Last year we posted a haunting lecture by Naomi Wolf about this country’s rapid slide into fascism. I think of that talk often, particularly two things Wolf said: firstly, the phrase “They did this in Germany,” said to her by a German friend who’d witnessed it herself.* As the grandchild of Holocaust escapees,** that sentence is more horrifying than I can explain.
The other thing I often recall is Wolf’s comment that, though she is (was) speaking out, there would come a time when she would be too afraid to do so. That point, she said, is the point at which “people like [her]” — meaning writers and journalists — start getting detained, tortured, and disappeared in the manner that the government already does to alleged “enemy combatants.”
This event is another landmark on the road to fascism. We are now so close to the moment that Wolf described, only the clear gaze of history can reveal whether that line has yet been crossed.
* If I recall correctly.
** I hesitate to use the word “survivors,” because, by many strokes of freakish luck, my relatives managed to get to safe countries alive and without ever seeing the inside of a camp. The fact remains, though, that my maternal grandparents got out more or less by the skin of their teeth, and were profoundly traumatized for their entire lives.
Since becoming Lost obsessed, I’ve started to fly differently. Once calm and comfortable with air travel, I now take special note of who is around me, and fearfully wonder who among my fellow passengers might make a good boar hunter and who’d be the first to suffer a fatal accident should we crash-land on a mysterious island somewhere in the south pacific…
I worry about comparatively more mundane accidents as well (like running out of fuel mid-flight and not being able to land safely, of getting large and destructive airborne objects caught in the engine and falling downwards through the sky). Or fires. Luckily, the Times provides tips for surviving that last dreadful scenario.
They’re few, and pretty obvious: sit in an aisle seat within five aisles of an emergency exit. But it’s nice to know numbers.
Passengers sitting towards the front of the aircraft had a 65 per cent chance of escaping a fire, while the survival rate for those at the rear was 53 per cent. The survival rate in aisle seats was 64 per cent, compared with 58 per cent for other passengers.
The study found that the passengers who died were on average sitting more than twice as far away from a usable exit as those who survived. Some of the dead, most of whom were killed by toxic fumes, were sitting 15 rows from the nearest usable exit.
Now don’t be fighting me for those seats!
Via Boing Boing, here’s a short video of Thai artist Kittiwat Unarrom molding and baking bread into disturbingly realistic looking human body parts. I’m warning you, it’s gruesome. Like watching a serious slasher flick, minus the screaming.
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I’ll post an update when it’s debunked as Photoshop, God willing.
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I know the blog has been YouTube-heavy lately, but I could resist these.
1. A musical sculpture by one Bruce Gray. Neat!
2. An “air ape” by one Joshua Harris — an ape made of plastic bags, inflated by the air coming out of a subway vent. It’s kind of terrifying.
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Something about this octopus with 96 tentacles (via Boing Boing) makes me want to cry. It’s grotesque, upsetting. I had no idea I was invested in the configurational integrity of anonymous cephalodpods, but that you have it.
Watching her work, one can really see the artistry there: she’s a sculptor. And yet I can’t get over the fact that, in theory at least, that sleeping baby is meant to be eaten.
Daran sent me a strange link in comments: this very disturbing television tower, located in Prague. The tower is swarmed by ten enormous, faceless babies; they’re crawling up and down it. What the hell?
Two collections to view at OObject:
First, medical manikins. I vote the ones with braces as the creepiest.
Secondly, and more wondrous, these gorgeous pocket sundials. I especially lust for ownership of items 2 and 3.
Recently, we linked to this photo essay about the process of making glass eyes, by Marc Steinmetz. Today, another photo essay of his–on plastination. Not for those sensitive to images of dead bodies or the easily grossed out!
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