What Do You Think of Cannes 2014 Line-Up?

So today the 2014 Cannes line-up is announced, and while you have Venice and Berlin and Oscars and BAFTAs and other awards, let’s face it, if you want the best of cinema each year, usually your best shot is looking at Cannes line-up.

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Via Rope of Silicon, these are the films in competition and other categories:

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Make Sure to Check Out Steve Zara’s Videos

Steve Zara is a British scientist and atheist. I follow him on Twitter and Facebook. His take on matters is always thought-provoking and deeply ethical, and you can never disregard his reasoning and positions even if you disagree (and we sometimes do). He also writes a blog which is equally thought-provoking and I have learned a lot from it. Now, he has started a vblog, that is, a video blog on YouTube, and I strongly recommend you all to subscribe and to watch every video. You will learn something, whether you agree or not. Here is his first video:

Iranian Conservatives Threaten Riots If Richard Nelson Frye Buried in Isfahan

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This is another story that shows how vapid and inhumane the Iranian conservatives are. Richard N. Frye passed away few week ago, and he had left a will asking to be buried in Isfahan, on the bank of Zayandeh River. Now the Iranian conservatives are throwing a sissy fit.

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Update on UN Appointee Controversy

If you remember, I already covered the controversy over Iran’s envoy to the UN. The controversy is that Aboutalebi was allegedly among the students who raided the US embassy in Iran in 1979, taking hostages for 444 days, which caused the two countries to have their relationships sour which has caused most of the problems Iranians face until today. Aboutalebi has denied having a role in the hostage taking and he says he was merely an interpreter. Now, the story has considerably developed. Aboutalebi has been formally named the Iran’s envoy to the UN, Congress has overwhelmingly joined the Senate and the bill to deny him the US visa has passed, and the White House has announced that the US will not grant him a visa. Iran has formally complained to the UN saying that withholding visa is against the international laws.

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An Open Letter To James Croft About How to Criticize Islam

James Croft has written this article, called “Responsible Religious Criticism: Part One – Questions of Power” back in May 2013, but he has reposted it on his Facebook wall because of the recent controversy over Ayaan Hirsi Ali. I give my own reply to it here. I’m personally a huge fan of James Croft, I love his work. In this post I disagree with what he says, and I’m going to address him – it feels more comfortable. I’m not going to quote him here, I’ll write with a supposition that you have already read his piece.

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A Thought Experiment

I have a thought experiment! Take a look at these sentences.

A: “I’m a libertarian. I believe in free market. I think free market only happens when everybody is taxed at least 90%, and the government owns everything and there is no private sector. That’s what Ayn Rand really meant.”

B: “I’m a Marxist. I believe that the correct interpretation of Socialism is to make sure workers have no right and that profit is more important. Like what happens in China. That’s what Karl Marx really meant.”

C: “I’m a feminist, but I believe work place equality is wrong and women should remain at home and only raise children. That’s what Mary Wollstonecraft really meant.”

D: “I’m a Muslim. I think Islam is a religion of peace and jihad is actually peaceful struggle, and that men and women are equal in the Quran. That’s what the Prophet Mohammad really meant.”

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Brandeis Snubs Ayaan Hirsi Ali

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This is simply outrageous. Via The Times of Israel (thanks to Colnago80 for sharing the link):

After taking heat from some of its own over a decision to grant an honorary degree to an advocate for Muslim women who has made comments critical of Islam, Brandeis University withdrew the planned honor Tuesday night.

The university said in a statement that Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali would no longer receive the honor at the May 18 commencement.

Ali, a member of the Dutch Parliament from 2003 to 2006, has been quoted as making comments critical of Islam. That includes a 2007 interview with Reason Magazine in which she said of the religion, “Once it’s defeated, it can mutate into something peaceful. It’s very difficult to even talk about peace now. They’re not interested in peace. I think that we are at war with Islam. And there’s no middle ground in wars.”

Brandeis, outside Boston in Waltham, Mass., said it was not aware of Ali’s statements earlier.

This is only another sign of how tough it is for ex-Muslims – I can’t believe anyone would have cared if an ex-Christian or an ex-Jew had said these about those religions. She is a brave and outspoken defender of women’s rights – but I guess fighting FGMs is less important than making sure that the tender hearts of Muslims is not hurt by criticism. Brandeis University is cowardly, lying, (how the hell could they not know Ali was critical of Islam?), and pathetic.

You know what, Brandeis? Your loss. She would give more credit to your lousy doctorate than you would give her.

I’m angry.