Adonis Diaries

Archive for the ‘humor’ Category

Robert Reilly book: a review of Oscar Wilde

Posted on October 24, 2008 and review written on Oct. 1st, 2007.

This novel is about the productive period in the life of Oscar Wilde and I decided to review it for the pleasure of quoting Wilde’s witty pronouncements and to point to the fact that homosexuality was common in 19th century England, and wildly permeating society.

But when such cases reached trial, the culprits were severely punished to uphold the puritanical culture of England

Reilly said: “The many biographers have given the facts, but they left out the feelings.” (The context?)

I might as well start with a few witty sayings, believing that Wilde didn’t attach much philosophical truths or moral positions in them; he just liked arts and to write poetry even in prose and liked youth regardless of class standing as long as they were beautiful, carefree as long as they were not sensible.

At 29, Wilde was slender and handsome in his coat of emerald velvet, trousers tight, rich brown Russian leather boots, and pink cheeks.

He was married for two years and had a son Cyril.  

He was visiting Frances Richards, a handsome artist and she was painting the portrait of the forlorn young, blond, and beautiful Somerset.  “How was the country?” said Somerset plaintively.  Wilde replied: “Full of strange colored things.  Flowers, I believe they’re called”.

Frances had known Oscar for 5 years when he was callow, brash, and a bit crude. 

Frances said to Oscar: “You must be about thirty?”  Oscar replied: “I have scarce 28 summers.  I look older because I spent the entire morning removing a comma from a sentence”. Somerset said: “And how did you spend the afternoon?” Oscar said: “Putting it back”

Just then a cloud passed from before the sun and lemon light danced down over them.  Oscar whispered: “The moment! It is our duty to grasp at life, to seek out startling experience, to ever be on the lookout for a new, a truly new sensation”

The Irish Wilde acquired the essentially English voice with a purer strain. Oscar lighted a cigarette imported from Egypt and said: “It is only when I am deeply in debt that I can afford them (these cigarettes )” Turning to Somerset he said: “I suspect you must commit a great many sins.  It is the only way one ever keeps an air of innocence”

Robert Ross, a slender adolescent of seventeen and visiting from Canada, was peeking behind a door at Oscar.  “Frances, you are providing shelter for a ghost” said Oscar. 

Robert Ross has read all of Oscar works, even the first edition of “Vera”.  Oscar said: “With my works it is not first editions that are rare, but second ones

Oscar was a great connoisseur of North America.  Somerset said to Oscar: “Did you really tell the reporters in New York that the Atlantic was a disappointment?”  Oscar retorted: “I never intended to ruin the reputation of this poor ocean.  It seems no one will receive it anymore.  The nearest I got to Canada was Buffalo.  There was some intolerable noisy body of water nearby.” 

Ross said: “You saw Niagara!”  Oscar said: “American bride is brought there on her honeymoon.  Niagara is her first but not the keenest disappointment.  Niagara would be wonderful if the water didn’t fall”

Oscar told Frances: “Shall I ever conquer that harsh and golden city?  I have produced nothing in over a year except Cyril (his son).  I have done nothing since my marriage. Perhaps I am too happy to work”

He went on: “Between them, Shakespeare and Balzac, they have said everything worth saying. I am a little closer to my lifelong ambition to be the first well-dressed philosopher in the history of thought

Oscar went on looking at the picture of Somerset: “Youth, what a precious thing.  I would do anything to retain my youth.  The Greek gods, being jealous of Somerset’s beauty, bestowed on him that fatal combination: a tongue that works too readily and a mind that works not at all.  His portrait will remain ever silent but forever young.”  Frances was telling Oscar: “I never know when you’re being serious.” And Oscar to say: “When I’m joking, of course.”

Ross followed Oscar in the park because he wanted to speak to him very badly.  Wilde told Ross: “Not only do you bribe Frances to spy on me but now you are trailing me through London like an avenging angel.  You are relentless Mr. Ross. You are incorrigible.  You are unscrupulous. I think we are going to be great friends.”  They talked about Frances and Wilde said: “Before Frances can become a true artist, she is going to have to learn the subtle, tortuous art of being shallow.”

Ross told Oscar that he intended to write to him a letter of admiration because he considers his poems masterpieces. Oscar replied: “I never answer letters. I know of bright prospects who came to London and wound up wrecks in a month, simply from answering letters.”  Oscar gave Ross a ride in a Gurney cab since omnibuses should be reserved for the rich because they can endure discomfort.

The fog fell on London and Wilde said: “Fog transforms our shabby city into a composition by Claude Monet.  Without fog and smoke London would be recognized as the most dreadful spectacle by man.  The whole art of living is to ignore ugliness and heighten beauty.” 

Ross asked Oscar: “What is the wages of the exquisite sins of yours?” and Wilde to answer: “The only sin is boredom. We must be on the lookout for new temptations”

When the coach arrived at Ross place he asked Oscar to come in for a minute which he did and then Ross kissed him on the mouth in the dark.  Oscar was taken aback and refused Ross advancement and Ross said: “You said you were looking for new temptations. I never felt hated before”

Oscar felt pity for Robert’s pain and said: “We will forget this little incident.  There is lunch at the Café Royal any day you wish. My wife will understand my lateness and that is so much worse”.

Wilde would take Robert Ross on night tours to sections in London where policemen walked in pairs, past workhouses and coffee stalls, German beer shops, down dank alleys where every third house was a tavern with a name like the Black Cat or the Red Rat, filed with drunken men and women dancing round and round.  They drank strange concoctions and watched popular shows.  Once, Ross experienced tomfoolery in his Cambridge school and his colleagues made him commit the unpardonable sin.

Oscar took Ross to Paris to appease his anxiety and they met Sarah Bernhardt.  Sara had a black real jaguar (the mammal) in her palace and she was napping in a coffin.  Oscar adored Sara and when he reached the coffin he whispered: “Awake! For Morning in the Bowl of Night has flung the stone that puts the stars to flight”. 

Sara had a collection of portraits of her, painted by various artists, and Oscar brought her Marguerites, the flower that Sara loved best but didn’t include in her garden. Sara said: “I lost the person most important to me in the entire world.  I lost myself and I am dead, Oscar”

Wilde suggested that she find a new mask and fall in love.  Sara replied: “I am never out of love. Yet no one has loved me in return.  They just adore me.  In all my romances, there is always the sense of a curtain rising and falling. It is the same with you Oscar, you crave an audience”.

Oscar and his wife Constance visited a palm reader who predicted that Oscar will become famous and that he will also take an office job.  Shortly after, Oscar was offered the editorship of the “Lady’s World” and agreed on condition that the name of the magazine be changed to “Woman’s World” and his daily habits changed to a routine tempo, waking up late and coming home late.

Constance thought that a regular job would transform Wilde and drive out of his head some of his excessive ideas about Art and Beauty. 

Ross suggested a crime story where the palm reader predicted to a Gentleman that he would commit a murder.  In order to live a normal life, the Gentleman decided to kill the palm reader and get over with his anxiety.  Wilde story “Arthur Savile’s crime” was accepted by the “Court and Society Review”.

Constance shunned the many receptions and invitations that Wilde attended because he needed an audience all the time.  She stayed home and liked to design clothes and joined a religious sect that did charity in Africa. 

After Constance gave birth to Vyvyan, Oscar seemed utterly happy and he arranged to have a separate room in the attic to work at night. Oscar had “his genius to keep him company”.

Then, one lady member introduced Constance to another sect that dabbled into occultism; she started to believe that magic is not vague, foolish mumbo jumbo but scientific and precise; that the body is only the house of the soul and it has to yield up its debt to the future.

MacGregor was the leader of the Golden Dawn sect.  Constance visited MacGregor at his office and told him: “I want to be able to love my husband”.  MacGregor replied: “That is simple enough.  If you want to love him then love him! He cannot stop you”.  Constance said: “He won’t let me”.   Macgregor replied: “I’m afraid what you really want is for him to love you. You want to control him; every Adept struggles with the temptation of coveting power over what one loves. In this order we do not work ‘magic’ to elevate the initiates beyond the petty considerations of everyday life”

Then he told her in order to be initiated she will have to keep the secrets of the order and to swear total chastity.  Constance said: “I don’t think all your initiates are chaste”.  MacGregor guessed who Constance was referring to and said: “Miss Farr (a very beautiful girl) is a special case. Lovemaking for her is a form of self-mortification”.

Constance divulged to Oscar that chastity is required in the order and that if he has a tiny misgiving then she would not join the order. Wilde told her: “I dare not stand in your way.  I want you to fulfill yourself, my love.  A little chastity will be good for both of us“.

Constance was given tasks to do at home; she had to learn the Hebrew alphabet, the symbols of the Zodiac, the Tarot trumps, preparing a special corner in her house and setting on it salt in a dish, a triangle of black cardboard, a saucer of incense, and a rose, made a wand painting, one tip black and the other white.  Constance was assigned experiments trying to make a handkerchief rise, hypnotize her cat, and walk out of her body.

Wilde asked her to tell him all about what she is doing just to put this knowledge to the service of art.  He said: “A little hocus-pocus may help me with the novel I am trying to write”. The secret information were transformed and included in Wilde’s famous novel “Dorian Gray”.

Oscar and Ross were lovers for a long time until Oscar got a strong hit with his novel “Dorian Gray”. The story is about a picture portrait that disintegrate while Dorian remains young forever. Oscar had now many young followers or apostles but he is in love with a rich young guy of twenty one Lord Alfred Douglas, known as Bosie.  Bosie preferred not to have physical intercourses with Wilde in order to preserve their love which made Oscar to be constantly thinking of Bosie. 

When his play “The fan of lady Windermere” became a success, Oscar invited Bosie for a special preview just for him and Bosie insisted on having physical intercourse, though Oscar preferred not to.

Oscar invited both Ross and Bosie to attend a rehearsal of his French play “Salome” played by Sarah Bernhard in London. He told Ross: “Can you imagine what would happen if the English were to understand Salome in French?” 

Afterward, Bosie told Wilde that his male servant made forceful advances and is blackmailing him.  The lawyer of Wilde, George Lewis, told Bosie to pay up the 100 pounds that the blackmailer asked because no matter what the outcome in court, his name would be tainted forever and Wilde gave the lawyer the money to pay Bosie’s blackmailer.

A journalist from the Express asked Wilde: “It seems that your plays are about trivial people of the upper class people who are leading trivial lives.  Have you no interest in the drama of everyday existence?”  Wilde replied: “Everyday existence says very little to me. For example, if a journalist were to be run over that would not be of any dramatic significance.  Now, I am relying on you to misrepresent me

Oscar was utterly in love with Bosie even though he learned that Bosie was a rotten apple long before they met, even when Bosie slept with every young man that he liked, even when Bosie got him in endless trouble with blackmailers to retrieve the love letters he wrote to Bosie, even when Bosie relied on Oscar for his luxurious lifestyle, and even when Bosie’s father, the Marquess of Queensberry, went relentlessly after Oscar and sent him his card where he wrote: “Posing as a Sodomite”

Wilde sued the Marquess for libel and Oscar’s friends advised him to drop the case, go abroad and write a letter to the Times to that effect.  Wilde knew this was the wiser venue to drop the case, especially when he realized that the Marquess had built a substantial file that could damage the reputation of Wilde as a seducer of male youths.

However, Wilde let the case take its course thinking loudly:

“There is something about the whole thing so perfect.  So beautifully crafted-like a superb play. Only, who is doing the crafting? Your father Bosie is but a character in the drama.  As I am.  As you are.  No, it is a work fashioned by a master artist.  Don’t you feel the hand of gods at work? Think of all they have granted me: A delightful, amusing life.  Money.  Success in my work.  Two adorable children.  My wife Connie and you.  The gods have given me so many triumphs.  Are they going to take it al back?”

The case went to trial and Oscar tried his humor and wit and wearing a carnation.  Soon, after a couple of cross examinations Wilde decided on the suggestion of his lawyer to drop the case.  The attorney general prosecuted Wilde and locked him for a month in jail awaiting trial on several charges of indecent behavior with youth half his age. 

Oscar was allowed only one visitor per day and saw only Bosie when he showed up. The jury could not reach a decision and Wilde was set free pending a second trial. 

No hotels permitted Wilde to set foot in and all his belongings were sold on auction to cover the cost of the trials; he ended up living with his mother who had moved to a smaller apartment.

Several people urged Oscar to flee to France but his mother refused and insisted that he take a stand as an Irish

The second trial handed Oscar two years prison with hard labor; Bosie fled to Italy and never sent him a letter to prison. Wilde was to receive only two letters per month and the rest were to be accumulated until he is liberated; he selected Ross’ letters because he gave details on his family.

The first few months were nasty and Oscar was feeling excessively reduced as a human being until he was ordered to work on the garden and allowed to write and read.  

His mother died in her sleep and Constance came to announce the news, though Wilde had just dreamt of his mother in black.  Constance moved to Switzerland with the children. Oscar emerged slim, in good health, and athletic.

Ross meets Oscar at Berneval, a sea town near Dieppe in France. Oscar is living on allowances sent to him by his wife Constance and he writes to Constance to move to Switzerland but her replies are not warm. 

Bosie writes to Wilde and wants to see him again.  Finally, Oscar succumbs and rejoins Bosie in Rouen and from there to Naples in Italy. They are living on the allowance of Bosie’s mother. 

Wilde is writing a ballad titled “Ballade of Reading Gaol”, the prison where he spent his term, and is assured to be published.  Bosie resents Oscar because he is not capable of producing poems that are publishable and Bosie leaves to London. 

Oscar moves to Paris and roam the streets; Constance allowances arrive on time but they are not sufficient to sustain Wilde’s luxurious tastes for good food in expensive restaurants and Champaign.

Constance dies under a back operation after she was paralyzed. 

Wilde visits his wife’s tomb in Genoa and her stone reads Constance Mary Lloyd and Oscar weeps harsh thick tears because she had not yet begun to live, had never a chance to learn what life was and she had been cheated. By life and by him! 

Oscar visit Sara Bernhardt in Nice and they lament growing old, ruined clowns “the audience raising them high and then casting them down. The actors are the glory and the shame of the average individuals”

Bosie inherited 15,000 pounds from his father and moved to Paris.  Oscar was going through the miseries of being penniless and asked Bosie that his family owe him a debt of honor because Lady Queensberry had promised to cover the expenses of the trials; the money you inherited is mine.  Bosie got furious and left the restaurant.

Oscar was seeing a young Irish Catholic priest in Paris for conversion.

While he was dying he told Ross “When the trumpets blast in the judgment day I will turn to you and say: “Robbie dearest, let’s pretend we do not hear””

Wilde died a Catholic in a poor hotel room surrounded by Ross and the priest.

Oscar Wilde was barely over 50. The book never mentioned what Oscar said before he died: “Either the curtain opens or I shall leave!”

A few other Wilde quips:

Lady Effingham was quite altered by her husband’s death.  She looked twenty years younger.  In fact her hair has turned quite gold from grief.”

“In married life, three’s company, two’s a crowd.”

“I like to carry my diary when I travel; one should always have something sensational to read in the train.”

Ignorance is like an exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone.”

“Novels that end happily invariably leave one feeling depressed.”

“If one tells the truth, one is sure, sooner or later, to be found out.”

Wickedness is a myth invented by good people to account for the curious attractiveness of others.”

“The realization of oneself is the prime aim of life; realizing this aim through pleasure is finer than to do so through pain.”

Is sarcasm such a problem in artificial intelligence research

Posted on March 1, 2016

Automatic Sarcasm Detection: A Survey 

[PDF] outlines ten years of research efforts from groups interested in detecting sarcasm in online sources.

If a text is devoid of detailed context to the story, there is no way to detect a sense of humor. And the major problem is that most stories or documentary pieces do Not bother to provide substantive context that are Not based on biases.

“Any computer which could reliably perform this kind of filtering could be argued to have developed a sense of humor.”

Martin Anderson Thu 11 Feb 2016

The problem is not an abstract one, nor does it centre around the need for computers to entertain or amuse humans, but rather the need to recognise that sarcasm in online comments, tweets and other internet material should Not be interpreted as sincere opinion.

Why sarcasm baffles AIs thestack.com|By The Stack.com

‪#‎sarcasm‬‪#‎humor‬‪#‎AI‬

The need applies both in order for AIs to accurately assess archive material or interpret existing datasets, and in the field of sentiment analysis, where a neural network or other model of AI seeks to interpret data based on publicly posted web material.

Attempts have been made to ring-fence sarcastic data by the use of hash-tags such as #not on Twitter, or by noting the authors who have posted material identified as sarcastic, in order to apply appropriate filters to their future work.

Some research has struggled to quantify sarcasm, since it may not be a discrete property in itself – i.e. indicative of a reverse position to the one that it seems to put forward – but rather part of a wider gamut of data-distorting humour, and may need to be identified as a subset of that in order to be found at all.

Most of the dozens of research projects which have addressed the problem of sarcasm as a hindrance to machine comprehension have studied the problem as it relates to the English and Chinese languages, though some work has also been done in identifying sarcasm in Italian-language tweets, whilst another project has explored Dutch sarcasm.

The new report details the ways that academia has approached the sarcasm problem over the last decade, but concludes that the solution to the problem is Not necessarily one of pattern recognition, but rather a more sophisticated matrix that has some ability to understand context.

Any computer which could reliably perform this kind of filtering could be argued to have developed a sense of humor.

Note: For AI machine to learn, it has to be confronted with genuine sarcastic people. And this species is a rarity

I love to write: I love to read how My Style transforms all these ideas

I rarely quote a sentence: frequently, I change the idea that inspired me, in meaning and in style.

I am reading a book by Sacha Guitry and I enjoyed his humour, anecdotes and quotes.

Here is a list of his sentences and humoristic ideas that inspired me to change and transform:

On veut enterrer l’enfant anormal et on devient un adult, trop normal. Personne n’est satisfait de sa vie

Qu’est-ce que ca te coute, si tu a du talent a faire la cour aux femmes? Elles sont trop susceptible et assoiffées d’egard, et sont enchantees.

Soyez franc si ca te chante, mais ne doublez pas le débit.

L’homme malin, et qui veut paraître insolent, dit a une femme trop jolie, et qui le sait trop bien: “Demoiselle, tu me plais”

Il n’y aurait plus de problèmes de guerre entre les genres si les femmes oublient “l’Égalité” et se concentrent sur leur superiorite’

On est tous inconsolables, homme et femmes saines et “honnêtes”, d’avoir décliné les opportunités d’entreprendre de commettre les fautes, les plus graves.

La femme change, et bien trop vite que les hommes. A vous d’interpreter cette idiome: A vous d’essayer de changer pour rectifier votre point de vue.

La meilleure façon de conserver un mariage est de payer, et a chaque fois qu’on fait l’amour, sans rabais et en cash. Le plus riche du couple paie le plus souvent. Un bonus généreux fait long feu, quand ca vient de la femme. C’est la definition meme de “Courtiser“. L’argent reste dans la famille, mais le Zest de faire l’amour n’a pas de prix.

Seulement les gens qui gagne leur vie convenablement (homme Et femme), on droit a un marriage plutot satisfaisant. Tous les autres cas sont du type esclavagiste, pure et simple. Et les excuses sont celles d’esclaves. No taxation without representation

Tout événement qui marque l’esprit commence par une comédie et se termine par un drame. Et vice versa. Plutôt chercher un événement qui commence dans un drame. Iza zamatna, zabat.

“Tu as rencontré la femme de ta vie ou l’idée d’Amour ce matin? Peut-être elle n’ est pas Ta femme que tu as rencontré: Elle cherche un mari qui gagne sa vie convenablement”

Dans les deux cas, on fait faillite: 1) On ne peut pas rendre son epouse heureuse a Notre idee 2) On ne peut pas rendre l’épouse malheureuse a Notre façon.

Est-ce quand on dit a une femme “Je t’aime”, ca veut dire que les autres femmes doivent prendre le deuil?

Entre hommes, on ne se complimente que sur ses maîtresses? Les hommes ont un sens inne’ pour les jeux risque’ ou’ la banque gagne toujours.

Comment apprendre a être positive dans les divorces? Ce serait chouette que les amants se marient: ils sont toujours aveugles et je prend délice de cette vengeance.

On quitte ou on reste: un processus a répétition…selon l’âge et les talents acquisent.

Entre couple, tromper la maitresse ou le dandy, peut donner l’impression de redevenir fidèle.

Les actrices sont généralement meilleures que les acteurs: Elles poursuivent leur job primaire de Courtisanes

Generalement, on est cruel quand on aime: la cruauté se transfère aux maîtresses et dandy.

Mentir entre les couples doit être la norme et il faut l’apprendre comme un acteur/actrice professionnel: mentir donne l’impression salubre qu’on se rembourse, un catalyst irresistible.

Une jolie et élégante femme sait et sent toujours qu’on la regarde: le plus souvent de dos.

L’imagination trompeur: celui/celle qui est absent a un charme irrésistible.

On épouse de jolie femmes (quand on est jeune ou vieux) et on se rend compte qu’on a fait le bon choix lorsqu’un autre nous en délivre.

La coutume que la femme doit traîner après le mari est nocif a l’homme: A chaque fois, la femme se demande si ce dot la convient.

La vie a deux, se surveiller soi-même et surveiller l’autre, pour retenir la dignité et la complaisance, est une occupation trop demandante. J’aime ce qui me fait sentir confortable et qui correspond aux exigences corporelles de la vie. Ces remarques ne s’appliquent souvent pas a plus de deux personnes: le chaos detruit les regles

Être “fait”pour vivre ensemble n’entraîne pas nécessairement qu’on puisse vivre ensemble: Comprenez “ensemble” dans toutes ses formes sociales.

Il parait que les couples doivent se “rencontrer” plus souvent: Manière de tester le potentiel de leur charme.

Une vaste différence entre “on s’ennuie” et “avoir des ennuies”. Cette différence s’applique entre célibat et mariage. Vaste difference en consequences: On peut altérer une situation “d’ennuie”.

Une autre vaste différence entre penser et agir a ce qui nous donnerait du plaisir; en relation humaine, bien entendu.

Des mots spirituels sont jolis, occasionnellement. Le sens de l ‘humour est perpetuel et qui allonge la jouvence.

Dommage. Si les gens que tu connaissent n’avaient pas un secret espoir/plaisir de te voir malheureux.

J’ai la prétention de ne pas plaire a tout le monde: ceux qui croient me connaître.

Urgent. Confirmer la nouvelle règle: tu n’est pas libre de n’avoir pas une opinion sur le dérangement de ce monde.

La femme maligne, elles le sont souvent, marie un homme “ordinaire” à son second marriage, ou le troisième.., selon l’age: elle rechigne de se faire tromper.

Il n’y a pas de bordels d’hommes: ils ne sont jamais doués pour ce job a succession, et ca coûterait trop chère pour survivre.

Le mariage est institué’ pour faciliter le bon fonctionnement des institutions des Etats: la liberte’ et l’independance sont mattes a un grand echelle.

Les femmes s’habillent selon la convoitise des yeux des hommes

La vie a octroyé à la femme “saine sexuellement”, le droit de se marier a succession. Les hommes sains et indépendant doivent être soulager.

Quand je m’éveille, je garde les yeux fermés et je me débrouille à rassembler les miettes de la vie: les exercices de respiration, les roulements des yeux, les échappements des gaz…

Je m’amuse beaucoup lorsque je m’ennui: Je choisis les sujets moi-meme et ca ne traine pas. C’est plus chouette de penser quand on s’étire au lit.

Mon prenom Adonis est deja fait: comment établir mon nom?

Les gens que je ne connais pas ne me detestent pas: Je laisse cette prérogative aux parents et cousins

Selon la loi commune, je suis toujours un fils: n’ayant pas essayé d’avoir d’enfants. Et pourtant, il n’y a plus personne pour me gâter.

Chaque jour je fais tomber le rideau. Et par magie, le rideau se releve. Je crois désormais aux miracles.

Tant que je crois ne pas être une cible, je suis satisfait d’être un point de mire.

La poule ou l’oeuf? Cocu ou avoir été trompé? Et vice versa. Il n’y a pas de cocus ou caucuses: c’est se sentir trop solitaire, stupid.

Note: Sacha divorced 4 times. Why I didn’t get married? I never could earn a convenient living? I lacked training in communicating conveniently in order to sustain daily interrogation? I was Not the type for women to fall in love with on her first wedding? Honest with my limitations, all the way?

THE 5 MOST IMPORTANT LEADERSHIP QUOTES OF ALL TIME – WITH PERSONAL AFFIRMATIONS

Dan Rockwell.

Alan Alda:

“Real listening is a willingness to let the other person change you.” Alan Alda

  1. I will enter conversations open to learning and willing to adapt (if it suit my behavior?).
  2. The way I see things is ONE way of seeing them (A single way, with option to retract in the other direction?).
  3. I’m willing to change my perspective (Not matching the Silent Majority “common sense”?).
  4. My need to be right makes me stupid (As long as you are doing the right thing?).

Daniel Kahneman:

“Nothing in life is as important as you think it is, while you are thinking about it” Daniel Kahneman (For how long to think about it to make it Not that important?)

  1. I will overcome the distraction of urgencies by reconnecting with the big picture (Beyond the Big Bang?).
  2. I will maintain curiosity with calmness when stress increases. (Curiosity is the key to feel alive, calmly or angrily)
  3. I will rest, enjoy family and friends, and take time for self-development, even during a pandemic (Because of Covid-19).
  4. I won’t belittle the important concerns of others. And I won’t try to solve everyone’s concerns. (As if we ever cared to resolving other people concerns)

Peter Drucker:

“It is more productive to convert an opportunity into results than to solve a problem – which only restores the equilibrium of yesterday.” Peter Drucker (An opportunity that does Not require solving anything?)

  1. I see a negativity bias in myself that requires adjusting (How much effort to recognize the various kinds of biases?).
  2. I will view situations and interactions through the lens of opportunity. (How about the lens of experimental minded designs?)
  3. I will maintain a positive attitude. (Not in the face of injustices and unfair practices and elite laws)

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:

“When we take people merely as they are, we make them worse; when we treat them as if they were what they should be, we improve them as far as they can be improved.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Review the practices of all those missionaries who ruined ethnic civilizations and culture)

  1. I will view people through the lens of who they might become. (But Not try to intervene)
  2. I will maintain optimism while working to develop myself and others. (As if we can achieve anything when depressed)
  3. I will acknowledge the limitations of myself and others. (Just focus on your limitations and spare us judging others)

Warren Bennis:

“Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple and it is also that difficult.” Warren Bennis (Too convoluted to make sense of this quote)

  1. I will spend time in self-reflection today. (And tomorrow?)
  2. I have the capacity for self-deception. I will seek feedback. (Feedback from whom?)
  3. I will bring my best self in service to others. (what if the others consider your “best self” as one of your limitations?)

What quote might you add to the list of most important leadership quotes of all time? (Forget about this horrendous leadership mind-fix. Learn to confront injustices)

Gratitude makes many bad emotions impossible to be sustained. Given that we recognize what gratitude is and how it is acquired.

Have you ever told anyone you know that you are grateful for how he behaved toward you?

Probably you thanked a stranger who came forward to aid you in your time of distress, without you demanding help. Or most probably, you avoided uttering any thanks, as if it is normal to rescue a fellow man?

Maybe if you get the habit of voicing gratitude to nature surrounding you, for waking up healthy and cheerful, of welcoming a gorgeous day, of encountering a smiling fellow on the street, of hearing a “good morning” as you pass by hurriedly…

Maybe this habit will catch up and become a trend to say “thank you” to other fellow men, and even offer details on how you are grateful to the person and learn to extend compliments that are frank and deserving.

Dan Rockwell posted on November 19, 2020

The 7 impossibilities of gratitude.

#1. Worry.

You can’t worry and be grateful in the same moment. Don’t worry about overcoming worry. Just notice and acknowledge benefit or advantage every day.

#2. Complaining.

You can’t complain and practice gratitude with the same breath.

Tip: Breathe in deeply and breathe out ‘thank you’ like a silent meditation.

#3. Anger.

You can’t be grateful and angry at the same time. The next time you see red, look around for something to be grateful for.

#4. Bitterness.

You can’t be bitter and grateful at the same time. How have painful relationships expanded your ability to contribute?

#5. Hate.

Hate can’t co-habit with healthy gratitude. (Gratitude can be unhealthy.)

If you hate your job, team, or boss, find something in each to be grateful for. Maybe you’re grateful your boss is out of town.

#6. Helplessness.

Helplessness runs horrified from gratitude: Gratitude in turbulence is power.

#7. Pessimism.

Pessimism cowers before gratitude.

I dare you to be pessimistic in the same moment you’re practicing gratitude.

Michael J. Fox on optimism, gratitude, and misery:

“Optimism is really rooted in gratitude,” Fox said. “Optimism is sustainable when you keep coming back to gratitude, and what follows from that is acceptance.

Accepting that this thing has happened, and you accept it for what it is. It doesn’t mean that you can’t endeavor to change. … Then see how much the rest of your life you have to thrive in, and then you can move on.” Michael Fox

Misery.

“I discovered that it was (misery) that I wasn’t recognizing the people around me and what they were doing and how they were behaving toward me and each other. And how grateful I was for them and how grateful they were for me. And it just opened my eyes.” Michael Fox

Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0e90IiapIZw

Why now and then, warrior colonial powers feel the urge to go hunting?

Why a few animal species are preserved, while underdeveloped people are still ripe for extermination?

Going Hunting (first posted in 1998)

1. I’m going to war.

My government has decided.

I need to release my animal instincts.

For economic reasons,

For political reasons,

For religious reasons.

I’m going to war, today,

For no reasons:

Just kicking butts.

2. What animal instincts do they fear in me?

I’ve never seen animals killing others

From miles away.

I’ve never seen an animal

Who has just gorged

On hamburger and pizza,

Going a-prowling,

To kill and maim.

3. Never seen an animal

Returning from the hunt,

In clean and spec fur,

Shining from shoulders to boots.

Never seen an animal

Returning from the hunt,

To eat more and get drunk silly.

They used to find themselves a cool shade

To rest and sleep off the feast.

4.   What animal instincts do they fear in me?

I had a dream of cannibals at war

And I was a reporter of this war.

Once a victor felled his enemy, he would kneel and achieve him.

The victor is serenely and religiously eating his enemy flesh, raw.

For him, the war is already over:  He stops killing other victims,

He is not helping his tribe warriors to overcome more enemies.

His enemies will not interfere with his eating;

They stay away from this pair,

Both finally at peace.

5. For both the victor and the victim the war is over.

When the dust of war settles down all the living warriors,

From both waring camps

Prepare a joint bonfire and finish off the remains of their victims.

They leave the battlefield in peace.

They don’t carry any leftovers:

Nature and its beasts need to take their shares of the slaughter.

What animal instincts do they fear in me?

Underdeveloped people are still being exterminated

By preemptive wars, mass killing weapons,

Medical experiments and testing of vaccines

Mass transfer of people to less fertile regions

Burning of virgin forests

Private acquisition of fresh water sources

Polluting rivers and lands with their poisoned waste…

And they are still warning us of climate change

And the colonization of space and other planets

How come Colonial powers keep fearing my Animal Instincts?

Understanding the Middle East with better clichés

Some people feel that western media coverage of the Middle East is dominated by too many clichés and stereotypes.

An emerging view now believes that there are actually too few rather than too many clichés, thereby making reporting less accurate.

This radical critique of what is really wrong with Western media coverage has already produced enlightening pieces that allow us to understand what exactly is happening in the Middle East, far better than we have managed in the past.

Below is a sample of this revolutionary trend.

Karl reMarks: Understanding the Middle East with better clichés. Feb. 27, 2015 karlremarks.com

In order to understand the Middle East and North Africa/the Arab World/The Near East Muslim, one must begin with its centre of gravity and most populous nation, Egypt.

Following the general tumult that ensued from the Arab Spring/Arab Uprisings, Egypt is now ruled by the military strongman and former army leader Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi.

Sisi is presumed to be a bald Sunni Muslim secular leader who came to power after overthrowing democratically-elected moderate Islamist Sunni (not-bald) Mohammed Morsi .

Sisi’s secular takeover was supported by hardcore Wahhabi Sunni Saudi Kingdom and other moderate conservative Sunni Arab States.

However it was opposed by the only other Wahhabi state, Qatar, a “moderate” conservative small country that employs conservative Islamist journalists in Arabic and left-wing, socially-aware journalists in English. (The western media insist all these dictator Emirs/Sultans/Kings are moderates…)

This is not a surprise because the charm of the Middle East stems from its contradictions.

Now both Qatar and Saudi Arabia oppose the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, a secular Alawi leader from the minority offshoot Shia sect, but they disagree on which of the moderate Sunni Muslim rebels against him they should support in public and which of the extreme Sunni factions they should support in secret.

Assad is in turn supported by conservative Shia Iran and the Lebanese Shia (not offshoot) militant group Hezbollah.

Conservative Shia Iran and uber-Conservative Sunni Saudi Arabia are locked in a fierce geopolitical struggle that some argue is the continuation of ancient sectarian divisions, while others believe is more of a struggle over influence embellished with sectarian rivalries.

Despite their many disagreements, Saudi Arabia and Iran agree on conducting their rivalry through proxy regional wars instead of an all-out war, probably because it’s more fun this way.

Besides Syria, there are several other mutually-acceptable venues in which Saudi Arabia and Iran conduct their proxy wars, such as Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.

Recently in Yemen, the Houthis who are members of yet another Shia offshoot group, took over the country, once again as a consequence of the general tumult that ensued from the Arab Spring.

Some say Iran was behind the Houthis’ move, partially to punish Saudi Arabia for allowing oil prices to drop.

In traditional Persian culture it’s considered an insult to allow the prices of commodities to drop below production cost, which explains Iran’s anger.

But it’s in Iraq where the struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia gets really complicated.

The sudden rise of the Islamic State under the leadership of self-declared Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has taken everyone who wasn’t paying attention by surprise. (It was No surprise, just impotence from Iraq government)

Baghdadi, a very Sunni Muslim extremist, although I wouldn’t say it to his face, has led his forces to occupy large parts of Iraq including the second-largest city, Mosul.

The rise of the Islamic State threatened Iran’s influence in Iraq, which should have pleased Saudi Arabia, save for the fact that the new Caliphate is ideologically indisposed towards Saudi Arabia, which it sees as the epitome of liberal values.

Everything is relative, as they say.

So Saudi Arabia is in the tricky position of having to balance its competing aims of weakening Iran but containing the existential threat posed by the Islamic State. There are No non-existential threats in the Middle East.

For its part, Iran has thrown its weight behind the Shia forces fighting the Islamic State in Iraq, although this has aligned it momentarily with its old foe, the United States.

But Iran is also full of contradictions as, despite being a theologically-governed Islamic State, it seems to be capable of taking pragmatic decisions in its regional policies.

Recent photographic evidence obtained by Western media outlets even suggests that Iranian women, who must wear Islamic clothes in public, actually wear bras under their clothes.

They also watch television and laugh with their friends, much like people in the West sometimes do.

Western media clearly thought this was important to point out, so it must be so.

Another major Sunni player is Turkey, which is allied with Qatar against the Saudi-Egyptian axis.

Turkey is led by relatively moderate Sunni Muslim Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a suited non-bearded Islamist with latent Ottoman impulses.

Turkey opposed the removal of president Morsi in Egypt, not least because he was also a suited Islamist.

Turkey’s position has been close to that of Qatar in Syria and Libya, where everyone has been competing for influence since Gaddafi’s fall.

(Regional Middle Eastern powers are like the nightclub circle, they all want to be seen in the new place. Lately, Qatar revealed that their activities in Syria in funding the extremist organizations was dictated by USA)

The situation in Libya was complicated by the fact that there are no sectarian divisions in the country, which made things difficult for a while until Libyans decided to create random divisions.

(You can get a sense of this by reading any article on Libya and trying to understand who is against whom and why).

This greatly facilitated the involvement of external powers and made proxy wars much easier to wage.

Although it is a bit unfair to Iran, which being Shia can’t find any allies in an exclusively Sunni Muslim country.

Oh look, this is almost one thousand words already and we don’t have time to wrap up all the loose strands neatly, so it’s best to end on a timeless-sounding platitude about the Middle East and how it will always be the same.

Perhaps even a quote from Khalil Gibran or Omar Khayyam, hinting at our sorrow about lost potential and showing how learned we are.

“We read and rebut their vile crap so you won’t have to!”

What a difference a day can make in Idiot America, eh?

Only a little more than one day ago, the entire Judenpresse Armada was blasting holes in the hull of the USS Trump.

His debate performance was a “national embarrassment,” (they) screamed. He refuses to denounce “White Supremacists, ” (they) wailed.

He’s responsible for the deaths of over 200,000 Americans, they libeled. The blistering broadsides got so hot that even a number of ostensibly pro-Trump Republican Senators (Mitch McConnell, Tim Scott, Lindsey Graham et al) — when pressed by the Marxist media — quickly wet their pants and dutifully distanced themselves from the pro-Trump “Proud Boys.”

Their implied mild criticism of Trump eventually compelled the President himself to condemn “White Supremacism .”

Smelling blood in the water, the Deep State – Democrat complex grew bolder by the hour. Demands for adding a debate microphone mute button (aimed at taming Trump) saturated the news. (here)

The fake Stupid-19 “second wave” scare was being hyped (here) — timed, of course, for the coming election — the implication being that it was Trump’s failure.

Incoming fire was also directed at First Lady Melania Trump — in the form of a just-released audio tape of her dropping “the F word” over her frustration with being relegated to White House Christmas decorator while her efforts to help refugees were ignored by the media. (here)

And when even the generally objective Rasmussen Poll showed that a few percentage points of the dumb-as-dirt normies of the mushy malleable middle were starting to pull away from Trump — it became clear that Election 2020 was by no means a re-election lock for him.

The closing days of September and early October were not good for Team Trump.

And now, in a Covid minute — the big guns of the Piranha Press have fallen silent while Trump regroups. How convenient.

The big guns of the Judenpresse Armada have temporarily ceased firing as the subject instantly changes to Trump’s sudden “illness.”

We have mixed feelings about this.

On the one hand, The Trumps’ sudden “illness” can only add credibility to an illusion that at The Anti-New York Times have worked so hard to shatter — at the cost of having our prior website pulled down by European authorities due to “Covid disinformation (hosting company was based in Holland). 

But then again, there’s that age-old ethical question about “ends justifying the means.”

We are, after all, at war with dirty, lying, thieving, mass-murdering, child raping, Globalist scum here. Is it wrong to hoist them on their own petard (blow them up with their own bomb?) 

So entrenched is the Stupid-19 hoax, that no major media outlet or prominent Demonrat would dare to put forth a “conspiracy theory” ™ suggesting that the Trumps are faking it.

Headline: NBC News (October 2, 2020)

Biden Pulling All Negative Ads

“A Biden campaign official confirmed to NBC News that the campaign is pulling all of its negative advertising from their rotation of paid media. The news comes as the president is transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center as a precautionary measure.”

Communist film-maker Michael Moore does not have the limitations that journalists and politicians do. He spoke freely:

“Democrats, liberals, the media and others have always been wrong to simply treat him as a buffoon and a dummy and a jackass.

Yes, he is all those things. But he’s also canny. He’s clever. He outfoxed Comey. He outfoxed Mueller. He outfoxed 20 Republicans in the GOP primary and then did the same to the Democrats, winning the White House despite receiving fewer votes than his opponent.

He’s an evil genius and I raise the possibility of him lying about having Covid-19 to prepare us and counteract his game.  He knows being sick tends to gain one sympathy. He’s not above weaponizing this.”

The Judenpresse guns may have pulled back as the President “recovers” — but they will begin firing again in a week or two.

Trump will use this truce period to stop the bleeding and to regroup — before unloading his own barrage during the final two weeks of October.

By that time, the fake furor over Trump’s debating style and the manufactured controversy over his tolerance of “The Proud Boys” will be very difficult for the Left to resurrect.

And forget about (them) attacking a 74-year old “survivor” of Stupid-19 for being responsible for the scamdemic. Trump will have too much moral authority on the subject by then.

It’s a shitty, degrading and pathetic way to win an election. But don’t hate the player; hate the game. That being said, one has got to question if a nation now so deeply afflicted by paralyzing stupidity and stark-raving madness is even salvageable at this point — regardless of what Trump and Q Anon may or may not do to crush the Deep State in Term 2.

1. For the past 5 years, Communist film maker Michael Moore has been trying to warn Libtards not to underestimate Trump’s high-level strategic deception. //

2. Ain’t a darn thing wrong with him. //

3. Bewildered and bamboozled by countless hours of Fake News and years of half-ass “education,” the normie voters of the mushy middle can only be won over by maneuver and manipulation. It’s sad, but true.

Boobus Americanus 1: I read in the New York Times today that Trump just checked-in to Walter Reed Hospital.

Boobus Americanus 2: Though I’m voting for Biden, it’s hard to speak ill of someone who has just contracted this horrible disease.
*
St. Sugar: No comment.

Editor: Yes. Let Boobus hold his fire. Trump’s sympathy play is already working like a charm.

A Very Serious Clown from Lebanon. November 10, 2020

Throughout 2020, Lebanon has been descending into an economic crisis, exacerbated by the pandemic, which, according to an article in the New York Timeswritten by Ben Hubbard (who happens to be our interviewee’s husband), is threatening decades of (faked?) prosperity.

Anti-government protests have been on the rise. We immediately thought: a revolution is the perfect time to talk about clown!

Fortunately, our friend from Beirut agreed.

Sabine Choucair is a Lebanese humanitarian clown, storyteller, performer, and new mom. She has a special talent for finding the light in the darkest of times with her clown work and for poking fun at the powers that be with bouffon, a biting and satirical cousin of clown.

We joined her in May via Zoom and competed over who has it worse—America or Lebanon. We’re #1. #MAGA #JokingNotJoking

Amrita Dhaliwal: How is your work responding to the current pandemic and economic crisis in Lebanon?

Sabine Choucair: In the beginning the clowns of Clown Me In were a bit like, “What do we do?” All of our work is based on live interaction, the people being on the streets. And then boom—total lockdown. Suddenly we were at home, lonely, not able to create.

Zoom did not really work for us.

We were in shock, trying to figure out what to do with our lives, and were a bit depressed. We lost all the clown hope we had.

But bit by bit, we started thinking about ways to overcome this and we came up with the idea of making short videos of different games kids can play with their families at home or with themselves in front of a mirror. It was a way for us to be active.

We’ve filmed 5 short videos so far and have been disseminating them.

We have put them on social media and sent them to all the refugee camps in Lebanon and the NGOs we know are working with different communities, specifically Syrian and Palestinian refugees as well as Lebanese living in rural areas.

We’ve also invited people to donate to artists in Lebanon who are stuck in this economic crisis.

We asked artists to send us recordings of them performing fun stuff we could share online on our platforms and we gave them $100 per video. With the economic crisis, the dollar to the lira is nearly seven times what it used to be, so it’s a big deal.

I started giving online live sessions on Facebook for people to just have fun and be silly and just play for half an hour every Friday. We call it the happy half hour.

black and white photo of five seated people in masks

The International Institute For Very Very Serious Studies in Lebanon 2020. Photo by Zakaria Kaakour.

Amrita: You have recently finished running the first year of your school, where you also teach.

Sabine: Yeah, the International Institute for Very, Very Serious Studies.

Nathaniel Justiniano: Very serious.

Amrita: So this is a very serious question. It’s very serious.

Nathaniel: If you could just be serious, please.

Amrita: Let’s be serious. The school is a performance training program in participatory art, clowning, mask work, bouffon technique, puppetry, physical theatre, and storytelling, as well as community-integrated street performance.

You might be the only physical theatre program that teaches and emphasizes activism. Is that true?

Sabine: Very true.

Amrita: How did it go?

Sabine: The first part of the school year was great. The students had so much fun. Then boom! The revolution started, so we shifted our work from the classroom to the streets.

Nathaniel: Congratulations, you started your school. We’re gonna add a revolution and a pandemic, so just be ready.

[Note: In hindsight, we should have also warned Sabine about the explosion. During the editing of this interview, Lebanon experienced the largest explosion in its history due to the accidental ignition of 2750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse in one of Beirut’s ports.

In response to the explosion, Sabine and her crew traveled around the most affected areas to perform and spread joy to the families.]

Sabine: Exactly. So, we started thinking about ways to be on the streets doing activism as clowns joining the revolution.

We had all these big signs congratulating the government for all the great work they were doing making Lebanon #1 in corrupt governing.

Nathaniel: Congratulations, by the way.

Sabine: As clowns, we were really proud.

Amrita: As an American, it’s just really hard for me to congratulate another country for being number one. I’m really feeling insecure right now…

Sabine: We feel that you’ve surpassed us in corruption now.

Amrita: Oh, thank god.

Sabine: But, back in October, we were number one.

Nathaniel: It is a competition.

Sabine: It’s okay. As a clown, I accept failure.

Nathaniel: Can I take it back into the streets with the revolution? Can you help us understand where the revolution is coming from and some of the actions that you and the group committed to? How you built it, your plan, and how it was responded to when you did it?

Sabine: For us, it came as a buildup of many things: Of corruption, of all the politicians who’ve been in power for more than 30 years not making any progress or helping people, of the garbage crisis—we look at our country and feel we’re drowning in a sea of garbage because the government couldn’t find a way to dispose of it.

And then the financial crisis, the economic crisis happened. We were like: We should be doing something.

So we decided: Okay, we’re gonna go to the streets wearing our swimsuits with garbage stuck to our bodies and then we’ll walk in the protests and brag about all the great things we found in the sea.

Someone filmed us for an interview and it went viral; it was very painful and very funny at the same time.

Most of the comments we got were: This is tragicomic. This is the reality. Really, clown is life. This is what’s happening to Lebanese people every day and it’s so scary. It makes us all so angry, but it’s also so funny.

Another day we thought, People are super angry and they’re going out of their way to be on the street.

We decided to be the happy clowns who go and say to the protestors, “Thank you for being here.” This alone makes people really happy—to be marching and chanting and very energetic, and to see clowns.

Many people know we exist as the clowns who go fight for social justice on the streets. They love having us. They’re very supportive. We get a lot of positive feedback and it gives us an amazing push to keep doing what we do.

a group of protestors

Clown Me In during the 2019 Lebanon uprising. Photo by Stop Photography.

Amrita: Can you tell us about your journey to activism? Were you in school and always knew or was it just something that happened?

Sabine: I had no idea this is what I was going to do. I studied theatre in Lebanon, we didn’t really do clowning. I went to London. I did mime school, and I was like, “Oh, this is so boring.”

Amrita: We’ll edit that part out.

Nathaniel: We’re gonna put it as the headline, but go ahead.

Sabine: After, I went to performing arts school and discovered clowning. And I thought, Wow, this is such an amazing art! How did I not know anything about it? 

I grew up during the Lebanese Civil War, which lasted 15 years (1975 until 1990), so the first clown I created was this military clown who’s super paranoid. And I thought this clowning business was great.

So I decided I would do clowning for the rest of my life because it made me feel so much better.

And then I wanted to share the experience with other people because it’s fun and it makes a difference, so I started Clown Me In, a theatre company I co-founded with Gabriela Munoz.

That’s how I started, one thing led to another. The first time we went to the streets was because I was giving a workshop to a group of people and we were like, “Let’s go try clowning on the streets.”

We went to the Corniche, a popular seafront promenade, in Beirut and wondered why people were littering so much.

We started following them as clowns, tripping over what they just littered and giving their trash back to them. We were doing stuff that people found fun, even though we were really clown-attacking them about littering. Then we were like, “Let’s do more of this.”

Amrita: It sounds like a classic clown journey.

Really, clown is life. This is what’s happening to Lebanese people every day and it’s so scary. It makes us all so angry, but it’s also so funny.

Nathaniel: You’ve been working at addressing environmental issues for years. How has your strategy or any aspect of your work changed in the face of the culture not changing?

Sabine: We still take the themes and make them into clown acts or clown videos, but over the years we started working more with the people who are trying to change policy.

For example, we worked with the Coalition for Waste Management and in one of their protests they wanted to talk about incinerators.

We came up with a whole scene about incinerators and clowns going to the protests, offering our condolences to people and saying we’ll miss them because we’re all going to die. That’s the way we’re shifting—we try to be supportive of the people making a difference in policies.

Nathaniel: It sounds like you also create visibility, joy, and more conversation around an issue in collaboration with those who might be able to actually change policy.

Sabine: Definitely.

triptych of three clowns

Screenshot from the Clown games videos. Video by Ali J. Dalloul.

Amrita: Let’s talk about the intersection of clown and bouffon. Bouffon being a much more confrontational, satirical, and often disturbing cousin of clown. What are your thoughts on it?

[Note: Bouffon is a satirical performance style and the primary dynamic is ecstatic mockery. They don’t make fun of individuals in the audience so much as everyone’s collective complicity in societal dysfunction.

Often costumed in exaggerated and distorted full-body masks, they dance and play with carefree abandon, unapologetically rejecting oppressive stigmas and social norms.

One reference point of a type of bouffon in popular culture is Sacha Baron Cohen’s work as the characters Borat and Bruno.]

Sabine: Clown Me In uses a lot of clowning and bouffon because being an activist clown is not enough.

You need to really be a bouffon in so many situations. It’s great to be a poetic, hopeful clown looking at life and showing your vulnerability. But when things are really heated you need to be able to be there, showing people who they are, what they are, and really pinching these parts.

As in touching issues that are delicate and/or hurtful sometimes and really digging into them. Once we find what’s bothering us or the issue we want to tackle, we start devising and looking for fun and extreme ways to play it, whether it be clown or bouffon. So it’s a bit of both.

I’m not great at theory; another person might give another explanation. I just know in practice this is what happens. We shift when we need to shift. I don’t think anyone can say something that is really important, that gets to people, if it’s not coming from passion. It’s all very personal.

Nathaniel: In the wake of the brutal murders of Tony McDade, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others activating protests and marches in every state in the United States, as well as all over the world, it’s feeling like an inflection point in society right now, which is very hopeful.

There’s a Facebook group called “Clown Theory,” and someone posted a question in the face of these protests: “…wondering if there is a place for a clown amongst more serious gatherings like street riots and protests for social and racial justice.”

Some people chimed in in the affirmative. Some people said no, it’s inappropriate. You chimed in saying you’ve done protest work as a clown and people have responded well.

So much of clown practice and teaching in Europe and North America is led by and written by white folx. So there is, I think, a very reasonable association with clowning and whiteness, but these protests and this moment are about uplifting and centering Black folx.

Can you expand on that conversation? We’re talking about white supremacy, activism, clowning, and how we approach it, if at all.

Sabine: Let’s start with the fact that I am Arab. I am Brown, so I feel like I can be a clown on these streets. If I want to choose clowning as a way to talk about racism and Black Lives Matter, then I have the right to do this.

I mean, I am not there, and I’m not living this on a daily basis, but I come from a place where I never felt the urge to stop myself from being on the streets to say something I believe in.

If I’m real, and if I’m true, and if I honestly go there because I believe what I’m doing and saying is supporting the cause, then I just do it.

That’s also how I see other people doing it. But that might be a bit naive from my part.

Nathaniel: Well you do more than that, you are of the community. They know you. You talked about how they know you so well that when you come out, they’re like, “Oh, it’s those clowns.”

I want to lift that up because that seems to be part of the chemistry that makes it work. Do you agree?

Sabine: It took time for it to work. But, yes. It’s something we built together.

three clowns outside

Clown Me In team protesting against incinerators in Lebanon during 2018. Photo by Nabil Mounzer.

Nathaniel: As a final question, what are you hopeful about seeing as a result of your work—clown activism work, or the school, or both? What are you hoping to see happen in terms of impact in Lebanon and Beirut, and amongst the community?

Sabine: I have high hopes about both. The number one reason I wanted to start the school was to have more engaged street theatre in the country.

From the work we’ve been doing with street activism, we’ve seen a lot of change over the years. And I can’t quantify it yet, but we see it. There are specific matters that are bothering people, which we use to inspire the content of our street theatre, and since they know us now, they wait for our performances, which then inspire further discussion among our community.

More people are becoming a part of what we do and using street theatre and clowning to fight for social justice.

I’m hopeful that if we have more people doing this work, even greater impact will be made. And I’m hoping that people from outside the country will try this kind of work in their own countries because talking about really big things in fun ways, and opening conversations on the streets, has such a big impact on people.

Even if it doesn’t, it’s so much fun for us and for the people around us who see us doing it. It’s just amazing.

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THOUGHTS FROM THE CURATORS

Clown and activism may seem like an odd couple, but embedded in the nature of clown is the spirit of joy and resistance to oppressive forces.

This series features a selection of folks from around the world who are all part of a long and diverse heritage of clown activists. From rural villages to urban centers, from popular protests to refugee camps, each of our contributors use grit and humor to activate their communities toward equity and justice.

This series shows how effective clown-based activism can be at subverting bigots and in cultivating hope in hard-hit communities.

We also see how the laughter they provoke has a disarming effect on spectators, creating an opening for vital messages to be heard.

When clowns are invited to help, they have the makings to be a powerful gift to social justice movements. And as we here in the United States have just undergone a presidential election, feeling the deep exhaustion of this time, we heed the call to send in the clowns, with their relentless, life-giving hope.

When Clowns Fight The Power

Some have it very easy in life: They are mostly attractive

This Halo effect

A century ago, Edward Lee Thorndike realized that “A single quality or characteristic (beauty, social stature, height…) produces a positive or negative impression that outshine everything else, and the overall effect is disproportionate”

Attractive people have it relatively easy in their professional life and even get better grades from teachers who are affected by the hallo.

Attractive people gets more frequent second chance in life and are believed more frequently than ordinary people.

They get away with many “disappointing” behaviors and performances.

One need not be racist, sexist, chauvinist… to feel victim of this subconscious unjust stereotype.

Otherwise, how can teenagers fall in love and marry quickly?

I have watched many documentaries on the matting processes among animals.

And it was not automatic that the male who danced better, had a louder booming voice, nicer feathers… that won over the females.

Apparently, female animals have additional finer senses to select the appropriate mate.

Have you ever wondered why CEO’s are mostly attractive, tall, with a full chuck of hairs?

Probably because the less attractive are not deemed appropriate for the media?


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

January 2021
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