Saturday, August 27, 2016

Tippi Hedren in the Green Suit

From Clothes on Film:
The green suit worn by Tippi Hedren as Melanie Daniels in The Birds (1963) has become increasingly symbolic in recent years as we delve ever deeper into the semiotics of film. In this case it is hardly surprising as Hedren only wears three costumes in total; the suit is so visible we cannot fail to draw meaning from its presence. But what was director Alfred Hitchcock trying to say with it, and more importantly, why?

If you visited the V&A’s Hollywood Costume exhibition (now closed in London but moved to Australia and the U.S.), seeing The Birds’ suit would likely have stuck in your mind. It was given prominent placing in room 2, an impressively constructed installation with video recollections from Hedren herself. Yet in real life the suit itself is very basic in style, darker and, dare we say, blander than in the movie. It craves context to bring it to life. (Read more.)

Your Vote is a Moral Instrument

From Laura Ingraham:
 Voting for Trump means that when your country had been in decline for almost two decades, and you had the chance to set the country on a different course, you took it. Voting for Trump means that when you finally had the chance to end the corrupt and decadent Clinton machine, you took it. Voting for Trump means that when you had the chance to write in the history books that the country had rejected the last eight years of President Obama, you took it. Voting for Trump means that when you had the chance to save the First Amendment, and the Second Amendment, and to restore the proper checks and balances that are at risk from another Clinton administration, you took it. Voting for Trump means that when you had the chance to stand up to pro-China billionaires who make money off of a global system that is rigged in favor of a Chinese dictatorship, and rigged against the American worker, you took it. Voting for Trump means saying yes to a 15 percent top corporate tax rate, which will boost American wages and jobs. (Read more.)

The Valhalla State of Mind

From Prospect Magazine:
Such an interpretation holds little plausibility for us today. The “radical” Wagner of Shaw’s imagination sits uneasily with the traditionalism found in his 1867 comedy Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg or the evocation of a religious community in his final work Parsifal (1878). Indeed, during the course of writing the cycle, Wagner came to believe that there could be no political salvation from the ills of civilisation. Like his sometime friend the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, he saw resentment as the default position of human communities, and believed that each of us must achieve redemption for himself, gaining freedom and self-knowledge through our capacity for love. To take this path is difficult. Love condemns us to suffering on another’s behalf; this capacity for sympathetic suffering is the highest human virtue, and the only known justification for our existence. Wagner’s Ring Cycle, in its finished version, is an attempt to convey why we suffer. Seldom has an artistic intention of such magnitude been so convincingly pursued.

The cycle begins in the depths of the Rhine river and also in the depths of the human psyche. It is clear that the meaning of what we witness on the stage is contained also in the music. The sustained meditation on the tonal triad, representing the swirling waters in the depths, is also an invocation of the natural order—the order from which we humans have, both to our loss and our gain, departed. In the Ring tonal harmony is the sound of Eden: pure, unsullied, guiltless. As the cycle develops, dissonance, chromaticism and melodies full of tragic tension replace the pure triads and pentatonic tunes of this supremely beautiful opening. But the pure harmonies and melodies sound always in the background, constantly reminding us of the home that we have lost, and which could never have satisfied us in any case. (Read more.)

Friday, August 26, 2016

Ancien Hôtel Baudy

From Victoria:
The courtyard, above, retains an enchanting sense of abandon common to the lush hillside flower gardens cultivated in Giverny at the close of the nineteenth century. Meandering paths, thick with rosebushes and bordered by daisies and Hypericum, reveal clearings where now-legendary painters, such as Paul Cézanne and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, positioned their easels to portray the blossoms that flourish on the property in May and June. Many canvases were completed in the shelter of this rustic vine-covered studio, built in 1887. (Read more.)

There's a Better Way

Putting panhandlers to work. From The Washington Post:
The There’s a Better Way van employs about 10 workers a day but could easily take more. When the van fills, people have begged to get a spot next time, she said. That’s why the city has increased funding for the program to expand it from two to four days a week. And it inspired St. Martin’s to start its own day labor program, connecting the jobless to employers in the area who could offer side jobs.

Tillerson said a lot of the people who get picked up by the van were not aware of all the services available to them. One man who recently got out of prison returned to St. Martin’s the day after taking one of the city’s jobs. She said it enrolled him in the day-labor program, told him about behavioral health services and are helping him get an ID. (Read more.)

On Monks and Pilgrimage

From Fr. Mark:
When one thinks of the Benedictine ideal, one imagines monks behind their enclosure walls, buried deep in a kind of unshakeable stability. In spite of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, one does not usually associate pilgrimages with monks and nuns. Pilgrimages remain exceptional for monks and nuns, but they are not unknown. Many a monastic vocation has been consolidated and restored by sending a man on pilgrimage, and many a monk has obtained special graces while praying in a place sanctified by a sacred image or apparition of the Mother of God, or marked by the miracles wrought by a saints. There are two significant pilgrimages in the life of Catherine–Mectilde de Bar. The first was to a humble Marian sanctuary, and the second was to the famous Mont Saint–Michel. So much for a narrowly legalistic conception of monastic enclosure! The saints are wonderfully free with the sublime freedom of the children of God. They are free within the constraints of the law, and free when obliged to press through its constraints, always acting in obedience to the Church and under the sway of the Holy Spirit’s seven gifts. (Read more.)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sudeley Castle

From Victoria:
On the castle grounds, tendrils of clematis vines wind around seemingly brittle ruins that have endured centuries of weather and war, as well as a number of monarchs. Vestiges of the estate’s earlier days, the stones are what remains of the old Banqueting Hall and the Tithe Barn.

The gardens are simply breathtaking. Elizabeth, Lady Ashcombe, chatelaine of the castle, explains: “Sudeley’s gardens are made up of a collection of cameo gardens, each expressing a theme or period of [the estate’s] history.” Among these botanical inspirations is the Queens’ Garden, named for the four queens who have strolled the grounds, and the Tudor Physic Garden, which contains healing herbs and plants the Tudors and the Elizabethans would have grown. (Read more.)

Porn and Lack of Desire

From Defend Dignity:
Porn users can become sexually triggered, or hyper-reactive, to porn-related cues. This can cause the motivational systems of the brain, which spur us to engage in activities like eating or having sex, to fixate on pornography in a way that results in real-life, partnered, sex failing to meet the users’ expectations.

After all, how could one person in bed compete with Internet pornography’s endless novelty, voyeuristic perspective, and lack of boundaries regarding particular sex acts? Real sex, then, registers in the brain as less arousing than Internet pornography. Even with a desired partner. And therefore, the team stated, “sexual centers of the brain may not produce adequate neurochemical response to attain and maintain an erection or climax without difficulty.” (Read more.)