Open Thread: Genuine Globalization: Wazia Dunia, Bats at St. Fagan’s, Hay-on-Wye, and Mother of God Loses a Pinky


Peculiar news from faraway environs cheers my soul. In part, I like “every-now-and-again” updates from places I’ve been; in part because it keeps my vision of globalization alive.

My idea of globalization is one where individuals rather than corporations interact, where individuals move freely about the globe doing whatever it is that people do for enhancing quality and meaning in their lives.

I think this is imperative for the development of the mind. Nothing broadens the mind more than removing oneself from one’s own culture. In my view, doing so is one critical step in the development of empathy – the ability to view others (and what others value) from their own perspectives. In other words, to understand people as they understand themselves.

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t value this idea, long before the term globalization pertaining to “free market” economics began seeping into our national vocabulary. I have a love-hate relationship with this term because for starters, I do not adhere to the economic rationale behind it. I find globalization as it has evolved more harmful than not to every corner of the world. Moreover, globalization divides people more than it unites which is antithetical to my own personal definition of globalization.

When I encounter discussions of globalization, a tiny bit of hope lodged somewhere in my being surfaces, spurred by my private vision of globalization where people engage with each other thereby dismantling walls of fear erected against those who are “different” or “foreign.” Something inside tells me globalization still means what I think it should mean, it simply hasn’t happened yet. Though in some sense, when I read about globalization I feel as if my vision of ubiquitous multicultural interaction has been pilfered. I feel robbed and hopeful both at the same time. A few “every-now-and-again” updates….

First, the Virgin Mary’s sundered digit:

American Tourist Breaks Finger Off 600-Year-Old Statue At Italian Museum By Accident (VIDEO)

Little wrenches my gut more than loss or damage to world cultural heritage. You’ll soon learn, good readers, this is a theme to which I will often return. In Florence, we have the humiliation, yet again, of an American boor unaware of how to properly conduct himself in the world. There’s a reason Americans are regarded with low esteem world wide – as arrogant “bulls in a china shop” with respect to etiquette, certainly, but here we have incomprehensible cloddery clearly manifesting itself. I cannot fathom why, if this person had legitimate purpose for measuring the statue, he did not contact the curatorial staff and simply inquire, “Hey. What’s the length of the Virgin’s pinky finger?” These are the moments I shake my bony little fists in the air and grumble, “What the hell is wrong with you people?”

On a more inspiring note: a small fire, and fifty small bats who will live happily ever after:

BBC News – 50 bats rescued after fire at St Fagans museum

This story warms my heart. I’ve had the pleasure of strolling through St. Fagan’s; it’s charming. While the rescue of bats at St. Fagan’s may be entirely inconsequential to my life, I firmly believe human beings should frequently indulge in the inconsequential. It’s good for the spirit.

Background on St. Fagan’s:

St Fagans: National History Museum | National Museum Wales

A little bit on the little bat:

Lesser horseshoe bat videos, photos and facts – Rhinolophus hipposideros – ARKive

More on Wales: Hay-on-Wye, the Town of Books. It’s a little village on the border between England and Wales, crammed with art galleries and antiquarian bookshops. It boasts some good pubs, yet I think a pint in Hay is a little pricey. It hosts a massive literary festival, not a good time to go to Hay, they say, unless you plan to be there expressly for the book festival. It’s near impossible to find any vacancies at a bed and breakfast as these are usually booked a couple of years in advance. I didn’t visit during the festival, and I’d probably prefer Hay when it’s quiet, actually. Still, it’s a cool thing, an overview from the British Council:

Hay On Wye Book Festival | ESOL Nexus

What I didn’t know about Hay… and what I find absolutely exciting… and how I envision globalization…. is Hay’s sponsorship of the Storymoja Hay Festival in Nairobi, now in its fifth year. Apparently, I’ve been out of it. Last year, the Strorymoja Festival held its inaugural Wangari Maathai Lecture. This year’s festival happens in September:

Storymoja Hay Festival Nairobi

Background on Wangari Maathai and the Green Belt Movement:

Wangari Maathai | The Green Belt Movement

News from my little spot on the globe: An unheard-of, never-before pattern has begun to emerge. I’ve lost two games of scrabble in the last two weeks against my weekly opponent and spousal unit, affectionately known as Minos by she-who-loves-him-most. In my own defense, I do recall one of my linked words was not properly scored, in which case the final score of 327-325 would have actually resulted in a tie, 327-327. For the record, he always keeps score.


And that’s all she wrote… 🙂

What’s happening in your part of the world?

9 Comments on “Open Thread: Genuine Globalization: Wazia Dunia, Bats at St. Fagan’s, Hay-on-Wye, and Mother of God Loses a Pinky”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Why would anyone feel the need to measure the finger of the Virgin Mary? At least the finger wasn’t from the original statue. Maybe because he is from Missouri, the “show me” state?

    Fortunately, the broken piece was not part of the original work by Giovanni d’Ambrogio, a late 14th-century Florentine sculptor. Museum director Timothy Verdon confirmed to Italian media that the plaster finger was one of several restorations made to the Virgin Mary statue throughout the years.

  2. peej says:

    The severed finger was a replica, thank goodness, but apparently in this case the recast doesn’t make for an easy restoration. I’m not sure why. My question, too, was why would anyone need to measure the statue? Who knows? I would hope it would not be for sinister purpose, but I can’t imagine anyone who with reasonable purpose not contacting a curator.

    I can only imagine what was going through the guard’s mind over the course of split seconds – What? He’s not actually going to…. he did…

    I’ve had a few interesting travels. I’ve been here and there. I do think spending time away from everything one thinks one knows is a helpful thing. It does help to assess what kind of traveler one is. Some like strict itineraries, guided tours etc. and while setting up some travel matters in advance can save time and money, also offer a sense of security, I’ve never had much discomfort with getting totally lost and just wandering… I wouldn’t recommend that, mind you as a general rule. I only stumbled upon that habit from unintentionally getting lost on more than one occasion. To intentionally meander, however, is joyful if one is familiar enough with what to expect – for safety and security reasons.

    That’s not to say I don’t like structured travel and guided tours – I do, especially on a first visit. Then you can get the feel for a place. Also, good tours can be amazingly helpful when visiting someplace you have little background knowledge of. Or spelunking or something like that – an activity inherently dangerous.

  3. Fannie says:

    Karen Black 1 Jul 1939 – 8 Aug 2013………………R.I.P.

    I hope JJ does a tribute to her career in the movies, I really liked her.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    BTW, I love scrabble. I wish I had someone to play with. My mom started a regular get together to play with two of her friends.

    • peej says:

      I do love too. We just finished another game with another suspicious outcome. 272-278, his win. It would seem I lost again. Upon independent verification, however, the score morphed into 282-272, my win. Hmmm.

      Join a scrabble club, BB! Or better yet, start your own! What fun!