ArtDaily: Timbuktu rebuilds mausoleums destroyed by Islamists.
Now that’s kind of nice to hear. Amid all the other useless, idiotic destruction going on.
Italian Ways: Hermann Hesse and the Explosion of the Cart in Florence, on Easter 1901.
First I’ve ever heard of this.
GlobalPost: The future of religion around the world, in one chart.
Al Jazeera: Why Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Converted to Islam.
“... the more I studied history, the more disillusioned I became with the role of Christianity in subjugating my people. I knew, of course, that the Second Vatican Council in 1965 declared slavery an ‘infamy’ that dishonored God and was a poison to society. But for me, it was too little, too late. The failure of the church to use its might and influence to stop slavery and instead to justify it as somehow connected to original sin made me angry.” A really fascinating look at Kareem’s choices; context to history. Via Dan Hartung on FB.
The Art Newspaper: Vienna museum director calls for time limit on Nazi-loot restitution claims.
This doesn’t help Austria in the eyes of the world. Many don’t agree: “We have an immense obligation towards the Holocaust era. The discussion should not be about time limits but rather on how provenance research can be carried out as efficiently and rapidly as possible.” If someone has clear provenance 500 years hence, should a museum be able to deny it? I don’t believe so. Especially given the nature of how these artworks were ripped away from their rightful owners. You can set a statute of limitations on theft of consumer goods, perhaps. That is a petty crime. Consumer goods have a useful lifespan. Not so artworks, burgled with governmental organization and premeditation .... artworks appreciate in value.
And why say this now, when methods of detection and unearthing provenance have become so much better? We’re seeing new revelations in the news every day. No, this was a very unwise statement.
BBC: Will the Dalai Lama reincarnate?
“His holiness has said that the 15th would be born outside of Tibet, outside of China, because this 15th Dalai Lama would have to continue the work of the present Dalai Lama.” Lots of Tibetans around Santa Fe. Apparently the climate is similar.
Guardian.UK: Laughing at Isis - Syrian video artists go beyond fear to ridicule jihadis.
ArtDaily: IS ‘bulldozed’ ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, Iraq’s antiquities ministry says.
“I’m sorry to say everybody was expecting this. Their plan is to destroy Iraqi heritage, one site at a time.” I have no words. This is like having someone get in your closet, start destroying your stuff. I’d drag ‘em out and beat the tar out of ‘em.
Gates of Nineveh: Assessing the Damage at the Mosul Museum, Pt 2 - The Sculptures from Hatra.
“Regardless, from what we can see in this video the loss for the study the Roman and Parthian Near East is absolutely devastating.” Gives great background on what was authentic, what was replica, and how this damage has hurt scholarly study.
Mashable: The ISIS campaign to erase history
Anyone who has visited temples in Egypt and other ancient locations around the Mediterranean can always view the defacement perpetrated by ‘Dark Age’ Christians ... religious extremism breeds this behavior. KJV: “For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” Orwell: “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”
Guardian.UK: Stop calling for a Muslim Enlightenment.
Marked for later reading.
WaPo: Why Turkish troops entered Syria to reach a medieval tomb.
“Over the weekend, a column of Turkish troops and armored vehicles motored about 20 miles across the border into Syria. In the dead of night, they approached an old mausoleum, held a brief prayer ceremony and removed the site’s historical artifacts and relics. Then, they lowered the Turkish flag that flew over the site and demolished the complex.” The relics would have ended up on the open market, of course.
Phnom Penh Post: Naked temple shoots perplex.
“Far from being harmless fun, the behaviour was deeply offensive to Khmer culture.” I suppose, with easy smartphone photography at your fingertips, everyone wants to do a fashion-quality (high production value) selfie. Narcissism run up against cultural mores. More will occur.
KOAT: Chimayo man spots Virgin Mary in his truck.
ArtDaily: Work on ‘Museum of Bible’, under way in US capital
“We’re not discussing a lot of the particulars of the book; it’s more of a high-level discussion of, here is this book, what is its history and impact and what is its story.” The fact that they mention the Dead Sea Scrolls, may mean they recognize less-than-divine authorship. I reserve judgment until I know more.
NY Times: How to Be a Stoic.
“Participants in Stoic Week reported a 9 percent increase in positive emotions, an 11 percent decrease in negative emotions and a 14 percent improvement in life satisfaction after one week of practice.”
Vox: Study - suffering at end of life is getting worse, not better.
“Take a cancer patient who has stopped eating and is writhing in pain, he said. An oncologist might recognize the person is going to die, but rather than telling the patient, he or she begins another round of treatment that causes more pain and suffering.” Medicine really needs to get on board with assisted suicide and much better end-of-life management.
BuzzFeed: Nancy Reagan Turned Down Rock Hudson’s Plea For Help Nine Weeks Before He Died.
“... it took the administration’s own surgeon general, Dr. C. Everett Koop, issuing his groundbreaking ‘Surgeon General’s Report on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome’ — without giving advance notice to the White House — and the Senate pressing for a presidential commission on AIDS for the White House to take steps toward action.” Koop was no fool; gagged by the Reagan White House, he routed around them. Read here.
Open Culture: What Questions Would Stephen Fry Ask God at the Pearly Gates?
If you haven’t seen/heard it. Sort of like experiencing a cold shower; shocking, but ultimately good for you.
Guardian.UK: The boy who didn’t come back from heaven: inside a bestseller’s ‘deception’.
“The word exploitation is very appropriate. The children are exploited. The Christian public is exploited. The buyers are exploited.” For related exploitation, see the LRB link yesterday.
LRB: Hilary Mantel reviews ‘The Voices of Gemma Galgani’.
“It ought to be possible to live and thrive, without conforming, complying, giving in, but also without imitating a man, even Christ: it should be possible to live without constant falsification. It should be possible for a woman to live – without feeling that she is starving on the doorstep of plenty – as light, remarkable, strong and free.” Powerful load of baggage to load on a book or four. But worth the read.
NPR: What If Heaven Is Not For Real?
“... even though none of us existed 1,000 years ago, you don’t find many people worrying about their nonexistence during the Dark Ages. Our not-being in the past doesn’t worry us. So, why does our not-being in the future freak us out so much?”
NY Times: Prison Beard Ban Violates Muslim Religious Rights, Supreme Court Rules.
And now I wonder what Fox News thinks of the Supremes after that decision.
BBC: Pope Francis - No Catholic need to breed like ‘rabbits’.
“Good Roman Catholics do not need to breed like ‘rabbits’ ...” Dude must be giving the traditionals in the Vatican nightmares.
AP/Bigstory: Pope’s climate-change stand deepens conservatives’ distrust.
“What they’re worried about is the solution. [snip] Climate change is the ultimate collective-action problem. It’s going to require local, state and national policy change, and it’s going to require international cooperation, which means the United Nations.”