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’ve just had another mass shooting, this time involving a guy with a record of gun offenses using several firearms which were undoubtedly illegal in the jurisdiction in which the shootings occurred to commit murders (which are against the law everywhere), so naturally the left is once again taking advantage of public outrage at criminal violence to provide the impetus for legislation aimed at curtailing gunownership by law-abiding citizens.
At Ricochet, ExUrban Kevin last night was already expressing annoyance at being blamed and potentially penalized for the actions of some whackjob.
How The NRA Twitter Handles A Mass Shooting: Silence
The model is to go silent for at least a day, depending on the scope of the tragedy.
Why should the NRA respond? Is the Navy Yard shooter an NRA Life Member? Why should the NRA care about such things if he’s not? Funny how I never see the American Automobile Association pestered for immediate commentary when someone decides to commit vehicular manslaughter.
I hate, hate the fact that I have to defend the right to defend my family every time some monster with a screw loose decides to kill others, then himself (next time try that in the other order, bucko).
Timothy Birdnow argues that the left’s recent efforts “to make football safer” are really expressions of their reflexive determination to eliminate competition and aggression and to emasculate America.
The liberal sports media has jumped on board. ...), and, ironically, they may well kill the very sport that puts food on their tables. They can’t help it; a scorpion stings because it is a scorpion.
It is in this current climate of pacifism (and that is the purpose of the campaign: to turn football into a more pacific game, thus removing another layer of America’s masculinity) that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has signed a law mandating insurance for student-athletes.
The law says that a school’s minimum policy will cover $3 million in aggregate benefits or five years of coverage – whatever comes first – for injuries that total medical expenses over $50,000. The law includes public and private schools and state officials estimate that the cost of the coverage will be no more than $5 a student. Currently, some schools carry insurance for athletes, but it hasn’t been mandatory. The Illinois High School Association provides students with this catastrophic insurance for state tournaments.
First, one must ask why this is needed, since it will soon be the law of the land that everyone be covered by health insurance. I was under the impression that ObamaCare was designed specifically to fix this sort of problem. Why are schools in Illinois being made to pay for catastrophic health insurance when Mr. Obama, the product of that state’s political genius, has already addressed the issue? ...
This will kill many sports programs in poor school districts and likely in the lion’s share of private or parochial schools. Would a struggling Catholic school spend money needed for actually educating students on sports insurance? It will become a choice between teaching and athletics for many schools.
Of course, such would suit the educational commissars just fine. There has been an increasing effort by the Progressives to straitjacket young children. Sports are one outlet they have targeted, with an increasingly regimented and organized approach to what were once thought of as children’s games. Michelle Obama may say “Let’s Move!,” but she wants all movement under her watchful eye. Gone are the days of sandlot football, of a bunch of kids getting together for a stickball game or a spontaneous game of field hockey. Children now devote much of their time to thumb exercises as computers replace the athletic field. When children are allowed to play, they are wrapped up like mummies lest they get a bruise.
All this teaches a lesson to the children: private, individual action is dangerous and should be avoided. Life must be lived within the guardrails, carefully planned and safeguarded by society.
Even more distressing to the left is that sports started as a means of training for soldiers. That is why football is so appealing to America; it is a he-man sport, a vestige of the old America, where an association of free men stand together in battle. Yes, team effort is required, but there is also plenty of room for heroics, and the individual may make a huge difference.
But at football’s core is a physicality bordering on violence, and to the left, that is anathema—an atavistic impulse that must be squeezed out of our children.
So instead of a healthy game of tackle football at recess, liberals substitute Ritalin and maybe a good heated game of tag.
Consider the war against dodgeball. Progressives fret that it is traumatizing children and have been systematically banning the game. Why? Nobody ever gets hurt from dodgeball, but Progressive educators still want it gone. That is because of the actual acts performed in the game: one physically tries to hit another. The goal of the left has been to make physical aggression taboo; thus, dodgeball, which teaches children to be physically aggressive, must go.
James Delingpole has been arguing with lefies, and has learned a great deal about himself from them.
I think it’s time you learned a bit more about me. Be warned, it isn’t pretty.
Basically, my sex life is a mess. I’ve never had a successful relationship with women, owing to the fact that I’m misogynistic, immature and a braying right-winger with a face like a horse. And we haven’t even got on to the size of my penis yet which, as you can well imagine, is minuscule.
Then there’s my unfortunate educational background. You’d think it would be an advantage having had an excellent private education at Malvern followed by a stint reading English at Oxford. But God, you couldn’t be more wrong. From public school all I learned is arrogance and a sense of entitlement and a lofty disdain for the poor while my English degree, being a mere “humanity”, is worthless and leaves me especially ill-qualified to comment on any issue which has to do with science.
And it’s not just that I’m ignorant about science, either. I’m actually anti-science. Perhaps it’s all the money I’m paid by Big Oil, perhaps it’s because I’m mentally ill, or perhaps it’s just because I’m plain evil but, would you believe it, I’m on a personal mission to disseminate ignorance by deliberately distorting the truth about issues like climate change because it doesn’t accord with my selfishness and greed and refusal to alter my rapacious lifestyle for the common good.
Did I mention my mental illness? I think I did but it really can’t be mentioned often enough. I’m sick, warped, perverted – not to mention stupid, childish, puerile, irresponsible, silly, flippant, sexist, racist, disablist – and totally wrong in the head. It’s all down to the lack of love I received as a child, which turned me into a rampant attention seeker. The kind of upbringing I have scarcely bears thinking about but what we can say with confidence is this: the values imparted to me by my parents were so perverse that they created the veritable monster I am today.
Great minds from the Rhode Island media tell you what to do if you run into a black bear. Note that the bear you are going to run into is already labeled as merely “curious.” He couldn’t possibly be “ravenous,” “aggressive,” or “predatory.”
The Inquisitr tells us that a predictably inevitable step in the leftist agenda has arrived in Europe.
Standing up while urinating may soon be illegal for men in Europe. Male representatives on the Sormland County Council and the Left Party are pushing for “sitting only” public restrooms. Exactly how the self-avowed socialist and feminist political party plans on enforcing the allegedly more sanitary restroom habits of males remains to be seen. Supporters of the law against standing while urinating also believe that male health will be bolstered when urinating while sitting on a toilet so the bladder empties more effectively, according to the Huffington Post.
If upright male urination becomes too politically incorrect to tolerate in Western Europe any longer, legal citations may soon begin flying. The Naked Scientists website notes that a similar movement is also brewing in Germany, France and Holland.
Jim Geraghty, in his emailed Morning Jolt, was today in a mood to fight back against the community of fashion’s blame game.
One of my nuttier ideas was taking a Twitter conversation between Cam Edwards and Kurt Schlicter envisioning a rightward sitcom answer to HBO’s “Girls” entitled “Dudes” and trying to turn it into an actual script.
At one point, I had a character in that script rant:
I’m a married middle-aged guy with a house in the suburbs who goes to work, pays his taxes and takes care of his kids. When the hell did I turn into the villain in society? Chris Brown still walks the streets! In the time it’s taken me to finish this sentence, “Shawty Lo” has impregnated three more women and Kim Kardashian’s been on four more magazine covers! I think one of ‘em’s a fishing magazine!
Yet somehow Madison Avenue considers me to be their go-to stereotype as a doofus, I’m the butt of every joke, sneered at for unsophisticated tastes, dismissed as a relic of a fading past, accused of not paying my fair share in taxes and insufficiently globally conscious because I’m only taking care of what’s directly in front of me instead of glaciers or the Gaza Strip. How am I the problem in the world today? What the hell did I ever do?
I remember a comment from Mark Steyn a few NR cruises ago, and I’m going to paraphrase it now: “Americans are first citizens of a global superpower with no interest in conquest. We don’t want other territory, we don’t seek to subjugate other nations, we’re not trying to wipe out any culture we deem inferior. And yet through the rhetoric and of the environmental movement, you, driving your SUV and drinking your Big Gulp and eating your Big Mac, are accused of literally destroying the planet! Not even history’s most brutal dictators faced an accusation on that scale!”
Our political culture and our popular culture are the one-two punch contending that you, ordinary American, going to work or looking for work or looking for better work and just taking care of your families, have somehow become the root of the biggest problems facing the country. It’s your fault.
Take but degree away, untune that string,
And, hark, what discord follows! —Act 1, Scene 3.
Gagdad Bob manages to combine Catholicism, Pope Benedict XVI, kid’s baseball, Title IX, liberal guilt, and Barack Obama into a terrific rant. Which muse do you suppose makes a specialty of inspiring rants?
[P]ostmodernism, is opposed in principle to hierarchy (or pretends to be), which is the secret to why it cannot recognize or tolerate quality in any dimension, right down to the most trivial activity. It is why all the kids on my son’s baseball team are forced to engage in the ritual of receiving a meaningless trophy at the end of the season.
Talk about a fake benediction! Humans don’t have the power to forgive bad baseball playing.
This refusal to acknowledge hierarchy is also how the the left can confuse a person with a single meaningful accomplishment or ability with Obama.
Dan Greenfield, in another of his intelligent essays, describes the national dynamic operating behind the current gun control debate.
The designated victim, like the ancient saint, is a martyr to a cause. And with the left, the cause is invariably really big government. The suffering of the saintly victims is monetized by the cause as unquestionable moral authority. The victims are designated, made famous and milked for their victimhood, and then the victimhood is bottled into white jars and shipped to Washington D.C.
Americans are suckers for a sob story. But a lot of them are also suckers for personal freedom. Whenever a bullseye is put on freedom for the greater good, two narratives battle it out for the soul of the country. “We have to fix this” and “Leave me alone.”
Think of We have to fix this” and “Leave me alone” as the devil and angel on the shoulders of every cartoon character for the last hundred years. “We have to fix this,” wears an earnest expression and her appearance is calculated to suggest nurse, teacher or PTA member, when in reality she’s usually an Ivy League grad with a lot of time spent in government and political advocacy and whose kids are raised by Elena from Guatemala, whose immigration status is that of Undocumented Democrat. ...
The other figure on the shoulder is a familiar one. You can see him on the news talk shows where he shows up as the designated target. Usually he wears his best suit, combs his hair and comes prepared to explain why we shouldn’t give up our freedoms just because a California Senator has decided that this is her chance to create a lasting legacy over the bodies of dead children. ...
But there’s still a great deal of visceral sympathy for “Leave it alone” from millions of Americans who have their privacy violated and their rights abridged by government officials every day. They like the thought of a little rebellion, even symbolic, and every time a gun ban is put on the table, they begin buying up the stock of sporting goods stores.
The ordinary Americans may have to account to the government for how he heats his home, mows his yard, feeds his hogs, fuels his car, teaches his kids, sells his crops and fixes his roof, but the 2nd allows him to hang on to the illusion that he is his own master and that at any moment an uprising can sweep away the petty bureaucrats who have their Vibrams on his neck. And maybe one day it can.