We recently saw the Oscar nominated Palestinian film, Omar. If you can find it playing in your area, I highly recommend checking it out. If not, definitely rent it when it becomes available for the small screen.
The screenplay, the direction and the acting were all superb. The eponymous Omar is a Palestinian freedom fighter who is involved in the murder of an Israeli solider. The film is less about the Palestinian cause than it is a study in how the occupation entangles love and friendship with paranoia and betrayal to such an extent that there is no escape for some other than death.
Some people actually stayed in the theater talking with strangers after the film concluded. There was a larger metaphor about Israel and Palestine that seemed lost on some, but there is no need to recognize that to appreciate the powerful psychological dimensions of this film.
I didn't know that Oscar Pistorius also stands accused of discharging a gun in a restaurant and shooting a hole through the sunroof of another girlfriend's car. At his murder trial, a [former?] friend testified that Pistorious asked him to accept the blame for the restaurant incident.
"The Court finds that there exists a right to privacy as it relates to the exposure and dissemination of the Defendant's genitalia." Thus wrote Miami-Dade County Judge William Altfield in ruling on the release of Justin Bieber's arrest videos.
Sometimes I can hardly believe what I'm reading in the news. I know there are far worse crimes than the crime described below, but the explosive violence over a problem that most people handle in a fairly civilized manner is nonetheless shocking to me.
So a 30-year-old Chicago woman was picking up her child at an elementary school. Then:
Castro, who is also known as Jay Lopez, rear-ended the woman's vehicle in the 4800 block of West Dickens Avenue, according to Assistant State's Attorney Colleen Rogers and court records.
The woman got out of the vehicle and started taking pictures of Castro and Castro's license plate, Rogers said.
Castro then punched the woman in the face about 13 times, breaking her nose, a tooth and her orbital bone, according to Rogers and court records.
"She heard a bone crack while he was hitting her face," Rogers said.
The snow piles are down, but we had a 4-5 inch refresher in our neighborhood overnight. That places us at 6 feet of snowfall this winter, still about 15 inches shy of the record, but combined with the cold weather, it's been one hell of a winter.
A strange commute home today. Ordinarily, there is standing room only when I board the Red Line. Today, the train is nearly empty. When we reached Bryn Mawr, everything went dark. A stammering engineer announced that the power is shut down because someone is on the tracks at the Thorndale station up ahead. We're still waiting.
Wilamette Week conducted an informal experiment with two bakeries that have refused to provide cakes for same-sex marriage celebrations:
The first incident, in February, involved Gresham’s Sweet Cakes by Melissa, whose owner told a lesbian couple that “we don’t do same-sex marriages.” Earlier this month, Pam Regentin, who operates Fleur Cakes out of her home in the Hood River area, also refused to make a cake for a lesbian couple’s wedding.
Both bakeries cited their religious beliefs as the reason they would not make the cakes. Both describe themselves as Christian.
“I believe I have the liberty to live by my principles,” Regentin told KATU in a May 15 newscast.
Reporters tested the limits of the bakers' religious principals by calling to order cakes for various events that would be frowned upon or even deemed outright evil by conventional conservative Christians. Here's a sample of what they found:
WW Asks - I was calling to get a quote on a cake for a midsummer solstice party. My coven is celebrating on Friday, June 21. The decoration would be very simple: just a green pentagram. We’d like to pick it up sometime that afternoon, before the bonfire. It’ll be for about 30 people.
Sweet Cake says - “For 30 poeople we have a couple options... We have two kind of cakes you could have. About the diagram you want on the cake, I’m not sure how much extra that would be.”
Fleur says - Did not pick up phone or return messages. Acknowledged receiving requests by email but refused to comment.
The bakers were also willing to provide cakes for a party celebrating a human-cloning, stem-cell research grant, a baby shower for a woman having her second out-of-wedlock child with her boyfriend and a divorce party. While I could see rationalizing the latter two, the cloning should be strictly forbidden, according to their religious principles.
I don't have time to comment further right now, but I may return to this story because I find the psychological underpinnings of moral contradictions fascinating. The truth is that rational, consciously held principles are far from the only influence on our moral judgments.
In the New Media culture, anything good you do is tossed in a pit, and you are measured by who you are on your worst day. What’s the Boy Scout code? Trustworthy. Loyal. Helpful. Friendly. Courteous. Kind. Obedient. Cheerful. Thrifty. Brave. Clean. Reverent. I might be all of those things, at certain moments. But people suspect that whatever good you do, you are faking. You’re that guy. You’re that guy that says this.
At my most clearheaded, I would hesitate to make sweeping judgments about a person based on what they might say during an angry meltdown, other than that they may be subject to fits of rage. It isn't that the words are meaningless, but words uttered in such moments don't necessarily define the so-called true character of a person.