Sunday 31st of May 2020

of faith, baroque and chaos...


Martin Luther in Dresden (picture from a mate)

Luther suddenly woke up and preached religious austerity like a poor Christ in sandals — and decried the enriching methods and opulence of the Catholic church. The increased advertising of the church richness during the Renaissance was already a stylistic overkill coming from moneys mostly obtained by selling “indulgences” to the rich. “Indulgences” were redeem tickets for one’s sins. The bigger the sin, the more money “indulgence”-redemption would cost — though for the shop-keepers riffraff, the price was based on what one could afford… Even the poor had to fork out. The Church was thus “stealing” from the thieves and the betrodden, by selling them illusions. Nothing new — it’s the only way to get rich.

Against Luther’s austerity grumblings, The church did not flinch — and, with the help of emperors and kings, waged wars on the revolting peasants who thought Luther was their new leader to deliver them from the tyranny of Christianity that was in bed with the oppressive state. Thus came the 100 year religious war and the 30 year religious war, with defenestration, knifing and quartering of “heretics”…. After a victory/settlement of sorts that did nothing to prevent further schisms, like the rise of the evangelicals in the USA later on, the Church doubled and tripled its investments in the flamboyant excess of gold — and soon was resplendent beyond belief during the Baroque period.

In the picture above, the statue of Martin Luther (1483-1546) has been controversially plonked in front of the Frauenkirche (the Church of Our Lady) in Dresden — a Catholic Baroque church built between 1725 and 1743. 

Apart from a couple of walls, this church was destroyed by bombing during WWII, in 1945 by (Gus thinks the Baroque-hating) allies (mostly US). It was rebuilt 1992-2006 on the original plans, using cash from Western Germany and private donors, including Jews. This church was one of the many Baroque buildings that were such destroyed in Europe during WWII. Though destroyed Baroque churches in Italy were not mourned by many, and the Baroque styled was massively reviled in England — and possibly the USA, there was a rekindling of interest in the Baroque style during the 1950s till today. 

Here in Dresden, the imposing Baroque Church, the glorified opulence of which would have irked Luther even more had he lived a couple of hundred years later, is thus a mighty contradiction to his beliefs. This state of affair does not seem to bother the many tourists who have no real connections with the former religious opposing dynamics, as they lick their ice-creams at sunset. 

The popes trying to outdo each other with extravagance, of course like the kings of the late 1600, promoted the best artists to do the best job possible and develop a new style — beyond that of the now-passé Renaissance — that would capture the minds into an even more powerful illusion of the golden gilded kingdom of god. 

Apart from opulent religious buildings, the Baroque period made some music composers famous and rich: Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, Arcangelo Corelli, Antonio Vivaldi, George Philipp Telemann, Henry Purcell, Domenico Scarlatti and Jean-Philippe Rameau to name just a few.

But not all artists were favoured nor dipped into gold. 

When the Archduke Ferdinand contemplated taking the young Salzburg musician Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as his court musician, he wrote to his mother to get her advice.
The Empress replied:

I do not know where you can place him, since I feel that you do not require a composer, or other useless people. But if it would give you pleasure, I have no wish to prevent you. What I say here is only meant to persuade you not to load yourself down with people who are useless, and to urge you not to give such people to represent themselves as being at your service. It gives one’s service a bad name when such types run about like beggars;

Independent artistic "temperament" did not exist then. One could not survive being a navel-gazer. Artists could not exist without the support from the establishment or that of the church. Though finding employment, Mozart died young and in debt, and his old bones are in a pauper’s mass grave.

So the Baroque and its excesses came and went further decadent into the Roccoco — an even more bizarre excessive indulgence, then transmigrated into Romanticism. For the Baroque, We cannot go pass Gian Lorenzo Bernini who was one — and the most extraordinary — of the first masters of this style of expression.

While Bernini had genius on his side — developing an esquisite refined restraint in his Baroque excess — most other artists created really gross ornamentation that became stomach-churning like too big a slice of a sirupy oozing-cream rich rum cake.

In Gus’s twisted mind, there is a parallel between Baroque and Chaos alla Mandelbrot. The curves and the volutes are twisting like the hand movements of a performing magician. It is designed to mesmorise and transfix with the importance of the illusions, that soon reflect chaos — or a mind-controlling organised mayhem.

The trick of the 1930 Germanic style was opposite. It used dead pan solidity and gravity — mixing the utilitarian medieval castle heavy-fortressed buildings with the Greek/Roman antiquity temple to give the illusion of a combination between massive strength and the continuum of history.

What Shakespeare was to drama, Bernini was to sculpture and architecture. He was and is instantaneously identifiable with his particular twists and vision, and his influence was inordinately powerful. He was also a painter and a man of theatre. He wrote, directed and acted in plays — mostly satires, while designing complex stage sets and theatrical machinery. He designed many decorative art objects including lamps, tables, mirrors, and even coaches. As architect and city planner, he created secular buildings, churches and chapels, combining both architecture and sculpture to Baroque perfection.

Bernini depicted dramatic narratives with characters showing intense psychological states… His most famous example is The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa, which to say the least is a magnificent representation of a woman having an orgasm. Bernini’s ability to harmonise sculpture, painting, and architecture into coherent constructs asemblages of large-scale sculptural works, conveyed magnificent grandeur. His skill made him a worthy successor of Michelangelo, far outshining other sculptors of his generation. A religious man, later in life — one can suppose he even got taken in by the grand deception contained in his own brilliant works, unless the cash from the church helped him increase his bigotry — Bernini was thus working for the "Counter Reformation” of Rome (against the Lutherian austerity). He often used hidden light sources to intensify the focus of religious faith.

Mandelbrot developed the fractal phenomenom in the 20th century  and from the 1980s, this was used by mathematicians and physicists, as well as by Hollywood to create whimsical landscapes, appearing to be real in special effects for movies. One mathematician once awoke from a nightmare in which he was dead, but suddenly he heard the voice of god… He remarked to friends later on that “there really was something to that Mandelbrot” as the accented voice of god in the nightmare was that of… Mandelbrot.

the Mandelbrot set of curve is a mathematical equation in which complexities are voluting and turning into each others for detailed infinity, not unlike the way Baroque expression, in a more controlled and finite way, was spuning pillars, was twisting images and was nearly incessant in adding convoluted details.

We had invented the wheel. This had been the most important human invention ever. 

From here onwards, we only could invent the hubcaps. Decoration. Baroque. These are beautifying devices of faith that demonise the people we have killed in the name of “beliefs”… And don’t start me on the Arabic Muslim decorative style, which for all intent and purposes is similar to the Baroque, minus the figurative sculptures plus too many curves in straight lines. There again, this is designed to promote senerity while glorifying giving death to the infidels, including those who are in a schism of the same faith...

Gus Leonisky
Your local nihilistic artist.

killing people in style...

It’s a spot of greenery where a river sings,
Madly between the water-reeds, catch its silver
Threads: where the sun over the proud mountain
Glows: it’s a small valley — brimming with light.

A young soldier, mouth opened, naked head
And his neck bathing in the blue creek
Sleeps. He’s spread on the grass, under the sky,
Pale, on his green bed under the falling light.

His feet in the gladys wild, he sleeps. Smiling like
A sick child smiles, he sleeps:
Nature, warmly rocks him: he is icy cold.

Perfumes don’t make his nose twitch;
He sleeps under the sun, his hand to his chest,
Quiet. He has two bullet holes on the right.

Le dormer du val
Translation by Jules Letambour
A gunman and three female hostages have been found dead after a stand-off at a veterans home in California. 

The gunman was a former United States serviceman who had undergone treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder at the facility, and was asked to leave the Pathway Home program two weeks ago.

On Friday morning (local time) Albert Wong, 36, calmly walked into the facility carrying a rifle during a going away party for one of the employees, according to Larry Kamer, the husband of one of the program's administrators.

Department of Defence officials said Mr Wong was a decorated US soldier who served on active duty from May 2010 to August 2013. He spent a year in Afghanistan.

He was a former patient at Pathway Home — a PTSD treatment program housed at the veterans centre which cares for about 1,000 elderly and disabled veterans.






More. This will be about drums, trumpets, songs of wars, uniforms, awards, medals and armament — the accoutrements of war.

the truth, nothing but, except a few lies...


Gus is still working on the article re the drums, the trumpets, the songs of wars, the uniforms, the awards, the medals and the armament — the accoutrements of war — but also on the psychological manipulations of soldiers that turn them into official killers, accidental murderers in the case of "collateral damage" and sneaky assassins on behalf of our societies. 

An article in The Telegraph Co caught my attention... It's written by Juliet Samuel.


There could hardly be a better illustration of the Kremlin mentality. On Saturday, it shut down the British Council in Moscow. The council’s sole mandate is to promote cultural exchange and education and it holds events like translation workshops. So, of course, it had to go.

Britain must respond and, yesterday our Government indicated the next step. The UK can make life very hard for Russians who maintain close links to the Kremlin while using London to store their wealth. Thanks to recent legislation, the authorities possess a huge range of tools in this area.

So we will follow the money. But that, on its own, is not enough. The Skripal incident should be a wake-up call. The world’s democracies...


What is most amusing is that she states ... "how pathetically easy it is to manipulate humans" a task which herself is doing with mentioning Mikhall Khordorkovsky in her tirade, as if the guy who founded the "philanthropic outfit "open Russia" had not been a euphemism for him to take a lot out of the public kitty into his own pockets... Wikipedia tells us:

Khodorkovsky was believed to be the wealthiest man in Russia (with a fortune estimated to be worth $15 billion) and was ranked 16th on Forbes list of billionaires. He had worked his way up the Komsomol apparatus during the Soviet years, and started several businesses during the period of glasnost and perestroika in the late 1980s. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, in the mid-1990s, he accumulated considerable wealth through obtaining control of a series of Siberian oil fields unified under the name Yukos, one of the major companies to emerge from the privatization of state assets during the 1990s (a scheme known as "Loans for Shares").

This fortune making follows on the footstep of all religious organisations such as mentioned at top of the article in which the rich ALWAYS screw the poor and the "religious outfits" sleeps with the kings whose rights to govern become "god-given".


What I suppose is that, according to Samuel, the Russian people who have just reelected Putin with nearly 77 per cent of the vote, while the next polling candidate is a communist with 12.9 per cent, have been "manipulated" by the Putin machine which of course is not philanthropically charitable like Khodorkovsky... 


Juliet Samuels is writing shit-crap...

the crumbs of yourp...

Some 13 European thinkers issued an intellectual protest late last year against the assault on the Western heritage that has been raging on the Continent and in Britain for years. They called their 11-page document “The Paris Statement” and gave it a title: “A Europe We Can Believe In.” The Europe they believe in, write the 13 signatories (well-known in Europe, less so in America), is under threat of destruction from the forces of globalization, multiculturalism, and the EU managerial class, as well as growing anti-Christian prejudice. 

“These lands are our home,” says the Statement, “we have no other. Home is a place where things are familiar, and where we are recognized, however far we have wandered. This is the real Europe, our precious and irreplaceable civilization.”

The Statement has received a smattering of attention in the European media—broadcast television in Poland and the Netherlands; major newspapers in Germany, France, Spain, and Poland; national weekly magazines in Poland and Hungary; and opinion web sites in the UK, Switzerland, Belgium, and Spain. But mostly it is an intellectual statement written for and consumed largely by other intellectuals.

And of course the assault on the Western heritage from within is a potent phenomenon in Europe, fostered by nearly the entire elite structure of the civilization. Thus it isn’t clear what a few highly accomplished intellectuals, however eloquent or anguished, can do to stem the erosion of the civilizational identity. But we are witnessing the emergence of some powerful political currents within the general European population, manifest in increasingly populist voting patterns in France, Germany, Austria, and elsewhere. Hence the Paris Statement could become a significant intellectual underpinning for Europeans who are increasingly concerned about the direction of things in their homeland.  

The threat to Europe, says the Statement, comes from “a false understanding” of what Europe is and represents. This “false Europe” is the product of people who are “orphans by choice,” glorifying their vision “as the forerunner of a universal community that is neither universal nor a community.” Believing that history is on their side, these patrons of the false Europe have become “haughty and disdainful, unable to acknowledge the defects in the post-national, post-cultural world they are constructing.” The false Europe, says the statement, is “utopian and tyrannical.” 

The true Europe, on the other hand, encompasses a number of fundamental elements—a body of law that applies to all yet is limited in its demands; a shared understanding of political and cultural traditions and a fealty to those traditions; an appreciation of the nation state as “the political form that joins peoplehood with sovereignty”; a shared regard for the role of the Classical tradition in shaping the Western mind; and an understanding of Christianity as the religious bulwark of the civilization. 

Now, write the signatories, “all this is slipping away. As the patrons of the false Europe construct their faux Christendom of universal human rights, we are losing our home.” 

In place of the old Europe comes a culture of “libertine hedonism.” Though the elites boast of unprecedented liberty, European life is “more and more comprehensively regulated” than ever before. Work relations, business decisions, educational qualifications, and news practices increasingly are regulated by managerial mandarins operating in darkened corners of the EU bureaucracy. “And Europe now seeks to tighten existing regulations on freedom of speech, an aboriginal European freedom—freedom of conscience made manifest.”


read more:


34. There is great anxiety in Europe today because of the rise of what is called ‘populism’—though the meaning of the term seems never to be defined, and it is used mostly as invective. We have our reservations. Europe needs to draw upon the deep wisdom of her traditions rather than relying on simplistic slogans and divisive emotional appeals. Still, we acknowledge that much in this new political phenomenon can represent a healthy rebellion against the tyranny of the false Europe, which labels as ‘anti-democratic’ any threat to its monopoly on moral legitimacy. The so-called “populism” challenges the dictatorship of the status quo, the ‘fanaticism of the centre,’ and rightly so. It is a sign that even in the midst of our degraded and impoverished political culture, the historical agency of the European peoples can be reborn.Populism should be engaged.35. We reject as false the claim that there is no responsible alternative to the artificial, soulless solidarity of a unified market, a transnational bureaucracy, and glib entertainment. Bread and circuses are not enough. The responsible alternative is the true Europe.Our future is the true Europe.36. In this moment, we ask all Europeans to join us in rejecting the utopian fantasy of a multicultural world without borders. We rightly love our homelands, and we seek to hand on to our children every noble thing that we have ourselves received as our patrimony. As Europeans, we also share a common heritage, and this heritage asks us to live together in peace as a Europe of nations. Let us renew national sovereignty, and recover the dignity of a shared political responsibility for Europe’s future.We must take responsibility.Philippe Bénéton (France)Rémi Brague (France)Chantal Delsol (France)Roman Joch (Česko)Lánczi András (Magyarország)Ryszard Legutko (Polska)Pierre Manent (France)Janne Haaland Matlary (Norge)Dalmacio Negro Pavón (España)Roger Scruton (United Kingdom)Robert Spaemann (Deutschland)Bart Jan Spruyt (Nederland)

Matthias Storme (België)


Read all:



One characteristic common to all these people despite being "liberal philosophers" is that they are conservative Euroskeptical philosophers and many of them are quite religious... "Modern" Europe has been built on a speedy ad-hoc embrace which has promoted the European parliament in a god-sausage factory, in order to accommodate the Brits. Europe should happen with only 27 nations, without the Brits, with the abandonment of NATO and develop a healthy skeptical view of the USA. But the USA still discreetly hold the strings of the puppets in Brussel and Strasbourg...

At a later stage I will explain why only 27 nations...


Read from top. See also: 

the dark ages...


deep into the cauldron of christ's operatives...

Rod Dreher shares the story of a reader, probably a priest telling the ways things work in "the" church...

Actually it's quite funny. Furthermore it's unfortunately true from my recollections of the missionaries in Africa. Many did excellent work by supporting hospitals — especially the houses for lepers. But the point is the administration of church was one of many grievances that led to the "reformation" back in the 16th century...


As an older guy who went through almost all of seminary, and who has remained well within the Church’s administrative structure, I wanted to offer you a couple of quick thoughts to consider and explore.

1. Celibacy — but not what you think. It’s not that celibacy creates or attracts perverts, it’s that it creates a sense of entitlement. How? I have heard this logic among seminarians and priests again and again when alone among members of the “club” of fellow clergy: I’ve given up the chance of a spouse (which is a laugh as most couldn’t land a partner for life if their lives depended on it), so I am entitled to compensation, in the form of THIS. What’s “this?” Well, that depends: a secretary. a housekeeper and a cook to care for their needs like a spoiled infant, even though there is only one priest living in the rectory; massive remodeling construction for that same rectory of one because the faux marble in the bathroom is not of sufficient quality; dinner out at the best local restaurants 7 nights a week; four trips to Europe a year; a solid month’s vacation, plus a week’s retreat, plus “conferences” off here and there throughout the year; a little playtime on the side with a guy or girl or two; or five; or pretty soon daily mass is more the interruption of the lifestyle than the playtime is. That’s why I have thought the greater scandal is not the sex stuff…its the wider and deeper and more acceptable problem of a lot of rags to riches losers who couldn’t hold a regular job but live a high life on the parishioners’ dimes and congratulate themselves on their exalted spiritual state to boot.

2. Accountability. Not the SNAP stuff of uncomfortable secrets. I mean this: every dime the archdiocese of New York (for instance) has is a donation, largely from hardworking working class Joes and Janes in the pews. Every inch of real estate was bought for the archdiocese of New York by them. The priests salaries, health insurance, retirement, and living expenses is paid by them. Yet, as a religious organization, neither the archdiocese, nor any of its parishes, nor any of its schools or other institutions ever files a 990 with the IRS, no board of trustees votes to approve a land sale or purchase, no contract is publicly vetted, no audit is made public. Yes, there are “trustees” of various of these entities, but they are all really just the archbishop (for instance, every parish has five trustees under state law: the archbishop himself, the vicar general whom he has selected, the pastor whom he appoints, and two lay trustees, chosen by the archbishop and usually chosen for their lack of business, accounting or legal background and their amiable malleability). When priests are assigned to a parish, or a contract is let, or a new wing for the luxurious priests’ retirement home is built, at no time do the people who will be served by this or who are paying for it get a chance to even offer advice, a public discussion or any assurance that their money is not simply being pocketed by the vicar general. When Dolan borrowed $100 million for his victims compensation fund, or decided to spent $185 million renovating the cathedral, he consulted nobody outside of his own office, provided no proof the contracts were fairly bid, disclosed nothing of the legal ramifications of the debt. Shut up, he explained.

3. Who owns it all? That’s the pattern here. This is “ours.” This institutional church really is for the clergy. We owe you laity nothing…who are you to question, or expect a say, or expect answers? We gave it all up to be priests, now you owe us, individually and as a clerical body.

4. Hence, we lie. The archdiocese is in the middle of a capital campaign. That means, they say, they went deep into each parish, found all the major capital expenses that will soon come up, and are raising funds as a unified effort for them all. Hence, they say, we went into the parish, decided the church needs a new roof, a new boiler, etc. Once we had the list, we assigned that parish an amount of money to raise, and we’re doing this across the board at all of the parishes simultaneously. Aha, but wait. Read the fine print on the parish flyer. A quarter of the money goes to the archdiocese. Another quarter goes to pay off debts — debts which the parish owes to the archdiocese. So HALF they money is for the archdiocese. The parish projects themselves — wait a second…we “need” a new truck for the janitor? We need a second handicapped ramp? No: the parish, one discovers, was told how much to raise for the archdiocese and then forced to find or concoct an equal amount of parish projects to justify the whole campaign. And all this money for the central offices of the archdiocese is for…what? Shut up.

5. So Terrible Ted is the least of it. Look up Father Peter Miqueli — almost a week of stories at the top of the New York Daily News before he was reassigned, and his status remains unresolved (look up the blogs on Miqueli, too, to find the center of THAT’s rat’s nest high up in the archdiocese). Look up Father Zuhlsdorf, another priest-without-portfolio whose ministry is flying to Rome to have lunch regularly, wearing silly clothes, and bitching about nobody being conservative enough.

That’s an important point. This is not just the hippy-dippy guys who were ordained in the 1970s and think priesthood is masses with wonderbread and self-awareness workshops. They WERE the problem. Now, much much more its the young guys, born after Vatican II but who long in their pre-natal memories for a Church where everyone spoke fluent Latin all the time and whose primary idea of ministry is digging up 19th century obscure bits of ecclesiastical tailoring to flounce around in — as if wearing some Italian grandmother’s nightmare of a nightgown of lace as a surplice makes a sacrament more valid, or as if Christ’s overriding concern is the length of the sides of your chasuble or if the mark of self-forgetful love of God’s people is the size of the wings on your biretta.

What the Church needs, and the hierarchy couldn’t care less about, is a real drive to find young men who are quite intellectually bright (not pseudo-intellectuals, as most seminarians are today), who are a little bothered at the end of each day wondering if they have truly lived the spiritual and corporal works of mercy as fully as they should (remember Matthew 25, where this is the only criteria at the last judgment), who do or at least want to see Christ in each person who is put in their path at each moment of each day, to whom it would never occur to live better or more comfortably than the average working-class father of three, and who treat the parish as belonging to Christ not themselves and each dime as belonging to the parishioners, not themselves.


Read more:


Back in Australia, Bishop Wilson is charged:


The most senior Catholic in the world to be convicted of concealing child sex abuse, Adelaide's Archbishop Philip Wilson, has been sentenced to 12 months' detention.

Magistrate Robert Stone adjourned the matter to August 14 while Wilson is assessed for home detention. 

He will be eligible for parole after six months.

In May, the 67-year-old was found guilty of concealing the sexual abuse of children between 2004 and 2006 at the hands of paedophile priest Jim Fletcher in the 1970s.


Read more:


Read from top.

keeping the fake culture, killing statues...

The pulling down and defacing of statues by the cultural Left has now spread from the states of the onetime Confederacy to the West Coast. There, Democratic politicians in alliance with various leftist activists are removing what we are told are offensive images from public view. 

This iconoclastic fury has spread from removing statues of Columbus from municipal buildings and parks to dismantling memorials and plaques put up to honor Spanish missionaries. The attack on missionary settlers is justified by citing their use of native Indian labor as well as the more questionable claim that they forcibly converted the native inhabitants to Catholicism.

The missionaries who are now being dishonored created much of the Hispanic culture embraced by Latino minorities, including their language and majority religion. Latinos may have Aztec or Mayan blood, but they are also descended from Spaniards and took on much of a recognizably Spanish way of life.  

The cultural Marxist revolution our country and much of the West are now undergoing requires that certain groups assume new collective identities. Through this transformation, essential elements of what these groups were in the past are suppressed and replaced by new characteristics. For example, Latinos are separated from their Spanish roots and turned into Spanish-speaking Amerindians, who were enslaved by Europeans. The last thing the cultural Left intends is to allow designated victim groups to hold on to their old identities. It seeks to turn new missionized groups into embattled enemies of traditional Western society—that is, Western society as it existed before the Left began its newest war against the past.  

This modus operandi does not apply to all forms of the Left equally. For example, communists when in power have operated very differently because their interest was mostly a socioeconomic transformation. It’s not as if the communists were nice people. They just pursued a very different agenda from that of our cultural Left. Certainly they were not as thorough in seeking to purge the past of unprogressive heroes. Peter the Great remained a political hero in the Soviet Union, and Alexander Nevsky and Catherine the Great were periodically brought back when the circumstances required. Although the Christian religion was often persecuted in the Soviet empire, communist regimes periodically favored state churches when they thought they could control them. 

The East German communist regime lavishly celebrated the 500th anniversary of the birth of Martin Luther in 1984. It depicted this profoundly conservative religious reformer as a forerunner of Germany’s revolutionary socialist government. In Der Turma sprawling novel of life in Dresden during the last years of communism, author Uwe Tellkamp presents a profoundly conservative intelligentsia pursuing very bourgeois literary studies under the guise of building a socialist society. Universities in Germany’s communist state were highly selective about whom they took in, and the East German military was as disciplined as it had been when the Prussian aristocracy was still in charge. Bernie Sanders, who spent his honeymoon in the Soviet Union, and the American communist Angela Davis may have adored Soviet communism but I suspect Soviet leaders never returned their affection.


Read more:


Read from top.

scruton writes relative shit again...

Every great city in Europe was built around a church, and it is from the church and the temple that the vocabulary of classical ornament has been taken. What went wrong in Adolf Loos's day was not that ornaments were being abused ― although, of course, they were ― but that people had lost the faith from which the original habit of ornament stemmed. The cherubs and acanthus leaves, the mouldings and grape vines, had been stolen from temples from which the gods had fled, and put to profane uses. Architecture had been severed from its sacred origins, and desecrated. Loos's cry against ornament was like the cry of the seventeenth-century puritan against the Roman Catholic Church ― a protest against the profanation of a shrine by the gaudy trappings of religious pretence.

I don't say that Loos was right. But I believe we should always bear in mind, when trying to understand what Milan Kundera has called "the uglification of our world," that these questions have much to do with long-standing disputes concerning the place of religion in everyday life. Who can doubt, on visiting Venice, that this abundant power of aesthetic endeavour was rooted in faith and watered by penitential tears?

Surely, if we want to build settlements today we should heed the lesson of Venice. We should begin always with an act of consecration, since we thereby put down the real roots of a community.

Sir Roger Scruton is a writer and philosopher who has published more than fifty books on philosophy, aesthetics and politics. A fellow of both the British Academy and the Royal Society of Literature, he teaches at the University of Buckingham, England, and is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.


Read more:


There is some vague reality in what Scruton is splurting, but it's not a universal idea. For example the city of Beijing is not build around a church. St Petersburg is not either... Many of the best cities in India are not. So what Scruton is expressing is a relative European idea. Many fine cities in Europe were built around a moat with a castle in the middle. The church(es) came later when the place was "secure". The city walls were the essential part of the city not the "sacred middle" represented by a church. These days, churches have been superseded by supermarkets. In many new settlements in WA, for example, they first build a supermarket, then the houses. This does not mean that this should be a fine example of urbanisation (it's quite crass but it works), but the setting of a Town Hall in which people can meet secularly could be the most essential part of city development. Sydney Town Hall (seen here behind the construction site of a 1929 technology called tram) built in the late 1800s, for example had one of the biggest organ in the world with more than 5000 pipes. This is the centrepiece of the city civic life, yet the beautiful centre of Sydney has shifted to the Sydney Opera House, which some louts and thugs are trying to destroy with advertising, and the Sydney Harbour Bridge area which overlook the real centre of the place, the Harbour — a place that gives a sense of self without the trimmings of religious hubris, unless you believe in horses.


Read from top.


Frauenkirche Expert on Devastating Fire

'Notre Dame Reconstruction Will Take Years'

The damage to Notre Dame cathedral is massive: The roof was destroyed, a spire collapsed and the stone was exposed to immense heat. What will efforts to rebuild look like? We asked one of the engineers behind the reconstruction of Dresden's Frauenkirche church.


In Germany, architects, art historians, structural engineers and construction workers faced a similar challenge in the 1990s. They wanted to restore Dresden's Frauenkirche, which had been little more than a pile of rubble since its destruction. The magnificent Baroque church was gutted by fire during the air raids on Dresden in World War II and collapsed on the morning of Feb. 15, 1945.

What did the experts learn from the experience? And what do they believe the next steps will be for Notre Dame? We asked Manfred Curbach, a professor and engineer who served on the committee that rebuilt Dresden's iconic structure.

About Manfred Curbach

Manfred Curbach is a professor and the director of the Institute of Concrete Structures at the Faculty of Civil Engineering at TU Dresden university. He also served as a member of the building committee for the reconstruction of Dresden's Frauenkirche church. He has contributed significantly to the development of carbon concrete and is a member of numerous scientific committees.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. Curbach, how do you rebuild a church like Notre Dame, which is more than 800 years old?

Manfred Curbach: That depends greatly on how severe the damage to the walls is. The Frauenkirche in Dresden was also destroyed by fire during World War II, with the church's interior burning for 26 hours. The natural stones from which the Frauenkirche and most of Notre Dame are built stand up well to fire. The problem lies in the heat generated by the fire.


Curbach: The high temperatures only slowly penetrate into the rock. So, it gets extremely hot on the outside but remains comparatively cool inside. That temperature difference creates tension in the stone: Parts can burst out or the whole stone can shatter. Entire pillars collapsed inside the Frauenkirche.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What about Notre Dame?

Curbach: We don't know that yet. The fire raged mainly in the vaulted roof. It's made of wood, but it is set on top of the walls. Some weak points in the vault have apparently already been discovered. The big question is how hot the stone became. If just a bit of material broke off, then it can be repaired quite easily. Individual stones can also be replaced if they are damaged. But first they have to examine how stable the structure now is in its entirety.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: You saw the photos. How great do you think the chances are that the fire destabilized the entire cathedral?

Curbach: Given that the fire department arrived on the scene quickly, the damage to the walls is certainly not as dramatic as it was in the Frauenkirche. It's likely that stability has been broadly preserved. The cathedral's buttresses, which help support the load born by the walls and the weight of the roof, seem to be undamaged. That's a good sign.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: How can the roof be rebuilt?

Curbach: It's important to have good plans. There's a 3D model of Notre Dame, which will make reconstruction considerably easier, because you know exactly how the beams were arranged before the fire. But it will nonetheless be a great challenge, because Gothic buildings are very delicate and have many fine elements. Notre Dame is a perfect example of this construction style, including the spire that collapsed in the fire.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: After the fire in Notre Dame, will wood once again be used to rebuild the roof framework?

Curbach: I would assume so. Most other materials would probably be too heavy. Gothic builders didn't calculate the stability of their buildings the way that we do today. But they had a lot of experience and knew which materials they could combine in what way to ensure stability. If the people in charge decide on an alternative material, it would at least need to have properties similar to wood.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: And the roof itself?

Curbach: It's difficult to say whether lead will be used here again. It will come down to whether monument conservationists prevail and insist that everything be restored absolutely true to the original, or whether deviations are acceptable. If modern materials are accepted, it would also be possible to install modern insulation with foils and mats.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: How long do you think the rebuilding process will take?

Curbach: In this instance, bureaucratic hurdles are at least comparatively small, given that the cathedral is of great importance to Paris and, so far, all agree that the damage should be repaired. But Notre Dame is also a huge building. When we rebuilt the Frauenkirche, it took almost as long as the construction of the original building, even though we had cranes and modern technology at our disposal. Of course, it took more than 100 years to build the Notre Dame: I don't think it will take that long. But there is a lot of logistics and planning involved in a project like this. The roof truss was a work of art. Reconstruction will take years, perhaps even more than a decade.


Read more:



Read from top.


See also:

is paris burning?



For decades, the communist regime of East Germany refused to rebuild the most historic and well-known landmark of Dresden -- the city's dominant Frauenkirche church. Its ruins remained untouched as a symbol against war and as a memorial for those who were killed.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the church was finally rebuilt. Together with other sights and monuments, it now dominates the skyline of Dresden once again.

(see image at top.)

Painting of Dresden below by Canaletto (photo by Gus Leonisky):







negligence is criminal...

A preliminary investigation found no evidence to suggest a fire that gutted large parts of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was criminal, the prosecutor's office has said.

Key points:
  • The preliminary investigation examined more than 1,200 clues
  • President Emmanuel Macron wants the renovations completed by the 2024 Olympics
  • The cost of the restorations will not be known until next year


In a statement, the office said several hypotheses about the cause of the April 15 blaze include a malfunctioning electrical system or a smouldering cigarette — to be further investigated in a new probe.

They also announced the opening of a judicial investigation led by three judges for "involuntary degradation by fire through manifestly deliberate violation" of security rules or simple imprudence.

The target of the investigation is "X," meaning anyone or any entity suspected.

The 13th-century cathedral was under renovation at the time of the fire and scaffolding crisscrossed the back of the edifice where the spire was once located.


Read more:


Negligence is criminal when such work of restoration is undertaken. UTMOST CARE is the middle name of any such work. Negligence is AVOIDABLE. 


Read from top.  Read also:

the dollar dollop...


a giant cartoonist... james gillray


happy like a wrinkled pumpkin rotting on a heap of pH deficient manure... (updated)...


of arts, expressions and politics...