Archive for the ‘Cultural’ Category

Bishop Curry.jpgEpiscopal Presiding Bishop Curry’s sermon, at Harry and Meghan’s Saturday wedding? Wonderful. Or Waffle? As usual, I think Christians mis-read society. This sermon was… Both. At 14 minutes it felt long. It was MLK-lite derivative. Lots and lots about love. Sure, some good stuff here. But don’t Muslims, Hindus, agnostics and atheists love too? And sometimes, sacrificially too? And considering how little was said on the embodiment, the very visualisation and representation of God’s love – Jesus, the sermon could have been preached by any Theist. And perhaps that was so under Prince Charles’ direction??

But…

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On Chesil Beach.jpgAnother grenade thrown into the current gender wars?  Another poke at sexual repression?  On Chesil Beach – the book – is not this. I see the book by Ian McEwan, and the new film, are being misused for these polemic purposes.  Pity, because here is something worthwhile and relevant, 55 years after it was set.

In placing the drama in 1962, McEwan is deliberate.  It is a direct reference to Phillip Larkin’s Annus Mirabilis, the year sexual intercourse “began”.  McEwan describes well the times.  I am old enough, just, to remember some of this, CND, Macmillan, colonies getting independence, etc.  Now, reviewers sneer at the effective evocations, “melon boat for starters? Ha ha.”  After year and years of rationing, that was exotic. Even using onions was not universal.

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women-haiti-phoneRing, ring, ring – and the thread of your discussion goes ping!  We’re discussing a complex accounting issue with my Haitian colleagues, in three languages (English, French, Creole).  Then … a shrill jingle… the phone is picked up.  And poof! The thread of thought is broken.  On another day I was in a personal 1-to-1 conversation with a Haitian friend … a shrill jingle… the phone is picked up.  And poof! A sheepish smile “sorry, I won’t be a moment.”

If I’m honest – after many visits to Haiti, I still get annoyed.  For a people who value personal relations so highly, I wondered why is an incoming call given such priority over face to face conversation.

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Buried Giant.jpgKazuo Ishiguro’s “The Buried Giant”.  Does it stir?  Will the earth quake as it breaks surface?  If you are looking for a literary Godzilla, go elsewhere. Ishiguro’s tales is set in England, after the Romans have left and the first Saxons have arrived.  It also is a canvas for memory, loss and forgiveness to be explored.  Easy to read – it is not a light read.  And like the travellers in the book, the allegories can readily lead you into forests with little light.

(This seeks to be a spoiler free review.)  The tale starts with an older couple, Axl and Beatrice, becoming unsettled in their village life, and setting off to find their son who had left home years earlier.  It is very early on that the land feels under a mist that smothers memory.  Recollections of the past are in fragment only, if existing at all.  As time passes and encounters on the road occur, are shards of the past snatched back.  (more…)

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Many exiles because of him

Aliens or Exiles?  As Christians, we readily have a sense alienation from the world around us.  The moral fog, the social and political loss of direction, the cultural confusion.  And in sense – we do not belong here.  But we confuse being an alien with being an exile?  We criticise the way of the world about us, and that bolsters our own perspective? Yet at the cost of stealthily boosts self-righteousness.  We gripe.  Yet, don’t we have a hope, elsewhere?

The Bible talks of Aliens, and of Exiles.  Alienation?  Marx used the term to talk about the worker having no ownership and personal sense of value in his/her work.  Alas, still with us in the 21st century as was in the 19th.  Cultural alienation – Durkheim’s “Anomie”, the loss of connection with each other and the breakdown of common understanding norms, values, etc.  Easily a greater plague in the 21st century then when he wrote in the 19th.

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Balloon Dog.jpgMcMafia loves the art world.  And so do the other super rich (see my The Face that haunts us still).  Billions (of people) still tremble, but a few splash billions. Jeff Koons Balloon Dog (Orange), a giant steel replica of a dog in the shape of a stretched balloon, was bought for $58 million by a New York collector.  He didn’t even get it for the art.  He shunted the piece into his New Jersey warehouse – “anticipating future resale at a profit”[1].

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Ferry.jpgHotel staff knock on the door, but we are changing.  No this is not a convenient moment.  Ah, this will only take a moment.  Comeback later. But I just want  …. And so on.  That there was an awkward exchange of words in this hotel was not uncommon.  Trip Adviser reported several people commenting that the staff were rude.  But that is so easy to say and there’s no context.  And damaging to what I thought was a good hotel and good staff.

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