First Parish Unitarian (at Bedford Town Common)
Dents du midi - Oskar Kokoschka
Depeche Mode // Waiting For The Night
"I hate superheroes. I think they’re abominations. They don’t mean what they used to mean. They were originally in the hands of writers who would actively expand the imagination of their nine- to 13-year-old audience. That was completely what they were meant to do and they were doing it excellently. These days, superhero comics think the audience is certainly not nine to 13, it’s nothing to do with them. It’s an audience largely of 30-, 40-, 50-, 60-year old men, usually men. Someone came up with the term graphic novel. These readers latched on to it; they were simply interested in a way that could validate their continued love of Green Lantern or Spider-Man without appearing in some way emotionally subnormal. This is a significant rump of the superhero-addicted, mainstream-addicted audience. I don’t think the superhero stands for anything good. I think it’s a rather alarming sign if we’ve got audiences of adults going to see the Avengers movie and delighting in concepts and characters meant to entertain the 12-year-old boys of the 1950s."
Fine. But the emotionally-stunted or “subnormal” adult-male audience is not just feeding on the Superhero franchises; Hollywood has had them on a bottomless diet of Sandler-sagas, Hangovers, and Seth Rogen-overloads for years. The fact that this audience exists is a cultural issue. The “infantalization of our culture" is a deeply-rooted American epidemic. It’s not Hollywood’s fault that (the majority of) our men refuse to grow up. Hollywood is simply doing what it’s built for: profiting off of them.(via kateoplis)
"The fight against the privatization of public education means that university student struggles today have taken on a qualitatively different character than in the past, when students fought primarily for external political issues. Today’s university student struggles are class struggles. For this reason, students and workers at public universities today have begun to make common cause together as never before."
"A day spent as an inpatient at an American hospital costs on average more than $4,000, five times the charge in many other developed countries, according to the International Federation of Health Plans, a global network of health insurance industries. The most expensive hospitals charge more than $12,500 a day. And at many of them, including California Pacific Medical Center, emergency rooms are profit centers. That is why one of the simplest and oldest medical procedures — closing a wound with a needle and thread — typically leads to bills of at least $1,500 and often much more."
Composer: Paul Hindemith (1895 - 1963)
Work: I. Sehr lebhafte Achtel from Kammermusik No. 2 “Piano Concerto” (1924)
Performer: Sviatoslav Richter, Orchestra of the Soloists of the Moscow State Conservatoire; conducted by Yuri Nikolayevsky
"This thoroughgoing monism, or idealism, renders science null. To explain (or pass judgment on) an event is to link it to another; on Tlön, that joining-together is a posterior state of the subject, and can neither affect nor illuminate the prior state. Every mental state is irreducible: the simple act of giving it a name—i.e. of classifying it—introduces a distortion, a ‘slant’ or ‘bias.’ One might well deduce, therefore, that on Tlön there are no sciences—or even any ‘systems of thought.’ The paradoxical truth is that systems of thought do exist, almost countless numbers of them. Philosophies are much like the nouns of the northern hemisphere; the fact that every philosophy is by definition a dialectical game, a Philosophie des Als On, has allowed them to proliferate. There are systems upon systems that are incredible but possessed of a pleasing architecture or a certain agreeable sensationalism. The metaphysicians of Tlön seek not truth, or even plausibility—they seek to amaze, astound. In their view, metaphysics is a branch of the literature of fantasy. They know that a system is naught but the subordination of all the aspects of the universe to one of those aspects—any one of them."
Jorge Luis Borges, Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius [On the imaginary universe of Tlön.] (via amoleskine)
Republicans are apoplectic over Pope Francis’ 224-page policy statement condemning as “tyranny” unfettered capitalism and greed — because their real God isn’t Jesus, it’s money.
A SPECIAL meeting of Toronto City Council convened on November 18 to deal with the city’s “Ford problem” was the most bizarre chapter to that point in the scandal surrounding Mayor Rob Ford.
The meeting was convened by city councilors to adopt measures to reduce the power and financing of the mayor’s office. The council majority has supported Ford in office, but the man has become a liability for business interests in the city. They need to rein him in.
The Toronto City Council doesn’t have the power to remove Ford. But it does have the discretion of asking the province to do so. However, concern over a pro-Ford, right-wing political backlash as well as the fact that many city councilors support Ford’s austerity and anti-working-class police prevent the council from turning to the province. In an editorial, the liberal editors of the Toronto Star also resigned themselves to Ford’s continued occupation of the mayor’s chair.
The special city council meeting was mission accomplished—for all intents and purposes, a deputy mayor will now head the city. But the corralling of the mayor was accomplished at the price of enduring another embarrassing, bruising confrontation with Ford, his city councilor brother, Doug, and their supporters in the visitors’ gallery.
The circus that day was described well by Postmedia's Christie Blatchford. Toronto Starcolumnist Royson James also described some of the proceedings. Here is a flavor of the day as James described it:
With his brother, Councilor Doug Ford, playing Terminator to the mayor’s Rambo, the fearsome twosome give every evidence that local politics could deteriorate from weeks of comedy to months of tragedy.
Over the past few rancorous days, the Brothers Ford teamed up to try to intimidate councilors as they voted on sanctions against the mayor. They have threatened to disrupt council, filibustering on issues to shut down city business, and given every indication that the mayor won’t shrink away and seek help for suspected drug and alcohol addiction.
On Monday, while councilors debated the motion stripping Ford of his powers, the mayor walked over to the crammed public gallery and taunted citizens. The act created a ruckus and Speaker Frances Nunziata recessed the meeting. This, in turn, aggravated the exchange. Citizens started chanting, “Shame, shame, shame.” The mayor’s brother joined the fray and it deteriorated into an ugly confrontation.
"You are a disgrace," one citizen shouted. "How do you know Anthony Smith, you lying scumbag," another shouted, referring to the man captured in a posed photo with the mayor in front of a residence police describe as a crack house. Smith was later slain in a downtown gun attack. "You are the scumbag, you little punk," Doug Ford shot back. And on and on it went…
The mayor told the meeting that its measures to restrict his powers are akin to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1991. “You have just attacked Kuwait,” he said. “This means war” in the 2014 mayoral election, he declared.
The Ford clan is unfazed by all that has taken place since revelations began pouring out earlier this year of the mayor’s substance abuse, his associations with criminals, and his personal conduct that would arguably have a normal citizen facing criminal charges. But the has clan made clear that it is charging ahead with future political plans, however dodgy such prospects might appear today.