January 12th, 2011

inciting to violence

I've had a lot of reservations about the loose talk about how political speech that used metaphors of violence may have contributed to the recent tragedy in Arizona. I don't like to see a public debate that lets the far right cloak itself in the mantle of the defenders of the first two amendments to our constitution. I haven't been particularly shy about saying this, urging people to focus instead on things like technical gun regulations (better reporting of people with mental illness that might make them ineligible to own a gun; renewing restrictions in high capacity magazines).

Then Reuters has this:


quoting Sarah Palin as saying this:

"Especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible."

"Blood libel" is a scandalous term, referring to horrifying speech. From wikipedia's entry on the topic:


[quote begins] Blood libel (also blood accusation) refers to a false accusation or claim that religious minorities, almost always Jews, murder children to use their blood in certain aspects of their religious rituals and holidays. Historically, these claims have–alongside those of well poisoning and host desecration–been a major theme in European persecution of Jews.

The libels typically allege that Jews require human blood for the baking of matzos for Passover. The accusations often assert that the blood of Christian children is especially coveted, and historically blood libel claims have often been made to account for otherwise unexplained deaths of children. [quote ends]

So I take it all back. The media should go after Sarah Palin and the far right for everything factual they can possibly find. They should criticize her political speech, her family life, her television career, her parenting choices, her clothing, her hair and grooming, her illiteracy, her religious views, the views of everyone around her. They should do so with every negative adverb and adjective they can muster while sticking to the factual truth.

She's earned it. And at this point, anyone who defends her in any mistaken view that the attacks on her are risking anything more serious are as delusional as I was yesterday.

To quote Olbermann: That Woman is an Idiot.

And that's an insult to idiots.

ETA: To clarify, what Sarah Palin has done by using this offensive term in this context is to put her "suffering" on a par with what Jews suffered in the course of Christian pogroms against them. Rather than cloak herself in the mantle of a defender of the bill of rights, she has chosen to cloak herself in the mantle of a persecuted Jew of 70 or more years ago. Doing this while a Jewish woman is lying in a hospital after being shot while engaged in the work of democratic government is difficult to find words for.

its snow day

Last T-weekend, my sister-in-law sent a big e-mail around about dinner plans for the Wednesday before T-day. The e-mail went to a long list of addresses, including her son, when she meant to send it to her brother-in-law who happens to share the same name. My nephew then sent e-mail to everyone, which was very funny.

And today, he used the _same e-mail_, which he cleverly saved, to reply to everyone in the family, telling them "its snow day".

Very smart nephew.

friedan and chua

First, Chua:


I wouldn't even follow the links online to the reviews of the book, but this is a nice piece of analysis.

Second: Friedan (again). I'm reading the chapter about sex. Yeesh. What a toxic swamp that is. There had been indications earlier in the book that Friedan had ISSUES when it came to sexuality, but this thing is creepy and gross.

Everyone _loves_ to quote this example of homophobia (location 5125ish): "But the homosexuality that is spreading like a murky smog over the American scene", and that's bad enough, but people should finish the sentence, "is no less ominous than the restless, immature sex-seeking of the young women who are the aggressors in the early marriages that have become the rules rather than the exception." OK, I'm sympathetic to her opposition to early marriage, but I don't know whether I find it creepier that she hated THE GAY or that she didn't care for sexually aggressive women. As a bisexual woman, this is awful to read.

because drinking and reading a book, they are the same

Location 6307ish in _The Feminine Mystique_ (it's amazing I've made it this far. You would not believe the chapter using the concentration camp metaphor), Friedan is quoting a mental-health educator, a woman who used to be "just a housewife": ""If you knock on any of these doors, how many women would you find whose abilities are being used? You'd find them drinking, or sitting around talking to other women and watching children play because they can't bear to be alone, or watching TV or reading a book.""

I'm going to assume the "drinking" is drinking alcohol, and not in a good way. I'm a little concerned that the ordinary socializing and/or playdates are regarded so negatively. What, we should let the pre-k'ers look after themselves? *shrug* TV gets a horrible rap, and who knows, maybe daytime TV in the early 1960s deserved that horrible reputation; it was before I was born so I don't really know.

But reading a book? You're going to class _that_ as "not using your abilities"? And this is after Friedan just gave a couple examples of women who are no longer "just housewives" because they've started _painting_ or taken up the _violin_ or are taking _one history course at a time_? Seriously?

I know, I take the reading thing quite seriously. But I am going to _shred_ this book when I review it. Not because the author failed to adequately cite people, but because she's unbelievably close-minded and judgmental, and I don't agree with her value system.