These are all the Blogs posted on Wednesday, 21, 2006.
Wednesday, 21 June 2006
The first solo UK show of Kandinsky's paintings
The Telegraph reports on Tate Modern's Kandinsky: The Path to Abstraction (1908-22),
...we follow step-by-step the process by which one of the most influential artists of the 20th century groped his way towards one very simple but very big idea: that forms and colours could be used not to represent tangible things, but to express ideas and feelings.
...he must have been aware of the art-for-art's-sake aestheticism ubiquitous in Russian avant-garde circles, and particularly of the idea articulated by Walter Pater and James McNeill Whistler that painting is analogous to music in its power to evoke an emotional response in the viewer. Later in his life, Kandinsky was to express scorn for aestheticism, but the numbered titles of his mature works, Composition, Improvisation and Impression evoke musical analogies, as surely as do Whistler's Symphonies Notes and Harmonies.
What Kandinsky added to 19th-century aesthetic theory was the insight that colours and shapes can be used abstractly, just as a composer uses notes. More precisely, he claimed that the spiritual or emotional qualities he found in colours were universal and could be verified by objective criteria. Once you realise that, for Kandinsky, colour and shape were virtually an expressive language, the evolution of his art towards abstraction is easy to understand.
If there is such a thing as a great artist for whom the practice of art came easily, Kandinsky isn't one of them. For all its pleasures, the art Kandinsky made before 1905 and after 1921 is nowhere near as historically significant as the work of the period in between, when he became one of the giants of 20th-century painting.
This is the period covered by this enthralling exhibition, the first solo show of Kandinsky's paintings to be held in Britain. More than 70 works are on view, 25 of which have come from Russian collections. With so much on in London right now I'm sorry to add yet another exhibition to the list of those you really must see, but I'm afraid this one is absolutely unmissable.
I am not a great fan of abstract art but something about Kandinsky appeals. I will admit that one of the first places I became aware of his work was my local Pizza Hut where a selection of his work adorns the walls. Then somebody in the accomodation office at the Department of Light Bulb Changers must have bought a job lot of prints cheap and decided (rightly) that they cheered the building better than any Save Energy poster ever could. Which is where I learned to appreciate my particular favourites, Spitzen im Bogen (top left) and St George (predictably and bottom left).
I understood why I was attracted to his work, but without being able to articulate why, when I found out that he was probably a synaesthete who heard sound as colour. So when he heard music, in part, he painted what he heard. He said that he could hear his paint box hiss. Synaesthesia is a harmless condition that allows a person to appreciate sounds, colours or words with two or more senses simultaneously. The involuntary ability to hear colour, see music or even taste words results from an accidental cross-wiring in the brain that is found in one in 2,000 people, and in many more women than men. It is a quirk that I have in a small degree and differently. I only found out last year that it has a name and is worthy of scientific study, but I won't bore you with personal details.
The exhibition is on at the Tate Modern on London's South Bank (inside the old Bankside Power station, which is not the one that Pink Floyd attached flying pigs to, that was Battersea Power station which is about half a mile away) from tomorrow until the 1st October. I will definitely make the effort to visit.
I would recommend it as a superior day out than a visit to next months Islam Expo at Alexandra Palace, about which more next week.
Posted on 06/21/2006 3:03 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 21 June 2006
Solstice greetings to you all. It's the longest day, the solstice and on Saturday it will be Midsummer's Day.
There was heavy rain overnight so according to the BBC there were less people to greet the dawn at Stonehenge than usual and the sunrise was not particularly spectacular. But there were only 4 arrests.
There is trouble very year - people want to get nearer to the stones, while English Heritage who administer the site would rather nobody came overnight at all.
We have never actually been to Stonehenge for the sunrise although we have visited there many times. As our scanner is not working I cannot reproduce any of my husbands conventional photographs so the best I can offer you is this one from BBC Wiltshire of last year's spectacular sunrise. And this BBC graphic thingy.
The heavens tell out the glory of God, the vault of heaven reveals his handiwork. One day speaks to another, night with night shares its knowledge, and this without any speech or language or sound of any voice. Their music goes out through all the earth, their words reach to the end of the world. In them a tent is fixed for the sun, who comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy, rejoycing like a strong man to run his race. His rising is at one end of the heavens, his circuit touches their furthest ends; and nothing is hidden from his heat. Psalm 19.
Posted on 06/21/2006 3:47 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 21 June 2006
Abu Hamza alMuhajir is claimed to be personally responsible for slaughter of US soldiers.
According to Mujahidin Shura Council, a rebel association that includes al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Hamza alMuhajir, the successor to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was personally responsible for killing the two American soldiers whose mutilated bodies were found yesterday. They were kidnapped in Iraq over the weekend.
The Times report is here.
“God Almighty has graced the leader Abu Hamza alMuhajir . . . with the implementation of the sentence,”... If true, the act would be a brazen act by the successor to al-Qaeda’s former leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed in a US airstrike two weeks ago.
The Mercury News, a Californian paper (US readers will know wherther this is a reliable source) says this about the allegations.
Whoever it was that wielded the knives he was only emulating Mohammed, the "perfect man", who owned swords that he named Death, Sharp, and Very Sharp.
Posted on 06/21/2006 4:36 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 21 June 2006
After you. No, after you...
According to Readers Digest, New York City is THE most courteous of the world's major cities:
Outscoring large cities in 35 countries, New York proved best in three tests of courtesy, according to the survey by Reader's Digest.
Reporters for the magazine conducted a "door test," to see who would hold open a door, a "document drop" to see who would help pick up dropped papers and a "service test" to measure if salesclerks said thank you for a purchase.
Specifically, 90 percent of New Yorkers passed the door test, 55 percent passed the document drop and 19 out of 20 clerks passed the service test.
Coming in a close second was Zurich at 77 percent, Toronto at 70 percent, and Berlin, Sao Paulo and Zagreb, Croatia, all with 68 percent.
Following down the list were Auckland, Warsaw, Mexico City, Stockholm, Budapest, Madrid, Prague, Vienna, Buenos Aires, Johannesburg, Lisbon, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Helsinki, Manila, Milan, Sydney, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Ljubljana, Jakarta, Taipei, Moscow, Singapore, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Bucharest and Mumbai.
[Everybody LOVES NEW YORK, except, well, you know who and you know why]
Posted on 06/21/2006 6:00 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 21 June 2006
Japan pulls out of Iraq
. The last report I read about the Japanese contingent was that they were going to be put under Iraqi control. Possibly this had something to do with this withdrawal decision.
Or perhaps North Korea is concentrating Japanese minds. Red-state Japanese want their compatriots to display more "wa":
"Momentum has been building in the LDP and the main opposition Democratic Party to revise the U.S.-drafted, pacifist post-war constitution to resolve the ambiguous status of the military as Japan seeks a bigger regional and global security role."
Posted on 06/21/2006 8:08 AM by John Derbyshire
Wednesday, 21 June 2006
Twofer from Maggie
Posted on 06/21/2006 8:12 AM by John Derbyshire
Wednesday, 21 June 2006
self-taught female scholars
Yesterday, there was a back and forth on The Corner between John Derbyshire and John Podhoretz about Judith Rich Harris and her credentials (or lack thereof) and her personal experience in the shaping of her work on genetics vs. parenting as determinate factors in life. Said Derb:
Ms. Harris's lack of a doctorate has had little or no bearing on her ability as a psychologist. Career-path academic droners have their place in the great scheme of things, I don't doubt; but so, sometimes, do eccentric outliers. As I said, ad hominem doesn't cut it, and neither does credentialism: it's the quality of the science that counts. Nothing else counts at all—-no, not even the opinion of a staff writer for New Yorker magazine
Today, there is an interview with Bat Ye'or at Haaretz with the following:
Bat Ye'or's opinions have made her a controversial figure, as has the fact that she is not an academic and has never taught at any university. She conducts her research independently. Since the 1970s, Bat Ye'or, who is now 71, has published about 10 books, most of which deal with the life of the Christian and Jewish minorities in Muslim countries. She bases her most recent research on the conduct of institutions in the EU, and mainly on the protocols of the European-Arab Dialogue (EAD), which she says aims to establish a strategic alliance by means of tightening political, economic, diplomatic and cultural ties. The result, Bat Ye'or says, is European suicide...
"Up until the 1980s, she was not accepted at all," says Professor Robert Wistrich, head of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism. "In academic circles they scorned her publications. Only when Bernard Lewis published the book 'Jews of Islam' with quotations from Bat Ye'or did they begin to pay any attention to her. A real change toward her emerged in the 1990s, and especially in recent years. Today there is more awareness of the fanatical aspect of Islam."
To which I would add, Bernard Lewis has done as much to hurt as to help her, famously remarking once that there is "no such thing as 'dhimmitude'."
So what should we call it then, Bernie?
Posted on 06/21/2006 8:48 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 21 June 2006
Pak: Islamists oppose rape law reforms
Islamabad • Islamist grouping Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal wants assurances from secularist Alliance for Restoration of Democracy that controversial rape laws will not be reformed before it signs the Charter of Democracy.
The MMA will present its reservations on the Charter of Democracy, with emphasis on resistance to changing the controversial Hudood Ordinance, which equates rape with adultery, in writing to the ARD in a meeting today, sources said here Monday.
Sources said that the MMA would seek assurance that any political party coming to power would not seek to amend or repeal Islamic laws, including the Hudood Ordinance.
They said the MMA would not sign the Charter of Democracy until all its reservations were addressed. They said that the MMA had reservation about a clause in the charter which said that political parties wanted to curtail powers of the Federal Shariah Court.
One would like to have an official ruling from, say, the Sheik al-Azhar, on the following:
If a Muslim man is convicted of raping an Infidel woman on the strength of her testimony and other evidence (such as that provided by DNA -- about which Allah forgot to say anything in the Qur'an, or did he?) but without the testimony of four men, or three, or two, or even one, is that conviction licit? If the verdict is Guilty, and the jury consists of non-Muslims, and the judge presiding is a non-Muslim, can this conceivably be accepted by Muslims as fully just, as not to be questioned?
Infidel men -- and women -- would like to know. Not in a few decades. Now.
Posted on 06/21/2006 10:12 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 21 June 2006
McCarthy: Geneva and Savagery
Posted on 06/21/2006 11:05 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 21 June 2006
France Detains 17 Suspected Financiers of Terror
AP PARIS — Police have detained a prayer leader at a suburban Paris mosque and 16 associates as part of an investigation into alleged terror financing, a police official said Tuesday.
Terrorists and financiers of terrorism should be removed, one way or another. And one can find some, but not much, solace, in such raids and round-ups, and even more if, after further investigation, indictment, trial, in the Western world with its rights and procedures so time-consuming and money-consuming and attention-consuming, they are finally sentenced. Sentenced to what? To prison where they will continue to preach Da'wa and apparently, with great success judging by the results so far?
Or will some of them, after another official proceeding, that will use up still more time and money of the Infidel state, finally be expelled back to countries of origin? And will that not, in some Western countries, require another long effort? And then to extract from the country to which they are to be shipped a promise not to "harm" them -- which promise may be given, but since the local regime will also fear them, as fanatical believers likely to oppose any of the Arab or Muslim regimes as not quite fanatically Muslim enough, that promise will be broken, and then some will demand that anyone convicted must be imprisoned by the Infidels, and then finally released back into Infidel society (after all, wouldn't the regimes in Egypt and Saudi Arabia and other countries want these people, who can only be trouble for them, become the permanent headache of Infidels, and at any time, merely by "mistreating" (in the Infidel view) a prisoner or two sent back, could cause the whole program to be ended?
The Infidel world cannot go on like this, spending vast resources in order, as France has just done, to finally find 17 "financiers" of violent Jihad out of 5-7 million Muslims, millions of whom support Jihad in other ways, have done nothing to turn on, or turn in, the participants in Jihad, have not denounced endlessly the teaching of Jihad -- and the goal of Jihad itself -- much less chosen to promote or support the efforts of Infidels to preserve their own laws, and institutions, pedagogic, legal, societal.
Other ways, not so half-hearted, and not putting all the terrific expense and worry on Infidels, will have to be adopted. The "money weapon" is not that of these local "financiers" but comes from three sources:
1) Rich Muslim Arabs who derive their income, ultimately, from oil and gas revenues -- that is, from a source unrelated to any enterprise or industry on their part. So far these people have paid for mosques and madrasas all over the world, in both Dar al-Islam to make sure that their particular brand of no-holds-barred Islam (not that the other kind, in the long run, is less of a threat to Infidels)all are to us, to the Infidels) is disseminated, and also in Dar al-Harb, to promote Da'wa as the most effective current instrument (given the military superiority of Infidels) of Jihad.
2) Muslims living within the Lands of the Infidels who take full advantage, exploit in every conceivable away, everything that the Infidel taxpayers provide, from free health care and education, to housing subsidies. Because of language and other barriers, the local authorities can be easily fooled (for example, as to the identities of wives, and children, who may be lent or borrowed among already-gigantic Muslim families so as to increase government benefits). The the amount of crime attributed to Muslims (e.g., though Muslims constitute 3% of the population in Scandinavian countries, they are responsible for 70% of the rapes has been attributed in part to the Muslim belief that "crimes" against Infidels -- robbery, rape -- are not crimes at all, for as one Norwegian imam put it, stealing from Infidels is not stealing but helping oneself to the Jizyah properly due. The same is true for fraud. One need not be a Muslim to commit such fraud on the welfare system, the whole system of entitlements, but the degree to which this fraud is committed in Western Europe (where the numbers are too great to adequately police), the systematic nature of it in Muslim communities, suggests strongly that there is no inhibition about doing so, that it is justified as part of the continuing and never-ending war on Infidels, which must proceed, is right to proceed, by any and all means. "War is deception." To steadily leach resources from the Infidels, and then to batten on them in the heart of the Bilad al-kufr, to use the very scrupulosity and generous impulses and inhibitions of the Infidels against them, to undo them -- that requires an ideological justification, and the justification is to be found in Qur'an, Hadith, and the example of Muhammad in the Sura, Muhammad who said that "war is deception."
3) The third source of income is that which Muslims living in the West derive not from exploitation of the welfare state every which way but up, comes from Muslims living in the West who are making enough to have discretionary income, and who naturally -- why would one expect otherwise? -- will contribute not to general funds, but to Muslim groups and causes, which of course means support for the spread of Islam, an increase in the perceived power and rootedness of Islam.
These are the three sources of income, and not the odd group of "17 financiers," that will have to be thoroughly analyzed, and dried up.
Here are some suggestions for dealing with each of the three sources of fund listed above:
1) Western governments need not watch idly as tens of billions -- nearly $80 billion so far, it has been estimated, from Saudi Arabia alone -- are sent abroad, and especially, to the Infidel lands, to spread and strengthen Islam, and to buy influence, through public relations campaigns, and through employing directly or indirectly a small army of apologists, consisting of ex-diplomats, former intelligence agents, businessmen eager for more contracts in the Middle East, journalists who need to supplement their incomes, and of course academics at such places as the "Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding" and the "Center for Contemporary Arab Studies" -- both set up, quite consciously, at Georgetown (and not, say, at the University of Alabama or Minnesota) in order to have those "experts" ready to be called on by Congress, by the President, by the media for their opinions. John Esposito, for example, a perfect guide to nothing and nowhere, a classic apologist who in an entire pre-2001 book (the earlier version, which he later reworked), managed to mention the word "Jihad" only twice, was apparently relied on by the Bush Administration for his "expertise" in Islam. How Muslim hearts must have swelled at that knowledge.
Surely foreign money intended to undo us can be kept out -- not money merely sent to this or that sinister operation (e.g. the "Holy Land Foundation") -- so that Muslim groups will, like all others in this country, either have to identify themselves, to register as being in the pay of foreign nationals and countries, with all the consequences such identification (including loss of any 501(c)(3) status they may possess)naturally entails. Surely members of Congress, having sensed the pent-up rage and distrust of the populace -- look at the fury over the Dubai Ports Deal -- should be able intelligently to harness that rage and distrust to push legislation that will make it very hard, if not impossible, for people in Saudi Arabia to help plan, or plot, and then pay for from Saudi or U.A.E. or other Muslim Arab (or Iranian) funds.
But such legislation will not be proposed, and not passed, until a sufficient number of Congressmen, members of their staff, commentators, recognize that they have a duty to look into what Islam teaches, and not merely to be satisfied with the grossly misleading presentation, the selective quotation of a handful of passages, passages either taken completely out of context (as 2.532 without 2.533, which both Bush and a certain Leonard Greene have fallen for), or without explaining the interpretive doctrine of "naskh" or abrogation which, for most Muslims, simply knocks into nothingness the "softer" (held to be the "Meccan") verses leaving the "harder" (held to be the "Medinan" verses). Education is everything.
2) Western and other Infidel governments should give special attention, and resources, to vigilantly policing the exploitation, by fraud and other means, of Infidel-supplied benefits -- education, medical care, subsidized housing. In the United States, if a family member is found to be dealing in drugs, the entire family may be expelled from public housing. Draconian, but often effective in forcing those family members to police their own families. To shrill cries of "collective punishment" one must answer: in a war, much of the punishment is "collective." The Americans and British pilots inflicted all kinds of "collective" punishment on the Germans and the Japanese, though far less than the latter two inflicted on all kinds of others out of malevolent fanaticism (see the death camps, see Oradour and Lidice, see Bataan, see Nanjing). We have a perfect right to regard those people who claim to believe in what is in the Qur'an as the immutable word of God to believe in that "word of God" including all the murderousness and hostility directed toward Infidels, and we have the right to treat those who similarly believe in the contents of the Hadith (as ranked by the most authoritative muhaddithin, such as al-Bukhari and Muslim), as accepting the view therein of Infidels, and how they are to be regarded and treated. Why should we act otherwise? Why should we assume that those who still call themselves Muslims do not believe in the very texts that they must, if they are Muslims, believe in? Why is it up to us to find escape clauses, interpretative ways out, to assume that "oh, they can't really believe that"? Why is the burden not placed on Muslims, for whom ignorance is no longer an excuse (perhaps it is for an illiterate farmer living in a remote village somewhere -- but nowadays, after all that has happened, no such defense can be accepted).
3) We, the Infidels, can as private parties do things that our governments are unwilling or unable to do. You would not, I trust, have bought Soviet goods (what, other than yantar' or amber, was there to buy, in any case? ) in 1953? You would not, I trust, have bought a Voigtlander camera, no matter how good, in 1938. Nor would you have bought goods from a store whose owner had connections to Vneshtorg (the old Soviet outfit entrusted with selling goods abroad). Nor would you have patronized a place, in 1938, and still less in 1942, known to be an admirer, say, of Fritz Kuhn and the Bund, or of Adolf Hitler. In fact, you would have nothing to do with such a place, and you would think ill of any American who continued to patronize businesses -- for goods and services -- that were owned by, connected to, admirers of any Nazis.
We are permitted to decide what law firm to engage, what restaurant to go to (does that restaurant have a "halal" sign displayed somewhere? If it is Indian, is liquor served, and does the decor offer Shiva or Ganesha, or something else? Does the pizza place, or the undifferentiated "Mediterranean Peace Café" have any tell-tale words in its name --such words as "Oasis" or "Andalus" or "Zeitoun" or "Jericho" or "Noor" are telling. No need to choose that "mediterranean" restaurant, that pizza place, that donut shop, that ice-cream vendor if you think that in so doing, you make the position of Islam, the presence of Islam, the implantation of Islam and all it stands for, that much stronger. You have the same right as your parents, refusing to buy Soviet-made goods, or your grandparents, passing on that German camera in 1935 or 1937 or 1939 -- and of course in 1942. You may not be able to do without oil and gas (and it hardly matters where it comes from, for the demand itself helps all the suppliers) but you need not contribute still further to the strengthening of Islam's presence within the Bilad al-kufr, behind what Muslims themselves are taught to regard as enemy lines.
These are effective instruments of Jihad in Western Europe, accompanied by encouragement of mental attitudes (including antisemitism and anti-Americanism) along with the understandable wish to disbelieve in the origins, the scope, and the full menace of the belief-system of Islam.
No matter what a non-Muslim citizen in any of the countries of Western Europe may now think is the best way to deal with things, that non-Muslim citizen, if he is quite honest with himself, will be unable to deny the truth of the following statement:
"The large-scale presence of Muslims within Infidel lands has brought about a situation that, for those indigenous Infidels, is far more unpleasant, expensive, and physically dangerous than it would be without that presence.
The negligence exhibited by Western elites as they permitted such migration needs to be studied. The role of Muslim money -- of "recycled petrodollars" -- needs to be analyzed. How, for example, did the environmental crisis come about, if not because the world's largest consumer of energy, the United States, and to a lesser extent other countries, were content to rely on the kindness of real strangers -- the malevolent Saudis -- rather than to start, back in 1973, a sustained, systematic, well-funded campaign, of taxes (on gasoline) and subsidies (for mass transit and solar and wind energy), and government-funded nuclear reactors, which would require a campaign to force the reluctant public, brainwashed into believing, on the right, in the supposed horribleness of taxation, period -- meaning taxes on gasoline and on oil-- and the silliness of solar and wind energy, and on the left, the mirror-image, where taxes on gasoline were presented as "regressive" and hence not to be contemplated, and nuclear energy was regarded with the same silly and unthinking hostility and dismissal as solar energy was on the right.
And here we are. The Jihad, and possibly, very likely, irreversible environmental damage. Both can be stopped, in large part, by perfectly reasonable acts on the part of Western governments. That implies reasonable legislators and reasonable members of the executive branch. For it should not be difficult to appeal to both groups, those most concerned with the offense to Nature, that the changes brought about by the increase in fossil fuels has wrought, and the offense to Man, in the constraints that Islam so naturally and cruelly imposes, on artistic expression, on free and skeptical inquiry, on ideas about the equality of the sexes, and of solicitude for equal treatment of minorities.
Both are earth-shaking problems. Both have, at least in part, the same solution.
So where are those wise and articulate and clever statesmen, who have grasped this, and are now willing to instruct the rest of us, and to bring us all along?
Where are they?
Posted on 06/21/2006 12:51 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 21 June 2006
England Faces the Hun
As the English fans sing (to the tune of "Camptown Races") at matches against Germany: "Two world wars and one World Cup, doo-dah, doo-dah." (article here
Posted on 06/21/2006 1:49 PM by John Derbyshire
Wednesday, 21 June 2006
The Mind of Stephen Hawking
I am, as Radio Derb fans know, a huge fan of Stephen Hawking. This
, however, I am not getting.
The guy has been quadriplegic for decades. He communicates by twitching the one muscle that still works (in his face—the muscle is connected to a voice synthesizer). He breathes through a tube, and a bad cold would likely kill him. He needs a platoon of nurses to keep him fed, washed, & dressed. And HE'S WORRIED ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING?
I'm sitting here worrying about where my next check is coming from, and whether I can get away with not mowing the lawn for another day or two, and what the heck to do with the kids over the summer vacation, and when on earth I'll be able to afford a new car, and how I am ever going to finish reading the extremely dull 600-page book I have contracted to deliver a review on by July 7, and a dozen other things of immediate and stressful import; and Stephen Hawking is worried about GLOBAL WARMING? How does he find the time? Oh, right.
Posted on 06/21/2006 4:25 PM by John Derbyshire
Wednesday, 21 June 2006
Re: The Mind of Stephen Hawking
Must be a lot like the mind of John Derbyshire.
Quote: Before an audience of 500 at a seminar in Beijing, the wheelchair-bound celebrity cosmologist said, "I like Chinese culture, Chinese food and above all Chinese women. They are beautiful."
Well, Rosie is beautiful, anyway.
Posted on 06/21/2006 5:44 PM by Rebecca Bynum