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Archive for the ‘War’ Category

Virgin Mary on Christmas Playboy Cover – The Borrowed Kettle – Too Many Excuses

Posted by NT Wrong on December 18, 2008

playboymexicomary
The December 2008 Mexican edition of Playboy features a woman draped in a religious looking veil, standing in front of a stained glass window, with the words ‘We adore you, Mary’ across the cover. The model’s name is Maria Florencia Onori. She appears completely nude within the publication, in various religiously themed poses. The magazine was released immediately before Mexico celebrates the Virgin of Guadalupe, and in the month of Christmas.

Playboy has made a number of responses: a denial, a shifting of the blame, and a ‘sincere apology’ for any offense caused.

A denial:

The image “is not and never was intended to portray the Virgin of Guadalupe or any other religious figure… The intent was to reflect a Renaissance-like mood on the cover.”
– Raul Sayrols, publisher of Playboy Mexico

A blame-shift:

“the Mexican edition of the magazine is published by a licensee, and the company did not approve or endorse the cover.”
– Chicago-based Playboy Enterprises Inc

An apology:

“While Playboy Mexico never meant for the cover or images to offend anyone, we recognize that it has created offense, and we as well as Playboy Mexico offer our sincerest apologies.”- – Chicago-based Playboy Enterprises Inc

The problem is the magazine has too many reasons.

Freud tells a story about a borrowed kettle:

“A. borrowed a copper kettle from B. and after he had returned it was sued by B. because the kettle now had a big hole in it which made it unusable. His defence was: ‘First, I never borrowed the kettle from B. at all; secondly, the kettle had a hole in it already when I got it from him; and thirdly, I gave him back the kettle undamaged.'”

This story is a favourite of Zizek’s. He has another good example:

“Do we not encounter the same inconsistency when high United States officials try to justify the attack on Iraq? (1) There is a link between Saddam’s regime and al-Qaeda, so Saddam should be punished as part of the retaliation for 11 September; (2) Even if there is no link between the Iraqi regime and al-Qaeda, they are united in their hatred of the United States–Saddam’s regime is thus very dangerous, a threat not only to the United States, but also to its neighbours and the Iraqi people; (3) The change of regime in Iraq will create the conditions for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
– The Universal Exception, 289

Of couse, there have been a number of other, also contradictory excuses offered by United States officials for the Iraq war. But there is no mention that war and securing oil are good business and smart political muscle-flexing. There was no mention from Playboy Enterprises Inc that controversy and sex sells porno magazines, either.

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Posted in Capitalism, Religion & Society, War | 13 Comments »

Anti-Israel Christmas Carols prove effective in Provoking Israeli Arseholes

Posted by NT Wrong on December 11, 2008

The Christmas Carols have been updated to reflect the current political situation in ‘the Holy Land’.

dreidelOnce in Royal David’s City

Once in Royal David’s City,
Stood a big apartheid wall,
People entering and leaving,
Had to pass a checkpoint hall,
Bethlehem was strangulated,
And her children segregated.

Though this city is a symbol
To the world of peace and love,
Concrete walls have closed around her,
Settlements expand above.
And apartheid Israel stands
All around on stolen lands.

David’s people once instructed
All the world in righteousness;
Prophets spoke of truth and justice;
Israel’s leaders now oppress.
All who look at Bethlehem
Must speak out the truth to them.

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Twelve assassinations,
Eleven homes demolished,
Ten wells obstructed,
Nine sniper towers,
Eight gunships firing,
Seven checkpoints blocking,
Six tanks a-rolling,
Five settlement rings,
Four falling bombs,
Three trench guns,
Two trampled doves,
And an uprooted olive tree.

The carols were performed at the Wren church of St. James in Central London, at an event called Bethlehem Now: Nine Alternative Lessons And Carols For Palestine. The event was organised by Jews For Boycotting Israeli Goods, a group of secular British Jews opposed to Israeli policies, and the Palestinian group Open Bethlehem.

Without a trace of self-conscious irony, Israeli ambassador Ron Proser blamed the Church of England for allowing its nice and lovely Christmas traditions to be “hijacked by hatred”. Then, losing all sense of the very meaning of ‘irony’, Proser claimed that the pro-peace activists “gave the stage to incitement of the kind of hatred we hoped had passed from this world, instead of encouraging understanding and interfaith tolerance.”

Although none of the News sources recorded it, the Israeli ambassador is understood to have later condemned the Wise Men as “insurgents” for declaring Jesus to be the anointed King — praising King Herod for taking measures to maintain the Rule of Law, after Herod contained a potential terrorist uprising by an organization of under-three-year-olds calling themselves “The Innocents”. Proser later pointed out that the Wise Men were from “The East”, an area renowned for its links with Al Qaeda.

Naturally, the Church of England’s openness to the Jewish group has been condemned as supporting “anti-Semitism” by any number of bandwagon-riding half-arses: Lord Carey of Clifton, the former archtwatbishop of Canterbury, and Dr Rowan Williams, the current Archbishop of Canterbury. And David Gifford of the Council of Christians and Jews complained that Christmas had suddenly been ‘politicized’, from what he must have understood to be a politically neutral celebration of Western commercialism.

But hooray for Bruce Kent, a former Roman Catholic priest and prominent peace campaigner, who cut through the Zionist bullshit by replying in this manner to the ‘tolerant’, ‘we mustn’t offend anybody, especially military governments’ crowd of insipid Anglican half-arses:

‘I think it is perfectly reasonable for carols to be rewritten in this way. I am fed up with sugary religion – the baby Jesus sitting in his stable and all that stuff… The carols pointed out exactly what is going on in occupied Palestine today. I am delighted they have had the publicity that this has generated. Anyone who speaks against Zionist policies is labelled anti-Semitic.’

Posted in Justice, Modern Israel, Violence, War | 2 Comments »

When Bible Scholars Dream of Utopia

Posted by NT Wrong on December 2, 2008

“According to Deuteronomy the Israelites are commanded to exterminate all of the Canaanites and not to leave a soul of them living (Deut 7:1-2; 20:16-17). Such a policy, obliging the extermination of the whole population of the land whether fighting or passive, is utopian and is indeed unheard of in the historical accounts of Israel… the command of Herem of all the Canaanites in Deuteronomy is a utopian program that reflects the ongoing bitter struggle with the Canaanite religion and culture from the time of Elijah until the time of Josiah.”
– Moshe Weinfeld, Deuteronomy 1-11: 52-53

Hmmmmm… surely Moshe Weinfeld must have meant that the idea of killing entire populations in Palestine was utopian to the authors of Deuteronomy. Or could that be his idea of utopia, too? It’s a little bit unclear to me.

But this isn’t just a matter of the absence of qualification (‘to the authors of Deuteronomy this idea of pregnant-mother-slashing, baby-head-smashing, mass carnage must have been a dream come true!’). When Weinfeld does comment on the ‘utopian’ genocide, he seems instead to justify it. This ‘utopian’ genocide is justifiable as some real-life (for Weinfeld) “ongoing bitter struggle” with abominable, non-Yahweh-worshipping Canaanites (53). It’s a good thing, just as the Bible tells me so. Nay, not just ‘good’ — it’s a wet-dream!!

I know there’s a complex interrelationship between utopia and dystopia, and they’re hard to distinguish at the best of times. But I might have thought that a description of the genocide of Palestinian peoples, made in the late twentieth century, might have deserved some further comment in addition to the unqualified “that’s utopia!” Bloody genocide is certainly not what I think of when I get all dreamy and romantic.

But my dreams might be different from most biblical scholars.

Posted in Biblical interpretation, Justice, Pentateuch, Violence, War | 5 Comments »

Two 9/11s a Day: The War on Poverty That Never Was

Posted by NT Wrong on November 5, 2008

Bono, lead singer of U2:

“Right now there is the biggest pandemic in the history of civilization, happening in the world now with AIDS. It’s bigger than the Black Death, which took a third of Europe in the Middle Ages. Sixty-five hundred Africans are dying every day of a preventable, treatable disease. And it is not a priority for the West: two 9/11s a day, eighteen jumbo jets of fathers, mothers, families falling out of the sky. No tears, no letters of condolence, no fifty-one-gun salutes. Why? Because we don’t put the same value on African life as we put on a European or an American life. God will not let us get away with this, history certainly won’t let us get away with our excuses. We say we can’t get these antiretroviral drugs to the farthest reaches of Africa, but we can get them our cold fizzy drinks. The tiniest village, you can find a bottle of Coke. Look, if we really thought that an African life was equal in value to an English, a French, or an Irish life, we wouldn’t let two and a half million Africans die every year for the stupidest of reasons: money. We just wouldn’t. And a very prominent head of state said to me: “It’s true. If these people weren’t Africans, we just couldn’t let it happen.” We don’t really deep down believe in their equality.” (Michka Assayas and Bono, Bono on Bono: Conversations with Michka Assayas with a Foreword by Bono. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2005: 81.)

Bono is then asked by the interviewer whether poverty is simply the fault of Africa itself for not addressing these issues, and if Africa is just behind Europe in terms of ‘civilization’:

“This is a fifteen-year-old’s geography textbook. I was looking at this today, and it tells about it exactly. [Eventually finds the passage and proceeds to read out] “Income gap. Two hundred years ago, it appears that very little difference existed in living standards between the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere. Today, a very wide income gap exists: the North is many times richer than the South. What brought about this gap? The answer seems to lie in colonialism, trade, and debt.” They’re explaining to this fifteen-year-old kid how the reason why Africa is still in the Middle Age is largely to do with us, and our exploitation through French and British colonialism, but also in their present exploitation of unfair trade agreements, or old debts. You can’t fix every problem. But the ones you can, you must. To the degree we are responsible, we must fix. When you ask me to just accept that civilizations are just at a different level, there is a reason why they are. That is my answer.” (82-83)

And here’s a video of what could have been in poor, black New Orleans. Call me an old romantic, but this is a beautiful vision:

Posted in Justice, Music, Poverty, Racism, War | Comments Off on Two 9/11s a Day: The War on Poverty That Never Was

Capitalism, Middle East Invasions, Resource Exploitation, advertised as ‘Civilized Christianity’ versus ‘Terrible Islam’ – 1922

Posted by NT Wrong on October 18, 2008

This is a remarkable cartoon, albeit tragically still in 2008.

From radical leftist cartoonist, Arthur Henry Young (in Michael Cohen, “‘Cartooning Capitalism’: Radical Cartooning and the Making of American Popular Radicalism in the Early Twentieth Century.” IRSH 52 (2007): 35-58, 45).

The violence intrinsic to Capitalism continues unabated, and will do so until it is forcibly overthrown.


(click for a larger picture)

Posted in Capitalism, Islam, Justice, Religion & Society, War | Comments Off on Capitalism, Middle East Invasions, Resource Exploitation, advertised as ‘Civilized Christianity’ versus ‘Terrible Islam’ – 1922