Sunday, April 24, 2011

CBS "60 Minutes" on April 24, 2011

First story: visit to Mt. Athos in Greece.
Second story: On benefactor Eli Broad.

Father Jacovos (an American) stated that the words used at Mt. Athos are the same as used by Christ. Separately, the last tv interview here was in 1981. There are 20 monasteries on Mount Athos, a 130 square mile peninsula. Tapping on a piece of chesnut is a call to prayer. The monks eat two meals a day, each meal lasting 10 minutes; there is no meat. There are 54 monks from 8 countries. There are no newspapers or radio on Mt. Athos. There are telephones. St. Paul says we are to pray unceasingly. The monks get no more than 3 hours of sleep per night. It is harder to get into Mount Athos than into Harvard. Every day at 3am in the morning a bell rings. Services last 8 hours a day. There are no musical instruments in the church. Just chanting. Lord have mercy.

The most miraculous thing about Mt. Athos is that it is still there. To go there, one needs a visa. Ouranapolis is the point of debarcation. "60 Minutes" filmed the trip, via a ferry, with pilgrims. There is a six hour time gap vs. normal time; the day starts at sunset, using Byzantine time. The Byzantine empire fell in 1453. The spiritual leader at Mt. Athos is Abbott Aprem. There is a ceremony honoring Gabriel and Michael. There is a relic of fabric of a garment worn by Mary. Women are excluded from visiting the peninsula. The monastery is private property, and is an all-male bastion. Mt. Athos is to be a place of silence. At the smallest monastery, there is no electricity and the icons are illuminated by candle light. Seventy years ago, in spring of 1941, the Nazis invaded Greece. The monks wrote a letter to Hitler, and asked Hitler to place the holy mountain under his protection. In 1943, pictures were taken, as a form of cataloging. By the time the Nazi scholars finished, the Nazis were bogged down with the Russians. The monks have their own fishing boat. "60 Minutes" showed the vaulted inner sanctum. Everything inside was at least 600 years old. The highlight: a 14th century icon of Christ. The first thing a monk does is to embrace and to love death. Every day the monk prepares for death. There is an ossuary on the peninsula. "These are my future roommates." The monks invited "60 Minutes" back anytime.

The second "60 Minutes" story. Eli Broad. More than half a billion to LA. "Eli, buy the Dodgers." Venture philanthropy. Michael Bloomberg praised Eli Broad. Be innovative and be philanthropic. "The Broad Institute" in Cambridge, MA; all discoveries are free, available to anyone. In 1957, launched a no frills home building business. Richard Serra sculpture. Almost all Broad's art is available for loan. Art by Jeff Koons. Balloon dog. A chimp (Bubbles) and Michael Jackson. Banality series. Three basketballs in an aquarium. Architect Frank Gerry. Disney Hall; Disney people insisted on Gerry. Christopher Knight refers to Broad: Eli "strings attached" Broad. --If they don't play, he won't pay.-- I'm not a bully, but I'm not a potted plant, either. You're a rich guy, and therefore a powerful guy. Bloomberg: #1, it's his money. You don't have to play the game if you don't want to. Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. "I want to be the most respected person." Who is the biggest foot in Los Angeles now.


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