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May 31, 2016 / 23 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘online’

Hallucinatory Realism

Friday, October 12th, 2012

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 was awarded yesterday to Chinese writer Mo Yan “who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary.”

I liked that description very much. I went looking for texts by the fresh winner. Among several offerings online, not all of which would befit a frum website, I found the following paragraphs, from his most recent work, “POW!” which is soon to be published in English:

Huang Biao snared a pig’s knuckle and examined it. What was he looking for? It was soft and fully cooked, and would be overdone if he let it stew any longer. But he threw it back in, picked out a dog’s leg, and went through the same drill, but this time he sniffed it. What are you doing, you moron? It’s ready to eat, so turn down the heat before it turns mushy. Next came a sheep’s leg, and once again it was examine and smell. Why don’t you taste it, you moron? . . . Now that the heat had diminished, the liquid was no longer roiling, although a few ripples remained in the spaces between the cuts of meat, whose song had softened as they waited to be eaten.

But then the whole gritty, peasant cooking scene goes way out of bounds when Huang Biao ends up using his bodily fluids as cooking wine, which was just too gritty for me.

I suppose we keep looking for bigger and bigger shock effects. So you should know, Chinese peasant life is pretty shocking.

Anyway, when you now see references to Mo Yan’s brutal style, you’ll have an idea.

Way too much culture gap for me.

Yori Yanover

Google Cultural Institute Presents Jewish Content in 1st Exhibits

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Google introduced a new online historical collection of digitized material, highlighting several Jewish themes, events and institutional partners in its first wave of exhibits.

At least 13 of the Google Cultural Institute’s inaugural collection of 42 featured exhibits consist of materials from the Anne Frank House, the Polish History Museum, the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Foundation France Israel and Yad Vashem.

Highlighted exhibits announced Wednesday include the testimony of Jan Karski, the World War II Polish resistance hero who tried to convince Allied leaders of the horrors of the Holocaust; as well as the saga of Edek Galinski & Mala Zimetbaum, the couple who unsuccessfully attempted to escape Auschwitz.

Visitors to Google’s new online multimedia museum can also see the last known photograph taken of Anne Frank, and browse featured historical events that include the Nuremberg Trials, the 1948 Arab-Israel War and the 1958 bombing of the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation in Atlanta.

The new resource comes one year after Google published the Dead Sea Scrolls online, the result of a partnership with the Israel Antiquities Authority.

JTA

Liberal Overconfidence Is Helping Romney

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

The 2012 election is once again proving that having most of the mainstream media in your pocket is a huge advantage for a presidential candidate. President Obama’s reelection effort has been materially aided by being largely able to set the narrative of the race as the year unfolded. Mitt Romney’s gaffes are treated as game-changers, while Obama’s misstatements and scandals, like the security leaks from the White House, are often treated like footnotes rather than major stories.

Media spin helped turn his convention into a hit and the Libya disaster, combined with Romney’s “47 percent” gaffe, has seemed to produce a genuine surge for the president in the past few weeks. Conservatives may dispute the accuracy of polls that may be based on samples skewed to the Democrats or based on expectations of a repeat of the “hope and change” turnout figures of 2008. But after months of the race being seen as a dead heat, there’s little doubt Obama is ahead right now. However, the glee on the left contains within it the possibility of a reversal.

The media narrative of the election having been largely decided in the last month is so strong that prominent outlets are openly expressing shock that the GOP hasn’t already conceded the election. They push this line about Romney’s incompetence relentlessly; accept speeches filled with misstatements and distortions at the Democratic National Convention at face value after treating GOP convention speeches as “fact-checked” lies and thereby help manufacture a post-convention bounce; and then declare the race (which is still largely within the margin of error in most polls) over and consider it a “curiosity” that Republicans still like their chances and understand tying their fates to Romney is a lot smarter than writing him off.

In other words, if Republicans don’t accept the media narrative and give up, they are in denial. It never occurs to the chattering classes that about half the country still plans to vote to turn President Obama’s incomplete into an “F” in November and that his wife shouldn’t be fitted for her second inaugural gown just yet.

Some are speaking as if Romney must not just win the debates but mop the floor with the president if he is to have a chance in November.

But the problem with this triumphalism on the left is that it can breed a fatal overconfidence. As encouraging as the president’s current poll numbers may be, his margins are still too small and there is still too much time left before Election Day for the left to assume the thing is in the bag. Even more to the point, it can breed a backlash against the media that can energize Romney’s camp and help fuel a competing comeback narrative.

The president may not only have peaked too soon, but the overkill on the part of his journalistic cheerleading squad could be just the shot in the arm Romney needed.

It should be conceded that with just a few weeks to go, it is a lot better to be ahead – no matter how large or small the margin – than behind. The president’s good month has encouraged Democrat donors and depressed those of the Republicans. Such a state of affairs could, if the GOP misplays its hand in the coming weeks, theoretically snowball into a repeat of the party’s 2008 debacle.

But the notion that Romney is already so far behind that he will never be able to catch up is risible. For all of his missteps, he remains within striking distance of the president. The economy is still poor and the idea that the patent collapse of his foreign policy vision as our embassies are attacked in the Middle East will help rather than hurt him among voters is highly debatable.

Moreover, Americans hate being told an election is over when they know it is still close. That gives Romney a clear opening to spend the remaining weeks running hard against the media as well as the president.

Nobody may like a heartless plutocrat – the false image the left has foisted on Romney – but everyone likes an underdog who is being undercut by a chattering class telling voters that all has been decided even before they vote. If Romney can tap into this sentiment, dissatisfaction with the president’s performance in office can still be the decisive factor in determining the outcome.

Jonathan S. Tobin

Designer Sukkah

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

I went looking for interesting Sukkah images online, and most of them repeated the familiar decoration themes, some with more natural ingredients, others with the more common, colorful paper cutouts. They were pretty, and I’m sure there are hundreds, if not thousands of Sukkot out there that are breathtakingly original and beautiful.

But so far, the image that hit me with its daring to say something brand new about the very concept of the Shukkah – and do it within the halachic guidelines, appeared two years ago on the website Tapuz.co.il.

So elegant, so different, so very designer…

We have gone the less imaginative route of the prefab Sukkah, which still looks delicious.

I’ve started to count the minutes until I get the chance to bench lulav in my little Sukkah, in Eretz Israel, Monday morning…

But for now, let’s all covet our neighbor’s designer Sukkah…

Yori Yanover

Despite Media Pile-On, Romney Isn’t Toast

Friday, September 21st, 2012

So while some of us were celebrating the Jewish New Year and taking the last couple of days off from politics, it appears a video has more or less decided the election.

That’s the assumption of much of the mainstream media about the impact of the release of the video of Mitt Romney speaking back in May at a private fundraiser about the 47 percent of the country that doesn’t pay taxes. They think this means it’s time to put a fork in the Republican candidate. They believe the pile-on from both the Democrats and their media allies will be enough to effectively push Romney far enough behind the president that he will never be able to make it up in the weeks remaining to him.

This is, to understate matters, something of a self-fulfilling prophecy since the reason the video is considered to be such a big deal is because it has been covered as an earthshaking gaffe that ought to spike Romney’s hopes of ever winning the presidency.

The assumption that Romney has been fatally damaged is incorrect. The initial reaction to the video clips will probably damage Romney, but it will not affect the bulk of his support in a race that is still close.

The reason the video hurts is that it played into Obama’s greatest advantage: a pliant media quick to dismiss his blunders but sure to make a meal out of any of Romney’s gaffes. But it is time for the Romney campaign to understand it must exploit the fact that half the country believes the liberal media are out to get him. Romney must tell the country that it must not let the chattering classes decide the election before they’ve had a chance to vote.

Let’s specify that Romney’s statement was dumb. No presidential candidate should ever make such a sweeping generalization. Romney has a habit of making gaffes and this was yet another example of one of his weak points as a leader. Yet for all of the fact that he painted those who don’t pay income taxes with a broad and inaccurate brush, his comment was still based in a correct interpretation of the philosophical divide between the approaches of the two parties to the entitlement welfare state that has played such a destructive role in American society.

But as much as some of the carping about the Romney campaign from Republicans has been justified, let’s understand the reason this video is being seen as the turning point in the election is that the liberal media, determined to reelect the president, are saying so.

This is the same media after all that were faced with a similar gaffe four years ago when Obama was caught on tape at one of his private fundraisers making similarly stupid comments dismissing much of America as “clinging to guns and religion” because of their fears and small-minded natures.

While that video did not go unreported at the time, the reaction from much of the press was indifference. Right-wing bloggers and columnists screamed about it but it was not treated as front-page news in mainstream newspapers. The explanation for that is not exactly a mystery. If most reporters and their editors didn’t play it that big it was because most of them shared Obama’s contempt for religion and guns and those that cling to them.

Let’s also remember that the president’s “you didn’t build that” gaffe has been endlessly defended and rationalized by the media instead of being covered as an open and shut case of his being out of touch with much of the country’s beliefs. The president’s open microphone moment earlier in the year, in which he promised Russia’s president that he could be more “flexible” in accommodating Moscow after his reelection, was also underplayed.

Any Republican who runs for president and is surprised to find the deck is stacked against him in the media doesn’t deserve the office. But that doesn’t mean Romney should take this double standard lying down. Rather than play defense on this issue, the Romney campaign must make it clear it intends to treat this story as being more about media bias than about the candidate’s stupidity. If played right, that could not only jazz up a GOP base that despises the media, but put the Republican’s tormenters on the defensive.

Jonathan S. Tobin

Hebrew University Classes Go Online – Free

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

People interested in getting educated at the Hebrew University can now do so – for free.

Though the graduate and undergraduate courses will not count for credits, some Hebrew University classes will now be available online through the educational organization Coursera.

Assignments, forums, and exams will also be part of some of the courses.

Hebrew University is the first Israeli university to join Coursera’s program, which already features lectures from leading universities such as Cal Tech, Johns Hopkins, Princeton, and Stanford.  The first three courses out of Jerusalem will be by Professor Idan Segev, head of the Department of Neurobiology and member of the Interdisciplinary Cdnter for Neural Computation, Professor Yaakov Nahmias, director of the Center for Bioengineering, and Professor Jonathan Garb of the Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies, 2010 winner of the HU President’s Prize for Outstanding Researcher.

Coursera’s free classes are downloaded by over 1.3 million students worldwide.

Malkah Fleisher

The Man Who Engineered the Muhammad Movie Rage

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Sheikh Khalid Abdullah, an Egyptian Salafist and TV personality, aired a show more than a week ago about a film called “The Innocence of Muslims,” which reportedly slanders Islam’s prophet Muhammad. The way the Islamists in Egypt and their fellow Islamists have chosen to magnify a 13-minute online video into a streaming wave of violence and anti-Israeli and anti-American hate shows the true side of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been claiming to be pro-democracy and anti-violence, and that the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamists in general have not changed because of the Arab Spring. All of this should serve as a rude wake-up call to the US administration, which has been tolerating — even accepting — Islamists’ spurious adoption of democracy.

For a start, it is worthwhile learning more about the man behind the sweeping Muslim rage over the film. Sheikh Khalid Abdullah has a popular talk show on Al-Nas satellite TV, and — according to the Telegraph — “has long prided itself on baiting liberals, Christians and Jews.” Although the video has been online since July with not much attention, a little over a week ago, Sheikh Khalid Abdullah, after airing clips from the online video, called for its maker to be executed. Additionally, YouTube and other websites are full of anti-Islamic videos — possibly much fewer in number than anti-Semitic and anti-American online videos produced by Muslims — and we yet have not seen Americans or Israelis attacking Muslim Embassies.

Sheikh Khalid Abdullah is a controversial figure: Last year, when a group of moderates, liberals and non-Islamist protesters protested against Egypt’s military council’s alleged control of the country’s political life, a young woman wearing a hijab was beaten then undressed down to her undergarments by the Egyptian anti-riot police. This incident was caught on camera and the entire Egyptian nation saw it; nonetheless, the Salafist media, headed by Sheikh Abdullah, stood in defense of the Military Council. Sheikh Abdullah even went as far as to mock Egyptian Noble Prize winner Mohammad Al-Baradei for defending the assaulted women. Sheikh Abdullah said: “Al-Baradei told the Military Council: don’t you feel ashamed for stripping young women of their clothes” Abdullah then laughably commented “Oh You (Al-Baradei) …you faithful boy”.

In another episode of his show, Sheikh Abdullah goes even further in slandering the assaulted woman. He said, “A veiled woman, what was she doing in that place at such a time amid the chaos; so she can end up being caught by someone to take off her Niqab and then beat her up and then the devious satellite TVs come out saying the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salfists only care for being in the Parliament and they could not care less for the lives of people…I’ve told you a thousand times, don’t be too smart with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists trying to lure them into a game they know very well”.

Last year, Sheikh Khaled Abdullah accused the protesters, who were in Tahrir Square and demanding further reforms from the Military Council, of being in a disgusting indiscrete situation: “When my friend saw them he almost threw up in disgust about what was happening in the tents…young men are sleeping with young women in the tents!” As a Salafist Sheikh, he must know that in Islam, accusing an innocent person of committing adultery or pre-marital sex is considered one of the seven deadly sins; thus, the Sheikh, and the media face of Egyptian Salafists, both exhibited a willingness to break even the sacred laws of his own faith to make a political point against his fellow Muslims, let alone against Christian and Jewish “infidels”.

The question remains, was the fiasco ostensibly resulting from the video a coincidence, or was it part of a greater trend of Egypt’s Islamists to demonize the U.S. and Israel and to bite the hand of the U.S. administration which had sympathized with the Egyptian revolution of January 2011.

Also, is Sheikh Abdullah different from other Islamists in Egypt? According to Al-Ahram, Egypt’s largest newspaper, the Muslim Brotherhood official Twitter account expressed its deputy head’s “relief none of the U.S. Embassy staff in Cairo was hurt,” and its hope that the U.S.-Egypt relations could weather the events — while at the same time, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Twitter account in the Arabic language expressed support for the protesters trying to storm the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, as also in an article on its official website in Arabic. The U.S. Embassy made a response on Twitter: “Thanks. By the way, have you checked out your own Arabic feeds? I hope you know we read those too.”

It seems that Egypt’s Islamists are coming out of their “non-violence” façade pretty fast. And they are proving their ability to lie and deceive anyone to achieve their desired goals: they are lying to the Egyptian people and outwitting the gullible U.S. Administration, who tolerated them and possibly even believed their plea that “Islam is democracy.”

An Arab proverb goes: “A long dance starts with little moves.” It will be illuminating to see how far the Islamists’ moves will evolve, all under a US administration in the habit of giving in to the Islamists of the Middle East.

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.

Mudar Zahran

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-man-who-engineered-the-muhammad-movie-rage/2012/09/19/

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