Pavilion Digest: February 2006

A plethora of perplexing pavilion posts. The Pavilion Annex thread, the Pavilion Discussion thread, and monthly digests of all messages from the Pavilion.

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Jack Skillingstead
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Alfred Bester

Postby Jack Skillingstead » Sat Feb 04, 2006 2:11 am

Name: Jack Skillingstead
Source: unca20060316.htm
Have lately been re-reading some of Bester's novels. Tonight, in the middle of THE DEMOLISHED MAN, a bit of biographical flotsam drifted into my mind. Is it true that he left his estate to his bartender, a man who apparently didn't remember him?

Steven Dooner
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Location: Weymouth, Massachusetts

Postby Steven Dooner » Sat Feb 04, 2006 4:40 am

Name: Steve Dooner
Source: unca20060316.htm
Rob,

I am all for the cartoons being shown. I am a free speech person all the way.

But Rob, do you really want to say a missile on someone's head is a fair depiction of "the seeds of Islam" 1400 years ago.

If we look at the weird castration cults of Greece as one of the seeds of Christianity (which they were), I would hesitate to depict the modern religion in this light.

If we look at Moses' and Joshua's genocidal rampage in Deuteronomy and The Book of Joshua, we would hardly say they reflect the family spirit of a Seder. (In fact, the Haggadah, specifally rewrites the bloodthirstiness of the Bible and asks that no one take pleasure in the sufferings of others).

Now I know Jesus, Moses and Joshua are largely fictional constructs. I also know Mohammed doesn't have the benefit of being an abstract literary character because he has the singular disadvantage of being a real person, but still, isn't it rather obvious that Islam has many more "seeds" than the military conquests of Mohammed? Strictly speaking, the religion "Islam" was supposed to have come on high from the angel Gabriel and not Mohammed.

So, the cartoon is racist, but I would still show it.

Steve "no fan of any religion" Dooner

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Postby Moderator » Sat Feb 04, 2006 6:26 am

Name: Steve Barber
Source: unca20060316.htm
"S!" wrote:
"And I am actually sorry I ever made that post. I didn't mean to rile people up so much. Please return to more pleasant thoughts and discussions of good jazz and whatnot."

Riling people up is precisely the value of your post. A debate on free speech is not only healthy and a privilege but one of the more appropriate uses for ye olde Pavilion, given that Harlan has been a bright beacon for the 1st Amendment even in the darkest of times.


Neal Johnson
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Bester

Postby Neal Johnson » Sat Feb 04, 2006 6:46 am

Name: Neal Johnson
Source: unca20060316.htm
someone please answer Jack Skillingstead's question. That sounds so Besterian. Always wanted to say "Besterian".

Man, that guy could write.

Rick

Heather Lovatt

Looking for Goliath busters

Postby Heather Lovatt » Sat Feb 04, 2006 8:41 am

Name: Heather Lovatt
Source: unca20060316.htm
Hello there, a plea...

Apparently this guy can help get modblog's image servers back online. I have been at modblog since I left deviantart--nice l'il place until a few months back something broke and we've been unable to have images uploadable and viewable (not to mention the ones I've already UPloaded) on this site. Thots? Help? Ideas?

This is the man adonai (http://adonai.modblog.com) suggested we contact:

Randy Zane
Director, Corporate Communications
Ziff Davis Media Inc.
212-503-3535
randy_zane@ziffdavis.com

We're basically being held hostage by some kind of management who thinks it's okay for us to have a blog that we can't see our images. I went through a MONTH without being able to see the images I'd already uploaded. Some are originals and only live on the Internet, some are scans I'll have to redo--yes, boo hoo you say, big deal. But the point is, big companies should follow through. If an Internet company offers me a service, free or otherwise (that'd be like Yahoo breaking down and I can't access my email. Ever. Again.) they shouldn't diddly daddly for like...this is now going on..oh...two months? three? with a simple fix. A lot of people moved to efx2.com.

The server got 'fixed' for five minutes (one day to be exact) (something needs to be reset, realigned, something) and I could see my images in all their glory. Then, boom, it shut down again. And a lot of us thought gorman (http://gorman.modblog.com) was being the goof.

He wasn't. It was the powers of the Internet that be.

A sorta David and Goliath, you might say. Can anyone help?

Thanks.

Heather, who is using photobucket for images, presently, but mourning the loss of a lot of cool art.

http://heatherlovatt.modblog.com

Ash
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Re: Bester

Postby Ash » Sat Feb 04, 2006 10:32 am

Name: Ash
Source: unca20060316.htm
Jack, Neal, Besterfans ...

Coincidentally, I've just reached Chapter 8 of Demolished. Because I haven't read it in decades, I have long forgotten my mind's original visualisation of the characters and scenes. But maybe it's because I recently tanked up on some Sin City yarns, I am now picturing Demolished as if illustrated by Frank Miller. Now that would be something (sorry to those who loved it, but the Chaikin/Preiss Stars My Destination never really did it for me). But to answer Jack's question as best I can ....

re "Is it true that he left his estate to his bartender ..."

AFAIK, the original source for this was an interview with Roger Zelazny (http://zelazny.corrupt.net/phlog44rzint.txt).

[Aside: Wikipedia authors really should be peer reviewed and forced to give reliable citations for any of their statements!]

Oh, yeah, Jack - I'm sure you know about this, but in case you don't: check out the posthumous collection "redemolished", which has the original prologue to the novel, and a brief article by Bester on how it came to be written.

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Sat Feb 04, 2006 1:57 pm

Name: Frank Church
Source: unca20060316.htm
The Danish newspaper, im sure, knew that muslims take this stuff very seriously, so why would they even risk running the damned cartoon? I know, I am usually on the side of fundamental free speech, but poking a snake usually gets one bit.

Islam has not gone through a reformation, since it is still a young religion; most of this because of the late use of the printing press in the Islamic world. Gutenberg made it possible for the Christian world to promote more enlightened thinking, which lead to a vast Christian reform movement. Islam will not reform untill our foreign policy in the middle east changes. Democracy will not work without a change of heart. At least.

rich
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Postby rich » Sat Feb 04, 2006 4:47 pm

Name: rich
Source: unca20060316.htm
Brian asked, "But why, oh why, when the stakes are so fucking _high_, couldn't they take a stand on something substantial?"

They did. You can go here for the story, http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/382, but here's a taste:

"The newspaper published the cartoons when a Danish author complained that he could find no-one to illustrate his book about Muhammad. Jyllands-Posten wondered whether there were more cases of self-censorship regarding Islam in Denmark and asked twelve illustrators to draw the prophet for them. Carsten Juste, the papers editor, said the cartoons were a test of whether the threat of Islamic terrorism had limited the freedom of expression in Denmark."


Paul L
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Postby Paul L » Sat Feb 04, 2006 4:49 pm

Name: Paul Lorello
Source: unca20060316.htm
To All:

I like S!'s suggestion about the jazz.

I just got a hold of a sweet-ass Charlie Parker CD with a version of "Hot House" that he plays with Dizzy. It's got a nice version of "Anthropology" on it as well; even if the sound quality is typically terrible.

The CD is called, simply, "Charlie Parker" and it's part of the Ken Burns Jazz series. I bought it used - I don't know if it's still in print. Seek it out. I recommend.

Yours in Bop-tastic glory,

Paul Lorello

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Jan
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Postby Jan » Sat Feb 04, 2006 5:45 pm

Name: Jan
Source: unca20060316.htm
A propos Bester... I recently watched a B5 episode specifically for Harlan's cameo. Got a kick out of an icon showing up like an extra, delivering a simple line and then only listening. Makes me look forward to the DREAM CORRIDOR movie even more because unlike most tv and film people Harlan absolutely comes across as someone of flesh and blood who has a life away from the camera (or as a character who has a life beside his dialogue). I'm not sure even the best character actors of today can bring that quality to the screen, and that'll make him interesting to watch.

Mark S.

Bester and Bird

Postby Mark S. » Sat Feb 04, 2006 7:05 pm

Name: Mark S.
Source: unca20060316.htm
I have heard the Bester, bartender story many times, but since fandom is about as accurate as Wikkipedia, a bit more checking is called for.

There is a ton of Charlie Parker material out there and its always a challenge in knowing the source material. Parker recorded for three labels in his career: Dial, Savory and Verve. But he was featured on a number of band remotes from clubs in New York, Washington, DC and Los Angeles and a number of transcription discs were made of these live shows. These have been released on a number of CDs There was even a Parker fan who had his own disc cutter, and recorded only Parker's solos from these remotes.

A lot of this material pops up on CD now with various levels of sound quality. All the studio material has something to recommend it easpecially hearing co-players like Dizzy and a very young Miles Davis. Verve was during the last years of his life and when he took "bop" into new directions and used strings for the first time. For my ears it was the most remarkable. The Dial and Savoy recordings have been given new releases with better sound. The Ken Burns CD is a nice starting place.





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robochrist
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Postby robochrist » Sun Feb 05, 2006 12:25 am

Name: Rob
Source: unca20060316.htm
Steve Dooner,

First I'd like to say that I agree with those who argue anyone interested in releasing cartoons that in-your-face has GOT to know what to expect from the Muslim world. In this sense, it does almost seem pointless and therefore irresponsible.

Having said that, this is my OWN point on the subject of utilizing symbols, whether derived from myth or true events:

If I drew a cartoon depicting Jesus tossing a Molotov cocktail at an abortion clinic, what would you gather from it?

Am I making a statement about ALL Christians, or a contingent acting upon its own intepretation of the Christian faith?

All of us religious or otherwise use what are considered universal symbols derived from myth to convey an interpretation of a religious doctrine, or make a specific statement about conditions we face in the wave of a doctrine. I know I don't have to tell you that.

Thats why those cartoons may not be racist at ALL, but addressing a legitimate issue; specifically, a mentality that inteprets the Quran literally and believes in a Jihad against all heathens and Jews.

Indeed, there are interpretations of Islam with parallels you can find easily in the real life of Mohammad and what his actions represented.

Given the evolving nature of the fundamentalist Jihad, I really dont think theres room for politically correct knee-jerking any more than there is for stamping all Muslims as maniacal terrorists.

Wahhabism, which I learned about the other night, is an example. It has been Saudi Arabia's dominant faith. It is an austere form of Islam that insists on a literal interpretation of the Quran. Strict Wahhabis believe that all those who don't practice their form of Islam are heathens and enemies. Its explosive growth began in the 1970s.

From PBS Frontline: Hadif is a statement of Prophet Mohammed. This is a book that start for ninth graders. This is talking about the victory of Muslims over Jews. This is a hadif that I truly believe it's not true, as a Muslim:

"The day of judgment will not arrive until Muslims fight Jews, and Muslim will kill Jews until the Jew hides behind a tree or a stone. Then the tree and the stone will say, 'Oh Muslim, oh, servant of God, this is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him.' Except one type of a tree, which is a Jew tree. That will not say that." This is taught for 14-year-old boys in Saudi Arabia.

The Middle East, in short, is a hotbed of hatred, which has been promoted in virtually every aspect of society--civil, governmental, religious, cultural, recreational, and educational. Neither photo-ops, nor handshakes, nor formal agreements will change this. Such hate did not arise out of a vacuum nor is it likely to disappear by a designated calendar date or because of a specific event, like the signing of a peace treaty or cooperative agreement. Nonetheless, hate must be directly addressed and efforts should be highly focused and visible.

That is a fact. Not some racist sentiment. And thats what those cartoons MAY be addressing.

My main point is, before you assume they are merely being racist you may want to examine the whole story more closely. If I were to take just the one I am familiar with I would say it isn't. For all I know the rest are. I reserve judgment on those.


Steven Dooner
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Postby Steven Dooner » Sun Feb 05, 2006 4:56 am

Name: Steve Dooner
Source: unca20060316.htm
Rob,

Your point about a cartoon depicting Jesus blowing up an abortion clinic is well taken. Such a cartoon would be ironic and one could imagine Jonathan Swift (a very good Christian minister) writing a satire in this manner.

However, such a cartoon would not be a comment upon the "seeds" of Christianity but upon its debased condition today.

As for using "Hadith" to judge Islam: you should note that Hadith is an oral tradition and that one may find hadith to fit any occasion. It's hardly a good way to get a good picture of the religion. Though Wahabists might use a particularly pernicious hadith or even a nasty line from the Qur'an to justify their views, you cannot call such views mainstream Islam.

Look, I don't want to be forced to be an apologist for Islam, but just read the Qur'an for yourself. Nearly every surah begins with a Bismillah exorting Muslims to love "mercy" and to see God as merciful. The book is heavy on forgiveness, love, mercy and taking care of your fellow man.

Are their patches of the book that could be used to justify all sorts of awful things? You betcha. But that's true of every holy book.

The poor wretches who were shown smiling and celebrating after 9/11 were matched and exceeded by countless Muslims who were heartbroken by that tragedy. And as for those who did celebrate, just remember that they saw this as payback not just for the U.S. supporting Israel but for years of U.S. meddling in Egypt (supporting dictatorships), in Iran (supporting the Shah), in Irag (supporting Saddam) and countless other little coups and dastardly interventions on our part.

Should they have celebrated? Hell, no! This was a failure of some people to act in an enlightened manner--to realize that we and the enemy are more alike than not. Look at all the Americans who have hardly shed a tear for a hundred thousand dead Iraqis, who died horribly in a war without justification. All of the dead have brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers. Their grief must be boundless.

I too am sickened by the growing number of anti-American and anti-semitic clerics and madressas but that's a modern religion being defined by modern politics. It's not the tradition of Islam.

Take the Catholic Church: going to one today, one might think that the whole religion is about abortion clinics, homosexuality, birth control and voting Republican. Just thirty years ago, NONE of those things would have been prominent topics. That's how fast the tide of politics can shape the current users of a religion. Going deep into the Catholic Church's 2000 year old roots to find out the reason why its American members like to vote Republican would be absurd.

Here's how I'll sum up: Most Muslims don't blow anything up, most Muslims turn in a good day's work and go home to their families, Most Muslims go their whole lives without killing anybody, and Most Muslims are tolerant and accepting neighbors. That might be a better way to judge how these people live with their religion.

Always a friend, Rob,

Steve Dooner

PS. Help! I'm an atheist and don't wish to be defending any religion. Hogwash! Bushwa! Humbug! All of it!


Gerd Trimbleson

Postby Gerd Trimbleson » Sun Feb 05, 2006 7:26 am

Name: Gerd Trimbleson
Source: unca20060316.htm
Remake Brokeback Mountain with Jesus and Mohammed.

THAT I would I like to see.

Nimdok
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Location: SoCal
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Islam

Postby Nimdok » Sun Feb 05, 2006 7:31 am

Name: Steven Barber
Source: unca20060316.htm
Roughly four years ago -- early 2002 -- I lost a very close, sweet and loving friend to a freak accident. She was crushed beneath a car which had begin to roll down a hill towards an elementary school. There was no reason for her to have been in front of the car other than to try to stop it, but there she was.

Attending her service was an extraordinary event. All of us had known Maryam as deeply devoted to her family, and a warm and generous person towards anyone and everyone who came her way. Deeply, deeply passionate about things, she and I would get into fiery discussions about everything.

Later, as her boss, I would often have to talk her down off the ceiling when something bureaucratic (or just painfully stupid) got in her way. And many's time when she would call me in tears, asking for just a few hours off to take her father to the hospital (he was medically quite fragile at the time).

Maryam was a devout Muslim.

None of us knew how devout until her service. At first the family had requested the funeral be conducted half in English, and half in Farsi.

The primary speaker was friend of her family, a professor of Middle Eastern studies at Pepperdine University. He began his words, alternating back and forth, explaining what he had just said, and telling nice little stories we hear at funerals. Then, as he was speaking, you could tell that that two thirds of the audience knew very little about her religion. To his credit, the speaker shifted mid-stream. More and more of the service became devoted to her beliefs, and how they impacted her as a person. Now using solely English, he started speaking to the rest of us.

The professor was brilliant, enthusiasticly explaining to this largely Judeo-Christian crowd how muslims approached life and love, family and work.

This was less than a year after September 11th, in Newport Beach, California -- the deepest heart of a very conservative county.

By the time the professor finished speaking there were no dry eyes, including my own. Including his own. The twenty minutes he had been alloted stretched to nearly an hour, a fact I realized only after he was done. It seemed like mere minutes.

In that short hour a small group of Judeo-Christians, Athiests and "Others" (this IS California after all) had a much better and deeper understanding of a culture that was, at that time, being vilified for its beliefs and the actions of a very few adherents.

In that short time we came to understand that the small minority can defame even a great and outstanding culture such as Islam, such as Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and all the rest (even Atheism -- do we really need lawsuits regarding the Pledge of Allegiance???). There, in that small building in the middle of a small city, a small group of people reached across the aisle and held each other in our shared pain. If Maryam's life had any meaning, that was it. She brought people together and made them human.

It isn't Islam that is the "enemy". It isn't the group who riots in the streets of Amman (who are there for the sake of the television camera in many cases).

The fanatics, the ones on the edge, they are true enemy and the ones towards whom we must light our candles in the dark.



(And damn, I need to buy more of this brand of coffee!!!)




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