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      In game development there is a distinction between toys and games.   A ball is a toy. Soccer is game.  You can do many things with a ball, which are fun, which are not games. It is when you add rules and the ability to win or lose, that a toy becomes a game. Really life [...]
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Can Honour Killing In Muslim Communities Be Ended Through Islam?

Recent events in the United States and Canada, in which fathers and families treat their daughters in an inexcusable manner, compel me to release this draft of an incompletely distilled paper. I apologize for its length, but the topic is not amenable to a series of posts, and it may offer some understanding as to why these practise exist and what might be done to change them.

Aqsa Parvez was strangled to death in her Mississauga home, Peel police said today.
An autopsy revealed the cause of death as “neck compression.” The 16-year-old was taken to hospital Monday morning after a man called police and said he killed his daughter. She died later that night. Friends told reporters that Aqsa fought with her Muslim family over whether or not to wear the hijab. She often stayed overnight with friends, afraid to go home, they said. Her father, Muhammad Parvez, 57, appeared in court today and will face either a first- or second-degree murder charge. He was denied bail and remanded into custody until a hearing via video link on Jan. 29.

Why did Aqsa Parvez’s father strangle her to death? Why is the honour killing of women, over perceived or actual improprietous conduct, a feature of practice among some Muslim communities? Why do these communities enforce such rigourous and strict regulation of women’s conduct? Given that many of these killings violate both the word and the spirit of the Koran and the prophet, why does the practice persist? In this brief essay, I sketch the physical and social conditions that lead to the emergence of the structures that control women’s conduct within the Muslim communities that practice honour killing. I show that the more stringent control structures are artifacts from pre-Islamic Bedouin communities. Furthermore, I demonstrate that the gender-based honour killings that are features of these structures violate Islamic principles and law. In fact, much of the structure of social control goes against the principle that the practice of Islam is a matter of internal conviction. Continue reading

Sarah Palin and the Bitch-Slap Theory of Electoral Politics

PDS

Don’t hate/blame/flame me for the sexist term in the title.  Blame Josh Marshall (the real one) for coming up with it.  Back before he was kidnapped and replaced with a Kool-aid zombie he was a pretty astute blogger.  In 2004 he discussed the Swiftboat attacks being made on John Kerry by the Bush/Cheney campaign and came up with the Bitch-Slap theory of electoral politics:

It goes something like this.

On one level, of course, the aim behind these attacks is to cast suspicion upon Kerry’s military service record and label him a liar. But that’s only part of what’s going on.

Consider for a moment what the big game is here. This is a battle between two candidates to demonstrate toughness on national security. Toughness is a unitary quality, really — a personal, characterological quality rather than one rooted in policy or divisible in any real way. So both sides are trying to prove to undecided voters either that they’re tougher than the other guy or at least tough enough for the job.

[...]

One way — perhaps the best way — to demonstrate someone’s lack of toughness or strength is to attack them and show they are either unwilling or unable to defend themselves — thus the rough slang I used above. And that I think is a big part of what is happening here. Someone who can’t or won’t defend themselves certainly isn’t someone you can depend upon to defend you.

Demonstrating Kerry’s unwillingness to defend himself (if Bush can do that) is a far more tangible sign of what he’s made of than wartime experiences of thirty years ago.

Hitting someone and not having them hit back hurts the morale of that person’s supporters, buoys the confidence of your own backers (particularly if many tend toward an authoritarian mindset) and tends to make the person who’s receiving the hits into an object of contempt (even if also possibly also one of sympathy) in the eyes of the uncommitted.

[...]

So hitting back hard was critical on many levels.

Did you really think that all the unhinged attacks on  Sarah Palin were just misogyny gone wild?  Think again.

Until we manage to change it we live in a sexist, patriarchal culture.  Our culture devalues “feminine” attributes and equates “female” with “weak.”  That was the purpose behind calling John Edwards the “Breck Girl” and MoDo’s “practically lactating” comment about Al Gore – to “feminize” the candidates.

One of the problems that Hillary Clinton faced was establishing her toughness.  She had to vote with the hawks on military issues and with conservatives on “law and order” issues or run the risk of being portrayed as weak.  She built up a solid record in the Senate and more than held her own in debates yet nonetheless she was attacked for allegedly crying up in New Hampshire.

But Sarah Palin came to the table with two advantages that Hillary didn’t have.  First of all Sarah is a Republican, and GOP candidates enjoy the presumption that they are tough on crime and military issues.  But she also grew up hunting, fishing and engaging in other “manly” activities.  Sarah can easily out-macho the chickenhawks and drugstore cowboys – how many men in this country have actually killed and eaten a moose?

Continue reading

Socially Unacceptable

idea_bulb

Remember a couple weeks back when Barack, Michelle and their media entourage flew to New York City one Saturday night for dinner and a show?  Imagine what would have happened if the following week David Letterman did a “Top Ten” list of the worst moments of their trip and said this:

Number 2 – Finding out that the restaurant didn’t serve fried chicken and watermelon

Not only would Letterman be retired right now, but so would the writers and producers of his show and the head of CBS would be offering profuse apologies to the Obamas. There would be protests, advertising boycotts, and denunciations of Letterman from the leaders of both parties. You can be sure Keith Olbermann would be ranting “How dare you sir!” and he wouldn’t be blaming the Obama’s for political opportunism. People would be outraged, and rightly so.

Not that long ago racism was socially acceptable and racial discrimination was legal.  Academics prepared scholarly treatises asserting the superiority of the white race.  Many (white) people believed that it was the “white man’s burden” to exercise control over the “lesser” races for their own benefit.

Senator Robert Byrd of West Virgina is a former member of the Ku Klux Klan. That was in 1942.  He is now third in line of succession to the Presidency. Former senator and Supreme Court justice Hugo Black is another prominent figure who once belonged to the Klan.

At it’s peak in the 1920’s the Klan had millions of members from all levels of society:

Indiana’s Klansmen represented a wide cross section of society: they were not disproportionately urban or rural, nor were they significantly more or less likely than other members of society to be from the working class, middle class, or professional ranks.

Once upon a time the Klan had major political influence in the South and Midwest. Nowadays the Klan is a fringe group that is viewed with disgust by the vast majority of the nation.

Continue reading

Hullaballo – A Fauxgressive Freeperville

(Do not watch the above video unless you have a strong stomach – I’m not even going to describe what’s in it.)

Last week we discussed Digby’s role in last year’s meltdown of progressive blogosphere.  Digby was one of the most well respected bloggers until last year and Hullaballoo used to be one of my favorite stops in Left Blogistan.

Not anymore.  Digby discusses Palin vs. Letterman in her post “On Nuts ‘N Sluts” and starts out pretty good:

First of all, Sarah Palin does not look or act like a “slut” and it’s nothing more than a sexual fantasy to think of her that way. She married her high school sweetheart and has five kids. She’s a born again Christian. She does not dress provocatively, and she has said that she put her hair up and wore glasses specifically to take her looks off the table as much as possible. She’s an attractive 40 something politician, she’s not a Playboy model (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and it would be nice if she didn’t have to put up with that stuff. She’s not trying to “sex herself up” for the camera or anything else. There’s enough to criticize her for.

But she soon takes a right turn onto WTF? lane:

And making Palin into a feminist hero because of this cheapens feminism. This woman is defending herself and her own daughter, but as Governor she never quite finds the voice to defend other women who have average real life problems, like workplace discrimination, rapes or unwanted pregnancies. Her complaints are not coming from feminist principle but rather political opportunism.

Yeah, we all know that Sarah Palin doesn’t care about feminism because SHE’S AN EVIL REPUBLICAN CONSERVATIVE!!!!

If Sarah Palin were exactly the same person with the same opinions but she had gone to some Ivy League university and had a “D” instead of an “R” after her name she would be the darling of the progressive blogosphere despite her stance on abortion. The A-listers in Left Blogistan would fall all over themselves rationalizing her conservative moderate views because she comes from a red state.  UInfortunately for her she’s a Republican with a degree from a state college so she’s a “hillbilly from Wasilly”

But it it’s the comment thread to Digby’s post that is sickening:

With Sarah Palin in charge, by the way, if her daughter did get raped, she’d have to pay the police for the cost of a rape kit.

—————————————————————————

That Bristol was the subject of the joke was clear. Palin and her husband are either

1) Incredibly stupid or

2) Incredibly dishonest and just using this as a way to keep the camera on themselves.

I’m voting for number 2 personally. I don’t think there’s the slightest bit of honest outrage on the part of the Palins here.

—————————————————————————

Sarah Palin is using the supposed insult to her 14-year old daughter to pick a fight with a media elite, singing to her victimology-loving base. Letterman’s jokes were in poor taste; he’s admitted that.

But that this story remains aloft is entirely due to Sarah and Todd Palin, who have proven (yet again) that they will use their own children to advance the Governor’s political ambition.

Who’s the exploiter now?

—————————————————————————

Yeah, well, I’d still tap it…….

—————————————————————————

Sarah Palin does not look or act like a “slut”

Yes, she does. She talks and sparkles and winks like a cocktail waitress with a table of out-of-town convention-goers.

—————————————————————————

Digs…puh-lease. You say Ms. Palin does not dress provocatively. I demure: her skirts are always ass-hugging tight, her jackets tailored to show off the boobage, and don’t get me started on those little fuck-me pumps with the painted toenails.

Now, it is true that Sarah’s ass, tits, and toes are very Christian, but she does thend to, as Rupaul would say, “work it.”

Are we to think this is professional attire for a vice presidential aspirant? Maybe Barack should have worn low hangers to the debates to work his ass crack for votes too.

Sarah Palin is a hypocrite and a light weight media creation; Letterman was and is spot-on. I salute his bad taste; his “apology” was more entertaining than the original jokes. And anyone who thinks he was actually apologizing is not hearing the words and the tone.

—————————————————————————

And you’ll remember the Clintons didn’t parade their daughter out all the time as a model for all children, etc.

Not that I ever loved the Clintons, but c’mon people, you know they didn’t ask for it like Palin has.

—————————————————————————

Sorry, but Palin does look like a slutty airline attendant. She acts like one as well. She cakes on the make-up, and the joke was about buying make-up. She works her looks to attract GOP males. She is fair game.

Change “Sarah Palin” to “Hillary Clinton” and “slut” to “lesbian” and the crap thrown at Sarah isn’t much different from the wingnut slime of the nineties. Crap like that is why we moderate comments. Hit the delete button and let the sexist slugs and low-life misogynists go exercise their free speech rights somewhere else.


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This is what a feminist looks like

Spare me the “she’s an anti-choice conservative” bullshit.  So is Obama.

Sarah said more in defense of women than NOW did.

From Transcript (unofficial):

Here’s the problem, Matt – the double standard that has been applied here. One, let’s talk politically, the double standard. First, remember in the campaign, Barack Obama said the family’s off-limits – you don’t talk about my family. And the candidate who must be obeyed – everybody adhered to that and left his family. They haven’t done that on the other side of the ticket, and it has continued to this day. So that’s a political double standard. But here again, the double standard when it comes to acceptance of a celebrity being able to get way with a disparaging comment that does erode a young girl’s self-esteem and does contribute to some of the problems that we have in society.

[...]

He doesn’t have to apologize to me.

I would like to see him apologize to young women across the country for contributing to that–kind of that thread that is throughout our culture that makes it sound like that it’s okay to talk about young girls in that way. Where it’s kind of okay and accepted and funny to talk about statutory rape. It’s not cool. It’s not funny.

FIRE DAVID LETTERMAN

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The Zombie Tribe

Obama!  Obama!  Obama!

Obama! Obama! Obama!

What’s so hard about condemning sexism and misogyny?  Does it really matter who the victim is?  John Cole gets it:

You know, I have no idea what the hell David Letterman is thinking or what he thinks he is accomplishing with crap like this, but this was inexcusable. He should be ashamed of himself.

And I’m not trying to sound like some politically correct scold, and I have no problem with comedians being comedians. There are lots of reasons to dislike Sarah Palin, there are lots of reasons to not be impressed with her leadership, her beliefs, or, well, anything about her, but when you start with the “slutty” crap, or are making jokes about her daughter getting “knocked up,” you’ve crossed a line. I have no problem attacking Palin for her idiotic proposals and all the stupid things she has said, but this just is the kind of nonsense that is no good for anyone.

Maybe I’m over-reacting, and I know I’m not always perfect, but I’m really losing my patience and tolerance for this kind of stuff. There was no place for this kind of stuff with Hillary and Chelsea, there is no room for it with Michelle and their kids, and the same standard should apply for Sarah Palin and her kids. Hell, it should apply to all women.

But some of his readers don’t:

She worked that slutty angle —and no way in hell can anyone say certain men didn’t respond. Starbursts, remember? It was an image she carefully presented and I don’t get all the vapors people here get for her getting called on it.

By the way, this whole ‘insulting to women’ chorus of protest is so fucking misplaced. You people seemed to missed that the very real and much more damaging diss occurred when Palin ran for VP using her best MILF act.

Part of the reason conservatives loves them some Palin is she is an anti-feminist. What could be a bigger diss than to get where she is because she has a vagina and men like her because she’s hot?

She made herself into the lapdance the rednecks couldn’t buy (while pushing her high heels into the face of every woman who ever fought to get their due for their competence, intelligent and capability, and not for being a hot mamma). And somehow, amazingly, a comedian joking about Palin’s carefully cultivated Fuckable Me image is the thing that is over the top.

Sheesh. Some of you really missed what Palin was up to. Palin was the manchurian candidate for feminism.

The hot fuck-me chick who can’t be fucked. Like a slutty stewardess. She’s got the fuck-me thing going on but what can you do? Bend her over one of the seats? Unobtainable Sex Object. Akin to the Hot Librarian with the Big Glasses. (Another stock male fantasy character Palin more than hints at as well). Cuz guys, you know when she takes off those glasses and lets down her hair she’ll fuck you so hard on the book stacks your dick’ll be bruised.

Sure that’s stereotype that demeans women. Hell yes. But Palin is totally reinforcing that one. She’s projecting it: This is the modern Conservative Woman.

It’s a feature not a bug that it’s undermes feminism. Why do you think conservatives love this exemplar of Woman? And where’s the vapors over that?

It’s actually interesting that Letterman said ‘stewardess’. No flight attendants for conservatives. Women are stewardesses. Waitresses in the sky.

You can get pissed at Letterman but I think he’s noticing something here. It says more about how conservatives see women than Dave does.

Letterman did wasn’t nice. But comedians often say harsh shit. A difference between comedy and a comedian making gratuitous insults is whether it was true or not. Good for Dave for calling her on it. She doesn’t get to have it both ways.

That was one of many comments in a long thread (361 comments) where numerous people defended David Letterman’s misogynistic comments about Sarah and Willow Palin.  What was so hard about denouncing something that is obviously wrong? Why would these people defend the indefensible?

The answer is tribalism

Continue reading

Palin Derangement Syndrome

heman

From Real Clear Politics:

While reading his top ten list Monday night, “Late Show” host David Letterman said Gov. Sarah Palin bought makeup from Bloomingdale’s to update her “slutty flight attendant” look. Palin was in New York over the weekend.

It gets worse:

VH1 comedian Chuck Nice appeared on Tuesday’s “Today” show and compared Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to the sexually transmitted disease herpes. He mocked, “But, Sarah Palin to the GOP, this is what I’ve got to say, she is very much like herpes, she’s not going away.”

What the fuck is wrong with these people?

*Failbot troll prophylactic:

This is not about “supporting” Sarah Palin.  Neither of the two statements above have anything to do with any legitimate criticism of Governor Palin’s policies or record.

They are examples of misogyny.

.

———————————————————————————————–

UPDATE:

It’s even worse that I originally thought:

That would be Willow Palin, the 14 year old daughter that accompanied Sarah and Todd to New York.

.

———————————————————————————————-

UPDATE II:

Misogyny is a bipartisan effort:

Sarah Palin has begun to get on the nerves of Republican senators who say the former GOP vice presidential nominee is taking her own White House aspirations entirely too seriously.

Yeah, like anyone would ever vote for a stupid girl.

———————————————————————————————–

pdsalert

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Why Alpha Males Rule Our World – and How We Can Begin to Erode their Dominance

saber-tooth

Readers: Please Note that this is an extremely long post broken into several parts which includes numerous links to background information.  I’ve chosen to post it in its entirety to allow the reader the option of reading it in total, or ‘nibbling’ on the parts.  If you’d like to read it in parts, I suggest you bookmark the page and come and go at your leisure.  All references to “culture,” with the exception of those specifically identified in the section on the baboon studies of Sapolsky, refer to human culture as a whole.

Your comments, feedback, and ideas on this important topic are welcomed and encouraged.  I especially recommend perusal of Part 5 which discusses the findings of Dr. R. M. Sapolsky.

Part 1.   Social Dominance Theory – the Basics[1]

Social dominance theory posits that once a group establishes dominance within a culture they will create and use institutions and legitimizing myths to maintain their dominance and control over the resources of the society.  There are  three basic categories where social dominance is exercised: age, gender, and arbitrary.  The dominant group uses its dominance to control access to the culture’s resources while subordinate groups have those resources meted out to them by virtue of rules established by the dominant group.

This dominance is supported by both those in the dominant group and those who are in the subordinate group(s) by indoctrination through ideologies and legitimizing myths.  (Some of you may have heard me refer to these legitimizing myths in the past as “patriarchal educational materials.”)  This indoctrination is effected through the establishment of institutions that are run by the dominant group such as governments and religious institutions.  Anyone who rejects or tries to change the legitimizing myths or challenge the ideologies are attacked and rejected by society as deviant and destructive or dismissed as odd and undesirable; however, the tendency for counter-movements to arise from out of the subordinate groups has been noted and the success of these counter-movement is directly related to the subordinate group’s ability to fend off attacks from those who wish to destroy them or takeover by those who are in or support the dominant group’s cultural status.

Continue reading

“It’s what we might expect in Afghanistan, not in the United States.”

DNA under microscope

DNA under microscope

That is how Nicholas Kristof ended his column yesterday about the low priority law enforcment has been putting on testing for DNA in open rape cases. Kristof writes:

When a woman reports a rape, her body is a crime scene. She is typically asked to undress over a large sheet of white paper to collect hairs or fibers, and then her body is examined with an ultraviolet light, photographed and thoroughly swabbed for the rapist’s DNA.

It’s a grueling and invasive process that can last four to six hours and produces a “rape kit” — which, it turns out, often sits around for months or years, unopened and untested.

Stunningly often, the rape kit isn’t tested at all because it’s not deemed a priority. If it is tested, this happens at such a lackadaisical pace that it may be a year or more before there are results (if expedited, results are technically possible in a week).

I was shocked to read that rape kits are not routinely and promptly processed so that perpetrators’ DNA can be checked against DNA databases, although I probably shouldn’t have been. This is just another sign of the low value put on women’s lives in American culture. But thanks to a March 31, 2009 report from Human Rights Watch on the backlog of unprocessed rape kids in Los Angeles County (linked in the Kristof op-ed), this outrageous situation is getting some much needed attention in the media. Perhaps some other police departments can be shamed into changing their attitudes toward investigating rapes and tracking down the perpetrators. Continue reading

Woman Excommunicated for Daughter’s Abortion

Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho

Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho

This is an unbelievable story. It’s a few days old, but I hadn’t heard about it before. I just saw it reported on CNN.

A Brazilian archbishop says all those who helped a child rape victim secure an abortion are to be excommunicated from the Catholic Church.

The girl, aged nine, who lives in the northeastern state of Pernambuco, became pregnant with twins.

It is alleged that she had been sexually assaulted over a number of years by her stepfather.

The excommunication applies to the child’s mother and the doctors involved in the procedure….

Abortion is only permitted in Brazil in cases of rape and where the mother’s life is at risk and doctors say the girl’s case met both these conditions.

Police believe that the girl at the centre of the case had been sexually abused by her step-father since she was six years old.

From MSNBC:

Despite the nature of the case, the church had to hold its line against abortion, Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho said in an interview aired Thursday by Globo television.

“The law of God is higher than any human laws,” he said. “When a human law — that is, a law enacted by human legislators — is against the law of God, that law has no value. The adults who approved, who carried out this abortion have incurred excommunication.”

From AOL news

Fatima Maia, director of the public university hospital where the abortion was performed, said the 15-week-old pregnancy posed a serious risk to the 80-pound girl.

“She is very small. Her uterus doesn’t have the ability to hold one, let alone two children,” Maia told the Jornal do Brasil newspaper.

But Marcio Miranda, a lawyer for the Archdiocese of Olinda and Recife in northeastern Brazil, said the girl should have carried the twins to term and had a cesarean section.
“It’s the law of God: Do not kill. We consider this murder,” Miranda said in comments reported by O Globo.

If the girl had continued the pregnancy and died, what would that be?

Time Magazine reports that unwanted pregnancies and abortions are extremely common in Brazil, despite the laws and the influence of the Catholic Church.

Although abortion is illegal, an estimated 1 million women each year have one. The poor are forced into clandestine clinics or take medication, while the better-off are treated by qualified physicians at well-appointed surgeries known to anyone with money and overlooked by colluding authorities.

That secrecy has a price. More than 200,000 women each year are treated in public hospitals for complications arising from illegal abortions, according to Health Ministry figures. Those who don’t have the courage or the money to be treated take the pregnancy to term. Although the fertility rate has fallen considerably in Brazil (from 6.1 children in 1960 to about 2 today), 1 in 3 pregnancies is unwanted, according to Dr. Jefferson Drezett, head of the Hospital Perola Byington, Latin America’s largest women’s health clinic.

I don’t even know what to say. Please tell me we aren’t going to go back to this kind of inhumanity in the United States.

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