17 Aug 2015

“Notes on the Death of Culture”

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Eric Fischl, The Old Man’s Boat and the Old Man’s Dog, 1982. –Our time’s version of The Raft of the Medusa.

John D. Davidson reviews Mario Vargas Llosa’s just-released
Notes on the Death of Culture, a must-read pessimistic essay discussing the West’s rate of decline since 1948 (the year of my birth) and our civilization’s gloomy prospects for the future.

In his 1948 essay, Notes Towards the Definition of Culture, T.S. Eliot argued that the highest levels of culture are only attainable by relatively small groups of people, and that in order for a civilization to sustain high culture a class system of some kind is necessary. Because culture is transmitted primarily through the family and religion—not schools—and because it relies to a large extent on these particular loyalties for its perpetuation, when these institutions fail, “we must expect our culture to deteriorate.”

At the risk of over-simplifying Eliot’s argument, one of his basic contentions sounds rather old-fashioned, perhaps even bigoted by today’s standards, that “we can distinguish between higher and lower cultures; we can distinguish between advance and retrogression.” This notion flies in the face of multiculturalism, not to say the notion of equality. Yet it’s a necessary premise for his assessment of the state of contemporary culture:

    “We can assert with some confidence that our own period is one of decline; that the standards of culture are lower than they were fifty years ago; and that the evidences of this decline are visible in every department of human activity. I see no reason why the decay of culture should not proceed much further, and why we may not even anticipate a period, of some duration, of which it is possible to say that it will have no culture.”

According to Peruvian writer and Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, the culture-less period foreseen 67 years ago by Eliot is the one in which we are all now living.

17 Aug 2015

Iran Nuclear Treaty

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IranTreatyPoster

17 Aug 2015

“We’re From the Government. We’re Here to Help.”

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AnimasCartoon

17 Aug 2015

Viking Battle Axe

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VikingAxe
An iron battle axe of Viking type with its original wooden haft still intact. Circa 10th /11th century in date, it was recovered from the Robe River, Co Mayo, Ireland.

15 Aug 2015

If Other Guys Said What Donald Trump Says…

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Hat tip to Lynn Chu.

15 Aug 2015

BBC Talking Animals Video

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Sometimes vulgar, but funny.

15 Aug 2015

Wedge-Tailed Eagle Nails Drone

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It’s Aquila audax, the largest bird of prey in Australia.
These eagles can have wing spreads of up to 7′ 5″ (2.27 m). Pure death on drones.

Slow-motion video:

Via Ratak Mondosico.

14 Aug 2015

They Had One Job

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Tweet93

14 Aug 2015

“Black and Unarmed”

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MikeBrown1Year

John Hinderaker commemorates the anniversary of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown with a skeptical response to the WaPo’s agitprop story “Black and Unarmed“.

[T]he constant emphasis on police shootings of *unarmed* men that we see in the press is, for the most part, crazy. If you are a perp, or a suspect, or an inoffensive person walking down the street, you may be unarmed, but the police officer is not. Nor, in most cases, will he have any immediate way to know whether you are armed or not. If you attack him, what do you expect him to do? Challenge you to an arm-wrestling match? He is entitled to use deadly force to defend himself. Attacking a police officer rarely ends well. Likewise with fleeing a police officer who is ordering you to stop.

If there is a problem here, it does not demand a thorough revamping of American police practices. Rather, it suggests that those who have influence with a small demographic group–6% of the population, according to the Post–impress upon them that they should not attack police officers under any circumstances, and if told to stop, they should stop. If they put their hands up, they are not going to get shot.

One last note: the Post casually adds that 18 law officers have been shot and killed by a suspect in the line of duty so far this year. No mention of the race of the officers or of the persons who shot them. Race is only relevant in certain highly selective circumstances, when it can be of political benefit to the party favored by newspaper reporters and editors.

——————————-

Larry Elder points out just how racially-slanted the outrage is.

[A]ccording to the Centers for Disease Control, police shootings of blacks are down almost 75 percent over the last 45 years, while police shooting of whites remained level. And never mind that the media engages in selective concern.

Selective concern?

In just the last two weeks, two cops, who happened to be white, were killed by two suspects, who happened to be black. And an unarmed white teen was killed by a cop. …

In South Carolina, an unarmed teenager was shot and killed by a cop. Zachary Hammond, 19, was out on a first date when he was fatally shot by a Seneca police officer during a drug bust. His date, who was eating an ice cream cone at the time of the shooting, was later arrested and charged with possession of 10 grams of marijuana. The shooting is under investigation. But the police claim Hammond was driving his car toward the police officer who was attempting to make the stop, an act that resulted in the officer firing two shots, striking Hammond in the shoulder and torso.

The Hammond family wonders why so little national attention has been focused on their son’s death. “It’s sad, but I think the reason is, unfortunately, the media and our government officials have treated the death of an unarmed white teenager differently than they would have if this were a death of an unarmed black teen,” said Eric Bland, the family’s attorney.

14 Aug 2015

Tweet du Jour

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Tweet92

14 Aug 2015

Tall Tale From the Old West

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MountainRats1876

New Falcon Herald:

Pikes Peak was the scene of a fraud perpetrated in 1876 by John O’Keefe, whose job was to take weather readings on the summit and signal them to the city below.

O’Keefe’s tall tale about rats on the peak’s summit was first printed in the Pueblo Chieftain newspaper. The tale then spread to the Rocky Mountain News, which published an articled entitled “Rodents on the Rampage – an Awful and Almost Incredible Story, a Fight for Life with Rats on Pikes Peak.”

In the Rocky Mountain News story, O’Keefe claimed the top of Pikes Peak was overrun by rats the size of cats that fed on “saccharine gum that percolates through the pores of the rocks.”

The story continues:

    “Since the establishment of the government’s signal station on the summit of the peak, these animals have acquired a voracious appetite for raw and uncooked meat, the scent of which seems to impart to them a ferocity rivaling the fierceness of the starved Siberian wolf.”

O’Keefe claimed that on his first night at the station, he and his wife were attacked by rats and would have been overwhelmed had they not electrocuted them using electrical wire powered by a battery.

When the battle was over, they discovered the rats had eaten their infant daughter, Erin.

O’Keefe claimed he buried all that was left of Erin (her skull) under a pile of rocks with a marker and this inscription, “Erin O’Keefe, daughter of John and Nora O’Keefe, who was eaten by mountain rats in the year 1876.”

The grave became a popular tourist attraction, and O’Keefe charged 50 cents for tourists to have their picture taken at the site.

O’Keefe was eventually revealed as a fraud. He didn’t have a wife or daughter, and probably buried his dead burro under the rocks.

Via Ratak Monodosico.

13 Aug 2015

Déjà Vu

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NKoreaIran

13 Aug 2015

Color Photographs of England in 1928

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BritishSoldierRetired
A retired soldier sells matches on the street in Canterbury, Kent, 1928.

England in 1928.

13 Aug 2015

Not a Disney Movie

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LionDying

Wikipedia tells us that the life expectancy for African lions in the wild is 10-14. The male lion taken by Dr. Walter Palmer recently in Zimbabwe, known as “Cecil” by the media, was 13.

Aged lions do not die in bed in a retirement home surrounded by solicitous animated friends. Bad things happen to aged lions as this photo collection on Clash Daily demonstrates.

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