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Shop Small This Week

Shop Small This Week

Nov 24, 2015

Here’s the thing: People work really hard to follow their dreams, create a business, and carve out a life for themselves. Let’s support that. Sure, mega-chain-marts are cheaper. But there is no substitute for handmade quality and originality. Have to shop for someone who “has everything?” Get them something unique from a small business, local craftsman, or artist. It is sure to be a hit! Support a friend by purchasing gift-cards for their services, and gift it to others. Pay it forward. Supporting the small businesses in your community, and the businesses of your friends, will score you some big karma points for the next time you need support in your corner. We could all use a hand. Don’t know where to begin? Try Facebook. Chances are, you’ve seen a friend recommend a local shop or business, or promote their own. Scroll back through and check out their websites. Make it a point to support a few of them while you shop this season. Here are some fabulous places I recommend. I guarantee you are supporting real people, real craftsman, real artists. RadLabs Know anyone that loves cool leggings? How about filling up some blank wall space or spicing up your couch with some new pillows? You have got to check out RadLabs on Society6. ABOUT THE ART: “Artists Katie Helms and Veronica Fannin create collaborative artist’s books. This image is a small detail taken from mixed media books made over several years of working together with many other artists. Steeped in love, ritual, and friendship & reaching toward center, these two friends offer to you a glimpse into their larger network of partnership.” The print I’m crazy about: Titled “I Don’t Hide Anymore,” this print has got my name written all over it!   Mama Sews Best It’s not jut the name that is adorable. You have to check out these handmade, cleverly creative, gifts. From matching kid/doll accessories to custom keepsakes, you are sure to find something you like. The item I’m crazy about: These Memory Bears are made from a loved one’s old clothing and offer comfort in all seasons. This tender tribute is especially wonderful for someone who is facing...

Kipling, Belted and Flayed: GUNGA DIN [1939]

Kipling, Belted and Flayed: GUNGA DIN [1939]

Nov 9, 2015

[Originally published by Mind of LeVine on November 8, 2015.] So I’ll meet ’im later on At the place where ’e is gone— Where it’s always double drill and no canteen.    ’E’ll be squattin’ on the coals Givin’ drink to poor damned souls, An’ I’ll get a swig in hell from Gunga Din!          Yes, Din! Din! Din!    You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din!       Though I’ve belted you and flayed you,          By the livin’ Gawd that made you,    You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din! Thus reads both the closing monologue of the 1939 RKO Pictures adventure film Gunga Din and the final stanza of the 1892 Rudyard Kipling poem from whence it comes. And so stands the extent to which the two works of art have anything in common. (Check out all five stanzas of the original Kipling poem here, courtesy of the Poetry Foundation.) Kipling’s rhyming narrative plays out as the nostalgia of a retired British soldier; as an old man’s yarn of glory days spent “A-servin’ of ’Er Majesty the Queen” in “Injia’s sunny clime.” But the glory of which he speaks is not his own. For “[t]he finest man [he] knew/Was [his] regimental bhisti, Gunga Din.” The Bhishti are a Sunni Muslim tribe of Northern India/Pakistan/Nepal whose traditional role in the regional caste system is that of water-bearers. And they were used as such (read: as slaves) by the occupying army of the British Raj (1858-1947). [1] In Kipling’s poem, the water-bearer Gunga Din is shot dead in the brave act of saving his wounded master (the narrator) amidst a great battle. Said master/narrator is then left to live on with the curious feeling of having been his heathen slave’s moral inferior. Not the inferior (or equal) of all the heathen slaves, mind you. Just of the one who saved his ass; a very special man who was clearly an anomaly. It’s all very Noble Savage and Talented Tenth-ish, and thus hard to take as a 21st century liberal. But it’s also spectacular manipulation of the English language. The poetry itself is gorgeous. (And, yes, content and language are mutually exclusive, just as are artist and art.) The George Stevens film, on...

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