Omnium Gatherum: January 16, 2019

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for January 16, 2019.

If you’d like to participate, head over to Omnium Gatherum on the BBS, or suggest something.

  • [MV & Album Review] Cosmic Girls – ‘WJ Stay?’” — eric_r_wirsing, allkpop

    “The girls are apparently at a carnival (which you’d know at about 17 seconds in). There they have fun things which you would normally expect to see at a carnival, like a white horse (usually seen with a carriage, though you can’t find one here), bubbles, and cotton candy, as well as tarot cards.

    A note on those Tarot cards: The tarot set they’re using is the Thoth Tarot, authored by the infamous occultist Aleister Crowley. I’m not sure if they knew that, though. The backs of the cards are colorful, which is likely why they selected them in the first place.”

  • After We Die, Our Dust Will Live Forever” — Betsy Kaplan, WNPR [HT Damien, definitely not 2 wolves & ravens in a suit]

    “All of history is recorded in the dust we create: the pollution we make, the fires we start, the chemicals we use, the volcanos that erupt. Scientists can learn about the Roman Empire through the dust that has been compressed each year for thousands of years into layers of ice sheets in Greenland. “

  • ‘McJesus’ sculpture sparks outrage among Israel’s Christians. ‘If we take the art down, the next day we’ll have politicians demanding we take other things down and we’ll end up only with colorful pictures of flowers.’” — Associated Press, via NBC News

    “Museum director Nissim Tal said that he was shocked at the sudden uproar, especially because the exhibit — intended to criticize what many view as society’s cult-like worship of capitalism — had been on display for months. It has also been shown in other countries without incident.

    The museum has refused to remove the artwork, saying that doing so would infringe on freedom of expression. But following the protests it hung a curtain over the entrance to the exhibit and posted a sign saying the art was not intended to offend.

    ‘This is the maximum that we can do,’ Tal said. ‘If we take the art down, the next day we’ll have politicians demanding we take other things down and we’ll end up only with colorful pictures of flowers in the museum.'”

  • After 24 Years, Scholar Completes 3,000-Page Translation Of The Hebrew Bible” — Rachel Martin, NPR; about The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary

    Alter The Hebrew Bible

    “For 24 years, literary scholar Robert Alter has been working on a new translation of the Hebrew Bible and — “this may shock some of your listeners,” he warns — he’s been working on it by hand.

    ‘In trying to be faithful to the literary art of the Hebrew Bible I certainly edged it away from being merely a precursor to the New Testament — which is a different kind of writing all together,’ he says.”

  • There and Back Again” — Sarah Goslee, Uncanny [HT Lilith Saintcrow]

    “Nobody, not even the wizard, tells you that the road is formed of poison, pain, and the kind of bone-deep exhaustion that a lifetime of napping cannot touch. If they told you that, you might stay home instead, in your cozy little hobbit hole, with your delightful garden, while the ring devoured you from the inside out. Sometimes, on steep and rocky cliffs when the pouring rain and the slippery, loose shale threaten to send you toppling, you think it might have been worth it.

    … perhaps he dreamed of a Valinor of his own. He didn’t find it, none of us do, but he made a space for the broken, the stretched, the fragile. His tale acknowledges that the journey changes those who return from it, as much as it changes those who fall. “There and back again” does not end where we would like it to, or take the shape we might desire. We—the ringbearers, those who love them, even those who never notice them—will have a kinder, wiser, more human society, if we allow narratives that encompass the complexity, the consequences, of walking to Mordor, and home again.”

  • Driving out the Devil: what’s behind the exorcism boom?” — Kate Kingsbury and Andrew Chesnut, Catholic Herald

    “As of the past few decades, it is clear that Catholic clergy are witnessing a mushrooming demand for exorcisms. An astonishing number of people undergo deliverance from demonic forces every week, not only in the developing world but also in Britain and the United States.

    Today still, when modern institutions, services and logics fail, and when injustices prevail, many believe that supernatural entities are the cause. After all, the Devil is in the detail, and for many Catholics, Satan may ultimately be to blame for the world’s ills.”

  • How Catholics are falling for the Prosperity Gospel” — Kate Kingsbury and Andrew Chesnut, Catholic Herald

    “Since the 1990s, the health and wealth gospel has grown in influence within Catholicism, most significantly through the Charismatic Renewal, which has adopted myriad Pentecostal beliefs and practices. Some Catholic churches in Brazil now hold ‘tithers’ Masses’ which imitate Pentecostal fundraising tactics, albeit with a less hard-sell approach.

    The benefits of global capitalism and modernity have not extended uniformly across the planet but have created spaces of exclusion, particularly in the developing world. While many people are privy via the media to a global flow of images, allowing them to consume luxury items and lavish lifestyles visually, most are unable to enjoy them in reality. Additionally, access to basic services such as healthcare is often rudimentary, meaning that many in the Global South live in great uncertainty, yearning for affluence and wellbeing.

    It is in this context that the prosperity gospel flourishes. Its axioms mimic those of 21st-century economics. Just as stocks are expected to yield dividends for the shareholder, so the believer who tithes generously, prays regularly and proselytises expects to see a return on investment in the form of abundant health and wealth from God.”

  • Tweet by Vera Nijveld

  • Your smartphone heralds the rise of the Antichrist, warns Russian Patriarch” — Christian Today

    Christian Today your smartphone heralds the rise of the antichrist

    “In an interview with state-run Russia-1 TV, Patriarch Kirill said smartphones and social networks presented the danger of global control.

    Using religious language, Kirill was echoing fears expressed more widely about the extent of the data collected by social media networks and the use to which it might be put in regulating the behaviour of users.”

  • What a skeptic learned from consulting psychics — and astrologers, tarot readers, empaths and more. Salon talks to Victoria Loustalot, author of “Future Perfect,” about her journey through the mystical unknowns.” — Erin Keane, Salon; an interview with the author about Future Perfect: A Skeptic’s Search for an Honest Mystic by Victoria Loustalot [HT Richard Kaczynski]

    “Victoria Loustalot didn’t set out to write another memoir, exactly, when she decided to spend a year interviewing psychics, astrologers, tarot card readers, shamans and other mystic art professionals about their work to examine what’s real, what’s fake and what’s just wishful thinking in the relationship between them and their customers and fans. Unlike her acclaimed memoir ‘How You Say Goodbye,’ this story — ‘a skeptic’s search for an honest mystic,’ as it’s billed — wasn’t initially meant to be about a personal journey. And yet a psychic she visited on a bachelorette party trip gave her a preview of a future relationship that ended up coming eerily true, and after she embarked down the path of investigation that became her new book ‘Future Perfect,’ she told me, ‘it ended up being by far one of my most personal projects.'”

  • ‘Wolf’s jaw’ star cluster may have inspired parts of Ragnarök myth. Passing comets and eclipses may have stoked fears of pending apocalypse.” — Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica

    “Langer’s analysis is based on the relatively young field of archeoastronomy: the cultural study of myths, oral narratives, iconographic sources, and other forms of ancient beliefs, with the aim of identifying possible connections with historical observations in astronomy. Both total eclipses and the passage of large comets were theoretically visible in medieval Scandinavia, and there are corresponding direct records of such events in Anglo-Saxon and German chronicles from around the same time period. These could have had a cultural influence on evolving Norse mythology, including the concept of Ragnarök.

    It’s admittedly a bit speculative. But Langer has identified several comets and eclipses in the eighth and ninth centuries that he believes may have fanned the flames of apocalyptic fears in the populace, culminating in an explosion of literary and visual references to Ragnarök in the 10th century.”