A Sometime Saunter.

We have an extra child in our house this morning – it’s First Offspring’s first time hosting a sleepover and his friend arrived last night to stay. They had a great time, playing Minecraft and being nerdy about Pokemon. Ah, childhood! Now I just have enough time to post these links before I take her home. Hope you’re all having a good start to the New Year!

This piece was worth including, I thought, because too often we define people who have been displaced from their homelands in terms of their treatment, be it persecution or genocide. As the photographer points out, it is very important to remember such terrible events, but it is not the only information we should have of a culture. We should also celebrate what it means to belong to that culture, and we should appreciate just how wonderful it is that in spite of all the hardships, different groups have managed to hold onto their cultural heritage and traditions. Also, the pictures are just lovely.

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Antibiotic resistance has been something we’ve been warned about for years, but it also doesn’t seem to be something the average person takes seriously – until it happens to them. The news that a new antibiotic has been discovered, with potentially more on the way, is good to hear, but perhaps it should come with a warning that unless we are careful with its use, we’ll face a similar problem with resistance, another 100 years down the track.

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It’s not that I really mind that Mark Zuckerberg reads books, or that he talks about it, but I agree that he is being rather pretentious. What is it about our celebrity worship culture which means that anyone can appear to be an expert on anything, just because they may have been successful in one area of their lives? I don’t have any issue with people giving advice, but I’d like us to be a bit more discerning as to how easily we swallow whatever is doled out to us by those who happen to be famous.

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Following the Charlie Hebdo attacks, there have been many, many articles, and I’ve only read a few. This one from Helen Razer can be a little harsh, I think, but I also like that she is not too swept up in the emotionally charged cultural movement which came afterwards. Of course we should mourn this heinous act, but we also need to put it into perspective, both historically and globally.

4 thoughts on “A Sometime Saunter.

  1. I agree with you about the new antibiotic. On the farm we had problems with the anthelmentics for internal control worms in sheep and other chemicals for control of lice and blowflies externally. When used extensively the parasites often developed resistance. It was always a race against time to develop new drugs to combat this and remain one step ahead. We can only hope that we learn from past mistakes with this new antibiotic. I also hope that governments world-wide can ensure that the further development of this and any new antibiotic remains in the public domain to ensure low cost medicines for all.

    The Charlie Hebdo incident saddens me greatly, not just for the loss of life, but that we seem to believe the only way to make a satirical comment these days is to hurt the other party. What happened to subtlety? Why do we have to be hateful to make our point? I could go on, but in my experience I have found that just by talking to each other we can often overcome a lot of differences.

  2. Hi Dad🙂

    You’ve raised a really good point about antibiotics isn’t usually at the forefront of most people’s minds in the discussion, and that’s our use of them in farm animals. Of course, it’s necessary to ensure that the animals remain healthy and that we don’t allow the parasites to be passed on to the humans who will eat them, but in some cases (I’m thinking especially poultry and feedlot beef farming here), antibiotics are given in anticipation of infection rather than in response to it. If our farming practices are such hotbeds of disease, then it’s something we need to change, rather than relying on a medical fix.

    I agree about the lack of subtlety. Not just in humour, but in much of our art. It’s as if we’ve evolved (devolved?!) in a way where we feel like we must always explain everything in very clear terms, in case those reading or listening to or viewing the art don’t ‘get it’. But there is still room for subtlety, and there is always going to be someone who doesn’t get it! That’s part of the learning process!

    The cartoons are an interesting point again, though. You mention talking to the other side: in this case, the people offended by the published images of the prophet Mohammed are not reasonable, and appear to be unconvinced by logic other than their own. On the other hand, those publishing the cartoons know that it’s highly offensive to Muslims – of course, that doesn’t mean it’s OK to kill anyone! But I heard many Muslim people interviewed in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attack and all of them were saying that the cartoons were upsetting, but they all said that it was something they would rather talk about, discuss. I’m sad that that dialogue doesn’t seem to be taking place.

    • Just a couple of quick points, Rebecca. Re art and its interpretation. A couple of years ago I went to an art exhibition/competition where the winning entry had an A4 page of single spaced 12 point typing of interpretation attached! And it won first prize! Seems we are not supposed to view art for its own sake, but must know what the artist was thinking. How does it go now, “If you don’t understand the authorial intent of the artist, would you be a philistine?”

      About arguing a point. My father once told me: “When your opponent starts to abuse you, you know you’ve won the argument!”

      • Well, that’s what the issue of the ‘death of the author’ is all about, I suppose. Is it possible to know what the author really meant, if they don’t explicitly say? Does it mean you can’t appreciate art for art’s sake? I would like to think that the interpretation is up to the individual, at least to some degree. Once your artwork is out there in the world, how other people choose to interpret or use it, is out of your hands (copyright notwithstanding!) Bringing that around to the attackers in France: it could be argued that this issue is that people are basing their actions on something which was written thousands of years ago, by authors whose intent we can never know.

        Grandad was onto something🙂

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