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The true history of the Paisley design

How Ambi became Paisley: "It began as a teardrop in Babylon. Where the sunlight came from Astarte, shameless goddess of the fecund feminine. The boteh. Stylized rendition of the date palm shoot, tree of life, fertility symbol. It danced through Celtic art, until the heavy feet of Roman legionaries tramped over the Alps. Then it fled the wrath of Mars and Jupiter, dove underground as Empire rose ." From Shailja Patel's Migritude. Here's a short film about the Migritude project (book on Amazon).
posted by dhruva on Dec 6, 2014 - 6 comments

[Chewie pauses by a pier-glass to slick down his hair]

In 1978, the first draft of The Empire Strikes Back was penned by a writer named Leigh Brackett. She passed away shortly thereafter and the script underwent a number of changes, first by George Lucas, before Lawrence Kasdan developed the final and more well-known screenplay. Brackett's initial draft is available for download here. The blog at starwarz.com highlights some of the more notable changes, such as Darth Vader not being Luke's father (though Luke's father appears as a character as a ghost Jedi on Dagoba), and a distinct lack of Boba Fett and carbon freezing. (Empire recently on the Blue) [more inside]
posted by dry white toast on Nov 21, 2014 - 25 comments

The wistful specter of what might've been if only he'd been listened to

From his time in Cairo, Lawrence was aware of the extravagant promises the British government had made to Hussein in order to raise the Arab Revolt: full independence for virtually the entire Arab world..............His first act of sedition — and by most any standards, a treasonous one — was to inform Faisal of the existence of Sykes-Picot.....The True Story of Lawrence of Arabia . Previously and Previously
posted by lalochezia on Jul 1, 2014 - 11 comments

Empires love their dissidents foreign

Molly Crabapple talks Snowden, Pussy Riot, and Cecily McMillan: "Cooing over foreign dissidents allows establishment hacks to pose like sexy rebels—while simultaneously affirming that their own system is the best. The dissident fetishist takes a brave, principled person, and uses them like a codpiece of competitive virtue.

The Kremlin loves (American) whistle-blowers. The State Department loves (Russian) anarchist punks."

posted by anemone of the state on Jun 11, 2014 - 16 comments

Bread riots were as rare as the prized Semper Augustus tulip

The Austerity Kitchen (previously) on the Dutch abundance of the 17th Century
posted by The Whelk on May 31, 2014 - 7 comments

STRENGTH YOUR BLOOD AND SHADOW

At first sight the search for peace and stability in Iraq, and the search for physical and mental fitness in the extreme contortions of modern Yoga seem to have absolutely nothing in common. But curiously they do. Both the terrible structural problems and distortions that underly Iraqi society today, and the strange, contorted poses that millions of people perform every day in things like Bikram's Hot Yoga, actually come from the fevered imagination of the British ruling class one hundred years ago. As they felt Britain's power declining they wanted desperately to go back into the past and create a purer and more innocent world, uncorrupted by the messiness of the modern industrial world - a new Eden forged both by strengthening and purifying the human body and by inventing new model countries round the world. And we are still suffering from the consequences of that terrible nostalgia. BODYBUILDING AND NATION-BUILDING
posted by timshel on Feb 4, 2014 - 11 comments

"Exceedingly sharp and as bright as a gentleman’s sword."

A captain ready to drive himself and all around him to ruin in the hunt for a white whale. It’s a well-known story, and over the years, mad Ahab in Herman Melville’s most famous novel, Moby-Dick, has been used as an exemplar of unhinged American power, most recently of George W. Bush’s disastrous invasion of Iraq. But what’s really frightening isn’t our Ahabs, the hawks who periodically want to bomb some poor country, be it Vietnam or Afghanistan, back to the Stone Age. The respectable types are the true “terror of our age,” as Noam Chomsky called them collectively nearly 50 years ago. The really scary characters are our soberest politicians, scholars, journalists, professionals and managers, men and women (though mostly men) who imagine themselves as morally serious...
An essay by Greg Grandin on Melville's novella Benito Cereno (based on the sailing memoirs of Amasa Delano Chapter XVIII) the differences in the political economy and whaling vs. sealing, and the origins of the American empire.
posted by ennui.bz on Jan 29, 2014 - 11 comments

July 30, 762 to February 13, 1258

In two weeks of blood and fire, one of the greatest intellectual and cultural legacies the world had ever seen came to an end. Crushed under the hooves of a mighty foe (in one case literally), a dynasty, an empire, a city, and a library all disappeared. It was perhaps the swiftest and most complete collapse of a civilization ever, still felt to this day. Now, how about for some context? [more inside]
posted by cthuljew on Dec 13, 2013 - 39 comments

you can love me if you want it's not my problem

"Alt lit [previously] is accused of navel-gazing myopia, but technically any writing occurring outside of traditional institutions qualifies for the label. Everyone I know has written alt lit: every status update, every blog post, everything that has ever been said on Twitter. And Twitter, unbeknown to Jonathan Franzen, is especially literary...Which brings me to Heiko Julien," Author (and composer) of "I Am Ready To Die A Violent Death." [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Dec 6, 2013 - 21 comments

Mad dogs and Englishmen

An unusually sustained heatwave oppresses the UK, as temperatures have climbed above 82 degrees Fahrenheit for 11 days, the longest hot spell since 2006. Roads melt in England and Wales, rail lines buckle in England and Scotland, hospital admissions spike and wildfires burn. Swimming-related, army training and heat-related, deaths have increased. The Met Office currently hold a Level Three Heat Advisory for several regions (Level Four is "National Emergency"), while tabloids indulge in traditional "England is hotter than {exotic place}" headlines. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Jul 19, 2013 - 263 comments

jittery UK government reveals itself before potential claims of former v

Mau Mau to Midnapore: Confronting the brutality of empire There are certainly some Britons, including academics, journalists and human rights lawyers, who are aware of the realities of colonialism. However, in the society as a whole and in the media in the UK there are still far too many who seem strangely reluctant, even after so many decades after the end of the British empire, to come to terms with the true nature of colonialism or learn from the perspective of former subjects who had rebelled against it.
posted by infini on May 6, 2013 - 17 comments

Just say Novus Ordo Seclorum

In 1990, George Bush Senior had inaugurated a New World Order, based on uncontested US military supremacy and western economic dominance. This was to be a unipolar world without rivals. Regional powers would bend the knee to the new worldwide imperium. History itself, it was said, had come to an end. But between the attack on the Twin Towers and the fall of Lehman Brothers, that global order had crumbled. Two factors were crucial. By the end of a decade of continuous warfare, the US had succeeded in exposing the limits, rather than the extent, of its military power. And the neoliberal capitalist model that had reigned supreme for a generation had crashed. The End Of The New World Order and the Search for a Way Forward.
posted by philip-random on Oct 25, 2012 - 24 comments

von Irvin Kershner

A documentary about Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, parts one and two, by Michel Parbot (fr.wikipedia), broadcast on Dutch TV in 1980 (so the first 30 seconds or so are in Dutch). [more inside]
posted by cthuljew on Oct 13, 2012 - 5 comments

Empire State of Pen

Empire State of Pen — 80 second timelapse video of artist Patrick Vale drawing the view of the Manhattan skyline from the Empire State Building.
posted by netbros on Sep 13, 2012 - 9 comments

Cliodynamics

Peter Turchin is a Professor of Mathematics, and of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut. For the last nine years, he's been taking the mathematical techniques that once allowed him to track predator–prey cycles in forest ecosystems, and using them to model human history -- a pattern identification process he calls Cliodynamics. The goal of cliodynamics (or cliometrics) is to turn history into a predictive, analytic science. By analysing some of the broad social forces that shape transformative events in US society: historical records on economic activity, demographic trends and outbursts of violence, he has come to the conclusion that a new wave of internal strife is already on its way, and should peak around 2020. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 2, 2012 - 60 comments

The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World

Spanning one-ninth of the earth's circumference across three continents, the Roman Empire ruled a quarter of humanity through complex networks of political power, military domination and economic exchange. These extensive connections were sustained by premodern transportation and communication technologies that relied on energy generated by human and animal bodies, winds, and currents. Conventional maps that represent this world as it appears from space signally fail to capture the severe environmental constraints that governed the flows of people, goods and information. Cost, rather than distance, is the principal determinant of connectivity. For the first time, ORBIS allows us to express Roman communication costs in terms of both time and expense. By simulating movement along the principal routes of the Roman road network, the main navigable rivers, and hundreds of sea routes in the Mediterranean, Black Sea and coastal Atlantic, this interactive model reconstructs the duration and financial cost of travel in antiquity.
posted by Blasdelb on May 11, 2012 - 57 comments

"He who doesn’t know where he came from doesn’t know where he is going” –An African proverb.

THE OYO EMPIRE by Prof George Ayittey As you read this keep these pertinent modern questions in mind: Whether or not military dictatorship existed in the empire, rule of law was absent, there were no accountability or checks and balances, and whether the rulers can be removed.
posted by infini on Feb 19, 2012 - 4 comments

Take up the White Man's burden— And reap his old reward: The blame of those ye better, The hate of those ye guard—

Indian author Pankaj Mishra writes a brutal takedown of Niall Ferguson's latest book, Civilisation: The West and the Rest in the London Review of Books. Ferguson responds to the critical book review with a lawsuit. [more inside]
posted by bodywithoutorgans on Dec 5, 2011 - 107 comments

Vox Roma

Over 143 episodes of audio, Mike Duncan has covered the founding of Rome through the Crisis of the Third Century in his History of Rome podcast [previously], having now reached the last pagan Emperor, Julian The Apostate. Enlivened by drawing on comparisons to popular culture, from The Empire Strikes Back (when Hannibal makes his appearance) to The Godfather (as a metaphor for Rome's social client system), Mr Duncan's work makes for fun, informative 25-minute sessions with the greatest empire of the ancient western world. If you're interested in more, the podcasts could be handily supplemented with... [more inside]
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Jul 10, 2011 - 42 comments

800-588-2300...

Lynn Haludren, better known as the Empire Carpet Man, died yesterday at the age of 89. [more inside]
posted by Hey Dean Yeager! on Apr 27, 2011 - 83 comments

"The drug war is war on the underclass now. That’s all it is."

Bill Moyers interviews David Simon "Again, we would have to ask ourselves a lot of hard questions. The people most affected by this are black and brown and poor. It’s the abandoned inner cores of our urban areas. As we said before, economically, we don’t need those people; the American economy doesn’t need them. So as long as they stay in their ghettos and they only kill each other, we’re willing to pay for a police presence to keep them out of our America."
posted by bitmage on Apr 17, 2011 - 67 comments

“It’s a self-licking ice cream cone."

The Dangerous US Game in Yemen “The global war on terror has acquired a life of its own,” says Colonel Lang. “It’s a self-licking ice cream cone." [more inside]
posted by adamvasco on Mar 31, 2011 - 26 comments

"Ohhh, we are gonna get so much crap for that...."

How it Should Have Ended: Terminator / Star Trek / Aliens / The Empire Strikes Back and more.... Links contain spoilers
posted by zarq on Feb 5, 2011 - 33 comments

The U.K. Explained for non-residents

[SLYT] A brief video explaining the parts of the UK. This video explains the difference between Great Britain and The United Kingdom, and its various territories, and which countries form which political and/or geographical groups.
posted by marienbad on Jan 31, 2011 - 60 comments

Good-Bye to All That

The American Century, proclaimed so triumphantly at the start of World War II, will be tattered and fading by 2025, its eighth decade, and could be history by 2030.
posted by Joe Beese on Dec 8, 2010 - 80 comments

You must unlearn what you have learned.

Just in time for the 30th anniversary of the movie's release, The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back chronicles the complete tale—from pre-release to blockbuster success — of what’s become the fan favorite of the Star Wars series. Vanity Fair presents an excerpt from the book: rarely seen photographs from the Empire Strikes Back set, annotated with behind-the-scenes details. They also have interviews with the book’s author, J. W. Rinzler, and the man behind Boba Fett’s mask, actor Jeremy Bulloch." On a lighter note, how about a Wampa Throw Rug, new from the folks at ThinkGeek?
posted by zarq on Oct 12, 2010 - 35 comments

Han. We've been in touch with your stepfather.

Leigh Brackett's original script for Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back was leaked online some time in the past couple of months. This isn't the more widely circulated Kasdan treatment, but apparently the original, original draft submitted to George Lucas. Brackett died of cancer shortly thereafter. Ice castles, Wampa raids, transport guilds, Lando clones, Minch the Jedi master, a disturbing lack of incest and no, that's not your father, why do you ask? [more inside]
posted by obiwanwasabi on May 30, 2010 - 51 comments

give up that dream

It is not our role to take power. It is our role to make the powerful frightened of us. And that's what we've forgotten. Give up that dream! Chris Hedges talks neoliberalism and neofeudalism, the civil rights movement, Camden, Obama, Clinton, Tea Parties, moral nihilism, inverted totalitarianism and corpocracy, NAFTA, welfare reform, health care, labor, poverty, Yugoslavia, post-industrial capitalism, economic crisis, imperial collapse, socialism, and democracy, among other things. [more inside]
posted by gerryblog on Apr 24, 2010 - 51 comments

Surely this. . .

"Liberal Hawk" Peter Galbraith played a major role in justifying the American invasion of Iraq. Later he helped write the new Iraqi constitution. Turns out he failed to disclose the hundreds of millions he stands to make on Kurdish oil fields, in part because of his engineering of the same constitution to put him in a favorable business position. Another blogger remembers the good ol' days of 2003 when the media and politicians were shocked --shocked! -- that anyone would dare suggest that the invasion and occupation of Iraq was "all about oil."
posted by bardic on Nov 12, 2009 - 75 comments

The 800-pound gorilla in the American living room

Dismantling the Empire.
According to the 2008 official Pentagon inventory of US military bases around the world, the Empire consists of 865 facilities deploying over 190,000 troops in 46 countries and overseas U.S. territories. The United States spends approximately $250 billion each year maintaining its global military presence. The sole purpose of this is to give us hegemony -- that is, control or dominance -- over as many nations on the planet as possible.
(Related I & II).
posted by adamvasco on Aug 8, 2009 - 162 comments

The Lithuanian Press Ban, 1864-1904

From 1864 to 1904, the Russian Empire tried to quelch the nationalism of Lithuanians by ordering all Lithuanian texts to be printed with Cyrillic characters instead of in the Latin-derived Lithuanian or Polish alphabets. But they didn't count on the Knygnešiai - the Booksmugglers. [more inside]
posted by mdonley on Jul 12, 2009 - 18 comments

The American Empire Is Bankrupt

The American Empire Is Bankrupt (via The Agonist)
posted by Substrata on Jun 18, 2009 - 81 comments

Before everything, there was PLATO

Touch screen. Awesome graphics. Online community. No, I'm not talking about the latest handheld device to hit the market, I'm talking about Control Data's PLATO system. [more inside]
posted by WolfDaddy on Apr 27, 2009 - 31 comments

Field Force to Lhasa

Field Force to Lhasa 1903-04 Captain Cecil Mainprise accompanied General Sir Francis Younghusband's expedition to Tibet in 1903. He wrote 50 letters home which trace the expedition’s progress into Tibet. Read this insider's account on the day they were written some 105 years later. Final post is 18 November 2009. [Via]
posted by Abiezer on Apr 4, 2009 - 8 comments

Drawings of Kings, and their Palaces.

Welcome to the Garden States of the Mughal Empire.
posted by hadjiboy on Mar 10, 2009 - 7 comments

Did they put it in their back pocket after they took it?

Empire State Building Stolen. The News swiped the 102-story Art Deco skyscraper by drawing up a batch of bogus documents, making a fake notary stamp and filing paperwork with the city to transfer the deed to the property. Previously
posted by Xurando on Dec 5, 2008 - 19 comments

US Military Presence Worldwide

Mission Creep: "Bush and Rumsfeld may be history, but America's new global footprint lives on." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Aug 26, 2008 - 33 comments

Bacevich speaks to Moyer about the American Empire

Ret. Col. Andrew Bacevich speaks to Bill Moyers (transcript) about the American empire and his new book "The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism."
posted by geos on Aug 18, 2008 - 81 comments

At least its not fully operational.

The Death Star rises over San Francisco. A video. Just some footage shot during Imperial Fleet Week in SF.
posted by uaudio on Aug 16, 2008 - 51 comments

Global Domination: The Missing Manual

Learning from history's mistakes? In the summer of 2002, the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment (ONA), run for 35 years by a man nicknamed Yoda, published an 85-page report titled "Military Advantage in History" (PDF). Drawing on Sun Tzu, Jared Diamond and Roman historian Titus Livius, the book analyzes the rise & fall of the empires of Alexander the Great, Imperial Rome, Genghis Khan, and Napoleon's France and attempts to plot a course for a Pax Americana that can avoid the pitfalls that led to the collapse of those earlier kingdoms. (via)
posted by scalefree on Aug 5, 2008 - 36 comments

What goes Up must come Down

End of Empire : A collaboration of all areas of geopolitics affecting countries of the world in relation to the 'Empire' of the United States of America, and the 'sub-Empires', such as the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia and any other country which seeks to exploit poorer nations and their people in the quest for domination.
posted by adamvasco on Nov 27, 2007 - 11 comments

Dude - where's my ranch?

Yipee ti-yi - zap! The original Singing Cowboy, Gene Autry, defends his Radio Ranch (Autry was a radio star at the time) from gunslingers and Indians evil scientists, and robots from an underground civilization, in a 1935 twelve-chapter movie serial. It's Autry's first movie role (playing a singing cowboy named Gene Autry), and the first talking science fiction film. Longer plot summary of Chapter 1 and Chapter 4.
posted by Kirth Gerson on May 18, 2007 - 8 comments

It appears...that the people of the United States prefer the Roman approach

Chalmers Johnson whose Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic is out today, provides something the CIA won't: a National Intelligence Estimate for the United States.
posted by inoculatedcities on Feb 6, 2007 - 44 comments

The Decline and Fall of the American Empire

Empire Falls. "They called it 'the American Century,' but the past hundred years actually saw a shift away from Western dominance. Through the long lens of Edward Gibbon's history, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Rome 331 and America and Europe 2006 appear to have more than a few problems in common." By Niall Ferguson, whose views on the American hegemony have been discussed previously.
posted by homunculus on Oct 25, 2006 - 46 comments

You know, man is the only animal clever enough to build the Empire State Building and stupid enough to jump off it!

She's she's been pawed by apes, strafed by a bomber, and snubbed by the daleks. But today, at 75, the Empire State Building still looks great.
posted by Smart Dalek on May 1, 2006 - 25 comments

internet as hyper-liberalism

INTERNET AS HYPER-LIBERALISM: By the limitations of common sense and consensus. Sometime wacky ideas can help us look at things much clearer than a technical manual description of them by rational and well argued people. Paul Treanor is a one-of-a-kind writer. don't try to argue with him about being wrong. he does not believe in communication and therefore there is no CONTACT link anywhere on his site. He writes and lives in Amsterdam, Holland.
posted by sundaymag on Jan 10, 2006 - 52 comments

I am become Death

The Lucifer Project. "This is a documentation and study of the feasibility of creating a sustainable fusion reaction from an initial fission reaction on Saturn caused by a significant quantity of Plutonium-238 being inserted deep into the atmosphere." [via: del.icio.us/blackbeltjones]
posted by gsb on Nov 21, 2005 - 33 comments

Terror from the Inside

"If you don't like that, I'm sorry." Jon Bolton, Bush nominee for Ambassador to the UN, discusses the United Nations with humility and patriotic aplomb.
posted by a thousand writers drunk at the keyboard on Jun 2, 2005 - 124 comments

The price of greatness is responsibility.

"There is no excuse for superior authority not choosing the most suitable agents for particular duties, and not removing unsuitable agents from particular duties." With all the talk of empires and resignations, a reflection to history turns up a remarkable story about an already remarkable man:

A tense time in British India came to a head when General Reginald Dyer's brigade opened fire on an unarmed crowd assembled in Amritsar with machine guns, killing 379 and wounding over 1500. Command wanted to relieve him of duty, but patriotic (and imperialist) fervor at home led to a parliamentary debate which was expected to repudiate this decision and honor him. Enter War Secretary Winston Churchill who defended the Government so eloquently that the minds and hearts of the entire deliberative body were turned.
posted by allan on Dec 17, 2004 - 16 comments

The world's first multinational

The world's first multinational I found this informative piece via Arts&Letters. "Corporate greed, the ruination of traditional ways of life, share-price bubbles, western imperialism: all these modern complaints were made against the British East India Company in the 18th century. Nick Robins draws the lessons...
posted by Postroad on Dec 10, 2004 - 12 comments

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