In Salon, Randa Jarrar inveighs against Western Imperialist appropriation of belly dancing which she regards as a kind of cultural property to which only Arab women of color are entitled.
Arab women are not vessels for white women to pour themselves and lose themselves in; we are not bangles or eyeliner or tiny bells on hips. We are human beings. This dance form is originally ours, and does not exist so that white women can have a better sense of community; can gain a deeper sense of sisterhood with each other; can reclaim their bodies; can celebrate their sexualities; can perform for the female gaze. Just because a white woman doesn’t profit from her performance doesn’t mean she’s not appropriating a culture. And, ultimately, the question is this: Why does a white woman’s sisterhood, her self-reclamation, her celebration, have to happen on Arab women’s backs?
Daily Beasts’ Caitlin Dickson and Abby Haglage take the curious, but recognizably leftist position, that one needs to appear in nude in public oneself in order to find Lena Dunham’s extraordinarily numerous displays of unattractive nudity in bad taste.
[L]ike everyone else who has endured listening to this senseless debate since the show first premiered, [“Girls”’ producers] have had enough. No one, especially those who watch any of HBO’s other gratuitously sexual shows, seems to have a problem with nudity as long as the bodies shown are unrealistically sculpted. Game of Thrones’ practice of spicing up boring scenes with nudity is notorious enough to have warranted its own word: “Sexposition.” If anyone is angry about seeing Khaleesi’s naughty bits, we’ve yet to hear about it. True Blood’s Sookie Stackhouse and Boardwalk Empire’s Lucy Danziger are welcome to get down with their bad naked selves all day long. A “thigh gap” and/or “bikini bridge” are practically a free ticket to nakedville. But normal-bodied characters, please keep your clothes on.
It’s only when faced with the fleshy body of a real life human being—one perhaps uncomfortably similar to the one they have (or are afraid of having)—that people start to freak out. The deluge of questions about Dunham’s nudity conveys the message that imperfect bodies should be hidden in shame.
The point, which unfortunately needs reiterating, is that Girls is a show about the experience of a group of 20-something Brooklynites. Their trials and tribulations might not always be 100 percent realistic or relatable to the majority of Americans. They’re not supposed to be.
What anyone can relate to is the need—not to mention desire—to be naked. Dunham’s body, and the fact that Hannah, like everyone else, has to shower, get dressed, and have sex in the nude—no matter how curvy, bony, or lumpy they are—is the most realistic part of the show.
Anyone who still has questions for Dunham about her nudity should be forced to ask them in the nude.
The notion that a character in a television series must be displayed to nation-wide audience nude and/or engaged in a variety of normally private activities and bodily functions for the sake of realism is, of course, just so much piffle.
Any artistic depiction of human life will inevitably exercise a variety of principles of selection, and will include only scenes and episodes required for some specific story-telling purpose.
The unidentified reporter at tthe 2014 Winter Television Critics Association panel discussion who asked why Lena Dunham’s character is “often naked at random times for no reason” was merely asking an obvious question which has undoubtedly occurred to the overwhelming majority of the show’s audience.
The show’s producers, and their allies at Daily Beast’s, response reveals that Dunham’s unseemly and unattractive nudity is purposeful. It is ideological. It is the practical assertion of a radical left-wing form of egalitarianism which would insist that ugly people should be considered just as worthy of admiration and attention as beautiful people, that a fat and homely girl is just as entitled to display her body to a nationwide audience as a slender and beautiful model or movie star.
Reading this rather outrageous nonsense, I thought that Ayn Rand had actually overlooked one form of villainous leftism which she could have devastatingly featured in Atlas Shrugged: the Lena Dunham nude scene.
Dan Greenfield manages to explain exactly how liberalism manages to sell its ideology so successfully to the lumpen-haute-bourgeoisie, and identifies the mechanism by which conformity of thought is so widely systematically confused with intelligence.
Self-esteem is the new intelligence. Obama’s intelligence was manufactured by pandering to the biases and tastes of his supporters. The more he shared their biases and tastes, the smarter he seemed to be and the smarter they felt by having so much in common with such a smart man. ...
[M]anufactured intelligence is self-involved. It mistakes feeling for thinking. It deals not with how things are or even how we would like them to be, but how we feel about the way things are and what our feelings about the way things are say about what kind of people we are.
Liberal intelligence is largely concerned with the latter. It is a self-esteem project for mediocre elites, the sons and daughters of the formerly accomplished who are constantly diving into the shallow pools of their own minds to explore how their privilege and entitlement makes them view the world and how they can be good people by challenging everyone’s paradigms and how they can think outside the box by climbing into it and pulling the flaps shut behind them.
Perpetual self-involvement isn’t intelligence regardless of how many of the linguistic tricks of memoir fiction it borrows to endow its liberal self-help section with the appearance of nobility.
Liberalism isn’t really about making the world a better place. It’s about reassuring the elites that they are good people for wanting to rule over it.
We learn that Peggy Noonan is at her heartfelt best, noting as she does — clearly, and not for the first time (though probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 or 5 times by now) — that this Obama fellow, despite his manufactured polish, his practiced speech, and his inflated credentials, may just prove ill-equipped to really lead effectively and handle the challenges facing the nation.
– Many of which wouldn’t be facing the nation in the first place had not ostentatiously cosmopolitan and “pragmatic” GOP pundits like the ubiquitous Peggy Noonan so disturbingly creamed over candidate Obama and his academic bona fides — which amounted to studies of critical race theory, race and law, the promotion of Marxism using the language of liberty as its camouflage, and mau-mauing the flak catchers, all of which requires nothing more than a willingness to parrot back leftist talking points to leftist professors looking to turn you into activist leftist foot soldiers and then, if you happen to have the right pedigree, perhaps even greater things.
Or, to put it another way, one of the women who helped guilt the American people into electing a transformative Marxist with a dubious background and no governing experience, a man who, after his drug-addled youth hung out with domestic terrorists, academic (and activist) anti-Semites, and got his religious counsel from a man steeped in hatred of Whites and Jews, as head of the free world — while simultaneously turning down her nose at figures like Sarah Palin, who has proven over the course of time to be every bit as prescient as Ms Noonan was bamboozed, hoodwinked, and gloriously conned — is now writing to tell us the President is not who he promised he’d be.
Restoring the Lost Constitution just got much easier.
This is an historic moment on our constitutional history. With the change of Senate rules today by a simple majority to [allow a simple majority to] close debate on judicial nominations, a Rubicon has been crossed. Restoring the Lost Constitution has now been made far more feasible, and will make the 2014 & 2016 of enormous importance to our constitutional future.
I’m always amused by the nuclear option debate because it is without a doubt the most spectacular display of Congressional hypocrisy, which is saying a lot. Because whenever the minority party is arguing, it says that this is a very important, indeed a majestic part of our constitution. And as soon as the minority become the majority, like Harry Reid and the Democrats and Obama, all of a sudden it’s terrible instrument of obstruction.
Look, as a matter of the means in which this was done, it was a rather lowdown way. This is a fundamental change of the structure of the rules of the Senate and done on strict party lines, which it should not be. The same way, incidentally, Obamacare, a major reform, on party lines. That should not be. But on the substance of the change, I think the Democrats have stumbled upon the truth as they do every decade or so. If you are not to know who is in power, I think it’s a better idea for the president to have the ability to nominate his nominees, judicial and executive, without having to get a supermajority.
And the other part of it, as a conservative, I am extremely happy that the Democrats are doing this. The prospects are very strong that the Democrats are going to lose the Senate next year and there is an excellent chance of losing the White House. And the Democrats will absolutely rue the day because they not only are going to allow a Republican majority—which will come one day anyway—to get its nominees through, but Chuck Grassley has said that when Republicans come into you power, they’re going to include Supreme Court nominees, and that will be a devastating blow to the liberals on the Court and to the liberals in the country. So I don’t think Democrats will remember this day with any joy in the near future.
NYC voted to go back to the 1970s, back to grafitti, squeegee men, and muggings. Dan Greenfield has some words of congratulation for NYC voters.
Do you miss the old New York City? Remember when subway trains were covered in graffiti, a news hour began with six shootings and everyone who lived in the city had been mugged at least once?
Remember when Times Square had more strip clubs than theaters and when you could afford an apartment in the village because it was a drug infested mess?
Remember when the city and everyone living in it were on the verge of bankruptcy and the only people who had money lived upstate or in a small cluster of Manhattan?
Remember when everything was grimy and had a layer of filth, when people moved to the city because they wanted to slum, when nothing worked and no one cared and the only difference between New York and Chicago was that it had taller buildings?
If you miss that classic New York, there’s good news because Bill de Blasio is bringing it back.
The muggers are coming back. The squeegee men are coming back. The crazy people randomly stabbing you on the subway, the gangs shooting each other over turf, the race rioters marching through neighborhoods and shouting, “Whose streets, our streets”—they’re all coming back.
Because the polls have spoken. And it’s De Blasio time now.
No more fascist cops hassling “innocent” people. Bill de Blasio won’t put up with any of that. De Blasio will put the cops in their place, inside a Dunkin Donuts and away from people. They’ll still get paid. They’re in a union. They just won’t lift a finger to help you because they’ll have more special monitors and civilian complaint review boards on their necks than they can handle.
And next time one of the innocent victims of Stop and Frisk is pounding your face into the sidewalk with one hand while digging through your pockets with the other, wave to the pair of beat cops sitting in the window of the coffee shop. And they’ll wave back without getting up. Because you voted for this. And you’re getting what you deserve.
“They were running the biggest start-up in the world, and they didn’t have anyone who had run a start-up, or even run a business,” said David Cutler, a Harvard professor and health adviser to Obama’s 2008 campaign.
Jeanne Safer (Mrs. Richard Brookhiser) discusses her own marriage of political opposites.
This November fifth, like every Election Day for the last three decades, I’ll show up faithfully at my polling place rain or shine, even if there’s another Hurricane Sandy in New York City. Once again, I’ll be pulling the levers for some people I actually agree with, for some I’m not crazy about, and for others I’ve barely heard of. As long as they’re Democrats, they can count on my support.
It’s a matter of moral obligation, not just civic duty: I’ve got to cancel out my husband’s vote.
For thirty-three years I’ve been happily married to a man with whom I violently disagree on every conceivable political issue, including abortion, gun control, and assisted suicide. I thought the recent government shutdown was absurd, infantile, and destructive; he was a fan. And not only is he a conservative Republican, he’s a professional conservative Republican, a Senior Editor of National Review, the leading journal of conservative opinion in the country.
So why don’t we both just agree to stay home on Election Day? Because, even though I trust him with my life, I don’t trust him, and would never ask him, not to vote his conscience. It took our first decade together for me to accept that not even my considerable powers of persuasion as a psychotherapist—not to mention the self-evident correctness of my positions—would never make him change his mind, but, alas, it is so; he never even tried to change mine.
Other than my father, I never even knew any Republicans growing up, and certainly never had one for a boyfriend. But in my late twenties I joined a Renaissance singing group, and there he was—tall, clever, with intense blue eyes and a lyrical baritone. I couldn’t resist. I’d known and been treated abominably by too many men who shared all my opinions to let his convictions get in the way, and I’ve never regretted it. Our wedding was a bipartisan affair. My mentor, one of the early victims of the McCarthyite purges, gave me away, and my husband’s publisher, one of McCarthy’s most avid enforcers, gave a reading. Somehow everyone behaved, setting a trend that we have emulated with only a few brief exceptions ever since.
Tyler Cowan’s evil twin Tyrone thinks that Republicans didn’t do so badly as the popular narrative maintains.
Tyrone: I read what a strategic disaster the fracas has been for the Republican Party and for the Tea Party movement in particular, but I don’t see it. Where I grew up, this counts as a successful stare-down. Most of the time, the pit bull does not in fact lunge for your throat, but it is hardly a mistake for him to snarl, even if that raises his borrowing rates.
Look where we stand. In real terms government spending has been falling. Sequestration appears to be permanent, or it will be negotiated away by Republicans in return for preferred changes in tax and spending policy. Leading Democratic intellectuals are talking about future fiscal bargains with no new taxes. The American public polls as increasingly conservative.
With this sequence of events, combined with 2011, the Republicans convinced some of their opponents that they are crazy and irresponsible, without actually being crazy (though they were irresponsible, but that is the whole point). I peaked once into Tyler’s Twitter feed, and I found several accomplished Democratic economists — yes brilliant economists, as all economists are — suggesting that any day now markets are going to notice the truly crazy character of the Republican House and price that into interest rates and stocks. Oh what a tale! (A more accurate reading of the more radical Republicans would in fact be more cynical and ordinary than most of the pablum served up by their critics.) Imagine that you control only the House and can manage to convince your opponents that you are stronger and more dedicated to your cause than in fact you are. Only the truly strong and dedicated can pull such a caper off!
Someday, if the Democrats wanted to raise the exemption level for the payroll tax, and pull in a lot of new revenue, what kind of opposition could they expect? Probably they will shy away from that battle altogether, for fear of another Ted Cruz filibuster.
Yes, Virginia (literally), protecting the brand does sometimes mean going down with the ship. ...
Even if most Americans do not agree, it is now considered common to believe and to argue publicly that Obamacare represents the end of freedom in our time. If Obamacare turns out to fail in the eyes of the public, that condemnatory view is being held in the back of people’s minds, whether they admit it or not, whether they agree or not. They will start to agree more and more, the less generous their Medicare benefits look as time passes. The future counterrevolution in redistribution is going to have to come from somewhere and it is a major victory to cement the word “Obamacare” as a hypostatized “thingie” in people’s minds, for future reference.
The Republican tactics understand the importance of skewed pay-offs. In an age of political gridlock, the goal is not to maximize the expected value of your image, any more than you would do the same on a date. Rather the goal is to maximize the chances of moving your agenda forward, conditional on the existence of world-states where that might be possible. The harder it is to pull off change, the stupider your strategy will look in most world-states, but hey that is the price of admission to this game. Capital is to be periodically run down, and if in politics, as in management more generally, if you always look good you are doing something badly wrong.
Another fallacy is that no DC crisis would have focused more attention on the failings of the Obamacare exchanges in a useful manner. People, that is small potatoes. No one is going to repeal or even modify ACA because of a few weeks’ bad publicity at the opening. (Recall the Medicare prescription drug bill, which took weeks to get off the ground but now is beloved and is part of the permanent furniture of the universe, like Supersymmetry or quantum gravity.) If Obamacare is really going to do poorly, it is better if we build up high or least modest expectations for it. Imagine the Christmas present of learning you don’t really have insurance coverage after all. Or the New Year’s resolution that after you have been billed three times for the same policy, you vow to pay for only one of them and live with the bad credit rating until it gets straightened out. How about extreme adverse selection into the exchanges, resulting in 50-100% premium hikes in the first year of operations? (The lower premia are now, the better! Bread, peace, land! Ach du grüne Neune!) That’s what will get further traction for the Tea Party on Obamacare, not a bunch of bad reviews on opening day, as if the policy were no more than a mid-tier Jennifer Aniston movie (I can no longer refer to Sandra Bullock in this context), to be swatted down by mild tut-tuts of disapproval and inconvenience.
The very best victories are often described as ignominious retreats.