Category Archives: Religion

dear leader













sure ain’t quetzalcoatl

la lupe

if you’re not getting paid, who is?

read more about it here

Kings of Africa





more here

zadie smith on facebook, on being & representing a self, on being owned

read the whole piece here in the NYRB

bits:

When a human being becomes a set of data on a website like Facebook, he or she is reduced. Everything shrinks. Individual character. Friendships. Language. Sensibility. In a way it’s a transcendent experience: we lose our bodies, our messy feelings, our desires, our fears. It reminds me that those of us who turn in disgust from what we consider an overinflated liberal-bourgeois sense of self should be careful what we wish for: our denuded networked selves don’t look more free, they just look more owned.

—–

You want to be optimistic about your own generation. You want to keep pace with them and not to fear what you don’t understand. To put it another way, if you feel discomfort at the world they’re making, you want to have a good reason for it. Master programmer and virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier (b. 1960) is not of my generation, but he knows and understands us well, and has written a short and frightening book, You Are Not a Gadget, which chimes with my own discomfort, while coming from a position of real knowledge and insight, both practical and philosophical. Lanier is interested in the ways in which people “reduce themselves” in order to make a computer’s description of them appear more accurate. “Information systems,” he writes, “need to have information in order to run, but information underrepresents reality” (my italics). In Lanier’s view, there is no perfect computer analogue for what we call a “person.” In life, we all profess to know this, but when we get online it becomes easy to forget. In Facebook, as it is with other online social networks, life is turned into a database, and this is a degradation, Lanier argues, which is

“based on [a] philosophical mistake…the belief that computers can presently represent human thought or human relationships. These are things computers cannot currently do.”

We know the consequences of this instinctively; we feel them. We know that having two thousand Facebook friends is not what it looks like. We know that we are using the software to behave in a certain, superficial way toward others. We know what we are doing “in” the software. But do we know, are we alert to, what the software is doing to us? Is it possible that what is communicated between people online “eventually becomes their truth”? What Lanier, a software expert, reveals to me, a software idiot, is what must be obvious (to software experts): software is not neutral. Different software embeds different philosophies, and these philosophies, as they become ubiquitous, become invisible.

—-

Lanier wants us to be attentive to the software into which we are “locked in.” Is it really fulfilling our needs? Or are we reducing the needs we feel in order to convince ourselves that the software isn’t limited? As Lanier argues:

Different media designs stimulate different potentials in human nature. We shouldn’t seek to make the pack mentality as efficient as possible. We should instead seek to inspire the phenomenon of individual intelligence.

—-

Software may reduce humans, but there are degrees. Fiction reduces humans, too, but bad fiction does it more than good fiction, and we have the option to read good fiction. Jaron Lanier’s point is that Web 2.0 “lock-in” happens soon; is happening; has to some degree already happened. And what has been “locked in”? It feels important to remind ourselves, at this point, that Facebook, our new beloved interface with reality, was designed by a Harvard sophomore with a Harvard sophomore’s preoccupations. What is your relationship status? (Choose one. There can be only one answer. People need to know.) Do you have a “life”? (Prove it. Post pictures.) Do you like the right sort of things? (Make a list. Things to like will include: movies, music, books and television, but not architecture, ideas, or plants.)

But here I fear I am becoming nostalgic. I am dreaming of a Web that caters to a kind of person who no longer exists. A private person, a person who is a mystery, to the world and—which is more important—to herself. Person as mystery: this idea of personhood is certainly changing, perhaps has already changed. Because I find I agree with Zuckerberg: selves evolve.

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…the advertising money that will rain down on Facebook—if and when Zuckerberg succeeds in encouraging 500 million people to take their Facebook identities onto the Internet at large—this money thinks of us the other way around. To the advertisers, we are our capacity to buy, attached to a few personal, irrelevant photos.

on Bleecker Street

in photography, bruce davidson says, we read & write at the same time

last refuge of a scoundrel?

Take a minute to think about John Brown, the visionary patriot, “madman”, martyr-for-the-cause. Tomorrow, a pop talker/born-again Mormon will summon his flock from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Will he double-message about impending violence? Will he call for the restoration of honor? Probably, whatever that is.

Remember, god made America. Vespucci thank god it’s not called. Too ethnic! (See, Jesus comes to America after resurrecting to be with his face-time buddies, only briefly checking in with the epistlers back in Jerusalem; the Nephites, the True Believers, have already kon tiki’d to the future USA) So, the land belongs to the righteous. Now, you can cry all you want, but there’s no such thing as apostates’ rights. You hear the pitch and walk away? Eternal perdition. Did someone say Judea and Samaria? Also deeded, “promised”, by The Dude? Not quite, grasshopper: The Dude’s Dad; retired, USMC, and quite the promiser, that dry drunk!

The Alinsky-reading righteous have adopted rules for radicals reactionaries. They’ve scoured remainder bins for reënactorware. And so, say, do they see Columbia (above), the star of Empire in her flowing hair, a bible by her breast, pathfinding Westwards; the burning-man crowd fleeing her approach? Or do they see the benoosed John Brown as illumined by Sol Polito on TCM at night?

It’s all been foretold, um, ppl! Groucho, I think. First the tragedy, then the farce, then there’ll be an app for that?

man from the holler

This man had been in the Klan when young. Later, he supported the candidacy of Obama, opposed the Iraq war, and never soured into the mean-old-useta-be-democrat, southern-i-challenge-you-to-a-duel-coot like o.g. cracker Zell Miller. Lyndon Johnson, in passing the Civil Rights Act, said white American southerners were going to become Republicans and they did. Reagan announced his candidacy in the same county that freedom riders had been murdered, speaking the racist shibboleth “states rights”. Byrd never lost the country even as he quoted Pericles, as we see below:

We wish to point to others who played a different game:

and let’s not forget the roots of Sister Sarah:

police blotter, muti cases – the daily monitor

This report from The Daily Monitor reads like a passage in Roberto Bolaño’s novel 2666 (about the unending killings in Cuidad Jaurès, Mexico). To secular non-Africans, muti killings muddle the admiration for indigenous, traditional healers who are so routinely condemned by Evangelicals as practitioners of “witchcraft.” Traditional healers and shamans are always somehow in league with evil. (The word “muti,” derives from the Zulu word for tree, and became a synonym for medicine in South Africa.) Laying on hands and casting out spirits is work for preachers; the devil is ever at hand, you will hear. So what do you make of this?

Human sacrifice cases 2007 – 2009

Busala village, Iganga District, August 12, 2007: Mackline Namukose, aged two and a half years, was murdered and her body found in a nearby maize garden with her private parts, tongue, liver and kidney missing.

Kakira, Jinja District, October 13, 2008:
The body of Vincent Samanya, aged 10 years, was recovered from Kakira sugar cane plantation with some parts missing.

Kayugi village, Masaka district, October 28, 2008:
Joseph Kasirye (12) disappeared from the home of his grandfather. Umaru Katerega and his wife were arrested after behaving suspiciously. On interrogation they confessed that they had been given sh360,000 as part payment by Kampala businessman Godfrey Kato-Kajubi to get him a head of a human being for rituals.

Koma village, Oyam District, December 15, 2008:
The decomposing body of Christopher Okello, aged three, the son of Peter Odongo, was recovered at a bush near his parent’s home with the liver, heart and pancreases missing.

Mbale Municipal Council, April 25, 2008:
Joseph Nasima, a 19-year-old student of Mbale SS, went missing and has never been seen again. He is suspected to have been sacrificed by one of his relatives.

Kisalosalo, Kawempe division, Kampala, December 28, 2008:
Shafiq Mugombe, aged nine, was abducted by Mugambwa Paul on a motorcycle and taken to the shrine of Semisambwa in Bweyogerere, Mukono district. The boy was rejected by Semisambwa’s wife, Harriet Nanteza, because he was circumcised.

Bulenga, Wakiso district, January 8, 2009:
Muhammed Kayanja, the 3-weeks-old son of Naume Kagwesigye, was kidnapped by some people, including Fandha, in a suspected ritual sacrifice case.

Kitenga sub-county, Mubende district, January 26, 2009:
Florence Nyamwiza, a 23-years-old Rwandan woman, was arrested on information that she was looking for a buyer for her six-months-old baby, Kyasimire.

Nsambya, Kampala, January 27, 2009:
Prudence Kisakye, aged six, was abducted by her house maid, Babra Nakigude.

Kawempe, Kampala, January 29, 2009:
The head of an unidentified man was recovered from a rubbish pit near Avis Industries in Bwaise, a Kampala suburb.

Kayonza sub-county, Ntungamo district, February 5, 2009:
The body of Bernard Byaruhanga, a 30-year-old casual worker, was recovered with no head and private parts. The head was found two weeks later from a garden near the scene.

Kawempe, Kampala, February 9, 2009:
Human body parts, including two legs and a trunk, were recovered from a pit latrine and a bush. According to the Government chemist, the body parts belonged to the same person.

Makenke, Mubende town, February 12, 2009: At Kanalongo stream, a decomposing body of a boy estimated to be about 10 years old was recovered with the tip of the tongue and part of the lips cut off.

Namawombe village, Bugiri district, February 15, 2009:
George Mukisa, the 3-year-old son of Wanyama, was found in a bush near a residence of a traditional doctor with his penis and testicles cut off.

Bubugo village, Bugiri district, February 21, 2009: Tefula Ali Bagaya, alias Nambiro, a native doctor, and Moses Bateganya, both from Busowa in Bugiri district, were arrested for trespassing at the grave of the late Egesa with intent to remove the head of the dead for ritual purposes.

Kaliro district, February 22, 2009: Seven native doctors were arrested in Kaliro district on information that they were in possession of human body parts. They included Franco Baliza (32), Charles Tigawalan (46), David Kisembe (32), Eriasafu Kiige (36), William Zironda (35), Ahmed Mubinge and Hanning Tusherio (35). Among the items recovered from their shrines were suspected human bones and blood.

Nsambya West, Kampala, February 23, 2009:
A beheaded body of a few weeks old baby was recovered with the head separated from the trunk and the tongue cut out.

Kyeibara, Bushenyi district, February 27, 2009: The naked body of an unidentified man was found in the middle of the road, without the head.

Angagura, Pader district, March 10, 2009:
A decomposing body of an unidentified girl said to be around 18 years was recovered in a rubbish pit. Postmortem results indicate that the breasts and the private parts were cut off. The local authorities temporarily buried the body.

Muhanga village, Kabale, January 24, 2009:
The body of Muhammed Sipusuni Byabagambe was found with the head cut off.

Ntunda B Village, Kiboga, March 21, 2009:
The body of Sylvia Kangime (12) was found in the bush about 150 meters away from her parents’ home with parts of the private parts cut off.

Kinoni, Masaka, August 26, 2009:
The body of Benadette “jjaja Bena”, who was a common lunatic in Kinoni trading centre, was found in Njagalakasaaye swamp. Her head was cut off and all viscera removed from the abdomen. Pieces of tissue were cut from the liver, kidneys and intestines, and blood was tapped for suspected ritual purposes.

Kimaka camp, Jinja, May 13, 2009:
The body of five-year-old Jerome Mukwaya, son of Andrew Mukwana, a resident of Kimaka camp in a sugar plantation, was discovered with the private parts cut off and the stomach split open.

Paromo village, Gulu, April 14, 2009:
The body of one-year-old Moses Ogen was traced from Abera stream, Paromo village in Gulu district without the tongue, lips, part of the nose and eyes. The deceased had disappeared on 14/04/09 from home.

Kakira town council, Jinja, June 25, 2009:
Mustafa Said, the LC1 chairman L.C.I, reported the disappearance of Edein Kiiza (25). His body was found in his house with the private parts missing and the tongue removed. 

Njeru town council, Mukono district, July 16, 2009: Tapenensi Nambogwe, aged 57, a resident of Njeru town council in Mukono district, reported the disappearance of her grandson, Emmanuel Kironde (6), a pupil at Beneas Primary School. The body of the child was later found in a nearby cassava plantation with the head cut off.

Alidi “A” Village, Oyam district, July 4, 2009:
A body of one-and-half-years-old Robina Atino, daughter of Geoffrey Ogwal, was recovered from the bush 200 metres a way from the parents’ home with her neck slit.

Apac, August 23, 2009: Solomon Otiti, aged three, the son of Denis Otiti and Christine Awor, went missing. The body was later recovered with the penis and testicles cut.

Bugembe town council, Jinja, August 26, 2009:
The body of Swaliki Sajjabi (25), a cobbler and resident of Bugembe town council, was found in his house with the head cut off

Madi Opei trading centre, Kitgum, August 17, 2009:
Rose Atim reported disappearance of her son Ayaa Kevin aged two years on 27/08/09 and later on the body was recovered with the private parts, eyebrows and eyelids cut.

Kyamusi village, Mityana district, September 21, 2009:
A body of one Byaruhanga Godfrey from Rakai, a herdsman to one Lutaya Serwanga, was found beheaded in a farm at Kyamusi village, Bulela Sub-county, Mityana District with a head and hands cut off. The deceased went missing on 18/09/09 when he had gone to graze cows.

Kahoko Cell, Ibanda district, September 25, 2009:
At around 1200 hours the body of a male juvenile aged about one and half years was discovered buried in a banana plantation belonging to his father, one Alinitwe Andrew, aged 21 years. The head was cut off. The deceased went missing a day earlier when the mother left him at home together with his father as she went to fetch water.

Gwatiiro village, Mpigi district, September 15, 2009:
The body of one Nakanwagi Rita was recovered without the upper part of the body. It is suspected she was sacrificed to the spirits of a nearby stone quarry. Nakanwagi, aged six years, staying with relatives, had gone missing a week earlier.

Kitete Village, Mukono district, November 17, 2009:
At around 3pm a decomposing body of an unidentified female juvenile of about three years was found along the roadside with the private parts cut off. Alongside the body was a dead calf whose eyes had been removed.

Kamusu trading centre, Kabarole district, November 29, 2009: A body of one Rwijja Patrick, aged 33, unemployed street man, was found with private parts and the tongue cut off.

Bwaise, Kampala, December 21, 2009: The body of a four months old baby girl, daughter of one Asiimwe and Ssenabulya Joseph Kityo, was recovered with the head cut off and buried under the bed and the remaining body part was buried in a garden.

Kibuye village, Nakasongola district, December 9, 2009: At 10am a decomposing body of Loruku Furub, son of Lometo Peter, a peasant, was found with the head cut off and lying besides the body, the tongue and the heart missing, suspected to have been used in ritual sacrifice.

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