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Moscow art curators face 3 years in prison for controversial religious imagery
07.07.2010
09:02 pm

Topics:
Art
Current Events

Tags:
Russia
censorship

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Does a current censorship trial in Moscow indicate a return to the old Soviet ways of doing things, although it’s a newly resurgent Russian Orthodox Church we’re talking about here? A 2007 exhibit featuring some controversial art (such as the painting above, and another of Mickey Mouse as Lenin) was supposed to be against censorship of the arts, but has instead turned its curators into the poster boys for religious censorship. Now, after a 14-month trial, Yury Samodurov and Andrei Yerofeyev face up to three years in prison:

Even Russia’s culture minister says the two men did nothing to break the law against inciting religious hatred.

But the prosecutors refuse to back down and have demanded a three-year prison sentence when the judge makes her ruling on July 12.

The exhibit “Forbidden Art” at the Sakharov Museum, a human rights center named after celebrated dissident physicist Andrei Sakharov, featured several paintings with images of Jesus Christ.

In one, Christ appeared to his disciples as Mickey Mouse. In another, of the crucifixion, the head of Christ was replaced by the Order of Lenin medal, the highest award of the Soviet Union.

The directors of the exhibit were unprepared for the amount of hate it has generated in Russia, a country that was considered officially “atheist” during the era of the Soviet Union. Now it appears there is less separation between church and state in Russia than in the US of A. I doubt that painting would merit more that a few disgruntled remarks, even in the deep South!

Moscow curators face 3 years in prison (Associated Press)

Via Christian Nightmares

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Glenn Beck University: This is not a joke (well, depending on how you look at it)

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Photo by Gage Skidmore.

It is often said that a liberal arts degree only prepares the holder of said degree for a life of waiting tables, but just how valuable would a, well, conservative arts degree be in today’s jobs market? Especially one from Glenn Beck University?

This July, while others are relaxing poolside, head back to the classroom - from the comfort of your own home. That may sound like an oxymoron but Glenn’s new academic program is only available online.

Offered exclusively to Insider Extreme subscribers, Beck University is a unique academic experience bringing together experts in the fields of religion, American history and economics. Through captivating lectures and interactive online discussions, these experts will explore the concepts of Faith, Hope and Charity and show you how they influence America’s past, her present and most importantly her future.

Mother Jones had some possible (probable?) course listings for BU.

Theories of Self and Other in the Autobiography of Ronald Reagan
Mythology 101: Fossils
Presidential History From Harding to Coolidge
Fundamentals of Spelling and Grammar CANCELED
Great Military Heroes: John Wayne
Intro to Theology: Ayn Rand
Advanced Marketing Seminar: Rare Gold Coins
Psych 301: Paranoia as Therapeutic Alternative
Wilde, Proust, and Other Homosexual Europeans
Middle Eastern and Arab Cultures: What’s Up With That?
Studies in Moral Courage: Joe McCarthy
Hermeneutics and Homosociality in The Overton Window
Political Science 300: Reverse Racism and the Modern Presidency
Colloquium on Great Filmmakers: Mel Gibson
Gym Crow
Underwater Conspiracy Weaving

If some good ones occur to you,  #BeckUCourses is a trending hashtag on Twitter. Here in an un-embedable video clip (with the comments wisely disabled) is Beck himself telling his er, flock, why everything they know is wrong.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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At least you didn’t spend your 4th of July weekend at a Gallagher show
07.05.2010
09:24 pm

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
Gallagher

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Oh well, the weekend’s over and now it’s back to work (for some of us lucky ones, I suppose). If your holiday weekend wasn’t all you could have hoped for, chin up, at least you didn’t spend it like The Stranger’s Lindy West did, in Bremerton, Washington, amongst washed-up, tricycle-riding, watermelon-smashing 80s “comedian” Galllagher—now a rightwing Tea partier—- and his, er, fans:

Gallagher is upset about a lot of things. Young people with their sagging pants (in faintly coded racist terms, he explains that this is why the jails are overcrowded—because “their” baggy pants make it too hard for “them” to run from the cops). Tattoos: “That ink goes through to your soul—if you read your Bible, your body is a sacred temple, YOU DIPSHIT.” People naming their girl-children Sam and Toni instead of acceptable names like Evelyn and Betty: “Just give her some little lesbian tendencies!” Guantánamo Bay: “We weren’t even allowed to torture all the way. We had to half-torture—that’s nothin’ compared to what Saddam and his two sons OOFAY and GOOFAY did.” Lesbians: “There’s two types—the ugly ones and the pretty ones.” (Um, like all people?) Obama again: “If Obama was really black, he’d act like a black guy and get a white wife.” Michael Vick: “Poor Michael Vick.” Women’s lib: “These women told you they wanna be equal—they DON’T.” Trans people: “People like Cher’s daughter—figure that out. She wants a penis, but she has a big belly. If you can’t see your dick, you don’t get one.” The Rice Krispies elves: “All three of those guys are gay. Look at ‘em!” The Mexicans: “Look around—see any Mexicans? Nope. They’ll be here later for the cleanup.” The French: “They ruin our language with their faggy words.”

Above all, everything is gay, gay, gay to Gallagher. He leans into it with the borderline- nonsensical, icked-out, ignorant glee of a boy—or the protest-too-much vigor of a GOP senator. Gallagher delivers your Bible verse for the day: “Without God, we are nothing but dust. What is butt dust? Is that what you get if your homosexual isn’t properly lubricated?” He relates a story about spilling mouthwash onto his crotch during a show: “Lucky for me, there was no homosexuals in the area—‘cause my balls was minty fresh.” At other points during the show, Gallagher says, “Men and women can’t live in the same house” and “There’s no way men and women can have a relationship.” He says he can’t remember why he used to feel pleasure in looking at a woman. And, “There’s only one kind of homosexual guy, and that’s the pretty ones—why do homosexual men have to be so good-looking?” Gallagher. Listen. Is there something you want to share with us?

And guess what? The train-wreck just goes downhill from there!

Gallagher Is a Paranoid, Right-Wing, Watermelon-Smashing Maniac: The Decline and Fall of a Comedy Legend (The Stranger)

Thank you Rudy Coby!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Have a safe 4th of July !
07.02.2010
09:56 am

Topics:
Current Events
Television

Tags:
Exploding fireworks factory
Posted by Brad Laner | Discussion
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A stumble is not a fall: Rapper Immortal Technique returns from Haiti

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Media assassin Harry Allen has Twittered attention to the observations of Harlem-based Peruvian-American activist-rapper Immortal Technique upon his return from his recent visit to Haiti on the indomitable Davy D’s Hip Hop Corner.

I may not agree with all of Tech’s positions in general, but I do admire him as one of the few politically minded rappers who walks the walk. Dude built a damn orphanage in Afghanistan with no external or corporate funding, so he gets my salute.

Here are a few excerpts from his compelling Haiti look…

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Discussion
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Crises of Capitalism: An animated talk by David Harvey

Watch this and get a lot smarter in just 11 minutes! Radical sociologist David Harvey asks: is it time to look beyond capitalism towards a new social order that would allow us to live within a system that really could be responsible, just, and humane? From a speech given at the prestigious Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). See the full speech here. The talkshow will returns in a few weeks.
 
Via the mighty Nerdcore!
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Art not oil: London artists let the truth spill at the Tate

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As you can see, London artist collective Liberate Tate were at it on Monday, letting the Tate Modern art museum know during their BP-feting summer party that taking sponsorship money from the oil giant is unacceptable. Don’t be misled by the occasional media reports of indignant Englanders bristling about the supposed anti-British nature of BP bashing. While we in the US have been driving around barely knowing what “BP” stands for, UK orgs like Art Not Oil have been working since 2004 to call attention to BP’s and Shell’s beneficent use of arts sponsorship to divert public attention away from their actual activities.

And now you can spill on the Tate yourself!
 

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Discussion
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Partying with ironic hipsters at the G20 riots
06.29.2010
01:35 pm

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
Hipsters
G20
Toronto
2010

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From a pretty thought provoking collection of photos and written snark over at Hipster Runoff. Does this all-irony-all-the-time thing betray a humorous defense mechanism against the horrors of the world or a serious lack of actual feeling and engagement ? Funny what the simple phrase “Justin Bieber” can cause me to ponder.
 
 
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Does n e 1 know what G20 protesters are even protesting? Seems like they just want to make .jpg internet memes (Hipster Runoff)
 
Previously on DM : G20 TORONTO RIOT FOOTAGE & THE RISE OF THE ANTI-G PROTEST VIDEO

Posted by Brad Laner | Discussion
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Postcards from Hell:  A rogue’s gallery of failed states
06.28.2010
06:56 pm

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
failed states

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As Foreign Policy’s Elizabeth Dickinson writes in the introduction to this powerful photo essay, “As the photos here demonstrate, sometimes the best test is the simplest one: You’ll only know a failed state when you see it.”
 
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Here, men in Uganda rallying against corrupt strongman Yoweri Museveni, in power since 1986, burn a bus in protest.
 
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Intercommunal violence in Nigeria’s middle belt means the sight of mass graves is common in the area.
 
The Failed States Index 2010 (Foreign Policy)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Rent a White Guy
06.28.2010
03:36 pm

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
China
Fred Willard
Caucasians

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This article, about a rather peculiar business practice in China, is quite amusing, I think you will agree. Hell, with my look, I would be in high demand there! From The Atlantic:

Not long ago, I was offered work as a quality-control expert with an American company in China I’d never heard of. No experience necessary—which was good, because I had none. I’d be paid $1,000 for a week, put up in a fancy hotel, and wined and dined in Dongying, an industrial city in Shandong province I’d also never heard of. The only requirements were a fair complexion and a suit.

“I call these things ‘White Guy in a Tie’ events,” a Canadian friend of a friend named Jake told me during the recruitment pitch he gave me in Beijing, where I live. “Basically, you put on a suit, shake some hands, and make some money. We’ll be in ‘quality control,’ but nobody’s gonna be doing any quality control. You in?”

I was.

And so I became a fake businessman in China, an often lucrative gig for underworked expatriates here. One friend, an American who works in film, was paid to represent a Canadian company and give a speech espousing a low-carbon future. Another was flown to Shanghai to act as a seasonal-gifts buyer. Recruiting fake businessmen is one way to create the image—particularly, the image of connection—that Chinese companies crave. My Chinese-language tutor, at first aghast about how much we were getting paid, put it this way: “Having foreigners in nice suits gives the company face.”

I just have one question: What KIND of racism is this? Positive racism? Lucrative racism? Self-loathing Chinese racism? It’s clearly racism of one stripe or another, seemingly positive, at least for white males who look like business men, but still, it’s a bit confusing, isn’t it?

Rent a White Guy: Confessions of a fake businessman from Beijing (The Atlantic)

Via Steve Silberman’s always interesting Twitter feed

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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