Tag Archives | Criticism

Amnesty International: Whitewashing Another Massacre

Richard Potts (CC BY 2.0)

Richard Potts (CC BY 2.0)

Paul de Rooij writes at CounterPunch:

Amnesty International has issued four reports on the Massacre in Gaza in 2014 [1]. Given the scale of the destruction and the number of fatalities, any attempt to document the crimes committed should be welcomed. But these reports are problematic, and raise questions about this organization [2], including why they were written at all. It also raises questions about the broader human rights industry that are worth considering.

Basic Background

July 2014 marked the onset of the Israeli massacre in Gaza (I will dispense with the Israeli sugar-coated operation names). The Israeli army trained for this attack for several months before finding a pretext to attack Gaza, shattering an existing ceasefire; this was the third such post-“disengagement” (2004) attack, and possibly the worst so far. At least 2,215 were killed and 10,000+ wounded, most of them civilians. The scale of destruction was staggering: tens of thousands of houses rendered uninhabitable; several high-rise buildings struck by huge American-supplied bombs; schools and hospitals targeted; 61 mosques totally destroyed; water purification and sewage treatment plants damaged; Gaza’s main flour mill bombed; all chicken farms ravaged; an incalculable devastation [3].

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Holly Herndon [Past : Forward]

This post was originally published on four by three magazine by Giuseppe Zevolli.


Are artists, consumers and critics guilty of a stubborn addiction to the past? Or have we become too obsessed with the new?
Music critic Giuseppe Zevolli ties American artist Holly Herndon’s forthcoming album Platform – to be released on May 18th – to the wider phenomenon of nostalgia for the past and the future of music, while confronting her experimental compositions in the here and now.


herndon album coverSan Francisco based electronic musician Holly Herndon does not have much time for nostalgia. In her view it is better spent on reviving the ‘world-making’ potential of music and do away with pre-existing tropes. On her track Unequal, off of her upcoming album Platform [RVNG Intl. & 4AD], a male voice recites:

To change the shape of our future/To be unafraid to break away

A climactic rush of shuddering electronica accompanied by meditative, pitch-errant vocals, the song tackles social inequality, while those two verses – echoing the manifesto-like messages appearing in her video for Interference – could equally be seen to encapsulate her aesthetics as a whole.… Read the rest

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Art Profile: Seishiro Matsuyama

flying saucer kingdom

This was originally published on The Moot Art Gallery.

Manic vibrancy pulsates in us everyday. We are saturated in light and colour so much so that it causes some people to become over-saturated and subsequently die or, even worse, imprisoned in a sea of grey misery (depression). It is a struggle, a constant war. Colour poses a risk as does the continual bombardment of information that we face in most of our daily routine. With an array of materials, from the high end products of oil and silicone to human excrement, crayon wax and markers, we choose materials and their instruments that lead to the exorcism of these bombardments of a techno-gizmotronic society. One by one the information is stored in log books, on sheets of paper, on the screen of a computer laptop, or hand held smartphone device via cloud storing technology to be contextualised for ourselves and for the enjoyment and the wellbeing of others.… Read the rest

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3 Reasons To Go Against The Flow Hive

The Flow Hive

The Flow Hive

This article was originally published on HoneyColony.

 Against The Flow

Frankly, I am tired of people raving about how wonderful the Flow Hive invention is and posting it on my Facebook wall every other day. The viral-ity of this fundraising campaign has been astounding. During my travels in Central America, I even had a Belgium restaurant owner in Nicaragua ask me whether I’d heard about it.

“I love honey. This is amazing,” you read over and over again in the comments from people worldwide who have no clue about beekeeping. The gadget allows you to harvest honey without opening the hive, and Australian inventors Stuart and son Ceder Anderson promise that there is “no mess, no fuss, no expensive processing equipment, and [that] the bees are hardly even disturbed.”

But just because no disturbance is seemingly occurring to the naked eye doesn’t mean it’s not happening.… Read the rest

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President Obama “Throws Christians Under the Bus” at National Prayer Breakfast

800px-President_Barack_Obama

President Obama is currently facing backlash for “throwing Christians under the bus” at yesterday’s National Prayer Breakfast. In the past few weeks, many have chastised his avoidance of using the phrase “radical Islam.” But, instead of appeasing his critics, Obama decided to take things in a different direction.

At the breakfast, Obama gave a speech in which he not only avoided using the term “Radical Islam,” he reminded us that atrocities have also been committed in the name of Christ:

So how do we, as people of faith, reconcile these realities — the profound good, the strength, the tenacity, the compassion and love that can flow from all of our faiths, operating alongside those who seek to hijack religious [sic] for their own murderous ends?

Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.

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Gimme Nirvana Baby: On the Spiritual Journey of Ash from the Evil Dead Films

3

Ugh. I’ve desperately tried to write this essay without referring–for the second essay in a row–to my Sunday living habits. They’re really not that interesting, and I understand that. But I’m sorry. Just like the last essay, the origins of this one occur during those existential lulls that seem to characterize a lot of people’s Christian Sabbath.

You see, in my household–after my morning workout– Sunday mornings are reserved for one of two rituals. One, because my wife is a practicing Catholic, we go to mass. Or, two–if we’re too lazy on that particular morning–we lay around in our sweats and my wife watches “Super Soul Sundays” on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Of the two, even though I am a blasphemer, heretic and just an outright nonbeliever, I greatly prefer going to mass, even though it means making the effort to look presentable in public on a Sunday morning and listening to some dweeb in a blouse tell me about how I need to make some more time for gahd/Jesus in my life.… Read the rest

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How to Criticize Israel Without Being Anti-Semitic

Flag_of_Israel.svg

Peter Vidani writes at This Is Not Jewish:

If you’ve spent any time discussing or reading about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I guarantee you’ve heard some variation of this statement:

OMG, Jews think any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic! 

In the interests of this post, I’m going to assume that the people who express such sentiments are acting in good faith and really don’t mean to cause pain to or problems for Diaspora Jewry.  For those good-faith people, I present some guidelines for staying on the good side of that admittedly murky line, along with the reasoning why the actions I list are problematic.  (And bad-faith people, you can no longer plead ignorance if you engage in any of these no-nos.  Consider yourselves warned.)  In no particular order:

  1. Don’t use the terms “bloodthirsty,” “lust for Palestinian blood,” or similar.  Historically, Jews have been massacred in the belief that we use the blood of non-Jews (particularly of children) in our religious rituals. 
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Rolling Balls through the Mind: On the Virtues of Laziness

I could have a job, but am too lazy to choose it;

I have got land, but am too lazy to farm it.

My house leaks; I am too lazy to mend it.

My clothes are torn; I am too lazy to darn them.

I have got wine, but I am too lazy to drink;

So it’s just the same as if my cup were empty.

I have got a lute, but am too lazy to play;

So it’s just the same as if it had no strings.

My family tells me there is no more steamed rice;

I want to cook, but am too lazy to grind.

My friends and relatives write me long letters;

I should like to read them, but they’re such a bother to open.

I have always been told that Hsi Shu-yeh

Passed his whole life in absolute idleness.

But he played his lute and sometimes worked at his forge;

So even he was not so lazy as I.… Read the rest

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Let’s stop trying to teach students critical thinking

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

Socrates, the father of critical thinking. lentina_x, CC BY-NC-SA

Many teachers say they strive to teach their students to be critical thinkers. They even pride themselves on it; after all, who wants children to just take in knowledge passively?

But there is a problem with this widespread belief. The truth is that you can’t teach people to be critical unless you are critical yourself. This involves more than asking young people to “look critically” at something, as if criticism was a mechanical task.

As a teacher, you have to have a critical spirit. This does not mean moaning endlessly about education policies you dislike or telling students what they should think. It means first and foremost that you are capable of engaging in deep conversation. This means debate and discussion based on considerable knowledge – something that is almost entirely absent in the educational world.… Read the rest

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