Ten Plagues Illustrated

I illustrated the Plagues with videoclips in 2015, but never assembled still images before. Again, thinking about a book…

 

 

Blood

01_Blood2

Frogs

02_Frogs2

Lice

03_Lice2

Flies

04_Flies2

Murrain (cattle disease)

05_Murrain2

Boils

06_Boils2

Hail (and fire)

07_Hail2

Locusts

Locusts2

Darkness

08_Darkness2

Death of the Firstborn Egyptians

10_Death

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Dayenu Illustrated

As I contemplate making a Seder-Masochism Haggadah, I chose some stills to illustrate the Passover song “Dayenu”. Song does not reflect my own opinions, etc.

Out of Egypt

If He had brought us out from Egypt,

and not carried out judgements against them,

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Pharaoh Moses Aharon Snake

If He had carried out judgements against them,

and not against their idols

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Moses Ishtar1

If He had destroyed their idols,

and not killed their first-born

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Death of Firstborn

If He had killed their first-born,

and had not given us their wealth

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Wealth

If He had given us their wealth,

and had not split the sea for us

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Split the Sea

If He had split the sea for us,

and had not taken us through it on dry land

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Dry Land 2

If He had taken us through the sea on dry land,

and had not drowned our oppressors in it

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Drown Oppressors1

If He had drowned our oppressors in it,

and had not supplied our needs in the desert for forty years

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Needs in Desert

If He had supplied our needs in the desert for forty years,

and had not fed us the manna

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Manna1

If He had fed us the manna,

and had not given us the Shabbat,

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Shabbat1

If He had given us the Shabbat,

and had not led us before Mount Sinai

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Mount Sinai1

If He had brought us before Mount Sinai,

and had not given us the Torah

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Torah2

If He had given us the Torah,

and had not brought us into the land of Israel

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Drown Oppressors2

If He had brought us into the land of Israel,

and not built for us the Holy Temple

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Shabbat2

L’Shana Haba’a

L’Shana Haba’a from Nina Paley on Vimeo.

Next year in Jerusalem!
Music: “L’shana Haba’a” performed by the Breslau Synagogue Chorus, c. 1998

Gender Colonialism

Last week I posted on fecebook “If a person has a penis he’s a man,” which led to my widespread denunciation as a “transphobe.” I’ve written about this before, and anyone paying attention should know better, but I nonetheless commented this:

No matter how many times I state that I have trans friends, was standing up for trans people before the current crop of MRA “transactivists” was even born, and continue to defend the human rights of trans people, people accuse me of the opposite. I tire of defending myself, and it makes no difference anyway. I hated seeing the trans movement get taken over by misogynistic men’s rights activists; I hate seeing the misogyny of the “left” growing. I am witnessing a new, deeper, “postmodern” colonization of women. I bear no ill will towards trans people and like and love several; my concern is for WOMEN, especially those who aren’t white liberal middle-or-upper class, and especially lesbians. When an aggressive white male comes here and declares “I’m a dyke!”, and other liberal men gather round to support him, I see this colonization in action.

Do stick around, it takes a while to see, but I promise you I didn’t get to this place out of ill will. It’s so easy to just say “trans women are women!” and not deal with anyone’s hate. I’m resisting for a reason.

What do I mean by colonization? I mean the literal occupation of women’s spaces – rape shelters, prisons, locker rooms, bathrooms, swimming holes, and women-only events that women have fought very hard for. By men. Physically. But a huge component of this colonization is mental, existing in the realm of ideas and “identity”. What is a woman? 

A sex without a people for a people without a sex

In American Liberal thought, colonization is bad. But immigration is good. And taking in refugees is doubleplusgood. This is why Americans backed the Zionist colonization of Palestine. Israelis weren’t regarded as colonizers; they were refugees! And Palestine wasn’t even inhabited, not really. It was a land without a people for a people without a land. The only reason you could possibly object was if you were ANTISEMITIC. Even if you were Jewish yourself, you self-hating Jew!

Taking in trans “refugees from masculinity” is also doubleplusgood. This is why Liberals back the modern transactivist colonization of womanhood. “Transwomen,” who I will henceforth refer to as trans-identified males, or TiMs, aren’t regarded as colonizers; they’re refugees! And womanhood isn’t even inhabited, not really. Womanhood is a “land without a people,” because women aren’t viewed as people. We’re an open space for men to define.

What is the difference between a refugee and a colonist?

A colonist has guns and the backing of another state.

Unlike yesterday’s transsexuals – those “refugees from masculinity” – today’s TiMs have penises and the backing of Liberal Patriarchy.

My trans pals of the 90’s didn’t have today’s backing of Patriarchy. It was riskier to be trans then, even among Liberals. They more resembled refugees, and I welcomed them. They also either didn’t insist they were women, or if they did insist they were women, they ‘disarmed’, if you will, by actually going through genital surgery. Today’s TiMs proudly keep their penises and testicles and demand to have them acknowledged as “female body parts”.

Obviously, times have changed.

Men’s Rights Activists eventually figured out they could eliminate the middleman – transsexuals – and colonize women themselves. This fits nicely with regular old run-of-the-mill male dominance. Heterosexual men “identify” as lesbians, and patriarchal Liberals enforce women’s compliance. Women are not to resist or even question this program. To write, “if a person has a penis he’s a man” is an act of resistance so powerful, it will get you widely denounced and blacklisted.

You know what else would get you denounced and blacklisted in recent decades? Questioning or criticizing the State of Israel. The thought-terminating memes, the refusal to discuss, the disproportionate outrage are all familiar to my anti-Zionist activist friends.

Under the spell of American Zionism, no right-thinking Liberal believed atrocities were happening in and on behalf of Israel. No matter how much evidence activists produced, Zionist Liberals always downplayed it, or ignored it, or justified it because whatever the Palestinians were doing was surely so much worse. Likewise, no matter how much evidence feminists produce, of death threats and rape threats, of actual physical violence, of blacklisting and purging and no-platforming, we are dismissed as “transphobic.” Even when the people presenting the evidence are trans, such as Miranda Yardley and Jenn Smith.

Simultaneous marginalization and support

Of course no males would be “refugees” if they had a home in the male sex class. But it’s in Patriarchy’s interest to simultaneously marginalize and support trans people, just like it’s in Europe’s and America’s interest to simultaneously marginalize and support Jews. The marginalization drives the pressure of expansion. When people are secure in their homelands, they don’t emigrate. It’s the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to be free that up and move to a new land. Without antisemitism, the “west” would have no colony in the Middle East. Without patriarchal gender enforcement, TiMs wouldn’t be spearheading the further colonization of women. So men simultaneously threaten TiMs, and demand the protection of TiMs as “the most oppressed.” That male-imposed marginalization is what drives the whole project.

Trans people themselves are a tiny fraction of the population. So why are language, laws and institutions being changed just for them? Because it’s not just for them, it’s for all men. TiMs are the “settlers” of the latest patriarchal colonization project.

Religion

Both Zionism and transactivism have a religious component. In Zionism it’s the Torah/Old Testament, which simply states that God gave the land to the Jews, His chosen people. In transactivism it’s gender identity, as summarized by Miranda Yardley:

  • We all have a ‘gender identity’ which is innate. This ‘gender identity’ can be at odds with the physical embodiment of our sex;
  • This ‘gender identity’ has more weighting to our sex than the  physical embodiment of our sex; and so it follows that
  • ‘Trans women are women and trans men are men’.

…for transgender individuals, personality determines sex.

Philosophical analysis aside, the reality is that the concept of gender identity collapses into the statement ‘trans women are women’, and this is the foundation of most of their other claims to rights, spaces and validity. It is also the single most defended claim in transgender ideology, so much so that no debate is allowed.

I support freedom of religion, and everyone is free to believe whatever they want. I oppose forcing everyone else to believe what you believe. Everyone is welcome to their “gender identity.” If a male believes he is a female, that’s fine with me. If I have to believe he’s female, that crosses the line.

I oppose gaslighting. I oppose requiring others to deny the evidence of their own eyes and identify someone else as a sex they are not. Not because trans-identified males don’t “deserve” to be called women. But because they aren’t women. “Woman” is not a club or a prize or a reward. It’s a sex.

But it’s treated like a club and a prize and a reward. And like anything of value intrepid males “discover,” it is being colonized.

Women are not a land without a people. Women have always been people, even if men don’t acknowledge that. The trans colonization project is essentially misogynist, and is popular among male Liberals for this reason.

Why do I care?

Believe me, if I could not care about modern transactivism, I would. I think it’s my Muse’s doing, because my film Seder-Masochism is about the same story: the colonization of women.

God used to be female. All of Her attributes were taken over by the male God. Creation, fertility, vegetation, the bringing forth of food, life and death – all that was once the Goddess’s is now God’s. It’s like the male God put on Her clothes, and then “identified” as Her, and there’s no Goddess any more.

Our connection to ancient goddess worship is completely broken. There’s some art, and some ruins, and some echoes in myths and fairy tales, but we have no idea how these religions were really practiced. Modern western goddess-worship is re-built, re-invented, and re-imagined; it is immature, instead of building on thousands of years of tradition. 

The establishment of YHWH as the One, Male God effectively erased the Goddess, and most don’t even know enough to grieve. We sense there’s something missing, but most can’t even name it.

Gods and Goddesses are fictional, of course. What’s happening now is a continuation of the erasure of the Goddess: the erasure of womanhood itself. The erasure of biological reality isn’t only of concern to biological women, but to everyone who values science and some relationship to reality beyond individual “identity.”

Woman means adult human female.

Womanhood is a biological reality. That’s it. It’s not an identity, a prize, an “exclusive club”, or a land to be conquered. The more men regard womanhood as any of those things, the more inclined they are to colonize. Patriarchy regards women as property already, with disastrous consequences.

I am a reluctant feminist. I don’t particularly enjoy being a woman. I don’t “identify as a woman.” I AM a woman. It’s not a choice, it’s biology. It’s not a special club I’m trying to keep men out of.

Biology is the beginning and end of “womanhood,” the alpha and the omega. If I wear pants, I’m a woman. If I wear a dress, I’m a woman. If my hair is long or short, I’m a woman. If I take testosterone, I’m a woman. If I cut off my breasts (don’t think I haven’t thought about it, I have fibrocystic breast disease and they can be very painful) I’m a woman. If I identify as a man, I’m a woman.

And if a person has a penis he’s a man.

If you think that’s “hate speech,” the colonist is you.

Further reading:

The Colonization of Womanhood

Liberals and the New McCarthyism

Vancouver Women’s March becomes opportunity for misogynist threats against women

On Trans-identified Females: binders and misogyny

Current state of discourse on gender in the UK

Online harassment of women

New York City! Seder-Masochism Work-In-Progress Benefit April 21 at IFC

SM_Poster_IMC_med

Thursday, Apr 21, 2016 7:30 PM EDT
IFC Center, New York, NY

You must purchase advance tickets for this event.

All singing! All dancing! All 40+ minutes of my feature-film-in-progress, Seder-Masochism! This is not the finished movie, but the core musical scenes animated in Flash. While I take a production break to learn new software to make the rest of the film, let’s watch all these crazy scenes together in a theater. Featuring:
Goats!
Egypt!
Plagues!
Death!
Idols!
Commandments!
Unsubtle phallic imagery!
…and MORE!

FREE MATZOH!

Big thanks to my friends at GKIDS for making this happen.

Seder-Masochism is Nina Paley’s second feature film, currently in production. Like its predecessor  Sita Sings the Blues, it’s an animated musical – but this time it’s based on the Passover story, the Book of Exodus. In spite of being an irreverent atheist, Nina is also a card-carrying Jew, entitling her to make scenes such as the now-famous This Land Is Mine:

Here are a few stills and animated gifs from the project:

MosesPartsSea324fps

Thirsty Hebrews charged on by increasingly frustrated Moses

Woman06_first02_AstarteWoman04.2_transformation

Exodus12-35

snake dancer jewish4 gif

Moses Aaron2

Exodus14-30

 

05Melt_2

 

ApepBWenlarging

Wadjet36 HathorWalk36

Bastet36

Exodus 19-40: Tabernaculous!

Music: The Things We Do For Love by 10cc (1976)

The Tabernacle is built, Aharon ordained, Joshua and Eleazar introduced, and an enduring religious hierarchy established.

This concludes the songs I’m animating in Flash for Seder-Masochism. The rest of the movie will be in different styles, possibly using different software. Experimentation awaits!

Tax-deductible donations can be made here.

Moses Brings THE LAW

MosesLaw

Moses returning from Mt. Sinai, about to open a can of holy whoop-ass on those goddesses.

The Golden Calf (Return of the Goddess)

Music: “Woman” by John Lennon (1980)
Everything else: Nina Paley
Another chapter in my feature film “Seder-Masochism.” Donate here: questioncopyright.org/sedermasochism

Exodus 32:
1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
2 And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me.
3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.
4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
5 And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the Lord.
6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.

Chad Gadya embroidermation finished at last!

After a little over a year and a half, and many interruptions, we finally finished our embroidermated short, Chad Gadya. While we were working on it (actually I was working, Theo was procrastinating) this other embroidered short came out, but there are differences. Thanks to Theodore Gray’s stitchcoding in Mathematica, we weren’t restricted by (invariably crappy) off-the-shelf software. This allowed us to automate beautiful iridescent stitches and preserve them from frame to frame, so the resulting animation really looks like moving embroidery.

Every single embroidered frame you see here is available for sale, signed and numbered and one-of-a-kind. Only 9 months ’til Passover!

Chad Gadya will function as a sort of “intermission” in my feature film Seder-Masochism, marking the end of the Passover meal but just the beginning of the Israelites’ trials in the desert.

Update: Theo’s post on the technical side of stitchcoding embroidermation.

“It took a while to get all this code right, but of course it’s crucial that it cover every possible case, because when you’re doing animation, it’s not about getting one frame right, it’s about having an automated process that always gets every frame right, not just once, but every time there is an iteration of the animation requiring a re-render of the frames. We must have generated tens of thousands of frames (just generated the files, not actually stitched them!) before it was all looking good.” Theodore Gray

Update 2: All the stitching files we made for this are Free (CC-BY-SA) at archive.org! Download ’em and stitch ’em out as you please. They’re PES format; wish we had something better, but all embroidery formats suck.

The Exodus

Following the Ten Plagues – particularly the Death of the Firstborn Egyptians – the Hebrews finally leave Egypt.

Music: Free To Be You And Me by the New Seekers. More about that song and my use thereof in another post.

Exodus12-28

Exodus 12:28 And the children of Israel went away, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.

Exodus12-35

Exodus 12:35 And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment:

Exodus12-37

Exodus 12:37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.
:38 And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.

Exodus13-21

Exodus 13:21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:

Exodus14-21

Exodus 14:21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.

Exodus14-22

Exodus 14:22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

Exodus14-23

Exodus 14:23 And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.

Exodus14-28

Exodus 14:28 And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.

Exodus14-30

Exodus 14:30 Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.

…..

The last beat is the desert, where the Hebrews will spend the next 40 years:

Exodus16-3

Exodus 16:3 And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of theLord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

Moses Goes Down

Here is Exodus 3-7, too much to quote here. Featuring the Burning Bush, Moses, Hebrew slaves, strange gods (actually goddesses), Aharon, Pharaoh, a staff turning into a snake, and sing-along phonetic hieroglyphs.
The introduction to this scene is “God Calls Moses to Mt. Horeb”.

Music: Go Down Moses
Arranged and performed by Louis Armstrong (with Sy Oliver’s Orchestra, 1958)

Unlike most other Seder-Masochism scenes I’ve posted, this one isn’t primarily parody; the overall message is similar to that of the song. I still argue it’s Fair Use, and transformative. Parody isn’t the only way to transform (nor is transformation the only criterion for Fair Use). “Go Down Moses” itself was transformative without being parody: it made Exodus into a story of American slavery. Creativity is complicated and shouldn’t be dictated by lawyers. LET MY PEOPLE GO!

Like this work? Donate here.

Best Haggadah Ever

This is the best Haggadah ever. It contains profanity, so if you don’t like swears maybe don’t click the link. But if you don’t mind swears, or like them, and you’re Jewish or Jewy or philosemitic or just have a thing for Passover, you should check out The Fucking Haggadah.

God Calls Moses to Mt. Horeb

DONATE HERE: http://questioncopyright.org/sedermasochism

“3 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.
“2 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
“3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
“4 And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.”
–Exodus 3 King James Version (KJV)

Written Designed Directed Animated Produced etc. by Nina Paley. ninapaley.com
Music: excerpted from “Moses Supposes” (music by Roger Edens, lyrics by Comden and Green, vocals by Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor) from the motion picture Singin’ In The Rain.
Many sound effects from the wonderful freesound.org:
wind: freesound.org/people/medialint/sounds/11863/
fire: freesound.org/people/kingsrow/sounds/181562/
stick: freesound.org/people/davilca/sounds/159494/
thumps: freesound.org/people/FlatHill/sounds/211450/

Director’s note:
Obviously I took a few liberties here.
This is a work-in-progress and may be modified for the final film, Seder-Masochism. Stay tuned for the immediate next scene, where the burning bush gives instructions to Moses!

Passover Satyr

PassoverSatyr_white

When I told a (gentile) friend I was making a movie about the Seder, she thought I said “satyr.” The idea cracked me up, but I didn’t illustrate it because who needs more associations of Jews with horns and cloven hooves? Until now. Here is the Passover Satyr.

I was worried this was in questionable taste. Too soon? But after posting this illustration on Facebook, so many people asked for a T-shirt that I set one up for pre-orders here.

teespring1You have until November 3 to order one.

 

Death of the Firstborn Egyptians


The most recently-completed scene from my feature-in-progress Seder-Masochism.

written, directed, designed, animated, produced, etc. by Nina Paley
music from “Spider Suite” by The Duke of Uke and His Novelty Orchestra
sound effects by Greg Sextro

DONATE HERE: questioncopyright.org/sedermasochism

Based on Exodus 12:
21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover.
22 And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.
23 For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.
24 And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.
25 And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the Lord will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.
26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?
27 That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.
28 And the children of Israel went away, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.
29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.
30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.

*****

LYRICS by David King, aka Duke of Uke:

DEATH: Falling stars you wished upon
are cinders now and now they’re gone
their residue festoons my fetid field.
Unfeeling husks of lovers past
the shells are all that ever last
I’ve taken everything that they concealed.
Whoever told you life was fair?
Look around you, everywhere
the cruelty of nature is displayed!
Why the scorn?
Why the surprise?
Everything that’s born must die
and it isn’t I who made the world that way.

What wicked little twist of fate
placed you her upon my plate
Here, where no one hears your cries?
Where was your god to steer you through
Perhaps your god’s forsaken you
Otherwise why lead you here to die?

BA (spirit of the dead): I, I know the way how
I’ll melt away now
I know the way.
I’m feeling bliss now
Dissolved to mist how
strangely I go
away
Now I finally know

DEATH: It’s merely moments now,
moments now until
your feeble flesh bends to my will
and it will
so rest your weary head.
There’ll be no pain,
no pain at all
as everything you are dissolves
Your fate resolved
upon my silky thread.

BA: I, I know the way how
I’ll melt away now
I know the way.
I’m feeling bliss now
Dissolved to mist how
strangely I go
away
Now I finally know
(repeat)