Archive for September, 2008

Another Sub-par Attempt at Political Analysis by the Guardianista

September 8, 2008

Another day, another useless rant against Republican voters in the US by a foreign media commentator. The word journalist is not used here since the word should be reserved for those investigating writers who actually know or have bothered to research the subject.

This time Linda Grant, a writer at the bastion of British Bollinger Bolsheviks, The Guardian, is published under Opinion in the Age. Where they find all this global mumbo jumbo I just don’t know.

Our dear Linda participates in that old left-wing tradition of maintaining that Republicans are nothing but rednecks and fundamentalists who vote Republican out of fear that the Democrats would take their guns away from them or, even worse, teach their children about evolution. This is of course extremely naive and tells us more about Linda’s own political awareness and intelligence than that of a Republican voter. The broadest support for the Republicans can still be found in the American middle class in medium and small cities as well as in the big cities.

If Linda could have been bothered to do some research she could indeed have pointed out that one reason for the success of the Republican party ever since the Reagan years in the -80s is that they’ve managed to win over the rural and small town voters in the South and elsewhere by greater emphasis on patriotism and social conservatism. But this kind of political analysis is not what Linda or the Guardian or the Age is about. They assume that their readers are not capable of, or worthy of insight and analysis but should instead be spoken to in the same way that her “American friend” speaks of small town folks.

So clear is the divide between big-city and small-town America that one American friend said to me: “These whitebread Republicans are like children — someone has to tell them what to do and what to think, they’re incapable of independent ideas.”

Referring to small-town Republicans she writes:

The problem is that when they’re running the whole country, they want to take away abortion rights, drill for oil in Alaska (a Palin policy), ignore climate change and start unwinnable wars. With the small-town Republican mindset in charge, the rest of America and the rest of the world is forced to live by small-town values, which aren’t much help when you’re trying to decide what, if anything, can be done about Iranian nuclear ambitions or, more humbly, workplace date rape.

She can’t resist showing her own lack of understanding of the issues mentioned here. Neither does she know or even care about the fact that almost all of the political ideas in the last 30 years have come from the Republicans or very moderate Democrats working together with Republicans.

How about if Australian journalists with little knowledge of Britain or politics would start to comment on British politics and the extremely unpopular Prime Minister Gordon Brown? Surely we could point out that this useless fool has been put in place mostly by extremely poorly educated and alcohol-addicted voters in downtrodden inner city slums and post-industrial brownfields. We could take a tour in Linda’s own depressing hometown of former glory, Liverpool, which is voting Labour to 90% with catastrophic results on employment and quality of life.

The whole Australian media establishment could flock to Luton and other soul-destroying cities to seek out those misinformed Labour voting idiots to show how their misery is reflected in the way they vote. In parallel we could run a report on how that Labour loving newspaper the Guardian is cheering on this uneducated madness. Australian readers would quickly understand what forces are in place to get someone like Gordon Brown to power.

Why do these media writers cross over into foreign politics when they can’t see the forest for all the trees? Why doesn’t she just stick to the trivial stories that she’s been designated to? These are some of the stories that Linda Grant has unselfishly devoted to us:

  • Apr 3 2008: Linda Grant on the art of invention
  • Mar 28 2008: During President Sarkozy’s visit, Britain has only had eyes for his wife. Yes, she’s beautiful, demure and fantastically chic, but is that the limit of the French first lady’s appeal?
  • Mar 8 2008: He was the king of Kings Road, who brought a spark of genius to the flamboyant swinging 60s style. Can the look survive without the man? Linda Grant reports on the struggle to bring a legend back to life
  • Sep 18 2007: Even the swankiest restaurants admit diners in jeans these days. Does nobody dress up to go out any more, asks Linda Grant.

What is Helen Mirren on?

September 3, 2008

The Entertainment sections can sometimes be great fun. How about these classic comments from Helen Mirren!,26278,24273585-7485,00.html

Nazi fears stopped me snorting cocaine:

Helen Mirren

From correspondents in London September 01, 2008 08:08am

OSCAR-WINNER Helen Mirren admitted she loved snorting cocaine and only stopped due to the capture of Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie, in an magazine interview out this month.

The respected British actress, 63, who won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen, told the October issue of men’s monthly GQ she took the drug until her late 30s.

She only quit after the notorious Barbie was caught in Bolivia in 1983, and believed to have been making money from the Class A drug.

The star, knighted in 2003, also talked about meeting Queen Elizabeth, and spoke further about her date-rape experiences.

Mirren said she used to take “a bit of cocaine. I loved coke. I never did a lot, just a little bit at parties.

“But what ended it for me was when they caught Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon, in the early 80s.

“And from that day I never touched cocaine again. Until that moment I had never grasped the full horrifying structure of what brings coke to our parties in Britain.”

“He was hiding in South America and living off the proceeds of being a cocaine baron.

“And I read that in the paper, and all the cards fell into place and I saw how my little sniff of cocaine at a party had an absolute direct route to this f…ing horrible man in South America.

I’m not surprised that good old Mirren took the odd line of coke now and then, it would be rather surprising if she didn’t, but what’s the reason for her quitting?! She learned that this horrible man was making money from cocaine! Oh my god tell me just how out-of-touch is this woman? She found out that there might be horrible men engaging in the illegal acts of bulk purchasing coca plants, industrial scale extraction of the active ingredients, manufacturing of tons of pure cocaine, trafficking the final goods to consuming countries and in the process having to protect your farmers and turf, avoiding military, paramilitary, the CIA and US Army, customs and federal drug enforcement agencies so that you can finally get down to business with consumer country local drug distributor gangsters? The fact that some of these people and organisations might be less than pleasant comes as no surprise to most sane people. Which planet are you on Helen?

It is not all that difficult to imagine why these celebrities are so out-of-touch, most of them go without any formal higher education at all and they spend most of their life serviced by minders. Their lack of knowledge and experience should thus be, if not taken for granted, then at least assumed.

In a time when many politicians suck up to star power, think US party conventions or Kevin Rudd’s 2020 Summit, it is worth remembering that most of these celebrities, with a few exceptions of course, are brilliant at their chosen art but hopelessly removed from reality and thus uncapable of sound judgement.

Creeping Acceptance of Patriarchal Fashion

September 1, 2008

Melbourne based newspaper the Age jumps at any opportunity to portray the religion of Islam and its practices as just another religion that is fully compatible with Australian values. Quite bizarrely even the more draconian interpretations of this religion, which seems outdated and absurd even to moderate muslims, are staunchly defended and normalised by the Age.

On August 30th our friends at the Age published a dismal article by Naomi Wolf, the great reality-denying American writer who never lets facts come between her and an attack on common sense. And true to form this article provided some great laughs, some tears, but mostly just plain disbelief. The article, titled “Uncovering the hidden the power of modesty”, glorifies the practice among conservative Muslims to clad their women from top to toe in garments.

I don’t really want to re-publish this trash in any great lengths as I see it as an insult on our womenfolk and neither do I want open a debate on Ms Wolf’s ideas, but rather I would like to know what the Age wants go gain by constantly promoting views like these:

Ideological battles are often waged with women’s bodies as their emblems, and Western Islamophobia is no exception. When France banned headscarves in schools, it used the hijab as a proxy for Western values in general, including the appropriate status of women.

Not only in Western countries but globally, including in many Muslim countries, the practice of forcing women to wear a hijab or any other humiliating attire is not the norm, neither is it normal to accept that people cover all or parts of their head and face.

the Taliban were demonised for denying cosmetics and hair color to women…

No they weren’t. They were demonised for denying women access to education, work, justice and most other rights and institutions that women across the globe take for granted.

But when I travelled in Muslim countries and was invited to join a discussion in women-only settings within Muslim homes…

Yeah, you weren’t allowed to discuss with men or mixed groups as you were considered a lesser human being. How many invites to serious discussions did you get from men (other than from creeps wanting to lure you into sexy time)?

Indeed, many Muslim women I spoke with did not feel at all subjugated by the chador or the headscarf.

No one is opposed to people wearing what they please, it’s when this is forced upon them by family, superiors, religious police, or neighbourhood thugs, that it becomes extremely unpleasant. There is no greater sign of patriarchy enforced by the threat of violence than the chador.

The Western Christian tradition portrays all sexuality, even married sexuality, as sinful.

You made that one up didn’t you Naomi?

Why does the Age publish this viewpoint time and time again? Why must we be subjected to values that are quite alien to us? How about if the Age made the effort of travelling to some mostly Arab populated suburban estates in France where women who even in their moderately Muslim homelands in North Africa wouldn’t wear a chador, but through thuggery, threat of violence and random murder are forced to wear such attire. Wouldn’t that be an interesting viewpoint to balance the debate?

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