Monday, 28 September 2009

Why I'm seething

Getting a woman drunk in order to have sex with her rape.
Giving a woman drugs in order to have sex with her ... is rape.
Having sex with a woman who has said "No" ... is rape.
Having sex with a woman below the legal age of consent ... is rape.

Roman Polanski did all of these things. He is a rapist. He has plead guilty and has been convicted.
Instead of going to jail, however, Polanski hopped on a plane and fed-exed himself to France, evidently thinking that he is a genius and as such above such bourgeois mundanities as the law.

And instead of asking him who the fuck he thought he was and hauling his ass to jail, the world nodded and went "Oh, right, of course. He's a genius. How rude of us to have bothered him in the first place." (Because really, what would have become of us if he hadn't given us, the poor, non-genius masses, the wonder that is "Pirates".) And they left him alone. They left him alone for years, and that idea of poor, poor Roman Polanski as a victim of heavy-handed "justice" (which was probably motivated by envy, anyway) took root and festered, until people were saddned that poor, poor, Oscar-nominated Polanski couldn't attend the award ceremony.

And now that he has finally (FINALLY) been arrested, people who have power and a voice, people who really ought to know better, are outraged and - it would seem - almost insulted on a personal level. Frédéric Mitterand has apparently said that this is "a terrible thing and very unfair." Bernard Kouchner called it "not nice at all."

D'you know what I think is a terrible thing? A society that teaches men that being a genius means you can rape girls.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

It's that time of the day again...

...I'm scoffing and bitching at the TV.

[Note: This is in the larger context of President Obama's reaction to the arrest of Professor Gates.]

Watching the news here, you get the impression that 1) the President called the arresting policemen stupid, and 2) that he started a race controversy when he did so.

As for 1) "...acted stupidly..." does not equal "are stupid". Adjectives and English tutees also have trouble with those. Still...condemning actions or condemning actors. I would say the difference is somewhat significant. But that's just me.

And about 2) the tensions regarding race, and the controversy around racial profiling in particular are not Obama's creations. In a very twisted way, it would be great if they were. Because then it would be easier to resolve...6 months worth of baggage are a lot easier to work through than a country's entire history and the history of colonialism and imperialism before that.

And yet, shocking as it is, that merely made me roll my eyes.
What really bugged me was one simple question, from the news anchor to their correspondent:

Can a black president really be neutral in a conflict about race?

Such a simple question, yet so very revealing. I hate this assumption. That Caucasian isn't really a race. That a cottage cheese-complexion precludes a racial agenda whereas all other complexions come with one automatically (and it's completely uniform, too). That isn't just preposterous, it also flies in the face of reality. Blatantly. Sometimes it's even wearing distinctive white robes and hoods, or brown uniforms.

En lieu of a lengthy and half-informed diatribe about othering, I'd like to humbly suggest somebody who can be neutral in a conflict about race:

Saturday, 20 June 2009

On Silences

I haven't posted here in about two months, but not for lack of topics to talk about.
To be frank, there was too much.
I still haven't regained my balance, so I'm never quite sure what to write about, which of the voices in my head and heart are worth listening to, and how to verbalize my thoughts in a way that at least offers some clarity for myself, let alone for others.

So I've been silent here. Don't get me wrong - I was still yelling and cursing the TV, but even discussing some of these topics with anybody seems beyond me.

First, it was Sri Lanka. How am I supposed to wrap my head around several days of fierce fighting over a patch of land the size of the field next to my house? I must have spent hours just looking at that field, and with each look, there seemed to be fewer answers.

Then it was the EU elections, which I still can't think about without tasting the bile in my throat.

And now it's the elections in Iran. I watch the news obsessively, I follow some blogs, I try to keep up with Twitter, although that seems a superhuman task. And in every picture I see I look for my friends. I don't write to them, because I can't seem to find the words. Everything I come up with seems insufficient at best, or ignorant and self-indulgent at worst. So I leave it and keep watching the news, and the posts, and the tweets. And I stay silent, even as I bite my lips in helpless furstration.

I think that Sean came closest to what I've been wanting to write. Even when he is speechless, he is still more eloquent me. And I'm grateful for that, because simply reading his words, knowing that they are out there, made me feel less alone, and just a little bit less helpless.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Quick Hit

Because you should never allow a good hype to go to waste, the Pussicat Dolls have recorded their own version of "Jai ho!". For those who haven't been paying attention, that's the Academy Award-winning song from the Showered-In-Academy-Awards "Slumdog Millionaire".

Anyway, the new version is called "Jai ho! (You Are My Destiny)", and I just saw the music video that goes with it (sorry, I can't find it on YouTube).
Fun fact: I can count the number of people from the subcontinent on one finger - he's called A.R. Rahman.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009


It freaks me out really badly when people take narratives I'm familiar and comfortable with and twist them to make them scary. It's particularly bad when it's fairy tales.
Neil Gaiman's "Snow, Glass, Apples" kept me up half the night, and his "The Problem of Susan" pretty much ruined Narnia for me.

And today, as I sat there, peacefully staring at my TV in that brain-in-standby-mode I find so soothing, I stumbled across this:

Great. Has anybody seen my security blanket?

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Michelle Obama's Garden

First of all, I'd like to say that I'm a big fan of Michelle Obama.
She's a great woman, and planting a vegetable garden sends a message I like (not to mention the fact that it's fun).

Having said that, could somebody please explain to me why "Michelle Obama's Vegetable Garden" made the headlines on the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF [link in German]) today?
What exactly is the news value for non-blog-reading-international-politics-craving Austrians? (Actually, what's the news value for blog-reading-international-politics-craving Austrians? I read about this yesterday.)

Why should we care about this? And what's next? More flag pins?

Just to let you was Dijon mustard.

Friday, 20 March 2009

More from the Pope

During the busy schedule of his visit to Angola, the Pope found time to ridicule the idea of abortion for health reasons:

"He also criticized what he called the "irony of those who promote abortion as a form of 'maternal' health care." The pope was referring to an African Union agreement signed by Angola and 44 other countries that abortion should be legal in cases of rape, incest or when the mother's life is endangered." [From here.]

If he weren't all about apostolic gravitas, he would totally have added the airquotes to that.

But - fear not - there was also time for genuine irony:

"Particularly disturbing is the crushing yoke of discrimination that women and girls so often endure, not to mention the unspeakable practice of sexual violence and exploitation which causes such humiliation and trauma."

From anybody else, I would greet this statement with energetic agreement. From him, I can't quite get rid the taste of bile in my mouth.