Day: June 28, 2009
A Muted Sentence
You won’t hear very much about this sentence handed down by a court in Sudan. I wonder what would be the outcome if it was anything less than this, but a court has sentenced four men charged with killing an American AID worker to death by hanging for their part in the murder of John Granville. I did notice the slant in the article against the current government not contacting the family of the deceased, something I admit they should have done perhaps, but then when did the American government contact the family of anyone imprisoned in Guantanamo. Nonetheless, social graces are not a part of the Sudanese system it appears, but in this case justice was served and you should know that.
A big deal was made about an English teacher who was threatened with punishment by the Sudanese government because she named a child’s toy Muhammad, at the suggestion of that child. Bad news travels fast; the Islamophobes roundly condemned the Sudanese and articles appeared all over the world highlighting the case of Gillian Gibbons the teacher charged.
Perhaps this news balances out the disgraceful treatment Ms. Gibbons rececived at the hands of the Sudanese, if barely at all. It does do justice for John Granville. Hat tip to The Sudanese Thinker.
More Iranian, US intrigue
I strongly encourage you to run over to Consotiumnews. com to read the article, Iran Divided & the ‘October Suprise. Niqnaq’s blog also carries it here. It contains some interesting observations about today’s major players on the Iranian scene, as well as revelations that there was an October surprise meeting between the at the time aspiring Reagan administration and Iranians officials. These Reagan officials wanted to thwart the Carter reelection in 1980 while at the same time appearing to be hawks when it came to Iran, a typical neocon ‘slight of hand’ deception. There is also the explicit charge that George H.W. Bush did indeed meet with the Iranians in Paris, despite constant denials to the contrary.
While the article covers “old news” it gives insight into why some people in Iran think and react the way they do to today’s events unfolding in Iran.
The French Government and Hypocrisy- One and the same
Let me see if I understand this correctly, the French government can impose limits on what a person can wear or not wear in order to attend government schools, yet a private company cannot say who it can hire to be sales staff for its products, even when the people appearing in those products are people of color?
France can ban the wearing of religious symbols even when those wearing them are doing so of their own free will in an expression of their religious beliefs in a society thatsupposedly promotes, liberty, fraternity and equality, while insisting at the same time that companies do not have the right to determine who they can employ in selling their products? No one sees the slightest bit of hypocrisy in the French position?
People, who of their own free will, practice a faith that may be different and not customary to the wider society and choose to wear clothes that express themselves in ways different than the majority, but who are at the same time law abiding citizens who do not frighten or intimidate others, should not have laws legislated which seek to limit or curtail that expression. In fact the beauty of liberty and freedom means acts of social interaction are interpreted based on the law, which should should not be enacted to deny expression, but rather the acts of illegality that expression may or may not encourage. Therefore, if a school girl walking down a French street is the victim of sexual harassment or assault it is the perpetrator of that action who should be limited not the girl wearing an article of clothing. What the French want to do is take the act of discipline off their hands by removing the object of people’s ire, and in the process limit the freedom of its citizens.
Likewise, companies who have broadly used women of color in their advertising campaigns but choose to hire a sales staff they think may be able to sale their product to a broad based clientele should not have the weight of the State descend on them in a punitive way. L’Oreal in France has to have the support of a majority of women of color in order to be profitable. If hiring people that reflect a certain demographic will give them that market, how can the State justify changing that dynamic and jeopardizing the viability of the Company? Will the State then say that the public MUST buy certain products in order to insure the success of a company so that it doesn’t go under because of the financially oppressive measures of the State? Don’t be surprised if that happens next.
For now, France is following in the tradition of other western countries that seek to use expressions of liberty and freedom as slogans which fall quickly when government wants to intervene in the lives of its citizens. The tools the state uses for this intervention are usually fear and loathing of opponents who are unknown or unfamiliar. Civilized people should recognize such tactics for what they are. Ignorant people are too easily persuaded and succomb to the deceit. The two cases above highlight how France is counting on the latter with its citizens! Que sera, sera!
Celebrityhood and Michael Jackson
It’s said it takes a village to raise, educate, give meaning to a child; it also takes a village to do the same thing to raise, educate, give meaning to an idiot. The village idiot was Michael Jackson. I remember the young man when he was a part of the Jackson 5 and even went to see his act when it came to my local concert venue back in the late 60s. It was good music at the time, but it was just that, music, without the Michael Jackson persona and I could take it or leave it.
Somewhere along the time continuum that changed so that it became all about Michael Jackson, “it” being entertainment and music, and he took on a god-like dimension he didn’t deserve, was not prepared for and which doomed him to this inevitable conclusion. Along the way, from that late 60’s concert to 40 years later, the public imbued Jackson with powers and qualities he didn’t possess, so like most every one else who preceded him, he did what was necessary to live up to the standards of an idolizing public, even if that sealed his doom. Why we wanted him to come to this conclusion in order to satisfy our desire for celebrity worship is beyond me, but it was our attitude that killed him just as much as the alleged pain killers he took to perform in order to meet our expectations.
It is the sign of the times that the public is much more interested in celebrity than in substance. In the case of music, groups are destroyed by solo careers where a stand out member of a famous group decides to leave it and go solo for reasons of personal gratification and material enrichment. The result is that person becomes the focal point of our idolatry and thrives or dies by it according to how well grounded they may be. Michael wasn’t well grounded. Weren’t the signs there very early on? Changing his physical appearance so drastically, behavior that was suspect at best, predatory or criminal at worse? Yet we still have people eulogizing him today as their soul mate and dearest companion.
A day or two before Jackson’s death, Farrah Fawcett died with the same adulation from a sycophantic nation and swooning press, suffering from a disease whose cause and treatment deserve far more attention than what Farrah got. The public’s obsession with personality is what drives those personalities to superhuman acts of inhuman imperfection. Jackson couldn’t look any better than he was created, but in his attempts to perfect himself he became hideous and subhuman. Still we cheered. Why? The record moguls knew what was wrong with Jackson and yet he was promoted as a pop “icon” and still we cheered. And now he’s dead.
Quite frankly the solution is this: when aberrant behavior is clearly demonstrated it should not be the cause for overwhelming adulation on the part of an informed public. We should demand more from people who govern, entertain and inform us; if we don’t we get wars of aggression, disinformation or lies and people who die a premature death because we both cheered and looked the other way. They are our village idiots and we deserve one another.