May 2009 Archives
Or at least under it. Via Gothamist:
This group of Mennonites were spotted singing to straphangers at the Broadway stop today, and it's not the first time. They've been singing down there for years, here's a video from 2007. The group is most likely local and from the Manhattan Mennonite Fellowship... but do they have a permit?
Mr. Ali, meanwhile, says he is performing a much-needed service. Some come for the halal meat, killed according to Islam. (He weighs his goats on a scale built for pigs, an animal that Islam proscribes as food. A pig decoration on the scale had been scratched out.) But customers also want to see that the animals, usually trucked from no farther than Pennsylvania, are healthy.
“I want to see it with my own eyes,” said Shamsul Rahman, 65, who is originally from Bangladesh and was buying 11 chickens.
Tom Mylan, who carves up cows in front of customers at Marlow & Daughters, a butcher shop and locavore’s temple in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, said he lived near three live-animal markets, two run by Hasidic Jews and one by Latin Americans. Although they may not share his obsession with animal welfare and organic feed, he said, he views them as allies against the mass-market industry he calls “big meat.”
What he teaches his gourmet followers, he said, is what the working-class live-market customers have never forgotten: “To eat meat, you have to kill — something that we got pulled out of during the last 50 years in America,” he said. “We’re used to going into the grocery store and there’s not even a butcher counter, just a bunch of foam trays with a lot of anonymous blobs of meat in them.”
A familiar scene unfolds in this avant-garde production:
Zane Philstrom's set is a work of stunning beauty, matched only by the impeccably toned bodies of the core performers, who display impressive physical endurance and plenty of flesh while executing Austin McCormick vigorous, baroque choreography. The 75 minute piece is a stylized representation of the story of Adam and Eve and Lilith, who, in some accounts, preceded Eve as Adam's mate but stormed from the Garden because the first man wouldn't try anything but missionary position. From Genesis, the action melts into a dance interpretation of the seven deadly sins, as put forth by fourth century monk Evagrius Ponticus. Trapeze-swinging, gender-bending, and partial nudity abound.
Unlike other dance/theater troupes like Big Dance Theater, which typically uses dance to enliven a narrative, Company XIV's approach here is really more dance/poetry, with a buxom Ring Mistress serving as a sort of dour, whip-cracking announcer of banal aphorisms like, "Good weather is like a good woman. It doesn't always happen and when it does it doesn't always last."
ZERO-G CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL TOWEL DAY, MAY 25TH 2006- THE RESTAURANT AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE, originally uploaded by zero g.
On May 25th, hitchhikers everywhere are carrying towels to show that they're clued into the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything. More photos here.
For Memorial Day, here's a site that's not exactly a stranger to the hard sell.
The heroic myth takes on a new form. A commenter explains:
Ganesha is seen as the Remover of Obstacles, so anyone or anything that takes action to remove obstacles can be seen as exhibiting an aspect of the divine, in the form of Ganesh. The people who made this statue are saying that the heroic nature that we admire in the fictitious character of Spider-Man is an expression of the divine within us all, and should be honored. Also, it’s FUN. Bravo!
Thanks, Deborah Elizabeth Finn!
This is a fascinating piece of work. From the designer:
The enigmatic Mr. Tesla was keenly aware that conscious forms may exist in other places than a human body. He was known to seek out the freeing of this energy so that others may also see, but alas his dreams are yet to be revealed!
However, he did pass along a bit of wisdom in the form of plans for a beacon or focal point for the Unseen to use in their travels upon this material plane. Often, they were confined to harnessing the minds of simple birds or small animals to interact with the World As We Know It.
But now, using some forgotten drawings, we have re-created Nikolai's Angel, and we have been able to tune it the human mind in such a way that only the wearer will be able to interact with the Unseen who choose to inhabit it.
Click through for more--like Antik yesterday, there's a lot of good stuff.
One commenter declares this "to be the most stupid thing i have seen on hulu." Another asks, "If you have Jesus on your side why doesn't he give you amazing musical prowess?"
How could I not post it here?
Target marketing comes to the pop occult with Hasbro's new pink Ouija board for girls.
With carrying case!
Given the international success of Angels & Demons, the smart folks at Antik Jewelry did well to debut this new Illuminati pendant for June. Even if you think the Illuminati is just a bunch of conspiratorial hype, there's lots of other good stuff over at Antik, so be sure to check out their site!
Of course, devotees of spiritual symbology--I hear Harvard has a whole department in that, doncha know--understand that the conspiracy is real . . . and it's controlling the world through Nickelodeon!
Jesus Didn't Tap was one of the first Christian based MMA clothing companies to hit the scene. In the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, to "tap" is to quit or give up. The message of the Jesus Didn't Tap line is that Jesus didn't quit after going through unimaginable suffering and pain when he was crucified on the cross. The company aims to represent both the competitiveness of MMA and honoring God in all of their designs and hopes it will help spread the Christian message of salvation to a whole new audience.
Via The Wooster Collective, the designer explains:
For a few months, we've been hearing terrible news on TV, on the radio... It sounds like the end of the world - we are told about the ice cap melting, about the ozone layer disappearing in the North Pole...
I'm wondering about what I can actually do now!
Pray? No, I'm an atheist - Stop driving? I don't have a car - Sort garbage? I already do so - Turn my TV and radio off?
I come back to my first idea - is praying the only way out?
THE SORCERERESS - Spell Cast Gems(tm) - Pentagram Pendant - spellworker.com, spellworker.etsy.com, originally uploaded by Crystalle Charmer.
Via spellworker.com, "this is a spiritual tool which has been energized or charged through a unique, proprietary holistic method to facilitate benefits to the owner/buyer."
Tool, trademark, owner/buyer, proprietary holism--the language of enchantment is a changin'.
Art is historically contingent--were Dante alive today, chances are he would not have written an epic poem. He'd be more likely to design a video game--y'know, like the Divine Comedy Video Game coming in December from EA Games.
So I'm scrolling through the latest news on charity when I come across Dog-Gone But Not Forgotten, a romance novel about a dog, its owner, and the animal control coordinator who took the owner's virginity at their high school prom. What make the book charitable, of course, is that it's part of the publishers PAWS for Thought line, whose profits go to support It's Meow or Never.
But what makes this novel BofG worthy?
Read on, mon frere and frerettes, for the passage that the publisher selected to induce you to buy the book:
She pulled Nana’s van into Heavenly Doggie Kennel’s lot eighteen minutes and thirty seconds later. . . .
With the help of enigmatic DogLady, along with tugs, shrieks, pushes and—finally—a stale Lifesaver Carrie found in the console between the front seats, Ellie got into the van. Apparently, the dog liked Lifesavers.
She also liked everything else because during the ride home Ellie pulled up and shredded half the rug and ate a plastic Sacred Heart of Jesus statuette, then added to Nana’s van l’odeur du something gone bad with the smell of something done bad, depositing a runny poop the size of –well, Rhode Island—onto in the center bench seat. Way to go, Ellie. Carrie pulled over and did her best to clean up the mess with a handful of Dunkin Donut napkins and some dried out moist towelettes she had found in the glove compartment. Without gagging. Or passing out.
“I think I hate you,” she told the dog, who licked the side of her face and her ear with a tongue the size of a facecloth.
She hated her even more when a car-sick Ellie vomited on the other rear seat, blanketing it with half-digested kibble and pieces of plastic Jesus.
From the Monks of the Desert Gift Shop:
This sterling silver pin (1.25 x 1 inches)(3 x 2.5 mm) can also be worn as a pendant. It was handcrafted by Armando Perez Gomez, the son of José Gomez, who as a young man apprenticed in the "Taller" of William Spratling, Taxco's Famous Silver Entrepeneur and founder of a world renowned school of Silver Design. Armando and his brothers have continued this tradition both in creative design and supurb craftsmanship.
Monks have always sought out deserted places, a place of silence and solitude to encounter the living God. The desert fathers of old also saw the desert as the dwelling place of demons where the monk went to fight the demons within.
Our logo is one expression of this deserted place. The bush symbolizes the burning bush of Moses in the desert (Exodus 3:1-6). Moses was alone in the desert and saw a bush burning, but not consumed. As he approached, he heard a voice telling him to take off his sandals for he was on holy ground. In the midst of the burning bush logo there are two main branches that create a cross. For the monks of Christ in the Desert this points to the presence of Christ in the desert, the experience of the living God in the deserted place.
And if you buy several items from the Monks of the Desert, you might want to consider putting them in the branded monastery tote bag. Though as the site helpfully explains, "Fr. Christian's hand not included.".
This mystical carved prayer wheel is apparently the second installed by the artistic collective FAILE--the first was apparently stolen.
I hedge because my own theory is that it was never stolen at all. It simply whirls through time with the right kind of spin.
For video and more pics, check out Animal NY.
A prehistoric pendant via the New York TImes:
Nicholas J. Conard, an archaeologist at the University of Tübingen in Germany, who found the small carving in a cave last year, says it is at least 35,000 years old, "one of the oldest known examples of figurative art" in the world. It is about 5,000 years older than some other so-called Venus artifacts made by early populations of Homo sapiens in Europe.
Another archaeologist, Paul Mellars of the University of Cambridge in England, agrees and goes on to remark on the obvious. By modern standards, he says, the figurine's blatant sexuality "could be seen as bordering on the pornographic." . . .
Its sexual symbolism should not come as a surprise, Dr. Mellars said, because at about the same time people in western France were chipping out limestone to represent vulvas. Nor were these Stone Age artists fixated only on female sexuality. Archaeologists in recent years have also found phallic representations carved out of bone, ivory and bison horn.
A 100-year-old-plus set of wedding rings provides a vivid reminder of the vows.
Forget church and state--corporate morality is the new cultural battleground. As the video below explains, Me So Holy is an iPhone app that allows users to upload their own face into the image of a religious figure.
Or perhaps I should say "would have allowed," since Apple has censored the app. The creators respond on their blog:
According to Apple, “Me So Holy” contains objectionable content and is in violation of Section 3.3.12 from the iPhone SDK Agreement which states:
“Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple’s reasonable judgement may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users.”
You may be familiar with recent snafus over the baby shaker app and the rejection of the Nine Inch Nails apps. Our question is, is religion really to be placed in the same category as these violent apps? Sex, urine and defecation don’t seem to be off-limits, yet a totally non-violent, religion-based app is.
We feel that Apple is being too sensitive to its perceived user group and are disappointed that this otherwise creative, freethinking company would reject such a positive and fun application. The message to developers is that they should think inside the box, rather than outside it.
The Golem, according to Czech legend, was fashioned from clay and brought to life by a rabbi to protect Prague’s 16th-century ghetto from persecution, and is said to be called forth in times of crisis. True to form, he is once again experiencing a revival and, in this commercial age, has spawned a one-monster industry.
There are Golem hotels; Golem door-making companies; Golem clay figurines (made in China); a recent musical starring a dancing Golem; and a Czech strongman called the Golem who bends iron bars with his teeth. The Golem has also infiltrated Czech cuisine: the menu at the non-kosher restaurant called the Golem features a “rabbi’s pocket of beef tenderloin” and a $7 “crisis special” of roast pork and potatoes that would surely have rattled the venerable Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel, the Golem’s supposed maker.
The Methodist Church has just launched a $20 million marketing campaign to rebuild denominational brand loyalty.
One element in the strategy: selling churches promotional t-shirts to give away to attendees.
And if that doesn't work, there's always the website--not so cleverly named "10,000 doors," which they may have intended to play off of the Church's traditional red doors but for many people would seem to imply that there are countless other ways to enter into heaven besides being a Methodist.
. . .
Twenty million dollars, huh?
Clearly I'm in the wrong business.
In a seminar on domestic violence, a Saudi judge stated that a husband is justified in striking his wife if she spends too much on clothing for herself:
if a person gives SR 1,200 [$320] to his wife and she spends 900 riyals [$240] to purchase an abaya [the black cover that women in Saudi Arabia must wear] from a brand shop and if her husband slaps her on the face as a reaction to her action, she deserves that punishment.
The women in the audience were, understandably, not pleased.
Above: designer Islamic women's fashion sold by Noblesse Oblige, whose raison d'etre is below:
A new bill in the Arizona legislature seeks to establish statutory protection for the freedom to wear religious jewelry in public schools:
Students in public educational institutions may wear clothing, accessories and jewelry that display religious messages or religious symbols in the same manner and to the same extent that other types of clothing, accessories and jewelry that display messages or symbols are permitted.
It's part of a broader set of provisions designed to keep school officials from curbing overt expressions of faith in the classroom. The inspiration--the notebook pictured above. The East Valley Tribune explains:
Deborah Chambers thought it would be no big deal to display a picture of Jesus on her notebook at the Chandler charter school where she is a seventh-grader.
She didn’t think the image of a bloodied Christ on the cross was all that different from a Muslim head scarf or a Phoenix Suns logo.
“It’s important to me because that’s what Jesus did for me,” Chambers said.
She said that last October a teacher sent her to the principal’s office after a fellow student complained about the notebook, and the principal told her she could no longer bring the notebook to school.
Sikh officers are currently barred from becoming firearms or riot police as their religion does not allow them to remove turbans to put on bullet-proof headgear.
But yesterday it emerged a turban made from Kevlar-like material is being developed.
With more than 2, 000 Sikh officers and staff in the UK, the newly-formed British Police Sikh Association, has made bullet-proof turbans a priority..
The Egypt fad inspired by the discovery of King Tut's tomb is a famous cultural moment from the 1920s. The ad copy points to somewhat less familiar but no less significant aspects of that era: new standards of cleanliness, a celebration of natural products, and the role of beauty & fashion in the promoting women's independence.
Want to understand today? Just go back to the 1920s . . .
A veteran of layoffs and shutdowns, reporter Jonathan Tilove went back to his old office one last time to clean out his cubicle. But then, amidst amidst the sadness, a shining beacon of hope appeared:
And there it was, on my desk, a coffee stain in the image of the Virgin Mary. I was a little surprised. Why me? I'm Jewish.
R. Crumb Mr. Natural Vans
[EYE of Providence] Necklace with eyes in Pink – Couture Textile Jewelry collection, originally uploaded by ArtTiana.
By Russian fashion designer Tatiana Agapcheva, available at her Etsy shop, TianaCHE:
Each creation has an unique magical formula, basic on my Table, each creation will be accompanied with my Periodic Table of the Creative Properties of the Craft, it will be print on great texture paper with print in magical formula of creation you’ll order!
Faithful BofG contributor Jennifer Rose Emick offers this iconic charitable enterprise: a figure of Jesus composed of 30,000 Lego pieces assembled by 40 volunteers over 18 months.
This statue is part of a rich tradition of Christian Lego art. There's even an entire Christian music video composed of Lego figures. Watch carefully the multicolor Lego tao t-shirt bearing the label "sinner"!
The internet solves the mystery:
I'm sure others will have pointed this out by now, but [these graffiti pictures] refer to a book by an Austrian mysticist named Guido von List, according to Wikipedia. The book, Das Geheimnis der Runen (ie, the graffiti in the first picture) continues to influence and inspire neo-Nazis, from which they derive the phrase "Sal und Sig" (the graffiti in the second photo) which I think means "Salvation and Victory."
In my biz--I teach & write about charity and social responsible business, which is, you could say, a secular counterpart to my religion Ph.D.--it's taken as a given that a commerce should be ethical. However, what that means in practice isn't exactly clear.
Take, for instance, the ad above: an New Zealand billboard touting d.vice designer anal beads. The visual pun should be obvious--the church setting is a not so subtle evocation of the rosary and transcendent ecstasy. Christian critics condemn the ad because it offends their particular faith community and, for extra measure, because it ostensibly crosses an ethical line that makes it "inappropriate" for a company to display.
There are a host of fascinating issues bound up in this debate, from the law and social norms of cultural appropriation (can a commercial company exploit communal norms for profit?) to the legitimacy of giving religious groups authority to banish certain sexual behaviors out of the public sphere. Is it, as the d.vice spokesperson wryly notes, truly unethical to suggest that a religious person could find a harmonic union between sexual and spiritual pleasure? In the U.S., of course, such questions are particularly salient--an ad like the above would not likely find public perch in the States, which in itself says a lot about our own particular, if evolving, social values.
The location of the oft-cited-but-elusive ethical line is not something you'll find here--the BofG serves merely to catalog and, on occasion, to explain. What I can offer instead is this overview of ad complaints in New Zealand in 2008. #1 is another billboard, this time from Tui Beer, featuring the tag line, "Let's take a moment this Christmas to think about Christ . . . Yeah Right - Tui." Protests got it pulled, but not before the Salvation Army came to its defense!
Speaking of pagan decorations, King Arthur Pendragon, battle chieftain of the Council of British Druid Orders, has vowed not to leave Stonehenge until certain action is taken to improve access to the site & to certain remains that had been removed for study.
"We have opened a bottle of mead and we are drinking to Stonehenge," he said.
"I have done a short ritual and spell of protection, calling on the kings of old.
"I am still here, so I am in breach of the order as they see it, but I have as much right as anyone else to be here.
"I am not going to go, I am battening down the hatches and continuing my lawful right to protest and my equal right to religious practice."
For more on British druid practice, check out the Council's site. As the "About" page indicates, there's a fascinating organizational backstory here. Note how its statement opens:
We the undersigned Representatives of Orders and Officers of The Council of British Druid Orders, established 1989 (˜The Council), would like it known that we do not recognise nor permit the usage of, nor representation under, the name of the Council by any other Groups or Individuals other than those undersigned Orders and Individuals.
Neither do we recognise or support the usage and representation of our name by any group claiming to be a subsidiary or regional Council of CoBDO.
Now that I'm (a) more or less getting over being sick and (b) past the @!#!?! phishing hack that froze the site the past couple weeks or so, I can finally post reader contributions! To start, here are a couple of pics showing that Christians aren't the only ones who have turned car decoration into a means of religious expression--and even a nonprofit business opportunity!
Eatliver.com provides another alternate ending to X-Men: Origins, sparking comments on Palestine, the Holocaust and the ethics of circumcision.
Last week one of my Movable Type installations was hijacked to host a phishing site. It was quickly removed, but my hosting company froze the affected sites, including this one, until I could fix the exploit.
To commemorate the occasion, here's a custom Ben & Jerry's Phish Food necklace, hand-crafted by Dolly Mixed-Up.