Mark S. Weiner

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

90% and beyond

In Austria, emergency medical services, EMS, Sweden, Uncategorized, Video on February 6, 2021 at 12:49 pm

The non-profit video production company that I founded, Hidden Cabinet Films, which includes a fantastic Board of Directors, is hosting a fundraiser for our latest project, “Tending the Wounded: A Social and Political Theory of Emergency Medical Services”:

The brave men and women of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) are heroes of the medical world, but can we also understand what they do in social and political terms? Can the way that emergency medics tend to the wounded show us how to organize our societies better? What do they have to teach us about how liberal democracies can be resilient and endure? We believe that asking these questions is especially important in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and the divisiveness of our current politics.

The brave men and women of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) are heroes of the medical world, but can we also understand what they do in social and political terms? Can the way that emergency medics tend to the wounded show us how to organize our societies better? What do they have to teach us about how liberal democracies can be resilient and endure? We believe that asking these questions is especially important in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and the divisiveness of our current politics.

In two weeks we have raised 90% of our fundraising goal, bringing us very close as a 501(c)(3) to being able to absorb two significant institutional grants. Can you help us reach the finish line? All gifts are tax deductible. Contributions can be made by credit card by clicking “Donate” on our GoFundMe page, via PayPal, or by check (contact me for details). Small donations stand right alongside larger ones in helping us remain a publicly supported organization and enabling us to bring “Tending the Wounded” to fruition.

Our previous major video project was a set of five films for the exhibition “Law’s Picture Books” for the Grolier Club, including “A Philosophical Question.” 

In Search of the Political

In Legal Philosophy, Uncategorized on December 19, 2020 at 1:14 am

The latest issue of Telos includes my review of Fred Siegel’s book The Crisis of Liberalism: Prelude to Trump (Candor, NY: Telos Press Publishing, 2020). A protégé of Irving Howe at Dissent, Siegel is one of the last vital links to the world of the New York Intellectuals. David Pan’s introduction to the issue, titled “Race, Russia, and Rights,” can be found on the Telos blog here.

Pan writes of my contribution: “The affirmation of rational discussion and legal institutions over all substantive morality leads to its own forms of blindness and intolerance, which Mark S. Weiner discusses in his review of Fred Siegel’s The Crisis of Liberalism: Prelude to Trump. As Siegel argues, the establishment of the policies of a liberal technocratic managerialism represented the triumph of rational discourse, but rather than solving the problems of the world, this victory led to the growth of an underclass that accepts the victim status attributed to it by elites. Siegel links this technocratic approach to the Rawlsian attempt to set aside substantive moral commitments, leading to the de-valorization of middle-class values. Rather than conceiving of virtue and justice as moral concerns that must be grounded in the beliefs of the entire population, the attempt to replace moral commitments with rational discourse and legal institutions ends up undermining the popular basis of such institutions.”

The journal is behind a paywall, but many university libraries hold a digital subscription.

The Only Post about Medieval Law that Ends with a Video from Beck

In Aesthetics, narrative, form, Books and libraries, Europe, Spain, Uncategorized on August 23, 2013 at 7:17 pm

From the Vidal MayorOne of the most powerful aspects of the Vidal Mayor—the subject of my previous three posts—is how it portrays people engaged in everyday legal activities and disputes. The illuminated manuscript shows the law in action, and it depicts law as a human creation.

In this respect, the images in the Getty’s manuscript remind me a bit of the judicial bobbleheads I discussed in my first video.

But there’s something even deeper going on, because the figures are also meant to embody principles of jurisprudence. They are meant both to represent and to set in motion a way of thinking about law.

In a fine academic article about the subject, one scholar describes the significance of the images this way:

The functioning of [their] representative mode can be grasped when perceived in the context of the larger meaning attributed to the category of the imago in the Middle Ages: not only as a symbolic material product—miniatures or metaphors—but equally as a mental image, an imaginary mental operation, in this case the juridical enunciation of a case. Through this structure, the Vidal Mayor’s images adopt the formula of juridical casuistry. Not only do they reproduce the casuistic methodology by giving yet another juridical example for each fuero, but also the image itself reproduces the casuistic procedure undertaken by the judge as he is shown stating a particular case in his court. Through reproducing the methods of jurisprudence, the images of this manuscript on customary law, make up, in this manner, the core of juridical complexities. Their visual movement originates in the court, moves through the particular case stated, and then takes us back to the court where the fuero is being applied—thus to the text.

Like this scholar, I’m struck most powerfully by how the images of the Vidal Mayor depict legal ideas through human gestures—especially hands.

And so, without saying more, I’ll include some of those hands here—and let the images do the talking … partly because the hands are so evocative of legal and social relationships, but also just because they’re beautiful. For medieval atmosphere, I recommend playing this soundtrack in the background (it’s from roughly the same time and place).

Small Blank Space
From the Vidal Mayor

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