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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Links - 16th May 2019 (2)

Why do so many Egyptian statues have broken noses? - "Bleiberg's research is now the basis of the poignant exhibition "Striking Power: Iconoclasm in Ancient Egypt." A selection of objects from the Brooklyn Museum's collection will travel to the Pulitzer Arts Foundation later this month under the co-direction of the latter's associate curator, Stephanie Weissberg. Pairing damaged statues and reliefs dating from the 25th century BC to the 1st century AD with intact counterparts, the show testifies to ancient Egyptian artifacts' political and religious functions -- and the entrenched culture of iconoclasm that led to their mutilation... Without a nose, the statue-spirit ceases to breathe, so that the vandal is effectively "killing" it. To hammer the ears off a statue of a god would make it unable to hear a prayer. In statues intended to show human beings making offerings to gods, the left arm -- most commonly used to make offerings -- is cut off so the statue's function can't be performed (the right hand is often found axed in statues receiving offerings). "In the Pharaonic period, there was a clear understanding of what sculpture was supposed to do," Bleiberg said. Even if a petty tomb robber was mostly interested in stealing the precious objects, he was also concerned that the deceased person might take revenge if his rendered likeness wasn't mutilated... [reusing artefacts as building material] seems especially outrageous to modern viewers, considering our appreciation of Egyptian artifacts as masterful works of fine art, but Bleiberg is quick to point out that "ancient Egyptians didn't have a word for 'art.' They would have referred to these objects as 'equipment.'" When we talk about these artifacts as works of art, he said, we de-contextualize them. Still, these ideas about the power of images are not peculiar to the ancient world, he observed, referring to our own age of questioning cultural patrimony and public monuments"

CNN's portrayal of a "cannibalistic" religious sect in India has exposed the hypocrisy of the Hindu diaspora - "I was not surprised at the outrage from sections of the Hindu-American community (and their self-appointed representatives) following the debut of Believer, a CNN mini-series on the fringe and fascinating religious sects around the world. The show’s inaugural episode was filmed in Varanasi, and half of it is devoted to Iranian-American religious scholar Reza Aslan being immersed with a group of Aghors engaging in various shocking acts, including eating cooked human brains and ingesting faeces... The Hindus most offended by the CNN segment are exemplars of the class who like to portray a homogenous, sanitised and sparkly version of their faith. They either forget or paper over the fact that the Aghors, Naths, and other heterodox tantric sects pay scant regard to the institutionalised hierarchies and lifestyles propagated by bourgeois Hindus, the ones most offended by unconventional approaches to the divine... The NRIs with their knickers in a twist about Aslan’s show somehow never speak out as vociferously against the egregious violations of free speech and human rights in their home country."

Does Reza Aslan's 'Believer' Make Religion Relatable? - "Positing that all religions are essentially the same, as Aslan does, carries another risk: It makes one overly inclined to interpret faith in the light of this thesis. In an upcoming episode, Aslan explores the tension between Israel’s ultra-Orthodox and secular Jews. Adhering to his formula, by the end of the episode, he has discovered an ostensible middle path: the Na Nachs, a group of Hasids who follow the teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov... Having lived among both ultra-Orthodox and secular Jews in Israel, I know that the Na Nachs are a tiny minority who aren’t taken seriously by either camp. At best, they’re amusing; at worst, embarrassing. They’re tolerated because they’re viewed as harmless hippies, not as real agents of change—unlike the mainstream ultra-Orthodox, who are a powerful political force. Onscreen, Aslan’s apparent desire to fit the Na Nach into a preconceived template invests them with false importance, obscuring the truth."

Govt: Amazon, Netflix Could Be Forced to 'Represent Full Diversity of UK'

Emojis join Van Gogh and Picasso at Museum of Modern Art - Los Angeles Times - "Kurita, who now sits on the board of another Japanese telecom, sought inspiration through manga, Chinese characters and street signs. He was buoyed by existing emoticons that email had made popular such as the ubiquitous :) smiley face.The idea was to develop symbols that would make it much easier to communicate than using Japanese in the limited amount of space available on mobile phone screens of the era... In 2013, a group of 800 volunteers translated Moby Dick into emojis."

Report: Emojis Increasingly Being Referenced in Court Cases - "Santa Clara University law professor Eric Goldman has been tracking references to emojis in court cases since 2004, and discovered over 50 cases in 2018 alone which referenced emojis and emoticons.The emojis and emoticons were referenced in cases as diverse as sexual predation, fraud, trademark disputes, various types of discrimination, and murder.In 2018, a “winky face” emoji was referenced in a case about stalking, while a firearm emoji was referenced in a case about robbery."

Living in Asia Ironically 3 - Posts - ""The lasting impact of white teachers who mispronounce minority student names"
Comments: "What pisses me off is that whoever wrote this thought this was a "minority issue". All throughout school I had teachers mispronounce or misspell my last name. AND I'M FREAKING WHITE!I honestly didn't care and corrected them if needed. If you're so worried about people not knowing what your child's first name is, maybe don't name them "abcde" or "dequanda"."
"Pretty sure in any country in the world a native teacher could have trouble pronouncing a foreign name they never heard being pronounced. Come to Brazil and try to have any teacher in the country correctly pronounce the surname "Laughlin"."
Dani Lynn Roberts: "I've been called diane, Dana, donnie, du-nay, daenie..."
"My friend is from Bosnia, we've taken basically every class together during high school. I've never once seen a teacher pronounce his name correctly."
""Saoirse Óg Ní Súilleabháin liked this"I do remember my Mandarin teacher in school being embarrassed, because he had to ask one of the school's teachers who'd came into the room (idr why, not important) how to pronounce "Siobhan""
Brian Broviak: "Lmfao two people ever have pronounced my last name correctly"
Corey J. Kothenbeutel: "Having your name mispronounced must be awful."
"QQ. Like we never mispronounce each others names"
"because people in Asia always pronounce European names correctly"

Tudung-wearing woman who works at S'pore Google office asked if she works in the canteen
Comments: "Overreaction. Driver won't know things like "stereotypes", "microaggression", etc...he merely tried his best to break ice"
"Why are ppl so easily triggered?WHO'S THE ONE WITH STEREOTYPE ?????A canteen lady is not a lowly job !!!(No jobs are lowly)"
"Why so insecure? I once wore a suit and someone thought I was a waiter. Just let it go. This is a pointless write-up. Everyday someone gets mistaken for something. Do they all write about it? No. They just move on."
"I took cab once to sgh. Driver asked what time my appt. Is chemo painful etc. Just because I say Cancer centre. For goodness sake can't I be working there."
"Wow she felt humiliated... but "nothing wrong working in canteen". If nothing wrong why humiliated? "
"She thinks too much. The driver was just a bad conversationalist. One time I wore white long sleeves shirt boarded a cab to Joo Chiat, the uncle straightaway asked if I was on my way to work in the restaurant. I didn't have to tweet about it."

Want to Change the Way White Women Vote? Move to a Red State and Join an Evangelical Church. - "blame for progressive losses in Texas, Georgia, and Florida were immediately cast upon white women—and not just the white women who actually voted for Republican candidates. If you were paying much attention to social media, you may have gotten the message that white women, even those who voted for Dems, are due for a reckoning. And this rhetoric wasn't just limited to Twitter, a site that runs on instructing women what to do... "What is wrong with white women?... They find “racist sadism gratifying," Donegan wrote. "It is fun for them." Maybe Donegan is right and over half of white women are not much better than the white family in Get Out (at least those people didn't vote for Trump), but her evidence comes more from feminist theory than from actual surveys of white women themselves. She cites feminist philosopher Andrea Dworkin, but not a single Trump-voting woman. While Donegan could, I suppose, have tapped into some secret zeitgeist of racist, sadist white women, there's another explanation that Donegan and other professional scolds have largely failed to consider in their haste to assign blame for Democrataic losses: white women, as I wrote last week, lean conservative. It's possible they voted for Trump simply because he ran as a Republican. This isn't new. White women have gone for Republican presidential candidates for decades, and Trump's 53 percent support was solidly in line with other recent elections... Republican economic policies benefit the wealthy while harming the middle and working classes, including women, but politicians, both on the left and the right, have convinced millions of middle and working class voters that moral issues like abortion and prayer in schools are more important than things like access to healthcare, paid family leave, equitable tax policy, and a functioning social safety net... The idea that those women are going to change their mind because a bunch of faraway progressives are saying it’s their duty as women to join the Resistance seems pretty ludicrous to me, but plenty of people keep trying... it is possible to help other people change their own values. Daryl Davis, a black musician, famously collected the robes of over 200 former Klansman, and he didn’t do it by writing scathing columns in progressive media about white supremacy; he did it by befriending them. That’s how change really works. Homophobic people, for instance, don’t become less homophobic because someone they fundamentally disagree with decides to reason with them. They become less homophobic when their children come out to them.I suspect that most progressive attempts to reform white women are going to have the opposite effect"
If poor people are stupid for voting against their economic interests, rich liberals are too - voting to increase their taxes
Keywords: voting against their interests

Two Enemies Became Friends and Twitter Exploded in Anger - "Bari Weiss and Eve Peyser... have much in common. They are both Jewish women and writers living in New York. They are roughly the same age, and they even sort of look alike. And while there are some deviations in their politics, they are hardly on opposite sides of the political chasm... Their story of coming together is a nice, uplifting piece about how social media platforms make enemies out of people who should be friends and how we could all stand to be just a little more tolerant. As Peyser wrote, if we dismiss everyone we disagree with, where does that leave us? And then Twitter got a hold of the article and twisted a story about finding common ground into something terrible and devious. That two people can disagree on some things and yet manage to be friends was treated as further evidence that both Weiss and Peyser deserve to be shipped off to the closest re-education center. Why? Because the fact that they aren’t diametrically opposed—the fact that they refused to continue to hate each other—was seen as just two privileged white ladies uniting over the one thing they really had in common: white privilege. As Paste Magazine’s Jason Rhode declared, “Bari Weiss and Eve Peyser Cannot See Past Their Own Privilege”... I think the response to this piece isn’t about Weiss or Peyser at all; it’s about the people doing the responding. They are signaling to their own friends and followers that they are a part of the in-group. They are bonding over a shared hatred of two people that few of them have ever actually met. As journalist Mark Heid wrote recently on Medium, a handful of studies now show that “sharing negative attitudes with someone — and, in particular, sharing negative opinions about other people — seems to be among the quickest and most effective ways for two strangers to form a bond. If you want to cozy up to someone, there may be no better way to do it than to gossip about the people you both hate.”"

Cultural Diversity and Saccade Similarities: Culture Does Not Explain Saccade Latency Differences between Chinese and Caucasian Participants - "A central claim of cultural neuroscience is that the culture to which an individual belongs plays a key role in shaping basic cognitive processes and behaviours, including eye movement behaviour. We previously reported a robust difference in saccade behaviour between Chinese and Caucasian participants; Chinese participants are much more likely to execute low latency express saccades, in circumstances in which these are normally discouraged. To assess the extent to which this is the product of culture we compared a group of 70 Chinese overseas students (whose primary cultural exposure was that of mainland China), a group of 45 participants whose parents were Chinese but who themselves were brought up in the UK (whose primary cultural exposure was western European) and a group of 70 Caucasian participants. Results from the Schwartz Value Survey confirmed that the UK-Chinese group were culturally similar to the Caucasian group. However, their patterns of saccade latency were identical to the mainland Chinese group, and different to the Caucasian group. We conclude that at least for the relatively simple reflexive saccade behaviour we have investigated, culture cannot explain the observed differences in behaviour."
The blank slate fails once again - culture/socialisation don't explain everything
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