With the way pundits and politicians fret over the proper deployment of the word torture, you would think it had a vague definition or something. (It doesn’t.) To help the news people at The New York Times continue to dodge the word altogether, BoingBoing has come up with a Torture Euphemism Generator. Try it! It’s more fun than a barrel of “bothersome toenail solicitations.”
Wikipedia on Shirin Neshat (sic everything):
Shirin Neshat has become one of the most well known Persian artist within the Western artistic world. While she lives in New York City, she addresses a global audience. Her earlier work was symbolic of her personal grief, anxiety and the pain of separation from her home country. It took a neutral position on Islam. As time progressed and the Islamic regime of Iran became more intrusive and oppressive, Neshat’s artwork became more boldly political and subversively critical against it.
She seeks to, according an article in Time, “untangle the ideology of Islam through her art.” Her current cinematic work continues to express the poetic, philosophical, and metaphorical as well as complex levels of intellectual abstraction.
According to Keith Jeffery’s new book, The Secret History of MI6, the answer is no. MI6 did not hand out licenses to kill. But that doesn’t mean Ian Flemming’s tales of super spy James Bond were that far off.
From the Star:
The first-ever official history of MI6 reveals that Britain’s foreign spy agency debated assassinating Nazi leaders, landed a spy wearing a wetsuit over his tux at a casino by the sea … but also wrangled with other government departments and had to make do on a shoestring budget.
Ace spies included “Biffy” Dunderdale — a friend of Flemming — whom Jeffery says shared with Bond an affinity for fast cars and fast women.
More happily for spy buffs, Q — the gadget-making super-scientist from the Bond films — is based on reality. After World War II, MI6 researchers worked on silent weapons, knockout tablets, safecracking tools and exploding filing cabinets that could destroy secret documents at short notice.
Gotta love how it all makes MI6 sound like just a bunch of bumbling Inspector Gadget type blokes. Her majesty’s secret service, of course, held the power to censor the book’s content.
J. W. Waterhouse’s The Remorse of Nero depicts the Roman emperor Nero sadly contemplating his dead mother, Agrippa, whom he had murdered. Agrippa had installed her son as emperor in 54 AD after killing her husband-uncle Claudius. Nero and Agrippa reportedly had incestuous relations, and after her murder he allegedly praised the corpse’s beauty. Nero lived a life of infamy for more reason than one, however; he was believed to be behind the burning of Rome to clear land for his grandiose residence, the Domus Aurea (Golden Palace), flaunted his bisexuality, and systematized the persecution of Christians.
Some 2000 young South Africans, many in school uniform, protested outside a Soweto courthouse on Wednesday against the bail of hip-hop artist Jub Jub, according to Associated Press. Jub Jub, real name Molemo Maarohanye, is accused of killing four kids while drag-racing (alongside co-defendant Themba Tshabalala) with cocaine and morphine in his system.
To disperse the crowd, police did their usual same-old/same-old with rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons.
Some threatened to use mob justice if the hip-hop artist is granted bail.
Rioters hurled bricks and stones at police and chanted calls to kill the musician and Tshabalala because “they killed our friends.”
An update from South African source IOL says Jub Jub is taking the threats very seriously and has hired private security.
Jub Jub (translation: Marshmallow) was already a controversial figure in South African pop culture, but his infamy was a little less dire: moonlighting from rapping, he was a contestant on the country’s version of Survivor and famously left the show claiming he had contracted some sort of genital infection. From The Citizen:
Jub Jub said at the time that he feared the infection would get worse and that his penis might fall off as a result. He told reporters that he would rather quit the contest than become a “rotten cabbage”.
He might have dodged the rotten cabbage fate, but it sounds like small potatoes compared to the stew he’s currently in. The video for Jub Jub’s 2009 kwaito single “Fresh Air” opens with him speeding through the streets in a sleek black ride, both hands off the wheel, the buildings morphing psychedelically around him. Maybe he regrets that now, among other things.
Good news for anyone who hates Thomas Jefferson: the man behind the Declaration of Independence will no longer be considered essential to the world of Enlightenment thinking, and will be removed from the school curriculum in Texas.
In his place will be lessons on “religious right icon” John Calvin. In case you’re keeping score, that’s +1 for puritanism, +1 for “ultra-conservatives”, -10 for history, -20 for the separation of church and state, and -100 for the education of Texan youth. As if the history books weren’t skewed enough already?