Category Archive 'Uncategorized'
20 Sep 2014

Pretentious Hipsters

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Hat tip to Christopher Buckley [Facebook].

20 Sep 2014

Roentgen Royal Desk

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From the workshop of Abraham & David Roentgen, made for King Frederick William II of Prussia.

The clueless ninny writing at Metapicture says:

Watch what it can do and then remember this was all done with hand tools.

Young people who have never been in personal contact with the production of physical objects and who have been brought up to believe in the Whig Theory of History and the notion of Coueist Technological Progress inevitably suppose that machines can do everything better. In reality, if you want real precision, you build it with hand tools.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

20 Sep 2014

Arf! Arf! Timmy’s In the Well!

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TimmysInTheWell

18 Sep 2014

Railroad Disaster

NoSurvivors

There were no survivors.

Hat tip to Graham.

18 Sep 2014

Second Bog Body Discovered in County Meath

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Meath-bog-body

Archaeology:

Utility workers discovered the lower leg bones of an adult in Rossan Bog. “The exact date of the remains is not known at this time but we will be conducting research in the coming months,” archaeologist Maeve Sikora of the National Museum of Ireland told The Irish Examiner. Two years ago, the remains of another adult, dubbed Moydrum Man, were found nearby. Those remains dated to between 700 and 400 B.C. “Every new find helps to bring us closer to understanding the lives and belief systems of our ancestors,” said Raghnall Ó Floinn, director of the National Museum of Ireland.

Irish Archaeology article

18 Sep 2014

On the Couch

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ShrinkwithRabbit

“So, you say her name was Alice?”

Hat tip to Madame Scherzo.

17 Sep 2014

Memento Mori

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RenedeChalon

Displayed in the Saint-Étienne church in Bar-le-Duc, France is the figure of René de Chalon, Prince of Orange. The prince died at the young age of 25 during the siege of Saint-Dizier in 1544.

Rather then memorialize him in the standard hero form, his wife requested (or René himself requested, or possibly both) that he be shown as “not a standard figure but a life-size skeleton with strips of dried skin flapping over a hollow carcass, whose right hand clutches at the empty rib cage while the left hand holds high his heart in a grand gesture.”

Hat tip to Hello, Tailor via Leah Libresco.

17 Sep 2014

Rory McIlroy’s Tee Shot Lands in Spectator’s Pocket

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At the PGA Championship Tour in Atlanta, but he still makes par.

17 Sep 2014

Mystery Object

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From the Staffordshire Hoard.

Wikipedia:

The Staffordshire Hoard is the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver metalwork yet found. Discovered in a field near the village of Hammerwich, near Lichfield, in Staffordshire, England, on 5 July 2009, it consists of over 3,500 items that are nearly all martial in character and contains no objects specific to female uses. The artefacts have tentatively been dated to the 7th or 8th centuries, placing the origin of the items in the time of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia.

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My guess is that it is a handle for some sort of small personal tool or weapon. There is a pommel. The problems with my theory are that the grip shaft is very short and would have to have been made to be held between two fingers and the cup-shaped hilt is very delicate and fragile. Might it be the handle for one of those scrapers for erasing your mistake when you are scribing a manuscript?

Staffordshire Hoard website

More videos of objects from the hoard.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

16 Sep 2014

British Jihadis, the Most Brutal

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isis-killing-foley

Theodore Dalrymple turns his invariably-jaundiced eye in the direction of Britain’s homegrown homicidal Islamist fanatics.

With the downfall of the Soviet Union, Marxism lost almost all of its appeal for hormonally disaffected young men of the West, leaving them bereft of significance and purpose. Except for one group among them, they now had only a potpourri of causes (sexism, racism, the environment, etc.), none of which quite met the need or filled the gap.

The group excepted, of course, was the Muslims. Islam was waiting in the wings with a ready-made ideology. Nature hates a vacuum, especially in young men’s heads, which are all too easily filled with quarter-baked ideas. Islamism is so stupid, so preposterous and intellectually nugatory, and so appallingly catastrophic in its actual effects, that it makes one almost nostalgic for the days of Marxism. At least Marxism had a patina of rationality, and most of its adherents (in the West at any rate), while not averse to violence in the abstract, were willing to postpone the final, extremely violent apocalypse to some future date and did not believe that by blowing themselves up or cutting people’s throats they would ascend directly to the classless society or meet Marx in his pantheon. You could be a martyr in the Marxist cause, but only on the understanding that death was final. The best you could hope for was that, after the final victory of the proletarian revolution, you would have a postage stamp issued in your memory. This does not have quite the same attraction as an everlasting orgy in a cool desert oasis while everyone else is roasting eternally in Gehenna (no bliss is quite complete without someone else’s agony).

The other great advantage of Marxism, from the point of view of national security, was that it was not dominated by ethnic minorities (as Islam is, give or take some converts), so that, however vehement the language of Marxism or its imagined solutions to the world’s problems, its organizations were easy to infiltrate. The observed and the observer shared the same general culture; there was no foreign and unfamiliar tongue to learn; and though it had its jargon, it was easy to master. Moreover, very few young men in the West went off to join Marxist insurgencies around the world or posed a threat to their own countries when they returned. They preferred support in theory to participation in practice, certainly after World War II. Only the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War attracted Marxists to real combat.

But the sheer stupidity of a belief that is incompatible with the most obvious reflections on current reality and on history is, alas, no obstacle to its spread; and Islamism has been able to inspire, if that is quite the word, hundreds or thousands (no one knows exactly how many) of young Muslims from Europe, and a few from North America, to fight for Islamist causes in the Maghreb, the Sahel, the Middle East, and Afghanistan. Among them are thought to be about 700 from Britain, the largest contingent of any Western country. Though France has a Muslim population twice as big as Britain’s, its jihadist contingent is estimated to be about half the size of Britain’s.

The South London accent and intonation of the apparent killer of James Foley, Steven Sotloff, and David Haines, and the manner of the murders, have shocked and horrified people in Britain. Very little is known of the man, not even his ethnic origin: In London, a third of whose population was born abroad, there are so many possibilities, even among Muslims. But his joy in his own brutality, his sadistic delight in doing evil with the excuse that it was for a supposedly holy cause, in inflicting such a death under the illusion that it was a duty rather than a crime, was obvious. His “faith” allowed him to act out the fantasy of every dangerous psychopath dreaming of revenge upon a world that was not good enough for him and that otherwise failed to accord him the special notice or place that he thought he merited.

Read the whole thing.

16 Sep 2014

You Know What They Always Say

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Abyss1
Stephen Hilyard, Dougal, Leysin, 1977.

“Und wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst, blickt der Abgrund auch in dich hinein.”

— Friedrich Nietzsche, Jenseits von Gut und Böse.

Hat tip to Madame Scherzo via Karen L. Myers.

16 Sep 2014

Bring Back the Grizzlies

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SFGirl
Mission Hipster Chick by Wendy MacNaughton

I recently linked a hilarious account of how exactly she was once moved to purchase a $4000 jacket while out of work by Mary H.K. Choi.

That story was so good that I immediately purchased her “How-I-Came-to-My-Senses-and-Got-the-Hell-Out-of-NYC” memoir (published as a quite inexpensive eBook).

It’s only 45 pages, and I got around to reading it last night. I particularly liked her take on San Francisco.

I loathe San Francisco. Sure, it looks like Jurassic Park in places, and the fog layer is enchanting with its plumes and trellises interweaving with the leaves and lichen on the redwoods. But everything else is like if New York’s Gramercy neighborhood got a whole town. On any given night there are way too many ‘going-out shirts’ and the women dress like there was a fire sale at some emporium that only sells clam-diggers and kicky little jackets with ornamental zippers. I have never so frequently witnessed pinstripe and patchwork meeting in the middle as I have on the tragic A-line skirts of Valencia Street. Every man who isn’t contemptibly rich enough to be famous for it reminds me of Matthew Lillard’s pigtail-braided Rollerblader in Hackers. I have never tallied so many ‘Pick-Up Artist’ hats or labret piercings outside of 1996. Fashion is no more than an indication of larger trends. Certain parts of San Francisco are what happens when white people have no natural predators. [emphasis added]

15 Sep 2014

Ayaan Hirsi Ali to Speak at Yale

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Ayaan+Hirsi+Ali+Poster
Hopefully she will be allowed to speak this evening at Yale, but you shouldn’t count on that.

The Muslim Student Association at Yale and 35 other groups signed a letter objecting to Ayan Hirsi Ali being invited to speak at Yale tonight. Truthrevolt.org:

The Muslim Students Association at Yale University has written a letter expressing concern that the William F. Buckley, Jr. Program on campus is hosting women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali to speak about Islam. The Somali-born Hirsi Ali is an outspoken critic of organized religion, specifically Islam, which was used as justification for genital mutilation and attempting forced marriage.

In an email obtained exclusively by TruthRevolt, Abrar Omeish, an MSA board member, asks for campus organizations to stand against Hirsi Ali’s proposed talk. Hirsi Ali is “a speaker who is very well known for her hateful comments towards marginalized groups, especially the Muslim community. It is making many Muslims on campus feel unwelcome and uncomfortable,” she wrote.

“We would like to point out though that her main source of fame – or, rather, infamy – has been her inflammatory comments about Islam and its followers. Not only are these comments hateful, but they are also very hurtful to the Muslim community, particularly to Muslim students at Yale,” she continued.

Through its efforts, the MSA managed to recruit 35 other campus groups and student organizations to stand against Hirsi Ali’s talk because she “is being invited to speak as an authority on Islam despite the fact that she does not hold the credentials to do so.” Hirsi Ali is scheduled to to give a lecture titled “Clash of Civilizations: Islam and the West” on Monday September 15th. …

In the letter, the groups wrote that “The comments Ms. Hirsi Ali has made on Islam have been classified as hate speech and have been considered unprotected libel and slander. She has been condemned for them by national organizations and universities. The Muslim community and its allies are disappointed that our own fellow Yalies would invite such a speaker knowingly and that she would have such a platform in our home.”

Cosigners to the letter include: Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), J Street U, The Arab Students Association (ASA), Women’s Leadership Initative (WLI), The Women’s Center, Asian American Student Alliance (AASA), Black Church at Yale (BCAY), The Slifka Center, Council on Middle Eastern Studies (CMES), and the Yale Atheists, Humanists, and Agnostics (AHA).

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The Yale Daily News reports that Mr. Omeish and the AMA were demanding to limit the topics Hirsi Ali could address and wanted their own speaker included in the program to rebut her remarks.

[Abrar] Omeish ['17] said that the group and their Islamic values uphold freedom of speech.

“The difference here is that it’s hate speech, [which] under the law would be classified as libel or slander and is not protected by the First Amendment. That’s what we’re trying to condemn here.”

After becoming aware of the Buckley Program’s plan to bring Hirsi Ali to campus, Omeish met with [Buckley Program president Rich] Lizardo ['15] last week to discuss Hirsi Ali’s speaking engagement and the MSA’s requests. According to Omeish, the MSA never intended to disinvite Hirsi Ali, but instead requested the invitation of a second speaker with academic credentials on the subject. The MSA also asked that Hirsi Ali’s speech be limited to her personal experience and professional expertise.

But Lizardo responded that the Buckley Program would not adopt the MSA’s requests and would not change the format or content of the lecture.

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David Gelernter (who was persuaded by the Unibomber to become openly conservative) responded yesterday with some nifty sarcasm to the Muslim students’ demands.

Your inspired suggestion, having Official Correctors speak right after Ali to remind students of the authorized view of Muslim society, is the most exciting new development in Free Speech since the Inquisition — everyone will be talking about it! You have written, with great restraint, about “how uncomfortable it will be” for your friends if this woman is allowed to speak. Uncomfortable nothing. The genital mutilation of young girls is downright revolting! Who ever authorized this topic in a speech to innocent Yale undergraduates? Next thing you know, people will be saying that some orthodox Muslim societies are the most cruel and benighted on earth and that Western societies are better than they are (better!) merely because they don’t sexually mutilate young girls! Or force them into polygamous marriages, countenance honor killings, treat women as the property of their male relations, and all that. Can’t they give it a rest? You’d think someone was genitally mutilating them.

We all know that Free Speech doesn’t mean that just anyone can stand up and start spouting. Would you let your dog talk for an hour to a Yale student audience? What’s next, inviting Dick Cheney? Careful study of contemporary documents makes it perfectly clear that when the Bill of Rights mentions Free Speech, it is alluding to Freedom of Speech for the Muslim Students Association at Yale. We all know that true free speech means freedom to shut up, especially if you disagree with your betters. And true free thought means freedom to stop thinking as soon as the official truth is announced by the proper Authorities — and freedom to wait patiently until then.

Read the whole thing.

15 Sep 2014

The Contemporary Hysteric Identified As Nietszche’s Last Man

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DoreAriosto
Gustave Dore, Orlando Furioso

From Slavoj Zizek’s How to Read Lacan:

The problem for the hysteric is how to distinguish what he or she is (his true desire) from what others see and desire in him or her. This brings us to another of Lacan’s formulas, that “man’s desire is the other’s desire.” For Lacan, the fundamental impasse of human desire is that it is the other’s desire in both subjective and objective genitive: desire for the other, desire to be desired by the other, and, especially, desire for what the other desires. Envy and resentment are a constitutive component of human desire, as already Augustin knew it so well – recall the passage from his Confessions, often quoted by Lacan, which describes a baby jealous of his brother sucking the mother’s breast: “I myself have seen and known an infant to be jealous though it could not speak. It became pale, and cast bitter looks on its foster-brother.” Based on this insight, Jean-Pierre Dupuy proposed a convincing critique of John Rawls theory of justice: in the Rawls’ model of a just society, social inequalities are tolerated only insofar as they also help those at the bottom of the social ladder, and insofar as they are not based on inherited hierarchies, but on natural inequalities, which are considered contingent, not merits. What Rawls doesn’t see is how such a society would create conditions for an uncontrolled explosion of resentment: in it, I would know that my lower status is fully justified, and would be deprived of excusing my failure as the result of social injustice.

Rawls proposes a terrifying model of a society in which hierarchy is directly legitimized in natural properties, missing the simple lesson of an anecdote about a Slovene peasant who is told by a good witch: “I will do to you whatever you want, but I warn you, I will do it to your neighbor twice!” The peasant, with a cunning smile, asks her: “Take one of my eyes!” No wonder that even today’s conservatives are ready to endorse Rawls’s notion of justice: in December 2005, David Cameron, the newly elected leader of the British Conservatives, signaled his intention to turn the Conservative Party into a defender of the underprivileged, declaring how “I think the test of all our policies should be: what does it do for the people who have the least, the people on the bottom rung of the ladder.” Even Friedrich Hayek.

Lacan shares with Nietzsche and Freud the idea that justice as equality is founded on envy: the envy of the other who has what we do not have, and who enjoys it. The demand for justice is ultimately the demand that the excessive enjoyment of the other should be curtailed, so that everyone’s access to enjoyment will be equal. The necessary outcome of this demand, of course, is ascetism: since it is not possible to impose equal enjoyment, what one can impose is the equally shared prohibition. However, one should not forget that today, in our allegedly permissive society, this ascetism assumes precisely the form of its opposite, of the generalized injunction “Enjoy!”. We are all under the spell of this injunction, with the outcome that our enjoyment is more hindered than ever – recall the yuppie who combines Narcissistic Self-Fulfillment with utter ascetic discipline of jogging and eating health food. This, perhaps, is what Nietzsche had in mind with his notion of the Last Man – it is only today that we can really discern the contours of the Last Man, in the guise of the predominant hedonistic ascetism. In today’s market, we find a whole series of products deprived of their malignant property: coffee without caffeine, cream without fat, beer without alcohol… and the list goes on. What about virtual sex as sex without sex, the Colin Powell doctrine of warfare with no casualties (on our side, of course) as warfare without warfare, the contemporary redefinition of politics as the art of expert administration as politics without politics, up to today’s tolerant liberal multiculturalism as an experience of Other deprived of its Otherness (the idealized Other who dances fascinating dances and has an ecologically sound holistic approach to reality, while features like wife beating remain out of sight)? Virtual reality simply generalizes this procedure of offering a product deprived of its substance: it provides reality itself deprived of its substance, of the resisting hard kernel of the Real – in the same way decaffeinated coffee smells and tastes like real coffee without being the real one, Virtual Reality is experienced as reality without being one. Everything is permitted, you can enjoy everything – on condition that it is deprived of the substance which makes it dangerous.

Jenny Holzer’s famous truism “Protect me from what I want” renders in a very precise way the fundamental ambiguity of the hysterical position.

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