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#1
Off the Record / Re: Israel-Hamas War 2023
Last post by grumbler - Today at 11:35:39 AM
Quote from: OttoVonBismarck on Today at 10:37:46 AM
Quote from: Josquius on Today at 03:16:38 AMThats a weird flip. Isn't it at the core of zionism and the general arguments of pro Israeli folks that Jews are a race?

No. Jews are a "people" is how I often see them describe themselves. Even the most hardcore Orthodox Jew doesn't think all Jews belong to the same race.

More conservative Jews do try to deny genetic similarity with the Arab population, but pretty basic science has shown there is a lot of intermixing that has occurred over the millennia. And also just like the primary way to easily distinguish an Israeli Jew from an Israeli Arab is how they are dressed, that isn't something you can say about say, black people in America.

The idea of Zionism is that all Jews collectively formed a nation (not a race). You are correct that the concept is not based on genetics.  Exactly what it is based on is a matter of some dispute, even among the Jews themselves.
#2
Off the Record / Re: Israel-Hamas War 2023
Last post by OttoVonBismarck - Today at 10:37:46 AM
Quote from: Josquius on Today at 03:16:38 AMThats a weird flip. Isn't it at the core of zionism and the general arguments of pro Israeli folks that Jews are a race?

No. Jews are a "people" is how I often see them describe themselves. Even the most hardcore Orthodox Jew doesn't think all Jews belong to the same race.

More conservative Jews do try to deny genetic similarity with the Arab population, but pretty basic science has shown there is a lot of intermixing that has occurred over the millennia. And also just like the primary way to easily distinguish an Israeli Jew from an Israeli Arab is how they are dressed, that isn't something you can say about say, black people in America.
#3
Off the Record / Re: Israel-Hamas War 2023
Last post by OttoVonBismarck - Today at 10:36:32 AM
Quote from: viper37 on February 23, 2024, 10:40:07 PMAt what point does an occupation becomes colonization?  When you remove people to put your own, is that still an occupation?  When you destroy people's home to build you own settlement is that an occupation?

A lot of times the answer is "it doesn't matter", colonization is heavily abused as a political term. It makes more sense to hit at the core issues at hand without using labels as cudgels.

It takes slightly more work but is a better framework for discussion. It isn't incredibly difficult to say things like "the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank is not morally justifiable, and exacerbates a number of regional tensions" or to differentiate it from say, the Allied occupation of Germany post-WWII, which virtually no one takes moral issue with. It isn't crazy hard to just recognize the ways in which a thing are objectionable.
#4
Off the Record / Re: Chaos is a ladder
Last post by Sheilbh - Today at 10:12:58 AM
Quote from: Tamas on Today at 09:33:09 AMThe lack of grand narrative is a comforting thought but which societies right now benefit from grand narratives? Russia, China, Hungary? Hardly success stories or desirable places.

And if we mean things like Cold War era USA as a place with a grand narrative then I am really not sure the country was as calm and uncertain about its own future as that would made it out to be. Certainly not from the moment the status quo elites lost their grip on the cultural narrative (so say 60s).
So I think maybe metanarrative is better than grand narrative. It's a way of interpreting and understanding the world - a narrative of the various disparate narratives happening in a society. I think "grand narrative" maybe gives the national glory spin of that (and that is an example - one that Macron mentions) - but, as I say, progress is a metanarrative, the Enlightenment is.

I'm not sure that any societies have metanarratives that are still around and widely believed. I think post-modernism describes a lot of the world's societies. I'd argue the opposite, that Russia and Hungary are the examples of extreme post-modern societies (if you're an authoritarian society you don't really need the metanarrative as much to get collective action because you're comfortable with coercing people).

But you're right, maybe China, maybe India - they spring to mind but even there (and I'm no expert) they don't seem modernist.

I don't think it's about calmness or certainty or even consensus. Politics in a democratic society will and should be contentious. In America it has a tendency to be very fractious and often violent. But I think it is about agency and that we are, collectively, able to act - the grand hero, voyage, goals, perils and dangers. As Macron puts it that sense of political heroism rather than the current political helplessness/nothing mattersness.
#5
Off the Record / Re: Brexit and the waning days...
Last post by Razgovory - Today at 09:57:46 AM
I never said Israel can do no wrong.
#6
Off the Record / Re: Chaos is a ladder
Last post by Tamas - Today at 09:33:09 AM
The lack of grand narrative is a comforting thought but which societies right now benefit from grand narratives? Russia, China, Hungary? Hardly success stories or desirable places.

And if we mean things like Cold War era USA as a place with a grand narrative then I am really not sure the country was as calm and uncertain about its own future as that would made it out to be. Certainly not from the moment the status quo elites lost their grip on the cultural narrative (so say 60s).
#7
Off the Record / Re: [Canada] Canadian Politics...
Last post by Sheilbh - Today at 08:37:25 AM
Quote from: Jacob on Today at 02:08:19 AMSo what's the deal with Poilievre floating the idea of requiring proof of age to browse porn in Canada?
To an extent it may be something that's on its way to Canada anyway.

There's a similar law in the UK (Online Safety Act) and the EU (Digital Services Act). Both of which have been very, very limited so far and it's proving difficult to roll out. My understanding is that Californian legislators have also been looking at this - if it happens in California and the EU then it'll basically happen everywhere unless it's a very shady site or very, very Canadian focused porn :lol:

In both the UK and the EU it's been mainly focused on responsibilities of platforms and the theory has been that whatever is lawful or unlawful in the real world should also be lawful or unlawful in the digital world. But so far I don't think age gating has actually been required because it's really difficult to do - here there's definitely lots of preparatory legislation to eventually introduce a form of digial ID that you would be able to use online in the way you could use your driving licence to buy a porn mag in person. But we're a long way off that and there's lots of issues with it.

QuoteDoes he genuinely believe there is a significant problem, and this is a good solution?
I'm not a parent and I'm late-30s. I think there's real concerns around what underage kids can see online and the effect that's having - in particular on boys. I've read many pieces by young women about how their sexual experience with boys and the sexual expectations of those boys have been kind of fucked up by porn. I don't know the extent to which it's really an issue.

Most women around my age who I know have all had choking in sex, but also hair-pulling, face slap, spitting - all were in the context of consensual sex, with normal guys. But generally it wasn't something that those women particularly wanted (it was in the context of complaining about men) or enjoyed, but was ultimately seen by them and the men as ultimately relatively normal acts in sex (at around the line of light spanking). I think some of that at least is shaped by the easy access to porn and what porn sex looks like (and who it's for: men). I do think we probably need conversation around it. And there is a big generational shift - I think women over 40 find that shocking but anecdotally from those same women around my age, I've heard that they've had (from their pov) alarming chats with younger women and what's "normal" for them. Again I think it's around the extent to which porn is perhaps actually creating the sense for boys of what is normal in sex.

Having said that I'm not sure age-gating will work. I think there are wider, bigger problems with age-gating as an idea. Also this may just be a shift in sexual mores - although I'm not overly thrilled if the shift in sexual mores seems to be for the men (groundbreaking)... And, frankly, I think it's a wider common thing (not to terrify the parents on here :lol:) of not really knowing what their kids see online. It may be something that actually there is a conversation about around consent within consensual sex - and also, the purpose of sex, which should be both people enjoying themselves. But I've spoken to colleagues in their 50s who have no idea where their late teen kids get their news. And can you have a conversation about something if you don't know what's been seen?
#8
Off the Record / Re: Chaos is a ladder
Last post by Sheilbh - Today at 08:05:07 AM
Quote from: garbon on Today at 06:15:17 AMThis feels like a rather romantic view of the past and quite conservative. That might sound like a great idea for those in power and with privilege to benefit from 'grand narratives'. I'm not sure those on the ground benefited or would benefit so much.
I think that's fair.

It obviously depends on the nature of the grand narratives. Those can be national (Macron specifically mentions that), I think the heroic age of the European project was rallying around a metanarrative. But it's the same with the idea of "progress" or "enlightenment" or "freedom". With any of these the question of who is on or out of the story is really important. Although I think the grandest, defining narrative of the 20th century was Marxism. But I think maybe it is always inevitably paternalistic?

I think arguing over who they benefit might, perhaps, be the function of politics in the age of grand narratives. But I think Lyotard's question is right that without the narrative there's no great hero, great dangers, great voyage or great goal - and after that, "where can legitimacy reside?"

I also think there's a sense where our post-modern condition also bends to those with power and privilege.

I think the base layer of incredulity towards metanarrative is liberating. But (and this is where my leftiness shows), I think it's liberating if you've got the material comfort, the position, the access to education and culture to experience the liberation - otherwise I think you'll just experience the dissolution, or, perhaps, it'll be like one of those holograms that is simultaneously something but you can see through it and see that it it's insubstantial.

I also slightly wonder - and this is tied to Peter Mair's Ruling the Void on the decline of poliical parties in Europe - is whether those grand narratives are actually necessary for collective endeavour. I'm not sure - if it is then I think until we have a replacement getting rid of it may be almost structurally conservative or dissolutionary. I think it's interesting looking at politics now how personalised it is in many places: Trump; Macron (whose political party has "supporters" not members and where policy is decided by the centre); Wilders (political party with one member: Geert Wilders); Melenchon (similar non-party party) - plus rumours that Corbyn is going to start a party and even positive figures I admire a lot like Lula in Brazil. Perhaps what we've replaced the metanarrative with is simply the narrative about the individual hero and are then disappointed that it also fails? We still need a story but instead of one in which we could also participate we're moving to Astor Place riots - political, but we're reduced to the rioters in the audience not the actors.

Having said all that I don't know that this isn't inevitable. I don't think we can just wish back mid-century modern Euro social democracy, however much I'd like to (and fully accepting that it's a romanticised version of that moment which also depended on who was in and out and deeply culturally constrained). And I think for many, and for me, it is liberating, it is freeing - and maybe we just haven't yet worked out how to do post-modern politics. I always think of that John Cage quoted in The Rest is Noise on 20th century classical music that - "we live in a time not of mainstream but of many streams or even, if you insist, upon a river of time then we have come to the delta maybe even beyond a delta to an ocean which is going back to the skies." I feel we're now definitely past the delta - liberating, terrifying.

One very niche, parochial point is I wonder what this means for the UK because I agree with Linda Colley that the UK constitution basically lives in constitutional history. The content of the constitution was embedded in a Whig story of the British constitution: how it emerged, what it was about, what it was for, what it did. It was, in that sense, a metanarrative - and I don't know how a constitution fundamentally tied to the Whig historical interpretation of how it emerged can survive now we've (rightly) killed off Whig history :lol: :ph34r:
#9
Off the Record / Re: Malta
Last post by Josephus - Today at 07:22:37 AM
I think a good film based on the Otto siege of Malta would be cool. It's very much a heroic, last man standing despite the odds type of story.

There are films about Malta in WW2, as you said, mostly 1950s British ones, none particularly good. If you can come across this book, though, The Kapillan of Malta, I highly recommend it. It's a story about a local village priest who tries to comfort his parishioners during the siege. Written by a Brit, Nicholas Monsarrat, who retired in Malta.

Darth, if you do go, you can find that book at all the good war museums.
#10
Off the Record / Re: Chaos is a ladder
Last post by garbon - Today at 06:15:17 AM
Quote from: Sheilbh on February 23, 2024, 08:26:41 PMThe other is maybe more Euro - but I think it's true in the US too - is something Macron said a few years ago about post-modernism which I think is part of what's going on in the US right especially. It's the sort of thing that only a French President could say, but I think he's right (I'm not sure he's achieved it, but he's tried - I'm not sure if it's possible to achieve, but I feel like it's possibly necessary):
QuoteFor me, my office isn't first and foremost a political or technical one. Rather, it is symbolic. I am a strong believer that modern political life must rediscover a sense for symbolism. We need to develop a kind of political heroism. I don't mean that I want to play the hero. But we need to be amenable once again to creating grand narratives. If you like, post-modernism was the worst thing that could have happened to our democracy.

In terms of grand narratives or metanrratives there's nothing "there" - and I think we're currently culturally incapable of even imagining it. And I think politically that's a particular problem because while all elections boil down to "time for a change" v "more of the same", if there's no myth (national or ideological or partisan) to cohere around then all you're left with is that: change v more of the same.

This feels like a rather romantic view of the past and quite conservative. That might sound like a great idea for those in power and with privilege to benefit from 'grand narratives'. I'm not sure those on the ground benefited or would benefit so much.