Imagine a hand palming a human face forever
posted by Winston Smith at
What is the thinking here? Suppose the queen of some tiny South Sea Island nation came on a state visit to the US and showed up to the state dinner, with no warning, topless. The White House people try, tactfully, to indicate that it's not really the done thing and that some people might be offended, and the attitude of the queen and her entourage is 'Deal with it'.My suspicion, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that part of your response, if you were honest, would be, 'Yeah, well, we're not some tiny nation, are we?'Or is the thought that the Saudis are nasty oppressors of women? What, just fifty years after Jim Crow, maybe three generations away from slavery, mass incarceration of black men an international scandal and getting worse, but we (ie you Americans) can piss all over the local customs of people when we're *guests in their country* because Human Rights? Do you think it's such an emblem of human rights that Michelle refuses to cover her straightened hair?(Sorry Winst -- you probably can't tell, but this kind of got to me.)
And another thing -- I would be more convinced of the sincerity of 'proudly taking a stand for women's rights' in this context if it involved doing something that had the slightest chance of actually damaging US-Saudi relations to any extent whatever. But that will never happen. I wonder why.
Well, shit...I mean, yeah, obviously this pissed you off and I'm pretty skeptical about dragging incarceration rates, race, hair-straightening, etc. into this...But obviously the core point is an important one...It's kinda hard to make a clean case when arguing about clothing conventions, obviously... which is a version of your point...
Well, I mentioned incarceration and hair-straightening because I sort of assumed that your 'deal with it' thing was partly an expression of 'Good on Michelle for shaking things up in repressive Theocratistan'. That is, I had supposed that you would have been a lot less likely to say 'deal with it' if there had been a similar kerfuffle in, say, Lebanon (or indeed Indonesia, where she did wear a headscarf). Or if the shoe were on the other foot, as in my South Sea Island queen case. So it came across to me (it you'll pardon my bluntness) as the kind of bullying exceptionalism, with a largely projection-derived 'human rights' subtext, that I hear a lot from US liberals when it comes to Countries That Are Not The US. But if you didn't mean anything like that, then I apologise.
Is our conversation just going like this:WS: Good on MO for sticking a finger in the eye of somebody who deserves to have a finger stuck in his eye.JD: YOU DESERVE TO HAVE A FINGER STUCK IN YOUR EYE TOO YOU SONOFABICH? (Note: exaggeration for humorous effect.)It can't be that you think that U.S. liberals don't bitch about the U.S., can it? Because U.S. liberals bitch about the U.S. WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY more than they bitch about anywhere else. In fact, the farther left they are, the more likely they are to absolutely refuse to bitch about anyplace *but* the U.S... Well, they sometimes make exceptions if the relevant shittiness is race- or sex-specific...And I'm still not understanding how hair-straightening figures in all this though...As for somebody of either sex wanting to visit the White House with a bare chest...well...I'd probably make fun of them...but I make fun of a lot of people. I'm clear on the fact that this stuff is largely (though not entirely) conventional. I think the hijab business is optional in Indonesia, incidentally...though that's not a crucial detail.I'm not trying to piss you off, man, though I have to admit thinking that your ire may (and I do just mean *may*) be a little off-target here...
Don't worry Winst, you're not pissing me off! And of course my ire *may* be a little off-target. As Prior (God rest his bones) says in 'On Spurious Egocentricity', 'Always believing oneself to be in the right' is inevitable, whereas 'believing oneself to be always in the right' would be to lay claim to infallibility. The hair-straghtening thing came from my wife. I'll tell you about it next time we go out looking for trouble in Chapel Hill.
We are bad to the bone
Yes, we should always respect the customs and beliefs of a country that doesn't allow its' females subjects to drive a car.What were you thinking, Winston?
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