Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"Anthropological Intro to YouTube" and "Into Great Silence"

Dear Sam,

Yes, that video about YouTube is a fantastic presentation. I was particularly struck by the notion of "context collapse."

The whole issue of what people feel like staring into the cam when they make their first "vblog" reminded me strongly of a film released in the last year called "Into Great Silence". It's a documentary about the way of life of Carthusian monks of the ancient Grand Chartreuse monastery in the French Alps. There is a moment when the filmmaker has each of the monks stand still for a minute before the camera, and stare right into it, in silence, before a blank white wall.

And I thought then, watching their different responses, that the filmmaker had brilliantly transformed his camera into something like the inscrutable face of God, and then placed the monks before it. All their monastic "formation" is supposed to prepare them for this moment. Interestingly, the younger monks appeared to be the most uncomfortable, while the prior and the older monks, and especially the abbot's face, rather quickly settled into a posture of quiet confidence, and even joy.

Which leads me to say that the last segment of the Anthro video might be viewed as a metaphorical instance of our own faces reflecting the face of God.

la tua MAMA

Looking into the eye of God

Thursday, August 21, 2008

500 words or less

Last year Susan asked me for a quick and dirty "answer" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Beginning steps weren't hard to formulate. A year later only one of them has come to pass: Mohammed Dahlan is no longer head of any Palestinian security forces.

On Jun 20, 2007, at 10:18 AM, sdclines wrote:

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is getting worse and worse. What do you think will happen? What should the US be doing? (500 words or less)

On Jun 20, 2007, at 10:54 AM, lea wrote:

OK, how about this?

US should begin rebuilding US credibility ...by encouraging its ally, Israel, to take these specific steps... in this order

1. Release Marwan Barghouti.

2. Deep-six Mohammed Dahlan

3. Get the Arab League, EU and US to support reconciliation of Palestinian Unity government, with promise of UNCONDITIONAL RELEASE OF TAX REVENUES Israeli is holding back once that is patched back together. With Dahlan out, it's possible. Hamas (moderates) say they want it. The major reason Abbas is saying "no", is because US and Israel are supporting that stance.

4. Israel renounces principle of "expanding existing settlements" in West Bank

5. Israel announces it will stop construction of parallel road system in West Bank

6. Israel announces that as a good will gesture it is ceasing its excavation/repairs at base of the Temple Mount.

7. US announces effort to convene conference of all outside parties providing weapons to begin talks to reduce arms flow into Israel, West Bank and Gaza. This is tricky but can be done, in a face saving manner for everyone.

After that we/EU/Arab League broker a peace deal that addresses...



Right of Return in context of the disposition of hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers in same breath as fate of Palestinian diaspora is discussed. Any compensation discussion should include claims by both Palestinians and Jews displaced since 1948 from British Mandate and surrounding Arab countries.