Month: March 2008

Architectural Digest

I am discovering that I am not a visual learner. It’s ironic that if the kids I teach are turned loose on a project of some kind, their first response is to make a movie or otherwise engage me visually, which elicits childlike clapping of the hands since it’s all so fearfully clever and so easy to do. The old dinosaur still labours under the delusion that words and, heaven forfend, their actual meaning carries artistry, however quaint.
Some CGI’s fascinate me, however. This room suggests Zen-like tranquillity, existing as it does in my pixellated imagination. I should like to sleep here.

Fire and Water

Well, the ageing pontiff is under fire again, this time for baptising the outspoken anti Islamic journalist, Magdi Allam at a rather public affair on Easter Sunday in St Peter’s Basilica. Allam has never been one for secreting his fire under a hedgerow, which has, predictably, earned him apostate status and consequent death threats, in addition to those from Hamas in 2003. To Western eyes, this is of course mediaeval, barbaric and unnecessary, but to the radical Islamist, the application of Shari’a is as natural as breathing. Allam was a self-confessed Muslim Zionist, an oxymoron of sorts, but subtly identified a hatred of Israel as the root of many of the evils plaguing the Muslim world and describes Israel as ‘the paradigm of the right to life.’ I rather like that, since it is the antithesis of the trendy leftist chattering classes’ view that if only Israel went away, everything would settle down in the Middle East. Ha! The demographics are disturbing. Christian presence in traditionally Biblical landscapes is declining, many finding safer and less hostile havens elsewhere in the world- a second hijra, if you will. Lebanon’s Christian majority has dwindled, having almost 70% Muslims, and the population of Bethlehem, once 95% Christian is less than a quarter of that today. I hate to suggest it, but it does rather look as if battle lines are being drawn again.