Tuesday 28 May 2024

who wears the pants in this family? (11. 588)

On this day in 1923, the US Attorney General Harry M Daugherty nullified the ordinance that made it illegal for women to wear trousers in public—which like suffrage and many other incremental advancements towards equality had been propelled by a societal relenting caused by women in the workforce and politics, out of necessity during the Great War and to organisations such as the Victorian contrarian Rational Dress Society who advocated for disburdening and freedom of movement in tandem with the Lady Cyclist Association, the bicycle of course granting a measure of universal independence never before enjoyed. Ironically, the anniversary of the announcement, not a legal remedy despite the fact that many restrictions remained on the books decades afterwards, falls on the same day in 1431 when Joan of Arc was accused of a relapse of her heretical ways as evidenced by her wearing of male clothing and ultimately justifying her execution.

Wednesday 22 May 2024

permalink (11. 573)

Cory Doctorow presents a winsome and circumspect consideration of the recent survey of the internet’s perishable nature and how a figure approaching forty percent of websites, news articles and government websites have no legacy and succumb to linkrot—with reference sites particularly left untethered from their original source material—not withstanding preservation efforts through his personal and persistent practise of keeping a daily journal—an indexed memory of associated thoughts and connections that harkens back to earliest theories of informatics—and making the process public. One’s own record is of course an aid and antidote to the peekaboo when neglect and decay follow creative collaboration and the context, steps and milieu all slip away and a heuristic to gauge the sad truth that institutions and archives are brittle, gearing more towards discovery and derivation rather than rediscovery and reflection. More from Pluralistic at the link up top.

Wednesday 15 May 2024

he will not go out in the fresh air or eat his vegetables (11. 561)

Via Futility Closet, we learn that the four-year-old son Junior—called Tony—of humorist, critic author (an

auxiliary member of the Algonquin Roundtable) and eventual editor of the New Yorker’s Talk of the Town section, Wolcott Gibbs, composed a defiant chant intoned one evening while taking a bath. With the opening and refrain, his father took down the words with the opening and refrain: 

He will just do nothing at all.
He will just sit there in the noonday sun.
And when they speak to him, he will not answer them,
Because he does not care to.

Folk singer and activist Pete Seeger (previously) adapted the lines into a song, finding the opposition highly relatable.

Monday 13 May 2024

proclamation of neutrality (11. 556)

Though granting legal recognition to the Confederate States of America as belligerents, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland under Queen Victoria, announcing the stance on this day in 1861, never accorded the breakaway southern states with the status of a nation, negotiated treaties or exchanged ambassador and trade came to a halt. Despite massive losses in the textile sector, particularly in Manchester, due to loss of imported cotton, most Britons, maintained their fidelity to the Union and Abraham Lincoln, and CSA president Jefferson Davis’ wager that dependence on “King Cotton” would lead to diplomatic recognition, mediation or intervention militarily, fell far short of hopes. After the costly war in the Crimea, European powers wanted no more entanglements. Some smuggling of cotton occurred (see previously) with privateers running bundles across the Atlantic in exchange for munitions and luxury goods, but most mills—even threatened with bankruptcy and famine for the workers—refused to process the Confederate contraband.

Saturday 11 May 2024

11x11 (11. 552)

syntax error: AI co-pilots are changing the way coders operate 

baby lasagne: a preview of Eurovision acts to watch for—see also here and here  

spaghettification: a NASA simulation shows what it’s like to be sucked into a Black Hole  

high-fidelity photogrammerty: how Google’s enhanced Street View with 3-D panoramas could again change the world of navigation and virtual exploration—see also 

breakfast of champions: the drawings and doodles of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr—see previously 

not a shared universe: a meta study on the perceived beliefs of fictional characters regarding other fictional characters  

early machinations: development notes on xkcd’s collaborative Rube Goldberg machine, an annual tradition—via Waxy 

my colours are blush and bashful, mama: Poseidon’s Underworld rewatches the 1989 star-studded Steel Magnolias  

coronal mass ejection: strongest solar storm in two decades lights up the night sky in Europe  

hind’s hall: the refreshing and unexpected entrรฉe of Macklemore’s protest rap—see more  

syntax error: English being proposed as the new top-level coding language with the ability to articulate one’s wishes (as with a jerk genie) is of utmost importance

 synchronoptica

one year ago: Sweden passes world first personal data protection law (1973), those omnipresent cafe celebrity murals, a Trump townhall plus Nixon tries to strengthen the powers of the executive branch (1973)

two years ago: assorted links to revisit plus M (1931)

three years ago: more links to enjoy, Cats (1981), more on the Ice Saints plus the revival of night trains

four years ago: St Gangolf plus more links worth the revisit

five years ago: a sleep-over cinema plus a classic from Ottawan (1979)

Wednesday 8 May 2024

hardhat riot (11. 546)

As our faithful chronicler reminds, on this day in 1970, around noon a group of more than four-hundred construction workers—many working on the World Trade Center—converged on a group of anti-war protesters, mostly college students picketing the New York Stock Exchange and rallying on the steps of Federal Hall, originally a Customs House on Wall Street, setting up a memorial for those killed at Kent State four days prior and calling for an end to the fighting in Vietnam and Cambodia, release of political prisoners and an end to military-related research on university campuses. By lunch time the clashes turned violent with some eight hundred office workers joining the ranks of the agitating construction workers, breaking through a thin line of police separating the two sides and pursuing students and onlookers and beating them safety equipment and tools. Law enforcement, sympathetic to the counter protesters, did little to intervene or stop the melee. Two weeks of protests followed before the demonstrations, pitting labour union leaders against pacifists, subsided and towards the end of the month, the organiser of the initial riot and a delegation of representing some three-hundred thousand unionised trade workers, were invited to the White House to meet with president Richard Nixon, who said he sought to honour those labour leaders “and people from Middle America who still have character and guts and a bit of patriotism,” accepting hard hats as a gift. For his loyalty and role in starting a culture war, a values war that divided traditionally shared sentiments among Democratic voters, that leader Peter J Brennan was appointed secretary of labour and the cabinet official outlasted the Nixon administration and served under Ford as well.

 
synchronoptica

one year ago: an early fifth century bog man

two years ago: the Nebra Skydisc

three years ago: a classic Eurodance number, assorted links worth revisiting plus more photographs from Pete Souza

four years ago: the death of Tito (1980), more links to enjoy plus Russian borderlands

five years ago: more links worth the revisit plus Heath Robinson contraptions

Thursday 25 April 2024

respectful free expression of ideas (11. 513)

Via Kottke via are directed towards a timely and rather transcendent think-piece that we missed when it was originally published back in December from McSweeney’s contributor Andrew Patrick Clark in this message from the chancellor on the recent student protests to the university community.

“…We will not look back and regret this decision. Although we were wrong about not admitting women, abolishing racial quotas, US involvement in Vietnam, and divesting from apartheid South Africa, we are confident that this time is different.

Rules are rules, and the rules never change…

This recent protest is different. These students will never inspire change. Fifty years from now, we will definitely not pretend that we agreed with them the whole time.”

The brief missive is one to be read in full, particularly in light of recent events but speaks to the legacy and spirit revolution in general.

synchronoptic

one year ago: Wes Anderson deja vu, the Cosmati Pavement plus the founding of Audi

two years ago: a classic from Steely Dan, the feast of St Mark plus Ukrainian commemorative postage

three years ago: your daily demon: Barbatos, taxation in Rome, a Roman holiday, more guerilla gardening, the first map of the New World plus St Maughold

four years ago: more COVID conspiracies, the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope (1990), Elbe Day plus another phantom island

five years ago: CAPTCHA technology, the invention of the bicycle plus rebuilding Notre Dame

 

Saturday 20 April 2024

seskleur (11. 501)

Proclaimed on this day in 1994 and officially adopted and flown for the first time a week later by president F W de Klerk (Nelson Mandela would succeed him in May, selected in the same general elections that incorporated the new design), and a synopsis, homage based on the Union Jack, the Dutch flag and the flag of the African National Congress (the political party, the ANC) and other elements of national banners of the country’s history, South Africa’s new flag, replacing the “Oranje, Blanje, Blou” of the apartheid era and—not including emblems and charges—is the only six-colour national flag. No universal symbolism is ascribed to the colours in order to allow personal attributions, with only the Y shaped element specifically meant to convey the convergence of diversity and unity going forward. Intended only as an interim rallying emblem, another contest was held in 1995 but it was decided, by popular acclaim, to keep the one that heralded justice and reconciliation.

Friday 16 February 2024

forgive me if this sounds pompous, but it’s better to die standing up than live on your knees (11. 354)

Against the backdrop of the Munich Security Conference during which his widow was scheduled to speak, the Russian presidential election less than a month away, Trump’s rubbishing of the NATO alliance, the US withholding foreign aid for Ukraine and the prospect of another term locked, vocal critic of Vladimir Putin and official corruption Alexei Navalny has been found dead in the remote arctic penal colony where he has been transferred recently, detained for the past three years, foregoing exile in Germany. Recuperating from a case of poisoning in 2021 that was blamed on the Kremlin, Navalny choose to return to Russia and register to run for the presidency (having finished in a close second against the incumbent mayor of Moscow in 2013 despite the backing of Putin’s political machine) and accept almost certain arrest in order to continue his oppositional stance. Navalny was serving a nineteen year sentence, charged with the crime of extremism.

Sunday 20 August 2023

skolstrejk fรถr klimatet (10. 955)

On this day in 2018, when Europe was suffering from droughts and a heatwave (also inspired by students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida who refused to return after the shootings), ahead of parliamentary elections and the first day of class after summer break, then fifteen-year-old Greta Tintin Eleonora Ernman Thunberg sat on the steps of the Svergies Riksdag calling for a “School-Strike for the Climate.” Alone in her protest, the image was picked up by the Swedish press and garnering criticism from her parents and teachers for her truancy and message, Thunberg returned everyday for three weeks until the 9 September ballot, demanding that the government commit to reducing carbon-emissions aligned with the pledges of the Paris Agreement. Thunberg’s activism inspired the Fridays for Future movement of millions of students globally using the day to rally for environmental causes and has been a necessary gadfly to spur action, calling out greenwashing and repeating that “our house is still on fire.”

Friday 30 December 2022

mcmlxxxix (10. 370)

By dint of the limited permutations of the Gregorian, civil calendar, we discover that we can helpfully recycle (see previously) our calendars from 2017 or 1989 for the upcoming 2023. Not to be dismissive of the events bookended six years ago, the political turning points of the latter with the fall of the Berlin Wall, Perestroika, the Velvet Revolution, the uprisings in Romania and China, as well as the gradual dismantling of the apartheid government in South Africa, the return of democratic norms to Brazil and Poland and the first internet service providers seem to bode as auspicious points of correspondence. Having lived through it, may we may live in exciting times. 

mmxxii (10. 369)

As this calendar year draws to a close and we look forward with anticipation to 2023, we again take time to reflect on a selection of some of the events that took place in 2022. Thanks as always for visiting. We’ve made it through another wild year together, and we’ll see this next one through together as well.

january: Violent protests erupt in Almaty in response to the Kazakh government ending fuel subsidies and lift price caps on petrol and heating oil, prompting a coalition of former-Soviet military forces to intervene. The US reflects on the one year anniversary of the Capitol insurrection and the fragile state of democracy.

Legendary actor Sidney Portier passed away, aged 94, as did singer Ronnie Spector (*1943). Tragically, seventeen individuals are killed in an apartment fire in the Bronx. Disturbingly the US Supreme Court blocks vaccination mandates for private companies-upholding the requirement for public sector workers. Two Democratic senators-who derailed president Biden’s Build Back Better plan-are also opposed to changing legislative rules to overturn the filibuster, allowing Republicans to block the enactment of a voter-rights protection bill. There are widespread calls for the resignation of Boris Johnson over revelations of work-dos during strict lockdown. The Queen strips Prince Andrew of his titles and military leadership roles over his association with sex pest Jeffrey Epstein and allegations of sexual assault. Russia seems poised to re-invade Ukraine, first undermining their cyber capabilities.  The Pacific island group volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haสปapai erupted violently, triggering tsunami waves halfway across the world in California and Nova Scotia. Performer Meatloaf has passed away, aged seventy-four as did comedian and actor Louie Anderson at sixty-eight.  Zen Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh who protested the Vietnam War and introduced mindfulness to the West dies aged ninety-five.

february: The leader of a defeated though resurgent ISIS, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quarshi, is killed in a US airstrike in Syria.

Tensions continue to mount in Ukraine over the spectre of an Russian invasion, with the US suggesting that Russia will stage a false-flag operation as a pretext to advance.   Truckers in Canada protesting COVID restrictions, mandatory passports blockade Ottawa; separately Justin Treudeu, Jacinda Arden and Keir Starmer need police intervention to be rescued from rioters.  The Queen celebrates her Platinum Jubilee with seventy years on the throne.  So called Canadian Freedom Convoys of big rig truckers shut down three key border crossings into the US, causing knock-on effects including factory shut-downs.  Provocatively, Russia begins military exercises in Belarus and on the Black Sea. 
Two powerful, successive windstorms, Ylenia and Zeynep, cause damage through a corridor in German after wreaking havoc in England and Wales (as Dudley and Eunice).  The Candy Bomber, Gail Halvorsen (previously) passes away, aged 101.  As the UK announces the relaxation of legal measures to combat the spread of the COVID virus, the palace announced that the Queen has contracted a mild case of it.  Putin recognises the sovereignty of break-away Ukrainian territories Donetsk and Luhansk and deploys peace-keepers to the regions nearly eight years to the day after applying a similar tactics to Crimea. 

march: Numerous Western companies suspend operations in Russia as sanctions intensify.  Shelling of civilian targets across Ukraine shows no signs of abating though the invasion has not been the easy and instant take-over that was apparently expected. 

Inflation surges as the price for everything spikes with the price of oil.  Many news outlets suspend reporting from Russia following passage of legislation that threatened individuals with fifteen-year sentences for spreading “fake news.” Sustaining a minor infection, US supreme court justice Clarence Thomas was discharged from hospital, a week after he was admitted. The news comes as the congressional panel investigating the 6 January attack on the US Capitol sought testimony from his wife and conservative activist, Virginia Thomas, after the revelation of a text message exchange between her and the White House chief of staff, urging him to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.  People Power Party candidate is narrowly elected president of South Korea.

april:  The US Senate, after much acrimony, confirms Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. Though vice president Harris would have been the tie-breaker in the case of a fifty-fifty split, no Black woman in this forum had the chance to vote.  Viktor Orbรกn with fourth consecutive term as leader of Hungary. 

North Korea appears to be on the verge of resuming nuclear tests after a pause of five years, escalating regional tensions, after demolishing a symbolic hotel that held out the possibility of reconciliation. Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan was ejected by a vote of no confidence.  Hundreds die from mudslides in the Philippines and flash floods in South Africa.  Russia retaliates to the destruction of its flagship of the Black Sea fleet with renewed shelling in Kyiv and Lviv, having shifted focused to the southeastern part of Ukraine to create a corridor through rebel-held areas to Crimea and the sea.  Emmanuel Macron holds his presidency against Marine Le Pen.  Twitter agrees to sell itself to Elon Musk.  Moscow confirms Russia assault on Kyiv during visit by UN secretary-general Antรณnio Guterres, meeting with the Ukrainian leader just after a summit with Putin.

may: A leaked draft opinion from US Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito suggests that the court is poised to over-turn the 1973 precedent that affords women access to abortion. 

The remaining contingent of soldiers holding Mariupol’s bulwark of resistance in the Azov steel plant have surrendered to Russian forces.   Australia’s conservative coalition government is defeated for the first time in a decade and the Labour party takes control.  A gunman espousing the Great Replacement Theory, tying into all the regressive, racist social movements in the United States, murdered ten individuals in Buffalo, New York.  A shooting at an elementary school in Texas takes twenty-one lives.  A dire shortage of baby formula in the US is on-going.  Monkeypox is spreading rampantly.  

june: the UK and the Commonwealth celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. 

Prompted by the publication of the Partygate investigation, Boris Johnson weathers a confidence vote by fellow party members but with more negative ballots than the votes that ended the ministries of Thatcher or more recently May. Portions of the January 6 select committee hearings are being televised.  The US Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v Casey, prohibiting access to abortion in more than half of America and putting at risk same-sex marriage, gay rights and access to contraceptives. 

july: Russia takes control of the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine.  Yet another mass shooting occurs in the US, this time at an Independence Day parade in a Chicago suburb. 

Compelled by the resignation of over fifty chief ministers and secretaries (including those appointed a day and a half earlier) ultimately, cumulatively over the Chris Pincher scandal, Boris Johnson announces he will step down as leader of the Conservative Party but plans to hold on to his prime ministership until the party conference in the autumn.  Former Japanese prime minister Shinzล Abe is fatally wounded in an assassination attempt.  Actor James Caan passes away, aged 82. After massive unrest and protesters storming the presidential palace, Sri Lankan leader Gotabaya Rajapaska steps down.  After reaching a deal brokered by Turkey, the first Ukranian grain transport vessel sails into the Bosporus, bound for Lebanon.  Pioneering actor Nichelle Nichols passed away, aged eighty-nine.

august: In the backdrop of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and intensifying incursions from mainland China, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan.  Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is killed by a blade-wielding drone in Afghanistan.  The conservative state of Kansas rejects a referendum to outlaw all abortions.  The FBI conducts a search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate for mishandled government documents.  The US congress passes Joe Biden’s Build Back Better act. 

Taking a cue from Belarus, the governors of Texas and Florida are bussing migrants to New York and California.  Olivia Newton-John passes away after a long battle with cancer.  Fashion designer Issey Miyake (ไธ‰ๅฎ… ไธ€็”Ÿ) has also died, aged eighty-four.  Actor Anne Heche died after sustaining serious injuries in a car accident.  Salman Rushdie was stabbed by an assailant whilst delivering a lecture in Chautauqua, New York.  Joe Biden announces a jubilee on student debt that will positively impact millions of borrowers.  A redacted affidavit shows that over one hundred eighty classified documents were being sought at Mar-A-Lago, which Trump illegally removed when he left office.  Pakistan is devastated by heavy monsoons.  Ukraine begins a counter-insurgency to retake Kherson.  Mikhail Gorbachev passes away, aged 91.  

september: Liz Truss is chosen as new Prime Minister to replace Boris Johnson.  Queen Elizabeth II passes away, aged 96, with London Bridge protocols enacted.  Ukraine is seen to make major incursions into Russian held territories as municipal officials in Moscow and St Petersburg call for Vladimir Putin’s resignation. 

Charles III is proclaimed as new monarch as UK and Commonwealth enter a period of remembrance and mourning.  A Florida federal judge appoints a Special Master to review documents seized from Mar-a-Lago.  The UK economy tanks after Truss chancellor Kwarteng borrow more to reduce tax on business, garnering rebukes from Germany, the US and the IMF as the Pound Stirling approaches parity with the US dollar.  Iranians rage against their government after a young girl dies in custody of the morality police.  Russia appears to have sabotaged the Nordstream pipelines, rendering them unusable even if the gas is turned back on.

october: A hurricane batters Puerto Rico and Cuba, Florida and South Carolina.  Putin annexes four more regions in Ukraine though the hold is tenuous.  Coolio and Loretta Lynn pass away.  A mass shooting, knife attack takes place at a nursery in Thailand with two dozen children killed.  Joseph Biden pardons all of some six-thousand individuals charged with marijuana possession on the federal level.  Rhetoric over the use of tactical nuclear weapons by Russia is increasing. 

Ukraine damages the twenty kilometre bridge linking the annexed Crimea to the Russian mainland, a key supply route, across the Kerch strait.  In retribution, Russian attacks on civilian targets and infrastructure increase markedly.  Kwasi Kwarteng is dismissed, giving the UK four chancellors in as many months amid wide-spread calls for Liz Truss to resign.  Accomplished actor Robbie Coltrane passes away, aged 72, as does Angela Lansbury, aged 96.  Rishi Sunak becomes prime minister of the UK after being voted leader of the Tory Party. The husband of senior congressional member Nancy Pelosi is attacked by a man with a past of espousing fringe right wing theories with a hammer, the target intended to be the Speaker of the House.  Twitter is delisted from the stock exchange as Elon Musk takes over the platform.  Over one hundred and fifty individuals in Seoul are crushed in a stampede during a Halloween party in a narrow alleyway.  Citing continued Ukrainian drone attacks on its Black Sea fleet, Russia pulls out of a UN brokered arrangement to facilitate grain-shipment.

november: World leaders gather in Sharm el-Sheikh for COP27.   Ukrainian cities contend with power blackouts after Russia targets the country’s infrastructure.  Founding father of election science Sir David Butler passes away, aged 98. The anticipated repudiation of the US Democratic party failed to materialize, counter to polling and pundits’ expectations with those Republican candidates aligned with Donald Trump underperforming and falling short in the broad sense, holding the GOP bastions of Florida and Texas.  The UN announces the world population is at eight billion. 

At a ceremony at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump announces his third candidacy for the presidency, much to the dismay of a Republican party whom cannot challenge his bid.  Artemis I launches on its way to the Moon.  Speaker Pelosi steps down as party leader in the House of Representatives.  In response to Trump announcing his intent to run for president, a move in part calculated to frustrate legal action against him, Attorney General Merrick Garland appoints a special counsel to investigate the insurrection that Trump instigated and the US Supreme Court rules that Trump must turn over years of tax returns to Congress.   Mired in controversy, the World Cup hosted by Qatar commences.  Continued Russian airstrikes on Ukrainian infrastructure and utilities have caused a near total blackout in neighbouring Moldova.  Earthquakes cause mass destruction in West Java and Turkey.   The UK Supreme Court blocks a second referendum for Scottish independence.  Fame and Flash Dance singer Irene Cara passes away, aged 63.  Demonstrations against the government and the ruling party not seen in China since Tienanmen Square erupt in China over COVID lockdown protocols and after the emergency response to an apartment fire is apparently delayed due to restrictions and added barriers to restrict movement. Fleetwood Mac singer Christine McVie dies, aged 79. 

december: Chinese authorities begin relaxing COVID prevention measures in response to protests.  The G7 nations and the European Union try to enforce further sanctions against Russia by banning oil shipments by sea and placing an upwards price cap per barrel. In response to massive protests, Iran disbands its morality police.

Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Labs announce a breakthrough in harnessing the power of nuclear fusion for energy production.  During its final session before dissolving, the January Sixth Committee recommends to the Justice Department to bring four criminal charges, including inciting insurrection, against Trump.  The Specials lead singer Terry Hall passes away, aged 63.  In his first trip abroad since the Russian invasion, Zelenskiy speaks before a joint-session of Congress in Washington, DC––appealing for continued aid from the United States.  Much of the US is pummelled by a bomb-cyclone, a monstrous winter storm that forces the cancellation of holiday travel. Bolivian police detain opposition leader Luis Fernando Camacho for his role in the 2019 protests that prompted then-president Evo Morales to resign. Putin issues a decree prohibiting the export of Russian oil to countries and organizations that adhere to the US$60-per-barrel price cap that Australia, the European Union, and the G7 member states agreed upon earlier this month. The decree will be in effect from February through the summer.  Legendary footballer who made soccer the beautiful game, Pelรฉ, passes away, aged 82, as well as fashion icon Vivienne Westwood.


Tuesday 6 December 2022

itsenรคisyyspรคivรค (10. 364)

Celebrated as a national holiday, on this day in 1917 the Finnish Declaration of Independence was adopted by the country’s parliament (eduskunta), simultaneously severing its autonomy within Imperial Russia as a Grand Principality and forming a independent republic, prompted the Bolshevik Revolution, in turn caused by hardships experienced during World War I, and the subsequent abdication of Czar Nicholas II, who held the title of Grand Prince, which nullified the personal union between the two territories. Russian revolutionaries acknowledging a general right to self-determination—including the right of secession ”for the peoples of Russia”—the People’s Commissars, members including Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin, approved of Finland’s decision and recognised its status by late December and establishing diplomatic relations by January 1918.

saorstรกt รฉireann (10. 363)

Established on this day in 1922 as a dominion of the British Empire (equivalent to the status of Canada) one year to the day after the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty that ended the war for independence, the Irish Free State comprised twenty-six counties, with the remaining six choosing to opt out of the framework—forming the constituency of Northern Ireland. Described by statesman and revolutionary Michael Collins as affording the “freedom to achieve freedom” with the possibility of an wholly independent republic not entertained within the terms of settlement, Ireland was still accorded more liberties and self-determination in legislation than it had had for the past four centuries. The Free State came to an end in 1937 with a constitutional referendum that drafted a wholly new fundamental law that informs and asserts its present sovereignty as Ireland (ร‰ire) and since 1949 officially as the Republic of Ireland.

Tuesday 18 October 2022

il capo in pidei col suo bastone (10. 235)

Our thanks to TYWKIWDBI for directing our attention to this Farsi language version of Bella Ciao (see previously), the protest folk song that has become an anthem of freedom and resistance internationally, created to protest the oppressive, theocratic dictatorship of Iran as part of the Mahsa Amini rallies against the regime. The opening lyric—The dust of this wheat/is in the street—is in reference to the custom of growing sprouts of grain in the two week run up to the New Year (Nowruz, ู†ูˆุฑูˆุฒ) that falls on the Spring Equinox and symbolically casting them away to toss out old habits. O mamma mia o che tormento. Much more at the links above.

Wednesday 31 August 2022

what can a poor boy do but sing in a rock & roll band? (10. 100)

Released on this day as a single from their Beggars Banquet album that came out in December of 1968, “Street Fighting Man” is considered The Rolling Stones most contentious and political song. Originally recorded as “Did Everyone Pay Their Dues?” with the same powerful acoustic guitar riffs and drumset set to very different lyrics, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were inspired by an anti-war rally at the US Embassy in London where twenty-five thousand had gathered and parallel events in Paris that led to the unrest of May of that summer. Its premier in America was marred by the coincidence of violence and protests during the Democratic National Convention held in Chicago, with most radio stations refusing to play the song for fear it would incite a riot.

Thursday 20 January 2022

an unfinished revolution

We had scant idea that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels had not only contributed hundreds of articles as foreign correspondents for the New York Daily Tribune in the lead up to the US Civil War advocating strongly against slavery and the apartheid of the American South—and North, Marx moreover kept up a correspondence with Abraham Lincoln—one does not readily summon this overlap and epistolary relatisonship, influencing and informing to an extent his interlocutor’s views on labour, suffrage and the estrangement of chattel and capital. Much more from Open Culture at the link above.

Saturday 25 December 2021

fait accompli

Having persuaded the Supreme Soviet to vest within the office of president (a different entity altogether from the Presidium whose chair was sometimes conflated by Western governments and press) all executive powers for an amount of time not to exceed two years—like the Roman tradition of appointing a limited-tenure dictator, during this time of transition and upheaval, incumbent just since mid-March of 1990, Mikhail Gorbachev, his position strengthened by withstanding the failed August Coup but unable to reverse the party’s decision for dissolution, announced his resignation as commander-in-chief at the Kremlin before television cameras broadcasting internationally on this day in 1991. Expressing remorse for the breakup of the union, Gorbachev at the same time welcomed the reforms of a market-economy, greater political and religious freedoms as well as the end of the Cold War and its attendant brinksmanship, the Supreme Soviet the next day voted itself out of existence, allowing the Soviet Union to expire at midnight 31 December (Julian Christmas of course falling on the seventh of January on the Gregorian calendar but not reinstated as a holiday until 1992, with New Year’s the big celebration—see also) with the Russian Federation the successor to all Soviet Institutions.

Tuesday 21 December 2021

intentos separatistas

Under the leadership of Empresario (the Spanish word for entrepreneur and referring to those granted right of settlement in exchange for pledging to develop an area) Haden Edwards, a group of Texians declared the breakaway Republic of Fredonia on this day in 1826.Arriving the year before with some eight hundred colonists families (mostly plantation-owners from the American south like himself)—overstepping his commission by claiming the authority to adjudicate the validity of the land claim of those already in residence, demanding deed and title to property else land would become forfeit and the property of fellow filibusters. The Mexican government repudiated Edwards' actions and ordered him out but he refused to leave his colony. By the last day of January, the occupiers were defeated by the Mexican army, though the cumulative effect of this rebellion and others instigated like it led to the eventual secession of the territory, both sides alternatively currying favour with and laying blame on indigenous tribes and forcibly relocated peoples.

Friday 10 December 2021

everybody always confesses—you can’t help it

Slated to be released on the seventy-fifth anniversary of the original publication of nineteen eighty-four on 8 June 2023 and greenlit by the estate of George Orwell, the dystopian, cautionary tale will be retold from the perspective of Julia, Winston Smith’s erstwhile subversive, thoughtcriminal, inculcated to the Party at a young age and avid member of the Junior Anti-Sex League and the Two Minutes Hate directed against those who would betray the revolution but who quickly redirected her fervour to rebellion, though knowing they will eventually be caught and betray one another’s confidence.