Spitz Master, The Nativity from Book of Hours, about 1420, tempera colors and gold leaf on parchment. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles (Ms. 57, fol. 84)
Perhaps the strangest, and least remembered, part of the Christmas story is when Salome’s hands were restored. Mentioned in the Protoevangelion of James, Salome was a midwife present at the Nativity who doubted Mary’s virginity and thus used her finger to… well… you know, test Mary’s virginity. Her hands immediately shriveled from violating Mary but after Jesus was born, Salome recognized him as the Christ and her hands were restored. Notice how the angel in the illumination brings in her hands anew.
The marginalia in this book of hours are pretty incredible, especially this monkey.
Have a Merry Christmas!
Posts tagged intrigue.
“Haenyo – The Indomitable Diving Grandmas of Jeju Island”
They call themselves haenyo (pronounced hen-yuh), which literally means sea women and the whistling sound they made preceding their exit from the depths is called sumbisori. They are representative of a centuries old tradition, one which transformed their island in to a functioning matriarchy but a way of life which today is in danger of disappearing forever.
The island of Jeju, 53 miles south of mainland Korea, lies at the watery crossroads of the Yellow and East China Seas. Diving for conch, octopus, urchin, and abalone had always taken place there but due to large taxes was never very profitable – something men would take up if there was no alternative. That was until a canny group of women in the 18th century realized that women did not, unlike their men folk, have to pay taxes. A loophole was about to become a living.
The haenyo (sometimes spelled haenyeo) do not use oxygen tanks, which would only weigh them down and make their difficult task even harder. Their black wet suits and goggles are all they need to descend to the sea floor to collect their bounty. The skills they possess serve them well now – and did so too under the Japanese occupation of the Second World War. Many haenyo became heroines of the Korean resistance movement.
Learn more about these awesome women over at Kuriositas!
[via The Presurfer]
[tw mentions of brutal state violence and sexual violence]
notes: i use south korea and “ROK” (republic of korea) interchangeably. i also use north korea and “DPRK” (democratic people’s republic of korea) interchangeably.
if you’re going to reblog something about the haenyo, then PLEASE read about how jeju island, home to the haenyo, fierce and peaceful villagers, and so much ecological beauty is in danger of being turned into just another strategic location for the US military. the US military and the south korean government want to construct a naval base on the village of gangjeong, which is “surrounded by three UNESCO World Natural Heritage sites and nine UNESCO Geo-Parks on an island that is designated a Global Biosphere Reserve. Construction is accelerating daily with the dredging of the island’s seabed and its coral communities currently underway. Many observers of the region believe that the Jeju Island naval base will serve as a port of call for the U.S. military’s sea-based component of its ballistic missile defense system.” (savejejuisland.org) the militarization of jeju island (an extension of US imperialism and the US/ROK war machine) is supposed to be to “defend” against DPRK. it won’t, if only for the fact that the destroyers that are planned to be stationed there aren’t even designed to defend against DPRK’s missiles.
jeju islanders haven’t just fought against japanese colonialism, but have also struggled against different imperial forces as well as the south korean government (which, of course, HAS ALWAYS BEEN an extension of the US empire). in 1948, the people of jeju island rose up to refuse the blatantly skewed and corrupted election that brought syngman rhee, a korean american US puppet, into power. upon taking the presidency, rhee (with the backing of the US and UN) massacred about 30,000 people (others estimate between that and 60,000), killing at least ten percent of the island’s population and razing about 70% of the villages on the island to the ground. the sexual violence and prolonged gang rapes committed at that time were horrific. of course, this was to “suppress communism.” few years later during the korean war, jeju island was still repressed and also used as a site to detain communists. this history, which is still pretty recent, serves as an important background (or at least i think it does) for thinking through what’s happening in jeju and in korea. especially because the same types of people have pretty much continued to be in power. current president lee myung bak follows the exact traditions of all the shitty oppressive exploitative korean leaders before him. militarism, anti-communism, love for US imperialism, political repression, police state tactics, neoliberalism and capitalism, same shit different time.
it’s disgusting and appalling that after what the south korean and US governments put jeju island through, traumatizing generations of the indigenous people, they’re pushing ahead to build a naval base on gangjeong village, destroying the environment, completely disregarding the votes and wishes of the people, arresting protesters, and censoring the media. the ongoing construction of a naval base on jeju island, along with the recently (illegally) passed KOR-US FTA (which was passed in FOUR MINUTES in a sealed chamber amidst huge demonstrations), demonstrate the continuing unity between US imperialists and the south korean ruling class in fucking over the rest of korea (north AND south). this has been the case even during the days of japanese colonialism (see: taft-katsura act and how the elite korean collaborators/officials installed by the colonizers were kept in power by US forces post-“liberation”).
this is all relevant to the article i’m reblogging because 1) the haenyo live in jeju, 2) the pollution that would come from the naval base would destroy the environment that haenyo need to fish in, and 3) the struggles that jeju islanders continue to experience are results and projects of imperialism.
i also take issue with how this article exoticizes haenyo and their “way of life,” as if they didn’t also experience misogyny and oppression. being a haenyo is some fuckin grueling work. does being a woman diver actually mean that these women have institutional or economic power equal to or over men? it is some bullshit white feminism to assert that haenyo doing some hard physical labor is indicative of “equality.” and while it is sad to see that such a long-standing tradition seems to be fading, i think it’s being heavily romanticized in the way that most articles about haenyo just make me feel uncomfortable.
a recent survey taken in gangjeong indicated that “50 percent of haenyo were suicidal and 70 percent are extremely psychologically stressed.” how you gonna romanticize that? and back to the military base: haenyo were bribed by government and naval officials to support the construction of the naval base, promised economic compensation and a hospital for elderly haenyo. and that indicates something more sinister at play than a benign passage of time. an elderly haenyo said that “if there was no money, they would all protest the base,” as the haenyo of hwasoom and wimi also did. if we are to be so concerned about the continuation of haenyo tradition, then i think it’s important to examine what these women are experiencing economically and why. apparently, the money they were bribed with was what they could make in one year. (Naval Base Tears Apart Korean Village)
the construction of this naval base is tearing apart a community. haenyos who have dived together for the past forty years are divided and fighting with each other bitterly. (Naval Base Tears Apart Korean Village). the destruction wouldn’t simply stop at the construction of the base, either—US military presence and “US interests” in general (which always comes w/ sexual violence and rape) in korea have always been especially devastating for women and girls. and the environment that so many jeju islanders and haenyo rely on would be damaged irreparably.
i think it’s extremely irresponsible to circulate and exoticize images of haenyo (even if they are incredibly beautiful) without taking stock of what is happening in jeju right now, and what is threatening haenyo’s livelihoods in a very immediate way aside from this depoliticized trope that is more about old ways slowly becoming obsolete THAN about thinking through WHY certain ways of living become less and less feasible with time (here are some clues: imperialism, globalization, capitalism, militarization, which all have to do with gender violence as well). the OP was apparently written just five days ago. what i wanna know is, how the FUCK do you write about haenyo and include such beautiful photography of them and jeju island without even fucking mentioning that all of that is in danger? are you shitting me???? UGH. okay i’m done.
you can read up more on SAVEJEJUISLAND.ORG and KPOLICY.ORG, on the current status of the struggle and what you can do to support jeju. sorry if this is really sloppy writing but i wanted to respond to this somehow while i still had energy to write. :\
This photoset is making the rounds again. Please read miswritten’s commentary. It is important.
In the West, plot is commonly thought to revolve around conflict: a confrontation between two or more elements, in which one ultimately dominates the other. The standard three- and five-act plot structures—which permeate Western media—have conflict written into their very foundations. A “problem” appears near the end of the first act; and, in the second act, the conflict generated by this problem takes center stage. Conflict is used to create reader involvement even by many post-modern writers, whose work otherwise defies traditional structure.
The necessity of conflict is preached as a kind of dogma by contemporary writers’ workshops and Internet “guides” to writing. A plot without conflict is considered dull; some even go so far as to call it impossible. This has influenced not only fiction, but writing in general—arguably even philosophy. Yet, is there any truth to this belief? Does plot necessarily hinge on conflict? No. Such claims are a product of the West’s insularity. For countless centuries, Chinese and Japanese writers have used a plot structure that does not have conflict “built in”, so to speak. Rather, it relies on exposition and contrast to generate interest. This structure is known as kishōtenketsu.
Kishōtenketsu contains four acts: introduction, development, twist and reconciliation. The basics of the story—characters, setting, etc.—are established in the first act and developed in the second. No major changes occur until the third act, in which a new, often surprising element is introduced. The third act is the core of the plot, and it may be thought of as a kind of structural non sequitur. The fourth act draws a conclusion from the contrast between the first two “straight” acts and the disconnected third, thereby reconciling them into a coherent whole. Kishōtenketsu is probably best known to Westerners as the structure of Japanese yonkoma (four-panel) manga; and, with this in mind, our artist has kindly provided a simple comic to illustrate the concept.
Each panel represents one of the four acts. The resulting plot—and it is a plot—contains no conflict. No problem impedes the protagonist; nothing is pitted against anything else. Despite this, the twist in panel three imparts a dynamism—a chaos, perhaps—that keeps the comic from depicting merely a series of events. Panel four reinstates order by showing us how the first two panels connect to the third, which allows for a satisfactory ending without the need for a quasi-gladiatorial victory. It could be said that the last panel unifies the first three. The Western structure, on the other hand, is a face-off—involving character, theme, setting—in which one element must prevail over another. Our artist refitted the above comic into the three-act structure to show this difference.
The first panel gives the reader a “default position” with which to compare later events; and the second panel depicts a conflict-generating problem with the vending machine. The third panel represents the climax of the story: the dramatic high point in which the heroine’s second attempt ”defeats” the machine and allows the can to drop. The story concludes by depicting the aftermath, wherein we find that something from the first act has changed as a result of the climax. In this case, our heroine sans beverage has become a heroine avec beverage.
What this shows is that the three-act plot, unlike kishōtenketsu, is fundamentally confrontational. It necessarily involves one thing winning out over another, even in a minor case like the one above. This conclusion has wide-ranging implications, since both formats are applied not just to narratives, but to all types of writing. Both may be found under the hood of everything from essays and arguments to paragraphs and single sentences. As an example, the reader might re-examine the first two paragraphs of this article, in which a “default position” is set up and then interrupted by a “problem” (namely, the existence of kishōtenketsu). The following paragraphs deal with the conflict between the two formats. This paragraph, which escalates that conflict by explaining the culture-wide influence of each system, is the beginning of the climax.
As this writer is already making self-referential, meta-textual remarks, it is only appropriate that the article’s climax take us into the realm of post-modern philosophy. It is a worldview obsessed with narrative and, perhaps unconsciously, with the central thesis of the three-act structure. Jacques Derrida, probably the best known post-modern philosopher, infamously declared that all of reality was a text—a series of narratives that could only be understood by appealing to other narratives, ad infinitum. What kinds of narratives, though? Perhaps a benign, kishōtenketsu-esque play between disconnection and reconnection, chaos and order? No; for Derrida, the only narrative was one of violence. As a Nietzschean, he believed that reality consisted, invariably, of one thing dominating and imposing on another, in a selfish exercise of its will to power. The “worst violence”, he thought, was when something was completely silenced and absorbed by another, its difference erased. Apparently, Derrida was uncontent with the three-act structure’s nearly complete control over Western writing: he had to project it onto the entire world. Eurocentrism has rarely had a more shining moment.
Kishōtenketsu contains no such violence. The events of the first, second and third acts need not harm one another. They can stand separately, with Derrida’s beloved difference intact. Although the fourth act unifies the work, by no means must it do violence to the first three acts; rather, it is free merely to draw a conclusion from their juxtaposition, as Derrida does when he interprets one narrative through the lens of another. A world understood from the kishōtenketsu perspective need never contain the worst violence that Derrida fears, which would make his call for deconstruction—the prevention of silence through the annihiliation of structure—unnecessary. Is it possible that deconstruction could never have been conceived in a world governed by kishōtenketsu, rather than by the three-act plot? Is the three-act structure one of the elements behind the very worldview that calls for its deconstruction? Can the Western narrative of the will to power remain coherent in the face of a rival narrative from the East? This writer would prefer to ask than to answer these questions.
Now, dear readers, comes the aftermath. The dust left over from the climax is settling. Kishōtenketsu has been shown to generate plot without conflict, which reveals as insular nonsense the West’s belief that they are inseparable. The repercussions of this extend to all writing; and, if this writer’s conclusion is to be believed, to philosophy itself. Despite this, it should be noted that many of history’s greatest works have been built on the three- and five-act structures. By no means should they be discarded. Rather, they should be viewed as tools for telling certain types of stories. At the same time, this writer would like to end by calling for a renewed look at kishōtenketsu in the West. It offers writers the opportunity to explore plots with minimal or no conflict. Perhaps it could even change our worldview.
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these are fun because you can download a bunch of course packets and readings
These peculiar natural phenomena are formed on new layers of sea ice from saturated water vapors that come up from under the ice through cracks. In contact with the cold air, the vapors start to freeze and the salt on the surface of the ice begins to crystallize, serving as a base for the sublimated water to build off of. The ‘petals’ of ice flowers are very delicate and will come off when touched. They usually form in sunlight and typically are visible in the early mornings or in shaded areas.
It never occurred to me to browse through the credits of Ridley Scott’s 1979 film Alien, to find out who was underneath the monstrous black mask.
The man was Bolanji Badejo, a 7ft tall Nigerian design student picked up from a bar in West London to fill the title role. He worked on the film for 4 months. Spending every day wrapped in a suffocating custom fitted rubber suit, working to exude a presence of pure evil.
Despite his incredible contribution to the film’s success Badejo never received any publicity for his involvement. Ultimately, it would be his only film role.
Here is some test footage of Badejo in an alien suit. Even as simple test footage it is still creepy.