Saturday, September 19, 2020

Podcast: The Reign of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette

Connor at Plotlines and I had a great conversation about Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, HERE.


‘The Evil One Is at Work Here’

 From Crisis:

I don’t see any direct connection on the earthly plane. But the spiritual battle is always the real battle. I performed a minor exorcism at the site of the statue of St. Junípero Serra in Golden Gate Park because statues of holy saints are sacramentals; their destruction is a sacrilege. The Evil One is at work here.

To take something as beautiful and holy as the face of Our Mother and desecrate it? What demons those poor, battered souls must be fighting. In the midst of all our troubles, to be deprived of the Eucharist is both a serious imposition on our rights as Americans and a serious spiritual deprivation. (Read more.)


Victorians and Consumerism

 From Literary Hub:

American domestic life circa 2020 feels far removed from that of the 19th-century Londoner or Liverpudlian. But Victorian notions of décor and comfort crossed the Atlantic and held sway in stateside imaginations and homes long after the age itself had faded into history books and period pieces on TV.

Since then, Victorian material culture has been stamped on the psyches of modern readers and viewers. Its staying power owes a debt to the 19th-century novelists and journalists who documented the era’s tastes and excesses, and to the movie and TV producers who have kept alive those sometimes overheated but rich descriptions.

“Victorian” has persisted as a convenient if imprecise shorthand for a style that’s heavy in every sense. “Victorian decor” invokes curtains-drawn houses where light goes to die and where rooms are filled with furniture dark, heavy, and overstuffed. Victorian rooms, as we imagine them, were temples (or mausoleums) of things, with every surface— mantels, tabletops, shelves, sideboards—obscured by ceramic figurines and keepsakes, and every inch of wall covered with paintings and portraits.

In 19th-century Britain, during Queen Victoria’s rule, industrialization, urbanization, and the expansion of empire, together with an uptick in disposable income, put more objects within reach of more people. Mainstream conventions did not encourage those with means to be minimalists.

The burdens imposed by bourgeois domesticity were not lost on contemporaries. “It is a folly to suppose, when a man amasses a quantity of furniture, that it belongs to him. On the contrary, it is he who belongs to his furniture,” wrote a wag in an 1854 squib on “The Tyranny of Furniture” in the satirical magazine Punch. (Read more.)

Friday, September 18, 2020

The 'Mulan' Scandal


From Live Action:

China is already notorious for its human rights abuses, largely surrounding their population control policies. In recent years, however, the Chinese government has been specifically targeting Uighur Muslims, an ethnic minority group. It’s estimated that over one million Uighurs are being held in concentration camps, where survivors have told horror stories of what people there are forced to endure.

Haaretz investigations found that prisoners have been forced to have their heads shaved and forced to live in small rooms with only a bucket for a toilet. They are also monitored constantly by cameras. Prisoners are subjected to propaganda and re-education, and have been subjected to tortures such as having fingernails pulled out, having skin flayed, and receiving electric shocks in the so-called “black room.” They have been subjected to medical experimentation, with many left infertile, and women have been reportedly raped and forced into abortions. Women in particular have been victims of sadistic sexual violence and torture, including gang rape. Other victims had their organs harvested from them, without anesthesia, while they were still alive. (Read more.)


 From Reason:

The new Mulan movie is facing a barrage of criticism—and promises to boycott—for filming near Chinese concentration camps and then thanking the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for the privilege.

The filma live-action version of the 1998 Disney cartoon by the same name—is based on Chinese folklore about a young woman (Hua Mulan) who pretends to be a boy so that she can fight in her father's place when he is conscripted into the Chinese army. In a sense, it's a tale about cleverness, bravery, and familial love helping to overcome hardships brought about by a violent and overbearing government.

That's makes Disney's filming location—Xinjiang—an extra slap in the face. Xinjiang is where China has been holding Uighurs in concentration camps and subjecting them and other Muslim minorities to horrible human rights abuses.

"The repression of ethnic Uighurs and Kazakhs in the western part of the country has been increasingly brutal and systematic," explained Daniel Drezner at Reason in April. "The erection of a massive network of internment facilities, prisons, and forced labor camps speaks to the regime's ruthlessness and deep illiberalism." (Read more.)


From The Federalist:

First, while the basic storyline remains the same in this movie version, Disney has significantly altered the emphasis of Mulan’s story, from a universal value of self-determination to fidelity to family, and more importantly, unwavering loyalty to the state.

It’s crucial to note that the 1998 animation version of “Mulan” was a worldwide hit — except in China. Beijing initially barred Disney from releasing the animated film within its borders out of spite for another Disney venture, “Kundun,” the 1997 film that told the life of the 14th Dalai Lama. Even though the Dalai Lama gave up on demanding Tibet’s independence from China a long time ago, Beijing labeled him a “traitor” and a “separatist.”

Beijing was also worried about the universal message of self-determination in the animated version of “Mulan,” in fear that people who believe in personal freedom would ultimately demand democracy — the last thing the Chinese Communist Party would allow to take place in China. (Read more.)


Also from The Federalist:

In the new movie, we’re introduced to Mulan as a child with mysterious powers and skills that allow her to do awe-inspiring acrobatics on the roofs of her village. Think Marvel’s “Dr. Strange” as a Disney princess. She has these talents because she is in touch with her Chi, an Eastern concept of energy that permeates the world. But since she’s a girl, her father tells her she must hide her gift. “Chi is for warriors, not daughters,” he tells us.

After Mulan’s aging father is summoned to fight in the Imperial Army, Mulan leaves to take his place, disguising herself as a man. At this point in the animated movie, she’s an awkward but lovable young girl who wants to do what’s right but still doesn’t know what she’s doing. In the remake, she’s a mysteriously skilled warrior who has been forced by social constructs to conceal her identity.

In the original movie, she doesn’t have the brute strength of her male comrades, and has to think creatively to overcome obstacles. When the soldiers have to climb up a post while carrying two weights, she wraps the weights around the post to use as a balance; she doesn’t just beat the men by being stronger. (Read more.)

From The Washington Post:

The most devastating part of “Mulan,” Disney’s much-anticipated live-action remake of the 1998 animated film, isn’t the story. It’s the credits. The film retells the ancient Chinese tale of Hua Mulan, a filial daughter who dresses as a man to join the army, honor her father and save the emperor. While the film engenders pride for China, it does so with a subtle touch: Besides a few mentions of defending the Silk Road, a favorite trading route of Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping, little links it to the modern-day country. The New York Times called it “lightly funny and a little sad, filled with ravishing landscapes.”

But there’s a dark side to those landscapes. Disney filmed “Mulan” in regions across China (among other locations). In the credits, Disney offers a special thanks to more than a dozen Chinese institutions that helped with the film. These include four Chinese Communist Party propaganda departments in the region of Xinjiang as well as the Public Security Bureau of the city of Turpan in the same region — organizations that are facilitating crimes against humanity. It’s sufficiently astonishing that it bears repeating: Disney has thanked four propaganda departments and a public security bureau in Xinjiang, a region in northwest China that is the site of one of the world’s worst human rights abuses happening today.

More than a million Muslims in Xinjiang, mostly of the Uighur minority, have been imprisoned in concentration camps. Some have been released. Countless numbers have died. Forced sterilization campaigns have caused the birth rate in Xinjiang to plummet roughly 24 percent in 2019 — and “imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group” fits within the legally recognized definition of genocide. Disney, in other words, worked with regions where genocide is occurring, and thanked government departments that are helping to carry it out. (Read more.)


The US & Its Constitution Have Two Months Left

 From Paul Craig Roberts:

We have reached the point in the demise of our country that a simple statement of obvious truth is not believable.  

As a number of carefully researched and documented books, some written by insiders, have proved conclusively, the CIA has controlled the prestige American media since 1950.  The American media does not provide news.  It provides the Deep State’s explanations of events.  This ensures that real news does not interfere with the agenda.  

The German journalst, Udo Ulfkotte, wrote a book, Bought Journalism, in which he showed that the CIA also controls the European press.  

To be clear, there are two CIA organizations.  One is an agency that monitors world events and endeavors to provide more or less accurate information to policymakers.  The other is a covert operations agency. This agency assassinates people, including an American president, and overthrows uncooperative governments.  President Truman publicly stated after he was out of office that he made a serious mistake in permitting the covert operations branch of the CIA.  He said that it was an unaccountable government in inself.

President Eisehnower agreed and in his last address to the American people warned of the growing unaccountable power of the military/security complex.

President Kennedy realized the threat and said he was going “to break the CIA into a thousand pieces,” but they killed him first.

It would be easy for the CIA to kill Trump, but the “lone assassin” has been used too many times to be believable.  It is easier to overthrow Trump’s reelection with false accusations as the CIA controlls the American and European media and has many Internet sites pretending to be dissident, a claim that fools insouciant Americans.  Indeed, it is the leftwing that the CIA owns. The rightwing goes along because they think it is patriotic to support the military/security complex. (Read more.)


Reading In Renaissance England

 From The American Conservative:

In the London Review of Books, Irina Dumitrescu writes about reading and language learning in Renaissance England in a review of two books on the subject. The early modern classroom was no safe space. It was loud, multilingual, and bawdy: “Like their Latin analogues in medieval and Renaissance schoolbooks, the sample dialogues in modern language manuals did not shy away from conflict. William Stepney’s Spanish Schoole-master includes a drinking party in which men accuse one another of not imbibing enough. A similar scene in a Latin colloquy written in England six centuries earlier features inebriated monks bullying each other. It seems that textbooks have always recognised the importance of drama and alcohol for language learning.” More:
For the bulk of British history, most pupils who had the comparatively rare opportunity of formal education had to become proficient in Latin as a bare minimum. In the British Isles as in the rest of Europe, most instruction in other subjects took place in Latin. From the early Middle Ages into the Renaissance, skill in Latin was a marker of elite status, as it still is, but it was also of practical use for international travel and communication. It was taught using many of the same techniques employed for modern foreign languages today: singing, lively dialogues, reciting poetry, taking dictation and giving speeches. Pupils learned the language orally, in other words, as well as through grammar and the translation of set phrases. (Read more.)

Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Gardens of Monteviot


From Country Life:

Initially a farmhouse, Monteviot was bought by Lord Lothian’s family in about 1700 and was extended over the following two centuries. The gardens were initially developed in Victorian times by the 9th Marquis, who, foreshadowing the current Marquis, had a political career. He served as Secretary of State for Scotland, 1887–92, but was also a keen orchid collector, indeed, the biggest private collector in Britain at the time.

The gardens as we see them today, however, have only been developed since 1960, when the present Lord Lothian’s parents engaged Cane, a renowned garden designer, to implement the River Garden. Set next to the Rose Garden terrace (which, together with the Herb Garden beside the house, is the oldest part), the River Garden takes the form of a high brick wall, U-shaped in plan, which supports a viewing turret from where one can enjoy the riverside panorama. Extensive mixed borders benefit from the shelter of the walls and one of Lord Lothian’s first tasks was to soften the strictness of these beds. (Read more.)


Skin in the Game

 From American Remnant:

It is difficult to know your family’s part in this history and still conclude that America has been an evil place. It is also hard to believe that your family members who came to America with nothing and spent long years doing demanding, even dangerous work owed what they managed to achieve to “white privilege,” especially when your family had been so “privileged” as to have been been serfs for centuries.

Knowing this history also makes it hard to swallow the notion that Americans should pay any attention to those who don’t have skin in the game. When Joseph Piatak filed a petition to become a naturalized American citizen in February 1917, he renounced all allegiance to his former country and pledged “in good faith to become a citizen of the United States and to permanently reside therein.” And so he did, dying in Cleveland 27 years later without ever once returning to Slovakia.

By contrast, some of the loudest voices presuming to tell Americans how we should vote and what we should think don’t have skin in the game. The Atlantic’s editor, Jeffrey Goldberg, who has turned that venerable magazine into a Never Trump propaganda sheet, is a dual citizen of Israel and the United States. He volunteered to serve in the Israeli military, but not the American military. The Atlantic’s David Frum, a fanatical Never Trumper, is a naturalized American citizen, but he remains a citizen of Canada, where his sister serves in the Canadian Senate. Frum has also forthrightly declared that his vote is determined in large measure by a candidate’s stance on yet another foreign country, Israel.

Both men and their fellow scribblers at the Atlantic are also members of a class that, as a whole, has come to view American jobs as exportable, American workers as replaceable, and Americans who support Trump or who cling to their Bibles and guns or who otherwise engage in practices the readers of the Atlantic cannot fathom as objects of disdain or even hatred. Members of this class are confident that, if America goes south, a pleasant new home will be found among people much like themselves in some foreign metropole in which they have connections or even citizenship. (Read more.)