Blaise Pascal, Penseé 347: “Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature; but he is a thinking reed. The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him. A vapor, a drop of water suffices to kill him. But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which the universe has over him; the universe knows nothing of this. All our dignity consists, then, in thought. By it we must elevate ourselves, and not by space and time which we cannot fill. Let us endeavor, then, to think well; this is the principle of morality.”
Monday, May 13, 2013
Clinton Lies About Lewinsky
Obama on Letterman Characterizing the Benghazi Attack
Obama on "The View"
Obama, months after the attack, is still characterizing it as mob action that went violent, still fingering the video, etc. He mentions terrorism, but it virtually sinks into a few terrorists inside a mob. The fog of war is emphasized. He puts terrorism into a context where it is still linked to a spontaneous demonstration about a video that no one could have expected. So he's smart, he covers himself on terrorism but downplays it as much as he can
But given Gregory Hicks testimony, it is very hard to believe that Obama did not know exactly what had happened by the day after the attack, that it was a flat out Ansar al Sharia operation. This, I believe, he judged was too strong to acknowledge during an election campaign. Hillary Clinton must have known all of this as well. Also, they absolutely wanted to put off the lack of response to requests for more security, and the stand-down order only became known last week. Had that come out, it would not have played well in November. Now, it appears, they also pressured people like Hicks, Nordstrom, and others to keep quiet, and even demoted Hicks.
Today, after last week's hearings, Obama gave a press conference: He said that at the time, nobody understood "exactly" what had happened in Benghazi, and apparently he still didn't know "exactly" months later on Letterman. That we didn't know "exactly" what was going on is something I could truthfully say about cooking dinner last night--even though it turned out well. "Exactly" is an impossible standard in application to anything, as Obama well knows. The question is whether State and Obama had any reasonable cause to believe there was a mob involved or that the attack was in response to a video. They did not, and they knew it. Obama is not exactly lying in this press conference. He's just refusing to engage the issues while making it look like he is.
May 13, 2013 Obama Press Conference
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
In The Power of the Ring, Stratford Caldecott mentions the loss of Galadriel's Marian features as a flaw in Jackson's film. (By the way, Caldecott liked Jackson's movie version a lot, as did I.) When I watched recently released The Hobbit, and saw the parts incorporating Galadriel (from The Silmarillion and the appendices of The Lord of the Rings), I was struck by how Marian she looked and sounded, especially given the context of Gandalf's conversations with her. Growing up in a Polish Catholic part of Michigan, I was no stranger to the "bathtub Mary" shrines, which I saw in plenty of big Michigan front lawns.) Compare the following images of Mary to this clip of Galadriel from the Peter Jackson movie. I think you'll see an attempt to create a deliberate, if somewhat understated, resemblance:
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Galadriel faces a more complex moral problem with regard to time. As the bearer of the Ring Nenya, whose power it is to preserve Lothlórien, she must decide how to deal with time for an entire civilization. Lothlórien is a realm apart. It is ringed by a darkness which it has been able to exclude, and inside it, time moves differently than in the larger world. Using Nenya, Galadriel has put Lothlórien into a time capsule to preserve it from the evil outside. It is not an immoral act, under the circumstances, but it is a dangerous one, for the nature of the world is change, and the elves have excluded themselves from that as well. They do not have the capacity to adapt to what is coming. Even if the Ring is destroyed, they will have to either leave Middle-earth or dwindle into a much-diminished race. Galadriel’s refusal of the Ring is a multiple sacrifice: she sacrifices the power the Ring would give her and also the power of Nenya to perpetuate Lothlórien, so she sacrifices Lothlórien itself, “the heart of Elvendom on earth” (352). She is, then, sacrificing her own heart and the hearts of her people. It is the greatest sacrifice in The Lord of the Rings, and finally achieves Galadriel’s repentance for pursuing the Silmarils with Fëanor. In making this sacrifice, Galadriel realigns herself with time, and although she doesn’t age like Bilbo, since she is an elf, she begins to become a relique of the past. When the Frodo meets her on the river, as the Fellowship leaves Lórien, she is already sinking into time, fading into a dream:
Monte Rubinano's Our Lady of Succor
Tiepolo's' The Immaculate Conception