July 19, 2014

Belfast Castle Wedding

This happened on Wednesday July 16 2014. See my Live Drawing website with a full portfolio and selection of photos, here.

July 16, 2014

Leo Baxendale - Art is theft

Giles cartoon 25th July 1954
Leo Baxendale wrote:
"The catalyst for my creation of Bash Street was a Giles cartoon of January 1953: kids pouring out of school, heads flying off and sundry mayhems. Straight away, I pencilled a drawing of 'The Kids of Bash Street School' and posted it from my home in Preston to R. D. Low, the managing editor of D.C. Thomson's children's publications in Dundee. I received an offhand response, a dampener. It was only after I'd created Little Plum (April 1953) and Minnie the Minx (September 1953) that the Beano editor George Moonie travelled to Preston on 20 October 1953 and asked me to go ahead with Bash Street (he gave it the provisional title of 'When The Bell Goes'; when it appeared in The Beano in February 1954, it was titled 'When The Bell Rings'."
He also wrote:
"Alan Moore, Steve Bell, Savage Pencil and others have taken the ethos of my work, The Beano Spirit, that uninhibited outlook, and they’re carrying it on in their own work. I think that’s wonderful."

Christopher Hitchens on the word "community"

Wikipedia explained the etymology and origin of the line, "when I hear the word culture, I reach for my gun":
"When the Nazis achieved power in 1933, Hanns Johst wrote the play Schlageter, an expression of Nazi ideology performed on Hitler's 44th birthday, 20 April 1933, to celebrate his victory. The famous line "when I hear the word culture, I reach for my gun", often associated with Nazi leaders, derives from this play. The actual original line from the play is slightly different: "Wenn ich Kultur höre ... entsichere ich meinen Browning!" "Whenever I hear of culture... I release the safety catch of my Browning!" (Act 1, Scene 1). 
The famous line is regularly misattributed, sometimes to Hermann Göring and sometimes to Heinrich Himmler. In December 2007, historian David Starkey misattributed it to Joseph Goebbels in comments criticizing Queen Elizabeth II for being "poorly educated and philistine". It has also been adapted, for example by Stephen Hawking as "When I hear of Schrödinger's cat, I reach for my pistol" and by filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard in 1963's film Le Mépris, when a producer says to Fritz Lang: "Whenever I hear the word culture, I bring out my checkbook." Lang evokes the original line as he answers "Some years ago—some horrible years ago—the Nazis used to take out a pistol instead of a checkbook." Songwriter Roger Miller of Mission of Burma titled his 1981 song "That's When I Reach for My Revolver" after the line.
Christopher Hitchens said of the word "community":
"The word “community” pisses me off. Who isn’t in a community now? It’s particularly bad in my adopted country and in my home town of Washington DC. “The defence community”; alright if you must. “The intelligence community” for the CIA is an outrage. “The donor community” for those who seek to influence politics by giving money under the table is appalling. And the ultimate reductio ad absurdum of it, I did actually once read in a very guardedly written account of organised crime - “the Sicilian business community.” You hear the word “community”, keep your hand on your wallet… It robs the language of the word."
Here's my adaptation:
"Whenever I hear the word community, I reach for my gun."

July 15, 2014

Andrew Sullivan (@SullyDish) on the Tuam babies

Cartoon by Martyn Turner
Fintan O'Toole tweeted:
"[Ireland] locked up more people in psychiatric wards than Stalin's Soviet Union did."
Andrew Sullivan said:
"The Magdalene Laundries were really a kind of gulag for sexual miscreants."
Another called it "Ireland’s architecture of containment". Then put it like this:
"You had these industrial schools, the Magdalene laundries, the mother and baby homes, all with different remits, but the basic model was to contain and segregate anything that was deemed morally inferior by society, whether that’s children, unwed mothers, the women in the Magdalenes, etc. The mother and baby homes were different in that they were regulated by the state and had to be accredited adoption societies, at least by 1952, which is when that became legal in Ireland. They received stipends from the day they opened, from the government. They were receiving the equivalent of an industrial wage at that time for each mother and baby, from the state. If that were the case, why were so many of these women, like my mother or Philomena Lee, expected to earn their keep if the state were in fact funding that? It really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Obviously there was some profit being made there, not to mention what half of our parents paid. That’s another story unto itself. Adoptive parents were “donating” huge amounts of money."

July 14, 2014

Being middle class

Simon Hattenstone wrote in the Guardian:
"[Rod Liddle] talks about his return to London as a young man (he was born in Bermondsey, hence his allegiance to Millwall) to study at London School of Economics and how shocked he was to encounter students who were so posh and so privileged and just so bloody... liberal. Before that he had considered himself middle-class (his father ended up as a tax inspector, his mother worked at the then DHSS). But not any more. "The gap between my family and the poorest family in Middlesbrough was tiny, and the gap between my family and the London lot was just enormous. And that difference has got bigger and bigger and bigger."
Alan Bennett experienced something similar:
"If the dons [at Trinity College, Cambridge] were genial some of my fellow candidates were less so. That weekend was the first time I had come across public schoolboys in the mass and I was appalled. They were loud, self-confident and all seemed to know one another, shouting down the table to prove it while also being shockingly greedy. Public school they might be but they were louts. Seated at long refectory tables beneath the mellow portraits of Tudor and Stuart grandees, neat, timorous and genteel we grammar school boys were the interlopers; these slobs, as they seemed to me, the party in possession."

July 13, 2014

Kenneth Branagh - Art is theft, Ctd

Kenneth Branagh, in an interview with Charlie Rose on June 2014, said:
"Shakespeare was fantastically comprehensive in where he went for all his stories. He knew how to borrow and he knew how to be inspired."
He also said:
"The Barge speech in Thomas North’s ‘Lives of the Ancient Romans’, Shakespeare pilfers fairly comprehensively. He scattered his gatherings but always, always transforming."
Steven Greenblatt wrote in the Telegraph about the move of ideas from Montaigne to Shakespeare:
"The borrowing extends beyond certain expressions – kind of traffic, name of magistrate, use of service, and the like – to a vision of a whole society organised on principles directly counter to those in place in the familiar, grim realm of contemporary European reality. That is, here [The Tempest] as in the case of King Lear, Shakespeare is mining Florio’s Montaigne not simply for turns of phrase but for key concepts central to the play in question."
He continued:
"Scholars have seen Montaigne’s fingerprints on many other works by Shakespeare, whether in the echoing of words or ideas. When Hamlet exclaims to his mother, “Ecstasy? My pulse as yours doth temperately keep time,” (III .iv.130–31), Shakespeare may have picked up a hint from Montaigne’s “during his ecstasy, he seemed to have neither pulse nor breath” from “Of the Force of Imagination.” And Polonius’s “This above all: to thine own self be true” may owe something to “That above all, he be instructed to yield, yea to quit his weapons unto truth” from “Of the Institution of Education of Children.” More broadly, there is something strikingly Montaigne-like in Hamlet’s intertwining of Stoicism — “Give me that man / That is not passion’s slave, and I will wear him / In my heart’s core” — (III .ii.64–66) with philosophical skepticism — “And yet to me what is this quintessence of dust?” — (II .ii.297–98) and inner acceptance — “If it be now, ’tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come. The readiness is all.” (V.ii.158–60)...But what is a problem for the scholarly attempt to establish a clear line of influence is, from the perspective of the common reader, a source of deep pleasure. Two of the greatest writers of the Renaissance — two of the greatest writers the world has ever known — were at work almost at the same time, reflecting on the human condition and inventing the stylistic means to register their subtlest perceptions in language."

July 11, 2014

Christopher Hitchens - You can't ventriloquise the dead

[UPDATE - see more thoughts on Tumblr here]

Christopher Hitchens said:
"Michael Korda, who has just done an excellent book on president Grant, General Grant, said you mustn’t ever write a biography in which you say, at this point he or she must have thought or he or she must have felt or must have… You’re not entitled and you’ll lose your integrity as a biographer and you can’t know it and you shouldn’t do it. And I thought how right that is. I’ve nodded at that so many times."

July 07, 2014

Eleanor Mills (@eleanormills) - When it's cool to be dumb, Ctd

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
Martin Luther King Jr.

Eleanor Mills wrote in the Sunday Times of July 6 2014:
"Being “cool” was about rebelling: an urge to be doing what I shouldn’t — because I could. At 13 I would slink off to pubs in Covent Garden with my best mate — we’d tell her mother we were going to the cinema — and pretend to be 18 or older. We would drink and flirt and get into trouble, revelling in the newly honed power that we had over men, and then run off home on the night bus with our child-rate photocards.
And more:
"By 14 and 15 I was going clubbing (Phil Salon’s Mud Club, the Wag, Heaven) and dancing until the small hours. I was even interviewed by Paula Yates for a Channel 4 series she was making called Too Much Too Young.
She explained the report:
"Most school dropouts do not become pop stars. Indeed a large American study, just published in Child Development — a prestigious psychology magazine — found that indulging in minor delinquency, early romantic attachments and drug use at age 13, 14 and 15 might make you popular for a few years but is correlated with “long-term difficulties in close relationships... as well as significant problems with alcohol and substance use [along with] elevated levels of criminal behaviour” in early adulthood."

July 01, 2014

The authoritarian terror of Lundyism

Cartoon by Ian Knox of Alliance leader and NI Justice Minister, David Ford MLA
Any unionist opinion that deviates from the hardline, reactionary fringe is immediately and unavoidably smeared "Lundy." The colloquial curse word for the moderate member of the Unionist community. And you see it with the PSNI - An eire-phobia - where the slightest criticism of or incursion against loyalist promiscuity is labelled IRA. (Yet the irony is that in calling PSNI the PSNI-IRA, loyalists sound like republicans who call PSNI the PSNI-RUC.) A plurality and diversity of unionist opinion isn't just disapproved, but effectively outlawed. A total prohibition on anything not outwardly and chauvinistically Protestant.

The Lundy is the kuffar. The traitor. The heretic and apostate who has gone prostrate before the enemy. Only the deep and double-dyed sectarians and tribalists are the true and authentic holders and representatives of the community.

Of course this is nonsense. By their hysterical reactionism - the deep and double-dyed sectarian, so sure of themselves, so self-loving, so unbending - becomes a parody and caricature of the tradition they purport to represent. They don't seem to have any mechanism to question or analyse their own method and direction. This is not only incredibly self-satisfied but self-destructive. He who doesn't have the ability to adapt and and mould with the changing of events is doomed.

I want to live in a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-confessional society and live with a multi-confessional unionism. It's only through argument and dissent and the constant challenging of ideas that you can refine and develop political ideology and practice.

I've variously been called a "Unionists my arse". A "condescending appeaser" by Jamie Bryson. Nick Garbutt being called a "snob" by Willie Frazer

The other colloquial swear word and pjejorative term for the unionist that deviates from the hardline, is "guilty prod". Glenn Bradley explained being called a "guilty prod" here.

My previous post on the authoritarianism of fringe unionism against the moderate, here. See all my posts on Ian Knox, who did the cartoon above, here.
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