Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thursday's Throng.

Blog posts to read:

A Weighty Matter from Shakespeare's Sister. The article she is discussing is very US-centric (so what's new on this 'ere interwebnet?) but SS's comments are fabulous.
It remains a radical act to be fat and happy in America, especially if you're a woman (for whom "jolly" fatness isn't an option). If you're fat, you're not only meant to be unhappy, but deeply ashamed of yourself, projecting at all times an apologetic nature, indicative of your everlasting remorse for having wrought your monstrous self upon the world. You are certainly not meant to be bold, or assertive, or confident—and should you manage to overcome the constant drumbeat of messages that you are ugly and unsexy and have earned equally society's disdain and your own self-hatred, should you forget your place and walk into the world one day with your head held high, you are to be reminded by the cow-calls and contemptuous looks of perfect strangers that you are not supposed to have self-esteem; you don't deserve it. Being publicly fat and happy is hard; being publicly, shamelessly, unshakably fat and happy is an act of both will and bravery.

Rare indeed is the fat chick who manages to find contentment in her own skin, because everything around her is designed so that she will not.
(read more here)

Right on, sister!

Hairy Armpit Wars from Echidne of the Snakes.
The history of the armpit wars is an interesting one. To understand why feminists focused on the womanly body hair requires first understanding how absolutely necessary it was deemed for a woman not to have hair except on her head and in her genital region. All other body hair was deemed as masculine and unnatural. Which is really weird, because women in fact grow hair on their legs and arms and in their armpits.

Now that I re-read the above paragraph I realize that the armpit wars are not at all over. Indeed, they have intensified, because now the only place where women can legitimately have hair is on their heads. The genital area is supposed to be waxed to look like that of a little girl or a porno star.

It is all very weird, because women do naturally grow hair on their legs and arms and in their armpits. The body does this, even in a good wingnut woman, and usually it is the wingnuts who argue that women are ___________ (insert some negative female characteristic here) naturally, biologically and unavoidably, and that the Bible decrees it so, too. But when it comes to the perfectly natural and possibly god-given body hair on women, these wingnuts and many other Americans go bonkers.
(read more here)

River bend talks about the Saddam Hussein execution. She is an amazing Iraqi woman whose blog is stunningly enlightening to those of us watching at a distance. I discover more from an occasional River Bend entry than I do from hours and days of BBC News.

I haven't blogged about the execution of Saddam Hussein, though it affected me profoundly. I found the whole thing horrifying. I wasn't expecting to be too upset actually because, while totally against the death penalty, I didn't have much sympathy for the guy. But the closer it came, and the reaction afterwards illustrated vividly to me that there was a lot more to this than killing the guy. The American and British armies and governments gained so much, they gained legitimacy for their evil and brutal war, they gained moral superiority, and it convinced me that Saddam's execution was certainly part of the US/UK war plan, rather than any kind of quasi-justice for Iraqi Kurds and others.

The event itself was also immensely disturbing. Seeing the footage of the rope going round his neck, wondering why on earth they put something to 'protect his neck' (as the interpreter described it) when they were about to kill him, by breaking his neck. You know, that black cloth thing. Why? The shouting, goading, secret filming, laughing, made it more distasteful and, well, brutal.

One of the court officials said the goading was so bad he 'almost postponed the execution'. Can you imagine??! Standing there with a rope round your neck, thinking that you are thinking your final thoughts, then someone stops it and reschedules?! Fuck!

Evil as the man was, this execution reinforced absolutely for me that a state killing someone, to demonstrate that killing people is wrong makes no sense. State-sanctioned murder is not something to aspire to, to praise, or to encourage. And, in the case of the USA, to practice yourselves! How many times were we told at school that 'two wrongs don't make a right'? So adding to the torture and distress of a country by carrying out yet another killing is just not the answer.

Her previous entry, too, is vital reading.
A day in the life of the average Iraqi has been reduced to identifying corpses, avoiding car bombs and attempting to keep track of which family members have been detained, which ones have been exiled and which ones have been abducted.

2006 has been, decidedly, the worst year yet. No- really. The magnitude of this war and occupation is only now hitting the country full force. It's like having a big piece of hard, dry earth you are determined to break apart. You drive in the first stake in the form of an infrastructure damaged with missiles and the newest in arms technology, the first cracks begin to form. Several smaller stakes come in the form of politicians like Chalabi, Al Hakim, Talbani, Pachachi, Allawi and Maliki. The cracks slowly begin to multiply and stretch across the once solid piece of earth, reaching out towards its edges like so many skeletal hands. And you apply pressure. You surround it from all sides and push and pull. Slowly, but surely, it begins coming apart- a chip here, a chunk there.

That is Iraq right now. The Americans have done a fine job of working to break it apart. This last year has nearly everyone convinced that that was the plan right from the start. There were too many blunders for them to actually have been, simply, blunders. The 'mistakes' were too catastrophic. The people the Bush administration chose to support and promote were openly and publicly terrible- from the conman and embezzler Chalabi, to the terrorist Jaffari, to the militia man Maliki. The decisions, like disbanding the Iraqi army, abolishing the original constitution, and allowing militias to take over Iraqi security were too damaging to be anything but intentional.
My only conclusion is that the Americans want to withdraw from Iraq, but would like to leave behind a full-fledged civil war because it wouldn't look good if they withdraw and things actually begin to improve, would it?
(Read more here)

Old but must read:

1 in every 40 Iraqis has been killed since invasion. How did I miss these statistics when The Guardian printed them last October? One person in every forty has been killed?? When, oh when will we stop?

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thermalsatsuma said...

It's ironic that the most obese nation on earth are also the most intolerant of it in public life. The Americans are also the biggest consumers of pornography but if Janet Jackson has a 'wardrobe malfunction' then it's the end of civilisation as we know it.

Linda D. said...

An extremely interesting post, so much to take in. And I agree with you completely. The Saddam hanging was abominable; women should be able to be happy and fat; and we should also be able to proudly display our body hair! And, for f's sake, why are MEN now waxing too??? Aaaaargggghhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!