News 05.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 05.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 05.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 05.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Matthew Williams is standing in front of a mirrored wall in Givenchy’s Paris headquarters on Avenue George V, staring intently at his outfit. His eyes are locked on a bag: a black leather crossbody number, its strap adorned with metal rings. Williams turns, then glances over his shoulder back at the mirror. He is, like everyone else in the room, tall, slender, and dressed in black with a protective face mask. The only thing that helps distinguish him on my end of the Zoom window that I’m watching through is his signature tattoo, a giant black cross on the nape of his neck and skull, creeping over the top of his shirt. He gives the bag one last examination.

“Pretty cool,” he says, then takes it off. Unlike his more outspoken counterparts in fashion, Williams is calm, nonchalant, and collaborative. He asks those around him what they think so often that, in a meeting like this, it’s easy to forget that he’s in charge—that he’s the person now responsible for one of the biggest platforms in fashion and that the most important moment of his career is imminent.

After his appointment as creative director of Givenchy last June, Williams gathered up the various tentacles of his life in Italy and New York, moved to Paris, and, given the constraints of the pandemic, did the only thing he was really permitted to do: work. The 35-year-old American launched a first collection just over a hundred days after his arrival at the house, quietly unveiling the clothes with an orchestrated push from dozens of famous friends who shared images of the pieces on social media. But he made clear at the time that his upcoming collection—the one he’s preparing now and plans to unveil to the world digitally, at an arena outside Paris on March 7—would constitute a louder and more official debut into the big leagues. It will be, as he describes it, a spectacle. As a former creative director for Lady Gaga and collaborator of Kanye West’s, Williams has a natural facility with spectacle-making. “I feel really comfortable doing live experience,” he tells me, collected and unfazed.

Read the rest of this article at: GQ

News 05.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 05.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In November 2013, Nora von Achenbach, curator at the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Hamburg, Germany, examined the catalog for an upcoming auction by the Paris-based dealer Boisgirard-Antonini. The glossy pages offered a bevy of antiquities for sale: bronze figurines, jewelry and a statue from ancient Egypt estimated at more than 300,000 euros, or almost half a million dollars. But von Achenbach was interested in a pale marble tablet, carved with arabesques, vines and Persian script. Lot 104, an “important epigraphic panel with interlacings from the palace of Mas’ud III,” was dated to the 12th century, from the capital of the Ghaznavid Empire, in what is today Afghanistan.

Curators must be wary of buying fake or stolen art, particularly when it comes to ancient artifacts, which may have been illegally excavated in countries plagued by war and corruption. Boisgirard-Antonini’s catalog simply stated that the marble’s provenance was “a private French collection.” But von Achenbach — who did not respond to requests for an interview — may have been reassured by the lengthy description of the archaeological site where the marble was originally found, the royal palace in Ghazni, where a legal Italian-led excavation broke ground in the 1950s. Moreover, as the catalog noted, three panels from the same site were held by the Brooklyn Museum, San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum and the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. Von Achenbach decided that the marble could form part of her museum’s collection in Hamburg. She sent in a bid, the equivalent of around $50,000, and won.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

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August 29, 2013 was Danyelle Branning’s day off. She worked as a nurse in a hospital intensive-care unit and was reading in bed at her home in Eastvale, California, a small city some 50 miles inland of Los Angeles. Around 3 p.m., she heard a knock on the door and opened it to find a policeman on the front step. He introduced himself as Deputy Taroo Curry from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. He was short, with a boyish face and curly hair, and he had a small microphone pinned to his jacket that recorded his conversations.

“Was there an incident or something that happened or occurred yesterday?” Curry said.

“Well, yes,” said Danyelle, shaking her head. She told Curry that she had caught her 16-year-old stepdaughter, Amber, smoking pot at an older boy’s house. That evening, Danyelle and her husband, Randy, called the sheriff’s non-emergency line for help. Amber was Randy’s daughter from a previous relationship, and she was failing out of school and getting into trouble. “She manipulates, and she lies and lies and lies. I can’t trust anything she says,” Danyelle told Curry. The operator had suggested a boot camp.

Read the rest of this article at: the Atavist Magazine

News 05.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 05.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

It was among the most jarring scenes of the Capitol invasion, on January 6th. As rioters milled about on the Senate floor, a long-haired man in a red ski cap bellowed, from the dais, “Jesus Christ, we invoke your name!” A man to his right––the so-called QAnon Shaman, wearing a fur hat and bull horns atop his head, and holding an American flag—raised a megaphone and began to pray. Others in the chamber bowed their heads. “Thank you, heavenly Father, for being the inspiration needed to these police officers to allow us into the building, to allow us to exercise our rights, to allow us to send a message to all the tyrants, the Communists, and the globalists, that this is our nation, not theirs, that we will not allow the America, the American way of the United States of America, to go down,” he said. “Thank you, divine, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent creator God for filling this chamber with your white light and love, your white light of harmony. Thank you for filling this chamber with patriots that love you and love Christ.”

Falsehoods about a stolen election, retailed by Donald Trump and his allies, drove the Capitol invasion, but distorted visions of Christianity suffused it. One group carried a large wooden cross; there were banners that read “In God We Trust,” “Jesus Is My Savior / Trump Is My President,” and “Make America Godly Again”; some marchers blew shofars, ritual instruments made from ram’s horns that have become popular in certain conservative Christian circles, owing to its resonance with an account in the Book of Joshua in which Israelites sounded their trumpets and the walls of Jericho came tumbling down. The intermingling of religious faith, conspiratorial thinking, and misguided nationalism on display at the Capitol offered perhaps the most unequivocal evidence yet of the American church’s role in bringing the country to this dangerous moment.

A recent survey, conducted by the American Enterprise Institute, found that more than a quarter of white evangelicals believe that Donald Trump has been secretly battling “a group of child sex traffickers that include prominent Democrats and Hollywood elites,” a core tenet of the QAnon conspiracy theory. The data suggest a faith-based reality divide emerging within the Republican Party: nearly three-quarters of white evangelical Republicans believe widespread voter fraud took place in the 2020 election, compared with fifty-four per cent of non-evangelical Republicans; sixty per cent of white evangelical Republicans believe that Antifa, the antifascist group, was mostly responsible for the violence in the Capitol riot, compared with forty-two per cent of non-evangelical Republicans. Other surveys have found that white evangelicals are much more skeptical of the COVID-19 vaccine and are less likely than other Americans to get it, potentially jeopardizing the country’s recovery from the pandemic.

How did the church in America––particularly, its white Protestant evangelical manifestation––end up here? For many skeptics, the explanation seems obvious: faith and reason are antipodes––the former necessarily cancels out the latter, and vice versa. Cultivating the life of the mind, however, has been an important current throughout much of Christianity’s history, a recognition that intellectual pursuits can glorify God. During the Middle Ages, monasteries became centers of learning and gave rise to the first European universities. The writings of Thomas Aquinas, which blended Aristotelian philosophy and Christian theology, set out a framework for reconciling scientific knowledge with scriptural truths. Martin Luther, who led the Protestant Reformation, was an early advocate of universal education and argued that educating needy youth was vital “in order that a city might enjoy temporal peace and prosperity.” The Puritan minister Jonathan Edwards grappled with metaphysics and epistemology in his writings and sermons. In the twentieth century, C. S. Lewis and Reinhold Niebuhr enjoyed popular acclaim as Christian public intellectuals. T. S. Eliot and W. H. Auden are among the writers whose theologically orthodox Christianity served as a focal point of their art.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

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News 05.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The bank of cameras camped outside Delhi’s sprawling Tihar jail was the sort of media frenzy you would expect to await a prime minister caught in an embezzlement scandal, or a Bollywood star caught in the wrong bed. Instead, the cameras were waiting for Disha Ravi, a nature-loving 22-year-old vegan climate activist who against all odds has found herself ensnared in an Orwellian legal saga that includes accusations of sedition, incitement and involvement in an international conspiracy whose elements include (but are not limited to): Indian farmers in revolt, the global pop star Rihanna, supposed plots against yoga and chai, Sikh separatism and Greta Thunberg.

If you think that sounds far-fetched, well, so did the judge who released Ravi after nine days in jail under police interrogation. Judge Dharmender Rana was supposed to rule on whether Ravi, one of the founders of the Indian chapter of Fridays for Future, the youth climate group started by Thunberg, should continue to be denied bail. He ruled that there was no reason for bail to be denied, which cleared the way for Ravi’s return to her home in Bengaluru that night.

But the judge also felt the need to go much further, to issue a scathing 18-page ruling on the underlying case that has gripped Indian media for weeks, issuing his own personal verdict on the various explanations provided by the Delhi police for why Ravi had been apprehended in the first place. The police’s evidence against the young climate activist is, he wrote, “scanty and sketchy”, and there is not “even an iota” of proof to support the claims of sedition, incitement or conspiracy that have been levelled against her and at least two other young activists.

Though the international conspiracy case appears to be falling apart, Ravi’s arrest has spotlighted a different kind of collusion, this one between the increasingly oppressive and anti-democratic Hindu nationalist government of the prime minister, Narendra Modi, and the Silicon Valley companies whose tools and platforms have become the primary means for government forces to incite hatred against vulnerable minorities and critics – and for police to ensnare peaceful activists like Ravi in a hi-tech digital web.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.