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Category Archives: Transhuman News

Sacha Baron Cohen Crashes Far-Right Rally and Dupes Attendees with Racist Singalong – IndieWire

Posted: July 5, 2020 at 10:01 am

Sacha Baron Cohens career is built upon the art of trolling, from posing as a Kazakh journalist in Borat to getting Paula Abdul to sit on Mexican chair-people in Brno and, finally, the overall madness of his politically incorrect Showtime series Who Is America? And on Saturday, Cohen reportedly infiltrated a far-right rally in Olympia, Washington, posing onstage as a sponsor of the event and performing a song with racially charged lyrics to get the crowd to sing along. Watch the video below.

Disguised as a PAC out of Southern California, paid for the stage setup and musical entertainment. Came on stage disguised as the lead singer of the last band, singing a bunch of racist, hateful, disgusting shit, Yelm City Councilman James Connor Blair wrote on Facebook following the event. His security blocked event organizers from getting him off the stage or pulling power from the generator. After the crowd realized what he was saying, and turned on him, his security then rushed the stage and evacuated them to a waiting private ambulance that was contracted to be their escape transport.

The event was a downtown March for Our Rights 3 rally organized by the Washington Three Percenters, a far-right militia group known for its gun advocacy. The name of the group is a reference to the belief that only three percent of American colonists fought against the British.

Dressed in overalls and a fake beard, Cohen sang about everything from injecting kids with the Wuhan flu to references to Dr. Fauci, Obama, and chopping up any person wearing a mask like the Saudis do. While some speculate that the stunt was another elaborately staged exercise for a possible second season of Who Is America?, the political activist and comedian has repeatedly said that its never happening.

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University of North Carolina Wilmington professor behind ‘vile’ racist and sexist tweets to retire – NBC News

Posted: at 10:01 am

As calls for a University of North Carolina Wilmington professor whose tweets the school deemed "vile" grew louder, the university announced he had decided to retire.

Mike Adams, a sociology and criminology professor, has come under fire for previous tweets and publications, and recent tweets regarding racial justice protestors, coronavirus and other topics have sparked renewed pushback on social media.

On May 29, Adams tweeted: This evening I ate pizza and drank beer with six guys at a six seat table top. I almost felt like a free man who was not living in a slave state of North Carolina. Massa Cooper, let my people go. He was referring to Gov. Roy Cooper's measures put in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Massa is a dialect term that is often used in a mocking way to mimic what users imagine was the pronunciation that enslaved people used for master.

"When I tell covid 19 jokes people seem to get them right off the bat," Adams had tweeted earlier in the month.

After protesters took to the streets following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, Adams shared: "Rioters dont care about social issues. They are thugs looking for an opportunity to break the law with impunity."

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And another May tweet from Adams read: "Don't shut down the universities. Shut down the non essential majors. Like Women's Studies."

As more people began to publicly criticize Adams, he responded: "When you write the university asking them to fire me dont forget to leave a mailing address so I can send you a box of panty liners."

A statement from the university earlier this month called Adams' tweets "vile" and said "the university's constitutional obligations and support of free expression do not lessen our disgust when those viewpoints offend or otherwise upset those who read these comments."

On Monday, a statement from Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli said, "Over the past several weeks, many of you have inquired about the status of a UNCW faculty member, Dr. Mike Adams, in light of the public attention generated by comments he made on his personal social media channels."

"We can now share the update that after a discussion with Chancellor Sartarelli, Dr. Adams has decided to retire from UNCW, effective August 1, 2020," the statement said.

Two separate Change.org petitions calling for Adams' removal from his position had garnered about 90,000 signatures, and a Facebook group called "Justice And Equality For UNCW: Soaring to Stop Hate #CancelMikeAdams" has nearly 8,000 members.

Adams is the author of the book "Feminists Say the Darndest Things: A Politically Incorrect Professor Confronts 'Womyn' on Campus."

He also faced backlash after publishing an article titled "A 'Queer Muslim' Jihad?" questioning a student activist at the University of North Carolina Wilmington who identified as both queer and Muslim.

Adams was awarded $50,000 in backpay and a $9,000 raise in a settlement with the university after he sued claiming that school had denied him a promotion because he expressed his views, violating his First Amendment rights, according to Wilmington's StarNews.

Elisha Fieldstadt is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.

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Letters to the editor, July 1, 2020 – Idaho Press-Tribune

Posted: at 10:01 am

Common sense

Thank you California for not wanting to send any sporting events for schools because of our laws preventing transgender of men becoming women and being denied to participate in womens sports. You politically incorrect politicians from California are driving people to Idaho and I hope this slows the flow down a little.

Common sense in California has been removed from the people living there, and breathing the smog and smoke that is so often present. For a state that is always speaking about the environment they do a poor job.

Imagine Bruce Jenner, now Kaitlin Jenner, a winner of the mens Olympic Decathlon coming up to Idaho and competing as a female. That is what the Political whackos from California want to see happen.

Just because Kaitlin doesnt wear a jockstrap anymore, doesnt change her athletic ability.

What is the old saying, A leopard doesnt change their spots

Dave Silva, Boise

Rules

JEERS to the Idaho Freedom Foundation for leading a "legislative session" without a quorum! I value my representative government and I want it to run by the rules and include my elected representative!

Karleen Davis, Boise

Thank you

I would like to take this opportunity to express our sincerest gratitude to Mayor Garret Nancolas, the Caldwell City Council and the people of Caldwell for their unprecedented support of The College of Idaho and our Yotes. The lights at two City owned facilities, Simplot Stadium and Wolfe Field, were the undertaking of the City and Graye Wolfe, with support from the College. The partnership between the City and the College is imperative for the continued success of our students, faculty and staff. Lights in these outstanding athletic facilities will create new opportunities for events and tournaments that will bring visitors to our community and boost economic activity. We are appreciative for the continued and essential partnership with the City of Caldwell. Their commitment to the College is evident by all they have done during the 129-year history of the College and we are excited to continue on our path of success with the City in the future. We also want to thank all of you who support our Yotes and have helped us to have one of the highest attendance numbers in the nation for NAIA athletic events.

Reagan Rossi, Caldwell

Goals

We can find great irony in the sad, but logical conclusion that non-mask wearing, non-social distancing people are a significant cause of the spread of COVID and the delay of returning to normal life. They may say they want to reopen and get back to normal, yet their actions and choices speak loudly otherwise and are counterproductive to the very goal they espouse.

Becci Carmack, Meridian

Political hypocrisy

My heart was buoyed to see Ms. Ferro's most recent screed lamenting 11,000 deaths that will purportedly result as a result of a changed policy on mercury restrictions by the EPA. One has to wonder if she espouses the same magnitude of concern when faced with 627,000 (2016) abortions in the US. Seems as though concern over "unborn babies and young children" ought to transcend political hypocrisy, unless one is more intent on speaking to their political base.

Steve Sweet, Boise

Sick at heart

Mayor Dave Bieter loves the new Pierce Park Elementary School. It is all steel and concrete. A STARBUCK's drive-thru will be added soon. It looks like an office building for accountants and dentists. Every California transplant will want their 1 child to attend.

What happened to the charming little neighborhood school that Jake Plummer attended? It has been paved over and destroyed. Not even its ghost exists. Could we have replaced the furnace and redone the classrooms? No. We had to spend millions for progress.

I am sick at heart every time I drive past the construction site.

"From where the sun now stands, I will vote for Boise School Bonds no more forever."

Pete Peterson, Boise

BLM

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I support BLM without reservation,but at some point the marching and signs need to be replaced with action by the citizens themselves to install BLM organizers to work with mayors, council members, churches and social services to initiate guidelines and regulations to achieve equitiy for all men and women to achieve desired goals, whichinclude actively PROMOTING AND ASSISTING IN VOTER REGISTRATION AND VOTING.

The only way these changes can be made is if the people who want them register and vote to make these changes happen.

Right now BLM has overhwelming support, but protesting must turn into postive action or the momentum that BLM has will fade.

Claudia Harvey, Nampa

Unreadable

I could not be more disappointed in my new subscription to the Idaho Press. I was (mis)lead into believing it was Idaho's political fairest media print source. Three weeks of reading it has proven that completely inaccurate. After forfeiting all print media in California as unreadable, I had hoped a more conservative state like Idaho would, at least, present some parity of opinions in the newspaper. Three weeks of near completely one-sided articles and op-eds pushing forth the progressive (not even liberal) agendas. I had hoped to do my part to help a near-dying industry (print media), but the paper is nearly unreadable due to it's bias, and I found myself simply tolerating it because I enjoyed doing crossword puzzles again. Today (June 24), even the crossword puzzle was a repeat from last week. That's the proverbial "writing on the wall" for this guy; with nearly no representation in the paper for those that share my politics or my faith, and an inability to even present a new crossword puzzle each day, I'm afraid I'll have to bring this newspaper experiment to an end.

Martin Dale, Eagle

History

John Lodal perfectly described the election cycles of 2008 and 2012. He also included a potential failure for a peaceful transfer of power. He perfectly describes the Democratic response to a Trump win. Sure wish he could get his facts straight.

As for Jim Jones, for a supposedly educated man he sure is ignorant of our nations history. Regardless, our military bases are named after people who have had a strong influence on our history and were in fact, great military strategists. Just an FYI Jim, the original reason for the Civil War was taxation, just like the Revolutionary War. The matter of slavery came on the shirt tails.

Do not forget or eliminate our history. It is said that those who forget their history are bound to repeat it. I for one do not want these things happening again in our country. Why do you?

David Wilson, Nampa

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Stream It Or Skip It: Desperados on Netflix, a Hapless Rom-Com with an All-Too-Appropriate Title – Decider

Posted: at 10:01 am

Netflix original movie Desperados spends the majority of its 105 minutes daring us not to call it the English translation of its title. The comedy from first-time feature director LP stars ex-SNLer Nasim Pedrad as a woman unlucky in, well, everything, rendering her the etymological derivation of the English translation of its title. Will her attempt to change her fortunes be funny or just, well, you know, insert the etymological derivation of the English translation of its title here?

The Gist: We meet Wesley (Pedrad) as shes being interviewed by a nun for a guidance counselor job at a Catholic school. She rambles tangentially, on and on, headlong into a lighthearted pro-masturbation treatise. Wesley, I mean, not the nun. Perhaps it goes without saying that she doesnt get the gig. This is her life in microcosm: she cant seem to succeed by being her own slightly offbeat self. Shes got no job and no romantic interests, and her adorable little apartment is cluttered with dead plants, bills with PAST DUE notifications on the envelopes, a collection of bridesmaid glasses and egg-freezing brochures from fertility clinics. While visiting her best friends Brooke (Anna Camp) and Kaylie (Sarah Burns), a mighty wind kicks up and knocks a beam on her car her life is so cruddy right now, even her Toyota gets some pole, and she cant.

A friend sets her up on a blind date with Sean (Lamorne Morris), who ends it after about 10 seconds, because she chatters mindlessly through the topics of weddings and children. She huffs out to the sidewalk, stumbles and concusses herself, and wakes up to a bleary image of dreamboat sports agent Jared (Robbie Amell). A heavyset bearded gentleman who identifies himself as a first responder but isnt nearly as conventionally handsome as Jared suggests she go to the hospital, but no, shed rather accept Jareds invitation to go home with him. Good thing he isnt a creep, because shes already head over heels for the guy, literally, what with the ice pack on her head and all.

Wesley and Jared enjoy a month of bliss, coalescing with their first night spent doing the horizontal hi-there on a bed of rose petals. But five days pass and Wesley hasnt heard a peep, so she, Brooke and Kaylie drink several glasses of wine and compose a nasty email insulting him for the size of his eggplant emoji and his dead father. And wouldnt you know it, as soon as they hit the SEND button, Jared calls: hes been in a coma for five days after a car accident in Mexico. Total whoopsies. So Wesley talks her two besties into doing what anyone else would do in this situation, take a trip to Mexico, where shell commandeer Jareds laptop and delete the email before he sees it, a plan that absolutely will go off without a single incident of dolphin-humping, any accusations of pedophilia or an insanely coincidental run-in with Sean, right? NEVER, I say, NEVER.

What Movies Will It Remind You Of?: This is a straight-up Girls Trip rip-off, a Bridesmaids break-and-enter, a Bad Moms burgle.

Performance Worth Watching: Morris is surprisingly strong in a movie that doesnt deserve the effort. It probably helps that the screenplay saddles him with the least amount of excruciating, mortifying scenes.

Memorable Dialogue: Lets play a game of Decontextualize an Embarrassing Movie Quote via a line spoken by a Mexican resort employee: And I assure you, your dildo will not be let in!

Sex and Skin: When Wesley is forced to wander the resort in an accidental state of total undress, the movie strategically places props in the foreground so we cant see her bits, an ancient visual-comedy chestnut that deserves to be tossed on an open fire.

Our Take: This insufferably dumb, horrifically annoying movie is an interminable display of Human People Do Not Act Like This. Desperados is jam-packed with contrived, wacky bullshit including, but not limited to: Wesley getting belted in the face with an erect porpoise penis, in slow motion. Wesley getting electrocuted. Wesley getting tossed in Mexican jail. Wesleys battery-operated wand o intimacy (wink nudge) being the object of public scrutiny. Wesley repeatedly being accused of trying to seduce a 12-year-old boy. Wesley continually insisting that Kaylies cat looks like Hitler. Ive asserted many times before that floating animated visual representations of texts and emails are a sign of a terrible movie, but I hereby add all of the aforementioned to the list.

Every joke here hits like a Gong Show hammer swung with extreme prejudice. Its directed with the technical veracity of a Happy Madison production. It appears to have been edited with a melon baller. It has the shameless chutzpah to render ow my balls a punchline. It blends Sex and the City filthy-femme talk, incessant slapstick and listless stabs at satire (e.g., a Heather Graham cameo as a Goop wannabe new age guru) without the slightest hint of originality or inspiration. The cast does what it can with an awful script spiked with floundering attempts at politically incorrect comedy, but its like trying to start a car without any keys, or a steering column, or an engine. I commend Lamorne Morris for trying to bring this thing back to Earth with some pragmatic charm, but the poor guy is dangling from a blimp headed straight into the sun.

Our Call: SKIP IT. Desperados is a bad bad bad bad bad bad movie. Bad.

John Serba is a freelance writer and film critic based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Read more of his work at johnserbaatlarge.com or follow him on Twitter: @johnserba.

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Memories of the Lovecraft Wars – Book and Film Globe

Posted: at 10:01 am

The cancellation of the Lovecraft World Fantasy Award statuette prefigured todays culture battles

In 2014, a storm arose over whether winners of the annual World Fantasy Award should continue to receive a bust of H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937), designed by Gahan Wilson, in recognition of their achievements, or whether a more politically acceptable figure should be the emblem of the revered program.

The World Fantasy Awards have long been some of the most coveted prizes for authors who write stories and novels in the weird, horror, fantasy, and slipstream genres. The tradition of bestowing these awards began in 1975, at the annual World Fantasy Convention, and in the years since, luminaries such as Robert Bloch, Jorge Luis Borges, Michael Moorcock, Karl Edward Wagner, Richard Matheson, T.E.D. Klein, Andre Norton, Ursula K. Le Guin, Steve Rasnic Tem, and Peter Straub, to name just a few, have won the illustrious prizes.

Though few dispute that Lovecraft had an incalculable influence on horror, fantasy, and speculative fiction, and that the weird field as it exists today is pretty much unimaginable without that influence, the man wrote candidly in letters to friends about his hostility toward dark-skinned immigrants and his longing for a more stable and homogenous polity. Lovecraft was as politically incorrect as they come. His detractors deny that we should continue to recognize and venerate such a figure through the bestowing of his likeness.

Lets not lie. H.P. Lovecraft unquestionably held ugly and ignorant views about Africans and Asians, and at times used abusive language in reference to them in the many thousands of letters he wrote to friends, colleagues, and admirers during his forty-six years. Reading these letters is a litmus test for anyone today who considers himself or herself enlightened and tolerant.

It would be silly to deny Lovecrafts interest in racial controversies or his role as a forecaster of the tensions that would strain the political process as racial firestorms erupted and race came to dominate public discussion. As anyone who has dipped his or her toes into critical commentary on Lovecraft knows, theres a school of Lovecraft criticism that emphasizes the social meaning of his work.

According to this school of thought, the basic scenario facinga typical Lovecraft protagonist, where the familiar world is under attack by ghastly, unutterable forces from another dimension, is plainly a metaphor for what Lovecraft thought of as the situation of the conservative white Anglo-Saxon male in an America of the 1920s subject to transformation through an influx of foreigners from wildly different backgrounds.

One Lovecraft story cited often in this connection is The Horror at Red Hook (1927), where cosmic horror rears its head in a Brooklyn neighborhood that was in the 1920s, as it is today, on the fringes of white middle-class areas. In this passage Lovecraft is describing Red Hook: The population is a hopeless tangle and enigma; Syrian, Spanish, Italian, and negro elements impinging upon one another.

From the 1928 short story Cool Air, also set in New York: It is a mistake to fancy that horror is associated inextricably with darkness, silence, and solitude. I found it in the glare of mid-afternoon, in the clangour of a metropolis, and in the teeming midst of a shabby and commonplace rooming-house with a prosaic landlady. The rooming-house in question is a real place. You can find it today on 14thStreet between Eight and Ninth Avenues in Manhattan.

The anti-immigrant and anti-refugee subtext in Lovecrafts stories is worth examining in depth. As unpleasant as some of Lovecrafts views are, it is eerie how directly certain of his tales point to contemporary concerns over the potential consequences of letting the wrong people into Western countries.

Lovecrafts tale Pickmans Model (1927) is about an artist in Boston who fills canvases with images of horrifying monsters and demons wreaking havoc on terrified citizens. The paintings are wild and disturbing, and readers dont have the simple defense mechanism of consigning them to the realm of fantasy. We learn at the end of the story that the images in Pickmans paintings arent just from the artists imagination. Rather, Pickman has actually observed these shocking spectres.

Here, the narrator of the story praises Pickmans talents while describing one of the horrifying demon attacks that the artist has rendered: Gad, how that man could paint! There was a study called Subway Accident, in which a flock of the vile things were clambering up from some unknown catacomb through a crack in the floor of the Boylston Street subway and attacking a crowd of people on the platform.

Boylston Street, scene of the attack by demons in Pickmans Model, was the scene of a very real atrocity of a quite different nature on April 15, 2013, the Boston Marathon bombing. Two Chechen immigrants, representatives of the forces of cosmic horror alluded to so often through metaphorical language in Lovecrafts tales, carried out a cowardly, shocking, vile attack on unsuspecting victims.

How remarkable that Lovecrafts story, part of a corpus of work that uses cosmic horror as a code to express concerns about immigration and demographic change, should name the very location of an actual attack, decades later, representingin this interpretationone terrible consequence of failing to vet foreigners entering the United States.

To be sure, most immigrants and refugees are not criminals or terrorists, but, to use the nomenclature of Lovecraft, there are some demons in their midst. Lovecrafts prescience is nothing short of astonishing.

The subtext is there. We can ignore it, and read Lovecrafts work literally as a corpus of tales about New England protagonists facing sorcerers, Pickmans monsters, Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth, and other assorted baddies, or we can recognize the subtext, but its there all right. We know how repugnant some of Lovecrafts views were, but his work is of historical interest for this reason alone, like that of any number of writers of past decades whose biases or conclusions we today would probably reject.

One wishes that Lovecraft had adopted a more tolerant, respectful, and understanding attitude toward people from different countries and cultures. Bigotry is never pretty. But should Lovecrafts unpleasant views overshadow his importance as a weird fiction writer?

The controversy is unresolved. On one side of the rift are writers such as Daniel Jos Older, who wrote the petition circulated back in 2014 arguing that Lovecrafts views are too offensive for his likeness to be synonymous with the World Fantasy Award, and that a bust of a more suitable figure should replace Lovecrafts. (Older ultimately got his wish. WFA winners today receive a bust of Octavia Butler.)

At the other end is S.T. Joshi, widely recognized as the most erudite and authoritative Lovecraft scholar around. Joshi is a brilliant scholar with an incomparable list of publications in the field of Lovecraftian, weird fiction, and crime fiction studies to his credit, including critical studies of Lovecrafts life, thought, and tales, as well as authoritative versions of Lovecraft texts. His biography of Lovecraft, I Am Providence, is a 1,200-page masterpiece with few parallels in American letters. Joshi has offered many counterarguments to Older in his blog.

One of Joshis points is that numerous authors who are widely read and admired today held views on certain subjects that would be offensive to contemporary sensibilities, but that is hardly a reason to cease reading them or valuing their contributions to literature. Joshi asks, who are we to judge? We, today, cannot say with certainty that people in the future will look back on us and approve of all of our views and attitudes.

Moreover, whatever his political and social views, Lovecraft was a kind, courteous, and generous person, as well as a master of weird fiction. Lovecrafts endearing personal attributes come out again and again in his correspondence with Robert E. Howard (the creative force behind the Conan mythos), Alfred Galpin, Clark Ashton Smith, Frank Belknap Long, Reinhart Kleiner, Maurice W. Moe, Robert Bloch, and others. He guided and mentored younger writers and shared thoughts and insights on topics as diverse as politics, economics, astronomy, poetry, and the history, culture, topography, and architecture of places of antiquarian interest like Quebec City and Lovecrafts hometown of Providence, Rhode Island.

Carefully considering Lovecrafts thought, and looking at Lovecrafts work story by story, Joshi concludes that the question of Lovecrafts racism isnt central or even really relevant to an appreciation of the writers work. In the final analysis, racial topics and overt racism crop up in only a few Lovecraft stories. To quote from Joshis blog entry of September 13, 2014: Lovecraft was a supremely gifted writer whose work was carefully crafted to convey the exact effects its author intended. And no, racism wasnotat the heart of his fiction, nor of his life or thought.

Joshi has been reading and studying Lovecraft longer than Ive been alive, and I couldnt have put it better. Lovecraft fully deserves his stature as the most important and influential writer of weird fiction since Poe, a figure who has had an incalculable influence on the weird, slipstream, horror, and fantasy fields and who has inspired writers and directors as diverse as Jorge Luis Borges; Ramsey Campbell, the greatest living writer of weird fiction; Stuart Gordon, the late director who brought Lovecraft to millions of screens in Re-Animator, Dagon, and Castle Freak (a loose adaptation of Lovecrafts short story The Outsider); and Richard Stanley, who brought us the well-received and visually stunning 2019 Nicholas Cage vehicle, Color Out of Space.

If Lovecraft were alive today, he probably wouldnt share the stage with the organizers of an MLA conference or with any of the self-important radicals who fancy themselves superior on every level to people in earlier eras of American history.

Instead, lets adopt the lingo of another idiosyncratic genius, Edgar Allan Poe. As Poe would say, those who think that Lovecrafts political incorrectness is a reason not to read him, or to destroy his likeness, are dunderheads.

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Interview with Oliver Strijbis: Swiss Lessons on Identity and National Unity – Merion West

Posted: at 10:01 am

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Political ideas are too abstract. They are not enough to make people emotional about identity. Swiss identity has a cultural element.

Almost all countries face the question of whether multiple ethnic groups and different identities can co-exist peacefully under the same umbrella of a single government. Switzerlands four ethnic groupsGerman, French, Italian, and Romanschhave done so for hundreds of years. Is there a Swiss success formula we should pay attention to?

Dr. Oliver Strijbis, a Swiss-born professor at the University of Zurich in the Institute for Political Science, has been studying this topic for more than a decade.

At a caf in Zurich where light filtered through grand windows, Dr. Strijbis and I sat down with cappuccinos in hand. Next to us, hairline cracks in a tawny leather couch exuded a sensible wealth, the kind that sits unnoticed, and intentionally so. Croissants filled red baskets at every table.

In your 2011 paper The Swiss, a political nation?, you argued that Switzerland is not just a political union of four different ethnic groups.

Political ideas are too abstract. They are not enough to make people emotional about identity. Swiss identity has a cultural element. [The problem is that cultural divides such as those found within Canada] can threaten the unity of a country. In Switzerland, that does not exist. The French-speaking minority, the Italian-speaking minority, have almost the same levels of identification as the German-speaking majority.

Do you identify yourself as Swiss-German?

No. I think there are very few people that identify as Swiss-German. The interesting thing is that Swiss-Germans are the most proud of the four languages. This is the main thing of [Swiss] diversity. But, this is not a melting-pot for all-over-the-world diversity.

[Is there] a limited diversity of four ethnicities?

Yes. It is something everyone can agree with from the Right to the Left. The Left can like this because it is part of diversityidentification with Switzerland as a diverse country. For the Right, it is also a diversity they can agree with because it does not include immigration. Everyone can agree with direct democracy, our federalism, and the four languages. That [is] Swiss identity. When Swiss travel abroad, they often talk [proudly] about the four languages of Switzerland. If you ask people from India travelling abroad, about India, they will not tell you they have [780] languages and be proud of it. But, for the Swiss, this is very [important].

Could one argue that Switzerland is a multicultural country that rejects multiculturalism?

I think people would not call it multiculturalism, to show it is not for immigration. There is not a catchy word for this.

Is there wisdom that Switzerland could impart to other countries?

The specific mix of cultures can become a part of the national identity. You cannot say that multiculturalism is part of Spanish identity, but you can say there are three main languages: Basque, Catalan and SpanishLa Espaaplural. People could be proud of this plurality. It is less than diversity but more than unitarianism.

Is there a territorial component to ethnicity in Switzerland? Swiss-Germans having one territory, while Swiss-French have another?

No. The territorial boundaries of the Cantons do not follow the languages. In the east and west, you do have linguistically homogeneous Cantons. But, at the borders, the Cantons are all bilingual. They always have a large minority within the Canton. Valais has two-thirds French, and one-third German speakers. Fribourg is about the same: two-thirds French, one-third German.

In the former Czechoslovakia, there was the sense that one group [Slovaks] felt they were being usurped by the other [Czechs]. Would you say that in Switzerland there seems to be an understanding that everyone is fairly represented through Switzerlands unique democratic institution of direct democracy, so there is no threat of one group trying to dominate the others?

Yes, it is true although complicated. For example, when the French-speaking part was more in favor of European integration than the German-speaking part, direct democracy was rather divisive. And, historically, direct democracy had the effect that all major political groups of the country would form little cartels because they were always threatened by direct democracybecause decisions could be overruled by the citizens. So we have a system where minorities are always included in government, and I think this is what actually makes the French-speaking Swiss not [feel] threatened. This is what we see all over the world. Where minorities are better integrated into decision-making, you have less threat of separatism. This is the Swiss story. It is not about giving autonomy to the language groups because, in fact, the boundaries of the Cantons cut across the language divisions. Also, religion was historically much more conflictive in Switzerland than language.

As a political scientist, what are your thoughts on the United States at the moment?

For a moderate like Biden, it is going to be difficult to create enthusiasm. He would have to win with only anti-Trump preferences. Just being against the other candidate, it is difficult to energize your followers.

Your 2017 paper Assimilation or social mobility? explaining ethnic boundary crossing between the Ecuadorian 2001 and 2010 census examined the malleability of a persons ethnicity. Do you think this is an under-appreciated phenomenon: that a persons identity is malleable?

Im in the middle. In theory, it is possible. But, in practice, it is in-between. Mostly it happens over generations. So when you switch identities, you have more mixed categories; in Ecuador, [this is] from indigenous to mestizo. But it is not that they change five times in their life! What I find interesting is that in Ecuador, there are territorially concentrated ethnic groups. They move a lot. [So the question is] do they change identities within their country when they move? I found they switch between mixed categories. But they dont switch between hard categoriesnot from white to black, indigenous to white, or indigenous to black. [Instead,] there are large mixed categories. It probably explains why it doesnt happen in the U.S., but it does happen much more in Brazil where you have the category of brown. This is a big difference between countries.

What are your thoughts on the way they define identity?

I find it very interesting: this issue of whether Antonio Banderas is a person of color or not. In the U.S., they didnt want to make the mistake of categorizing him in a politically incorrect way. Some said he was a person of color, while in some Spanish-speaking countries, people said that it is racist to say he is not white. There was a complete misunderstanding across cultures because of different typologies of ethnic categorization.

It is interesting, no? The schemes for ethnic categorization are still national, while categorization of famous people is a global phenomenon. It does not match. Globally, famous people are being categorized into different ethnic groups in different countries. With globalization of media, there is a mismatch.

For us in Switzerland, using the term race is completely unheard of. It is one of the biggest political taboos. You cannot use the term race. If you talk about race, you are [considered] fascist. Yet, we are confronted ever more with this division in the U.S. about racial identities. And it creates a complete cognitive dissonance for us.

Eric Kaufmann, in his book Whiteshift, argues that global migration is redefining the perception of what constitutes white.

There is a growing literature of what is perceived as white. Puerto Ricans, for example, have been categorized as being whiter and whiter over time. The white category gets broader. I think it is a universal phenomenon.

In your new book with Pieter deWilde, Ruud Koopmans, Wolfgang Merkel and Michael Zrn, The Struggle Over Borders: Cosmopolitanism and Communitarianism, you tackle the larger issue of globalization.

It is about the divide between people that are positive about globalization and those that are negative about globalization [and] the conflict between these two camps.

[After the analysis was completed,] I thought it interesting [that] there is not a big divide between elites, this being less than I expected. The masses are more divided.

How do you explain that?

The populist arguments among the Right and far-left are anti-elite arguments. Trump uses the term globalist in a negative way, saying elites are globalists. Elites are positive about globalization, [but] they are not representing the masses so well. This allows [populists] to win elections. It seems this anti-elite argument has some basis.

Over croissants we began to veer off, and I started explaining that my next interview would be with a woman whose father belonged to the Serbian Secret Police prior to the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. War and ethnic cleansing were something her family was perhaps both perpetrator to and victim of, to which Strijbis added some final thoughts.

Those born into families on the wrong side are interesting. You have to defend yourself for what your parents did. It is easier to be a child of someone who suffered. Then, you are always on the right side. It must be much harder to be a child of the ones on the wrong side.

This seems applicable to an entire nation such as Germany, doesnt it?

Of course. In Germany, as soon as you are somehow critical of the allies, you are very quickly on the fascist side, so people are not willing to talk about this. But I saw a new book about these German women who at the end of the war were abused by Russian and American soldiers. Maybe [a more complete] bit of history is being written.

Mark Hecht is a Canadian-British writer and academic. As a geography instructor, he received an award for Excellence in Teachingfrom Mount Royal University. He now writes for various publications.

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Why Trump’s Nazi-style propaganda is only the tip of the iceberg – Kulture Hub

Posted: at 10:01 am

From Trumps Nazi-style propaganda to PePe memes, everywhere you look, youre being called to do something.

Most of these postings are ads, but theyre not far from propaganda. They use the same techniques, pulling at your emotions, appealing to your reason, and moral high-grounding.

However, you may observe propaganda more often than you may think.

Propaganda is any information presented in a way meant to sway you toward a particular opinion.Often, when we agree with the message, we will see it as truth rather than a rallying cry.

Much of the time, it intentionally misleads or contains misinformation.

Propaganda uses the same techniques as do advertisers. If theyre proven to work, why wouldnt they?

The above picture is a piece of propaganda from possibly the most disastrous enacted event in Americas history. Made to incite celebration across the country this poster for the Thirteenth Naval District, United States Navy, shows a snake representing Japan being bombed by an eagle.

Another piece of propaganda youll recognize is the I Want You For U.S. Army recruitment poster. This recruitment poster became a staple of Americana, lasting over a century.

With a message so simple, it just worked.

This piece plays on the American sense of patriotism and duty to country. If you dont join, youre no patriot (read not a man). By tugging at the manhood of America, James Montgomery Flaggs poster was printed over four million times.

Just as often as its used to inspire, propaganda stokes fear. Above are Nazi propaganda posters, the left demonizing Jews. By scapegoating the Jews for Germanys economic depression, Hitler was able to rally the people behind fear.

The Nazis were skilled at both kinds of sentiment stirring, however. The right poster shows a handsome, fit, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, and smiling Hitler loving youth. By appealing to the Aryan sense of superiority, the poster essentially says this could be you.

While these posters werent common in our lifetimes, propaganda never went away. It has only taken new forms. In its present form, theyre memes, weaponized for an agenda. It should be noted that this happens on both ends of the political spectrum.

4chans Politically Incorrect board (/pol/) was instrumental in the 2016 Presidential Election. By weaponizing memes, which are used to spread humor, users in /pol/ made themselves heard and seen. While many can enjoy them in an ironic sense, right-wing trolls worked on several fronts.

Being that the SJW crowd is notoriously easy to offend, people who may not have even believed the message still shared the memes. Perhaps some of these people didnt realize what that would really do.

By being the most offensive memes, the Trump-supporting kind got the most shares from right-wingers and trolls alike. By appealing to fans of offensive comedy, ironic support turned unironic in many cases.

The campaigns by the left did not have the same effect. Being that the memes shared were all focused on Trump, he got the most coverage.

An important part to remember iswho exactly creates these pro-Trump memes. It was found in 2016 that Russia was behind a great deal of these. It was done in the same spirit as propaganda of old: prop up Trump and attack Hillary Clinton.

By pairing the strong sentiment America has for the troops with misleading information, you got a propaganda salad.

All agendas built on fear need an enemy to scapegoat. In recent years, immigrants and Muslims have carried the brunt of this. The Trump administration is trying to add Antifa to the terrorist organization list with a Nazi symbol.

Trump, himself, has engaged in quite a bit of propagandizing in his campaign. We all know he tends not to fact check himself before speaking, and speaks in generals.

His campaign platform of Make America Great Again harkens to that of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s.In an interview with NPR, Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said,

Intentionally or otherwise, using symbols that were once used by the Nazis is not a good look for someone running for the White House. It isnt difficult for one to criticize a political opponent without using Nazi-era imagery.

Trumps platform was built on anti-immigrant and xenophobic language. Even with his denouncement of them, he speaks their language.

He benefits from their support. With an emphasis on patriotism and returning to a better time, the slogan romanticizes Americas racist past.

This official t-shirt from the Trump campaign knew who they were appealing to. The resemblance is striking.

The left-wing attempt at propaganda was to spin, spin, spin. Anything bad about Trump shared on Facebook was taken as fact, while anything Hillary did wasnt that bad.

This only fueled the fires of right-wing trolls.

Being that we live in an age of misinformation, the truth can be hard to find. When you read a catchy headline online, ask yourself: what am I being made to feel? Is someone made out to be the enemy?

These articles get so many clicks because of our emotional investment. Were committed to the idea often before reading, let alone verifying. Weve all been guilty of this.

Its paramount to look at multiple sources. One way to do this is to paste the headline into Google and compare results. If there are several sources writing about it, there is a bit more credence to it, but not enough. The source is key itself.

Stay informed, stay objective, friends.

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Letters: When the nation needs the Church to unite it, Justin Welby divides it – Telegraph.co.uk

Posted: at 10:01 am

SIR I sympathise with those who had to paint the prime-minsterial aircrafts tail-fin flag (report, June 26). These things need to be right.

In 1956, British Railways introduced a new emblem for its locomotives. It was a dignified thing, with a rampant lion emerging from a crown, holding a wheel in its paws, based on the heraldic achievement of the British Railways Board. Thousands were ordered, in two sizes. Each was left- or right-handed, so that the lion always looked towards the front of the locomotive.

The Garter King of Arms is said to have seen the emblem on a locomotives tender at Euston. He was impressed and toddled round the other side, but had an apoplectic fit when he saw this lion also facing forwards; according to heraldic convention, it should have faced left.

BR quietly used up the stocks of transfers and, from 1959, only used the heraldically correct version. This fact is useful for dating pictures of steam trains, if youre so inclined.

David PearsonHaworth, West Yorkshire

SIR Nikolai Tolstoy (Letters, June 26) draws attention to the indifference with which, after the war, the British delivered millions to be killed or enslaved by Stalins henchmen.

Harold Macmillan was responsible for turning over the Cossacks. But why? I doubt it was simply to demonstrate we were reliable allies.

Macmillan believed (as did many of his contemporaries) in world government. This was to be organised through regional governments under a new United Nations Organisation. Western Europe was to be one region; Eastern Europe under the Soviet Union another. America gave up on the idea under Harry S Truman. But Macmillan did not. He clung to the ideal, showing little concern about the Soviets running Eastern Europe.

As late as November 7 1957, one of his Foreign Office ministers, the Earl of Gosford, could still declare that Britain was fully in agreement with world government. In 1961, the Future Policies Committee, set up by Macmillan under Sir Frank Lee, concluded that, by 2000, it was questionable whether Britain would still be an independent state. By then it would be simply a province of a united Europe. The EU had an unhealthy history from the very start.

Professor Alan SkedLondon School of EconomicsLondon WC2

SIR In 1944, shortly after turning 20, my husband drove his tank on to the beach at Arromanches on D-Day.

During the campaign his sergeant was killed at his side. Later he lost comrades whose tanks were hit.

After the ceasefire, he had to drive a truck full of refugees to the Russians and hand them over. Even with everything else he had experienced, he found this greatly upsetting. He never forgot it.

May NuttallGreat Bentley, Essex

We accept letters by post, fax and email only. Please include name, address, work and home telephone numbers.ADDRESS: 111 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 0DTFAX: 020 7931 2878EMAIL: dtletters@telegraph.co.ukFOLLOW: Telegraph Letters on Twitter @LettersDesk

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10 DC and Marvel characters that deserve their own movies – The Indian Express

Posted: at 10:01 am

Written by Kshitij Rawat | New Delhi | Updated: June 29, 2020 4:13:42 pm Here are the 10 comic-book characters who need their own movies. (Photo: DC Comics and Marvel Comics)

It is no exaggeration to say that superhero films rule Hollywood these days. Nearly every movie based on characters from comic-books capitalises on the existing fan bases to earn millions.

But comic-books have more to offer, and the lore is far from exhausted. Here are five DC and five Marvel superheroes who need their own movies:

Formerly Batmans protege, Nightwing created his own, independent persona to fight crime in Gotham City. A live-action movie on the superhero has been in development since forever.

Not your typical superhero, Lobo is a mercenary and a bounty hunter who traverses the length and breadth of the universe. He is basically DCs Deadpool (while predating the Marvel character), in that he is a foul-mouthed master troll and likes to crack ironic, politically incorrect jokes.

At times, Lobo, also called the Main Man, is even more extreme than the Merc with a Mouth. His name literally translates to he who devours your entrails and thoroughly enjoys it. He committed genocide on his own people (the entire planet of Czarnia), and is now the final Czarnian. He also has a striking appearance, which is very comic-booky. He is a tall, totally white-skinned, brawny man.

After Aquaman, it is now Marvels turn to introduce their own amphibian superhero Namor to the world through movies. Contrary to popular belief, Namor inspired Aquaman instead of the other way around. Like Aquaman, Namor is the half-human king of the submerged ancient kingdom of Atlantis. But unlike Aquaman, Namor is more like an anti-hero than purely a hero. Marvel Studios could make an interesting movie on the character while keeping it different from Aquaman.

A superhero who uses a magic ring for his superpowers. The ring is given to him to protect a particular sector of the universe by mystical beings called the Guardians who watch over and protect the universe. The character there have been several Green Lanterns uses his imagination and emotions to create weapons and other objects to fight enemies. One Green Lantern appeared in Justice League movie, and we might see more in the upcoming Snyder Cut of the movie.

One of the most famous cosmic superheroes in Marvel Comics, Adam Warlock was an artificial human being who played a major role in taking down Thanos in comics Infinity Gauntlet storyline. Warlock is immortal, superstrong, superfast, heals quickly and can fly.

Basically Marvels answer to Superman, Sentry has the power of one million exploding suns. He does have one weakness his wife. She can be used against him to either manipulate him or calm him down.

Named Brian Braddock, Britains version of Captain America is imbued with mystical powers of his native country.

A mainstay of Justice League, Martian Manhunter is one superhero who can beat Superman. A green-skinned extraterrestrial humanoid from Mars (thus the name), he also has shapeshifting abilities. In addition to that, he can become invisible and make his body intangible to move through solid objects.

A man from the future who travels back in time and uses his knowledge of the events that have already occurred to prevent tragedies. A movie on him, with a good director, can be really interesting as a reflection of the lure of celebrity and celebrity culture.

We have seen how interesting Miles Morales can be if done well in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Spider-Man: Homecoming already hinted towards the possibility. Just give us live-action Miles!

The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest Entertainment News, download Indian Express App.

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If you liked the Vikings, these 6 other series are similar to binger on Netflix News-Series TV – D1SoftballNews.com

Posted: at 10:01 am

Youve finished the Vikings and you are looking for similar series to watch ? Here are 6 of the series in the same sense, The Last Kingdom of Marco Polo, the binge-watcher on Netflix.

The Last Kingdom (2015-)

British series adapted from the historical novels The Stories of saxony Bernard Cornwell, The Last Kingdom tells the story of Uhtred, the son of a noble who has been kidnapped by the vikings in the Ninth century. Torn between England, his native country, and the warlike people who raised him, Uhtred is destined to be an extraordinary destiny. The Last Kingdom share a lot of common points, the characters, in particular, with the mythology of the Vikings to the point that some of you may think that this is a sequel, that is not the case. Fans of the Vikings found there necessarily.

The vikings (2016-)

When The Office meets with the Vikings ! If you like the universe of the Vikings, but you need the humor when the Vikings, is made for you ! With three seasons in the counter for the moment, this Norwegian comedy is as gory as it is funny and tells of the theft, plunder, and the struggle of the Vikings Norheim who do not code and that solve their problems through violence. Very gore and full of anachronisms, Scandinavians gave for his sense of humor and the absurdity of politically incorrect.

Ragnarok (2020-)

Notice to fans of norse legends and series for teens, Ragnarok mix of genres and offers an entertaining teen fantasy under the aegis of the gods. Follow Magne, a young man who discovers that the supernatural powers of his arrival in a small town in norway to be contaminated and in danger of extinction because of the melting of the glaciers. With his new group of friends, the young man understands that the survival of all rested on his shoulders and that his legend is one that will have to fight against an evil ancient and inspired by nordic myths, that embodies the climate emergency and the warming of the planet.

Knightfall (2017-2019)

Knightfall was one of the other flagship series of the chain of History that the emissions Vikings in the united States. For lovers of the series inspired by the historical events and bloody battles, Knightfall is a good alternative for people who have finished the Vikings. During the Middle Ages, Knightfall tells the complex missions of the knights Templar, a military order, powerful, rich and mysterious. You must protect the relics of christendom, the order of the knights Templar is facing the King of France refractory and multiple betrayals. But despite its fall, the fraternity of the legendary warrior monks strives to improve his coat of arms and thwart the political conspiracy.

Marco Polo (2014 To 2016)

If the expeditions of Ragnar and Floki you are missing, is served by Marco Polo ! This series follows the adventures of the famous Italian merchant after his journey of the silk route. He found himself servant to the court of Kublai Khan, and you must adapt to this universe, fascinating but dangerous because he doesnt know everything. Marco Polo used for his malice and skill to avoid traps and to gain the confidence of the Khan to help him in his expeditions and his conquest of the world. The intrigues and games of great wealth do of Marco Polo, a series of staples that can appeal to fans of the Vikings.

Of the border (2016-)

The border is a historical drama that narrates the adventures of Declan Harp (Jason Momoa), a law of the half-the half irish-cree (aboriginal nation in North America). The last fight with the hunters against the contractors to break down the trading monopoly of the fur trade to the Company of Hudson Bay in Canada in the Eighteenth century. The series american-canadian who is studying the historical facts, little-known with a gallery of engaging characters and dourhands in stunning landscapes, like that of the Vikings.

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