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Highjacked and hacked

Dear all about six months ago we were highjacked and Word Press did nothing about this. I am still trying to get them to rectify the error and do the right thing by us. How this happened I do not know. But ignore the advertising posts and if we cannot get them to fix it we will start again with a new site and name.

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The Spectacle of the Other

ImageThe Jewish Museum in Berlin has launched new exhibit called The Whole Truth: Everything You Wanted to Know About Jews. An aspect of the show features Jewish men and women taking turns sitting in a display-case answering spectators questions about Jewish life and culture in Germany. According to the museum the purpose of this exhibition is to educate contemporary Germans about what it means to be Jewish in a country that lives in the shadow of genocide.

We find this show an offense against any thinking person of any race, nationality, religion, class, age, gender and sexual orientation! By exhibiting self-proclaimed Jews as if they were circus attractions the museum is reinforcing the stereotypes of the Jew as less than human and the ultimate other.

The exhibit upholds that the German is the normative and positions the Jew as the eternal outsider thus reinforcing one of the most hideous stereotypes. Indeed, the relationship between Germans and Jews is fraught with great anxiety and conflict. Once again the Jew is asked to explain and justify his/her existence.

HOW DARE THEY! Hitler wanted to create a museum of an extinct race once the final solution had been accomplished. How ironic it is that the Jewish Museum of Berlin should present the Jews in Germany as a member of an endangered species who is dependent on the good will of the German people in order for them to exist.

What were the curators of this so called art exhibit thinking? It is a known fact that once you put something on display in a museum its preciousness connotes the end of its natural development–the objet is entombed and frozen in time and space–no longer a danger to anyone. 

Are Jews in Germany so threatening to their neighbors that the only way the German feels safe engaging with a Jew is within the confines of a museum?

What does this say about Germans and Jews today? Has nothing been learned from the horrors of the holocaust? A recent survey by Israeli researches reveals a 30% jump in Anti-Semitism world wide in the last year. Is this exhibit a symptom of the reemergence of the sickness known as Anti-Semitism.

On this the eve of Holocaust Remembrance day (Yom HaShoah) April 7-8 let us view this exhibit as a cautionary tale and hope that we have learned the lessons of the past.  

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil

The Tuned out self!

The Tuned out self!

We know so many people who just don’t want to deal with the messiness of other people and the world at large. Time and again friends telling us, I just can’t deal with this or with that. Sentiments such as these are responses to world events local and global. Instead they seek out!

Now all of us certainly need time off the carousel of life to recharge our often depleted psyches. Nothing wrong with this. However, when outsourcing yourself to another dimension the moment you feel you can’t handle whatever, it truly is a cop-out!

Our brain deadening culture wants us to do this so that nothing ever changes for the better. When we disengage we are allowing those negative forces that are engaged to run the show. If we don’t like what’s going on, we have to show up and work to change it.

We, too, have smart phones, I-pads, I-pods, kindles, nooks and what not at our disposal to use to zone out. But, at some point we have to turn them off  and engaged with reality.

All of us need to get involved and zone in. Use your devises to engage; e-mail your representatives, share with your friends, join groups working for positive change, blog, volunteer and get back into the world.

As yourself, are you doing all you can to make the world more livable for all of us?

The Robotic Self

imagesCADHI070Sitting on a bus we daily observe nearly 2/3rds of the passengers either on their cell phones, IPADS, or plugged into their IPODS and/or playing mindless repetitive games involving killing, speed-racing, or attacking smiley faces. There is hardly any eye contact with other passengers or even the remotest awareness of their surroundings. We are in awe of their ability to know when their stop has been reached.

This culture of dis-association/lack of connection is not restricted to transportation. If you walk down any city block you will find (if you are not plugged in)that the bus experience is duplicated daily as a pedestrian experience. No one seems to be in their bodies hence they do not notice other bodies. These robots expect the non-robots to make way for them. If you don’t you might encounter an enraged, what are you doing in my space?!

A robotic self is an unthinking consuming self. A self that conforms to the authoritarian consumer mandate to buy the latest fad, fashion and widget. We live in a world of apps and absence. We are disappearing as flesh and blood people who have the capacity to relate others and our environment.

Our corporate culture thrives on the robotic self. In fact, our democracy is now defined by our ability to have infinite choices when shopping. Civic responsibility is now all about purchasing power.

We do not think that the founding fathers conceived of our representational democracy as a department store. Unfortunately, since our schools no longer see fit to teach civics or the Constitution much less the Bill of Rights but rather to focus on what’s PC for the moment our children no longer have a clue as what living in a democratic society is all about.

Good citizenship today involves the culture of consumerism. We are trained to be patriotic robots. The more you buy, the more you are told that you are actively supporting the American way of life.

Don’t get us wrong, we like to shop. We don’t like to be told that we must shop in order to preserve our American way of life. When did going to the mall become the epitome of good citizenship?

When is PC–Politically Correct?

When is 'pc' not PC?

When is ‘pc’ not PC?

We live in an age of political correctness. Every statement we make is a potential land mine that can blow up in our faces if we say the wrong thing. This reminds us of an old Abbott and Costello routine wherein Bud and Lou visit a prisoner who on first appearance seems entirely innocent and reasonable. Lou enters the jail cell and begins to converse with the guy. He talks about various things and then all of a sudden the prisoner attacks him. Perplexed, Lou writes this off as a quirk. He goes on to tell the story and once again out of the blue the man attacks him. This goes on for several takes.  By now Lou is a mangled, befuddled, mess not knowing what has triggered this insane behavior. Bud enters the cell and starts talking to the prisoner about Niagara Falls. Again the man goes berserk. The joke is that whenever anyone says Niagara Falls this guy goes nuts. 

We now live in a society where there are so many “Niagara Falls” that who knows when someone is going to go berserk on you because you said the wrong word!

Currently, we viewed the film Zero Dark Thirty. The movie contains many Niagara Falls. Critics from the left and from the right all have weighted in on the political incorrectness of this film. The left complains that it supports torture and the right responds there never was torture just doing what was required for security. The director, Katherine Bigelow was accused of being manipulative and using subliminal messages supporting a policy of human rights violations. The cultural commissars of Hollywood have now condemned her and the film as politically incorrect !

This week another Niagara Falls exploded involving a conference at Brooklyn College about Palestinian/ Israeli issues. From news reports it appears that this teach-in will include the involvement of B.D.S., a multinational lobbying group that calls for divestment, boycott and sanctions against Israel. In addition, the political science department of Brooklyn College has endorsed this so-called conference and teach-in.

The question that jumps out from the page is how can there be an academic conference wherein only one side is represented?  No groups or individuals have been invited to speak for the Israeli position.

Is this a case wherein ‘pc’ is in violation of POLITICAL CORRECTNESS?

Our understanding of political incorrectness involves the exclusion of contesting points of view. So this pseudo teach-in is trying to be so politically correct that it is incorrect!

Our examples of Zero Dark Thirty and Brooklyn College’s “teach-in” are reflections of our culture’s mass confusion of what the second amendment means–the assurance of free speech for all of us. PC SILENCES FREE EXPRESSION! 

 

Abandon Hope, All Who Enter Here – Dante

L'Amour Verite

L’Amour Verite

After months of anticipation we bundled ourselves up on a blustery December day to rush to see what has been hailed by the critics as masterpiece about life, death and everything in between (Manohla Dargis, NYT-12/19/12), Michael Heneke’s Amour.

Unfortunately, what we saw was a sterile, confused meditation on the gates of hell known to the director as illness and old age. For over two hours we entered Heneke’s Inferno. With Cartesian precision he shows us a picture of what old age and illness looks like to two very empty characters. Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva), both former musicians, are initially introduced to us as productive mentors and teachers of music. Their daughter Eva (Isabelle Huppert), also a musician, is presented as the outsider who is continuously intruding upon their insularity.

Anne is afflicted by a sudden stroke at the breakfast table. This leads to a paralysis of her right side and the beginning of the end for her. Her husband, Georges becomes her main caretaker. Once he takes over the film is dominated by Georges’ subjectivity which we believe mirrors the directors’.

Our disappointment and frustration with this critically acclaimed film is as follows: This is a case of the emperor’s new clothes.  The critics have blinded themselves in their rush to embrace this clichéd stereotyped hallucination of illness collapsed into old age. 

Both of us are well over sixty and have loved and lost many loved ones in our lives through hideous illnesses and disabilities including AIDS, Leukemia, Lung Cancer, Alzheimer’s and Heart Attacks. In our collective experience we have never come across anything as bleak, hopeless and claustrophobic as this so called masterpiece.

The film conflates illness and old age as necessary partners on the inevitable journey to the abyss. Where is the amour in this film? Does it rest in Geroges killing of Anne? Or in his exclusion of their daughter from communicating with her mother at any point in the film? Or is it in the lack of friends? Or in knowing Anne’s subjectivity?

We question if there ever was love in their lives? When Anne goes through her photograph album she says, I had a life. She states this with no emotion. The only time she displays emotion is when she says about halfway through the film, I want to die. This only happens when Georges decides it’s the time to do so.

We hope that this film is not the last word on ageing or death! When one of our mother’s was on the edge of death, she was in and out of consciousness. She was taken to a local hospital and put on a gurney while waiting for a room. She suddenly opened her eyes and looked around and said, this is one hell of a lousy hotel! Would there had been such humor and love of life in the final moments of this movie.!

An American Tragedy

AMERICA IS AT WAR WITH ITSELF!

Twenty children and seven female teachers were murdered on a sunny Friday morning in December. The killer, a twenty year old white male decided to  slaughter  innocence. Much like the infamous King Herod who feared the birth of a child who would save the world and that child was Jesus!

This tragedy is of biblical proportions! How many children must be sacrificed to the God know as NRA, our contemporary Moloch  who devours our children?

While still in shock from Newtown Massacre, there is a barrage of yet more violence; 50 shots heard in the parking lot of a mall in California, another psychopath discovered with a cache of 49 guns leveling a threat at another school, and in Alabama three people shot including a 2 year-old toddler.

What is happening here? Do we need gun control? Is our mental health system a failure? Is there a crisis of masculinity? Is it violent video games? Is it the violence in movies and television? Is it economic stress? Is it the failure of parenting? Is it the food supply? Is it the psychotropic medication given to children as early age three? Is it the breakdown of social control?

IS IT THE RESULT OF A WAR CULTURE wherein sanctioned violence is allowed on the battle field?

The Killers who walk among us in everyday life view the world as a battle field. Case in point, one of us while riding the subway was threatened by a very disturbed man when she made a move to get up from her seat, he threatened, if you leave me I will kill you. Fortunately, she fled the train just as the doors shut. This is only one of many such incidents that are experienced daily by countless numbers of people.

We are describing a society in RAGE. If you get in my way I will kill you. No one talks about this. No one addresses this nor is anything effective being done. Anger management programs don’t work because in our machismo culture if you dis me I have the right to kill you.

We are stressed out, atomized and alienated from each other by fear and hatred. What has happened to empathy?

In this season of good will to all, we must begin to look into ourselves and ask how can we bring more light into the world?

Illuminate the Darkness

Illuminate the Darkness

American as Apple Pie!

The Aesthetics of Violence

Just back from seeing the new James Bond film Sky Fall. Very, very arty and not at all like the films that american directors are vomiting onto the screen daily. We are referring to all the smash-em up, shoot-em down, alien vs. cowboys, blood spattered, mindless machine gun, robotic, zombified cartoons that pass for movies.

What makes Sky Fall stunning is that there is a real human interest story, actually multiple stories. The violence is necessary to the plot and not gratuitous. The visuals are spectacular and state of the art. You care about the characters and you are enthralled by the visuals.

Who we object to as the King of Schlock movie-dumb is Quentin Tarantino and his grind house B movie machine which includes Kill Bill–1 and 2–and the obscene Inglorious Bastards.

America is the country that aestheticizes violence from John Wayne to Warhol’s shoot-em up Elvis Presley. Unlike Sky Fall wherein heroes wish that there were alternatives to violence our American characters revel in killing and destruction.

America has a long history of granting a pass to violence in movies no matter how obscene. This is our society’s version of bread and circuses. This keeps our collective minds off the everyday violence. We are becoming desensitized and anesthetized to the brutality around us.

This is as American as Apple Pie!

The Debate Spectacle of 2012

Place your bets

We have endured the ordeal of both the first Presidential debate and the only Vice Presidential debate. Since neither of us make up that vague group called the “undecided voter” the theatrical display of malarkey from both sides of the podium deserve the equivalent of an academy award.

The first Presidential debate garnered an audience of 51.4 million viewers and the Vice Presidential debate attracted over 50 million people.

Who can blame them for watching this spectacle; prerehearsed, confected arguments and explanations that left the viewer more confused than ever.

In many respects these faux debates another form of reality T.V. We do not see very much difference between them and Survivor or the now defunct Lost.

The moderators of these sitcoms couldn’t control their actors. They appeared just as clueless as the debaters.

We drink a toast to Joe Biden. At least, he has emotions and commitment to causes dear to his heart. He isn’t afraid of speaking out of the box. He is a man of integrity, passion and real masculinity. He’s one sexy guy!

Unlike his opponent, who bears a startling resemblance to Eddie Munster and reminds us of an altar boy who is smirking behind the priest’s back.

Mr. Munster is packaged, pomaded, and scripted to say a lot of nothing and mouth a bunch of lies.

Because he is younger and not emotional the media machine has decided that he is the more serious candidate.

When did showing fervor become an occasion for ridicule? What is happening in our culture that we have become so frightened by the display of authentic emotion.

Biden didn’t need an applause sign nor a teleprompter. He spoke from the heart out of years of dedicated public service. Ryan displayed the image of an up and coming corporate executive who was only concerned about the bottom line.

Let’s disregard all the smiles, smirks, frowns, laughing, finger wagging and get to the real issues. Of the two debates Joe Biden displayed the only real political savvy that the voter should take heed from.

When you watch the up-coming Presidential debates be impressed with sincerity and adherence to issues. We want facts and figures not empty delusions.

You gotta have style: comments on Diana Vreeland-The Eye Has To Travel

Confabulating style

You gotta have style!

RUN Do Not Walk to see the fabulous documentary on Diana Vreeland, Empress of Fashion. formidable, brilliant, uncompromising, she made fashion fun.

The documentary chronicles the amazing, adventurous life of an international ORIGINAL  We are treated to interviews with of Manolo Blahnik, Calvin Klein, Diane von Furstenberg, Oscar de la Renta, Yves St. Laurentis, and the inimitable Richard Avedon. similarly we hear from such famous models as Lauren Hutton, Marisa Berenson, Penelope Tree and Veruschka  who attribute their success to Vreeland.

The actress Ali G and British photographer David Bailey weigh in on Vreeland’s persona as perfectionist and slave driver.

We hear from her two sons, her grandsons as to how she was as a mother and grandmother- she certainly was no auntie Mame!

Vreeland championed STYLE. Style is the essence of a person’s individuality. She hated fashion because fashion is conformity. Things go out of fashion and are products of the market place. But style is an expression of you are and who you will be. She found beauty in style no matter how outrageous and transgressive it might be.

When she was the head of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute she launched an exhibit on eighteenth century fashions that would make Elton John drool. From twelve-foot high wigs to risqué decolletage.  This exhibit showed the world how to have fun with confected beauty.

She was a confabulist and understood our need for the imaginary and the fantastic.  Your style is your story and your story changes as does your style.

We live at a time of extreme conformity because everything is about selling. Vreeland lived in a world wherein the craft of style made your presence  known . You style commands attention because you don’t look like everybody else. Vreeland’s message to us is: Get rid of the labels on your clothing, stop advertising for others–

LIVE YOUR STYLE!

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