.
After strong objections by the Catholic Church which were taken up in the national parliament of Slovakia by the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) and some representatives of the Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) caucus to the elimination of halos from the heads of Sts. Cyril and Methodius and the removal of the image of the cross from the saints’ vestments, the Board of Directors of the National Bank of Slovakia has announced that the halos and crosses will be restored on the 2-Euro coins scheduled to be released in 2013 to commemorate the 1150th Anniversary of the Mission of Cyril and Methodius to the Slavs.
Slovak Spectator reported, however, that restoring those halos might preclude the Slovakian €2 coin being released throughout the European Union.
The NBS [National Bank of Slovakia, country’s central bank – ed. note] Bank Council approved the original proposal of the design, even though it realises that the new approval process may lead to frustrating the original goal of releasing the commemorative coin throughout the 17-nation eurozone,” said spokesperson for the bank Petra Pauerová, as quoted by TASR.
The European Commission earlier stated that the commemorative coin cannot contain crosses and halos in order to observe the principle of religious neutrality in the European Union. Later it was revealed that it was not the EC as such, but certain eurozone members that objected to releasing the coin with religious symbols.
The same paper separately identified the countries who had a problem with Christian saints being depicted with such particularist Christian symbols as halos and crosses/
It was certain eurozone member states that expressed disagreement with the original artistic proposal for a Slovak commemorative coin depicting Saints Cyril and Methodius with crosses and halos set to be released in 2013, Andrej Králik from the Representation of the EU Commission in Slovakia said on Thursday, November 22.
The commission subsequently asked Slovakia to submit a modified proposal, which was later approved by the EU Council, Králik told the TASR newswire. He rejected statements by certain Slovak politicians who said that the case involved a ‘dictate of Brussels’ and ‘high-handedness of officials from the EU Commission’, describing these assertions as untrue and deceptive.
The commission stated that the removal of the religious symbols was due to the need to observe religious neutrality, as set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. German MEP Martin Kastler earlier on Thursday revealed that the countries that had raised objections to the original Slovak proposal were France and Greece
The French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo again has published some cartoon images mocking Islamic religious hypersensitivity, as the Australian Herald Sun reported:
The cover of Charlie Hebdo today shows a Muslim in a wheelchair being pushed by an Orthodox Jew under the title Intouchables 2, referring to an award-winning French film about a poor black man who helps an aristocratic quadriplegic.
Another cartoon on the back page of the weekly magazine shows a naked turbaned Mohammed exposing his posterior to a film director, a scene inspired by a 1963 film starring French film star Brigitte Bardot.
Charlie Hebdo’s website crashed today after being bombarded with comments that ranged from hate mail to approbation.
The magazine is no stranger to controversy over issues relating to Islam.
Last year it published an edition ‘’guest-edited’’ by Prophet Mohammed that it called Sharia Hebdo.
The magazine’s offices in Paris were subsequently fire-bombed.
The government of France responded bravely by announcing the closing of twenty embassies all over the Islamic world.
France announced Wednesday it will close 20 embassies across the Muslim world on Friday after French weekly Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed naked, amid growing unrest over an anti-Islamic film that has left dozens dead.
The French foreign ministry announced Wednesday that France will close 20 of its embassies in Muslim countries this Friday following the publication of controversial Prophet Mohammed cartoons by satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. Major protests in the Muslim world generally take place after Friday prayers.
Charlie Hebdo’s web-site was successfully shut down by denial of service attacks, and its offices were today surrounded by French riot police.
One of my European Facebook friends forwarded a photo of the above piece of jewelry, which I, at least, failed to recognize as Lalique.
My curiosity is strong, so I captured the picture and ran it through a search program (Tineye), thereby identifying its source as Odisea2008.com, a Spanish-language web-site regularly purveying images of art.
(I never actually studied Spanish, but for the convenience of my Anglophone readers, I have combined my own feeble efforts with Google translator to produce a readable (reasonably accurate, I hope) version of Odisea2008’s accompanying text.)
RENÉ LALIQUE, AN ARTISTIC GENIUS
René Lalique was born in 1860 and died in 1945, and lived two successive artistic lives, as he expressed different facets of his personality in two diametrically opposed styles: the Art Nouveau and the later Art Deco.
Basing his inspiration on nature and having had the audacity (for the time) to use the female body as an element of ornamentation, Lalique created some of the most representative jewelry of the Art Nouveau style. His earrings, brooches, tiaras, glasses, combs were original and imaginative works using the most elaborate techniques. He was not afraid to use previously little-used materials, such as horn, ivory, semi-precious stones, enamel and inlaid glass that was combined with gold and precious stones. His originality and talent caused him to be regarded by Emile Gallé as the inventor of modern jewelry.
At the height of his career as a jeweler, Lalique gradually changed direction and became a glazier. His earliest experiments dated back to the 1890s, but his encounter with the perfumer François Coty in 1908 played a decisive role, causing him not only to create produce bottles for the greatest perfumers, but gradually also to add to his productions, boxes, vases, lamps, and so on.
His reputation in the realm of glass was such that his factory at Combs-la-Ville, could not meet the demand, so after the World War, Lalique opened a second manufactury in Alsace at Wingen-sur-Moder, knowing that he could find in this region with a tradition of stained glass production the necessary skilled labor and that he would be able to obtain support from the government which at that time was seeking to establish the region of Alsace and Moselle as “the glass-center of France.”
Glazier of genius and eclectic creator, Lalique was not only interested in the arts of tableware and perfume bottles. He also produced, in the luxury years of the 1920s, equally emblematic designs for car radiator mascots, lighting for trains like the Orient-Express, for passenger ships like the Normandie, and for luxury stores. Lalique also took a special interest in religious architecture for which he produced some extraordinary designs.
After the death of Rene Lalique in 1945, his son Marc succeeded him in directing the company. Imbued with the same passion for the work, he used his technical skills to rebuild and modernize the factory largely destroyed during the war. Abandoning glass in favor of crystal, He exploited the contrast between the transparent and the satin-glazed to achieve the maximum expressivity from this pure material. It was this particular effect which became famous worldwide and was recognized as characterizing the brand “Lalique”. Under his guidance, the company quickly reached the highest position among the great French and foreign glassmakers.
Marie-Claude succeeded her father Marc in 1977, with the intention of combining tradition and renewal, along with the love of natural forms and the capability of reproducing and communicating their essence in objects, that for three generations has marked the creative sensibility of Lalique.
In 2008, the Lalique Company was merged into the Pochet Group of Art and Fragrance Companies and Saint-Germain Finance. The aim of its president and CEO, Silvio Denz is to strengthen the brand name in the world market and to increase its production capacity of glassware. Collections of jewelry and perfume bottles continue to be developed in parallel with traditional stained glass activity. Reissues of old works and contemporary creations are still produced in Wingen-sur-Moder by master glassmakers, where several of the best workers in France perpetuate the cult of excellence.
Dan Freedman has some data on the recent French election that most Americans had not realized.
This is from a friend in France:
Hello to my American friends,
As you know, the Socialist François Hollande won the presidential elections in France, last Sunday.
It is a catastrophe for France.
Hollande was elected by the Muslisms:
a survey (of 10,000 Muslims) shows that 93% of the Muslims voted for him.
As 2 million Muslims participated in this election, Hollande got 1,720,000 Muslim votes more than Sarkozy did: (0.93-0.07) x 2,000,000 = 1,720,000
But at the end, in the whole population, he got only 1,139,316 votes more than Sarkozy.
So, without the Muslims’ votes, Sarkozy would have been re-elected.
All the Muslim criminals feel now empowered.
Criminality is already on the rise (1,700 cars were burnt in France for the first night). Muslims are screaming anti-French and anti-Jews watchwords in our streets.
Veiled women, wearing the illegal burqa, are strolling in our streets.
And, as if this wasn’t enough, Hollande wants to give to all the foreigners the right to vote in our elections!!
France will face a very hard situation. We are heading for civil war in a few years.
That’s the last news from occupied France.
The dinosaur is wearing a “PS” (Parti socialiste) pin in his beret.
Tim Blair offers some quotations as commentary on the French election.
P.J. O’Rourke in 2008:
France is a treasure to mankind. French ideas, French beliefs, and French actions form a sort of loadstone for humanity. Because a moral compass needle needs a butt end. Whatever direction France is pointing in—toward Nazi collaboration, Communism, existentialism, Jerry Lewis movies, or President Sarkozy’s personal life—you can go the other way with a clear conscience.
French voters elected François Hollande as president on Sunday, giving the country a Socialist leader who has pledged to shift the burden of hardship to the rich and resolve the protracted euro-zone sovereign-debt crisis by softening the current prescription of austerity.
Time to haul right and stomp welfare. History is our guide.
UPDATE. Iowahawk: “If white people are so smart, then how do you explain Europe?”
Translation: “One hundred lashes if you don’t die laughing!”
Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical journal, was in 2007 the only publication in France to print the Danish Mohammed cartoons. As a result, Charlie Hebdo was then charged with slandering a group on the basis of religion, but was finally acquitted after a two day trial.
Charlie Hebdotoday intended to commemorate the Islamic victory in the elections in Tunisia by temporarily renaming itself “Sharia Hebdo” and appointing the Prophet Mohammed “guest editor” and putting his portrait again on the cover.
The “Sharia Hebdo” edition had not even appeared yet, when last night the paper’s Paris offices were fire-bombed and its web-site attacked and taken down.
The bravery and readiness to defend the principle of free speech of the American urban elites was promptly demonstrated by Time Magazine’s Bureau chief, the aptly named Bruce Crumley.
Okay, so can we finally stop with the idiotic, divisive, and destructive efforts by “majority sections” of Western nations to bait Muslim members with petulant, futile demonstrations that “they” aren’t going to tell “us” what can and can’t be done in free societies? Because not only are such Islamophobic antics futile and childish, but they also openly beg for the very violent responses from extremists their authors claim to proudly defy in the name of common good. What common good is served by creating more division and anger, and by tempting belligerent reaction?
The difficulty in answering that question is also what’s making it hard to have much sympathy for the French satirical newspaper firebombed this morning, after it published another stupid and totally unnecessary edition mocking Islam. ..
[Y]eah, the violence inflicted upon Charlie Hebdo was outrageous, unacceptable, condemnable, and illegal. But apart from the “illegal” bit, Charlie Hebdo’s current edition is all of the above, too.
All of which leads inevitably to the reflection that objectionable as the bigoted barbarian fanatics who firebombed Charlie Hebdo are, lickspittle cowards, appeasers, and traitors to their own culture and civilization like the invertebrate Mr. Crumbley are even more of a blight on the face of the planet.
Bugger Islam, and bugger bed-wetting liberalism twice.