sábado, setembro 16, 2006

... and Laff ...

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Three stories caught my eye today:
    Looks to me like Pope Benedict XIV ...
    Lula seems to be winning ...
    A-and finally, Kimveer Gill at Dawson College ...
    a-and a lovely laughing young woman, called Naomi.

(TOP) Looks to me like Pope Benedict XIV, the fourteenth, the 'well spoken'? (isn't that what Benedict means?) was maybe just trying to make a statement about evil. Having read his Letter on Love (Vatican: Deus Caritas Est) and having found it pretty straight, to me that is, I look at this current statement and find it simply true, on the face of it that is, to me that is (having looked into the Koran and found more of the same):

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

16/09/06, Michael Valpy, Pope's quote kindles Islamic rage, (Archive).

I cannot imagine him setting out to create controversy and the inevitable bloodshed that controversy becomes in the Islamic world. But they are already going off the rails over it (again, again, again), there is no moderation in the press - blow it up a bit and sell more bandwidth, to which I am contributing of course - and they do seem to be thin-skinned some of those Muslims.

And the only antidote I can see is laughter; at it, with it, in spite of it, with bitterness & despair, with a little gleam just hopin' someone catches on ... Bruce Cockburn calls some people "brain-dead mockers" on his latest album. I don't think I am one of those ... but who knows, maybe I am and just don't know it? Earlier on, somewhere else, late 90s sometime, he said:

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It's not the laughter of rain in the drain
It's not the laughter of a man in pain
It's not the laughter you can hide behind
It's not the laughter of a frightened mind
Balanced on the brink only waiting for a shove
You better listen for the laugh of love

It's not the laughter of the gloating rich
It's not the laughter of the sacred bitch
Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarIt's not the laughter of the macho fool
It's not the laughter that obeys the rules
More of a chain saw in a velvet glove
You better listen for the laugh of love

It's not the laughter of a child with toys
It's not the laughter of the president's boys
It's not the laughter of the media king
This laughter doesn't sell you anything
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It's the wind in the wings of a diving dove
You better listen for the laugh of love
Whatever else you might be thinking of
You better listen for the laugh of love

Not exactly ... but close; my laughter is indeed 'the laughter of a man in pain, that I am trying to hide behind, and that comes from my frightened mind'; so be it, there is still some love in it.

Click to Enlarge / Click para Aumentar (TOP) Lula seems to be winning the war of the polls in Brazil, also to smile about, maybe even in one round, the election is coming up on Sunday October 1: (Archive).
  15/09, Maria Clara Cabral, CNI/Ibope: Lula vence no 1º turno.
  31/08, Vox Populi: Lula faz 50% e atinge dobro de Alckmin.
  22/08, Datafolha: Lula seria reeleito no 1º turno.

See also: Brasil - Election coming in October, and On-line Election Polls.

(TOP) A-and finally, Kimveer Gill at Dawson College. Quite a bit of nonsense being published about it; even Rex Murphy can only come up with platitudes; "It was," he says, "in any meaningful sense, pointless." (I am not going to bother putting any of it in the Archive, when the Globe takes it down it will be gone.) Christopher Dreher asks, "Are rampage killings a sign of the times?" And in his article brings on Jordan B. Peterson, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, who weighs in with the following (I have edited & paraphrased for brevity):

Some attitudes and behaviour to watch out for:
    - Resentment, virulent contempt or cynicism.
    - Arrogance, being above everything
      including their own & other people's lives.
    - Refusal to take part in constructive activity.
    - Lack of responsibility, the need to blame others.
    - Unusual isolation, or
      association with a pathological peer group.
    - Obsession with violence beyond typical curiosity.
    - Drug or alcohol use.
    - Sudden declines in performance.
The cornerstone triad:
    - Contempt,
    - Resentment and
    - Arrogance.

Then he offers up some nostrums on how to deal with it: Be honest and up-front, pay attention, stress the cowardice of such actions ... blah blah blah.

This sidebar, 'Tragic warning signs'. caught my attention because while I am hardly a young student, I do sometimes express negative thoughts and feelings with strong figurative language, lately in particular; and as I was reading it I was thinking, "someone could very easily think that I have some or most of these qualities." I don't; but they might think so. Not only that, I have been dressing mostly in black t-shirts & jeans for some while - actually that is mourning the girls I had to leave behind in Brazil, but nevermind. Uh oh! Maybe this explains why I regularly get the full check going through airport security?

A different kind of laughter then eh? I am remembering Rigoberto Alpizar & Troy Anthony Rigby; Charles Menezes; Ian Jeffrey Bush, Jeff Berg & numerous others.

My friends and relations say that I have been 'depressed' for the past year or so. I don't like the label - a cop-out it seems to me; but ok, I have been 'suffering the slings and arrows' and am unable to deal with it to the point that very few are still talking to me, nevermind being honest and up-front, paying attention, and stressing the cowardice of my actions. Interesting exceptions are the girls in Brazil who faithfully email me every week or so.

Peterson's nostrums strike my funny bone because the remedy is just exactly as he says: being honest and up-front and paying attention; I would call this being 'engaged'. But putting it inside the genteel bourgeois moralistic wrapper of 'cowardice' makes it entirely unbelievable to me, there you go.

The other funny part is that if the shoe was on the other foot I would know what to do. In the 60s people got stuck in bummers sometimes - some of us learned ... but it is certainly no good to sit on your concern until someone shows up and starts blasting - sometime before that, yes, you might have to actually think, you might even have to reach out and DO something.

It's all good. When I heard Bob sing,
"For the love of God, y'all take pity on yourselves" things did so open up a bit for me.

Kimveer Gill is dead, a lovely young woman, Anastasia Rebecca de Sousa, is dead, a number of others are very seriously hurt, and many are grieving including myself. God bless us every one.

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