Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Friday, November 14, 2003
Pre-war detail of Warka Vase
The Art Newspaper reports, this morning, that a possible World Tour for the gold portion of the Treasures of Nimrud along with the, likely reassembled, remains of the Warka Vase is being considered by the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad.
With tremendous understatement the article says:
The proposal, which is backed by the US National Geographic Society, is likely to prove highly controversial in Iraq.
As I posted on October 28th, certain connected and wealthy Americans have a great interest in the Iraqi cultural inheritance.
And, as I posted on October 29th, The Art Newspaper has reported on an examination of the Nimrud Treasures by representatives of the British Museum.
This examination has revealed that the immersion of the ancient Nimrud artifacts, in sewage-breached vaults under the Iraq National Bank during the war, has severely compromised the integrity of the Treasure’s ivory component.
The eventual bacterial corruption of the ancient ivory treasures is almost certainly why they have been excluded from a glitzy World Tour:
The show could go to eight American venues, as well as to museums in Europe and Japan, and it might start its tour as early as next spring…The exhibition would bring in much needed funds for Baghdad’s National Museum and Iraq’s archaeological sites…if the Nimrud gold show goes ahead, the exhibits would probably be outside Iraq for years…British Museum Keeper John Curtis, who has been deeply involved in assisting colleagues in Iraq, is worried about the proposed show…Dr Curtis confirmed that no one has approached the British Museum as a possible venue for the Nimrud show.
Photo: The Art Newspaper
Thursday, November 13, 2003
Perhaps some of you noticed, but, I didn’t post anything yesterday.
I tried but my thoughts were simply too ugly for even this almost private publication.
I am going to rest, plan Thanksgiving, load up on firewood and submerge into the world and pottery of late 19th century Cincinnati.
I know, from several conversations and observations over the last few days, that I am not alone in my temporary feelings of dread and helplessness.
A man, in the gym locker room this morning, suddenly began screaming at a hanging television, “Now we are going to get tough? Now? They’ve killed or wounded how many of our boys and now they are going to get tough?
I recognized the voice. No leftie this guy.
This good solid and almost surely Republican Cincinnati burgher was in a loud and very surprising public agony over needless death in a faraway land.
I could hear another fellow ask the man who screamed if he was OK “Yeah,” I could heart him reply, “but it’s all just so rotten. I mean, how did this happen? I’m just thankful I don’t have a son.”
The painter Edvard Munch once described an experience, which caused him to create his most famous work:
I was walking along the road with two friends.
The sun was setting.
I felt a breath of melancholy –
My friends walked on - I stood there, trembling with fear.
And I sensed a great, infinite scream pass through nature.
What Munch described is, no doubt, enhanced by something former Vice President Al Gore said to a Tennessee college class Tuesday as reported by the Nashville Tennessean:
The ''quasi-hypnotic influence'' of television in the United States has fostered a complacent nation that is a danger to democracy…Our democracy is suffering in an age when the dominant medium is not accessible to the average person and does not lend itself most readily to the conveyance of complex ideas about self-governance. Instead, it pushes toward a lowest common denominator.
This photo was taken by New York Times and Polaris reporter and photographer Michael Kamber shortly after the terrorist attack on Red Cross Headquarters in Baghdad. His Digital Journalist dispatch, Normal for Baghdad is highly interesting but difficult reading:
There are two guys helping to direct the rescue -- civilian clothes, English speakers, heavily armed with hi-tech radios and sunglasses, CIA or NSC, heavy hitters. They've got the look and attitude of trained killers. "Get the f--- out of here," one keeps shouting at me, pushing me away. "I'm not interfering, I do my job, you do your job," I respond. "Well f--- off then," he yells, livid as I move away and circle around to keep shooting...More U.S. troops begin to arrive and look terrified, you can almost see them shaking. They recoil from the bodies. I don't think they've seen anything like this before. I begin to focus on the Americans, knowing it's just a few minutes until we're put out of the area. Two MP's stand looking down at a corpse. A moment later another, I see a lone MP drop to one knee near a body laying awkwardly against a fence, the smoke rising in the background. I compose and shoot as the soldier looks back past me, eyes wide with fear - or maybe it's astonishment at what men do to one another.
Remember folks, these soldiers are young American boys. And, as Kamber so brilliantly illustrates, war is never as orderly as the talking heads would want us to imagine.
Detail of painting: Museumsnett Norge
Photo: Michael Kamber-Polaris
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
Last Thursday, ABC, for publicity purposes, released some tantalizing quotations and information from tonight’s first public interview with Jessica Lynch.
Also, last Thursday the NY Daily News obtained an unauthorized copy of the book Jessica coauthored with former New York Times reporter Rick Bragg, I am a Soldier, Too.
In the Daily News story, the Murdock-owned paper reports Bragg quoting military doctors as stating that Lynch may have been raped following capture.
A Friday New York Times story about the information released by ABC and the Daily News and still available on the NYT web site said:
The book…reports that Ms. Lynch's military doctors found injuries consistent with sexual assault and unlikely to have resulted from the Humvee crash…suggesting that she was raped after her capture…details of the book's contents were reported yesterday in The New York Daily News.
Without guidence from the outrage of a certain heroin-fueled Echo Chamber superstar, Matt Drudge grabbed this nascent virtual mud ball later Friday by using indirect quotes from Iraqi doctors to support textual allegations that the rape claim was a lie:
Dr. Mahdi Khafazji, who performed surgery on Lynch's fractured femur said he found no signs of sexual assault…She was injured at about 7 in the morning," Khafazji said. "What kind of animal would do it to a person suffering from multiple injuries?"
Dr. Jamal al-Saeidi, head of the orthopedic department at the now closed Military Hospital, recounts:
"When she was brought there she was fighting for her life. She was in shock because of the severity of her injury... Her clothes were not torn, buttons had not come off, her pants were zipped up."
Al-Saeidi also said he found no evidence of rape during an examination -- though he said he was not looking for evidence of a sexual assault…"Why are they saying such things?" the hospital's deputy director Dr. Khodheir al-Hazbar said. "We were good to her."
The rather generalized Iraqi medical quotations in Drudge do not refute the rape claim but you would be hard pressed to spot the distinction in weekend coverage where the word of rural Iraqi doctors superceeds the unmentioned US military medical opinions reported by Bragg.
More or less, over the last three days, I’ve watched cable TV and various local affiliates endlessly repeat:
The doctors who treated Jessica Lynch say she wasn’t raped. Why is Jessie lying?”
At no point, in the weekend reports that followed the Friday stories, were the reported doctors identified as Iraqi.
No matter the implication, the unfairly released book excerpts, most importantly, have US medical personnel indicating only that Lynch's injuries were consistant with sexual assault.
Now, into the swirl of factual confusion a dash of intentionally misdirected salaciousness.
This morning the Daily News heightened the pre-interview smear with:
A skin mag claimed yesterday it has pictures of Iraqi POW Jessica Lynch frolicking topless with male soldiers before she went off to war…Flynt said he plans to run the photos he says he has in Hustler's February issue…Flynt said the pictures - which he claimed to have gotten from two former soldiers who served with Lynch - would prove "she's not Joan of Arc."
Oddly FOX News, of all places, makes the Daily News seem less than truthful with a more believable set of Flynt quotations:
Pornmeister Larry Flynt said he's bought purported nude photos of Iraq war heroine Jessica Lynch to keep them from ever being published…"I was offered photos of Jessica Lynch. I purchased them in order to keep them out of circulation, not to publish them…Jessica Lynch is being used as a pawn by the media and by the government to create a hero who can sell this war to the American people…The U.S. government wasn't alone in their actions. They were co-conspirators with the media, who wanted to force-feed us a Joan of Arc."
In a manner similar to the President's 180 degree spins on policy, Mr. Flynt's one statement spins 180 degrees from one news account to another.
If Daily News readers and cable TV viewers didn’t buy the publicity seeking Jessica theme perhaps they will go along with the more salacious implied slut concept.
I'm wondering if this little item from this morning's Los Angeles Times has some indirect bearing upon the apparent Lynch vendetta:
CNN…planted a question about computer preferences at last week's debate of the Democratic presidential candidates, according to the student who posed the query…[the student] was "handed a note card" with the question and told she couldn't ask her alternative "because it wasn't lighthearted enough and they wanted to modulate the event with various types of questions."
As I indicated Friday, certain evil powers and their compliant flying monkey media henchmen seem greatly interested, now that Ms. Lynch is clearly not adhering to the script, in ruining the reputation of the young soldier they elevated in the first place.
While using NBC’s movie as an implied support for the media concept of a publicity mad Jessica, no news organization makes it crystal-clear that Sunday’s made for TV movie about the rescue was produced without the consent of Lynch or her family.
The Los Angeles Times story is a proof, not just of factual laxity within the American press, but, rather, their overt efforts to manipulate the events they are covering.
It is particularly disgusting that the trashing of Jessica Lynch is happening on a day meant to honor those who have served their country.
Photo: Vanity Fair
Monday, November 10, 2003