Friday, June 10, 2011

Young minds . . . and the dirty bits (in Aristophanes)

From A Don's Life by Mary Beard, Times Online:

I am pretty much in agreement with the Mumsnet line that there is something truly ghastly about young kids and aggressively sexualised clothing... what on earth goes on inside the mind of someone who designs a padded bikini for a six year old or a pink T-shirt (size 18 months) with "Come up and see me sometime" blazoned across the front I really can't imagine.

But the David Cameron view, as reported on the radio and in theGuardian this morning, prequelling Reg Bailey's recommendations, that it should be BANNED (along with a whole raft of other things that are "inappropriate" for kids) is quite another matter. For one thing, how on earth is it going to work? It's all very well being strict on enforcing the 9 o-clock watershed, but when any self respecting 5 year old can use iPlayer on his/her computer, what exactly is the point. (And the rules for post watershed are pretty odd anyway. Our Pompeii documentary was a post-watershed programme -- and what young minds would that have corrupted?)

[ ... ]

But anyway isn't the effect of a ban (or a brown paper bag around a lad's magazine) to make it more intriguing to the curious child, not less?

That's how it worked when I was 13 or so for the dirty bits in Aristophanes. (A photo of a recent production of Lysistrata is at the top of this post.. just to remind you of the bawdiness.)

Ok it took me about a year or so of reading this particular Greek comic poet at school to realise that the reason the line numbers apparently went from 1205 to 1210 in only 3 lines of verse was NOT to do with problematic and corrupt textual transmission -- but because some Victorian nanny-state editor had taken out a possibly corruptING couple of lines that were something to do with sex (or occasionally bottoms).

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Barcelona, Spring 2011: Chronology of An Unexpected Event


September 29, 2010: The major labor unions, CCOO and UGT, along with the anticapitalist CGT, the anarcho-syndicalist CNT (which has multiple splits), and other small unions, hold a general strike to protest the bank bailouts and proposed austerity measures included in the Labor Reform. In many city centers and industrial zones, participation in the strike is massive. In Barcelona, the streets erupt in heavy, day-long rioting. CCOO and UGT pickets, on the contrary, tend to be symbolic and spectacular. Both organizations subsequently sign on to the Labor Reform. Before or shortly after the strike, half a dozen neighborhoods in Barcelona form neighborhood “social assemblies.”

November 28, 2010: Elections in Catalunya replace the governing Socialist Party with the rightwing Convergencia i Unió, which adopts a hardline, pro-police rhetoric.

January 27, 2011: Acting apart from the major unions, the CGT, CNTs, and COS (a left Catalan coordination of syndicates) hold a general strike in Catalunya, which is also called for in Euskadi and other parts of the Spanish state. The strike coincides with the approval of the Labor Reform, supported by the major unions and the Socialist Party (which has led the government in Madrid since 2004). In certain cities, the strike receives substantial support in the transport and manufacturing sectors, but generally achieves little participation. In Barcelona, burning barricades, sabotages, pickets, and contentious protests win a combative visibility for the strike.

May 1, 2011: In Barcelona, the anticapitalist Mayday protest, supported by the CNTs, CGT, COS, socialist indepes (Catalan independence activists), and informal or “black bloc” anarchists, leads thousands of people into the emblematic rich neighborhood, Sarrià, where protestors burn dumpsters and luxury cars, smash up approximately a hundred banks, fashion stores, and car dealerships, cover the walls in spray-painted slogans, and throw bottles and paint bombs at police before being dispersed in a heavy charge. The mood is exultant. The weeks before and after are marked by especially high quantities of sabotage and attacks.

#Revolution Breaks Out:

Sunday, May 15: A recently formed platform centered in Madrid, Democracia Real Ya or “Real Democracy Now” (DRY), holds simultaneous protests in dozens of cities throughout the Spanish state, convened via Facebook, Twitter, Indymedia and various activist listservs. That night, the idea is spread via Twitter to camp out in Puerta del Sol, a central Madrid plaza, modeling on the Tahrir Square occupation in Egypt. In other cities, occupations also begin in central plazas that night or the next night.

Monday, May 16: In the evening, eighty to a hundred people begin an encampment in Plaça Catalunya, the symbolic center of Barcelona, which in the last decade has become almost exclusively a tourist zone. As in other cities, the occupation organizes itself with a general assembly. A small number of anarchists are participating. In the meeting, they argue down the proposal to sign on to the Real Democracy Now manifesto from Madrid. Many other people also express the need for the Barcelona encampment to develop independently. It is decided the encampment will release no unitary manifestos that attempt to speak for all participants. Notwithstanding, principles of unity already authored by the DRY activists—non-party assembly decision-making, nonviolence, and unity among los indignados, “the indignant”—are successfully imposed.

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Gaddafi - Our Best Villain

"...This insightful essay-style documentary by Frenchman Antoine Vitkine puts current events into perspective by examining the motivations behind the actions of Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, a man whose peculiar appearance belies savvy negotiation skills..."

List of wars involving the United States

This is a chronological List of wars involving the United States during and since the American Revolutionary War, detailing all constituent military campaigns.

Dates indicate the years in which the United States was involved in the war.

Heil Papa Smurf! French sociologist compares the little blue men to Nazis and Stalinists

Rachel Quigley reports for the Daily Mail:

Don't be fooled by their cute, innocent blue exterior and their sunny demeanour.

The Smurfs are actually out and out Nazis and Stalinists - well at least if French sociologist Antoine Buéno is to be believed.

In his book, Le Petit Livre Bleu - The Little Blue Book - Buéno said that the tribe of little blue creatures are 'steeped in Stalinism and Nazism' and that their leader Papa Smurf, 'shows very authoritarian and paternalistic characteristics'.

He said that their lack of private property and collective-style economy is a clear nod to socialism.

He also makes the connection that their biggest enemy - the magician Gargamel - has a Jewish caricatures and his cat's name is Azrael.

He said: 'Gargamel is ugly, dirty, with a hooked nose (who) is fascinated by gold.'

And it doesn't just stop there.

The Smurfs are not just Nazis, he believes, but sexist Nazis to boot. He cites the example of Smurfette - the only woman in the Smurf village - and points out she meets the Aryan ideal of beauty with her long blonde hair and refined features.

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First look at Sacha Baron Cohen as The Dictator... new film is loosely based on novel by Saddam Hussein

If you thought Sacha Baron Cohen pushed the envelope with his past creations, think again and then look at him dressed for his new film.

This is the first image of the scabrous comedian, 39 , in a Saddam Hussein-inspired costume for his new project The Dictator.

And it leaves the disguises of characters like Ali G, Borat and Bruno - who tricked their quarry into hilarious folly - in the shade.

The film tells the story of a Hussein-like dictator who is secretly replaced by a lookalike goat herder and must rebuild his life in New York City.

more... ~

Greece: The time of the 'Indignants'

Real Democracy Now!


image from

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