PUBLISHED: 16:13 EST, 14 May 2013 | UPDATED: 16:33 EST, 14 May 2013
Students at an Orthodox Jewish school in Brooklyn have been banned from wearing the thick-framed retro glasses that are currently very fashionable with celebrities and local hipsters alike.
Parents at the Bobover Yeshiva B’Nei Zion school in Borough Park, which caters to members of the Bobov sect, recently received a letter written in Yiddish from the school telling them about the new policy.
‘We are asking that everyone buy simple glasses,’ reads the letter. ‘The yeshiva will not tolerate thick plastic eye glasses.’
I first studied this poem in 1960, on this campus, about 200 yards from where I was standing when I shot this photo yesterday. The science building beyond this young woman didn’t exist then. Nor did the library beyond, or the museum beyond the library. To the north of those buildings stood a dormitory, which has since been demolished.
I’ve already posted on this issue. I wondered originally what one might infer regarding the advertisers’ inferences about … well, me. Consider this the next chapter in the same inquiry. [The inferences aren't being made by "persons," of course. (Except possibly as the SCOTUS defines the concept.) They're being made by computer algorithms.]*
OK. A little background. Paul Pimsleur taught at one of the big California schools. I forget which. Berkeley? UCLA? Whatever. Point is, he developed a sophisticated aural/immersive approach to language learning. Eventually he marketed it commercially. Don’t remember when, but I do know it was on the market by the late 1960′s or early 1970′s. Reason I remember is that I was then renewing my language certifications for graduate school — French and German — so I was exploring “refresher” help.
I do enjoy learning and maintaining skills in foreign languages (I’m good at reading, awful at aurally comprehending/speaking). Through the years I’ve played with Pimsleur, Berlitz, and Transparent Language. The alternative making most noise these days is Rosetta Stone. Been around for a while, but I’ve never tried it. Waaaay too expensive. I don’t know which is best overall statistically (personally I found Transparent Language most engaging). Regardless, Pimsleur is serious stuff, not “back of the magazine you read while holding it in one hand” bullshit.
The ads I mentioned earlier would lead one to suspect the latter. Check it out:
Now check the “email-mercial” I received this afternoon:
OK. Now that I review it, maybe the difference is not as great as I remembered.
“Shocking Language Video” and “Crazy Linguistics Video.” Illustrated by young women who look as if they might need breast-reduction surgery in the not too distant future.
But then, more sophisticated looking video, but with this text: “Discovery how you can rapidly learn any new language in just 10 days using this sneaky linguistic secret…” Oy!
Try just slightly altering the pitch. The illustration shows two Photoshopped images of the same woman. The “Before” image shows her body warped to make her look seriously heavy. The “After” image shows her body warped to make her look seriously toned or even scrawny. The text says: ”Discovery how you can rapidly learn any new language shed 10 pounds in just 10 days using this sneaky linguistic weight loss secret…”
April 01, 2013 08:00 AM Georgia GOP Chairwoman: Straights Will Pretend To Be Gay! By Susie Madrak
Nope, not an April Fool’s joke — although you could say that this is one holiday the Republican party celebrates every day of the year. From the Marietta (GA) Journal, via Joe My God, the state GOP chairwoman’s bizarre theory that people will pretend to be gay in order to get health care benefits. (Maybe we could just, you know, give everybody benefits?)
One woman who has not “gone red” is Georgia GOP Chairwoman Sue Everhart of east Cobb, although she’s aware of the movement.
“Lord, I’m going to get in trouble over this, but it is not natural for two women or two men to be married,” Everhart said. “If it was natural, they would have the equipment to have a sexual relationship.”
Dave Johnson Campaign for America’s Future / Op-Ed Published: Thursday 28 March 2013
A folklore has grown up around our politics’ refusal to address the concerns and needs to the vast majority of us.
A new study, Democracy and the Policy Preferences of Wealthy Americans, by Professors Benjamin I. Page, Jason Seawright and Larry M. Bartels sought to gauge the political and policy priorities of the wealthy, and how these concerns contrast with the concerns of the rest of us. Amazingly, the priorities of the 1% match up with the priorities of our political class, while the priorities and needs of the vast majorities of us are ignored.
The study questioned people with wealth that placed them in the top 1%. They were asked what they felt were the “very important problems” facing the country. The most common response was the budget deficit, with 87 percent believing this to me the most important problem. This contrasts with the rest of the population, with only 7% saying this is the country’s most pressing problem. Of course jobs and the miserable state of the economy for people what are not in that 1% were cited by regular people as the most important problem.
“Entitlements” (That is, Earned Benefits Program.)
The 1%’ers want “entitlement programs” like Social Security and healthcare cut while the American Majority want (and need) them expanded.
The 1%’ers opposed raising the minimum wage, government help for the unemployed, government spending to ensure that all children have access to good-quality public schools, expanding government programs to ensure that everyone who wants to go to college can do so, and investing more in worker retraining and education. The American Majority supports all of these programs.
The 1%’ers also opposed more regulation of large corporations, raising the Social Security “cap,” using corporate taxes to raise revenue and taxing the rich to address inequality. The public supports these.
(Note – both the 1%’ers and the rest felt that the country needs to spend more on repairing and modernizing the country’s infrastructure.)
If the priorities of the wealthy seem to line up with the priorities of our DC elite, there is a reason.… [Emphasis and subtitles added by me.]
Money might not buy happiness, but it does buy legislators and government executives.
History (owned by A&E and formerly known as The History Channel) has a deservedly dubious reputation. Some of its better shows recently have had nothing to do history. They’ve been partially scripted “reality” shows like The Ice Road Truckers. Some of its putatively historical shows have been 90% fantasy of the “Could it be that [total bullshit] actually happened?” type (example, Nostradamus). Some of its actual history shows, like the one on JFK’s assassination, have been based so thoroughly on outlandish conspiracy theories as to have been forced off the air.
Other actual history shows have been rife with misinformation, either direct or clearly implied. For instance, they might do a show where the narrator is talking about, say, the historical figure Cleopatra. Simultaneously they be showing picture of a totally imaginary 19th century “odalisque” by Ingres or Matisse. Does such “lying with images” really matter? Well, I think it matters if people looking for genuine historical education are “told in pictures” that a Ptolemaic Egyptian queen dressed and acted like a 19th century European’s fantasy about a North African Muslim harem girl. Still, I’ll let that one go.
But at this moment in U.S. history to use a now serving Black president’s face to represent the Devil is not just a disservice to our democracy, it’s downright dangerous. And that’s exactly what they did in a series titled The Bible. The Bible is itself a mixture of historical records, fictional stories and poems, religious myth and legend. For a dramatization of parts of the Bible to present that jumbled combination as if were entirely historical is obviously wrong. Casting for such an endeavor presents tricky problems.
It’s been customary from early on to depict Bible stories as if they had happened in the painter’s own time and place. For example, this is a depiction of the Annunciation by the Northern European Robert Campin in the first quarter of the 15th century. Mary is shown as a very white 15th century aristocratic lady, in very, very luxurious surroundings. At this point we don’t see Jesus because he hasn’t yet been conceived. (See that tiny little guy between the two windows on the left? the one carrying the cross? He’s just arriving.)
This is a picture of the same Virgin Mary painted by Paul Gauguin in the South Seas islands in the late 19th century. Jesus is a brown-skinned Samoan child at this point:
Now Jesus is an adult, a White European. He’s in Peru, celebrating The Last Supper. Notice the main course in the middle of the table? It’s a roast guinea pig.
Again, every time and place and culture re-imagines the biblical stories to reflect their own circumstances. They depict the spiritual truths of the stories rather than the material factuality.
OK, so what “spiritual truths” is History asking us to understand in contemporary terms? What’s the truth of showing Jesus as a White man, but Satan as a Black man? not just any Black man, but a particular man named Barack Obama?