Film review: The Seagull (2018)

I am not by any means an expert on Russian theater and so seized the chance to see a film adaptation of Anton Chekov’s acclaimed play The Seagull starring Annette Bening. It was an enjoyable film, but as I watched it I could not help noticing that it conformed to the popular view of Russian plays where no one is happy and everyone complains to one another about their unhappiness.
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Turkey’s surprising role in the Khashoggi case

As worldwide condemnation grows, the Saudi Arabian government definitely acts like it is guilty in the alleged murder of journalist Jamal Khasshoggi.

The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on Tuesday said police who entered the consulate for the first time on Monday had found some surfaces had been painted over. “My hope is that we can reach conclusions that will give us a reasonable opinion as soon as possible, because the investigation is looking into many things such as toxic materials and those materials being removed by painting them over,” he told reporters.

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Great moments in Israeli law

The New Zealand singer Lorde had scheduled a concert in Israel but later canceled it when Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab, two young women in New Zealand, one Jewish and the other Palestinian, started a petition that asked her to not go because of Israel’s apartheid-like policies against Palestinians in Gaza and the Occupied Territories.

So what happened? Three young Israelis filed a legal case against Sachs and Abu-Shanab, claiming that “their “artistic welfare” was damaged because of the cancellation and that they suffered “damage to their good name as Israelis and Jews”.

No, really!

Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab

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The story of Edwins

Close to my home is a French cuisine restaurant called Edwins where I have eaten a couple of times. What is different about this restaurant is that all the workers are ex-convicts, some of whom were convicted of serious crimes. Shannon Carrier visited Cleveland and found Edwins through recommendations on Yelp and describes her experience eating there. She also talked with the owner Brandon Chrostowski, who as a young man was jailed for drug possession and evading arrest but thinks that because he was white, he got off more easily with a probation sentence.
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The morality of atheists

That atheists can be virtuous is so obvious that it is not something that needs to be stated. But we know that it was not always thought so, especially in early modern times. And even now, we often hear the specious argument being advanced that since god is the source of moral values, an atheist cannot be expected to have any. I won’t even bother to respond to that silly argument. But I came across this interesting article by Michael Hickson, a professor of philosophy, who describes the evolution of attitudes towards atheists.
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Peter Norman finally gets his due in Australia

I have written before about Australian sprinter Peter Norman who joined with Tommie Smith and John Carlos in their dramatic gesture against racism at the 1968 Olympics. All three were vilified for their actions, with Norman suffering at the hands of the Australian sports authorities long after he had been embraced by US athletes for his act of solidarity. Carlos and Smith considered him a close friend and flew to Australia to be pall bearers at his funeral. But finally, on the 50th anniversary of that event, Australia is honoring Norman.
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Poverty chic

One of the weirdest trends is where people pay enormous amounts of money for clothes items that look well-worn or are discards. We know that people are willing to pay more for so-called ‘distressed’ jeans that have holes in the knees to suggest that they are well worn when in fact the holes are created by the manufacturer. Rusty Blazenhoff writes about a more extreme example of this, where an Italian luxury brand company named Golden Goose charges $530 for a pair of sneakers that are worn down and held together by tape.

TThis is an example of ‘poverty chic’, something that rich people indulge in. It is well known that people who are struggling financially or are poor are the ones who try to dress as well as they can, to hide that fact from casual acquaintances. It is people who are rich who can afford to adopt the scruffy look because everyone knows they are rich. If anyone does mistake them for being poor, it is a source of humor to them. It is a form of condescension, a way of saying, “Look at me. I am so rich that I can dress like this.”

The Khashoggi case exposes the western media’s true interest

It turns out that Saudi Arabia was hosting a big Future Investment Initiative (FII) summit in Riyadh on October 23 and a lot of big name western media had been co-sponsoring it. The fact that that nation has been bombing the hell out of Yemen with US-made weapons, causing immense death and suffering to one of the poorest countries in the world, did not faze them in the least. It took the disappearance and possible murder of a journalist who wrote for the Washington Post to cause some of the media to withdraw their sponsorship.
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