Tag Archives | Paris

Let’s Not Get It Wrong This Time: The Terrorists Won After 9/11 Because We Chose to Invade Iraq, Shred Our Constitution

President George W. Bush in the Oval Office on March 19, 2003, following his address to the nation announcing the U.S. invasion of Iraq. (Image: Public domain)

President George W. Bush in the Oval Office on March 19, 2003, following his address to the nation announcing the U.S. invasion of Iraq. (Image: Public domain)

This article originally appeared on Common Dreams.

What is terrorism? Many are convinced that the word is inherently so vague as to be meaningless. I have never understood this. To me the definition seems singular, and obvious, and it would appear that simply understanding it is the key to avoiding terrible missteps in the aftermath of an attack like the one in Paris.

Terrorism is a tactic in which the primary objective is to produce fear, rather than direct harm. Terrorist attacks are, first and foremost, psychological operations designed to alter behavior amongst the terrorized in a way that the actors believe will serve them.

The 9/11 perpetrators killed about 3,000 people, and did about $13 billion in physical damage to the United States.… Read the rest

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The Thread of History – Reactions to Paris


Eric Scott Pickard is a poet, activist, journalist, and thinker. He is a co-founder of Free Radical Media and a host of the Free Radical Media podcast.

I reacted to the recent attacks in Paris like most of the world; with horror, with sadness, and with anger. At the time of the attacks, I was already feeling very maudlin. I was watching a documentary series on the history of the United States, and there was France, Omaha Beach, soaked in blood.

There was the Holocaust.

There was the bomb, and the architect of its destructive terror, Oppenheimer, the man who so loved literature and poetry, quoting the Bhagavad Gita – “I am become Death, destroyer of worlds.” I thought then about how the tread of history is so tenuous, and how we are balanced on its rickety edge. How many tiny things could have been done to prevent Hitler’s rise to power?… Read the rest

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Spend Halloween Night in the Paris Catacombs

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In an interesting publicity stunt, AirBnb is running a contest for a lucky two to spend Halloween night in the Paris Catacombs.

About this listing:

Bienvenue to the bowels of Paris!

Looking for a change from the usual Halloween festivities? Escape the pint-sized pirates and mini goblins in the world’s largest grave— Paris’ famous catacombs, the final resting place of 6 million souls.

On Halloween night, journey to the center of the earth and learn about the hair-raising history of this mysterious subterranean labyrinth. Satisfy your thirst for adventure in the sprawling network of skulls and bones. Next, savor a dazzling culinary experience while enjoying a private concert in the most incredible acoustics under the earth.

Before bedtime, a storyteller will have you spellbound with fascinating tales from the catacombs, guaranteed to produce nightmares. Finally, enjoy dawn with the dead, as you become the only living person ever to wake up in the Paris catacombs.

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Strange find in tunnels under Paris

Catacombs Paris 1

The Paris Police Force is tasked with policing the 170 miles of tunnels and catacombs running beneath the city of Paris. In 2004 they made an intriguing discovery.

Behind that, a tunnel held a desk and a closed-circuit TV camera set to automatically record images of anyone passing. The mechanism also triggered a tape of dogs barking, “clearly designed to frighten people off,” the spokesman said.

Further along, the tunnel opened into a vast 400 sq metre cave some 18m underground, “like an underground amphitheatre, with terraces cut into the rock and chairs”.

There the police found a full-sized cinema screen, projection equipment, and tapes of a wide variety of films, including 1950s film noir classics and more recent thrillers. None of the films were banned or even offensive, the spokesman said.

A smaller cave next door had been turned into an informal restaurant and bar. “There were bottles of whisky and other spirits behind a bar, tables and chairs, a pressure-cooker for making couscous,” the spokesman said.

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Celebrating Alice

Alice Cooper

This week we celebrate the birthday of Vincent Furnier who was born February 4, 1948. Better known as Alice Cooper, the black-clad rocker made a name for himself when he pushed the outrageousness of his proto-glam theatricality toward the macabre, becoming the primary architect of shock rock. Here’s Furnier in a Rolling Stone interview from last year, discussing his alter-ego…

I didn’t really figure it out until later. The Alice character was originally a victim. He represented all the disenfranchised kids that didn’t fit in, the kids that didn’t even listen to mainstream FM. These were the kids that were going to get bullied. These were the artistic kids. These were the kids not looking for something straight up. And there were lots of them.

When I got sober in 1982, I went, “I’m not that anymore. The character’s not that, so who’s he going to be? I want him to be this arrogant villain.Read the rest

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Inside Paris’s Belle Époque-Era Human Zoo

human zooMessy Nessy Chic on a surreal symbol of the history of colonialism — the human zoo:

In the furthest corner of the Vincennes woods of Paris lies the remains of what was once a public exhibition to promote French colonialism over 100 years ago and what we can only refer to today as the equivalent of a human zoo.

In 1907, six different villages were built in the Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale, representing all corners of the French colonial empire at the time– Madagascar, Indochine, Sudan, Congo, Tunisia and Morocco. The villages and their pavillions were built to recreate the life and culture as it was in their original habitats. This included mimicking the architecture, importing the agriculture and appallingly, inhabiting the replica houses with people, brought to Paris from the faraway territories.

Over one million curious visitors [attended] from May until October 1907 when it ended. Today, the Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale is kept out of sight behind rusty padlocked gates, abandoned and decaying.

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Eleven Decades of Anaïs Nin

Anaïs Nin was an American born to Hispanic/Cuban parents in France on February 21, 1903. Although we associate the author with Paris, she spent most of her life living in the U.S. A writer of essays, short stories and novels, Nin's literary triumph was the publication of her diaries which chronicled more than six decades of experiences. Nin carried on a famous affair with author Henry Miller and it was during her time with him that the pair both started writing erotica to make ends meet. In the Paris of the 1930's, enterprising publishers cultivated collectors of forbidden writing and paid authors well and quickly for custom-crafted smut. Nin was a pioneer as one of the first women to ply the dirty book trade and she eventually let the works be collected and published widely under the titles Delta of Venus and Little Birds. She's considered to be among the best writers of the female sexual experience. Along with Miller, Nin became a counterculture hero during the unrest of the 1960's. While Miller championed freedom of libido in his writing and fought for free of speech in his battles against censorship, Nin was perceived as the kind of strong, talented, liberated woman that the just-budding feminist movement was still trying to articulate. While she became a popular lecturer at universities, Nin never became involved in radical politics. It seemed she was always a lover more than a fighter. Nin died of cancer in 1977. Here is the woman herself as she appeared in Kenneth Anger's The Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome in 1954 Stay Awake! Joe Nolan
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Hell In 3D, From 1860s Paris

comboA strange find from nineteenth-century Paris, a miniaturized version of Hell photographed in 3D, promising rewards for sinners in the underworld. Via Cine-graphics:

In the opening lines of his 1978 publication, Diableries: La Vie Quotidienne Chez Satan, Jac Remise relates how a crew of demolition workers in Paris discovered a mysterious wooden box hidden in the ruins of a condemned building. The box, which had been wrapped with old military belts, was found to contain a collection of photographs depicting a hedonistic world filled with drunken devils, sinister skeletons and scantily clad women. An anonymous note found buried among the glass images added:

“This is the work of my life, it is thus that I dreamed of Hell. If my visions are true, then the wicked may rest assured, the afterlife will be sweet for them to bear.”

What the demolition workers discovered that day was a series of photographs known as Les Diableries, The Diabolical.

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