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Dude…no joke

4 Dec

I don’t think I’ve felt Turkey’s international image plunge more hideously since Midnight Express.

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The Man

4 Dec


Macron…ROCKS!  He’s a neoliberal to the bone.  But he knows that in France he’s dealing with a syndicated tradition and even one of political violence and anarchy – and he personifies the French genius for dialectic when dealing with those and other poles.

Plus he knows when he’s dealing with malakes and that he’s French and smarter.  And needless to say cuter.  And has the balls to have an unconventional sexual life without giving a shit de ce que dit le monde…

And theitsoula in Berlin is getting tired.

He’s God… He’ll save Europe.  NikoBako says so.

He must chuckle at night as he thinks of his next day’s meetings with Drump and Kurt Paşa.

Photo: Armenia is beautiful

28 Nov

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See @ArmeniaPic

Photo: Athens’ opens beautiful modern mosaic exhibit

28 Nov

The Byzantine Museum in Athens — sorry, a few years ago it was renamed the Byzantine and Christian Museum, like we might forget that the Byzantines were a Christian civilization — has a new exhibit of modern Greek mosaic artists and some of the stuff is really worth checking out.


The museum also benefits from being situated in the palace and former grounds of the Duchess of Plaisance (Piacenza), a beautiful Neo-Renaissance mansion surrounded by gorgeous, spacious parks and gardens.  It belonged to Sophie de Marbois-Lebrun, Duchess of Plaisance, a leading society lady and salon-holder in mid-nineteenth-century Athens.  Read; she’s interesting.



November 19th post: Who IS that in photo? Alison Miner, old time reader, writes; Tried to get snarky about covered Muslim women and turns out Orientalist joke’s on me:

27 Nov

MY original post:

What is this a photo of?

19 Nov

Jeez, you know, I don’t want to be snide, but what’s being photographed here?  Is it the umbrella?  Is it so her children and grandchildren can remember how blindingly white her mandyli always was?  How gracefully the kimono-like folds of her doulama always fell?  The embroidered edges of her salwaria against her elegant pasoumakia?

Why is she, herself, even in the picture?

Vah, but Ayşe Teyze‘s eyes always gliterred when she smiled…   Vah va…

But wait…  Is that Ayşe Teyze?………

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Portrait of a Woman, Istanbul, 1870s Bir İstanbul Kadını, 1870’ler

Ottoman Imperial Archives




Well Alison came up with the smartest answer:

Do you think these photos were actually used as family photos?  I always saw these photos (and there are a LOT of them) as made for westerners, and serving a few purposes.
I think there’s the “look at how strange/exotic these musselmans are!” angle, for sure. But have you ever seen a studio photo of a tribal woman with a veil on? I haven’t seen any that I can think of.
More often than not, these studio photos feature (very pale) women in very fashionable Western clothes, with either a super sheer veil, or a super (blindingly white, for instance) obvious one. I think they were intentionally designed as sexual objects – they demanded the viewer imagine what was underneath. And I’m sure some Victorian dudes were more than happy to oblige.
The other photos of women that were part of these commercial sets tend to be darker women lounging seductively with nargiles. Those are pretty clear in their intentions, I think.
These “hidden” ladies are just a sexy lady with the added benefit of performing their upper classness, right? I don’t see religiosity in them anywhere.
Maybe this is all obvious, and you were just being funny. But I spend a lot of time typing “Istanbul” into digital image collections and not having anyone to share my critique of what I find. ;)




I was trying to be funny but I’ve clearly failed.  Here I was trying to be snarky about Islam and the covering of women (I’ve seen plenty of these photos around C-town and it never occurred to me — naivëly  that they were posed any tourist objects of any kind.  As you rightly point out: “These “hidden” ladies are just a sexy lady with the added benefit of performing their upper classness, right? I don’t see religiosity in them anywhere.)  Instead they flipped a perfect Orientalist ippon on me.

Share some more of these with us?  I and reader will greatly appreciate.  Come to New York, chavala

Thanks again,


Cavafy: Of Coloured Glass

26 Nov

“Alternating bands of brick and stone common to Byzantine architecture: anti-earthquake measures. The more elastic bricks absorb shocks and shift configuration better, preventing the stones from cracking and preserving the overall integrity of the structure.”

EKVHDsKWoAE6eFoEKVHG3WWwAATWrbEKVHErzXYAARNJS.jpgThanks @byzantinemporiaAlways wondered.  Did any one else?  Never knew.  Did any one else know?  Was none of it due to limited resources, though, at least in last few centuries?  The first two look like Byzantine/Ottoman fortifications restored by Turkish Republic (Watch out for new post on that — much criticized by Byzantino-Ottomanists but I’m not 100% sure how I feel.)

Whenever I see smaller 13th to 15th, like the smaller churches of Athens, as sumptuously decorated inside, Cavafy comes to mind — and I’m moved even more:

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Ἀπὸ ὑαλὶ χρωματιστό

Πολὺ μὲ συγκινεῖ μιὰ λεπτομέρεια
στὴν στέψιν, ἐν Βλαχέρναις, τοῦ Ἰωάννη Καντακουζηνοῦ
καὶ τῆς Εἰρήνης Ἀνδρονίκου Ἀσάν.
Ὅπως δὲν εἶχαν παρὰ λίγους πολυτίμους λίθους
(τοῦ ταλαιπώρου κράτους μας ἦταν μεγάλ᾿ ἡ πτώχεια)
φόρεσαν τεχνητούς. Ἕνα σωρό κομμάτια ἀπὸ ὑαλί,
κόκκινα, πράσινα ἤ γαλάζια. Τίποτε
τὸ ταπεινὸν ἤ τὸ ἀναξιοπρεπὲς
δὲν ἔχουν κατ᾿ ἐμὲ τὰ κομματάκια αὐτὰ
ἀπὸ ὐαλὶ χρωματιστό. Μοιάζουνε τουναντίον
σὰν μιὰ διαμαρτυρία θλιβερὴ
κατὰ τῆς ἄδικης κακομοιριᾶς τῶν στεφομένων.
Εἶναι τὰ σύμβολα τοῦ τί ἥρμοζε νὰ ἔχουν,
τοῦ τί ἐξ ἅπαντος ἦταν ὀρθὸν νὰ ἔχουν
στὴν στέψι των ἕνας Κὺρ Ἰωάννης Καντακουζηνός,
μιὰ Κυρία Εἰρήνη Ἀνδρονίκου Ἀσάν.

I am very moved by one detail
in the coronation at Vlachernai of John Kantakuzinos
and Irini, daughter of Andronikos Asan.
Because they had only a few precious stones
(our afflicted empire was extremely poor)
they wore artificial ones: numerous pieces of glass,
red, green, or blue. I find
nothing humiliating or undignified
in those little pieces of colored glass.
On the contrary, they seem
a sad protest against
the unjust misfortune of the couple being crowned,
symbols of what they deserved to have,
of what surely it was right that they should have
at their coronation—a Lord John Kantakuzinos,
a Lady Irini, daughter of Andronikos Asan.
Translated by Edmund Keeley

Would you be able to tell us the names of the churches if you know?

Thanks, NikoBakos



Photo: Pollution in Delhi

26 Nov

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@annakhachiyan: smart, babe…

25 Nov

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I said it: one Chinese New Year 5 years ago — But what do they do now?

25 Nov

I don’t think China really understood what a virus it was taking into its system when it accepted Hong Kong.

Hong Kong protest: China says violent demonstrations ‘totally intolerable’


[And a post of mine from 2015 Chinese New Year]:

Hong Kong clashes as police clear food stalls

9 Feb

Guardian article:

Hong Kongap_2612528965171

Read BBC piece.

Can you imagine trying to shut down street food stalls in Hong Kong on Chinese New Year??!!

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One of “perfidious Albion’s” most heinous twentieth-century acts was handing over a city like Hong Kong — cosmopolitan, exuberant, free-wheeling, sexy, with a rich journalistic life, a riotous popular culture and cinema and simultaneously a living curator of a broad array of Chinese cultural traditions erased by the Communist/Cultural Revolution — not to mention full of great food — to a heinous country and regime like communist China.  All Britain had to do was what I call “doing a Turkey”: meaning when Turkey says that wasn’t us, that was the Ottomans, so we have nothing to apologize for.  (Not that I think they do have anything to apologize for — which I make clear in this piece about “genocide.”)  Just say: “Sorry, we made that treaty with Imperial China in the nineteenth century not with the current People’s Republic of China, so…”  What was China going to do?  Go to war with Britain over Hong Kong?  It hasn’t attempted anything except occasional sabre-rattling over kocaman Taiwan.  Hong Kong was its problem?

[Of course, we’ve seen England’s slow slide into the ethical mud since.]

I hope the democracy movement in Hong Kong continues to be such a thorn in China’s side that it wants to spit it out and hand it back to the UK again.  I don’t think China really understood what a virus it was taking into its system when it accepted Hong Kong.  Mark my words: Hong Kong is going to be the factor that’s going to change China forever.  It’ll be a model and example to other Chinese that it’s ok to resist; it’ll break that fear.

One of the positives of colonialism: a vibrant city with a vibrant political life that doesn’t think it has to kowtow to the emperor.

I mean, the NYPD couldn’t even clear Flushing of food stalls if it wanted to.

See also in the Guardian [2015]: Is Hong Kong really rioting over fishball stands?


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A little piece coming up by me — most should have guessed by now — on how Hong Kong ended up on the Jadde spectrum.

And a film it seems will be very hard for Western audiences to see:

Ten Years (2015 film) – Wikipedia

A really powerful trailer. WATCH

Slap that obnoxious komsomol youth upside the head please.


NYer: “Can Babies Learn to Love Vegetables?”

19 Nov

Full article from Burkhard Bilger.

191125_r35463On any given day, American children are more likely to eat dessert than plants. Makers of baby food face a conundrum: If it sells, it’s probably not best for babies. If it’s best for babies, it probably won’t sell.  Photo illustration by Horacio Salinas for The New Yorker

Yeah, and anything else for that fact. Just make them eat what’s on the table with no options. Watch how they’ll start to love their broccoli once that’s all there is. We’re the first civilization in history which has made such a fuss about what children like or don’t like, and have created a civilization full of adults who still eat like 10yr olds.

And in the process we’re destroying centuries of ancient culinary traditions.  See one of my first ever posts from this blog:  Chitterlings…and mageiritsa



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