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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Immortality
Posted: February 22, 2021 at 2:22 pm
There have been many reinventions of the Amazons in their long history, but some have distinguished themselves in the grand scheme of things.
Interest in the lore of the DC Universe has expanded after the success ofthe DCEU's films, with Wonder Woman being the most successful one yet. The Amazons have garnered such fan interest that there is to be a spin-off film based entirely on this tribe.
RELATED:10 Crazy DCEU Theories That Only Make Sense To Comic Readers
Its worth knowing more about the Amazons from the source material as the DCEU derives most ofits characters'backstory from there. There have been many retcons and reinventions of the Amazons in their long history, but some havedistinguished themselves in the grand scheme of things.
The first story featuring Wonder Woman in All Star Comics #8 established that the Amazons were from a place known as Paradise Island. Aphrodite had been the one to sculpt all the Amazon women out of clay and breathed life into them.
In this continuity, the last one to be sculpted was Diana, which made her the youngest one. At the time, the Amazons lived to serve Aphrodite and the Goddess was the one who granted them life, favor, and immortality.
The first story is the best comic for new readersbecauseit establishes both Wonder Woman and the Amazons. It depicted Steve Trevor landing in Paradise Island by accident and discovering the Amazons that inhabited the place.
After learning of the World War that was taking place in the human world, the Amazons engaged in a competition to decide who would accompany Steve back to his world and fight alongside him. This competition was much like the one shown in the intro of Wonder Woman 1984, and Diana ended up winning.
This would be an interesting storyline for the DCEU to adapt, as the Amazons origins still havent been depicted in that universe. All Star Comics #8 showed the history of Amazonia, once a great nation that Hercules decided to conquer.
While he lost Hippolyte, he seduced her to steal the magic girdle, which angered Aphrodite enough for her to claim the Amazons immortality. Although Hippolyte managed to reclaim the girdle and their immortality, Aphrodite banished the Amazons to Paradise Island as punishment for failing in the human world.
It remains to be seen if this tribe becomes one of the next villains DCEU's Wonder Woman will fight, as the Amazons of Themyscira were shown to have contentious relations with the Bana-Mighdall Amazons. Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #29-33 showed the origins of this tribe.
RELATED: 5 Ways Hawkeye & Green Arrow Are Completely Different (& 5 Theyre Exactly The Same)
Theyre a splinter group who were part of Antiopes tribe that never got the immortality of the Themyscira Amazons.Becauseof this, they were forced to accept the favor of Egyptian gods who granted them the Bana-Mighdall city that was surrounded by a powerful sandstorm to protect their land.
This is an origin story that the DCEU has so far ignored, as the idea of reincarnated souls becoming warriors might be too much of a stretch. In the Post-Crisis continuity of the DC Universe, the Amazons history was changed to depict them as having once been women who were killed by men.
Artemis was the one who brought them to life in this continuity, as she transformed them from their sculpted clay forms into strong bodies with eternal youth and trained them to be warriors much like the goddess that birthed them.
Its no wonder that Diana is the Wonder Woman as shes the strongest Amazon yet. In fact, being Wonder Woman isnt just a superhero title, as the moniker is bestowed upon the Amazon that has proven herself to be a champion and ambassador for Themyscira.
Dianas mother, Hippolyta, was Wonder Woman before her, having been the one to lead the Amazons to Paradise Island after freeing them from Hercules slavery. The Amazon who proves herself to usurp Dianas achievements will become Wonder Woman in her place.
Wonder Woman Vol. 3 #18 is a comic that DCEU fans will enjoy reading, as it depicts further information about the Amazons. The courting ritual of the women on the island was shown, which involved presenting a coconut from one Amazon to another, containing a necklace and a bracelet.
The one who initiates the courting needs to place the necklace around the neck of the Amazon shes pursuing along with wrapping the bracelet around the wrist. If the intended lover accepts this gift, the Amazons are considered to be united in a relationship.
The Amazons origins have gone through enough changes to eventually end up with the belief that there were five original goddesses who were responsible for their creation. The Feast of the Five is meant to be a celebration of this event and tribute to the goddesses.
RELATED: 10 Marvel Adaptations That Are Nothing Like The Comics
It is the holiest day for the Amazons, as it signifies their beginning as a tribe and acknowledges the legacy they have carved out for themselves. To this end, the Feast of the Five is seen as a day where they go all-out in celebration and prayer to the goddesses.
The Amazons can be hurt by powerful weapons but are inherently immortal and have a natural healing factor. However, they can still be killed or fatally wounded,but can be healed by using the Earths soul to renew their bodies, as seen in Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #30.
Diana was shown doing so in Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #120, where she prayed to Gaea to grant her this healing ability, explaining that its not something the Amazons can do all the time and the prayer can only be answered under special circumstances.
Initially, it appeared as if the Amazons only had similar appearances to Wonder Woman. However, Wonder Woman Secret Files and Origins went to extensive lengths in Amazonian history and showed that the tribe has every ethnicity in its ranks.
This makes Themyscira a multi-ethnic place, although one thats only inhabited by women. Every woman is considered a warrior and trained in the same manner in a number of skills.
NEXT: 5 Ways Wonder Woman & Thor Are Completely Different (& 5 They're Exactly The Same)
Next 10 Most Inventive Uses Of A Lantern Power Ring
Saim Cheeda is an entertainment writer covering all of Film, TV, Gaming and Books. He's been a writer for The Gamer, Screen Rant and CBR since 2017, contributing 100+ articles for a variety of topics. Saim also covers entertainment articles for Fansided.Apart from freelance writing, Saim is a lifestyle blogger, co-owning the blog 3 States Apart.
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Posted: February 21, 2021 at 12:20 am
Clockwise from upper left: Tarte tatin, mapo tofu, Cobb salad, Battenberg cakePhoto: The Washington Post (Getty Images), The Washington Post (Getty Images), Boston Globe (Getty Images), The Washington Post (Getty Images)
As I grow older and begin worrying about my mortality, I understand why people have children: who else will bother to remember you after youre dead? But surely there must be an easier way than being pregnant for nine months (and all the nausea, hormonal changes, and inability to sleep on ones stomach this implies), giving birth, and having to feed and care for a young person and prepare them to be a useful member of society. Plus theyre so expensive, all that food and clothing and electronic equipment, not to mention college tuition.
I suppose I could hope that this website will still be read in a few hundred years. Or that I will somehow come into an obscene amount of money, enough to put my name on a building with so much architectural importance that no one would dare tear it down. Or... I could have a food named after me! What is more precious than a foodstuff?
There are a few paths to food immortality. One is actually inventing a food with wide appeal and great lasting power throughout the centuries, or at least taking the credit. Was John Montague, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, the first person to think of sticking a piece of meat between two slices of bread? Probably not. But he gets the credit, and the name. As do Robert H. Cobb, Caesar Cardini, Ignacio Nacho Anaya, Alfredo di Lelio, and Stephine and Caroline Tatin for the dishes that still bear their names, and Charles, Pierre, and Henri DeJonghe, the owners of the Chicago hotel where the garlicky shrimp dish became famous. (Their chef, Emil Zehr, actually did the cooking.) Sylvester Graham and James Salisbury thought they were inventing health foods, but instead they ended up fueling a classic campfire treat and thousands of horrors served over steam tables. If they could see this from the afterlife, they would be severely disappointed.
And then theres Mrs. Chen, who ran a tofu restaurant Wanfu Qiao in Chengdu, China, at the turn of the 20th century. She invented a dish that combined tofu, chilis, and Sichuan peppers and served them in chili oil. It became very popular. But instead of Chens Tofu or Wanfu Qiao Tofu or something like that, it got its name from Mrs. Chens appearance: mapo, or pockmarked old lady.
Unfortunately, sometimes the inventor of the food has the misfortune to share a name with someone more famous. Such was the case with Louis Davenport, a Spokane hotel-owner and restaurateur who invented a very rich crabmeat salad that he named after himself; it was subsequently attributed to King Louis XIV, who died 150 years before Davenport was even born, because every Louis in the world fades before the Sun King (including the 16, or maybe 18, other King Louis). Two guys named ReubenReuben Kolakofsky and Arthur Reubenboth receive credit for the Reuben sandwich. What are the odds?
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Another more common path is to be a patron or a friend of a famous chef. Marie-Antoine Carme, the great French chef, named many dishes after his noble patrons. Charles Ranhofer, who ran the kitchen at the New York restaurant Delmonicos for more than 30 years, preferred paying tribute to celebrities: veal pie la Dickens, salad la Dumas, estomacs de dinde la Gustave Dor, bisque a shrimps la Melville, and Sarah Bernhardt cakes. (He also liked to honor famous dead people: Mozart, Thomas Jefferson, Joan of Arc.) Richard Foster, the chairman of a New Orleans crime commission in the early 1950s, found refuge from his tough job by hanging out in his buddy Owen Brennans restaurant where the chef, Paul Blange, one day took pity and made him a special dessert of flambeed bananas and ice cream.
Some people are just so damned famous that people cant help but name food after them. Arthur Wellesley, the first duke of Wellington, and General Zu Zngtng (sometimes translated Tso) had great military victories. It is probably not surprising that a Ben & Jerrys customer suggested an ice cream flavor to honor Jerry Garcia. A light and fluffy dessert just screams to be named after a ballerina like Anna Pavlova. The opera singer Nellie Melba had two things named after her: the dry toast she ate when she was on a diet and the peaches-and-ice cream dessert she ate when she wasnt. Baby Ruth was allegedly named after President Grover Clevelands daughter not the baseball player, even though baby Ruth Cleveland died 17 years before the candy bar was invented, but sometimes you say certain things to avoid being sued.
Queen Victoria had a whole bunch of stuff named after her, but the one that lingers is the Victoria sponge, thanks, in part, to The Great British Bake-Off. GBBO alsocontinues to popularize the checkerboard Battenberg cake, named after the German nobles who married into the British monarchy and changed their name to Mountbatten and Windsor. (And here we get into a crossover with The Crown.) Meanwhile, Victorias contemporary, Otto von Bismarck, got a creme-filled doughnut. Which I think is a very nice way to be remembered. Im not sure how many people, when they bite into a Bismarck, remember that Otto von Bismarck was responsible for uniting Germany. But we keep saying his name, right?
Im afraid I lack the horticultural knowhow to create a new hybrid fruit that I could name after myself the way Enoch Bartlett (pears), Dom Pierre Prignon (Champagne grapes), Pre Clment Rodier (clementines), and John McIntosh and Marie Ana Granny Smith (apples) did.
So that leads to one more path. Its a bit humiliating, but sometimes you have to pay a high price for immortality. Back around 1920, a kid called Henry used to hang out at the Williamson Candy Company in Chicago, and sometimes he would do chores for candy. Whenever anyone wanted him, they would yell Oh, Henry! And so a candy bar was born. (Thats one version anyway. Another claims that Henry was a lover who made all the girls sigh. A far more likely version is that when Williamson bought the Peerless Candy Company, it inherited a bar called the Tom Henry, named after Peerless manager, Thomas Henry, and promptly renamed it. There is no documentation for any of these stories, so choose your favorite.) No one mentioned how many years of servitude it took, or even if Henry thought it was worth it.
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Posted: February 10, 2021 at 1:22 pm
In the summer of 2015, Pierre-Andre Gignac was a man in high demand.
The clinical striker was coming fresh off a 2014/15 campaign in which he had scored 21 goals in 38 Ligue 1 appearances for Marseille, with only Alexandre Lacazette (27) outscoring Gignac as he fired Les Phoceens to fourth in the table.
That campaign was the culmination of an upward trend in the strikers career. After managing league goal totals of just eight and one (ouch) in his first two seasons with Marseille, Gignac netted 13 and 16 times across the 2012/13 and 2013/14 campaigns, respectively, setting himself up for a stellar 2014/15.
Gignac had also fought his way back into international contention with France but, despite being such hot property at the time, player and club could not agree on a new contract, and the former Toulouse striker made clear his intention to leave Marseille, then managed by Marcelo Bielsa, as early as December 2014.
I think I will leave at the end of the season, he said. I want to know if (coach Marcelo) Bielsa will stay, but I want a big challenge. I will consider all proposals carefully.
Gignac name-dropped Inter Milan as a potential destination, while the likes of Lyon, West Ham, Newcastle United, West Brom and Dynamo Moscow were all linked with him at one time or another. With that in mind, the decision to join Mexican giants Tigres UANLin June 2015 was one which caught most in Europe off-guard.
Despite hosting the most successful sides in CONCACAF, including the likes of Club America, Chivas and Monterrey, aside from Tigres, Liga MX has never quite had the same appeal or attracted the same level of wider curiosity as its neighbour in the north, Major League Soccer. As such, given the level of interest surrounding Gignac, then only 29 years old, there were those who accused the 36-time France international of making the move for financial reasons Gignac joined Tigres on an initial deal worth $4m per season, making him the highest-paid player in Mexico.
In the six seasons since he crossed the Atlantic, its safe to say Gignac has been on a one-man mission to prove his doubters wrong.
To date, the now-35-year-old Gignac has scored no fewer than 147 goals in 246 appearances across all competitions for Tigres, establishing himself as the clubs record goalscorer and proving the catalyst for an unprecedented era of success in San Nicolas de los Garza. Since his arrival, Tigres have won four league titles (3x Apertura, 1x Clausura), three Campeon de Campeones crowns, the 2018 Campeones Cup and, most recently, the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League the clubs long-awaited first triumph in that competition after final defeats in 2016, 2017 and 2019.
Gignac was the Golden Boot winner during the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League with six goals, while he scored the winner in the 2-1 final win over LAFC. The fact he has scored in three of the tournaments finals only serves to further illustrate the sheer impact hes had on the Mexican game. In short, Gignac is a legend.
For Tigres fans, Gignac is a massively popular figure, Cesar Hernandez of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast told Squawka when asked of the players influence on the Tigres fanbase.
In a roster filled with highly talented players that could easily make up the core of a potential Liga MX all-star team, Gignac has constantly found a way to stand out. Tigres fans absolutely love him for not only consistently scoring and bringing titles, but for also embracing his new Mexican lifestyle.
He quickly picked up Spanish, became a Mexican citizen, and has proudly boasted about his kids growing up in the region. Speaking of kids, a 2019 report from MedioTiempo claimed that over 40 kids from Nuevo Leon have a registered name that is inspired by Gignac. Safe to say fans love him, and hes reciprocated that love back. Hes brought titles, hes already had a Tigres-inspired tattoo, and seems to be genuinely happy in his new home country.
All odds stated in this article are accurate at the time of publication (12:00, 10/02/2021). You have to be 18+ to gamble. BeGambleAware
On where Gignac lands in the conversation of Liga MXs greatest-ever players, Hernandez adds: Weve seen plenty of arguments regarding whether hes the greatest player from outside the country, the greatest striker, or simply just the greatest. I think its far too early to say that hes the definite greatest in Liga MX, but hes undoubtedly in the running.
Hes definitely brought more attention from abroad, especially when you consider that he was born in France and that he could still be playing for an elite European team. That said, the league has plenty of room for growth and needs more players of his calibre to continue propelling it forward.
From Lionel Messi to Diego Maradona, the true icons of football never know when theyre done and there are always higher mountains to scale for those willing to go the distance. In his particular corner of the footballing world, Gignac is on the cusp of doing just that.
Once again, it was he who was the hero as Tigres came from behind to beat Ulsan Hyundai 2-1 in the second round of the delayed 2020 Club World Cup, scoring a first-half brace to send the South Korean side packing. That set up a semi-final glamour tie with Brazilian side and Copa Libertadores champions Palmeiras in an attractive game, but one most expected Tigres to ultimately lose.
As always, Gignac had other ideas. A wonderful Tigres performance saw the Mexican side enjoy 51% of possession and outshoot their Brazilian counterparts 8-7, while a mammoth defensive effort comprising of 16 tackles, 17 interceptions and 19 clearances kept the Libertadores holders at bay. But, of course, it was Gignac who had the final say.
With the game poised at 0-0, Tigres were awarded a penalty as Carlos Gonzalez was dragged down in the box. After already being denied by goalkeeper Weverton on a number of occasions, Gignac calmly stepped up and drilled the ball into the bottom corner, just beyond the reach of the Brazilians outstretched arms. Tigres held out to become the first-ever CONCACAF team to reach the Club World Cup final. The reward? A mouth-watering clash with European and German champions Bayern Munich, Robert Lewandowksi, Joshua Kimmich et al.
We finally achieved an international title, tournament MVP Gignac said after the CONCACAF Champions League final.
I always wanted to win it even though some say it is not worth much. It is worth going to a Club World Cup, and it is worth playing against the best teams from each continent. Today it is Tigres turn.
Following the win over Ulsan, he proclaimed: We know were capable of making history and want to do so.
If the veteran striker can inspire Tigres to an unlikely, iconic victory over Bayern Munich, then Ricardo Ferrettis side will becomethe first-ever CONCACAF team to win the tournament, and he will transcend legendary status, sealing immortality.
Today is Tigres turn. Today is Gignacs turn.
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Posted: at 1:22 pm
Marvel's Thanos can't be killed for good in the comics, as Death won't allow him to join her realm after the Mad Titan is defeated.
Spoilers forEternals#2 below!
In the Marvel Comics Universe, killing Thanos is next to impossible. It's not because the Mad Titan is incapable of being defeated in battle, but instead, it's because, at times, he's not allowed to die. In the latest issue ofEternals,readers are reminded that Thanos is effectively immortal and it's all because Death won't allow him to enter her realm.
Thanos has long sought the affection of the living embodiment of Death, as he wiped out half of existence with the Infinity Gauntlet in an effort to impress her. However, Death has never accepted Thanos' love as he had hoped. Instead, she's spurned his feelings - so much so, that in Cosmic Powers #1, she banned him from her realm, effectively making the villain immortal. That's on top of all of his original Eternal-related powers, including immunity to all disease and non-aging. While his ban and immortality werethought to be removed, in this week'sEternals,it seems that might not be the case after all.
Related:Eternals Star Shares New Details About The MCUs First Gay Romance
In Eternals#2 by Kieron Gillen, Esad Ribic, Matthew Wilson, and Clayton Cowles, Ikaris and Thanos battle across space and time in a fight on Titanos. The Eternals outcasted Thanos, an Eternal born with the Deviant gene giving him his monstrous appearance, and looked down on him even more thanks to the Snap. The two powerful Eternals exchange blows, as they travel through portals and different time periods. However, after Ikaris does damage to Thanos, it's noted that the Mad Titan can't be harmed so easily, as his wounds close as "Death itself rejects him from her embrace."
Since the fight lasts both seconds and for all of time and history, it's unclear whether Thanos is affected by the previous ban from Death's realm because of time-travel shenanigans, or if it's currently active. It wouldn't be surprising if it was the latter, as Thanos has died multiple times in recent Marvel Comics history, only to continually come back. If Death is preventing him from truly dying then that would explain his returns. You'd think that the Infinity Stones might play a factor in why Thanos can't be killed for good, but instead, it's a curse from the being whose affection he seeks the most.
Thanos is back and wants to kill the Eternals for good. With the Machine that revives Eternals now inoperative, the Mad Titan holds a key advantage to those who have previously outcast him - he seemingly can't die thanks to Death. The Eternals, meanwhile, have to figure out how to stop Thanos while losing their immortality. It seems like quite a tall task for the ancient beings.
Next:Marvels Green Lantern Will Fight An Infinity Ring-Powered Thanos
Hulk's Newest Villains Are An Evil Fantastic Four
Liam McGuire is a comics editor for Screen Rant. He has worked for numerous publications including Cineplex Canada, MLB.com, Vice, CBR.com, and more. You can reach out to him directly at email@example.com
Why Bayern Munich’s opponents, Tigres, are taking the Club World Cup seriously, even if Europe is not – DW (English)
Posted: at 1:22 pm
Tigres sprung a surprise by beating Palmeiras of Brazil to become the first Mexican side to reach the Club World Cup final, but it is not just history that will drive the team in Thursday's clash with Bayern Munich.
Tigres UANL, from the suburbs of Monterrey, are bidding to cement themselves as Mexico's top team handy given that they are bankrolled by the country's top cement company.
Most fans in Mexico do not view Tigres as a big club. The likes of America, Chivas (Guadalajara), Cruz Azul and Pumas (UNAM) are traditionally the big four for many.
But Tigres are the most successful Mexican team over the past 10 years, winning five domestic titles, and are regarded as one of the best supported clubs in the country. Even training sessions regularly attract packed stands.
The Club World Cup has given them the chance to showcase their skills on the field and backing off it to a global audience and Bayern will face a real battle in Doha.
"We lost three CONCACAF Champions League finals in the past so not being able to reach the Club World Cupmade the tournament even more desirable and important," saysJose Ivan Martinez Carreon, a Tigres supporter from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, a proud northern region where people'sloyalties often lie more with the state than with Mexico as a whole.
"Having the opportunity to play against clubs like Bayernis a dream come true and something unique for Tigres fans. We've carried a stigma in Mexico despite having passionate support. But now with the Club World Cup, the press and fans in general are recognizing our club."
Their colorful goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman, who headed in a stoppage-time winner in a CONCACAF Champions League game in February 2020, says their pursuit of the title is all about Tigres proving their worth.
"This is a Club World Cup and we are going to represent only Tigres and we are not going to represent anyone else who wants to support us," the Argentina international told the club website.
Mexicans are generally split about supporting Tigres in the final.
"If Tigres win, the victory only belongs to them and the same goes if they fail. You can't identify yourself with another club you compete against every season," Milo Assad, co-founder of the Mexican national team supporters'club and a big America fan, told DW.
But it is not just the country making a first appearance in the final.
Tigres are also the first side from CONCACAF, the North and Central American and Caribbean federation, to reach the showpiece. The federation has traditionally been seen as one of the weakest but the progression of Tigres is changing minds.
Tigres forward Carlos Gonzalez told a news conference: "No other Mexican team hasgone this far, but now we want more. We came here hoping to lift the trophy and now that we're close, we're encouraged and motivated that we can achieve our goal."
World player of the year Robert Lewandowski will go up against Tigres' own hot shot Andre-Pierre Gignac
The Paraguayan shone in the win over Palmeiras, where strike partner Andre-Pierre Gignac scored the winner from the penalty spot. Former France striker Gignac is a rare export to Mexican football from Europe and has been there since 2015, another sign of the growing reputation of Tigres.
Palmeiras were distraught at losing. The Club World Cup is a big deal in Brazil, often enabling their club sides to go up against the cream of Europe. For Brazilian sides it is the biggest game possible and that Palmeiras didn't even reach the final stunned the country.
In contrast, the tournament is viewed as somewhat of an afterthought to European sides. The money and prestige involved in the UEFA Champions Leaguedwarfs FIFA's competition - something FIFA President Gianni Infantino is determined to change with his expansion of the tournament to 24 teams from 2022onwards.
But that is not to say European sides don't take the Club World Cup seriously, havingalways reached the final in its current incarnation and having only lost out to Brazilian sides three times since the 2005 revamp.
Bayern played their strongest XI in beating Egypt's Al Ahly in Monday's semifinal and have made a commitment to the tournament by having to squeeze in the two games between a Bundesliga clash last Friday and another German top-flight match next Monday.
All that amid a global pandemic which has led some critics to question why the tournament is even taking place at all.
European criticism of Qatar's treatment of migrant workers does not appear to be shared in Mexico
Indeed, coronavirus restrictions robbed New Zealand's Auckland City of the chance to compete in the Club World Cup this year, much to their dismay.
"The FIFA Club World Cup is crucial to our club and in some ways it is as important to us as the UEFA Champions League is to clubs in Europe," Auckland City chairman Ivan Vuksich told DW.
"Theformat has come in for some criticism outside our confederation but for our club, our country and region, it has provided a very welcome opportunity to compete on the world stage.
"It is important to remind people, especially those close to the corridors of power, that football is a global game."
Modest Auckland finished third in the 2014 edition, surprising the football world.A victory for Tigres against Bayern on Thursday would have similar ramifications in Latin America and show that the Club World Cup really does matter football-wise, even if human rights campaigners in Europe are aghast at host Qatar.
But concerns over the awarding of prestigious football tournaments to Qatar and thetreatment of the migrant workers who have built thestadiums and infrastructure appearto be a less pressing issue in Mexico, where Tigres have a shot atfootballing immortality.
"Here we are, with the stars in the sky shining down on us,' said Gonzalez. "We're very proud of what we've done and I imagine there are a few tears among our fans. This triumph is for them."
Posted: at 1:22 pm
In the early days of the pandemic, my days were bookended by stories of death. I woke up each day hours before dawn to work on my book manuscript, happy to have a passion project to soothe my anxious energy. Mybookchronicleshow Vermont patients, caregivers and health care providers navigated medical aid-in-dying, in the aftermath oflegalization. In the morning, I combed through my notes, writing feverishly about dying, and in the evening, I absorbed the news of bodies accumulating around the world more quickly than they could be buried.
I have never been more acutely aware of my own mortality. I offered my husband detailed instructions about how to tend to my unfinished manuscript, should the need arise. We joked, with gallows humor, about how my death would make an ironic capstone to the book; he, of course, agreed to pen the afterword for the posthumous publication.
Studying medical aid-in-dying, and now living through the greatest pandemic in 100 years, has forced me to reckon with mortality. Over the five years that Ive collected stories about death and dying, people have often questioned how I could study such a morbid topic. Isnt it depressing? The answer is, anything but. Humbling and grounding, yes, and at times terribly sad, but never depressing.
An avid reader since childhood, I have always taken great comfort in stories. When the pandemic began, I realized that immersing myself in stories about death had actually helped me. Thinking about my own inevitable death is sad, but it doesnt terrify me anymore. At 40, I hope I have a great many years left, but Im also more or less at peace with my finitude.
Yet last spring, when I picked up Natalie Babbittsnovel Tuck Everlasting to read to my 7-year-old son, I realized it was this bookthat first made me address my mortality, some 30 years ago.
If the concept of mortality was terrifying to me, the idea of immortality was even more so.
Published in 1975,Tuck Everlasting takes place in the 19thcentury, 87 years after the Tuck family unwittingly drinks from a magical spring that renders them immortal. The story is set in motion when a 10-year-old girl, Winnie Foster, accidentally discovers their secret. They bring her to their woodland cottage to persuade her to keep quiet, warning her of the catastrophe that would ensue if news of the spring were to become public.
The novelquickly charmed educators and parents, winning numerous literary awards. While itcaptivates young readers with its lyrical prose, its matter-of-fact philosophizing on life and death set it apart. In a key scene, Angus, the patriarch of the Tuck family, explains to Winnie that dying is an unavoidable part of the wheel of life. The bitter comes with the sweet. It is the difference between having a life and merely being alive. You cant have living without dying.
The Tucks haunted my childhood. To my 10-year-old self, it seemed clear that the only thing scarier than dying wasnotdying. How awful it would be to outlive nearly everyone that you love! How bleak it would feel to be resigned to a life of complete social isolation. If the concept of mortality was terrifying to me, the idea of immortality was even more so.
This is precisely what the author had in mind. Babbittwrote the book to tame the worriesof her daughter Lucy, who was then 4-years-old. Babbitt wanted to help Lucy understand that dying was a natural part of the wheel of life, thatnotdying is much less desirable than it may seem.
Flipping cultural scripts on fears about death: thisis the power of stories.
As a non-fiction author, I write for reasons not so different from Babbitts. I use real peoples stories to examine cultural fears about death in my case, about lack of control over dying. Medical aid-in-dying offers what is, for many, a seductive vision of personal control over dying, and the promise of a peaceful, sanitized death. Yet such control often proves illusory, both becauseaccess to assisted death is much more complicatedthan it may seem, and because death, itself, is wily.
[P]eople have often questioned how I could study such a morbid topic. Isnt it depressing? The answer is, anything but.
I think about a woman in her mid-60s Ill call Candace, who developed metastatic cancer. Once it was clear that she was not going to get better, Candace decided to die on her own terms, with medical assistance. She procured the lethal prescription, which was no easy feat, because many physicians are reluctant to participate in the process. By the time she was ready to die, however, she was no longer able to ingest the medication.
The pandemic has made me even more sure that, like Candace, we are not in control of our destinies. But the Tucks werent in control, either. They waited passively, resigned to let the oppressive unfurling of time wash over them. In this sense, immortalitys promise of control over death is also illusory. It is poignant that the Tucks look forward to the day,every 10 years, when their sons return to the family cottage. During the pandemics eternal spring, when days bled into weeks and then months, I identified with this feeling, marking my days with UPS deliveries, as time moved ever so slowly.
During the pandemic, I have been in the fortunate position of being able to forestall illness and death with the appropriate precautions, such as staying at home. These measures should permit me to avoid the wrong sort of death. (There is universal agreement at this point that dying from COVID-19 is the wrong sort of death.) But I cannot avoid death altogether, nor (I think) would I want to.
Now, 10 months into this crisis, my book is complete. The wheel spins on. The end of the pandemic no longer feels as far off and impossible as it did last spring. And still, I wonder what kind of story I am in. I marvel at that wonder.
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Disney Pixar’s Soul: how the moviemakers took Plato’s view of existence and added a modern twist – The Conversation UK
Posted: at 1:22 pm
Ideas about the soul have been powerful throughout the history of religion and philosophy. Until the 19th-century, most people took the existence of souls for granted. With the rise of modern psychology, this belief lost its plausibility, and today it is largely absent from academic philosophical and even theological writing.
Many now deny the existence of a soul, considering human emotions and motives simply a function of neurons firing. Disney Pixars new film Soul seems to go against the grain of this development.
It presents its viewers with two realms of being. The first is the realm of human activity, where life occurs. The second realm is of the soul where life has yet to begin, the great before, and where it ends, the great beyond. In their conception of the soul, the producers hark back to some of the most influential ideas of western intellectual history but in an unmistakably 21st-century way.
The film follows Joe Gardner, an aspiring jazz pianist who is stuck in the rut of his daily life as a part-time middle school music teacher. At the beginning of the film, Joe suffers an accident which leaves him hovering between life and death. The viewer observes Joes soul separate from its body as it journeys to the great beyond.
This starting point accurately mirrors the historical origins of western ideas about the soul. The Greek word for soul psyche was originally restricted in its use to the context of dying. Homer describes death as the souls departure from its body. At the beginning of its history in the west, the soul was evident primarily in its absence from a dead body.
With the rise of Greek philosophy in the 6th century BC, the soul was also seen as the force animating the living body. Meanwhile, the idea of death as the separation of body and soul remained generally accepted.
This created tension. If souls were supposed to enliven a particular body, they had to interact closely with the body and arguably form a unity with it. But then how could the soul survive the bodys decay or even exist separately?
A further difficulty arose from the widely shared belief in reincarnation. Could human souls be born again into the bodies of animals or even plants? And if so, how could they then constitute the operational centre, so to speak, of their current host?
Plato and Aristotle parted ways over these questions. For Plato, the souls connection with the body was only accidental. The hero of Platos dialogues, Socrates, explained to his friends, hours before his execution, that the philosopher yearns for his death because it marks the liberation of the soul into its true existence.
Platos student Aristotle, by contrast, denied that there even was a proper afterlife for the soul. Insofar as the soul was simply the life of the body, he urged, the two formed an indissoluble unity, which death brought to an end.
Things took a further turn with the rise of Christianity. Overall, Christians were more sympathetic to the Platonist view than to its alternatives, because they believed in a life after death. But they rejected the idea of an accidental connection between soul and body. The classical Christian view of the soul as found in Thomas Aquinas fused Platonic with Aristotelian ideas: the soul is immortal but tied in eternity to the identity of a body-soul compound. As such, it will be brought back to life at the end of time.
Against this rough sketch of the western history of the soul, Pixars position comes closest to the Platonic view. Souls depart from the dying person and travel to the great beyond. Souls also pre-exist their earthly incarnation, and some of them at least dont seem overly keen to embark on this journey into life. Souls are immaterial - another tenet of Platonic philosophy - although in the movie they are understandably not invisible. Finally, reincarnation seems possible, even across species as Joe finds out when, for a while, he enters the body of a cat.
Yet the parallels only go so far.
Joe Gardner is unwilling to accept his departure from earthly life, and much of the movie deals with his attempts to return to his previous existence. For Plato, this would indicate that Joe was a bad person unable to detach himself from material pleasures. In the film, however, it is this desire that makes Joe remarkable.
His companion, a not-yet-born soul introduced only as number 22, learns more from Joe, due to his unbending will to return to Earth, than she did from the souls of Gandhi, Einstein and Jung, who had previously tutored her in preparation for her birth. In the world of 21st-century New York, into which the two enter through an extraordinary series of events, number 22 suddenly develops a lust for life after experiencing the simple pleasures of living from eating pizza to watching the leaves fall from a tree.
None of this would have made much sense to Plato. Rather, the film relies on distinctly modern ideas about the affirmation of the present life as worth living on its own terms. The ultimate purpose of the soul is to be the spark that imparts the simple gift of life.
Joes conclusion from his experience as a disembodied soul is to savour every remaining moment of the earthly life he regains at the end of the film. And even number 22 comes to embrace the value of an embodied existence, despite its risks and limitations.
These are ideas well known from romantic and existentialist philosophers of the 19th and 20th centuries. Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834) sneered at the notion of personal immortality as the ridiculous wish to perpetuate ones own miserable existence. Instead, he posited the idea of immortality in this moment. The lesson Joe learns, and wants us to learn, from his unusual experience is rather similar, and points to the thoroughly modern cast into which traditional ideas about the soul have been moulded by the makers of this film.
Posted: at 1:22 pm
Whether there is an afterlife is one of life's greatest mysteries. However, one woman believes she has the conclusive answer after she temporarily died. A person by the name of Star was attacked in her own home and was left fighting for her life.
Before paramedics could arrive at the scene, Star temporarily died which resulted in a heavenly vision.
In her brief moment of clinical death - which is the cessation of the heart or breathing - Star believes she met God.
Star wrote on the Near Death Experience Research Foundation: "A pure, brilliant light engulfed me and I no longer had a physical body. But, I still existed?
"I had no eyes to see but I looked at everything around me. I was in the centre of a vast nothingness, but the nothingness was not empty.
"It was completely filled with the presence of the living God.
"There are no words in the English language to describe where I was. I was in the middle of the Glory.
"Then the Lord wrapped me in His Love and held me to His breast.
"I was filled to every fibre of my being with His peace that passes all understanding. I felt the love He had for me."
READ MORE:Life after death: Man who survived gas explosion recalls harrowing NDE
"From a biomedical perspective, this hope might help the body fight illnesses, improve the chances of spontaneous remissions or allow the illness to run its course, it's more equanimity for the person involved.
"But even if there is no biological change, a focus on the possibility of immortality can help some individuals disidentify from their bodily pain and develop a more peaceful relationship with their experience as their suffering.
"When this happens, improbable beliefs in an immortal body or soul can be seen as entirely rational and pragmatic even.
"However, when beliefs about immortality exclude attention to the biological physical body, it can have serious negative effects on health, and even cause untimely deaths.
"So, what we believe about death and our ideas of enteral life can really make a difference as to how we live, how we handle pain and suffering and experience being alive here and now."
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Posted: at 1:22 pm
Charles Woodson is arguably the greatest cornerback to ever play football. Everyone, including Woodson himself, knew that he'd be a first-ballot Hall of Famer once the time arrived, but that doesn't make the moment any less special. Even for someone who comes off as being cooler than a polar bear's toe nail, Woodson couldn't contain his emotions once the hall became a reality.
And by the way, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. In a sport rife with masculinity and machismo, there's something so pure about seeing a superstar overcome with emotions when a dream comes true. Anyone who has ever played football likely started doing so in grade school, so reaching the pinnacle evokes the most genuine reactions.
Woodson is the man, there's no doubt about it. He was Mr. Football in Ohio as a prep star, helped lead Michigan to a national title and became the first ever defensive player to win the Heisman while in Ann Arbor and won a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers. Now, he's a Hall of Famer. As he said, it's quite literally a form of "immortality" because the bronze busts should last for thousands and thousands of years. Woodson has long been one of the best Wolverines and cornerbacks of all time and now, he's simply one of the best of all time officially.
Posted: February 2, 2021 at 7:46 pm
In remembrances of Cicely Tyson and Cloris Leachman, two acting titans who died last week, one couldnt help but notice parallels between their careers.
In the early 1970s when they first achieved national acclaim, both were already in their mid-40s. Leachman won an Academy Award in 1972 for her supporting role in The Last Picture Show. That same year, Tyson starred in Sounder, becoming only the second Black woman nominated for a best-actress Oscar.
Both also enjoyed success on television Leachman on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and, later, her own spinoff series, Phyllis. Tyson soared in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and Roots. At 80, Leachman won an Emmy, her eighth, for Malcolm in the Middle. Tyson, also a multiple Emmy winner, made a celebrated return to Broadway in The Trip to Bountiful, winning a Tony when she was 88. And each continued to work into their 90s.
Yet theres a jarring difference. On the Internet Movie Database, Leachman has 287 credits while Tyson has 94, although their career longevity was roughly the same. Of course Leachman, as a white actress, always had more opportunities. Tyson could have worked more, but instead she chose only those roles that exalted the emotional complexity of Black people, especially Black women.
I made up my mind that I could not afford the luxury of just being an actress, and I would use my career as my platform, Tyson told CBS This Morning cohost Gayle King in one of her last interviews. She was promoting her autobiography, Just as I Am, written with Michelle Burford, where she explains the promise she made to herself.
As an artist with the privilege of the spotlight, I felt an enormous responsibility to use that forum as a force for good, as a place from which to display the full spectrum of our humanity, Tyson wrote in the book, which was released two days before her death. My art had to both mirror the times and propel them forward. I was determined to do all I could to alter the narrative about Black people to change the way Black women in particular were perceived, by reflecting our dignity.
Like Lena Horne, who years earlier refused to accept roles she found demeaning, this meant that Tyson often found meaningful work scarce. If Hollywood refused to acknowledge the depth of Black lives, that would be the industrys shame. Tyson would not perpetuate its lies for more money or greater fame.
Still, I wonder what else Tyson might have given us if allowed the breadth of opportunities Leachman enjoyed. (In my casting director fantasies, I long imagined Tyson playing political trailblazer Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to Congress.)
In her career, Leachman could move from the drama of a depressed woman having an affair with a much younger man in The Last Picture Show, to the narcissistic and neurotic Phyllis Lindstrom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, to the hilarious Frau Blcher in Young Frankenstein. Her range was inexhaustible.
The same could be said of Tyson, who also carried the burden of correcting this nations disgraceful image of Black people, one very much reinforced by popular media. To be clear, I doubt she saw that weight on her petite shoulders as a burden at all. It was the cost she willingly paid for her time on this earth. Thats a choice many Black people confront throughout their lives whether to prostrate themselves for white acceptance or create a life where they can lift their people as they climb.
From Coretta Scott King to Harriet Tubman to a sharecropper fighting to save her family from the ravages of the Depression and racism, Tyson excelled in playing tenacious, undefeated Black women. She held up a mirror to her community, and what we saw reflected was beauty, substance, and self-respect. For more than six decades, Tyson refused to stand in a spotlight that shone on her alone.
Both Leachman and Tyson are icons. One will be remembered for finding that distinctive spark in every part she played. Tysons greatest role was her sacred belief that what was best for her culture would be best for her career. A love of Blackness was her true compass, and with it she defied ignorance, saw light in desolation, and traced a path from our broken places to glory and grace.
Rene Graham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @reneeygraham.
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