Authentic Beauty?-A Quick Sunday Link

Wiser Men Stay Silent-Via Jezebel-Lena Dunham Responds To Unretouched Images From Her Vogue Shoot:

‘Yes, Vogue is fantasy. But no matter how fantastic the clothes or the setting or the lighting, the people in these images are real — and yet Vogue has to take the reality of a human being’s body and make it part of the fantasy too. It’s escapism, absolutely, but the message is clear: while you dream of wearing that gorgeous dress, you should also dream of physical perfection as defined by Vogue.’

Feminism and feminist ideology, aesthetics, and a woman’s desire to be beautiful are mixing together in the marketplace and public square.

This blog noticed the work of Pascal Dangin a little while back.  In the New Yorker, Dangin admits to having worked for Dove, applying some of his techniques (with heavy use of mathematics and computer graphics) to touch-up their photos.  You know the kind.


Selva-Real women in Hong Kong?

Full The NY Times had a follow-up piece on Dangin here.  Technology changes awfully quickly.

Another Dove photo here.

Regardless of his motives, Dangin considers himself an artist and what he does a pursuit of aesthetics.

Perhaps there’s a tension playing out before us, between the reasoning of academic and institutionalized feminists, the generally upper-middle-brow crust of popularizers, political influencers and professional writers, and on down to public sentiment, the popular culture, mainstream music and T.V. etc.

Sex still seems to be selling, and most everybody is attracted to beauty in one-form or another.

From Volokh: ‘Bloggers = Media for First Amendment Libel Law Purposes’

Full post here.

A protected class of journalists doesn’t sound like a great idea for a free and open society:

Volokh quoting the Ninth Circuit ruling:

‘The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others’ writings, or tried to get both sides of a story. As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable: “With the advent of the Internet and the decline of print and broadcast media … the line between the media and others who wish to comment on political and social issues becomes far more blurred.” Citizens United, 558 U.S. at 352. In defamation cases, the public-figure status of a plaintiff and the public importance of the statement at issue — not the identity of the speaker — provide the First Amendment touchstones.’

It may just be me, but I think we can do better than an institutionalized class of journalists formed around a guild structure, agreeing generally upon a basic worldview while following around our political class and generally quoting the ‘proper’ public intellectuals.

Of course, a lot of people say this until they get in the majority, or have their ideas and interests in power or in favor.

Classic Yellow Journalism by malik2moon

Remember The Maine! The good old days…by malik2moon

Related On This SiteFrom io9 Via An Emailer: ‘Viral journalism And The Valley Of Ambiguity’

From The Nieman Lab:-An Oral History Of The Epic Collision Between Journalism & Digital Technology, From 1980 To The Present.

A Few Thoughts On NPR And Current Liberal Establishment Thinking Under Obama

Charlie Martin At PJ Media: ‘Could Amazon and Jeff Bezos Make the Washington Post Profitable?’…‘Sorry, Jeff Bezos, the News Bundle Isn’t Coming Back

Michael Kinsley At The New Republic Via Althouse: ‘A Q & A With Jill Abramson’

From Slate: “Newsweek Has Fallen And Can’t Get Up”

Ross Douthat At The NY Times: ‘Burke in America’

Full post here.

 ‘But I think the underlying point is sound: You can’t found an American conservatism on Burke alone, for the solid Burkean reason that he wasn’t an American, and thus wasn’t in the business of defending our particular particularities. But Burke read through/alongside Tocqueville is a different matter, and seen in that light I think the father of British conservatism’s place in the intellectual canon of the modern American right is deserved and secure.’

Related On This SiteSome Quotations From Leo Strauss On Edmund Burke In ‘Natural Right And History’ Carl Bogus At The American Conservative: ‘Burke Not Buckley’

From George Will on Stephen Colbert:  “What conservatives say is that we will protect you against idealism.” Originalism vs. The living constitution: George Will Via The Jewish World Review: ‘True Self-Government

Sunday Quotation: Edmund Burke On The French Revolution

The NY Times op-ed writer and a practicing Catholic? William Saletan and Ross Douthat At Slate: ‘Liberalism Is Stuck Halfway Between Heaven And Earth’…Douthat’s The Grand New PartyRoss Douthat At First Principles: ‘The Quest for Community in the Age of Obama: Nisbet’s Prescience’

Repost-From The Spiked Review Of Books Via The A & L Daily: ‘Rescuing The Enlightenment From Its Exploiters’… Behavioral economics and libertarian paternalism and below all that some liberal totalitarianism (the personal is political crowd)…Ross Douthat Responds To Paul Krugman At The NY Times: ‘Can We Be Sweden?’

A Few Iran Links

Instead of an emergent international order advancing peace, nuclear non-proliferation, human-rights and democracy throughout the Middle-East, this looks just as much like an American withdrawal from the region, a resultant power vacuum with a few weak peace-deals attached, and a serious lack of overall strategy.   The old Moscow-Damascus-Tehran alliance is flaring up.

From The L.A. Times: ‘New Iran Agreement Includes Secret Side Deal, Tehran Official Says:

‘The new agreement, announced over the weekend, sets out a timetable for how Iran and the six nations, led by the United States, will implement a deal reached in November that is aimed at restraining Iran’s nuclear ambition.’

David Keyes At The Daily Beast: ‘How Iran, Putin & Assad Outwitted America

‘Zarif’s mission to Moscow quells any lingering hopes that Russia can be seduced away from Syria or Iran. Putin has made a simple calculation: Assad will protect his interests better than anyone. Russia, in turn, has made it clear that it will prop up Syria’s tyrant and their Iranian backers at almost any cost. ‘

Claudia Rosett At PJ Media: ‘Instructing Iran In Terrorist Etiquette

‘Iran’s senior officials suffer from no such delicacy toward the U.S. On Tuesday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani gloated on Twitter that in the recent Geneva agreement, “world powers surrendered to Iranian nation’s will.” Meanwhile, Iran’s foreign minister and chief nuclear negotiator at the Geneva talks, Javad Zarif, made a point while visiting Lebanon of goingto lay a wreath on the grave of assassinated Hezbollah terrorist kingpin Imad Mugniyah. Lest anyone miss the moment, Zarif did this before a bevy of photographers, ensuring that his thumb-in-the-eye to the U.S. would make news.’

A quote from this piece over at the Atlantic: From The Atlantic: Samuel Huntington’s Death And Life’s Work

“Although the professional soldier accepts the reality of never-ending and limited conflict, “the liberal tendency,” Huntington explained, is “to absolutize and dichotomize war and peace.” Liberals will most readily support a war if they can turn it into a crusade for advancing humanistic ideals. That is why, he wrote, liberals seek to reduce the defense budget even as they periodically demand an adventurous foreign policy.”

-Dexter Filkins on Iran here.

-Scowcroft and Brzezinski may be offering plans: ‘George Shultz & Henry Kissinger At The Hoover Institution: ‘What A Final Iran Deal Must Do’

From Via Media: ‘Foundations Pledge Millions to Save Detroit’s Art’

Full post here.

‘It also shows that if politicians hadn’t been busy robbing the city blind and milking it for patronage, the city’s problems probably could have been dealt with outside of bankruptcy court. The disaster in Detroit was caused by bad governance, by the corrupt response of the city’s Democratic machine to a series of economic challenges brought on in large part by the intransigence of the UAW, with an assist from the mismanagement of the U.S. car industry. If the city had been proactive about addressing its problems years ago, it could have avoided relying on the extraordinary charity of foundations to save its art. At this point, however, this is probably as good as it’s going to get.’

Visit the DIA and see what they have.

Over five years ago, when GM stock was selling at $2 a share and the debt-holders had been wiped out, this blog put up the video below.  Here’s a brief 2:00 min explanation by Bill Ackman of Pershing Square on why the GM bailout was likely a bad idea.

Politicians reward their friends, and some of the same Detroit ideas we’ve taken national.  Americans in general are likely not going to think well of their politics for awhile, but we could first stop the bleeding, create less incentive for those looking to oversee the spoils, laws, and regulations, and figure out how to grow the economy at a faster rate:

————

You Can Have It

My brother comes home from work
and climbs the stairs to our room.
I can hear the bed groan and his shoes drop
one by one. You can have it, he says.

The moonlight streams in the window
and his unshaven face is whitened
like the face of the moon. He will sleep
long after noon and waken to find me gone.

Thirty years will pass before I remember
that moment when suddenly I knew each man
has one brother who dies when he sleeps
and sleeps when he rises to face this life,

and that together they are only one man
sharing a heart that always labours, hands
yellowed and cracked, a mouth that gasps
for breath and asks, Am I gonna make it?

All night at the ice plant he had fed
the chute its silvery blocks, and then I
stacked cases of orange soda for the children
of Kentucky, one gray boxcar at a time

with always two more waiting. We were twenty
for such a short time and always in
the wrong clothes, crusted with dirt
and sweat. I think now we were never twenty.

In 1948 the city of Detroit, founded
by de la Mothe Cadillac for the distant purposes
of Henry Ford, no one wakened or died,
no one walked the streets or stoked a furnace,

for there was no such year, and now
that year has fallen off all the old newspapers,
calendars, doctors’ appointments, bonds
wedding certificates, drivers licenses.

The city slept. The snow turned to ice.
The ice to standing pools or rivers
racing in the gutters. Then the bright grass rose
between the thousands of cracked squares,

and that grass died. I give you back 1948.
I give you all the years from then
to the coming one. Give me back the moon
with its frail light falling across a face.

Give me back my young brother, hard
and furious, with wide shoulders and a curse
for God and burning eyes that look upon
all creation and say, You can have it.

Philip Levine

There’s definitely some Spanish influence here, by way of Antonio Machado.  Perhaps there’s also some labor/alienation sentiment for the working man on the factory floor, but hey, it’s Detroit and it’s a well-crafted poem.

Just because I love to highlight the generally Left-Of-Center political philosophy over at PBS and NPR, there’s a link to this PBS piece about life on the factory floor and Levine’s poem.  Here’s a Paris Review interview with Levine.

How did Detroit get here?

Very comprehensive and easy to navigate.

More from Megan McArdle on the behavior that comes with pension bonuses.

Some links on this site: Charlie LeDuff, Detroit’s populist, citizen journalist’s youtube channel here.  At least he’s sticking around.

Are you looking at beautiful photos and feeling sorry for Detroit, and yourself?  See Time Magazine’s photo essay by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre (less porn-like, more thoughtful).

Hipster hope, artists, collectivists and small business types can’t save it either:  A Short Culture Wars Essay-Two Links On Detroit & ‘Ruin Porn’

GM is not a municipality, but good money got put in, probably after bad and it reeks of politics: From The Detroit News: ‘How The Treasury, GM Stock Deal Got Done’

What about the popular arts and culture?:Update And Repost-From Grist.Org Via The New Republic Via The A & L Daily: ‘Getting Past “Ruin Porn” In Detroit’…A Few Thoughts And A Tuesday Poem By Philip Levine

A garage sale for the city’s art? Virginia Postrel At Bloomberg: ‘Detroit’s Van Gogh Would Be Better Off in L.A.’From The Detroit Free Press: ‘DIA’s Art Collection Could Face Sell-Off To Satisfy Detroit’s Creditors’

Walter Russell Mead takes a look at the blue model (the old progressive model) from the ground up in NYC to argue that it’s simply not working.  Check out his series at The American Interest

From Bloomberg: ‘Detroit Recovery Plan Threatens Muni-Market Underpinnings’

Two Tuesday de Blasio Links

Ross Douthat At The NY Times: ‘The Contradictions Of Liberal Populism:

Are a lot of wealthier, liberal-minded, New Yorkers really prepared to go full de Blasio if their own money and hard work end-up on the table (er, I mean, the People’s Table)?

Douthat:

‘…it seems to me that in New York and nationally, the class interests of the so-called HENRYs (“high earners, not rich yet”) still basically align with some form of late-1990s Clintonism rather than the more sweeping post-Obama populism than liberals are getting excited about today.’

De Blasio will have to maintain the kinds of real-estate, Wall Street, and union negotiations that all NYC mayors have to maintain (he is a landlord of sorts, managing the rents), but he’s clearly going heavy on the unions.  I’d say he’s not just committed to public education, mainly through wealth extraction, he’s committed to his own coalitions and bedfellows controlling public education.  It may prove tough to keep wealthier New Yorkers on-board alongside the grit and ever-present corruption of big-city machine politics.

Many NYC and national media outlets seem committed to a kind of soft liberalism that clearly leans Democratic on many issues, so de Blasio can’t afford to neglect the deep reserves of mainstreamed green public sentiment, sex and gender equity issues, and technocratic diversity-speak that form the stuff of campaigns either.  Fewer media outlets may want to be seen on the fast track to progressive paradise and Leftist solidarity, but will simply feel more comfortable holding the soft liberal ideals aloft any chance they get, especially if it gets ugly.

On that note, Thomas Sowell, ex-Marxist, had this to say about de Blasio’s inauguration speech in the ‘Trickle-Down Lie‘:

‘But, contrary to Mayor de Blasio, this is not a view confined to people on the “far right.” Such liberal icons as Presidents John F. Kennedy and Woodrow Wilson likewise argued that tax rates can be so high that they have an adverse effect on the economy.’

***Thanks to a friend, I nominate this SNL skit for an appropriate de Blasio nickname.

Related On This Site:  What Will De Blasio’s New York Look Like?-Some LinksSandinistas At The NY Times: ‘A Mayoral Hopeful Now, de Blasio Was Once a Young Leftist’Two Links On Diane Ravitch & School Reform

Richard Epstein At Defining Ideas: ‘City Planners Run Amok’Virginia Postrel At Bloomberg: ‘How The Elites Built America’s Economic Wall’...The Irish were a mess:  William Stern At The City Journal: ‘How Dagger John Saved New York’s Irish’

A Few Thoughts On Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest: “Why Blue Can’t Save The Inner Cities Part I”

Politicians and politics likely won’t deliver you from human nature, nor fulfill your dreams in the way you want: anarchy probably won’t either: Two Sunday Quotations By Albert Jay Nock in ‘Anarchist’s Progress’

Josh Barro At Business Insider: ‘Dear New Yorkers: Here’s Why Your Rent Is So Ridiculously High’

From The American Interest: ‘Architect Of Destruction’

Full piece here.

That’s a pretty hyperbolic title.

Our author revisits the modernist neo-classicism of Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemayer, suggesting a doctrinal and causal connection between the idealized shapes and forms of both architects and an underlying authoritarianism.

‘Furthermore, Niemeyer shared with his master the fundamental belief in the “civilizing mission” of the state—namely, the state privilege of hoarding unlimited acres of urban land to carve the city (and society) according to the ideals of the ruling elite. The two architects, Le Corbusier and Niemeyer, demand the patronage of tyrants – or, rather, tyrants with a Vision. The New York Times Magazine does not tell its readers that Niemeyer’s Algerian projects overlap with the most authoritarian stage of the Boumediene dictatorship, between 1971 and 1975 ‘

I suspect some folks at the Times are acting under a progressive moon at the moment, where even the more moderate liberal sympathies feel pressure to rediscover radical roots.

Here’s Australian art critic Robert Hughes discussing the Albany plaza, and almost hyperbolically criticizing the aims of modernist architecture.

Is there a bit of a backlash going on?

***Fun fact, he pronounces the “Boogie Woogie”  the “Boo-gie Woo-gie.”  

———————-

Donald Pittenger, at Art Contrarian, and formerly of 2 Blowhards, has been looking at modernism.  From the banner of his blog:

‘The point-of-view is that modernism in art is an idea that has, after a century or more, been thoroughly tested and found wanting. Not to say that it should be abolished — just put in its proper, diminished place’

They designed a city in the heart of Brazil that really doesn’t work for people: Brasilia: A Planned City

Check out the ‘Socialist Cybernetics‘ of Salvador Allende.

In working towards a theme, check out Buzludzha, the abandoned communist monument in Bulgaria’s Balkan mountains, which still draws up to 50,000 Bulgarian Socialists for a yearly pilgrimage.  Human Planet’s Timothy Allen visited the structure in the snow and took some haunting photos.  You will think you’ve stepped into a Bond film and one of Blofeld’s modernist lairs, but with somewhat Eastern Orthodox tile frescos of Lenin and Marx gazing out at you, abandoned to time, the elements and to nature.

Related On This Site:  No thanks to living in planned communities upon someone else’s overall vision.: Roger Scruton In The City Journal: Cities For Living–Is Modernism Dead?Repost-Via Reason: ‘Salvador Allende’s Cybersocialist Command Center’From Grist.Org Via The New Republic Via The A & L Daily: ‘Getting Past “Ruin Porn” In Detroit’… some people don’t want you to have the economic freedom to live in the suburbs: From Foreign Policy: ‘Urban Legends, Why Suburbs, Not Cities, Are The Answer’

A structure in the desert…not even a city Update On LACMA, Michael Heizer And The ‘Levitated Mass’-Modern Art And The Public;..where is modernism headed? Via Youtube: Justin, The Horse That Could Paint

Denis Dutton suggested art could head towards Darwin (and may offer new direction from the troubles of the modern art aimlessness and shallow depth…the money and the fame) Review of Denis Dutton’s ‘The Art Instinct’

Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’ Classical Liberalism Via Friesian.Com-’Exchange with Tomaz Castello Branco on John Gray’

You’re Free Now-From The Volokh Conspiracy: ‘Your Side Tries to Impose Its Beliefs — My Side Seeks Justice’

Full post here.

Volokh reacts to a U.S. News & World Report article with ‘justice’ on its side.

No, that’s not parody.

Volokh:

‘The focus on Big Bad Catholics when many of the phenomena discussed in the article — e.g., the “campaign [in] the statehouse” by “the forces arrayed against women’s right to self-determination, which I take it refers to restrictions on abortion — stem more from the views of non-Catholics as well as the Catholics. The lack of acknowledgment that about half of women don’t share the views on abortion that the author thinks the “sisterhood” shares.’

Maybe we’re a bit out-of-whack in our public discourse these days.

On that note, there was a recent NPR story about a young man overcoming the religious strictures of the Jehovah’s witnesses to become part of a ‘nomadic’ hipsterish-folk duo (to be fair, they have some talent):

‘During a recent conversation on Morning Edition, Berube talks about how what he found in Wisconsin and with Beaupre would challenge his faith as a Jehovah’s Witness — and change the course of his life. The two now live a nomadic lifestyle and say they’re excited about their chosen homelessness’

Chosen homelessness!

Pastor Terry Jones and a few Westboro Baptist church stragglers should be happy to hear the news:  A mere head-dunking into the river of secular humanism and they could be washed clean.  Perhaps they can find salvation in the afterglow of love, music, and another day on the open road, the faces of Woody Guthrie and/or Pete Seeger faintly visible in the Northern sky, offering some small comfort.

My theory (it must be true) runs that besides staying relevant to a younger audience, some folks at NPR actually need the blood of young hipsters and English majors on which to feed.

All kidding aside, who needs a good economy when you’ve got justice, history and progress on your side?

Did the 60’s counter-culture and the conservative counter-counter culture both win, in a sense?

Christopher Hitchens, William F. Buckley and Peter Robinson discuss below:

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Related On This Site:  What about black people held in bondage by the laws..the liberation theology of Rev Wright…the progressive vision and the folks over at the Nation gathered piously around John Brown’s body?: Milton Friedman Via Youtube: ‘Responsibility To The Poor’……Robert George And Cornel West At Bloggingheads: “The Scandal Of The Cross”

I’m drafting on Charles Murray: The Hoover Institution Via Youtube: Charles Murray On ‘Coming Apart’

Free speech and Muslimst From Kenanmalik.com: ‘Introduction: How Salman Rushdie Changed My Life’… Via YouTube: ‘Christopher Hitchens Vs. Ahmed Younis On CNN (2005)’…  Mohammad Cartoonist Lars Vilks HeadbuttedDuring Lecture’From The OC Jewish Experience: ‘UC Irvine Muslim Student Union Suspended’From Volokh: ‘”South Park” Creators Warned (Threatened) Over Mohammed’… More From Spiegel Online After The Westergaard Attacks Via A & L Daily: ‘The West Is Choked By Fear’

A Few Thoughts On NPR And Current Liberal Establishment Thinking Under Obama

From FIRE.org-’Federal Government Mandates Unconstitutional Speech Codes At Colleges And Universities Nationwide’

Greg Lukianoff At FIRE.Org: ‘Emily Bazelon And The Danger Of Bringing “Anti-Bullying” Laws To Campus’

Ron Bailey At Reason: ‘Jerry Brown’s California High-Speed Rail Is So 20th Century’

Full post here.

Boondoggle update:

‘Gov. Brown should save the money that would be spent on building a 20th century throwback project and instead spend some of it on making repairs to our current infrastructure. That would be the visionary thing to do’

So the more free-thinking Jerry Brown on display in the video below, back in the 70’s, is a far cry from the practical politics of the Golden State today:

————————

Victor Davis Hanson’s suggestions still sound quite reasonable:  So reasonable they’d be very difficult to implement:

‘The four-part solution for California is clear:  don’t raise the state’s crushing taxes any higher; reform public-employee compensation:  make use of ample natural resources: and stop the flow of illegal aliens. Just focus on those four areas-as California did so well in the past-and in time, the state will return to its bounty of a few decades ago.  Many of us intend to stay and see that it does.’

-A link for Michael Lewis’ article about California politics, public pensions and Schwarzenegger’s time in office.

-A map from Immodest Proposals on how to divide California.  Just some suggestions.

-California’s anti-immigration, anti-union Democrat: Full video and background on Mickey Kaus here.

Related On This Site:  Victor Davis Hanson Via Youtube Via Uncommon Knowledge: ‘The New Old World Order’

Dream big: Via Reason: ‘California’s Public Transportation Sinkhole’

A great city deserves great art extravaganzas…: L.A.’s New Public Art Piece ‘The Levitated Mass,’ Or As The American Interest Puts It: ‘A Moving Rock’

Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution’s Defining Ideas: ‘California’s Kafkaesque Rent Control Laws’

California Dreamers From The Atlantic-A Brief Review Of Kevin Starr’s History Of California

The people who promise solutions to poverty and homelessness seem to be engaged in a utopian cost-shifting exercise which favors their interests and overlooks crime, violence and personal responsbility…hardly a way to balance the budget: Repost-Heather MacDonald At The City Journal: ‘The Sidewalks Of San Francisco’

From Mark Litwak: ‘Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Public Domain’

Full post here.

Don’t go and make him your own just yet:

‘The case raises the issue of which elements of the Sherlock Holmes stories are in the public domain, and which may remain under the protection of copyright law. Copyright can sometimes, but not always, protect characters and plot. Recognition of copyright protection for fictional characters goes back to Judge Learned Hand, who suggested that characters might be protected, independent from the plot of a story. He wrote “It follows that the less developed the characters, the less they can be copyrighted; that is the penalty an author must bear for making them too indistinct.” So, while a writer cannot secure a monopoly on hard-boiled private eyes, one could protect a finely drawn character like Sam Spade.’

I’m kind of middle-of-the-road on the new BBC, Benedict Cumberbatch series.  Serials leave you hanging to induce your tuning-in next week.  Characters matter, and so does acting, to give you those little doorways to pass through into the story so that you may follow the plot.  Television is a visual medium, after all, and perhaps there’s a larger American viewership and some young people who need a re-introduction.

Personally, I’m hoping for greater fidelity to the stories with a touch of real evil in the air.  Holmes is playing a kind of chess, with serious consequences.  He’s brilliant and formidable and what he does gritty and dangerous.  I like a grim realism and clear-eyed gaze cast upon human affairs along with the thrill of the hunt.

Don’t go entirely hip, metrosexual, and prime-time-crime if you’re able.  The reasoning is the thing, and that must be hard to deliver to a wide audience and translate from the page.


by Colin Angus Mackay

“I must take the view, your Grace, that when a man embarks upon a crime, he is morally guilty of any other crime which may spring from it.”

-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

A discussion of deductive and inductive reasoning here, as it might relate to solving crimes (which is highly dramatized in our culture, perhaps partly due to Holmes).

Strange Maps has this.

221B Baker Street page here.