Friday, October 31, 2003

le parcours

We have to begin with... THE EXALTED RETURN OF THE MAXIMUM LEADER. Our mythmakers are already spinning a grand tale of death in mortal combat against literally thousands of the enemy, a period spent in the underworld to expiate the untold sins of the citizens of the realm, and a glorious resurrection.

Over at Winds of Change, Armed Liberal discusses the nuclear proliferation question, the scary possibilities of the current global situation, and what we should be doing and feeling.

Kevin at IA presents an awesome fisking of a Korean cultural icon: the ChocoPie (of which I have consumed more than my fair share).

The Marmot and the Infidel have a disagreement of sorts. Please, no reductio ad testiculum, either of you.

I think Mike at Seeing Eye Blog is lying about his newest Half-Korean of the Day. The guy doesn't look like he has any Korean in him, just as Michael J. Fox has no Elvis in him (with thanks to Mojo Nixon for the warning).

I wonder how many of us half-Koreans are in Korea right now.

SEB also provides this hilarious link. Not Stallone, but Tom Cruise doing the crucifix pose from "Mission: Impossible II." That rock-climbing scene was, alas, the best thing about the movie, and it's the first five or ten minutes. This brief spoof is far better than "MI2."

Shawn at Korea Life Blog has adorable pics of his students' Halloween artwork, and a sad story about a cat.

Party Pooper continues the China-hatred exploration. It's been suggested by some commenters that he's "trying his hand at irony," and if so, then I've been suckered. Suckered or not, I'm still finding this damn informative. His news links all seem legit, so as scholars in religious studies might say, I tend to approach this without a hermeneutic of suspicion.

Amber at Interfaith Diablog writes:


I've been reading up on Sufism. This of course must include the poetry of Rumi, of which I have also been reading.

I like this religion. A lot. I've always been attracted to mysticism and its emphasis on divine union. I have a difficult time believing in God and have rejected the idea of the literal God found in the Christian, Jewish and Muslim traditions. But I am much more comfortable when God is conceived of more as an ultimate ground of reality or being, a kind of universal or cosmic principle of which humans are a part and where our purpose is to realise that oneness, such that the human microcosm becomes at one with the universal macrocosm. I think that most religions have this idea at the heart of their teachings, but it gets lost in human translation. We have forgotten ourselves, our nature and separated ourselves from the divine.

I need to read some more and think some more and then come back to this and try to articulate myself better. On an intuitive level I really feel like I 'get' it, but to speak of the ineffable is another matter entirely. But I need to try for my own sanity. I'm a terrible fence-sitter when it comes to these matters and it's time I committed myself to something that I can honestly say, "Yes! This is what I believe."

"Divine union" is similar to language you'll find in Hinduism's visistadvaita camp (Ramanuja, arguable founder), which sees the atman-brahman relationship as a sort "qualified nondualism" (which is a rough translation of visistadvaita), not the dualism (dvaita) of "communion" with the divine, but something that still involves a sort of relationship (i.e., at least two distinct elements in relation) and isn't quite the not-two of Sankara's advaita (nondualism) school of thought, or the not-two of Buddhist nondualism.

I won't get into it here, but as an aside, there are dangers in equating Buddhist and Hindu notions of nondualism. As for Amber's post, all I can say is... Paul Tillich's the one who contended that doubt has to walk hand-in-hand with faith. He'd have gotten along well with Zen monks who advocate experiencing the Great Doubt (I need to dig up the vivid Chinese reference on this since I can't recall it immediately, nor have I experienced this for myself) as your practice deepens. Amber, good luck as you travel the Tao. I think doubt's a good thing. Look where thousands of years of uncritical thinking led humanity.

Hamilcar at Tacitus gives us a warning about new UN/EU shenanigans.

Must-read over at Cobb for off-white bo's and others of the non-black persuasion. Extended quote below:


Down in Playa Del Rey, pops, Doc and Dutz and I had a great lunch over Vodka Sauce Penne with baby shrimp. We talked about the fire, of course, and caught up. The subjects turned to the Disney Hall and Diane Reeves' rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, the procedures that the Torrance PD used on me when they thought I was a bank robber, the skating that Usher is doing right now, a gangland shootout at the Inglewood Cemetary, Wynton Marsalis hateration, Uma Thurman, Tarantino and Woody Allen. It wasn't until Woody that I got to get my rant on.

Pops leaned in to talk about what respect Jews get in their movies, whereas Tarantino takes it for granted that everybody is one of his niggaz and feels no reticence in sprinkling the word in his dialog. I spoke on my theory why this is so. And it goes a little something like this.

The stop dead in your tracks argument in my hip pocket about 'Why can't white people use the n-word when blacks like xxx use it all the time?' has changed. The answer I now give, when asked, turns the tables. Of all the African Americans there are, why is it that you wish to emulate blacks like xxx? This answer helps the clueless to understand that blacks recognize class distinctions between themselves, which is part of my reason for bloviating on behalf of the Old School into the blogosphere. But let's take this distinction one step further and talk about the commercialization of black culture.

'Black' culture which doesn't recognize class is a misnomer and a holdover from the early days of black nationalism. Negroes of all backgrounds subsumed themselves into black identity for the common cause of a post-Negro identity, and of course the purposes of the Civil Rights Movement. But friction between all these African Americans was only temporarily suspended and never went away. For the sake of anti-racist activism and politics, blacks will always put class & religious distinctions on hold, but they never abandon them. So despite the fact that most everything falls under the aegis of 'black culture', there are a lot of strains. It's difficult to say how much the mainstream appreciates this fact; mistakes are often made. You can point to a Nelly rap and say that's black culture. You can point to a Wynton Marsalis song and say that's black culture. But unless and until you can point to Colin Powell's funeral, I don't know how you will get the both of them in the same room.

Jews and Asians are small. It takes a much greater rising tide to lift all black boats. The net weight of African America is more than double theirs. The black lower middle class is bigger than the both of them. So Nelly is, commercially speaking, much more likely to make enough money to survive a million dollar jewelry loss than Wynton. This is key. You won't see a movie with Jews calling each other 'kikes' because the class of Jews who do so in real life is not large enough to sustain a commercial market for that kind of lowbrow entertainment. 15 million blacks who live in the ghettoes of this nation is more than enough to make Nelly a millionaire, plus of course there's low rent crossover for that segment of the hiphop generation. The Jews or the Asians cannot fund a UPN and a BET, but all those low rent blackfolks can, do and will. They can afford it. That does not and will not ever change the direction and consistency of the Old School, brothers and sisters on my side of the fence. If anyone cared to compare us head to head, matters would sound more like Dinesh and Abigail's rosily false scenarios for all African Americans.

And that, friends, is one reason why Cobb is on my blogroll. Not a single, monolithic African-American community, but many diverse communities. When you're talking about huge demographics, you simply can't paint everyone with the same brush.

A quickie by Dan Darling at Regnum Crucis. I had a chuckle.

And a darker Regnum Crucis post here. Choice quote:

Al-Qaeda is a lot more than just an Arab phenomenon.

Glenn gives us a taste of his theology:

Notice that I say "She" because if natural law (and Christians always love to talk about what is "natural") is any guide it will tell you that only women give birth. So unless God is some sort of cross-dressing fool, your Heavenly Father is a Heavenly MOTHER.

A female deity would certainly explain things like the periodic oozing of lava. Is there a tampon big enough to stop this?

A CAMILLE PAGLIA LINK!!!! Via Andrew Sullivan. One of my favorite reads, the wild and wacky Camille Paglia has been fucking the postmodernists blue since the beginning. She's bizarre, she's not all there, but she's witty and eloquent, and I have to agree with the Maximum Leader that it's a shame she plays for the other team. Mmmmm... older women. Here, Paglia's take on Wesley Clark-janggun had me busting a gut.

And Sullivan gives us more reasons to be very, very wary of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, about whom I already have deep misgivings (Dominus Iesus, anyone?)... and I'm a Presbyterian!

And more Sullivan on marriage, here and here.

An essay from Den Beste which I know the Air Marshal will love, being a fellow engineer. Think: space elevator.

Amritas has a fascinating riff on the Gender Genie, which is a program that can supposedly guess your sex based on how you write. Check Miyake out for links and a great discussion.

UPDATE: If the Amritas link isn't working (it wasn't when I tried it just now), hit the site's main page.

I'm too tired to review the news, and it's usually more of the same shit, anyway. So I'll leave off here.

Upcoming stuff, probably while I'm in America (countdown: five days to launch):

1. Comic strip-- first couple of panels.

2. An info-rich blog re: the book Charlie (KimcheeGI-- thanks again) gave me, Andrew Natsios's The Great North Korean Famine. This book, which I've been avidly reading (not in order; I rarely read such books linearly), has enough info to supply an entire separate blog. It will be my dubious honor to condense the massive amount of info into something you can gulp in a single post. Or maybe two.

3. More artwork, and very likely a revamping of Chewiest Tumors. I'm thinking of doing what this possible relative is doing, and putting actual, individual pieces on sale. Julie's work-- if you just visited her link-- is fantastic, and I'd be honored to claim her as a relative. She also got the enviable Instalanche.

4. A long post on The Many and the One. My huge philosophical fart which will include commentary on that PDF about moving beyond absolutism and relativism in relation to human rights, but the meat of the post will deal with the metaphysics of the Heart Sutra.

5. Along those lines, I may start actually writing a bona fide research paper on this blog critiquing philosophical approaches to the question of religious pluralism. This is something else that's been in my head for a while-- it's the paper I should have written in my interreligious dialogue class instead of the lame piece of trash I turned in to my favorite professor. Koreawatchers will likely turn away from my blog in droves; only the intellectually hardy will remain. Then again, I'm actually hoping to incorporate some elements of Korean Zen into the end of the paper; we'll see how that works out, and it might retain some of the Koreawatchers.

6. At long last: I'll be able to put my greeting cards online. I can't tell you how I've been looking forward to this.

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