Argentinian capybaras reclaim their land; are called 'invaders'; memes ensue

There’s a gated community of rich people in Argentina called Nordelta. It was founded in 1999 and lies in the north of Buenos Aires, home to luxury homes, sports facilities, even a shopping mall. However, Nordelta also encroaches upon the Paraná wetlands, which is already under pressure from overfarming, and the extraction of natural resources. And capybaras live in those areas.

So what happens when humans build on or around animal habitats? The animals fight back and a group of plucky capybaras (known as carpinchos in Argentina) has been tearing through Nordelta, destroyed lawns and infrastructure, causing traffic jams, and even attacking pets.

So what happens when animals try to reclaim their homes that humans built on? They fight back with guns. According to The Guardian, some residents have brought out their hunting rifles to defend themselves and their property.

[…] But many other Argentinians have taken to social media to defend the rodents – known locally as carpinchos.

In politically polarized Argentina, progressive Peronists see Nordelta as the enclave of an upper class eager to exclude common people – and with tongue only partly in cheek, some have portrayed the capybaras as a rodent vanguard of the class struggle.

And that’s where the memes come in. I found these on a Tumblr post that brought the whole capybara story to my attention:

They’re magnificent and they warm my heart. As for the plight of the communist capybaras, it remains precarious but campaigners are still trying to pass legislation that will protect the wetlands from further development:

“Wealthy real-estate developers with government backing have to destroy nature in order to sell clients the dream of living in the wild – because the people who buy those homes want nature, but without the mosquitoes, snakes or carpinchos,” he [Enrique Viale] said.

Here at Cultrface, we are in full support of the capybaras. Solidarity with the rodents!

Related to animals in South America: Are Pablo Escobar’s hippos good for Colombia’s ecosystem?

Do We Really Want Another Black President After The Events Of Deep Impact?

Classic Onion:

Have we learned nothing from the tragic events of 1998, when, under the watch of President Morgan Freeman, this nation was plunged into chaos, and hundreds of millions of people died at the hands of the deadly Wolf-Beiderman space rock? The mere fact that this country is even considering putting another black man, Barack Obama, in the Oval Office proves that we have not.

The Brady-Nixon Connection #

The Brady-Nixon Connection

Before Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block of adult programming, there was Nickelodeon’s Nick at Nite, launched in 1985. The programming block, which is still on the air today, caters for older audiences isn’t as loose as Adult Swim in terms of risqué content but it’s far from puritanical.

Back in 1999, there was a short called The Brady-Nixon Connection which looked at certain similarities between The Brady Bunch and President Nixon. In truth, there was no connection but it served as a unique way of promoting the show which aired in 1995, 1998–2003, and 2012.

(h/t Boing Boing)

The news told in 6 languages

philip crowther and elmo

Philip Crowther is a reporter for the Associated Press and he covered the Capitol insurrection in 6 languages last week.

  • French
  • English
  • Spanish
  • Portuguese
  • German
  • Luxembourgish

And if you wanted to know what “the news” was in those languages?

  • Les nouvelles (French)
  • The news (English)
  • Las noticias (Spanish)
  • As notícias (Portuguese)
  • die Nachrichten (German)
  • d’Neiegkeeten (Luxembourgish)

And shout out to all the polyglots out there who could do this as a means of survival.

See also: Viggo Mortensen speaking 7 languages and 2 polyglots speaking 21 languages to each other

Amen and awoman

women praying

To paraphrase Ross Geller, congresspeople say all kinds of… stuff.

On 4th January, The New York Post reported on Rep. Emanuel Cleaver closing Congress’s opening prayer with the phrase “amen and awoman”:

May the Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon us and give us peace,” Cleaver said during his two-minute invocation, “peace in our families, peace across this land, and dare I ask, o Lord, peace even in this chamber.

We ask it in the name of the monotheistic God, Brahma, and ‘God’ known by many names by many different faiths. Amen and awoman.

I’m no stranger to this kind of gendered prayer; the God interlude from OutKast’s Speakerboxx/The Love Below uses a similar variation:

Oh, I’m sorry, I’m sorry

But that was in jest. Cleaver meant what he said. Victor Mair from Language Log dissected the utterance, with etymologies of the word “amen” and, for those who didn’t know, it isn’t connected to the word “man” in any way.

Old English, from Late Latin amen, from Ecclesiastical Greek amen, from Hebrew amen “truth,” used adverbially as an expression of agreement (as in Deuteronomy xxvii.26, I Kings i.36), from Semitic root a-m-n “to be trustworthy, confirm, support.”

There’s something to be said about the trustworthiness, confirmation, support of men but that’s for another day. Needless to say, you don’t need to feminise the word “amen” but what Congress should do is make women’s lives better—especially women of colour—with better legislation for their rights and their bodies.

(Un)productivity or death?

dinos and comics is “a comic about depressed dinosaurs who find hope in each other”. I follow the Twitter account and find their comics light-hearted and amusing.

Today’s comic was particularly clever with the white dinosaur giving Rainbow T-Rex the mantras of capitalism (productivity or death), COVID (unproductivity or death), and the government (simply death).

Sounds about right.

For previous entries, follow @dinoman_j on Twitter and dinosandcomics on Instagram.

Opinions on the Biden-Harris logo

biden-harris logo

Not long after presidential candidate Joe Biden chose Kamala Harris as his running mate, they revealed their joint logo. Lilly Smith, writing for Fast Company, asked 10 experts what they thought of the design including:

The general consensus? The font looks great, the logo is generally good but it might not matter that much. Even the criticisms were rounded off with “whatever, I’d still vote for Biden because he’s not Trump“. Top expert opinions. But what was I expecting? When I look at it, I’m neither repulsed nor enthused. It’s Just Another Sans-Serif Logotype.

From Debbie Millman:

“I never, ever thought I’d say this after a lifetime in professional branding, but on the spectrum of good branding versus effective branding, I’d say at this point it is irrelevant. Frankly, the Biden-Harris logo could have been scribbled on a napkin and I’d be happy.”

And Sagi Haviv:

“Let’s be honest: it’s not a good logo. Why does the E deserve to be the highlight of the identity? How about emphasizing the B as his first initial? And turning an E into three lines is something we’ve seen.

For such a consequential election—and now an (sic) historic candidacy—I could see them taking a fresh look at Biden’s somewhat amateurish logo from the primary and maybe doing something more dynamic and innovative. (Harris’s logo for her own primary run was much more original and carried a message.) However, perhaps this bulky, uninspiring mark reflects exactly this ticket’s promise: a safe, predictable return to normalcy. I’ll vote for them.”

Safe, predictable return to normalcy? That’s a loaded statement if I ever heard one.

What's The "Jamaica Coalition"?

Jamaica and Germany flag pins

Until recently, the biggest link between Jamaica and Germany was tennis player Dustin Brown but now there’s a new connection. But it has nothing to do with the Jamaican people.

What is the Jamaica coalition?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel opened talks on Friday to form a coalition with the other two political parties. This coalition would comprise of Merkel’s CDU (Christian Democratic Union of Germany), the FDP (Free Democrats Party), and the Green Party. Each party’s colours are black (CDU), yellow (FDP), and green (Green Party): the colours of the Jamaican flag. The coalition was first mentioned back in 2005. The FDP decided opposition was a preferred option after the elections that year. While Merkel talks it out, a Jamaica coalition is already underway in the state of Schleswig-Holstein. CDU leader Daniel Günther became Minister President alongside Free Democrats’ Wolfgang Kubicki and the Greens’ Monika Heinold.

What does this all mean for the future of Germany?

Merkel has voiced her optimism but “less fiscal room than expected” will be a stumbling block. Each party will want as much money as possible for their own policies, much like the nonsense between the Conservatives and the DUP in the UK. If a three-way coalition doesn’t work out, Merkel could negotiate a minority government or call another election. Either option could lose her credibility or perceived power and the former comes with a caveat. The SDP (Social Democrats) said they would reject the proposal but would reconsider if Merkel stepped down.

There’s a hint of irony in the Jamaican phrase “no problem” with difficult talks ahead for the future of Germany.

Semiotics: myths, #BlackLivesMatter & #AllLivesMatter

Intro to Semiotics Part 2: Sign, Myth and #AllLivesMatter

I’m still on my semiotics tip and discovered this interesting video about myths, the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter and the loathsome #AllLivesMatter. I was wary of how both hashtags would be described but they went how I’d hoped in such a short video. I’ve not heard or read about either one described from a semiotic perspective and it’s good to know the arbitrariness carries such weight in #AllLivesMatter.

As Electric Didact says when quoting semiotician Roland Barthes, “myth freezes or immobilises intention.” This considers the notion that while Black Lives Matter is a movement, All Lives Matter isn’t.

Watch the video below and leave a comment with your thoughts on the semiotics angle.

The Cultural Legacy of the Russian Revolution (BBC Audio Doc)

If you’re foolish enough to succumb to the whims of the media, you’d think Jeremy Corbyn is attempting to paint Downing Street a bright shade of Soviet red. He may want a revolution but not in the way Russia experienced in 1917. In this BBC World Service radio documentary, special guests depict the cultural influences of the Russian Revolution.

From Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago to the politics of Lenin and Trotsky, it all comes as part of the Hope, Tragedy, Myths exhibition at the British Library in London. What did it mean to be part of the early days of the Revolution?

And what about the subsequent decades of communism and the hostility that came with it? A range of voices from Uzbekistan, Syria, and Iceland tell their respective stories about the cultural legacy left behind.

You can listen to the documentary on the BBC Sounds website (sign-in required).