April 2008 Archives
Marshall McLuhan observed that new media initially adopt old forms, such as TV showing stage plays and symphonies or web pages mimicking paper. Above: a Baptist church on wheels, complete with a twelve-foot high belfrey.
I wonder if any of these still survive?
Religions have used beehive imagery for centuries--no surprise, really, given the organic resonance between spiritual community and self-organization. From Serbia comes news of a beekeeper who has taken things full circle:
A religious beekeeper in Serbia has started making beehives shaped like tiny monasteries and churches "because bees have a soul too".
Slobodan Jeftic, 58, from Stari Kostolac, said: "By doing this, I am bringing together the two great loves of my life, beekeeping and my religion.
"It means that as well as taking care of my bees so that they have a place to live and make their honey, I am also taking care of their souls."
He has built all his hives in the shape of Orthodox churches and monasteries in Serbia.
Worlds collide for me in this post from Spicy IP, which keeps track of intellectual property developments in India, which, among other things, discusses the recurring trope of analyzing legal evolution in terms a shift from Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth) to Saraswati (the goddess of knowledge).
Jan Daniel Cadinot was a famous director of gay porn. The following post appeared on his blog on April 23rd, the day he died of a heart attack:
Dear friends, critics and others,
If you're reading these words I will have put down my camera, switched off the lights, drawn the curtains and taken my final bow. May all the efforts and work of a whole life, the quest for the moment of pure truth in the sublime communion of two beings under the spell of the undefinable desire for the other, inspire those who inherit my heart.
The human being is made such that it only remembers the good and the beautiful, therefore I leave you with a free mind and a head overflowing with a myriad of young men, sometimes strong and vigorous, sometimes fragile and sensitive. All of them gave me these unforgettable moments of their most tender intimacy, moments that only a few really know but which I made in to images to allow you to admire them over and over again.
Never were success or personal fortune my creed. You offered me gratitude, and I thank you for that because I wanted nothing else. Cadinot salutes you. Remember a kindly fellow, an extreme observer given to rages and contradiction but who listened to others and was full of love.
"An erect phallus is a symbol of life, a cross a symbol of death."
Back when I was studying for my religion Ph.D., the notion that Americans treated religion like shopping was the stuff of cutting-edge academic books and doctoral dissertations. Now it's just another article in Cosmo.
I am so old.
Next month: What Karl Barth's dialectical yes-and-no says about how far you should go on first dates.
A sign that the constant work & 5 a.m. nights are getting to me: I saw this and thought, what if this were worn by the natives of the Land of the Giants and Jesus had been on the Spindrift? And what if Jesus were crucified there and had to carry this USB port . . .
Order here. And don't worry--it's small on our planet.
The standard history was that oil paining began in fifteenth-century Europe.
So much for that theory.
Above: a newly discovered 7th-century Afghan cave mural pointed with oil by monks, depicting the "Buddha in vermillion robes sitting cross-legged amid palm leaves and mythological creatures."
Truly inspiration, though given the historic significance I would probably have been just have impressed if the painting had been a ghost sign.
From the official description:
Usually seen riding their bicycles and preaching door to door, these steamy young men explode with sexuality on each calendar page.
Behind the eye-candy, this calendar has a deeper story -- one that can reshape perceptions, heighten awareness, and perhaps encourage and inspire a broadened acceptance of human and religious diversity.
Just got back from the New York Comic Con, an Olympus of modern myth. I'll have more to say when I'm not catching up on school work, but for now, here's one item from a cool company I saw while there: the Hanuman action figure from Kridana.
"After eating Matzah accidentally baked with radioactive water in a microwave oven, this future heroine discovered that the molecules in her body had been charged with hyper energy."
A local report in the NY Times tells of a Bronx man whose image of the Pope draws people to his shop selling stuff emblazoned with the papal likeness. It's Baudrillard meets social enterprise.
Judged by the reactions of passers-by, it pleases many people with no tickets to any pope-related events this weekend. They speak to the pope’s likeness or genuflect or stop and pay their respects, on this block next to the many Italian restaurants and bakeries on Arthur Avenue.
“For a lot of people, it’s as close as they’re going to come to meeting the pope,” Mr. Fusco said.
“Everyone wants a piece of the pope while he’s here,” he added.
Aside from communing with the life-size cutout, one can also connect with the pope by stepping inside the shop and picking up a memento of the pope’s visit.
Mr. Fusco is selling “Property of Pope Benedict” T-shirts and “I Love Pope Benedict” bumper stickers, as well as coffee mugs and aromatic “Pope-Pourri” pillows bearing the pope’s likeness. The stuff has been going like hotcakes, he said. It is a perfect example of how the pope offers spiritual guidance but also lets his followers with their livelihoods.
“He’s really providing for us,” Mr. Fusco said.
Pop iconic Catholic Andy Warhol would no doubt approve.
Pippa Bacca (1975—2008) was an Italian artist who, together with a fellow artist, was hitch-hiking from Milan to the Middle-East to promote WORLD PEACE and trust in other people, while wearing wedding dresses. Arriving in Gebze (TR) on March 31 2008, she went missing, and her sister flew to Turkey to locate her. Her body was discovered in the city on April 11, 2008, and she was formally identified by her sibling, and taken to Istanbul for an autopsy.
"After the apostles parade by, Death chimes the hour" at the Old Town Hall in Prague.
Me, I had this talking Batman alarm clock.
The tradition of thinly repressed Christian homoeroticism continues with the--yes--"unveiling" of this official portrait of Pope Benedict XVI and friend. Explanation + more close-ups follow in the video interview with artist Igor Babailov.
Via Journalista, this meditation on meaning from graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi hits on a fundamental truth:
We meet in London. She can’t stand Britain because of the smoking ban. She suggests that we talk in her hotel room because at least she will be able to smoke there. She lives for her cigs, and is quite happy to die for them, she says. “For me smoking is like looking at your soul,” she says in a rasping hybrid accent. “There is something extraordinarily poetic about smoking — from the gesture of holding a cigarette, turning it on, smoking it, the taste of it, the smell of it, I love every-thing about smoking.” She has no truck with the kill-joys who want to stop us doing all the things that we enjoy — simply because it might prolong our life. “Anything that has a relationship with pleasure we reject it. Eating, they talk about cholesterol; making love, they talk about Aids; you talk about smoking, they talk about cancer. It’s a very sick society that rejects pleasure.” She’s working herself up into a climax of disgust. “Why should we live like sick people just to give some fresh meat to the ground? I hope my meat is so rotten no worm in the whole universe will want to come and eat it. I want to be rotten to accept the idea of dying. Every day you live you get one day closer to death. If you are never born you will never die. Giving birth is also giving death.” She smiles, having hit on the solution to combating death.
Video: Cartoon penguins and the Statue of Liberty show kids teach kids how cigarettes are synonymous with freedom in an old advertising cartoon for Kool.
If I were in Boston this weekend--the 11th through the 13th--I'd definitely hang out at this conference. Sounds like fun, with engaging topics and interesting speakers.
Via Roman Officer:
Above: "This is a 1st to 2nd C. AD Copper Slave Collar Necklace that is attributed to a Meretrix (Roman Prostitute). It is 30.4 cm in circumference and is permanently attached with a hammered rivet. The front has five connecting circle dots (one on each side and three larger ones in the center), five being the number of the goddess Venus. The Romans also associated the metal copper with Venus, hence a metal that was favored by prostitutes."
Below: "This is a 1st to 3rd C. AD Copper Meretrix (Roman Prostitute) Pendant (. It is 6.7 cm x 5.9 cm. It is made to represent; a woman's head, the letter M, and three wavy arms (and hands) that are bound by a line (perhaps suggesting talents as a masseuse, or implying that the Meretrix was a slave). The cutout shows two facing birds, a Roman symbol for love. Turned upside down it may represent; a harp, flames, and three flowers. The Romans associated the metal copper with Venus, hence a metal that was favored by prostitutes. There is little doubt that this pendant is a suggestive advertisement."
This is a series to watch: Naked City's upcoming survey of religious groups whose mission involves working with sex workers of faith--not to convert them from sex work but to serve them where they are. It's a topic about which I have my own rather unconventional thoughts, and perhaps once I get a couple deadlines out of the way I'll post them here.
A ritual with far more relevance to modern life than folks in the West might realize. Al Jazeera has a concise write-up here.
Don't see the connection to the BofG?
Well, I wish you could go back in time to see the stellar 2005 Wild Things exhibit at New York's Jewish Museum, which traced the influence of Maurice Sendak's Jewish immigrant upbringing on his work. From the archived online exhibit gallery:
In Where the Wild Things Are, Sendak renders his Eastern European Jewish relatives, whom he remembers from childhood, as the wild things. Max, the story’s protagonist, journeys to a fantasy land inhabited by the monsters, whom he eventually sends to bed without their supper, as his own mother has done to him.
Tattoo via the always informative needled.
Pastafarianism meets the First Amendment in Crossville, Tennessee, with this image of the Flying Spaghetti Monster outside the Cumberland County Courthouse.
The creator: local artist Ariel Safdie, who placed it there on Good Friday where it was joined a carved statue of Jesus carrying a cross:
On her Web site, www.itlovesyou.blogspot.com, a blog explaining the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Crossville artist Ariel Safdie states, "We are lucky enough to live in a country that allows us, its citizens, the freedom of speech. I have chosen to put up a statue of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to represent the discourse between people of all different beliefs. The many faiths, ethnicities and backgrounds of Cumberland County’s residents make our community a stronger richer place. I respect and am proud that on the people’s lawn, the county courthouse, all of these diverse beliefs can come together in a positive dialogue. Here, we are all able to share the issues close to our hearts whether it is through a memorial to the soldiers killed fighting for our country, the Statue of Liberty honoring our nations welcoming promise to all, a group’s fight to stop homelessness, or powerful symbols of faith. I greatly treasure this open forum between everyone in the community."
This homage to the FSM has understandably been a topic of some discussion in this Southern Christian town. In this article, a Crossville reporter cites the display as evidence that the secular state discriminates against Christians.
The absolute must-read, though, is Ariel's blog, which has ample photos, an explanation of her mission, pilgrimage reports and a vision from on high:
It came to me in a sign....build a statue of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and put it on the courthouse lawn in Crossville Tennessee so that others can share in its beautiful image and learn about Its story.....
Ghost signs make walking in New York City a trip through time. One of the questions I've asked myself: why are so many of these old signs up so high?
My favorite: "Cheap signs." In that one simple ad lies the history of modern communication.
German designer Markus Kison has introduced a digitally-enabled burqa that can transmit a photo, or anything else, of the wearer to nearby mobile phones. Kison calls it the CharmingBurka, and claims that the garment isn’t forbidden by Sharia or Islamic law.
An officially licensed Mighty Thor thunder-god hammer pendant from Marvel Comics via Uniquities.
It has a certificate of authenticity, which I guess must mean they licensed it from vikings.
Yesterday I dropped by Barnes & Noble to pick up some books for school. As usual I decided to scan through the science section to see if there were any new must-reads.
And that's when I noticed something interesting.
Used to be it was loaded with a mix of hard science (with, you know, math and stuff) and solid popularizations by science journalists. That's still there--well, at least the popularizations--but there's also something else. Books on quantum spirituality, Eastern religion and science, technology and faith, alchemy . . . all from small religious publishers, such as Shambhala Publications.
B&N isn't known for squandering shelf space, so I imagine that this must be what sells. As for what it means of the future of science in America, we'll have to see.
Over at UncivilSociety and now Blog@Newsarama, I've been writing about the intellectual property issues raised by the recent court ruling in which the family of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel regained copyright in the Superman material in Action Comics #1.