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Tue, 12 Nov 2019
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Take 2

Ultimate deadlock of the existing system': 'Joker' artistically diagnoses modern world's ills

Joker billboard in Los Angeles, CA
© Reuters/Mario Anzuoni
A billboard advertising the film "Joker" is pictured in Los Angeles.
Seen as a potential validation for violent glory seekers, the 'Joker' movie turns out to be not an incitement for violence but a judgement on the modern political system's flaws, philosopher Slavoj Zizek says.

The much acclaimed Todd Phillips movie starring Joaquin Phoenix has received its fair share of criticism from almost everyone, from the woke community to the US Army, who all believed it could prompt some "evil" people to commit acts of violence.

Yet, the film's critics have apparently overlooked the underlying message of the movie, Zizek, the senior researcher at the Institute for Sociology and Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana, told RT, adding that it is not about some mentally-challenged person, but about the "hopelessness" of our "best ever" political order itself, which many still simply refuse to accept.

Daily life has become a horror movie

We should congratulate Hollywood and the viewers on two things: that such a film that, let's face it, gives a very dark image of highly developed capitalism, a nightmarish image which led some critics to designate it a 'social horror film', came out. Usually, we have social films, which depict social problems, and then we have horror films. To bring these two genres together, it is only possible when many phenomena in our ordinary social life become phenomena which belong to horror films.

Comment: For more analysis on the the 'Joker', listen to the SOTT editors discuss the movie on a recent episode of Mind Matters: MindMatters: The Value And Relevance of Joker

See also: Leading neurocriminologist Adrian Raine considers Joker "a great educational tool"


Broom

'For the love of men' — A Review

boys play fight
A review of For the Love of Men: A New Vision for Mindful Masculinity by Liz Plank, St. Martin's Press (September 2019) 336 pages.
"There is no greater threat to humankind," Liz Plank announces on the first page of her book For the Love of Men, "Than our current definitions of masculinity." A bold claim. "Toxic masculinity," Plank claims, underpins vast amounts of suffering across the globe.

Lest this introduction lead one to expect an anti-male screed, Plank is at pains to insist that many of the victims of "toxic masculinity" are men themselves. Who could claim that masculinity cannot be problematic? Men are undeniably responsible for most of the rape and murder in the world, and suicide claims a disproportionate number of male lives. The male bias towards camouflaging vulnerability — expressed, for example, in men's disproportionate unwillingness to address potential health problems, be they mental or physical — was more adaptive when familial life depended on men getting up to work and fight every day of every week, but it is less so in our more comfortable times.

Social conservatives, meanwhile, may be surprised to find some common ground with Plank's emphasis on the importance of fathers playing a role in the lives of their children. She scorns egoistic promiscuity, and she identifies loneliness as one of the great scourges of our time, even if, regrettably, she reduces it to male reticence and ignores family breakdown and the decline in social capital.

Comment: See also: And check out SOTT radio's:


Telescope

Massive fire ravages astronomy center in Ankara, Turkey

Ali Kuscu Astronomy Center
© YouTube / Filiz Karaagac; Facebook / Ali Kuşçu Gökbilim Merkezi
The popular Ali Kuscu Astronomy Center in the Turkish capital, Ankara, was hit by a massive blaze on Sunday, with videos from witnesses showing its iconic tower with a saucer-shaped tip completely burnt out.

The column of thick white smoke, emerging from the site of the disaster in the city's Mamak district, was seen from kilometers away.

Firefighters, who rushed to the scene, now say that the blaze is under control. There have so far been no reports of deaths or injuries. The reasons for the fire are yet unknown.


Windsock

Were electricity shutdowns in California actually due to its dependence on wind energy?


Comment: A most interesting theory. If it's in the ballpark... oh the irony.


Wind turbines
© David McNew/Getty Images
Wind turbines in California
According to the official, widely reported story, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) shut down substantial portions of its electric transmission system in northern California as a precautionary measure.

Citing high wind speeds they described as "historic," the utility claims that if they didn't turn off the grid, wind-caused damage to their infrastructure could start more wildfires in the area.

Perhaps that's true. Perhaps. This tale presumes that the folks who designed and maintain PG&E's transmission system are unaware of or ignored the need to design it to withstand severe weather events, and that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) allowed the utility to do so.

Ignorance and incompetence happens, to be sure, but there's much about this story that doesn't smell right — and it's disappointing that most journalists and elected officials are apparently accepting it without question.

Hearts

Overcoming hostilities: The Israeli doctors who treat Gaza residents

palestinian hospital
© AFP 2019 / MAHMUD HAMS
Despite rockets, hostilities and high tensions between Israel and Hamas, there are some who put differences aside, providing Gazans with medical help. Physicians for Human Rights does exactly that, vowing to treat everyone who seeks medical attention.

On Friday night at least ten rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel's southern communities. The Iron Dome Aerial Defence System managed to intercept and eliminate nine of them. One was a direct hit, striking a house in Sderot, a town that lies just a kilometre away from the Strip.

Israel was quick to blame Hamas, an organisation that controls the Gaza Strip and that is considered terrorist by Israel, but Hamas refutes these allegations pointing the finger of blame towards rival group Islamic Jihad.

For Mahmoud Saeed, a volunteer psychologist from Physicians for Human Rights, an NGO that was established in 1988 and provides the Gaza Strip with medical help, one thing is clear: more hostilities towards Israel will push the country to retaliate and that will mean more work for doctors like him.

No Entry

Founder of Chinese smartphone company banned from travel for failing to comply with company court rulings

Luo Yonghao
The founder of China's smartphone maker Smartisan Technology has been barred from taking flights and high-speed railway trains due to the company's failure to comply with court rulings from a contractual dispute, a local court document showed.

Smartisan is a niche player in China's smartphone sector and is best known for its flamboyant founder Luo Yonghao, who made headlines in recent years with bold statements including a claim that he was planning to acquire Apple.

Luo is also barred from spending at higher quality hotels, night clubs and golf clubs, buying properties and high-premium insurance and sending his children to expensive private schools, under an order issued by the court of Danyang in eastern China.

The order was issued after the court found the company failed to comply with previous court rulings from a contractual dispute with a local electronic firm, the document said.

Smartisan's smartphone sales in China lag behind players like Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo. Chinese social media firm ByteDance earlier this year said it was developing a phone with Smartisan after acquiring a set of patents from it.

Comment: Too bad it's not Dorsey, Zuckerberg, Wojcicki, Pichai, etc!


No Entry

Social Credit: Chinese smartphone maker banned from trains and planes for failing to comply with court ruling

Luo Yonghao

Luo Yonghao, CEO and founder of Chinese smartphone startup Smartisan, introduces a new instant messaging app Bullet Messenger.
The founder of China's smartphone maker Smartisan Technology has been barred from taking flights and high-speed railway trains due to the company's failure to comply with court rulings from a contractual dispute, a local court document showed.

Smartisan is a niche player in China's smartphone sector and is best known for its flamboyant founder Luo Yonghao, who made headlines in recent years with bold statements including a claim that he was planning to acquire Apple.

Luo is also barred from spending at higher quality hotels, night clubs and golf clubs, buying properties and high-premium insurance and sending his children to expensive private schools, under an order issued by the court of Danyang in eastern China.

The order was issued after the court found the company failed to comply with previous court rulings from a contractual dispute with a local electronic firm, the document said.

Comment: More on China's Social Credit System:


Star of David

IDF stops joint Jewish-Palestinian olive harvest because threat of 'settler' violence

idf burin
© STANDING TOGETHER
IDF and Border Police officers declaring a 'closed military zone' in Burin, October 25 2019.
Approximately 100 activists from the NGO Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR) and the Israeli grassroots movement Standing Together gathered on Friday to participate in the season's 17th joint olive harvest in the West Bank, but were subsequently driven out by the IDF and Border Police forces, according to new footage.

The harvest is taking place in several locations across the northern West Bank, according to Standing Together, in the Palestinian villages Yusuf, Burin and Atara and "done in solidarity with Palestinian farmers who live in the West Bank."

The organization's director Roula Daud, who took part in organizing the event, said that the activists "will not surrender to government-supported settler violence. We will stand together, Jews and Arabs, with the residents of the West Bank."

That is, following a recent incident where, according to Rabbis for Human Rights, five RHR volunteers and Palestinian farmers were attacked by settlers from the Yitzhar area two weeks ago, while participating in the annual harvest in the villages Burin and Hawareh. The NGO said that the attackers cut the olive trees following the alleged assault.


Comment: Theft, assault, destruction of property: typical 'settler' values.


80-year-old Rabbi Moshe Yehudai, alongside four other volunteers, was reportedly attacked by a group of over 30 settlers armed with crowbars. Yehudai was evacuated by a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance with a broken arm. A resident of Yitzhar was arrested for allegedly participating in the attack, but was released from custody. The suspect claimed that he was "attacked" by an officer during his interrogation.


Comment: What a typical 'settler' reaction: violently assault an elderly man, then cry like baby when arrested, then get away with it.


2 + 2 = 4

Russian schools teach students to handle an AK-47 to mark 100th birthday of Mikhail Kalashnikov

Mikhail Kalashnikov
© Getty Images
Russian weapon designer Mikhail Kalashnikov pictured in 2007.
Schools across Russia have been told to teach pupils how to strip and assemble an AK-47 to mark the 100th birthday of Mikhail Kalashnikov.

The Russian Ministry of Education published the guidelines, that called for the nationwide school lessons, today.

Russian general Kalashnikov was born on November 10, 1919 and is known for developing the AK-47 assault rifle. He is revered as a public figure in Russia and passed away in December 2013, at the age of 93.

A publication by the education ministry said the special lessons would take place on the anniversary date of November 10 and will teach students more about their country's history and culture.

The guidelines included several different suggestions for how schools can engage in patriotism and foster cultural identity among the students on the anniversary date.

Comment: Meanwhile in America...


Black Magic

Trans woman has child porn ruling overturned because she "struggled with her identity"

gender confusion
A 22-year-old man who thinks he's a "woman" has been given a free pass after being caught with graphic child pornography on his mobile phone, which a judge decided is not that big of a deal after all since the man belongs to the Cult of LGBTQP.

"Vetea" Joseph Bunton, who was 18 at the time when child rape and other horrific sexual images were discovered on "her" phone, had previously plead guilt to this crime. "She" was then convicted of illegally possessing child porn, and subsequently slated for an appropriate sentence - that is until Bunton and "her" lawyer decided to play the LGBTQP get-out-of-jail-free card.

Bunton's lawyer actually tried to argue that his client does "not present as a person who is a risk to children," claiming that "she" was simply acting "in the context of low self-esteem and lack of confidence due to teenage sexual adjustment issues" when "she" decided to download child porn on "her" phone. The judge ultimately reversed the decision.

Bunton "herself" then tried to argue that "she" only downloaded child porn "out of curiosity and at a time when she was struggling with issues concerning her transgender identity and sexual identity." In other words, it's everyone else's fault that Bunton chose to download child porn because they didn't openly accept and applaud Bunton for suffering from gender dysphoria.