More awesomeness from Mike Relm
France is seriously discussing banning the niqab and/or burqa in public. The argument for this is that it “hurts the dignity of women”, and that “wearing a full veil is a sign of a community closing in on itself and a rejection of our values”. There have also been arguments that it prevents the accurate identification of persons engaged in transactions with lawful authorities.
And wearing a full veil is a sign of a community closing in on itself, but this isn’t:
And as far as interactions with lawful authorities, my entirely unqualified opinion on the rules governing modesty lead me to believe that simply providing an orthodox woman with a female authority to reveal herself to would do the trick. Sort of like providing a translator or a person fluent in sign language. Only easier, since about 50% of the population is female, unlike, say, Urdu speakers or users of ASL.
Now what about the argument that a full face covering hijab is an affront to French values?
Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite
It isn’t hard to argue that a woman should have the liberte to dress as she pleases, that all religions should be treated with egalite under French law, and that fraternite assumes that the state represents all citizens rather than pitting one against another.
Fashion bans like this are common in history and reflect a societal fear of incohesion in the face of change on a macro level. The small percentage of orthodox women wearing a full niqab in public is not going to undermine France. What France really fears is the lack of integration into the larger culture that these women represent.
Banning the hijab in public doesn’t invite greater levels of social cohesion from the orthodox religious. Attacking someone’s outward smybolism of piety rarely does that.
I’m reading a number of books about Canadian women explorers and right now I’m reading a book called Off The Beaten Track: Women Adventurers and Mountaineers in Western Canada by Cyndi Smith.
I’ve become quite focused on the story of Mary Shaffer Warren. Please do click the link in her name and read about her. I will only summarize here.
First coming to the Canadian Rockies in 1889 as a student, and later with her husband, Mary was adventurous and far more than the expectations of her time period. Following her husband’s untimely death in 1903, Mary ventured forth on months long pack trips into the Canadian Rockies accompanied by long time guides and fellow female adventurer Mollie Adams.
The part of her many adventures that sparks my imagination is her trip in 1907 and 1908 to explore the headwaters of the Athabasca River. On her trip, she also intended to investigate the story she’d heard from the local aboriginal tribe of a lake they called Chaba Imne, hidden in the mountains. You see, there was only one report, unconfirmed, by a non-aboriginal explorer in 1875 that even mentioned this lake, and it appeared on none of the maps existing at the time.
I’m enthralled by the idea that these two women, both acting well outside the norm for women at the time, decided to find a mythical lake hidden in the wilderness and existing only in the stories of the local tribe.
So in 1907 they head off, Mary later writing:
“our real objective was to delve into the heart of an untouched land, to turn the unthumbed pages of an unread book, and to learn daily those secrets which dear Mother Nature is so willing to tell to those who seek.”
Well things didn’t go as planned and Mary, Mollie and their guides had to turn back in the face of snow and the end of the season. On the way back, they ran into some of the local tribe, one of whom, Samson Beaver (great name) told them he’d been there 20 years ago with his father. Apparently Samson was the only guy who’d been there, and so he sketched them a map from memory. Mary and Mollie were thrilled and planned to come back in 1908 to try again.
Just so we’re clear here, these two Victorian age women, now in their 40′s are ready to rock and roll on a months-long back country hike to find a mythical mountain lake armed only with the hand drawn map of a guy who is relying on his 20 year old memory of being there. Once. When he was 14.
So they set off the next year, following the Maligne River when they start to realize maybe that map wasn’t so accurate (surprise!). So one of their guides gets all cranky and announces he’s going to climb the nearest peak to see if he can spot anything, and he’s not coming back until he does.
I love how climbing a mountain is the best option for figuring out if you’re lost or not, and that you have the balls to make this the center of your freakout plan. Well this guy, who must be the fastest climber in the west at this time, comes back later that day and says, OMG we’re golden, I think the lake is right over yonder. Or something to that effect.
After another day of hiking they finally find it: Chaba Imne, the mythical mountain lake; probably the first non aboriginal people to see it in over 30 years and possibly the only humans to visit in 20 years. Imagine the solitude and purity of that moment. The gang decides to build a raft and off they go on a three day cruise around the lake, feasting their eyes on glorious peaks of the Rockies and the wild, untouched forests.
They spent two weeks of solitude at Chaba Imne, searching for and never finding a single sign of any humans having visited the area. Following their idyllic time there, they tried to push on to the headwaters of the Athabasca, but had to turn back to Lake Louise, where they shared the news of having rediscovered this “lost” lake.
I’m impressed that Mary had enough respect for the local tribes that she never claimed to have discovered Chaba Imne, knowing full well she only got there because of Samson Beaver’s map. That’s a level of respect uncommon for that time period, and a notable commentary on her character given that sad fact.
Mary returned in 1911 to do a detailed map for the Parks Dept and later settled near Banff, marrying her long time guide and friend Billy Warren and living a long and hopefully happy life. Fellow explorers later named a mountain and lake after her.
I’m inspired by this story and am putting Chaba Imne on my list of five places I want to see in the world. It’s been renamed Maligne Lake since then, but I prefer Chaba Imne, the original aboriginal name.
Music by Gotan Project, Dance by Jarle Sandodden and Juana Sepulveda (Tangobar.no)
Another great tip off from Schema magazine. Go visit today.
All kinds of awesome at work here. Go here, listen and buy the album. You can thank me later.
Douglas Coupland thought it was mind-blowing. I think it’s cool
Thanks for the tip Schema Magazine – This NYC band called PaperDoll has released a new version of thier single “Anything At All” in Mandarin. I wonder how often this will start popping up as the market for western pop music grows in mainland China. It’s a pretty great little tune, and if you’d like to hear it in English, you can hear lead singer Teresa Lee sing it again below. Free downloads of this tune are available at the click of a button to their website linked above.
Thomas Roussel and Yannick Grandjean are SomethingALaMode (SALM),
It is in the Eden of the legendary An-Fer music club that a 15-year-old Yannick went through his electronic epiphany. It’s there that Thomas (then 18) met Jeff Mills for the first time. He shook his hand then, an anonymous fan in the DJ’s booth. He shook his hand again 12 years later as a collaborator, embarked on the grandiose “Blue Potential” project – Jeff Mills’ classics interpreted by a symphonic orchestra at the Pont du Gard in the summer of 2006. Mills could not believe what he heard.
SALM was born in the wake of this concert, in October 2006, around an old P.C.
The outcome? A first “electro-string” album dexterously mixing the clanging violins of “RondoParisiano”, as baroque as they come, the lofty soul of “ Little bit of feel good” and the heady pop bubbles of “5 AM” (with the young west coast rap singer K.Flay) : twelve masterclass titles uniting a very 70s Easy Loving (Francis Lay style, enough to make Dimitri From Paris jealous) to the pent-up wrath of “Dies Irae”, a warlike march of unimaginable beauty, a hybrid both deeply melodious and radically electronic, a daring fusion of universes which have long been on a quest for each other and which, thanks to SALM, finally prove to be a match made in heaven.
(from their myspace page)
From Mimi-Unagi translates as “Ear-Eel”, which I suppose is kind of like “ear-worm”, a song that sticks in your head, which I must admit is the case here.
From their website:
In 1999, Mimi-Unagi, which means “Ear-Eel” in Japanese, was initially formed in Seattle. The member was only Motaro Mimino himself, as it had been for 6 years from that point.
Having to perform and record all alone, the way to go was half-determined; home-recording with the cheapest 4-track and sell the copy through street performance with an acoustic guitar.With the style of pervertic moisten scream and discord of the acoustic guitar, the street performance was supported by very few; selling 2 or 3 copies for 1 hour was rather a success.
Soon after going back to Japan in 2001, he joined the Yoga-Heavy-Metal band
“Gotsu-Totsu-Kotsu”, named after an ancient Chinese warrior, as a vocalist. With theSlayer-type of sound played on the back, his Boredoms-and-Jello-Biafra-influenced vocals and boneless-Tibetan-monk-like dance performance was sometimes described as an “agony childhood nightmare” or “slimy Allah drowning in the pool of liquid LSD”.
After 2 yeas of being a slimy Allah, he decided to be an Ear-Eel
The first album, “Slimy Skin of Cow Milk“, is one of the most uncategorizable recording: every single song sounds different to each other, hopping from kecha-orchestra to punkrock, waltz, heavy rock or even French pop. However, these 13 songs have one thing in common; they have NO MESSAGE.
After releasing this discfull of cheesy nightmare, 3 more members have joined this project. Becoming an actual “band”, 3 songs are newly recorded in more organic way, including the title song “Hail! Hail! the Walkman“.
Mimi-Unagi is keep getting slimy and slimy. Heeeeheeeheeee.
For more on this deliciously disturbed group click here: Mimi Unagi