The underwater images captured by photographer Mark Tipple are so unlike anything you’ve ever seen, it’s easy to mistake them for scenes from another world. They belong to a series known collectively as The Underwater Project, and they are beyond spellbinding.
Intolerant tolerance fetishists
This past weekend I was talking with Sally, a friend who is the daughter of a Czechoslovakian Jewish man. Her family history is fascinating and I’ve heard many stories of her Czech Jewish father and her British mother and Londoner grandparents. Every time I hear a new story from her I’m amazed.
The key points of this particular story have much to do with world history leading up to World War II. Most of us know about the rise of Hitler prior to the war. The critical piece in this story is that in the late 30’s Hitler began to have more influence and eventually full control in Czechoslovakia. Knowing his attitudes towards Jews her grandparents decided to leave the country. At that time they knew the journey was certain to include risks. Sally’s grandmother knew it would be unlikely that they’d be able to exit the country with her jewelry. Prior to departure she arranged for a Czech friend to hold several pieces with some hope that the friend could keep them hidden from the Nazis. At the time they had only vague ideas that they could arrange for the jewels to be returned after things had settled.
In the intervening years Hitler’s power grew, World War II erupted and 77,000 Czechoslovakian Jews were killed by the Nazis. Sally’s family moved to England where her father met a nice British girl. They married and moved to the US where Sally and her siblings were born. Years later Sally’s grandmother received a gift from her homeland; a bag of Czech flour with an accompanying note from her friend back in Czechoslovakia. She was happy to have something that reminded her of her old home, but she did not bake often. She put the flour bag into the pantry and forgot about it for a time.
Eventually the time came to bake something and she remembered the flour. She brought it out, opened it up and began to sifted it. There on the counter-top she suddenly she saw a glimmer within the white dust of Czech flour. She reached out and felt a lump that was not powdery-soft. Upon inspection she realized that it was one of the rings she’d left behind with her friend while fleeing Czechoslovakia so many years prior. Further digging produced all of the jewelry that she’d left behind. It was then that she remembered a comment from her friend’s note. It had stated that the flour might be clumpy so she should sift it carefully. She realized her friend had no good way to get the jewelry to her across the oceans so she’d shipped it within the bag of flour. After all those years and after significant change around the globe the jewelry had come home.
If best-selling albums had been books instead…
…there is another side of books, their physical presence: the sheer weight of all those volumes, the space they occupy. When I look at my books, arrayed from room to room now in their pleasing order, what I see are not just the ideas or narratives they represent but themselves as manifestations of my life.
Reposted from Fantastic Metropolis, author China Mieville lays out a list of 50 science fiction and fantasy works he feels every socialist ought to read.
When I became a socialist I was also studying Sociology and Philosophy academically. I experienced something that seems to be a trend…