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Posts Tagged ‘Satan

“Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization”*…

 

The phrase confuses me. I was born in California. My mom was born in New York. “Go back where you came from.” Um, okay. I mean, I was headed home anyways. My house is just a few blocks away.

I grew up in a mostly non-Asian city, so I used to hear the phrase sometimes. Kids like to pick on the one who looks a little different. But these days, when I hear an adult say it to another adult, it catches me off guard. It doesn’t make sense.

You traverse an American’s family tree, and eventually you find an immigrant. And most of the time, you don’t have to go back that far.

So … what if everyone went back where they came from?

Find at at Nathan Yau‘s “If We All Left to ‘Go Back Where We Came From’.”

* Gandhi (who also observed, “No culture can live, if it attempts to be exclusive.”)

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As we stir the melting pot, we might recall that today is the Feast Day of  Lucifer– more properly, of St. Lucifer of Caligari.  At least, it’s his feast day in Sardinia, where he’s venerated.  Lucifer, who was a 4th century bishop fierce in his opposition to Arianism, is considered by some elsewhere to have been a stalwart (if minor) defender of the orthodoxy; but by more to have been an obnoxious fanatic.

“Lucifer” was in use at the time as a translation of the the Hebrew word, transliterated Hêlêl or Heylel (pron. as HAY-lale), which means “shining one, light-bearer.”  It had been rendered in Greek as ἑωσφόρος (heōsphoros), a name, literally “bringer of dawn,” for the morning star.  The name “Lucifer” was introduced in St. Jerome’s Latin translation of the Bible, the Vulgate, roughly contemporaneously with St. Lucifer.  But the positive spin of Lucifer of Caligari’s name was, even in it’s day, in tension with the received idea of “Lucifer”; the conflation of “Lucifer” with an altogether evil “Satan” had begun centuries earlier.

Indeed, Satan had undergone a pretty profound transition: “Satan” is from a Hebrew word, “Saithan,” meaning adversary or enemy; in original Jewish usage (see the book of Job); but Satan is the adversary, not of God, but of mankind; i.e., the angel charged by God with the task of proving mankind an unworthy creation.  Thus Satan was originally not in opposition to God, but doing His will.

Later– during the Second Temple Period, when Jews were living in the Achaemenid Empire, and Judaism was heavily influenced by Zoroastrianism— the concept of an evil power ruling an underground domain of punishment for the wicked became fixed in doctrine (mirroring Angra Mainyu, the Zoroastrian god of evil, darkness, and ignorance).  Over time, elements of the Graeco-Roman god Pluto/Vulcan/Hephaestus, the Underworld, & various aspects of Nordic/Teutonic mythology also made their way into the Jewish, then Christian, understandings of Satan and his realm.

St. Lucifer of Calgari

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Satan doing God’s work: The Examination of Job (c. 1821) by William Blake

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Written by LW

May 20, 2018 at 1:01 am

“If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever”*…

 

In A System of Elocution, with Special Reference to Gesture, to the Treatment of Stammering, and Defective Articulation (1846), Andrew Comstock set out to illustrate the proper gestures to adopt when public speaking.  Comstock emloyed a figure “acting out” a section from Milton’s Paradise Lost, in which Satan, expelled from Heaven and finding himself in Hell, delivers a speech to awaken his legions…

A physician and professor of elocution at the Vocal and Polyglot Gymnasium in Philadelphia, Comstock was hugely influential in the burgeoning science of elocution in mid-nineteenth-century America.  Among other questionable creations, he invented his own phonetic alphabet to improve the speech of his pupils, an alphabet which was also used to transcribe documents, including the New Testament.

More at “Speech of Satan to his Legions… (with Gestures).”

* Winston Churchill

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As we e-nun-ci-ate, we might recall that it was on this date in 1921 that Jane Heap And Margaret Anderson were sentenced by a federal court.  Heap and Anderson were publishers of The Little Review.  In 1918, they received a copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses from their mutual friend Ezra Pound, and undertook to serialize it in their magazine.  Ulysses ran in the periodical– which also published  Pound, Hart Crane, T. S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, William Butler Yeats, Sherwood Anderson, André Breton, Jean Cocteau, Malcolm Cowley, Marcel Duchamp, Ford Madox Ford, Emma Goldman, Vachel Lindsay, Amy Lowell, Francis Picabia, Carl Sandburg, Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens, Arthur Waley, and William Carlos Williams– until 1920, when the U.S. Post Office seized and burned four issues of the magazine and charged Anderson and Heap with obscenity.  At the conclusion of the trial, in 1921, the women were fined $100 and and forced to discontinue the serialization.

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Written by LW

February 14, 2015 at 1:01 am

I may not know art, but…

The good folks at Metaphilm (“enjoying the late-night conversation about—you know—what the movie ‘really’ means”) invoke the spirit of their patron saint Robert Bresson to serve up an on-going series of essays that decode (“we don’t review, we interpret”).

Your correspondent has enjoyed entries ranging from…

Sympathy for the Devil
Dorothy Sayers and the American Faust Film
How a British Detective Novelist Can Help Us Understand an American Film Obsession

to…

Knight and Day vs. Inception
More Than This
Knight and Day delivers all the profundity that Inception only promises

But perhaps no one entry has been as impactful as Galvin P. Chow’s (in)famous reinterpretation of David Fincher’s martial masterpiece…

Fight Club
The Return of Hobbes
Hobbes is reborn as Tyler to save “Jack” (a grown-up Calvin) from the slough of un-comic despair

And lest readers think that criticism is an empty exercise, with no meaningful influence on the field that it surveys, consider GorillaMask’s illustration of Chow’s thesis:  I am Jack’s Calvin and Hobbes

(Special Calvin and Hobbes bonus:  Michael “Bing” Yingling’s Calvin and Hobbes, the Search Engine… tres cool!)

As we renew our subscriptions to Cahiers du Cinéma, we might recall that it was on this date in 1536 that monk, physician, humanist scholar, and writer Francois Rabelais  was absolved  by Pope Paul III of apostasy and allowed to get on with his work, both medical and literary.  Rabelais’ influential (and oft-imitated) satiric masterpiece, Gargantua and Pantagruel (five books, 1532-52) is a mock-quest… with the emphasis decidedly on the “mock”: the “prize” sought being at times the ideal toilet paper, at times the wisdom of the Holy Bottle.

Rabelais

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