Julia Kristeva on the Burqa.

I [disagree] with Muslim women from the left who contend we have to honor women’s free choice to cover their faces … I want to recall here Simone de Beauvoir, who argued that freedom does not end with choice. Choice is the starting point of freedom. True freedom is crossing selfhood borders and opening up to others.

What a sweet, late in life victory for Renee Rabinowitz.

And of course since it’s part of the endless legal and moral battle against Israeli’s ultra-sexist ultra-orthodox, this story also stars UD‘s beloved Anat Hoffman, a woman who spends her life filing one successful lawsuit after another.

The suits are virtually all successful because it’s ultra-obvious that discrimination, physical assault, property destruction, and other shit Israel’s wild and crazy haredim routinely do in defense of their way of life is illegal. You just have to file a case against them and you’ll win.

Not that your victory will mean much. Do they pay financial penalties? UD doubts it. Do they change their ways? Well, if you denied the legitimacy of the Israeli state, would you obey directives from its courts?

*****************

El Al airlines, however, is another matter. El Al is not a medieval cult. El Al is a modern corporation which has been kissing the ass of the ultra-orthodox by humiliating the female passengers they refuse to sit next to.

Move it, lady! This guy finds your devil-stench disgusting and you must take your foul carcass away pronto or things will get ugly because he and his friends will stand in the aisle of the plane and refuse to move so we won’t be able to take off until you slink away like the guilty thing you are to whatever seat we can dig up for you..

And listen, hon. It’s really no big deal. It’s not really a humiliation at all. Think of it as like that adorable little genital nick Alan Dershowitz has been all excited about lately. Just an in-flight version of the ritual nick! Just a tickle! Just a very small sacrifice for womanhood and for the larger community!

***************

El Al! Is this the airline whose pilot ended a terrorist takeover of his plane by suddenly throwing it into an unbelievable dive that killed one of the attackers and knocked out the other? And now they can’t stand up to random obnoxious ultra-orthodox?

So 83-year-old Renee decided fuck that – After she was put through this humiliation, she got together with Hoffman and they sued El Al and of course Hoffman just racked up another win because the whole thing is so ultra-bloody-obvious.

************************

The real question now is how long it will be before El Al designates an entirely separate fleet of planes for use by the ultra-orthodox.

************************

It’s a victory over “the gender segregation that Israel has been battling for more than a decade — all of the attempts by the ultra-Orthodox community to push women out of the public sphere.”

Poor Sports

Islamic State Blows Up Mosul Mosque
Where it Declared ‘Caliphate’

“People are dying out there.”

The all-American beach town speaks.

“It’s crazy to think it’s still happening.”

A Webby nominee.

More here.

And here.

UD Writes a Newspaper Poem

She has written many of these (click on this post’s category).

They’re made from the words of a newspaper article.

*****************************

PYROSOMES

Spawn of the eastern Pacific transformed
By a blob of water bizarrely warmed,
Something like ghostly Tibetan longhorns:
All over the ocean are pyrosomes.

When fishermen were trolling for chinook
Says Alaska Fish and Gamesman Shaul,
They came up with them on every hook.
Ten thousand appeared on a research trawl.

We don’t even know what they consume.
We only know their luminscent firebody bloom.

The American Way of Death Revisited

The image of an important American politician crawling in agony across a baseball field, trying to limit himself to just one semiautomatic bullet, comes right out of the novels of this nation’s most celebrated contemporary writer, Don DeLillo.

Anyone who has read White Noise or Players knows that postmodern death and near-death à la DeLillo typically involve some combination of playtime activities, guns, and videotape. In DeLillo, death has lost the majesty, the redemptive possibilities, it had as late as, say Tolstoy’s famous story, “The Death of Ivan Ilych.” Now it’s a sudden violent event that happens while adults are playing miniature golf; and someone’s usually around to film them expiring on the little fake putting green.

******************

In Players, affluent American death occurs on a grownup golf course on a bright shiny day, with middle-class men, dressed in crayola colors, engaged in “that anal round of scrupulous caution and petty griefs.”

The golfers on this sweet green morning attend to their game. Together again momentarily on a particular fairway they appear almost to be posing in massed corporate glory before a distant flag. It is now that the vigilant hidden thing, the special consciousness implicit in a long lens, is made to show itself.

A man, his back to the camera, rises from the underbrush in the immediate foreground, about two hundred yards from the golfers. When he turns to signal someone, it’s evident he has a weapon in his right hand, a semiautomatic rifle. After signaling he doesn’t reassume his crouch. One of the golfers selects an iron.

This leisure-time massacre is actually part of a film being shown first-class passengers on a WhisperJet. None of them watches with much attention; they’re in an alcoholic/anxious haze.

The audience’s emotional distance from the bloody mess on the screen is deepened by the fact that they’re in an in-flight piano bar, with a performer who uses his instrument to comment in a campy way on what he’s seeing — on the irony of simultaneous golf and terrorism.

Watching golfers being massacred, to trills and other ornaments, seems to strike those in the piano bar … as an occasion for sardonic delight.

Not all postmodern deaths involve bullets, but virtually all, as presented in the work of DeLillo, involve playtime. In White Noise, set in a university, Professor Dimitri Costakis is “lost in the surf off Malibu. During the term break.” The school’s dean, who once “serve[d] as adviser to Nixon, Ford and Carter,” has recently met “his death on a ski lift in Austria.” Death in America is something that happens when you’re having fun. The ski lift dumps you out; the surf engulfs you; men with guns interrupt your game.

**********************

A blimp flying over the U.S. Open went down Thursday just beyond a rim of trees surrounding Erin Hills. The pilot, the blimp’s only occupant, was airlifted from the scene of the crash but was reported as alert and conscious, according to police.

Fan video caught the deflated blimp as it floated to the ground.

That one happened on the same day as the baseball game. It’s hard not to laugh at some of these misadventures, hard not to greet them sardonically. The disparity between the triviality (“petty griefs”) of blimpish voyeuristic activity, and the deflation and airlifting is just funny. It’s just so graphic an illustration of our superficiality, our childish spectatorial lives, so utterly unprepared for seriousness, reality, the crash, the spray of bullets.

We’ve enjoyed following family friendly, spring break friendly, gun massacre friendly, Myrtle Beach on this blog.

Latest headline:

Three shootings in 8 hours. Eight wounded. Some tourists say they won’t be back.

Others, however – bikers, boozers, gunnies – are beginning to think their usual vacation spot – Panama City Beach – lacks the je ne sais quoi of the pride of South Carolina.

Ladies, UD can’t think of a more perfect synergy than taking your semesters at rape-friendly Baylor (located in biker-friendly Waco) and your semester breaks at pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-POPPIN’!!! (watch that way-viral video NOW – start at 1:44 to go RIGHT to the fun stuff – for the amazing spray of bullets!) Myrtle Beach.

Or you could skip the long trip and just attend Coastal Carolina University.

**********************

“We’re gonna send a message to do everything that’s humanly possible to stop this violence in our city,” [the city’s Mayor] said.

But you’re not going to, are you? Because the simple stuff you have to do in order to stop attracting large numbers of violent criminals to your beach involves getting merchants to stop pandering to them. But this is America, and we don’t fuck with the free market.

The thing you do, which is turn the city into a police state during the warm months, doesn’t seem to be interrupting the flow of bullets.

*****************

WOW! Myrtle Beach managed to find time to squeeze in a fourth shooting on Sunday night!

******************

SUPER wow! A fifth one!!

After a fifth shooting Monday night, Gov. Henry McMaster also asked State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel to meet with local law enforcement and address the spate of violence.

With five, you get a concerned governor thrown in.

The Irony of Martin Shkreli Demanding a Discount is…

doubleplusgood.

Truths About the Burqa, Bluntly Stated….

… by Saudi journalist Sabria Jawhar.

I have grown to hate the burqa. I hate the burqa because it serves no logical purpose in Western society. The intent of the clothing is to draw attention away from the woman, but in the West it only attracts unwanted attention…

… 94 percent [of the UK’s non-Muslims] believe that Islam oppresses women…

… Most Saudi women, like me, leave the burqa (abaya) and niqab in Saudi Arabia. But I’m guessing that more than a few Saudi girls wear the niqab because their husbands insist on it. The husband doesn’t care whether strangers see his wife’s uncovered face, but he cares a great deal that his Saudi male friends do. [That his] selfishness and warped view of manhood are more important than his wife’s safety is inexcusable.

… Outlawing the burqa will create a tremendous divide between non-Muslims and Muslims. But wearing the burqa in the West is also just plain stupid.

Scathing Online Schoolmarm Talks About How To Write When You’ve Got a GREAT News Story.

SOS isn’t saying that these Tampa Bay Times writers did a perfect job exploiting the terrific material here; but they definitely did a creditable one. Let’s look.

The headline is rather long-winded and informational. No attempt to be witty or punny yet, which is fine. Ease us into it.


The Rev. Henry Lyons Forced Out as Pastor of Tampa Church Amid Accusations of Theft, Misconduct

Nowhere does the headline hint at the comic riches to come. But the first sentence does.

The second coming of the Rev. Henry J. Lyons was not as celebrated or lucrative as his previous life.

The once way-disgraced Rev. was, on his release from prison, immediately picked up by another church. This is the “second coming” to which the writers refer. Nice godly pun. Signals from the word go that the story we’re about to hear is not tragic. It’s not tragicomic. It’s comic.

The one-time leader of the largest black Baptist organization in America — toppled by infidelities and imprisoned on fraud charges — has kept a relatively low profile while running a century-old church in Hillsborough County the last dozen years.

Lyons no longer has the ear of the President of the United States, and his empire does not include the same luxuries as during his heyday in St. Petersburg in the 1990s.

What a falling-off is here. Rich, sexually fulfilled, president-whisperer; and then had to go to jail for “fraud, extortion, money laundering, conspiracy and tax evasion.” It was quite the story in the late ‘nineties. You probably remember it – UD does… No? This will jog your memory:

Lyons flew first class, hired a personal chef, and bought multiple homes. He showered female friends with gifts and drove luxury cars.

And it all came crashing down because of a domestic dispute.

His third wife Deborah discovered Lyons had purchased a house with another woman, and she attempted to burn down the $700,000 home in Tierra Verde.

*****************

He’s been quietly running a smaller church since his release…

Yet the final, uncomfortable hours of Lyons’ reign at New Salem Missionary Baptist Church have a disturbingly, familiar echo.

Church leaders have accused the 75-year-old Lyons of misappropriating funds for his personal benefit, and voted Thursday evening to remove him as pastor, ending what had once looked like a story of personal redemption.

No idea why they put a comma after disturbingly. If they’d written disturbing the comma would have been fine.

The writers don’t say Only idiots would put their church in the hands of so relentless, so thoroughgoing, a crook. They don’t say Like a hedge fund that hires Bernie Madoff on his way out of jail, New Salem thought hell – why not. They don’t have to. C’est entendu.

Any writer would envy these Tampa Bay guys. Not only is this a boffo plot; all the actors in it agreed to be interviewed. Extensively. The reporters start with the idiots.

“Call us ignorant, I guess,” said Ray Melendez, the chairman of New Salem’s board of trustees. “If anything, we were flattered that he said the Lord told him to come to New Salem. That he wanted to be the shepherd of our flock. We forgave him because he served his time. We thought he had went through his rehab, but apparently he was just the same old Dr. Henry J. Lyons.”

So, to be clear, the church is accusing Lyons of theft?

“Yes sir,” Melendez said.

SOS is sure the Lord told Henry to hightail it over to New Salem; for its part, the board of trustees should have listened for the Lord telling them that they should give Henry the job.

The writers neither correct nor condescendingly (sic) Ray’s grammar (“thought he had went through”), which is the right call.

Hm, let’s see. What’s next. Long article.

Okay.

Willie and Henry Lyons said they have not had time to research the list of allegations handed to them at the Thursday meeting, but said most of them appear to involve grant money from five to seven years ago.

They suggested any apparent improprieties were either easily explainable or inadvertent mistakes.

They have not yet contacted an attorney, but Lyons said he was inclined to dispute his termination.

“I really would rather fight, to be honest with you,” Lyons said. “I’ve had a great tenure at this church. It’s just been overwhelmingly good with blessings, and things going well and looking well.”

… “I don’t think I’m doing mail fraud. I’m only mailing to the people in the organization. And my organization is growing every year, praise God for that,” Lyons said. “I stood up the other night at a meeting and said, “Look, y’all need to tell me what in the world is mail fraud.’ I don’t really understand the monster but y’all keep on saying, “Pastor, you’re doing mail fraud.’ Tell me what it is.”

Takes more than five years in prison on fraud charges to know what fraud is.

The relationship with Lyons began to turn ugly, church officials say, when he and his wife refused to let the Atlanta firm examine the finances for the [church] day care [run by Lyons’ wife].

Lyons said church officials asked him to resign twice in recent months and he refused. A third meeting, Lyons said, almost turned violent.

Lord, Lord.

Willie Lyons returned to the church Friday morning to tend to the handful of children in day care but a pair of church members told her the business needed to be shut down immediately.

She was inside the church with two officials when a Tampa Bay Times photographer heard a woman shouting, “This is all lies, this is all lies. You all need to be saved.”

Willie Lyons later told the Times that she refused to leave, and church officials called the Temple Terrace Police Department to have her removed from the property.

You all need to be saved. Lots of good stuff here. Willie’s like Elena I brought you up like a mother Ceausescu.

**************

A story like this one writes itself. You mainly stand aside and let everyone talk. Fill in Henry’s history. Drop in the odd bon mot. And that’s just what our guys have done.

Update, Greek Universities

As for student representation in the Rectorate, this is another privilege given to students that essentially ties the hands of university administrations. Students seldom agree with administration decisions. For instance, the issue of hiring private security staff for campuses in 2014 was met with violent reactions from party youths. No security staff was ever hired. As for Rectors and Rectorates, they cannot even report thefts taking place in campuses. When computers are stolen from university premises, university administrations report that “they are missing,” because theft is too strong a word to use.

***********

Can’t argue with the results.

Just got my second mink sighting.

Saw one years ago, and now here’s another (I wasn’t fast enough to take a picture of my own), and it makes perfect sense that we have minks (I suspect there’s a family living under our deck). We have endless rabbits, and minks like to eat rabbits. We have everything minks like: snakes, birds, mice.

A Memory about Saul Bellow and James Joyce, for Bloomsday.

The notes I took are gone, but I remember certain things. The pleasant disorientation of watching Augie March teach Nathan Zuckerman, for example. And the week we discussed Ulysses. That morning, we sat nervously as Bellow took his seat. “Have you finished the book?” he said. Had we read every page of one of literature’s most famously difficult offerings? In a week? Not one of us had gotten to that last Yes. Bellow laughed — not the marvelous, head back, teeth-bared laugh for which he was famous, but a small laugh — and brandished an ancient copy of the book, which, he said, had been smuggled into the country for him in the 1930s. And for the next hour, he read to us from Ulysses and, without notes, annotated it. Bellow’s deep recall, fluency, and confidence seems, now, to be a beautiful, cerebral high-wire act.

Bellow was eighty-five then…

The Audacity of Seyran Ates

A liberal Muslim woman, she has already been shot and beaten up by Muslim men.

But here she is again, opening a no-burqas mosque.

Read the details, and join UD in fearing for her life.

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