I'm so tired of liberal bashing. I'm so tired of too many conservatives thinking that their shit doesn't stink, but liberals are the worst thing to ever have happened to the world. And I'm tired of polemics like this one. So here's some fodder for polemics from the other side. Let me rephrase that Derbyshire quote, if you don't mind.
Go ahead and run with it, folks. And happy birthday to you, Dean. permalink
Another anonymous donation, Jonnaomi (I'm betting that's Jon and Naomi, thanks!), Mrvan (Mr. Van? M.R. Van?), and S. Nelson pledged. The total has moved up, thanks to all!
Several of you have written to tell me you've donated directly to Magen David Adom, and remembered to put "Blogathon" in the domments field of the online donation form, or in the memo field of your check (which should also be sent to the attention of Gary Kenzer). If you'd like to drop me a quick email with the amount, I'll add it to the parenthetical amount in the box on top of the page. If you want to stay anonymous, no problem. I'll get a final tally from Gary because all of you are remembering to put "Blogathon" where it belongs. Right? Right. permalink
Kim du Toit has been linking me kindly lately, and referring to me as that Jewish broad. Well, I really can't argue with that description, as I call people like Kathy Kinsley and Andrea Harris those bellicose broads (a reference to "the Brigade of Bellicose Women" that I first saw on Kathy's site). So he's permalinked me, so I figure it's only common courtesy to permalink him back. (Well, actually, I'm kinda afraid of all his guns, but we won't mention that.)
And in the interest of common courtesy, I'd like to help you learn how to pronounce his last name. Even though it's French, he's not. He's now an American citizen. (He used to be one of them furriners, but not a Frog. Go check out his bio on his blog, I've got a point to make here.)
Where was I? Oh. Pronunciation. Kim's last name sounds like "do-to-it." That's right. Three syllables, and a common English phrase. Because he's not French, you see, so you have to pronounce it American (or, as we say around here, 'Murrican!).
Kim Do-to-it. Got it? Good. permalink
Tons of mail regarding yesterday's Tomb Raider movie date, and dang, you folks managed to read things into the post that I certainly didn't write.
I don't own a Jeep Rubicon. I wish I did, but I have a 2001 Jeep Wrangler Sport, which no longer has purple paint on the hood because G. had this nifty cleaner that took it right off and left the paint. So for those of you who said you didn't want the movie but would like to ride in the Rubicon, sorry. Can't help you there.
I don't date married men.
I don't date women, either.
I definitely don't date couples.
And now, let's dip into a little bit of mail. From Joe:
I've never seen the first one. I figured a free ticket is a free ticket, right? If the movie sucks, it doesn't matter, because you didn't pay for it.
Eric from Colonial Heights (wow, we're practically neighbors, and I was in Petersburg just this afternoon) wants to buy me a beer. Do I have to drink beer? Vodka's my drink of choice.
Scott Wickstein notes that it's a little too far to drive. Yeah, we're working on that land bridge between Australia and California too, should be finished any decade now.
I think Wind Rider wanted dibs.
Aric wrote the funniest letter of the bunch
Enough people wrote in to make me realize that a Richmond Blogger Bash is in order. Now I have to figure out a place for it. Because it might make up for the roar of outrage that's going to follow this news: When I put the number in on the Jeep website, it informed me that they're sold out. No tickets. No freebies. No movie. No kidding.
I'm so bummed.
On the other hand, finding out how many of you folks are in the same area is a good thing. Blogger bash, after the Blogathon (donate, donate, please donate!). I need time to recover.
And thanks to everyone who wrote in. Your letters gave me a lot of laughs. permalink
Just when I was despairing of seeing the total moving at all today, Devorah comes through! Thanks! permalink
Hey, Lexus owners: You can stop smirking when I drive by in my Jeep Wrangler. Same goes for your Benzes, your Cadillacs, your Beemers, and your Land Rovers. Look what I got in the mail today:
That's the cover of my invitation to a free preview of the new Tomb Raider film. The postcard calls it
That's right. The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon has equal billing with Angelina Jolie (though there are some that might find that a dubious honor, what with her, well, weirdness). When's the last time your car had equal billing in a movie? Huh? Huh? When's the last time your car company sent you free movie tickets? And that's not all!
Hot damn, free soda and popcorn! If I'd know this was what Jeep owners got, I'd have bought one years and years and years ago! I'd never have any other car.
Okay. Who wants to be my date? Must live within driving distance of Richmond, VA. Drop me a letter. Click on the picture.
Yeah, I'm serious. I can bring a date. And you don't have to pay. How much better can it get? permalink
Somebody isn't hitting the pledge link.
We're past the $6,000 mark. In fact, we're at $6,351. I think we can get the funds for the ambulance. Only $53,649 to go.
Pledge. Please. Give until it doesn't hurt anymore. permalink
A few days ago, readers sent me the link to this disgusting article by Richard Ingrams in the U.K. Observer, the sister paper to the Guardian. The pertinent points are here. Ingrams says he simply passes over letters in support of Israel if the authors are Jewish. The outrage has reached many parts of the weblogging world. But I didn't write about it. Why? Because British anti-Semitism isn't surprising me any more, and I'm finding it hard to ratchet up the outrage.
Did Tom Dalyell suffer anything other than a knuckle-rappingif thatfor declaring Tony Blair to be under the influence of a "cabal" of Jewish advisors? Even though one of the Jews that he pointed to had only a single Jewish grandparent, which, as Tom Paine pointed out to us, chillingly recalls the Nuremberg laws? (One Jewish grandparent was all it took to send you to Auschwitz.)
Is Great Britain not the home of a movement to disenfranchise Israeli scholarship and research? Mona Baker's example did not deter Andrew Willkie from refusing to work with Israeli students. So two got caught. How many British professors are getting away with discriminating against Israelis? We're reading in the Israeli newspapers that many scholarly papers are being refused, and European universities are refusing to share research with their Israeli counterparts.
British-made leaflets urging Muslims to become suicide bombers are found in the disputed territories. British Muslim suicide bombers blow themselves up inside Israeli nightclubs. The Finbury Park Mosque and other hate-filled forums remain open and still dispensing hatred for Jews. The IRA is working with terrorist groups to make their bombs more "effective." And Tony Blair will continue to deal with Yasser Arafat, the oldest Jew-killer of all, because he is the "democratically elected" leader of the palestinian people. (Can anyone name the person he ran against?)
No, my outrage meter is pretty much full up when it comes to Great Britain, the nation that refused to let European Jewish refugees into Palestine during the thirties, and then refused again to let refugees of the Holocaust into the land in the forties, knowing full well this time what Hitler had done, and even after the Poles (among others) massacred the few Jewish survivors that dared to try to live among them again. (For some reason, today's anti-Israel protesters have no response when you point out that the Jews were not welcome in the towns from which their neighbors cheerfully (and often violently) deported them to the death campswhich is part of the reason why modern Israel came to be.)
I have no love for Great Britain on the whole. I have no hope that the Brits will stop hating Jews. Anti-Semitism seems pervasive in their society, as Imshin, a former Brit, has written. What astonishes me is that the British Jews are such cowards and dupes that they still prefer to keep their heads down and not make a fuss, thinking that after all, they don't have it so bad in the U.K. Things could be a lot worse, remember our history.
That's exactly what I remember when I hear about the most senior member of the British Parliament spitting anti-Semitic remarks. That's exactly what I remember when I see the Independent publish, and then defend, hideously anti-Semitic cartoons. That's exactly what I remember when I read a British columnist saying that Jewish opinions are less important than others'. He might just as well have said "real people." The subtext is clear.
I expect British anti-Semitism, because it is endemic. I expect this post may offend some of my British friends. I'm sorry for that. But I'm even sorrier that I feel this way about Great Britain. Perhaps someday I won't. permalink
It's becoming more and more likely that most of us fell for a hoax. Snopes has been updating the Bambi site daily, and the evidence is mounting that it was a publicity stunt to sell videos. There's a good and bad side to this. Good, because nobody is really shooting naked women with 200 mph paintballs. Bad, because I fell for a hoax, and I was about to write a scathing post about all the bloggers out there who got their knickers in a twist about the baby tattoo hoax website. Guess I'd better wait until the next hoax overtakes the blogosphere, but at least I saw the news article on this one before I wrote about it. Read the Snopes page; it's an excellent guide on how to tell when your leg is being pulled.
There is also the fact that as of 11:30 this morning, I've received 386 search hits on various combinations of the Bambi hunt story, and that's only from the top 20 searches that my statistics supply. I'm sure it's an undercount, as a quick check of the top search words are 375 instances of "bambi" and 87 instances of "huntingforbambie", two wholly separate searches. Then there are 147 instances of "burdick", which is the last name of the low-life whose idea this was.
I guess I'll find out if all those searches are a good or bad thing. Depends on whether or not the searchers were perverts looking to see the tapes, or people as shocked as I was looking for like-minded outrage. On the other hand, I feel far less embarrassed knowing how many others bought the story. permalink
Anna, stray all you like once you're here. I believe in letting my readers come and go as they please without having a zillion windows pop up in their browsers. I know they'll be back. And, uh, right click, open in new window. Shortcut menus are your friend.
I can't excerpt this one. You have to read it. Without drinking your coffee, if you please.
I have just spent the last half hour (when I should be sleeping) reading back posts. Like this one:
Damn, she's good. I am still laughing. This one's a keeper. permalink
Terry Oglesby is making me laugh again. Yup. When the news gets to be too much, go visit the Possumblogger. He's got a reader mail section wherein he gives advice on how today's gentleman should treat today's ladies. And I really do love his comment on the term "bright" for atheists. Oh, here's a preview:
(You might want to pay attention, Dean.)
Why is it every time I read Possumblog, it makes me want to read Fried Green Tomatoes? permalink
You know, in their ever-widening quest to avoid spam filters (because obviously, if we're filtering our spam what we really are trying to do is get the spammers to work harder to get it into our mailbox), I occasionally get the unintentionally hilarious spam subject. Like this one: "A beautiful Russian dfgxmwov."
One of the more inadvertent howlers was this subject title: "Make Mullahs through Ebay." God forbid. I think we have more than enough of them in the world.
Go ahead, send the hate mail. I'll set my filters to kill. permalink
My post on the "Hunting for Bambi" thing. (Pontifex, it wasn't shock. It was naked fury. Now there's a better search phrase for naked.)
I've been getting hits via searches for various combinations and spellings of the title, the name of the [kaff] businessman behind the disgusting thing, "naked paintball," and searches from various countries (lots of hits from Germans). It would be funny if the subject of the search weren't so loathesome.
LT Smash received a letter regarding his vacation plans, which reminded him to send people here and to Lair and Michele's for our Magen David Adom ambulance drive.
And then, of course, the capstone question from all the anti-Semites of the world:
Let's piss off the letter-writer. Pledge to Magen David Adom. Or contribute directly. As LT Smash points out: All of us bleed. Magen David Adom knows this, and does not discriminate. They just help anyone who is hurting.
They'd even help that anti-Semitic letter-writing bastard, instead of walking over her bleeding body. Whoops, did that slip out? How unlike me. permalink
Via Bigwig, Ralph Brandi writing on the upcoming AOL journals:
Don't miss the comments, which are excellent. One of the things that drives me crazy about the Blogosphere (notice that Ralph calls it Blogistan, the politibloggers generally call it Blogosphere, and that single-word difference speaks volumes) is its lack of knowledge about what blogs really are. Jonah Goldberg, who may have thought he was being cute, referenced Gene Expressions and another blog with a pat, "I never even heard of these guys." The wilful ignorance of that remark makes Jonah look like an idiot, not the bloggers with which he disagreed. But it is symptomatic of this side of Blogistan, on both the right and the left.
I'm not suggesting that everyone suddenly take programming courses, or become experts on the history of the Internet. But really, denigrating a blogger because you've never heard of him only makes you look bad.
So we're going to see an AOL blogging influx. Sure, it will bring a bunch of really bad bloggers onto the scene. But it will also bring some excellent bloggers. And let's face it: 37 million users? I'm betting an AOL version of Instapundit pops up, and that s/he will pull numbers that we can only dream ofif someone out there is savvy enough to try. permalink
Carnival of the Vanities is at Caerdroia this week. I entered my contest post. (Nice description, Tiger.) Hey, it may not be one of my best, but I think it's one that deserves wider dissemination, which is what the Carnival is all about. I'm pretty sure that's why Bigwig started it 47 weeks ago. (Poor guy has some disease that turns him into a kid again or something like that, I didn't read the whole explanation. Go wish him maturity. Oh, waitthat's Bigwig we're talking about, never mind.)
Speaking of Silflay Hraka, now that I read this story (especially the title), I've decided to worry in retrospect about meeting several bloggers back in November. I mean, some person who said he was Andrew Dodge called me up and said that Bruce Hill wanted to take a short trip down to Richmond. Then I took the person who said he was Bruce Hill on tours around the area, including one to meet a guy who said he was Wind Rider. But now that I think about it, I never checked ID. How do I know any of them are who they said they were? The real Bruce Hill could be at the bottom of a river in New Zealand somewhere, with only Murraythat is, his real murdererknowing the location of his body. I could have spent the day at Busch Gardens with some guy who kidnapped and murdered the real Wind Rider, and I'll never know the difference. Unless he reads this post. Ut-oh. I may really be in trouble now. Thanks a lot, Woundwort. Thanks for putting those ideas in my head.
First, I'd like to point out that you have until Saturday to vote in the fish or boobs contest, and some of you have put content in your letters that deserves to be published. I'll keep your identities down to first name, last initial. If you're uncomfortable with that much revealed, let me know and I'll just quote you as "a reader."
Lair Simon has received enough money in pledges to leapfrog into third place on the Blogathon tote board. Magen David Adom is now 1-2-3, and our current total (just shy of midnight) is $5,910. Okay, we're about ten percent of the way there. No problem. Here's hoping we can hit five figures by week's end. Pledge, pledge, pledge! permalink
This is why I generally will not debate issues with Aziz: He will not discuss the issues. He'd rather put interpretations onto my statements and sling insults while ignoring any point brought up that might contradict his assertions. In fact, I am currently pointedly ignoring getting involved in his discussion on the Benny Elon peace plan, even though he emailed me an invitation to get involved. But I will answer his response to my post.
Here's my post. Its context was that Saudi Arabian women cannot cash their own checks, and have only recently been "allowed" to have photo IDs. Go read it if you haven't already. This is Aziz's summary of that post:
The post is titled "Saudi women's rights watch." But I can see how someone with a record of dishonest arguments would interpret it that way.
Still waiting for an answer to all the questions I raised, especially the one about your taking both sides of the issue. (And man, do you never proofread your posts before publishing them? Hello? Spellchecker?)
He buttresses this point by quoting my post, where I said I never so much as considered a one-piece until I was into my thirties. He does not explain how this contributes to my oppression by choosing to wear a bikini. (I'm starting to think that he is channeling Gloria Steinem.) But here is the crowning touch of either Aziz's deep dishonesty, or his inability to comprehend what he is reading. And note that he emailed me his entire post; I do not generally read his blog and wasn't aware that he had written it. Let's talk personal antagonism, oh he that cannot let go of the last time we disagreed.
In context, the sentence he quotes looks like this. The first paragraph is from Aziz's letter. The second is my response. Nowhere can you infer that above, unless you've got an axe to grind that was just waiting for the right quote.
The "social coercion" I was talking about was simply peer pressure brought on to wear bikinis, and in spite of being an educated Muslim man, Aziz can't seem to comprehend that. I guess I've been shouting into the vacuum all along after all. By the way, still no mention at all of the fact that Aziz contradicts his own conclusion with the first and last few paragraphs of his letter (see below, I'm tired of quoting it).
But like I said, I'm about done with Aziz. Let's compare the debating tactics used by Aziz vs. the tactics I used in my previous post. I quoted his entire letter (remember, he emailed me his response), as well as the pertinent paragraph of the post I referred to in my original post on the lack of women's rights in Saudi Arabia. Aziz cherry-picks quotes and uses them out of context to support meanings that they do not have and words that I have not written. Interpretation is one thing. Flat-out lies are quite another. I'm starting to think he's just looking to start a fight, or maybe improve his traffic. But I'm really tired of it.
In fact, I think the only way to end this post is by pointing you to my original surfer dude post that 1) summed up the last time I got into a disagreement with Aziz, 2) brought on me the title of Master of Juvenile Scorn from Tacitus (a title which I wear with great pride), and 3) gave me the tagline that I use in my email signature file now. (And which I deleted before sending Aziz email that I had responded to his post, so as not to offend.) But now I think this truly does seem to be the only way to deal with a master of obfuscation and dishonest debating tactics.
Oh, the tagline?
I'm done here. permalink
Wind Rider has links to the audio files and transcripts of the recently released documents that prove once and for all the attack on the U.S.S. Liberty was a tragic mistake.
Michael Totten has some pretty good things going on his blog.
That's going to come as a surprise to my friend Kim, who is married and got married with the intention of not having children. I'm sure she and her husband are not the only married couple in the country who think that way. Well, it's not like I was going to vote for Kerry, anyway. But he sure is looking more and more like a schmuck.
Speaking of Roger Simon, he's going through the same thing that many of us on the left have gone through in the past couple of years:
Roger, the ones that desert you weren't friends to begin with. My best friend and I disagree almost completely on Israel. Mostly, we don't discuss it. Sometimes we do, and the discussions get a bit heated, but when they're over, we're still friends.
Jane's talking about the Canada Goose problem in New Jersey. I can attest that they're horrible, disgusting creatures that need to be evacuated back to Canada. They left their droppings in every park and field in memory. They attack people if you're too close to their nests, and they build their effing nests where people need to walk. Apparently, Union County is doing something about them: They're gassing the geese. And let us all say: Buh-bye. permalink
The International Committee of the Red Cross refuses to let Magen David Adom have full membership, using the patently ridiculous excuse that the use of the Star of David symbol cannot be sanctioned. (They have no such problem with the crescent moon, an Islamic symbol, being used by Muslim nations' Red Crescent organizations, which are full members of the ICRC.)
The United States has been withholding funds to the ICRC. Secretary of State Powell has released some of these funds. Some Congressmen want to continue to withhold funds. So what does MDA say?
Eric A. sent me a copy of this excellent article by an Italian Jewish journalist. It's extremely difficult to excerpt, and you should read it all, but here are some of the best parts:
This graf is for the Adam Shapiros of the world:
As they say, read the whole thing. There's much, much more. The writing is brilliant.
Note: The article is from Jewish World Review, and they're hurting for money. If you can contribute a few dollars to them, please do. (It's tax-deductible.) It's well worth it to bring us articles like this one. permalink
Thanks to Gink and Allison (who is back from Venice, let's all be jealous for a bit and make her happy) for their contributions. Let's try and get a few more contributions today and get over the $6,000 mark. That's counting the three of us and the $1,900 directly contributed. If you contributed without pledging the Blogathon, please be sure to email us and let us know so we can keep track. If you wish to remain anonymous, no problem. Send us an email telling us that a friend of yours donated the money. You know, kind of like those radio call-in shows. "I have this friend who's in a bad relationship..."
Update: Snopes says this may be a hoax. (Hat tip: Eric.) If so, it's an elaborate hoax. The Richmond CBS affiliate ran the story on tonight's 11 p.m. newscast.
The title is the answer to my question: What kind of man thinks this is fun?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's voluntary, no one's holding a gun to the women's heads, but let's get real: Do you think those women running around trying to avoid those 200-mph paintballs are college graduates? Do you think they could make a grand or two in one day in any other way? Probably not. And it gets worse.
I'm not a psychologist, but I can tell this game is sick, and the twisted losers that play it are not the kind of men I would want to know, let alone date, or be married to. I could understand if the women were armed with their own guns and could fire backthen it would just be Naked Women paintball. Men like to look at naked women, not a problem. I'd think the women were stupid to not have any protection from the paintballs, but that would be it. But to have naked women, unarmed, running across a field so some guy can shoot them like they were a game animalthat's sick. That's twisted. That's disgusting.
But wait. It's gets even worse.
There's a website. I will not link it. Here's what the copy on the main page says under "Buy the video!"
Gee. "A cross between sex and violence." Ya think?
I cannot describe to you how furious this has made me. Just a game? Yeah. A sick, twisted game for pathetic losers who have to have a gun in their hand to grow a pair when it comes to "relating" to women. Nice. permalink
Yes, the split personality strikes again. Because I received this letter, which I thought was spam, but wasn't sure. I was right. (How Meryl reads not-quite-sure-they're-spam letters: Turn off the cable modem. Open the spam. Delete as soon as you confirm it is junk mail. This prevents the HTML bug from referring back to its master, if it's in the letter.)
Well, hi yourself, stranger!
Thanks, I was missing that contact for ages. You have no idea how hard it is to see clearly out of only one eye.
Awww. That's sweet. Did you figure that out at my weblog, too?
Guess not. My customers had damned well better be well-suited. If there's one thing the world does not need, it's any more customers dressed like bums. Or not at all. Say! There's an idea. Do you sell your products to nudist camps?
Nudists or customers? Or did you want to send a few of your products my way? Really, this is not a very clear letter. You need to go back to Business Writing 101 and learn how to write a good sales pitch!
If I were speaking in Shakespearean English, it would go something like this: Hold not your breath for that, or you will be disappointed anon. Yes, anon, I say, verily, forsooth, and eff you too, asshat! (Whoops. That was Lenny Shakespeare from Brooklyn.)
Feel free, spambots!
From the Ha'aretz News Flashes file:
One man was killed in Tel Aviv today. The terrorist was from East Jerusalem. An Israeli Arab. In addition:
I haven't been posting the attacks. But they come, every day, during the so-called cease fire. There will be no headline about how these attacks threaten the cease-fire. Only how Sharon's refusal to release thousands of prisonersincluding murdererswill. permalink
Michele's talking about how stupid song lyrics are, and brings up "Stairway to Heaven" and the grief she got from people for daring to point out that the song is not nearly as deep to her now that she's all grown up as it was when she was a teenager. The comments are amusing, in particular the one by JFH. I can't stop laughing when I think of what he wrote. Go check it out. Don't be drinking coffee while you're reading, especially if you're a 70s child. permalink
Is it legal to exclude white anarchists? I'm white. I might want to join the anarchist movement. Can't I go? Nope. According to the FAQ page (there's always a FAQ page):
Calling all non-people of color readers from Detroit who have yet to deal with their own racism: If you want to bring along a camcorder and try to get into APOC come October, I will be most happy to publish the details of your exploits.
You simply can't make this stuff up. And these people don't even see the humor in it. Lucky for them, I do. permalink
Not that I think Terje Larsen will ever recant his lies, but this is an astonishing exclusive article from the Jerusalem Post.
Look again at some of that information. Un-freaking-believable. And Arafat still gets mileage out of the lie of the "massacre." This should be front-page news on the papers that passed along the lie, but you know it will be buried. Perhaps the blogosphere could do something about that. Bloggers, get those links ready. Take my whole post and put it on your site. I don't want credit. I don't care, just link to and excerpt the Jerusalem Post article. This story needs to get legs. permalink
Michele has broken the thousand-dollar mark. Excellent! And Lair's pledges are climbing right up there. (He's in seventh place. He wants to be up in the top three. Help him out, if you can.) As of 11 a.m., we're up to $3,608 pledged, and $1,900 donated separately (that's the figure in the parentheses above) for a total of $5,508. We need $60,000 for an ambulance. You folks are all going to donate down the stretch, aren't you? Trying to make us work really hard for bucks?
Okay. I'm thinking up another cross-blogging experiment. Lair and I had a lot of fun doing those last year. This year, we'll have Michele in the loop, as well as Kevin of Wizbang. Tag-team cross-blogging. I think we'll be using items from the ACME catalog again. I was thinking of blogging while standing on my head, but then I realized that I could just say I was blogging while standing on my head, and you'd have to take my word for it, because there'd be no one here to take a picture and show you proof. Of course, I could also rig the picture by taking it at any time and pretending that it was taken during the Blogathon. You'd never know. Ha.
Oh, all right, I know. That isn't me.
Come up with some wild ideas and email me. And for the rest of you: Pledge! Pledge! It isn't for me. It's for Magen David Adom, the Israeli version of the Red Cross that treats all people who need help. They do not discriminate between Muslim, Jew, Christian, or atheist. Reason number 8 from the Top Ten Reasons to Support Magen David Adom:
You know, it's getting a bit late, and I was trying to decide if I was going to finish my can of Coke and risk the caffeine keeping me awake, or just go to water or something and not risk it. Eh, what the hell, I poured the rest of the can into my glass. And saw an insect floating on top of the foam.
Water, anyone? permalink
I'm thinking it's been a long, long time since I wrote about soap operas. I'm also thinking that writing about soap operas is a lot of fun, and will probably become a regular feature of this website. Why? First of all, I'm an unabashed soap opera fan. I've been watching them since Days of Our Lives' Marlenae Evans was knocked out by her twin sister, Samantha, and put in an insane asylum in Samantha's place. If you don't like soaps, you might want to skip to the next post.
I worked for Soap Opera Weekly as a freelance copy editor for a couple of years. It was one of the best jobs I ever had. The staff was and is a fun, friendly group of people. It was the only place I ever worked that had a television set on every editor's desk. My first day there, sometime in the afternoon, a great shout went up from most of the editors. Puzzled, I asked the other folks at the copy desk what was happening. They glanced over at the TV and said, "Oh. Old people kissing." (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) That was my introduction to the world of soap opera magazines.
Actually, working for SPW is the reason I was introduced to, well, all the soaps I wasn't already watching. I was an NBC soap fan. They turned me into an ABC soap fan. For some reason, I never cared for any of the CBS soaps. I've tried. I find Y&R to be the most boring soap on television (and what is with all that whispering? Are the Bells sensitive to loud noises or what?), B&B only slightly less so. (Ridge and the woman he thought was his sister? Ew. Ew. EWWW!!)
Guiding Light held my interest for a while, but my true love has always been the NBC soaps: Days of Our Lives, Santa Barbara, and then Another World. Alas, two of my three favorites were cancelled. Now I watch One Life To Live and dip into General Hospital or AMC (rarely, now that Kelly Ripa is gone). OLTL is the soap that I tape. Days gets watched in the background if I'm home, and taped if something special is going to happen. Anything else is just channel surfing.
I'm finding Days' Sami/Lucas plotline fascinating. We used to call him Ratface on Compuserve. Affectionately, of course. Can two of Days' worst villains find happiness in each other? They seem so perfect: He lies, she lies, he screws people over, she screws people over, she wanted him dead, he wanted her deadit's a match made in soap opera heaven. Can't wait to see this play out.
I was starting to hate Cassie. Now I feel sorry for the poor child. Plus, I really like the actress. Ditto the actor who plays Rex. But I'm sure the genealogy is far from complete. And did anyone buy for an instant that Cassie would sleep with Lucas? Nuh-uh. Incest taboos are the biggest taboo of all on soap operas, bigger even than (whisper) abortion. If you bought that, you probably bought that John Black drowned in the ship explosion. Uh-huh. Listen, there's this bridge that's been in my family for ages....
Some of you are probably wondering why I watch them if I know everything that's going to happen. Well, I don't. Just most of it. Soaps are relaxation. Soaps are fun to watch when things are troubling you. They're so far from reality that you have to just sit back and enjoy them. Nobody ever really works on a soap, but they all have these great houses and apartments and boats and cars. They eat dinner in fancy restaurants all the time. (Hilarious lack of continuity on OLTL last week. In Bo's first scene at the Palace Restaurant, he and Nora are sitting at a table for two. There are salads on their plates. In walks Gabrielle, Bo's fiancée, not at all pleased. Nora and Bo stand up, and their plates are empty. They stayed empty until much later in the show. A rare lapse by the prop manager. But I got a huge kick out of it.)
Anyway. Quick OLTL thoughts: Glad Mitch is dead. Should have happened sooner. Overactors Anonymous, here's another one for you. The new Jen sucks. Bring back the old one. Walker is Todd, but I think I would have only just started to figure it out if I hadn't read it in Soap Opera Digest. And the actor is nothing like Roger Howarth, who was, uh, good. (Sigh. Another pretty face and six-pack abs hire.) Glad they toned down Star, but damn, that kid can act. Did you catch her Noo Yawk accent on the July 4th program? Oh, and bring back all the Kramer women, please. Cassie too!
See? I can go on and on. But I'll stop now. permalink
Aziz sent me a letter that takes issue with my summary of his post from way-back-when discussing the burqa/bikini divide. I'm publishing his letter and will attempt to answer it without so much as a hint of my usual juvenile scorn thrown in. Well, except for that.
The word "all" was not present in my statement. It was this:
I said that because of what I read (and linked to) in this post. The one where you write
That sure looks to me like I was paraphrasing correctly.
Aziz's letter continues:
Agreed. I never said they did. I never said all Muslim women wear burqas 24/7, either.
I would say that the overwhelming majority wear bikinis because they want to. On the other hand, it's interesting that you choose the example of a woman being forced to wear a bikini by a man, instead of by societal pressure. I've never met a single woman who was forced by a man to wear one. I suppose that does happen, but now you're talking about an abusive husband or boyfriend. That's an entirely different story.
Once again, are we talking about the same essay? I didn't ignore it. I don't agree with that line of thought. You cannot focus on the clothing without focusing on the woman underneath. Clothing does not choose to be worn; it is chosen byor in some cases, the choice is forced onthe person wearing it.
So I'm told. I do not agree. That would be where you and I differ, and that goes for all societies and religions that think women should be covered head-to-toe for the purposes of modesty.
Yes, it can be all of those things, and more. But let's face it: The bikini is, for the most part, a symbol of "Look at me! Aren't I sexy?" I seriously doubt that little Brittany-on-the-beach is thinking of anything remotely resembling female liberation, no matter how many articles in Ms. (or posts by Steven Den Beste) to the contrary. More likely they're thinking, "Is that hottie is looking at me?"
As a teenager, I never even considered one-piece bathing suits. Same for when I was in my twenties. It wasn't until I hit my mid-thirties (and picked up a bit of flab) that the desire to show off my body that way cooled down. (On the other hand, I still have great legs. Thank heaven for shorts and short skirts!)
Bull. The bikini was not invented to become a symbol of social coercion. By promoting a tiny minority viewpoint and insisting the way we see the bikini must go along with that viewpoint, you're using faulty logic and expecting us to swallow it whole. No. That's like saying airplanes can no longer be considered anything but flying bombs because of 9/11.
The burqa was invented to cover; the bikini to uncover. The burqa is forced on women by law in some countries and by societal expectations in others. The bikini is chosen by women, with a smattering wearing them because of peer pressure. There's still a world of difference in the wearing of each, and no comparable imposition of bikinis on unwilling women.
That's because peer pressure exists everywhere, but it is not enforceable by law in the United States. The negative aspects of wearing a bikini are negligible. Steven and others consider the bikini a symbol of liberty. So what? Teenaged girls consider it a cool thing to wear on the beach to get the attention of teenaged boys.
Okay, you can't have it both ways. Either they're equally free, or not. Either they're equally suppressive, or not. Either they're symbols, or they're "both just pieces of cloth." Either the focus is on the clothing, or on the women who wear it. Make up your mind, because I'm confused. In the beginning of your letter, you wrote:
That contradicts directly the last two paragraphs. Sorry, you don't get to play both sides of the argument and then say I am mischaracterizing your words.
However, the true test of whether or not the wearer is free is answerable with just a few questions. Is the woman forced to wear it by law? If she goes outside dressed (or not dressed) in it, will she be attacked by religious zealots?
Here in America, women are free to choose the bikini or the burqa. They're free to choose whether to wear ankle-length skirts and dresses, or whether to wear hot pants with words on their butts and matching tube tops, without fear of being beaten by the religious hit squads. But the bikini is no more a symbol of oppression than is the length of a person's hair, or the style of their shoes.
Yes, the bikini can be considered a symbol. But be honest, and concede that the vast majority of American women aren't thinking in terms of symbolism at all. Every spring, American women think just one thing when looking at the racks of bathing suits. They're thinking, "Can I wear this bikini without looking fat?"
I thought the burqa/bikini comparison was a ridiculous point when you wrote it, and I don't think any differently now. And really, Azizdon't accuse me of ignoring your words when you you can't even make up your own mind which side of the issue you're arguing. permalink
You had to bring up boob pictures, didn't you, Lair?
My friend Heidi is a crafty person. Meaning she can build things and make things, not that she's devious or underhanded. Oh, wait, she's that, too. But so am I. (Yes, you do not want to mess with the two of us. That is a Bad Thing.) Anyway. On Friday, she showed me her latest endeavor. It's an odd-shaped piece of wood that she is sanding down into a piece of art, and she can't decide which way to go with it. She asked me, and I told her I'd ask you folks. So which should it be?
Click on the picture you like best to send me an email with your choice. You have until Saturday to vote. And remember, this contest came from the brain of the person who will be blogging for 24 hours straight in a mere 13 days. All should tremble. permalink
James Joyner issued a challenge to me last week.
This is the problem with being a blogger-come-lately and not having read my archives. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. (Well, actually, Wind Rider has my t-shirt, because his daughter made the mistake of going on Roman Rapids at Busch Gardens without bringing dry clothing, and got soaked, so I lent her my extra. And how's that for a subtle Lift to Primatehood link?)
I kept seeing these Japanese characters on a link climbing Daypop or Blogdex or whichever one I was reading at the time, and I thought to myself: "I wonder what the heck that's all about?"
It's about this. My friend Jay sent it to me. He calls it, "Crouching Ping, Hidden Pong." Effing hilarious.
Jim Miller's celebrating his first blogiversary. No, wait. Let's try that again: Jim Miller is celebrating the first anniversary of his excellent weblog. He has a list of posts he considers his best of the year.
There, that's better.
Shirl isn't doing the Blogathon this year, but she pledged to Magen David Adom and says she's going to discuss (sigh) Ernest Hemingway. I said something about Hemingway that you disagree with, Shirl? Okay. Bring it on. You know I'll need fodder during the 'thon. Hm, the Hulk and Hemingway. That's two posts I won't have towhoa. The Hulk and Hemingway. Now that's an idea.
I haven't linked to the folks at DFME in a long, long time. They're an excellent source of news and commentary on the Middle East.
Another anti-Semitic attack in France, in the country in which there is no anti-Semitism, on the continent on which there is no anti-Semitism. In a Jewish school. Also on Merde in France: French media make no mention of the student protests for democracy in Iran. Anti-democracy as well, it seems. permalink
Why, just the other week, they let their women speak on television, some actually wearing colored abayas. And we heard from barking moonbat Umayma Al-Jalahma on how Jewish women are oppressed (you can stop laughing now, I feel very oppressed when people don't link my blog or pledge to my efforts in the Blogathon). I've received letters from Muslim women insisting I'm wrong, they're not oppressed, it's my prejudices showing. And there are even some American muslims who insist that American women are just as oppressed by fashion choices (e.g., bikinis) as are Muslim women who wear burqas. (He minimizes the pertinent point: American women aren't required by law to wear bikinis; it is a choice. When I was of bikini-wearing age, I didn't feel pressured in the least. When you got it, flaunt it, baby, because it won't last forever. But I digress.)
But all this discussion doesn't amount to a hill of beans, because Saudi women still can't cash their own checks.
The phrase in bold is the one that still slays me. It seems to keep getting overlooked whenever you hear the words "women's rights" and "Saudi Arabia." The women and children are on their husband and father's ID card. As dependents. "Female family members" are not shown on the family ID card.
Leaving aside the [shudder] national ID card thing, I'll believe that the rights of women are protected under Islam the day that a Saudi woman can drive a car, get a job, open a bank account, or simply cash an effing check as easily as Imshinan Israeli Jewish womancan do in her country. If she's not too busy being oppressed. [snicker] permalink
Last week's blogs are archived. Looking for the Buffy Blogburst Index? Here's Israel vs. the world. Here's the Blogathon. The Superhero Dating Ratings are here. If you're looking for something funny, try the Hulk's solution to the Middle East conflict, or Yasser Arafat Secret Phone Transcripts. Iseema bin Laden's diary and The Fudd Doctrine are also good bets if you've never been here before.