Saturday, October 19, 2013

October 18-19

"I liked the opera very much. Everything but the music."

--Benjamin Britten on Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress; cited in "21 of the best insults in classical music"; via RB on Facebook; Britten image from


Video of the Week: Ambassador Matthew Barzun, Some Cousins, and Glorious Facial Hair -– Domani Spero, DiploPundit: "The folks who brought us  Scamnet: Lonely Hearts Scam Division and It’s a Scam are back with a short video of the new Ambassador to the UK Matthew Barzun taking us on a tour of his office. He introduced some of his cousins, folks with intimidating facial hair and  plugs in his new Twitter handle @MathewBarzun. For those interested in facial hair as  a weapon of intimidation, check out a round-up of cinematic facial hair here; you won’t be sorry!"


[LISTEN] China’s Evolving Foreign Policy and Public Diplomacy - Michael Ardaiolo, pdcast: "Dr. David M Lampton discusses China’s foreign policy and adjoining public diplomacy as it expands global influence."


Will Obama Blow His Diplomatic Opportunity with Iran? - Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett, "As we move toward a new round of nuclear talks in Geneva this week between Iran and the P5+1, it is important to look soberly at each side’s approach to renewed nuclear diplomacy and what that implies about the prospects for real diplomatic progress. On the Iranian side, the public diplomacy carried out by President Hassan Rohani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif during their visits to New York for the United Nations General Assembly—along with Zarif’s meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the other P5+1 foreign ministers and Rohani’s fifteen-minute phone conversation with President Obama—was exceptional. Moreover, conversations with Iranian officials in New York during Rohani and Zarif’s visits there and in Tehran during the first week of October suggest that the Iranian side will come to the Geneva talks proactively prepared with proposals for resolving the nuclear issue within a finite period. It is far less clear, however, that the Obama administration is prepared to do anything of real seriousness and substance to facilitate diplomatic progress. American elites—including Obama administration policymakers—are still talking about 'productive diplomacy' with Iran primarily in terms of extracting major concessions from the Islamic Republic."

Iranian MP: Iran, US should establish public diplomacy - N. Umid, S. Isayev, "Iran and the United States should establish public and non-official diplomacy, first deputy Speaker of Iranian Parliament, Mohammad Reza Bahonar said, Iranian Bahar newspaper reported. He went on to note that, official diplomacy has limitations while public diplomacy does not have.

Bahonar also criticized Iran's former administrations due to neglecting this kind of diplomacy, adding that public diplomacy can start with a football match as well as parliamentary groups` consultations or lobbying." Bahonar image from article

The North Korea threat - Stefan Soesanto, "After more than two decades of post-cold war tit-for-tat, relations between Washington and Pyongyang are at an all-time low. Ironically, within this non-cooperative environment of 'strategic patience', intelligence gathering and public diplomacy has been unwillingly outsourced to non-governmental organizations and people like former NBA star

Dennis Rodman. Something has indeed gone terribly wrong when the only country in the world that is openly threatening the United States with nuclear warfare is not being taken seriously." Rodman image from

Natural Gas: Decades on, OPEC embargo molds challenging energy debates - Jenny Mandel, "Within energy circles, many observers today talk about the opportunities surrounding natural gas as once-in-a-lifetime changes in the world energy order. In certain scenarios, gas replaces large volumes of coal used in the electric power sector and chips away at oil's dominance as the fuel for cars and trucks. In a September speech at the 5th World LNG Series in Singapore, Richard Westerdale, who directs the State Department's policy analysis and public diplomacy efforts at its Bureau of Energy Resources, described those changes as laying the groundwork for U.S. policy goals around the world. 'Due to the rapid development of hydrocarbon resources in the U.S., we have the opportunity to support economic development, foster greater competition in the global marketplace, and strengthen political stability in both producing and consuming countries while still addressing environmental concerns and transitioning to cleaner fuels,' Westerdale said."

Meeting Of The Broadcasting Board Of Governors Scheduled For October 23 – BBG Press Release - BBGWatcher, "The official agenda for the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG)open board meeting on October 23 has been published. Well-placed sources told BBG Watch that under the new BBG chairman Jeff Shell, and with the support of other BBG members, including the four newly-appointed BBG Governors, the meeting may reveal outlines of a management reform agenda for U.S. international broadcasting/media. ... We wish Chairman Shell and the Board courage and good luck in their efforts to save this important American institution of great value for international media freedom, U.S. public diplomacy, and U.S. national security."

More Devaluation of US Government International Broadcasting - The Federalist, BBG Watch: "The IBB status quo is not an acceptable option. It is dysfunctional and defunct." On IBB, see.

How to Make the U.N. Relevant to Americans in a Time of Increased Isolationism - Oscar Castellanos, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Would U.N agencies be less vulnerable to the U.S’ coercive power if they were more oriented to the American public? If so, what should be the public diplomacy approach agencies should take?

And if so, what public diplomacy approach should agencies take? Perhaps if American citizens were more aware of the impact that the United Nations had on their daily lives, cuts to the U.N. and foreign aid would be politically costly. In this spirit, perhaps the U.N., as the global institution par excellence, needs to make very clear the local repercussions of its work to its largest financial contributor." Image from article, with caption: UNESCO

The Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States Affairs, Compatriots Residing Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation ROSSOTRUDNICHESTVO - "The Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States Affairs, Compatriots Residing Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo), founded in accordance with Decree number 1315 of the President of the Russian Federation, dated 6 September 2008, having taken its place in the system of organizations state authority and governance, under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation of the Russian Federation, has become an effective instrument for implementing the concept of the foreign policy of the Russian Federation in the field of strengthening and expanding international humanitarian cooperation. The systemization of this work, along with its new conceptualization, the development of fresh innovative approaches, while taking into account the rapidly changing realities of our modern world, are now the main tasks of Rossotrudnichestvo. The activities of the Agency are primarily focused on fortifying an objective perception of modern Russia, its material and spiritual potential, preserving and expanding both the language and cultural presence of Russia throughout the rest of the world, while carrying out the principles of 'public diplomacy' in order to develop and reinforce friendship, cooperation, and mutual understanding between nations. ... Rossotrudnichestvo

conducts this work through the organization of active, systematic, and goal-oriented efforts of its representative abroad: the Russian Center of Science and Culture, which currently operates in 77 countries around the world. ... A primary focus of activity for the Agency are the member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States. ... One of the important directions of Rossotrudnichestvo is its work with compatriots, strengthening connections with the Russian Diaspora overseas, improving its role and influence in the countries of residence, preserving the ethniccultural identity of our fellow countrymen, and extending their opportunities for obtaining an education in Russia. ... A significant responsibility of our centers is that of strengthening the positions of Russian culture, while familiarizing overseas citizens with the richest Russian cultural heritage and modern Russian art. ... With great emphasis on the development of the principles of 'public diplomacy', the Agency renders support for the activity of the Russian Association of International Cooperation (RAMS), societies of Russian friendship with foreign countries, and actively cooperates with various non-governmental organizations." Image from entry

Tanzania: Zanzibar to View Aboriginal Films - Iman Mani, "Through a partnership between Murdoch University in Perth, Australia and the local Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF), a number of films have been lined-up to be screened on the Isles, starting on Sunday. The programme is then scheduled to continue for the next three months. Residents of Nungwi area, on the Isles, received the news last weekend from ZIFF Director, Prof Martin Mhando, when the programme was launched there. Addressing the people after speaking to the Sheha of Nungwi, Mhando welcomed the opportunity to show films that not only entertained, but also educated and informed audiences. He referred to films as being 'soft diplomacy' which, while being a creative outlet for filmmakers, actually promoted national values and heritage, while projecting images that influence how a nation is understood. ZIFF Chairman Mahmoud Kombo, who was also present, added that films allowed audiences to learn about people, who are different from them; together with helping them acquire new and unique experiences beyond their own communities. ... 'The setting up of the Australia-Tanzania Business Council and the impending opening of the Western Australia Trading Centre in Kenya augurs for increasing links with the region,' Kombo said. 'The holding of the first Uganda International Diaspora Conference in Perth in 2012 reflects the high status placed on Australia by the region.' Providing further explanation as to why the AICC would concern itself with this programme the ZIFF Chairman said their desire is to demonstrate public diplomacy benefits for the country. He added that governments, corporations and economic global governance institutions have become more aware of the differences between cultures in their strategic decision-making process and have therefore begun to adopt 'Cultural Diplomacy' models into their agenda, through various means so as to 'enhance mutual understanding' among countries throughout the world."

Challenging policy question to seek balance between conservation and utilization in the Arctic - "The Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, addressed the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik today where he gave a broad overview of Iceland´s priorities and the future of Arctic cooperation. In his speech he underlined the challenges and opportunities in the Arctic in the coming years and decades. ... The Foreign Minister outlined recent steps taken by the government to

enhance the Arctic policy. A Committee of Ministers on Arctic Affairs, which the Prime Minister presides over, ensures a whole-of government approach, focusing on policy coherence, internal coordination and effective participation in international activities. The government will review the feasibility of establishing an international rescue and response center in Iceland, enhancing Iceland’s public diplomacy effort concerning the importance of the Arctic and further cooperation with the business community on developing opportunities both in Iceland and abroad." Iceland image from

The cult of celebrity is stripping politics of its dignity (... and the British people are the losers) - Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Mail: "[A]s the past few days have reminded us, the lines between politics and showbusiness have become dangerously blurred — and the losers are likely to be the British people. ... We live in an age when politics grovels before the cult of celebrity. Barely a week goes by without the Coalition recruiting a sporting star — Dame Kelly Holmes, say, or Sir Steve Redgrave — to be the ‘ambassador’

for some campaign or other. ... From 2002 onwards, the nursing-home entrepreneur and Labour peer Lord Carter of Coles — who was also chairman of Sport England — accumulated five appointments in as many years, undertaking reviews of ‘offender management’, the Criminal Records Bureau, ‘public diplomacy’, legal aid and NHS pathology services. ... To our current masters, it seems that the old adage is true: politics really is just showbusiness for ugly people." Image from article, with caption: Risque: New Tory front bencher Esther McVey in her days as a television presenter

Measuring the ‘soft power’ of cultural activity - BOB Consulting, "In recent years a number of commentators have argued that the ‘soft power’ of a nation’s culture is as important as its military strength in assessing that country’s place in the world. Measuring such soft power is far from easy, though. One body which has tried to do so is the Berlin-based Institute for Cultural Diplomacy. Its Cultural Diplomacy Outlook Report 2011 is a wide-ranging study looking at many aspects of what it calls cultural diplomacy, in the public, private and third sectors. One of the most interesting parts is its Index: The cultural diplomacy index charts the increasing prevalence of soft power and public diplomacy as a means of international dialogue. The index evaluates various government activities to determine whether their respective cultural diplomacy programmes are substantial, constructive and effective. The index produced by the ICD ranked forty countries by these means, and found that Germany and the Netherlands came joint first, with Norway in third. The UK was fifth, the US was seventh, and India was the leading emerging economy, in tenth place."

Beyond Cultural Diplomacy - Honor Bailey, "In addition to being socially powerful, the impact of cultural diplomacy can be quantified and used to improve politics. The concept of the citizen artist extends beyond artists and policymakers to include entire communities."

More than a game of crowns: The global political economy of beauty pageants - Confessions of a Scatterbrain: Conveying thoughts one at a time | For comments and suggestions, send a message to "When the newly crowned Miss World 2013 Megan Lynne Young arrived in the Philippines last Thursday, she was given a glorious homecoming and even summoned by the Congress to recognize her achievement.

Megan wore a dazzling Filipiniana gown, her hair neatly tied in a bun, a turquoise-blue crown resting on her head. During the post World War II era, international beauty pageants received immense popularity as demonstrated by the participation of various countries worldwide. Despite the prominence, beauty pageants had not eluded criticism, mainly spawned by feminists, for relegating women into mere objects. Notably, the Miss Thailand 1973 beauty pageant was suspended when conservatives denounced the pageant as a form of 'selling' women in an eccentric 'meat market'. But at the onset of postmodern age, beauty pageants not only transformed contenders into icons of hegemonic imagery of beauty but also constructed new roles both for countries in the sphere of international relations, and women in the realm of public diplomacy and cultural governance. Image from entry

How Social Media is Becoming Separated from the Internet - Hilary Brandt, "Hilary Brandt is the Director of the Office of Innovative Engagement (OIE) in the Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) at the U.S. Department of State. The Office of Innovative Engagement provides expertise in the best use of new and emerging digital tools for public diplomacy. Hilary oversees research and development of new tools and platforms, comprehensive education and support for the department’s 200 plus social media practitioners, and outreach to the technology industry."

Ubuntu Radio goes live online - "New internet-based South African radio station Ubuntu Radio officially went live last night, aimed at enhancing communication on South Africa’s foreign policy and broadcasting African stories from an African perspective.

'South Africa has a good story to tell and we have done extremely well over the past 20 years. Our foreign policy has evolved, but that story is not being told,' said Clayson Monyela, head of public diplomacy for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO)." Image from entry

CSC Welcomes Dr. Valentina Bartolucci - "The CSC extends a warm welcome to Dr. Valentina Bartolucci. She is a Fulbright Research Scholar resident here during the 2013-2014 academic year, studying public diplomacy as anti-terrorism. ... Her research mainly addresses the foreign and security policies of U.S. and other States, terrorism and counter-terrorism, discourses on threat and emergency and strategic communication as anti-terrorism."

Can You Find the Difference? - YMedad, The NYTimes has expanded its op-ed section and it now includes: Ali Jarbawi and Shmuel Rosner. ... One is a civic society person and a long-time professional journalist. The other is a former high political official, a public-diplomacy hack."

Abram Games In His Own Way –- In Israel - Rachel Neiman, "Abram Games is considered one of the most prominent British designers of the 20th century. ... As part of his army service during World War II, Games was an Official War Artist and designed many of the official announcements used in British public diplomacy. To a large extent, these works — such as the posters encouraging citizens to join the war effort, grow their own vegetable gardens and serve in the military — shaped an entire generation."

Tom DeLay: Wannabe Reality TV Star - susanbradfordpress: "In 2010, Congressman Tom DeLay was hot off the heels of Dancing with the Stars and preparing for his money laundering trial in Austin, Texas when he decided to engage in a little strategic public diplomacy. Giggling over the dainty heeled shoes he was required to wear during his dance routines, the scandalized Congressman winked at the judges, threw money at the audience, and otherwise engaged in Tom foolery before the nation.

Having undertaken a few polls to gauge public opinion, DeLay believed that his chances of prevailing in the Austin case were greatly enhanced by his appearance on the Stars, which he hoped would generate a more positive attitude towards him among jury members." DeLay image from

Traffic Stop In Shelby County Was Unconstitutional In Order To "Serve Process" In Rob Riley's Lawsuit - Legal Schnauzer: The memory of a beloved pet inspires one couple's fight against injustice: "A Shelby County sheriff deputy trampled the U.S. Constitution when he recently conducted a traffic stop to 'serve' my wife and me with court papers in a defamation lawsuit that Alabama Republican Rob Riley has filed against us. Lt. Mike DeHart probably committed a criminal act when he stopped our vehicle without probable cause to believe a traffic violation had been committed. ... DeHart claimed I had rolled through a stop sign while making a left-hand turn at a 'T intersection' in our neighborhood. I immediately told him I did not roll through the stop sign . ... Anonymous said... There would come time his vacancy would be filled by another who outgoing personality was not founded on public diplomacy. This officer was a drunk, he came to work drunk, he was allowed to drive police car drunk, and all the while his upper police management were cognizant, as well as chief; he would threaten his pregnant wife with bat, and more serious matters, and list goes on and on; but when the public sees a police officer out at a bar drinking heavy, then getting into his vehicle and driving off raises eyebrows.


Obama's diplomatic comeback -- He made little headway in his first term, but now engagement with Iran and Syria shows promise - Editorial, The administration is right to seize new diplomatic openings and to pursue negotiated solutions in a careful, deliberate manner.

John Kerry on forging a Pacific future: At a time when some Americans would like to pull back, it's important we work together globally to meet an array of challenges - John F. Kerry, In Bali, Indonesia, we made real progress on reaching agreement among a dozen countries representing 40% of the world's economy. Over several days of high-level talks, we narrowed differences and reaffirmed the objective of concluding negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership by the end of the year.

The rebalancing of our foreign policy priorities in Asia is neither a work completed nor an effort interrupted. It is a daily march of progress to be measured in miles and years, not yards and days. But the march is underway, and America and Asia are stronger because of it. Image from article, with caption: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, speaks as U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, second from left, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, second from right, and Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera listen during their meeting at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo.

Talk About Political Dysfunction ... - Jason Pack and Mohamed Eljarh, New York Times:
The cancellation of some military aid to Egypt could grant President Obama a novel opportunity to redirect some of the funds withheld from Egypt toward institution building in Libya without the need for Congressional approval

The future of counterterrorism: Fewer drones, more partnerships - Linda Robinson, Washington Post: Drones are just one of three principal U.S. counterterrorism tools, and not necessarily the most important. Special Operations forces are now relying on a more balanced mix of tactics: Launching raids and developing partner forces offer more versatility than drone strikes and will probably become the wave of the future as America’s big wars wind down.

America’s not in decline -- it’s on the rise - Ely Ratner and Thomas Wright, Washington Post: America’s domestic revival provides all the necessary tools to facilitate American leadership abroad. Being humble about the United States’ ability to shape foreign societies, particularly through military means, is no excuse for a lack of ambition to continue advancing U.S. interests and universal values overseas. Rather than bracing for American decline, Washington should prepare to lead the world anew.

Egypt’s stolen heritage - Mohamed Ibrahim, Washington Post: Egyptians need the people and the government of the United States to support our efforts to combat the systematic and organized looting of our museums and archaeological sites.

A Year Abroad vs. a Year Wasted - Room for Debate, New York Times: Despite efforts to reduce the cost of a college degree, the price tag remains unthinkable for many. And it’s not just the cost of tuition, but also the extras like spending a year, a semester or even a summer in a foreign country. At a time when it seems as if every American college and university has a study abroad program or has agreements with institutions that offer the experience, one has to wonder: Is it worth it?

Malala drama, another propaganda tool of CIA? - Ali Ashraf Khan, The wrong type of education is damaging boys and men as much as girls and women by destroying our traditions blindly and denouncing God and the Truth. This should be the discussion in our media: what kind of education we need? Is this Western Enlightenment type of education that is sponsored by Western NGOs and Pakistani liberals good or not; and are USAID advertised programmes

suitable for our society or not? It is such a bad marketing trick to use a young girl who doesn't know much about the world and develop her into an instrument to sell western education in the tribal society. Malala image from entry

The joke’s on us: A scheming China laughs as chronic crisis cripples Washington: Yuan’s world standing as a currency could benefit - Patrice Hill, The Washington Times: China’s leaders sharply criticized Washington's government dysfunction in widely publicized comments, but

they secretly are gleeful that the chronic crises emanating out of Washington helps elevate China in the world’s eye as a much-needed source of stability while furthering Beijing’s goal of posing an alternative to a U.S.-centric world economy. As the largest buyer of U.S. Treasury securities, with about $1.5 trillion in holdings, China regularly warns against the perils of default, but its derision of Washington this time went much further. Image from article, with caption: President Obama meets with ... Xi Jinping on Feb., 14, 2012, at the White House.

China’s “Journalists” Ordered to Take New Propaganda Training - William F. Jasper, Reporters, editors, and commentators for China’s mushrooming domestic and global print, broadcast, and social media have been ordered to pack their bags and head back to school for a new and revised dose of Marxist Propaganda 101. On October 10, China’s State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television, which is overseen by the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Central Propaganda Department, announced a mandatory three-month training program for all journalists, according to reports from various Asian and Western news agencies.

Shanghai’s propaganda chief Xu Lin calls for tighter media control - Patrick Boehler, As Shanghai’s free-trade zone aims to be a testing ground for unprecedented economic reforms, it was business as usual in Communist Party propaganda in China’s second-largest city. “Shanghai is at the forefront of the meeting of Chinese and Western thought,” Xu Lin, the head of the city’s propaganda department wrote in Monday’s People’s Daily.

Therefore, the city must “strengthen the management” of newspapers, television stations, online platforms, forums and seminars, he wrote. Shanghai will strengthen its capacity to “guide public opinion” and expand its internet monitoring teams, he added. Image from article, with caption: A welcome sign of the Shanghai free-trade zone.

Does Chinese leaders' animation debut signal a revamped propaganda strategy? The professionally-produced animation has drawn over one million views since its release on Monday - Amy Li, Chinese state leaders who are known for their poker faces and uncharismatic demeanours have finally received a facelift in the form of a viral animation clip in which they appear as amicable cartoon figures. The professionally-produced animation movie that calls the country’s leadership selection a “meritocratic screening that requires years of hard work like the making of a kung fu master” has drawn over one millions views since its release on Monday.

Yet despite the light-hearted presentation, which is nothing like the party’s usual blatant and tedious propaganda stunts, the impeccable production of the movie, which is available in both Chinese and English with subtitles and narratives, has given rise to speculation that the country’s ideology department is quickly adapting to the Web 2.0 era by employing new and more sophisticated methods of communication favoured by a younger generation. Image from article, with caption: Xi Jinping appears in the animation movie as a cartoon figure.

China Plans Movie Propaganda Push for Ethnic Minorities - Patrick Brzeski, The Chinese government has announced an ambitious scheme to promote its many ethnic minority groups via propaganda movies. It says it will shoot one film for each of the country's 55 distinct ethnicities. China has produced propaganda films via its state studios since the earliest days of the PRC. But with the emergence of widespread Internet access and a glitzy commercial entertainment industry, the popularity of such films has plummeted over recent years. In March, local media reported that several cinemas in major Chinese cities were forced to cancel shows of a government film after it failed to sell a single ticket on its opening day.

Propaganda balloons carry rumors of a North Korean porno - Geoffrey Cain, Barriers — political, legal and physical — often prevent South Koreans from communicating directly with their northern brethren. To surmount this, human rights activists in the South have gotten creative. One method: releasing balloons that carry messages across the border. They have even harnessed typhoon winds to ensure that their airborne information reaches its target. Earlier this month, a group of anti-regime

defectors gave its propaganda a raunchy twist. The activists, led by prominent Christian rights campaigner Lee Min-bok, released a batch of balloons proclaiming that dictator Kim Jong Un’s attractive, 20-something wife, Ri Sol-ju, once starred in a homemade porno flick. Seizing on newspaper reports, the group also spread rumors that members of a state-run musical troupe she performed in were supposedly executed by firing squad for their role filming even more steamy sex videos and selling the recordings, reports KoreaBANG (the link is mildly NSFW). Image from article, with caption: South Korean activists release balloons carrying anti-North Korea leaflets, in January 2010. Recently, the balloon campaigns have turned raunchy.

A Fake Village and a Colossal Flagpole: North Korea's Bizarre Propaganda Method - Atlas Obscura, Within the two-and-a-half-mile-wide, heavily guarded Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea are two villages—one on each side of the border. Built in the 1950s following the Korean War cease-fire, the northern village of Kijong-dong is a collection of well-appointed, multistory buildings home to 200 families who spend their days happily tending to farms, going to school, or swinging by the hospital for a check-up.

At least, that is the official story according to the North Korean government. In reality, Kijong-dong is an uninhabited propaganda village built to reflect an imagined economic success in an attempt to lure defectors from the south. Image from entry

Film displays other side of propaganda in North Korea - Rachel Hirschhaut, The controversial politics and foreign policies of North Korea are often covered by the American media, yet people still understand little about the lives of North Koreans. Filmmaker Rob Montz sought to tackle this problem by creating “Juche Strong,” a short documentary about how the culture of propaganda in North Korea has contributed to their national identity and survival as a country.

Dissecting propaganda, using North Korea as a guide - Dina Indrasafitri, Anna Broinowski is not alone in her disenchantment with capitalism. And when it comes to her fascination with North Korea, the Australian director is hardly alone either. But in combining those two sentiments into a movie, Broinowski, whose films include Forbidden Lie$ and Sexing the Label, is rare. After all, it is not every day that a director decides to use North Korean-style propaganda to attack what Broinowski calls “vulture capitalism” in a first-world country. Yet this is exactly what her new film, Aim High in Creation!, aimed to do.

Part documentary, part propaganda film, Aim High takes the audience from one bizarre situation (mingling with the movers and shakers in North Korea’s film industry) to another (Australians in Sydney singing earnestly in impromptu musical scenes glorifying village life). The documentary segment of Aim High offers depictions of everyday life in Pyongyang, while the propaganda segment gives viewers a chance to see Australian actors shedding what Broinowski calls a “low key and super Hollywood” style in story that condemns a coal seam gas plant. Image from article, with caption: Dear Leader: It is not every day that a director decides to use North Korean-style propaganda to attack what Broinowski calls “vulture capitalism” in a first-world country.

Politicians to make propaganda in 36 languages in Turkey - Turkish politicians running for elections will be free to make propaganda in 36 languages spoken in Turkey. Before allowed to speak only in Turkish, candidates will be able to speak Abkhazian in Bilecik, Eskisehir, Samsun, Amasya, Tokat and Duzce, Arabic in Mardin and Siirt, Armenian in İstanbul, Hatay, Diyarbakır and Kars alongside languages such as Kurdish, Jewish, Spanish, Laz languages, Greek and Assyrian.


The Hairdo Beyond Space And Time - Princess Sparkle Pony's Photoblog: "I'm sorry about the atrocious quality of the photo above, sneakily taken while waiting in line for lunch (Can you identify the food source? I bet you can!), but I was basically quaking, I was so excited and astounded. Yes, her hair is buzzed to stubble all around and, as you can see, cut quite high above the ears, and capped with a magnificent burst of bleached, somewhat Jheri Curled afro. And it's not a wig, it's thrillingly real! And this wasn't a punk rocker or an extravagant fashion victim (you may argue that point), but just an apparently ordinary middle-aged secretary or administrator. Perhaps it was her 'shutdown hairdo'? I kept oscillating between What were you thinking? and I'm so glad you did! Anyway, it was INTENSE. Like a gift from the hairdo gods."


--From: "Map: Six Decades of the Most Popular Names for Girls, State-by-State" - Via MB on Facebook


"Texas is not America. It’s in America, but it’s not America."

--Matt Mackowiak, a Republican political consultant in Austin


Окно в женскую спальню: Итальянский фотограф показал комнаты женщин разных стран мира [Window in a Woman's Bedroom: An Italian Photographer Showed the Rooms of Women from Various Parts of the World]. Among them: Clara Black, 27 years old, London, United Kingdom; via Iu.V on Facebook

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