Halloween was always a point of contention in our house growing up. Naturally theatrical, I loved dressing up and relished in making my own costumes. And what kid turns down free candy? Sure, Jewish kids have Purim for these things and more, but when you’re in a mainly gentile neck of the woods, it’s a struggle not to be allowed to join in the party. As I grew into adulthood and took a deeper look at Halloween, however, I began to understand my parents’ objections quite clearly. There are definite reasons why Jews and Christians who base their faith in the Bible should re-think introducing and encouraging their child’s participation in this, the most pagan of American holidays.
Editor’s note: this is part 3 in an ongoing series exploring the history of dictators and their evil ideologies. See the previous installments: Part 1:”Why It’s OK to Be Intrigued by Evil Dictators“ and Part 2: “Does Everybody Want Freedom?” Have ideas for who you’d like to see Robert explore next? Get in touch on Twitter: @RobertWargas and @DaveSwindle
Celebrating its centennial, The New Republic recently mined its archive and republished an intriguing piece from its February 27, 1965, issue: an exclusive interview with Mao Zedong by the American journalist Edgar Snow. As TNR correctly notes, as far as interviews go this would be analogous to a Western journalist today being granted exclusive access to Kim Jong Un. The sit-down took place almost seven years before Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger arrived in Peking to re-establish relations with China.
Though the interview has value as a journalistic artifact, it isn’t the most satisfying piece of reportage when it comes to Mao the man. Snow, who was not exactly Red China’s greatest critic, wasn’t allowed to quote the Great Helmsman directly, and most of the discussion concerns issues of policy and military strategy. These are big subjects, and big subjects always make for big answers laden with propaganda.
Mao comes across as intensely theoretical; he seems genuinely infatuated with Marxist theory and its rigorous application to world affairs. When asked about the Vietnam War, for instance, Snow writes that Mao “repeatedly thanked foreign invaders for speeding up the Chinese revolution and for bestowing similar favors in Southeast Asia today.” He ”observed that the more American weapons and troops brought into Saigon, the faster the South Vietnamese liberation forces would become armed and educated to win victory.”
A story about two old Jewish ladies is making the rounds in the Jewish press, but not for the reasons you may think. Sure, they’re bubbes. They’re children of a Holocaust survivor to boot. But the real reason they’re attracting so much attention is that they happen to be retired professional whores.
Dutch twins Louise and Martine Fokkens (probably not their real last name, since “Fokken” is a Dutch term for “old whore”) have become international celebrities since the 2011 release of their biographical documentary Meet the Fokkens. Women’s magazines like Cosmo picked up on their story shortly after the film’s release, publishing quick little details like:
Louise and Martine (mothers of four and three respectively) became prostitutes before the age of 20 in order to escape violent relationships.
It’s an interpretation that, at best, qualifies as a half-truth. Louise was forced into the sex trade by an abusive husband. Martine, however, became a prostitute out of spite:
Martine followed her sister into the trade, working first as a cleaning lady at brothels before she began turning tricks herself. “I was angry at how everybody around us shunned Louise,” Martine said. “I did it out of spite, really.”
Both women eventually divorced their husbands, whom they now describe as “a couple of pimps.” But they continued working in the district “because that had become our lives,” Louise said.
“Our life in the business became a source of pride, a sport of sorts,” Louise added.
In retrospect, both women say they regret becoming prostitutes.
Reading their story, one can’t help but wonder if mainstream feminist advocates for slut walks and “Yes Means Yes” legislation would condemn the pair for regretting the life they chose. After all, their body, their choice, right? They took control of their bad marriages, divorced the husbands they referred to as “pimps” and chose, fully of their own volition, to remain in the sex trade after their exes were fully out of the picture. Martine and Louise, it would seem, are the originators of the Slut Walk.
A few years ago, on a rainy summer’s day, I was browsing around a secondhand bookshop on the east end of Long Island, breathing in the musty wonder of the overstuffed shelves, when an elderly man approached me. I had in my hand a first edition of William Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. The man started up a friendly conversation about the Second World War, asking me whether I had watched a recent television documentary on the subject.
He continued talking, perhaps unaware that he wasn’t allowing me to respond. I didn’t take this as an insult. Most people prefer to hear themselves talk; this isn’t necessarily a sign of malice or rudeness on their part. I find it’s especially true of the elderly, who are usually lonelier and thus more desperate for the ear of a stranger. So I stood there and listened as politely as I could, not altogether uninterested in his views of fascinating matters like the Nazis and other dictatorships, which are subjects that I could eat with my breakfast cereal.
Conservative columnist Ross Douthat has declared his love for Lena Dunham. It hardly comes as a surprise that a New York Times writer, even one who dwells to the right of the aisle, would find the Girls prodigy appealing. What makes Douthat’s devotion disturbing is that he has managed to transform a goddess chained to a slew of liberal causes into a sacrificial lamb for conservative culture. In his struggle to do so, his misses the mark in what could have been one of the most culturally relevant critiques of Girls to date.
The critic defends Dunham’s showpiece Girls, writing,
She’s making a show for liberals that, merely by being realistic, sharp-edge, complicated, almost gives cultural conservatism its due.
It’s a seemingly ironic observation, based in the idea that Girls “often portrays young-liberal-urbanite life the way, well, many reactionaries see it…” That is, a subculture on the verge of self-destruction due to excessive amounts of what sociologist Robert Bellah dubbed, “the view that the key to the good life lies almost exclusively in self-discovery, self-actualization, the cultivation of the unique and holy You.”
In other words, as Gawker so simply put it:
He likes watching the show because it allows him to feel superior to Dunham and her fellow sluts.
By employing a rote, traditionalist perspective, Douthat argued himself into a hole, turning his love into judgement and burying his point in poorly-worded theory and equally bad theology.
Commentary has printed some brilliant feminist insights by Jonathan S. Tobin on Brandeis University’s refusal to award an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali:
We have heard a great deal in the last couple of years from liberals about a “war on women” that was supposedly being waged by American conservatives. That meme played a crucial part in President Obama’s reelection and Democrats hope to repeat that success in this year’s midterms. Liberals have tried to mobilize American women to go to the polls to register outrage over the debate about forcing employers to pay for free contraception, a Paycheck Fairness Act that is more of a gift to trial lawyers than women, and attempts to limit abortions after 20 weeks. These are issues on which reasonable people may disagree, but what most liberals seem to have missed is the fact that there is a real war on women that is being waged elsewhere around the globe where Islamist forces are brutalizing and oppressing women in ways that make these Democratic talking points look trivial. It is that point that Hirsi Ali is trying to make in her public appearances.
But instead of rising in support of Hirsi Ali’s efforts to draw attention to these outrages, leading American feminists are silent. The only voices we’re hearing from the left are from men who are determined to justify Brandeis.
I recently commented on the nastiness that occurs when political passion jumps the shark into idol-worshiping territory. One need look no further for evidence as to how ugly and narrow-minded political idol worshipers can get than the quotes Tobin pulls from left-wing sources hellbent on defending Brandeis’s decision. A search of both Jezebel and Bitch Magazine websites turned up zip on the controversy, once again proving the theory that feminism really is all about white, upper class “rich” chicks and their pop culture fanaticism.
I stand before you as someone who is fighting for women’s and girls’ basic rights globally. And I stand before you as someone who is not afraid to ask difficult questions about the role of religion in that fight.
The connection between violence, particularly violence against women, and Islam is too clear to be ignored. We do no favors to students, faculty, nonbelievers and people of faith when we shut our eyes to this link, when we excuse rather than reflect.
The fact that the mainstream feminist movement has no use for Hirsi Ali’s brave fight for women’s rights should come as no surprise. Her global campaign against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and abuse of women within radical Islam is so far out of the realm of #FirstWorldProblem Feminism that it doesn’t even ping on their radar. Which is precisely why feminism is a joke and women continue to be the laughingstock whipping boys of Democrat men who keep them well oiled and distracted during election season before shoving them back under Oval Office desks where they belong. What can I say except submission sells.
Perhaps Muslim women aren’t the only ones who are being targeted and abused because of their gender after all.
Via the Daily Mail: Bill Clinton identified in lawsuit against his former friend and pedophile Jeffrey Epstein who had ‘regular’ orgies at his Caribbean compound that the former president visited multiple times
A new lawsuit has revealed the extent of former President Clinton’s friendship with a fundraiser who was later jailed for having sex with an underage prostitute.
Bill Clinton’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, who served time in 2008 for his illegal sexual partners, included up multiple trips to the onetime billionaire’s private island in the Caribbean where underage girls were allegedly kept as sex slaves.
The National Enquirer has released new details about the two men’s friendship, which seems to have ended abruptly around the time of Epstein’s arrest.
Tales of orgies and young girls being shipped to the island, called Little St. James, have been revealed as part of an ongoing lawsuit between Epstein and his former lawyers Scott Rothstein and Bradley Edwards.
It is unclear what the basis of the suit is, but they go on to call witness testimony from some of the frequent guests at Epstein’s island to talk about the wild parties that were held there in the early 2000s.
Flight logs pinpoint Clinton’s trips on Epstein’s jet between the years 2002 and 2005, while he was working on his philanthropic post-presidential career and while his wife Hillary was a Senator for their adopted state of New York.
‘I remember asking Jeffrey what’s Bill Clinton doing here kind fo thing, and he laughed it off and said well he owes me a favor,’ one unidentified woman said in the lawsuit, which was filed in Palm Beach Circuit Court.
The woman went on to say how orgies were a regular occurrence and she recalled two young girls from New York who were always seen around the five-house compound but their personal backstories were never revealed.
At least one woman on the compound was there unwillingly, as the suit identifies a woman as Jane Doe 102.
She ‘was forced to live as one of Epstein’s underage sex slaves for years and was forced to have sex with… politicians, businessmen, royalty, academicians, etc,’ the lawsuit says according to The Enquirer.
An event that went largely unnoticed by the mainstream media in 2012 perked up the ears of the Obama administration when it sparked a movement that ignited the hearts of 40,000 young evangelicals. Today the “End It” movement, fueled by a new generation of social conservatives, could impact the culture in ways their elders only dreamed.
Louie Giglio, a pastor in Atlanta, is the founder of the annual Passion Conference that launched “End It.” The young people behind the movement are a new brand of abolitionist. They don’t need to stand on a Bible to raise awareness that slavery is wicked. Nor do they have to convince the general public that kidnapping young girls and selling them into the sex trade is wrong. This is an opportunity for the church to shed a light into the darkest corners of the earth in a way that impacts lives.
“End It,” along with a coalition of 12 other non-profits like LOVE146, are raising awareness, and the money needed to do something about it–like wading through the darkest cavities of human depravity to rescue these girls. Reaching those lost without hope is a chance to bring everyone to the table and put right vs. left aside. That is, if both sides truly care about real justice.
However, that’s not always the case.
From a recent article over at BuzzFeed titled, ”A New Mission for the Religious Right“:
“The event received only marginal press coverage, but the White House took notice. A few weeks later, senior Obama adviser David Plouffe sat down in the White House with Joshua Dubois and Michael Wear, the president’s ambassadors to America’s believers. Plouffe had seen data that suggested young Evangelical voters were up for grabs in the upcoming election, and he wanted to know how the president could appeal to that demographic, according to someone with direct knowledge of the meeting. They discussed a range of tactics, and at the end of the meeting Plouffe asked which single issue could make the biggest difference in courting young Christians.
“Human trafficking,” Wear responded.”
Bethany Mandel’s article on the irony of permitted homophobia in the African-American rap community rightly highlighted the Left’s patronizing racism towards both African and Hispanic Americans. She smartly pointed out pop culture’s double standard when it comes to reacting to anti-gay statements from Christian whites versus blacks or Hispanics. But the argument needs to be pushed further, lest we fall into the Progressive Left’s divisive Minority trap.
The underlying racism of the Progressive Left is the kind of upper-class willful ignorance rooted in eugenic supremacist theory that’s currently being swept under the rug of “progressivism,” a fanciful term for 21st century Marxism. No one could possibly believe that the same people who promote marriage equality, affirmative action, and amnesty are subconsciously racist. Unless, of course, they looked at the philosophy underlying those seemingly righteous political beliefs.
One need look no further than the Grammys for proof. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, white boys with bad rapping skills being lathered up with awards by an audience righteously congratulating themselves for marrying gays on stage to the tune of Same Love. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, the white messiahs saving rap from its inherent anti-gay nature with cornball lyrics referring to his beloved genre as “a culture founded from oppression.” What next? Rapping about the ironies of 40 acres and a mule with a prop carpetbag?
This is Week 4, day 1 of my new 13 Weeks Radical Reading Experiment. I keep a daily journal of the most interesting media that crosses my path each day. See or create something I should check out? Email me at DaveSwindlePJM@gmail.com
1. From the publication where a decade ago I wrote op/ed columns and movie reviews as an undergrad: Ball State students get close for cash
Ellis has had a few online conversations, but he has not gone on any dates because he said there are not a lot of Sugar Daddies looking for gay Sugar Babies.
“Being gay in the sugaring world is not a common thing because it’s usually girls who are in their 20s who find older men who just want to spoil them,” Ellis said.
Both students use SeekingArrangement.com, a website used to connect potential Sugar Babies to benefactors offering monthly lifestyle budgets ranging from less than $1,000 to more than $10,000.
The website recently released a press release announcing the top 20 fastest growing Sugar Baby schools: Indiana University is No. 18, Ball State at No. 58 and Purdue University at No. 66.
Seeking Arrangement targets college students looking to earn money to ease student debt. According to a press release, college students make up 42 percent of the website’s Sugar Baby membership.
“A lot of these college students don’t have jobs and they’re fighting to pay student loans with increases in the cost of education,” said Leroy Velasquez, public relations manager for the website. “And rather than graduate with a financial burden on their back before they even get a job, they could just date a Sugar Daddy on Seeking Arrangement and graduate debt free.”
One woman chooses to become a prostitute in order to support a drug addiction. That’s understandable and tragic. My favorite movie, Requiem for a Dream, is a heartbreaking story. A woman is so desperate for her fix that she abandons the man she loves and degrades herself.
But so you can avoid having to pay student loans back for a few years? You let some guy you’re not attracted to pay you to have a fake relationship with him and then rent your body to him?
It just breaks my heart that some women place so low a value on themselves.
2. Via Conservative Videos and hat tip to SLM Goldberg: Kirsten Powers: Being A Democrat ‘Was My Religion’ Before Christian Conversion
3. Victor Davis Hanson here at PJM: Eating Our Young
Major props to Ed Driscoll for this awesome graphic illustrating the lead story of the week:
The baby-boomer/me generation demands what its “greatest generation” parents got — or, in fact, far more, given its increased rates of longevity. The solution of more taxes and less benefits will fall on young people and the unborn, apparently on the premise that those under 18 do not vote, and those between 18 and 30 either vote less frequently than their grandparents or less knowledgeably about their own self-interest.
The Social Security pyramidal scheme is merely the tip of the ephebiphobic iceberg. Currently student indebtedness exceeds $1 trillion. Many of these loans begin compounding before graduation and are pegged at interest rates far higher than parental mortgages. The cause of this tuition bubble is also not controversial. The prices colleges charge for annual tuition, room and board have for over two decades far exceeded the annual rate of inflation.
There were four causes of such price gouging of students. None of them had anything to do with offering better education for a more competitive price for job-hungry graduates.
4. Jared Sichel at The Jewish Journal: Holocaust in North Korea
At the museum, Shin sought the horrific images from 1945 of thousands of decomposing bodies from a liberated Nazi concentration camp being dug up by a bulldozer.
The horror of that image, which he had viewed for the first time in South Korea, convinced him that he must do what he can to raise awareness of the plight of the prisoners languishing today in North Korea’s four concentration camps. Shin has become, despite his desire to remain private, a public face for what is a growing movement to shed light on North Korea’s totalitarian government and its unrelenting political imprisonment of its countrymen.
The international media coverage of North Korea tends to focus on anything but the country’s humanitarian crisis. We hear about the country’s nuclear program or the budding friendship between former American basketball star Dennis Rodman and North Korea’s 31-year-old dictator Kim Jong-un, or the latter’s recent execution of his uncle, Jang Sung-taek, formerly Kim’s No. 2 man.
But Shin is a living testament to the fact that attention must be paid to what is happening to a completely hidden population: Nearly seven decades after the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet forces on Jan. 27, 1945, North Korea’s concentration camps have now existed more than 12 times longer than the Nazi camps and twice as long as the Soviet gulag.
As lunch wound down, Shin’s translator said that they had to leave soon for another interview. So I asked him if we could discuss a light topic — God.
Shin responded that although he isn’t entirely convinced of God’s existence, he does believe he received help from above. “I believe that there was a higher being, a higher power involved with my life, for me to be where I am right now,” he said.
Like all of North Korea, Camp 14 was devoid of any religion, of anything that could challenge the Kim family’s throne.
Today, Shin attends an Evangelical church in Seoul whenever he can, and, in fact, finds solace in Moses and the story of the Exodus — a self-doubting leader who helped an enslaved people escape a tyrant.
“When I look at North Korea now,” Shin said, “It reminds me of ancient Egypt and the Pharaohs.”
Read the whole thing. Jared is an extraordinary writer with a lot of talent. I look forward to seeing what he continues to do.
5. Jeremy Boreing at Truth Revolt: Gay Marriage at the Grammys: All Art is Propaganda
On the surface, it’s easy to criticize Sunday night’s Grammy Awards telecast for sliding from a celebration of music into a celebration of gay marriage with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s live performance of “Same Love,” featuring Mary Lambert, Madonna, Queen Latifa and 33 couples – gay and straight – tying the knot.
There’s no question that the sanctimonious display, complete with gospel choir, stained-glass cathedral motif and pseudo-religious rhymes was intended to propagandize Americans into further support for gay marriage by giving the appearance of universal acceptance among the glitterati while marginalizing opposition from religious conservatives by reducing their motives to “fear” and “playing God.” “Right wing conservatives think it’s a decision,” the lyric intones. The fact that the socialist mayor of New York’s former lesbian wife agrees with that assessment is of no more concern to the songwriter than the fact that the current Democratic president – and indeed all of the Democratic presidents who went before him – all saw marriage as a male/female issue until right about election time last year.
Still, to turn one’s nose up at the Grammys for letting a show meant to honor art turn into a propaganda-fest is to misrepresent art itself. The simple fact is that all art is propaganda. From the first man scrawling on the first cave wall to da Vinci to the Beatles, the purpose of the artist is always to communicate a unique perspective in the hopes of moving the audience. In fact, for most of human history (and perhaps even still…) art has been less a business and more a patronage system where the wealthy would literally pay for art that promoted their vision of the world, not the artists. It’s hard to say what Michelangelo’s personal beliefs on scripture were, but his employer’s motive of inspiring awe in the face of the divine lives on in the Sistine Chapel and the Accademia to this day. As capitalism has imprinted itself on art, the values of the artist themselves have taken a more dominant role.
The idea of neutral art is as misguided as the idea of objective journalism – it has never existed in all of human history, and it shouldn’t.
Read the whole thing. Spot on. Jeremy is someone else I should make a point to keep an eye on. This is a great piece the way he puts the Grammys in a bigger discussion about the nature of art.
6. Michael Ledeen here at PJM: Hey Stupid! It’s Not About Nukes, It’s About Life and Death
There are none so blind as those who will not see, and hardly anyone wants to see Iran for what it is: an evil regime bound and determined to dominate and destroy us, our friends and our allies. The evidence is luminously clear, but most all of our attention has focused, as usual, on the nuclear issue. Did the Iranians promise to stop enriching uranium or “dismantle” some of the components of their nuclear program? How many Western sanctions are being eased or lifted in exchange? And on and on…
We don’t know the answers to these questions, as the text of the agreement is secret. However, we do know that the Iranians now have six months — the sort of deadline that often slides — to reach a “final” agreement with the 5 + 1 countries.
We can expect the Iranians to prolong and exploit this period to their advantage and our peril. They’ve already begun. The Iranian regime is expanding its regional and global power, killing its domestic enemies, and subverting and intimidating Middle Eastern nations that are reluctant to bend to its will. These matters require serious Western attention, but they aren’t getting much. For us, it’s all about nukes and sanctions.
7. Ed Driscoll here at PJM: The Evil of Banality
Allan Bloom, call your office — New York intellectual life really had become an enclave of the Weimar Republic by the early 1960s; as Bloom wrote in 1986’s The Closing of the American Mind, “The self-understanding of hippies, yippies, yuppies, panthers, prelates and presidents has unconsciously been formed by German thought of a half-century earlier; Herbert Marcuse’s accent has been turned into a Middle Western twang; the echt Deutsch label has been replaced by a Made in America label; and the new American life-style has become a Disneyland version of the Weimar Republic for the whole family.”
8. Bryan Preston at the PJ Tatler: Hillary Wants to Get Benghazi Out of the Way
Just for the sake of history, let’s recall that Clinton could have prevented the attack but failed to do so. Her State Department turned down repeated requests for enhancing security at the U.S. facility in Benghazi. After the attack, she blamed it on a YouTube video and promised one of the parents of the victims that the U.S. government would go after and get the man who made that video. Clinton made good on that threat. The perpetrators who actually carried out the attack, however, remain at large and the Obama government has shown no interest in capturing them.
9. Glenn Reynolds at USA Today: How Americans can kill Obamacare, legalize pot: Column
Far fewer than half the number needed by March 31 have signed up. And, as it turns out, most of the people signing up for Obamacare aren’t the uninsured for whom it was supposedly enacted, but people who were previously insured (many of whom lost their previous insurancebecause of Obamacare’s new requirements). “At most,” writes Bloomberg‘s Megan McArdle, “they’ve signed up 15% of the uninsured that they were expecting to enroll. … Where are the uninsured? Did hardly any of them want coverage beginning Jan. 1?” It looks that way.
In fact, there seem to be more uninsured than there were before Obama took office, leaving Jonah Goldberg to ask, “So what was the point of Obamacare again?”
10. Bryan Preston at PJ Tatler: Could Obamacare Become a Generational Problem for Democrats?
There are a couple of major flaws leading to fewer millennials than needed signing up. One, it’s cheaper just to pay the fine for violating the individual mandate than to buy insurance that most young people don’t need. Young single men don’t need to buy pregnancy and mammography coverage, but Obamacare mandates it, making policies more expensive. Additionally, Obamacare allows younger people to stay on their parents’ plans until they’re 26. That slices off the 18-26 part of the 18-34 demo that needs to sign up in greater numbers.
Reading of the Day, from Ann Coulter’s Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama, page 94:
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Robert Spencer: The Hypocrisy of the Huffington Post’s Praise of Muhammad
P. David Hornik: The Ten Worst U.S. Purveyors of Antisemitism, #3: Thomas Friedman
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Hillary Clinton, Superhero, Icon and Example to All Women Everywhere, Hasn’t Driven a Car in Nearly 20 Years?
Sen. Ted Cruz: Obama Should Apologize to the Five Million Americans Who’ve Lost Their Healthcare Because of Obamacare
After Scott Walker’s Reforms, Government Union Having Trouble Skimming Tax Dollars to Help Democrats
From PJM’s Breaking News Columnists
image courtesy shutterstock / Viktor1
1. Imagine a country today where more than one third of the men admit to rape….
Researchers found that more than three in four men said they had perpetrated violence against women.
Nearly nine in 10 men believe that a woman should obey her husband – and almost six in 10 women also agreed with the statement.
South Africa has one of the highest rates of rape in the world. Last year a survey by the Medical Research Council (MRC) found that 28% of men in Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces said they had raped a woman or girl.
A new MRC study in Gauteng, the country’s wealthiest province, found that 37.4% of men admitted having committed a rape, while 25.3% of women said they had been raped.
2. Imagine a world today that celebrates when this country’s most famous leader dies at the age of 95, and the president equates him with Abraham Lincoln and America’s founding fathers….
“Like Gandhi, he would lead a resistance movement, a movement that at its start had little prospect for success,” Obama said. “Like Dr. King, he would give potent voice to the claims of the oppressed and the moral necessity of racial justice.”
Obama commented that Mandela was imprisoned from the time John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev were the leaders of the United States and Soviet Union until the end of the Cold War.
“Emerging from prison, without the force of arms, he would—like Abraham Lincoln—hold his country together when it threatened to break apart,” Obama said. “And like America’s founding fathers, he would erect a constitutional order to preserve freedom for future generations—a commitment to democracy and rule of law ratified not only by his election, but by his willingness to step down from power after only one term.”
3. Imagine that the movement founded by William F. Buckley Jr., Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan is somehow today led by men like Newt Gingrich who sing the same adulations, putting South Africa’s leader at the same level with George Washington:
“Everybody says they love freedom,” said an incredulous Gingrich, comparing Mandela to America’s founding fathers during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
He said the South African anti-apartheid revolutionary deserved acclaim from “everybody who is proud of the farmers at Lexington and Concord who stood up to the British army, everybody who is grateful to George Washington for eight years in the field fighting the British Empire.”
After Mandela died Thursday, Gingrich posted a statement that lauded him as “one of the greatest leaders of our lifetime.”
The United Nations estimates there are as many as 200 million girls missing from the world today — killed, aborted or abandoned, simply because they are females. India and China alone “eliminate” more girls than are born in the United States every year.
In India, the desire for male children has led to widespread sex-selection abortions targeting females. On average, one girl a minute is aborted in India just because she is female. Infanticide — the murder of baby girls who survive birth — is also widely practiced in some areas. According to The Invisible Girl Project, “Infanticide is so widely practiced in some areas of India, that the mortality rate for girls between the ages of 1-5 is 75% higher than the mortality rate for boys of the same age.” Girls and women also die from neglect, lethal violence, and dowry killings. There are 37 million more men than women in India, a statistic that has contributed to widespread human trafficking; women and girls are regularly sold in India’s brothels.
In China, the country’s one-child policy has led to 18 million more boys than girls under the age of 15. One out of every six girls is lost to gendercide. All Girls Allowed says that, “Gendercide, defined as ‘the systematic extermination of a particular gender,’ has become widespread in China. With the use of illegal ultrasound equipment, couples can determine the sex of their child and choose to abort the female fetus. In other cases, midwives have been reported to deliver “stillborn” girls by strangling the female infant with the umbilical cord as she is delivered.”
New York Times contributor Mai Jian described the brutality of the forced abortions and forced sterilization, particularly in rural villages in China: “Village family-planning officers vigilantly chart the menstrual cycle and pelvic-exam results of every woman of childbearing age in their area. If a woman gets pregnant without permission and is unable to pay the often exorbitant fine for violating the policy, she risks being subjected to a forced abortion.”
Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, said that China’s one-child policy “causes more violence against women and girls than any other official policy on earth.”
Human rights advocate Markus Redding from Columbia University has called gendercide “our generation’s holocaust — a systematic extermination of millions just because they are females.” He said, “Most people can’t believe it. They can’t believe the numbers. When you talk about a Nazi holocaust occurring right now, people are in denial about it.” Redding said it’s a direct violation of human rights and against international law and we must mobilize the international community to end this abuse of women.
It’s A Girl, a feature-length documentary that focuses on gendercide and forced abortion in India and China, was recently presented to Amnesty International’s film series against gender violence by Women’s Rights Without Frontiers. The documentary is part of the group’s “Save a Girl” campaign that includes providing monthly support for women at risk of aborting or abandoning their baby girls and emergency help for women in danger as a result of oppressive coercive family planning policies.
Littlejohn says we must “stop the violence” and end the war on women.
You can watch the trailer for It’s a Girl below:
One of the great tales of courage and survival is a book that you have probably never heard of before. It is the story of Solomon Northup, a free black who lived in New York state in the 1840s. He was lured to Washington, D.C., under the promise of work as a fiddler. In D.C., he was drugged and then sold as a slave. Eventually, because of the intervention of several whites both in Louisiana and in his home state of New York, his freedom was restored. It is the source of the new film by this same title.
This is not the first time that Northup’s inspiring tale of faith and endurance has been made into a movie. Gordon Parks made a 1984 version for television starring Avery Brooks (who some of you may remember as “Hawk” in the 1980s television series Spenser: For Hire) as Northup. While faithful to the book, it was produced with about the same budget as some people spend on dental floss, and shot in three weeks. The acting quality varied substantially, from quite excellent to positively dreadful. Still, I often use the first few minutes of it in my U.S. history class to emphasize the fundamentally middle class values that many free blacks in America aspired to in that era.
12 Years a Slave (2013) is what I had long hoped that Gordon Parks’ version had been. Well-funded, it has a few big names (Paul Giamatti, Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt) and exemplary acting performances throughout. If Lupita Nyong’o (born in Mexico, raised in Kenya, educated in the U.S.), wins an Oscar for her performance as Patsey, I will not be even slightly surprised. There is not a weak performance anywhere in this – but with material like this, what actor would fail?
Martin Bashir, a soldier in the left’s War on Women, dropped a stink bomb on Sarah Palin at the end of his show on Friday. Bashir took Palin Derangement Syndrome to a new level of hysteria this week when he viciously attacked her for a comment she made at Iowa’s Faith and Freedom Coalition event last weekend.
During his “Clear the Air” segment, Bashir called Palin America’s “resident dunce,” accusing her of “scraping the barrel of her long-deceased mind, and using her all-time favorite analogy in an attempt to sound intelligent about the national debt.” Calling Palin a “world class idiot” Bashir went further, saying she deserved the same punishment as slaves — specifically, that someone should defecate and urinate in her mouth. Claiming she would be an “outstanding candidate” for such torture, the misogynistic Bashir said Palin is “qualified for a dose of discipline.”
Bashir described the diary of a Jamaican plantation overseer named Thomas Thistlewood, who tortured and brutalized the slaves in his care. “What is most shocking about Thistlewood’s diary is not simply the fact that he assumes the right to own and possess other human beings, but is the sheer cruelty and brutality of his regime,” Bashir said. “In 1756, he records that a slave named Darby ‘catched eating kanes had him well flogged and pickled, then made Hector, another slave, s-h-i-t in his mouth.’”
“This became known as ‘Darby’s Dose,’ a punishment invented by Thistlewood that spoke only of inhumanity.”
At the height of the controversy over U.S. military intervention in Syria, as I noted last week, an Iranian official named Alireza Forghani issued a novel threat to the United States: if the U.S. entered Syria, he said, there would be “mass abductions and brutal killings of American citizens around the world and the rape and killing of one of Obama’s daughters should the United States attack Syria.” Forghani said that within two days of the beginning of the military action, a relative of every U.S. cabinet member, ambassador, and military commander around the world would be abducted and mutilated, all to be lavishly depicted in lurid YouTube videos.
As David Swindle noted right after the Boston Marathon jihad bombing,
We are now entering a new phase of the Islamic war to replace liberal societies with Sharia law. This is World War IV, a multi-decade conflict that will be for our generation what the war against Nazism and Fascism was for our grandparents. Except it will probably be worse.
Forghani’s threat illustrated just how much worse it could get. It is not outside the realm of possibility that his threat could come true, and that Islamic jihadis worldwide could begin raping, torturing and murdering Americans in large numbers, and filming the whole thing as they filmed the beheadings of Daniel Pearl, Nicholas Berg, Paul Marshall Johnson, and others. This could conceivably happen in the United States as well. Rape has always been a weapon of war; German women in Berlin as it was falling to the Soviets in April 1945 grew accustomed to regular rapes from the Soviet soldiers. This became so common that in their black humor they joked, “Better a Russki on the belly than an Ami on the head” – that is, better to be raped by a Russian than to fall victim to an American bombing raid.But it couldn’t possibly happen here, could it? Well, why not? It is already happening in Britain, where an appallingly large number of Muslim rape gangs have abducted English girls, gang-raped them, forced them into prostitution, and in some cases killed them. These gangs have frequently made statements that indicate that they see their actions as justified because their victims are non-Muslim; one Muslim who murdered his captive sex slave called her a “kuffar bitch” – that is, an infidel. Many of the captors have been noted for being particularly devout Muslims; one even raped numerous girls to punish them for being outside without permission of a male guardian, which is a crime in Islamic law. One judge told a captor, “You preyed on these girls because they were not part of your community or religion.”
I still haven’t seen the latest film version of Les Mis. The promos were enough for me; the shot of Fantine singing “I Dreamed a Dream” while choking back tears as her hair was being shaved from her head was a sickening image that haunted me for days. I will never watch Les Mis for the same reason I will never watch Schindler’s List: When you have a clear understanding of the horror you are confronting, the safety of the fourth wall isn’t enough to keep your insides from shaking loose in rage, horror and sorrow.
Anne Hathaway ended her Oscar acceptance speech with the statement: ”Here’s hoping that someday in the not too distant future the misfortunes of Fantine will only be found in stories and never in real life.” Yet, the Hollywood machine that made her a star has woven the pornographic exploitation of women into contemporary pop culture. In her criticism of the liberal reaction to Lovelace, feminist writer Megan Murphy observed,
“…the only thing that’s really changed since the 70s, when Deep Throat came out, is that porn has successfully woven it’s way into our everyday lives. It’s our fashion, our entertainment, our celebrity culture, it’s in the bars and at the parties we go to. That the foundation for our current reality was built, in part, on the abuse and exploitation of this one woman, Linda Lovelace, is not insignificant.
Linda Lovelace was called the poster girl for the sexual revolution, if that tells you anything about the sexual revolution… Women really got screwed on that one (pun acknowledged). Informed of our liberation, we became free to become the public, rather than just private, sexual playthings of men. What was different now that we were “liberated” was that we had to like it. We had to be turned on by our own objectification and enjoy whatever male culture deemed sexy. Our own “liberation” was used against us, to shame us into subordination — albeit with smiles on our faces, moaning and groaning in feigned ecstasy.”
Clinging to what Murphy has dubbed the “empowerment narrative” many liberal critics panned Lovelace as “pro-family, anti-porn” careful to note that today’s porn industry has resolved many of the problems of its preceding generation. Having covered the disturbing trend of male sexual domination in pop culture, both in HBO’s Girls and presidential-themed romance novels, I can’t help but agree with Murphy’s conclusion: the liberal media willingly turns a blind eye to the disturbing trend of female sexual abuse in pop culture.
The destruction of the house in Cleveland, Ohio, where three women were imprisoned for more than 10 years by Ariel Castro, a former school-bus driver, is a bizarre undertaking. There is no question that terrible things happened within those walls, that the three young women were deprived not only of their freedom but of their dignity, reduced to featureless sexual playthings for their jailer, a man whose desires were vile and unpredictable. He was arrested, charged, tried, found guilty, and last week was sentenced to life in prison, plus 1,000 years. That is as it should be, and justice has been demonstrably met.
But what is meant to be achieved by removing the house in which the crimes were committed? The house is merely the décor to those crimes, and cannot in itself be considered part of the wickedness that corroded the lives of its inhabitants.
They intimate that the immediacy of the destruction within days of Ariel Castro’s conviction makes the action a sort of ritual cleansing. They go on to mention several other murder houses in the UK and the US — including Jeffrey Dahmer’s apartment building — which were destroyed following the trial of the inhabitants for heinous acts of murder, torture or imprisonment.
There is, however, no mention of the most practical reason to destroy such houses. The community in Cleveland where Ariel Castro’s house was located is a low-income community which neither needs nor wants the kind of attention and visitors brought on by curiosity seekers who would flock to the place.
Most of those visitors would be harmless, of course, the sort of people who keep books about Lizzie Borden an evergreen genre and who pay money to spend the night in the Borden house, which is now a bed and breakfast.
But given the sensational and sexual nature of Ariel Castro’s crime, how many of those attracted by the house would be drawn by a frisson of sympathetic interest? I know if I were the mother of a daughter in the neighborhood I’d feel far less safe with that type of attraction down the street.
So while demolishing the house might serve as a ritual cleansing — humans are, after all, very much creatures of ritual — it also serves the purpose of denying curiosity seekers, perhaps not all of them innocent, a focus for their prurient curiosity.
Photo copyright Jill Battaglia, shutterstock.com
With a crowd of onlookers and media present as well as kidnapping and torture victim Michelle Knight, Ariel Castro’s home on Seymour Avenue in Cleveland was demolished on Wednesday. Prior to the demolition, the now-infamous home at 2207 Seymour quietly disappeared from Google Maps.
Michelle Knight handed out yellow balloons to onlookers and released a handful of them herself as she briefly spoke to the media in support of other missing children and their parents.
Why it was important for me to be here today is because nobody was there for me when I was missing. And I want the people out there to know, including the mothers, that they can have strength, they can have hope, and their child will come back. They will. Just have the love in God and you’ll see. They will come back.
Knight, Gina DeJesus, and Amanda Berry were held captive, raped, and tortured in the home for over a decade. Castro pled guilty to the crimes and was sentenced last week to life plus 1000 years of incarceration.
As part of the plea deal that spared his life, the property will be turned over to the Cuyahoga County Land Bank. A committee will decide the fate of the property.
Cuyahoga Land Bank President Gus Frangos said two adjacent properties to the west will be torn down in the next 10 days. “The monument to hell is no more,” Frangos said. The home became an attraction after news of the captivity and rescues at the home became public, requiring 24-hour security by the city of Cleveland amid arson threats.
The crowd cheered as Peggy Arida, the aunt of victim Gina DeJesus, climbed into the seat of the giant excavator to take the first few swipes at the house.
In a little over an hour the home was reduced to rubble. Immanuel Lutheran Church sounded its church bells to mark the destruction of the home. The debris will be hauled off and shredded.
“This house represented evil incarnate, which is Ariel Castro,” said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty. “Now, it is gone.”
No, I’m not talking about Cleveland’s Ariel “I’m not a monster” Castro.
Now Canada’s most hated man — serial rapist, sex slave “master” and child killer Paul Bernardo — is mad because the media is telling “lies” about him.
Plus he wants to be moved from maximum to medium security because those “mistakes” he made happened “years ago” or something.
That these glib, narcissistic men sound shockingly alike comes as no surprise, of course.
Rather than dwell on the likes of Castro or Bernardo — or his equally guilty wife Karla Homolka, who is now free (and a mother) thanks to what we call “the deal with the devil” — I’d prefer to concentrate on one of his victims.
It’s something we always promise we’ll do, isn’t it? Remember the victims.
Kathleen Norris’s exquisitely written classic of modern spirituality, The Cloister Walk, includes a moving meditation about one fifteen-year-old girl who was kidnapped, raped and murdered by Bernardo and Homolka.
(Whose raped and murdered younger sister is the one Lena Dunham joked about dressing up as for Halloween, by the way.)
The only flaw in this otherwise impeccable chapter is that Kathleen Norris, an American, makes a mistake no Canadian would:
She misspells the girl’s name.
I’ve taken the liberty of correcting it, below.
Her name was Kristen French…
A recent Newsweek contains a grim account of a married couple in Canada who habitually kidnapped, tortured, raped and sometimes murdered teenage girls. Because they videotaped their victims, the defiance of one fifteen-year-old, Kristen French, is on record. “Ordered to perform a particular sex act,” the article notes, “she refused, insisting, ‘Some things are worth dying for.’” The girl never gave in, even when her tormenters showed her the videotaped death of another of their victims. (…)
The mystery of holiness infuses such defiance. I am haunted by the idea that Kristen French’s killers may have responded to this spark of holiness in her. They had dismembered the corpse of a fourteen-year-old girl they’d killed the year before. It was a videotape of her death that they showed to Kristen French in an attempt to intimidate her into submission. This may signify nothing at all, but it is the stuff of hagiography: The body of Kristen French they buried intact.
At Thursday’s emotional, 4-hour sentencing hearing, Cleveland murderer, rapist, and kidnapper Ariel Castro said, “I am not a monster. I am sick.” He denied he was a violent person and said he was a “happy person inside” but suffered from a porn addiction.
Castro, who interrupted the judge several times during the hearing, denied the murder charge for the death of the unborn baby of Michelle Knight: “There was never any evidence of that. But I didn’t want to put these women through anymore psychological…so that’s why I pled guilty to that. But there was never no evidence of a fetus. That never happened. ” Court documents revealed that Castro “kicked her in the stomach, jumped on her stomach, and starved her for days to terminate the pregnancy.”
Judge Michael Russo said, “Mr. Castro, you talked with your attorneys and you made the decision to plead the count as indicted, right?”
“Yes, that’s correct. But I never killed anyone. I am not a murderer.”
Ariel Castro, who pleaded guilty to 937 charges, including rape, kidnapping, and aggravated murder related to the kidnapping and captivity of Amanda Berry, Berry’s daughter Jocelyn, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight in Cleveland, Ohio, over the course of 11 years, was formally sentenced on Thursday. Castro had previously agreed to a sentence of life plus 1000 years of incarceration in order to avoid the death penalty for the murder of Knight’s unborn child, whom he fathered.
During the hearing, which the victims attended, Castro claimed that sex with the young women was mostly consensual and that they asked him for sex. “As God as my witness, I never tortured these victims, I never beat them,” he claimed, despite volumes of evidence to the contrary. He said, “These girls were not virgins and had been with multiple partners before me. I did not prey on these women.”
One thing the mainstream media knows about Huma Abedin is that she is elegant. Time reported on how Weiner’s “elegant and accomplished wife… declared her love and support for him, visibly pained at having to speak in public as the sad, sordid details of his repeat behavior were exposed yet again.” The Wall Street Journal lamented:
Watching the elegant Huma Abedin stand next to her man Tuesday as he explained his latest sexually charged online exchanges was painful for a normal human being to watch.
What they’re less sure of is why this elegant woman would stand by the increasingly ridiculous Weiner. Time thinks, rather fancifully, that it’s because “divorce can still be stigmatizing in some social circles where parents are particularly ambitious about providing the absolute best environment for their children” – and because, well, Huma just “loves this guy despite it all.”
Most others, however, agree that it is because she is seeking power and influence, and thinks – however improbably – that Anthony Weiner is still the pathway to them. Even Weiner’s sexting partner Sydney Leathers said of the Weiner-Abedin union: “It almost feels to me like it’s more of an arrangement, or a business relationship, than a marriage.” She said she thought Abedin stuck with Weiner “for the power, for the fame, for the stature.”
Maybe so. And she also may be staying in it because Weiner’s indiscretions just don’t matter to her that much – not necessarily because they have a sham marriage, but because Abedin is approaching the marriage from an Islamic perspective.
Check out the first five installments of Susan L.M. Goldberg’s ongoing series dissecting HBO’s Girls:
Camille Paglia, the liberal feminist professor who staked her reputation as a cultural critic by bucking the tenets of modern feminism has turned her keen eye on the hypocrisy within the Democrat Party. In her latest commentary on women in politics, Paglia once again highlights how current so-called “liberal” feminist attitudes are keeping women barefoot and pregnant in the minds of voters:
“It’s completely reactionary. That women were being defined as being exclusively interested in their own bodies. I think it’s sad that women are even being discussed in this way by the news media …that women are single issue voters that can think of nothing outside the domestic sphere. …I think the first woman president is going to emerge from the GOP because there’s not this obsession. The women coming up in the GOP have this attitude that economic issues and geopolitics are primary, not necessarily the defense of Roe v Wade. Which again I think has distorted feminism. Abortion rights, it’s one issue among many. Women must be encouraged to take the long view, the large view, to think geopolitically. I’m afraid, within the Democratic Party, that is not happening.”
Paglia, a devout renegade feminist who voted for Obama, hit the nail on the head of the War on Women. In the days leading up to the 2012 election, Forbes reported that women, the target demographic of Obama’s campaign, were being stereotypically swooned by-you guessed it-abortion talk:
“It’s no surprise to me that female swing voters are going to vote Obama—he made their core issues the most vocal issues of his entire campaign. Abortion was named the “single most important issue for women in this election” by female voters in 12 key swing states in an October Gallup poll and Democrats have been serving up women’s issues including abortion, access to contraception and healthcare for nearly a year, hammering home a Republican “war on women” that threatens their right to decision-making over their own bodies.”
Only days prior, Forbes published an op-ed by Dr. Scott W. Atlas that included detailed statistics illustrating the ethical qualms the majority of Americans, of every race and economic class, have with abortion. Dr. Atlas also detailed a litany of facts regarding how poorly women will be treated under Obamacare. Nevertheless, the Democrat Party with birth control martyrs like Sandra Fluke, marched on to victory with its War on Women, a battle waged by politicians and stars alike.
Dunham, a five-star General in the battle, cut to the chase in her 2012 pro-Obama ad, comparing voting to sex and saying of Obama “Your first time shouldn’t be with just anybody, you wanna do it with a great guy. …Someone who really cares about and understands a woman.”
In the context of birth control and abortion rights, that doesn’t say very much about the guy. But what does it say about women, like Lena Dunham, who believe in the War on Women? How has goddess feminism stereotyped women into an entire bloc of single issue voters? Are women as single issue as goddess feminists would like them to believe?
I wish I had a better attitude about the Girls porn parody. I really can never predict what will trouble me and it’s simply exhausting.
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) May 23, 2013
Big surprise, I think not: There’s a porn parody of Girls out there. The real question is: What’s the difference between a show that graphically explores all forms of the sex act and a movie that does the same?
Depending on who you’re talking to the distinction requires the presence of one of two things: the demand for critical thought, or the presence of a penis on camera, something that is apparently a “strongly held taboo” in TV land. According to the show’s creator, Lena Dunham,
…a big reason I engage in (simulated) onscreen sex is to counteract a skewed idea of that act created by the proliferation of porn.
This defense is enough for critics and viewers who believe that since Girls isn’t doing sex for sex’s-sake it can be called art. The real question is, in a postmodern environment that produces an academic journal devoted to Porn Studies, can the demand for critical thought truly demarcate the difference between pornography and art? For the consumer, is there really a meaningful difference between HBO and the Playboy Channel? When does art about sex become porn? How should biblical feminists deal with the challenge of pornography that claims it’s art?
I love The 40 Year-Old Virgin for the same reason Shoshanna Shapiro quickly became my favorite character on Girls: not because of her personal virginphobia, but because in a world threatened with terrorism, hunger, and the pending threat of Obamacare, virginity remains one of the greatest crises of our time.
Thanks to the goddess feminist revolt of the sexy sixties, bedroom activities have risen to the top of the pops when it comes to ratings-driven conversation. As a result, virgins have become stigmatized as uncool goods. It’s no wonder, then, that pop culture-obsessed Shoshanna is neurotic enough to spend an entire season trying her best to lose her virginity so she can catch up to her “adventurous” female counterparts like Jessa (who came to the states for an abortion) and Hannah (who has recently been diagnosed with HPV).
How did feminism come to embrace promiscuity as a form of empowerment? Is the “adventurous” woman treating her HPV really happier than the biblical feminist who resisted the culture and waited until marriage to have sex?