Friday, December 19, 2008
Saturday, December 06, 2008
But as much as I love Stollman's work, I don't tend to underline as much as I usually do in works that move me intellectually or spiritually. But there is the occasional one-liner that gets to me in regard to Stollman. In "New Memories," for example, a father tries to show his son the difference between a crocodile and an alligator: "Alexander," he says, "most people can't tell the difference between things. People only see what they know."
When I first read this, I thought to myself, yes, that is true. Certain people in my family, for instance, seem to see only what they have grown up with in regard to the nature of G-d, religion, spirituality, and, of course, politics. But the terrifying moment comes when I realize that I, too, must necessarily have such blindspots.
And yet the so-called quest of the so-called scholar is the pursuit of knowledge and knowing--it's about learning to distinguish the subtle nuances that ripple through every segment of life and living. It's about learning to see the difference between crocodiles and alligators. And I do, in fact, see all those nuances. But what I have come to learn is that often these nuances, and the knowledge they impart to me, are as blinding as the inadequacies that render others inable to see anything other than what they know.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Friday, November 07, 2008
At the end of it, they write:
Now Professorial-Americans look to the future with hope again - if you could only see them yesterday some waving energetically from the balconies of their ivory towers, some excitedly drafting a paper on the significance of the commas in Presidential speeches, some plotting attempts at funny blogging the day after. Indeed, a great day for “the prof” - as they like to be called - a great day for the country that finally comes to terms with its dark anti-professorial past and is eager to move on…
Read it all (and don't forget the comments...equally funny).
Monday, November 03, 2008
I'm struck by two things in particular. First, is the idea that memory is the product of a decision one makes--in other words, that I can choose either to entertain a memory or to suppress it. I tend not to be very good at silencing memories when they surface; I have a tendency to let them run their course and finish in whatever way they will, whether that is joy or tears. So the idea that choice is connected to memories is an interesting one.
Second, and more fascinating for me, is the idea of the dream as a kind of night-time predator--something that comes looking for you when you are most vulnerable. No doubt some dreams are merely the product of the memories we willfully suppress in waking moments. But often we don't know what they are and where they come from; they are the ultimate predator.
I can relate to this, of course, given the fact that the initial impetus for this blog was my fascination with dreams and visions that begin to take shape in the darkness but continue to bloom in daylight. I have mentioned before that I often experience night terrors--moments when I awake during the night and see a figure who has come to kill me. My predatory dreams are often themselves full of predators, whether it is a dark figure with murder on his mind, or (like last night) a giant raccoon perched on my dresser, staring at me with his teeth and claws bared.
I once knew someone who said that he didn't dream, that he had never in his life dreamed a dream in the darkness of night-time sleep. I wonder why dreams prey on some and not others.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Me: It’s mostly bullsh-t coming from hate groups from what I understand.
G: It seems like he has to many friends that hate Israel.
G: Rashid khalidi. Who has known obama for 12 years. And also obama and ayers donated money to khalidis organization. Also obama had to give money bk to 39 doners from palistine.
G: Rashid is a PLO advisor, which is a extreme group that spreads anti Semitism. He is now a college professor , Lol. How cme these wierdos like William ayers are allowed to teach in a college and spread their hate agenda. These people take advantage of young , naïve college students who look up to them,
Me: My understanding is that in some cases they have a past that is not their present. They wouldn’t be allowed to teach that stuff. Like when UCLA fired angela davis. And DePaul letting Finkelstein go.
G: Obama was at a going away party for khalidi in 2004. At that same party a young Palestine girl read a poem that rejoiced in the death of jews. That isn’t the past. That is the present and obama went to a muslim school frm the ages of 6 to 10 in Indonesia. He is what he is. Only liberal trash will try to debate and defend obama.
G: I also have a past but I have repented and said what I have done was wrong. Obama has never once said that he was wrong, and ayers to this day believes w (missing)
Me: A lot of these politicians are in bed with the same people—they all want their money.
G: Obama and Ayers shared an office. Lol. That’s like [personal name removed] trying to say that he is not friends with [name removed]. I guess it would be okay to let a child molester babysit a 8 year old girl, as long as he hadn’t done any molesting since 2002.
Me: People are just getting angry and hateful on both sides. That’s even scarier than Obama’s alleged terrorist ties.
G: Unfortunately, for some people being a jew is just a trend.
Then again, I've also known this person to be kind, sensitive, and compassionate. I wonder if it is politics--or the fear that often motivates the hateful rhetoric we call politics--that turn good people into monsters, or whether it simply reveals what was there all along.
The kicker (or the irony, depending on how you look at it): I had been leaning more toward McCain (sans Palin) until this exchange. Hey, G, you're doing damage to the cause, man.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Here's what some Jewish women have had to say about her:
“In the same way I resent her co-opting a feminist message in order to achieve a retrograde goal, I resent her pandering to the insecurities of American Jews,” said Ayelet Waldman, a Berkeley, Calif.-based writer who has been volunteering full time with the Obama campaign.
“She’s the anti-wonk, the anti-intellectual, someone who doesn’t want to brook differences of opinion,” said Susan Weidman Schneider, the editor of Lilith, another Jewish feminist journal. “She is certainly not someone with whom I or other Jewish women I know would identify. There’s a real sense of alienation.”
The down-home charm that Palin projects in lieu of a focus on nuance or detail is particularly off-putting for many Jewish women, who are likely to be highly educated, urban, and upper-middle class. “Most Jewish feminists are not part of the class base that she’s meant to appeal to,” said Alisa Solomon, a professor of journalism at Columbia University. “So when she’s deliberately dropping her ‘g’s and throwing out her ‘you betchas,’ that doesn’t appeal to us. We’re not the audience for it.”
But, perhaps hewing again to class lines, Lynne Bermont, a professor at New York University who lives on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and describes herself as a fairly observant Conservative Jew, told the Forward that, “as a Jewish woman, I am most proud to be part of a tradition that valorizes ethical integrity and intellectual activity… Sarah Palin is antithetical to all of these values.”
To be fair, the article also points out that there is a small percentage of Jewish women who are happy with Sarah Palin, but these women tend to come from Orthodox communities.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
"There is something about reproductive health — maybe the sex part — that makes some Americans froth and go crazy. We see it in the opposition to condoms to curb AIDS in Africa and in the insistence on abstinence-only sex education in American classrooms (one reason American teenage pregnancy rates are more than double those in Canada). And we see it in the decision of some towns — like Wasilla, Alaska, when Sarah Palin was mayor there — to bill rape victims for the kits used to gather evidence of sex crimes. In most places, police departments pay for rape kits, which cost hundreds of dollars, but while Ms. Palin was mayor of Wasilla, the town decided to save money by billing rape victims."
Somebody--an intelligent male who also happens to be a more conservative thinker--recently said to me, "Where are all the feminists when it comes to Sarah Palin? Shouldn't the feminists be supporting her?" Well, anyone who makes rape victims pay for their own rape kits is no feminist, and this is just one of many reasons why not all women see Palin as someone who is on their side.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I have nowhere to go to throw my sins away tomorrow—no water to toss bread into, no current to sweep away my soggy symbolic sins. Maybe I will wander down to the ocean, walk myself through rituals and prayers that are not completely mine, but which possess me entirely. I am both captive to and captivated by your promises, frail though they might feel.
And perhaps this is why we sometimes terrorize those whom we mean only to love. From whence do jealous rages and ridiculous insecurities come? Petty and pathetic, weak and fearful, we sometimes lie prostrate before our own shortcomings, begging them to wrap themselves around us, when really we should be showing them what it means to love toughly.
Who is like You, God, who removes iniquity and overlooks transgression of the remainder of His inheritance. He doesn't remain angry forever because He desires kindness. He will return and He will be merciful to us, and He will conquer our iniquities, and He will cast them into the depths of the seas.
Give truth to Jacob, kindness to Abraham like that you swore to our ancestors from long ago.
From the straits I called upon God, God answered me with expansiveness. God is with me, I will not be afraid, what can man do to me? God is with me to help me, and I will see my foes (annihilated). It is better to take refuge in God than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in God, that to rely on nobles.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Sunday, August 31, 2008
I've realized something. I think better thoughts and get more work done when I am not surrounded by excessive things and gigantic spaces. I did something I told myself I wouldn't do: I came to the conference without having finished my presentation. And, somehow, enclosed in this small, bare space with none of my "things" to distract me, everything has come into focus, and I am excited about Levinas's work and my presentation on his ideas regarding ritual.
I would probably get more writing done if I sold most of my possessions and moved into an empty dorm room.
More on Levinas, later . . .
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
This weekend I had friends in town, and so we did lots of touristy LA things, including Venice Beach. Considering all of the blaring music, dogs, obscenely visible body parts, crack pipe vendors, homeless street performers, and funnel cake, it was sensory overload, to say the least. Anything goes in Venice Beach, literally. So it was surprising to see a little Orthodox shul right there on the boardwalk, next to a dicey clothing store named Unruly.
But then I recalled reading this a few weeks ago:
Worshipers say workers in the shop blast music on Saturday mornings, overwhelming the religious service held with the door open to the boardwalk. When the worshipers ask for the music to be lowered for an hour, they are met with hostility, they say, some of it smacking of anti-Semitism. Once in a while, the police are called. Further, there have been occasions when mannequins dressed in G-strings and other clothes that are decidedly not part of the customary wardrobe of Orthodox Jews have been placed on the synagogue's property line - as a matter of provocation, some members suggest.
Yes, this is terrible. But there's also something terribly funny and ridiculous about the whole thing. It makes me want to experience it for myself...
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Given my own never-ending fascination with Emmanuel Levinas's idea of the face-to-face encounter, and the importance of learning what it means to "see" the face of the Other, the juxtaposition here of G-d's face and back is troublesome. Are we being shielded from the literal face of G-d because it would distract us from seeing and sensing his presence? Are we not yet ready to see his face?
But maybe this is one more prophetic moment for which the Hebrew bible has become notorious. Is it possible that G-d's face, here, cannot be seen because the G-d that we have created and placed in the heavens is always already a reflection of our own failings? I wonder if the prophetic moment, here, rests not in the suggestion that G-d is hiding his face, but in the possibility that we cannot see it. And if we cannot see it, are we not responsible? Responsible for everything?
Or, perhaps there is no face--who, then, is this G-d without a face? I can almost buy into this possibility. Ostriker's reading of this passage reveals all of its human elements: sexuality, beauty, terror, ambiguity, storytelling. One wonders whether this passage is not, on some level, also an indictment of those who have lost sight of the face of the human Other, and, further, whether the pathway to repair lies solely in the art of storytelling.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Sunday, July 06, 2008
The tablet, probably found near the Dead Sea in Jordan according to some scholars who have studied it, is a rare example of a stone with ink writings from that era — in essence, a Dead Sea Scroll on stone.
It is written, not engraved, across two neat columns, similar to columns in a Torah. But the stone is broken, and some of the text is faded, meaning that much of what it says is open to debate. [...]
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Unless you are a fan of Tex-Mex, trucks with balls, scorching heat, and museums commemorating George W. Bush, there are very few reasons to spend the summer in southeast
For today, we read Yasmina Khadra’s The Attack (2007). Khadra (his real name is Mohammed Moulessehoul) is a former Algerian army officer turned novelist, and this novel, despite its unsophisticated writing style, does a pretty good job of getting college students to think and talk about terrorism in an unfiltered way. The only problem is that the book is so severely biased against Israelis and Jews that one wonders how unfiltered the discussion can truly be.
The storyline goes something like this: Arab-Israeli surgeon is called to the hospital where he learns his wife has been killed in a restaurant bombing. He later finds out that his wife was in fact the suicide bomber. The rest of the book, with all of its undeveloped plot threads, is about his attempts to uncover her secret life and come to grips with what he sees as her betrayal of him. The important thing to note is that it’s not that he needs to come to grips with what his wife has done to innocent men, women, and children in a crowded restaurant, but with what he sees as her personal betrayal of him.
A bit self-absorbed, no?
It’s not that the novel doesn’t tell a good story or address timely issues. It definitely kept me reading, but perhaps that was also because of the all but latent anti-Semitism that kept jumping out at me. Like many people, I tend to like to stare at things that repulse me. Although I run the risk of sounding like an anti-Semitic ambulance chaser, it is difficult not to read between the lines when nearly every time Khadra’s narrator introduces a new Jewish character, he refers to his “unattractive nostrils” or depicts him looking down his “nose” at the narrator. Or, in the absence of the description of a character’s unflattering nose, he depicts them as fat, selfish, and always gobbling things up.
Those nasty Jews—always gobbling things up and looking down their unattractive noses at everyone else. I’m not quite sure how the reviewers who suggested this book depicts both sides of the Arab/Israeli conflict missed this aspect of the book. But I’m sure it’s not the author’s main point.
The main point, actually, seems to be one long, whining “what about me?” Once you sift through the rambling prose, the narrator seems to say little more than: “Why didn’t my wife think about the trouble her suicide bombing would cause me? Why do Israeli Jews stop me at checkpoints because of the way I look? Why do the Jews keep talking about their problems when it’s really the Arabs who’ve suffered?”
The narrator visits an old Israeli Jew who goes on and on and on about surviving the Holocaust, only to say, finally, “I talk too much . . . I’ll never understand why the survivors of a tragedy feel compelled to make people believe they’re more to be pitied than the ones who didn’t make it.”
Take that, you blabbering large-nosed Jewish survivor. It’s MY turn to suffer, the narrator seems to say. Everybody wants to talk about their suffering.
The point the author makes seems to be the question of why Jews are still talking about the Holocaust when Palestinians are being subjected to the same kind of evils in
Suffering is suffering. It does no good to compare one group of people’s suffering to another, or to minimize one in favor of another. I cannot blame the Palestinian boy who sees his family home bulldozed by Israeli soldiers and vows to take revenge any less than I blame the Holocaust survivor for finding it impossible to stop talking about his experience.
They have both earned the right to hate. And we are all responsible for acknowledging both perspectives. But even the right to such hate does not justify a lashing out that takes innocent lives, though this novel seems to suggest otherwise in its villainization of Israeli Jews.
The narrator says, “All too aware of the stereotypes that mark me out in the public square, I strive to overcome them, one by one, by doing the best I can do and putting up with the incivilities of my Jewish comrades.” Words of wisdom from the narrator who can’t stop himself from seeing Jews only through negative stereotypes. (Then again, note above my own heinous
But the person teaching the literature class tells me that while the narrator is indeed despicable when it comes to Jewish stereotyping, we are also supposed to see in him a critique of male Arab culture. The narrator’s preoccupation with his male ego and his anger over his wife’s betrayal of him on a personal level may reveal (from the author’s point of view) some of the problems of Arab male-female relationships. Indeed, at one point he goes nuts thinking that his wife may have cheated on him with another man, and suggests that such an act is worse than the suicide bombing.
The narrator, my friend suggests, cannot escape from the stereotypical Arab masculinity that forces him to see Jews with big noses and gluttonous appetites, and to see women as his private property. But sometimes he has a breakthrough: “Every Jew in
It’s unclear what we’re supposed to think in regard to this character. I find him to be pathetic, self-absorbed, and downright despicable. But students in the class tended to be more sympathetic toward him. And I guess that is the danger of this novel—if the author meant to critique Arab culture’s own biases, it’s not altogether clear. My fear is that this novel does more to reinforce negative stereotypes than critique them.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
I also just finished reading Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go. I hated it for the first few pages, with all of its cryptic talk about "carers" and "donors." But then I got really sucked in, and I can't say quite why without giving away the plot. It was another one that had been sitting on my desk for a couple of years...
So now I have Nathan Englander's The Ministry of Special Cases, which just came out in paperback, and I'm really excited about this one...
And then I have The Cyclist, which I'm trying to read this weekend...
I'm also re-reading Alicia Ostriker's For the Love of God so that I can write a review for Shofar, as well as Ezra Cappell's American Talmud for Modern Fiction Studies.
I feel like I need one more really great novel...
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Sunday, May 04, 2008
"In Support of Corporate Farms "
Stalin scythed wheat in Russian Georgia, Mao waddled knee-
deep in a rice paddy field, and Saddam Hussein tended his uncle's
melon patch on the banks of the Euphrates. Mussolini
would be the type of dictator to keep a tomato garden.
I think this might say something about human existence:
what the land makes us do. The disenfranchised Cain giving
the boulder to Abel. Closeness to a speck of ground
only makes us want more. To kill whoever needs to be killed
to get it and to hang them by their fat calloused toes
under the drying sun. Marx had it wrong. The revolution
Saturday, May 03, 2008
After Dorianne Laux's "What's Broken"
Old pinewood floors. The neck, the back—
My body bends into another body. Firelight
Bends around his shoulders, a half-moon
Around stars, around the tops of trees.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
It started off with teaching Bible as Literature. Today we talked about the rebellion of Korah against Moses, in Numbers 16. It's one of my favorite parts of the text. It's the one where Korah pisses Moses off, and so the ground opens up and swallows Korah and all of his followers--except that it's not meant to be read literally. It's a metaphor for how deep and great is the chasm between two parties who fail to communicate with each other.
And then I came home, made coffee, and laid on my couch, watching the rain through my window, and thinking about all of the work I have to do on my dissertation before tomorrow.
Then I got a lovely email, from someone I love very much. How much happier my day suddenly became. It's amazing how powerful words can be--an amazing reminder that we should always use them carefully and lovingly.
Then I thought for a while about moving to LA in a few months, and of all of the new directions my life is taking, and I was happy. I am excited to be in warm weather, to do the work I love, and to be with the people I love.
Once I finally got situated and began working on my dissertation, trying to finish a chapter on Krzysztof Kieslowski's films, I was happy again, because I remembered how much I love my project.
Of course, it would've been a happier day had I actually finished the dissertation chapter, but it was still a day worth having. Tomorrow will be stressful, but today was happy.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
I always say that religion and faith have to be thought of separately—mainly because faith is sometimes at odds with the cult. You can find this difference in other realms, including politics. We all know that laws are different from rights. We all know that certain laws may be unjust and that we have the right to oppose them if we think they are unfounded. The same goes for religion: individuals don’t accept rules that are no longer tied to their personal lives and questionings. People need meaning and only life and faith can supply this, not merely rules."
Joey Kurtzman, the interviewer, asks:
Sunday, March 16, 2008
I was driving home from the library late this afternoon, and I heard myself say, out loud, "God has blessed me with so many things I do not deserve." I don't really know where it came from, other than that it is an idea that is built into the tenets of the religion in which I was raised. Somehow there are still so many remnants of that religion, both good and bad, in my consciousness. I tend to be a person who is always surrounded by some trauma, disaster, or catastrophe of some kind. Somehow, though, I never feel sorry for myself, because I always have a crazy story to tell.
The latest catastrophe was me falling on the ice and crushing my dog's foot--not one broken bone, but countless broken bones. It's so my style to go extreme, all the way. But there have been a few really great things that have happened for me over the past couple of weeks as well. And so tonight, without realizing it, I was reflecting on them in a rare moment of positive thinking; I say "rare," since I tend to be a "my glass is two thirds empty" kind of person.
But as soon as the word "blessed" came out my mouth, it was crushed with the resounding biblical lament of King David: "Why do the wicked prosper?" And I thought to myself, how would one know if she was blessed? Then it occurred to me, that perhaps I am not blessed. Perhaps I am downright wicked, and that is why I prosper--a chilling thought.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
But, more importantly, I will have warm weather. I've had my fill of Midwestern winters. A couple of weeks ago, as a matter of fact, I slipped on the ice while carrying my little dog. When we fell, I crushed pretty much every bone in his little foot. Now, post-surgery, I will be taking care of him for the next six weeks. He's my little invalid.
We both look forward to the impending move back to Southern California. I don't want to live in a place where ice forms on the ground--very dangerous. This week is spring break, here at Purdue, and the weather was typical for this time a year: snow showers and highs of 35 degrees.
Saturday, March 01, 2008
Zimbalist struggled for the next hour to understand that move, and for the strength to resist confiding to a ten-year-old whose universe was bounded by the study house, the shul, and the door to his mother's kitchen, the sorrow and dark rapture of Zimbalist's love for the dying widow, how some secret thirst of his own was quenched every time he dribbled cool water through her peeling lips. They played through the remainder of their hour without further conversation. But when it was time for the boy to go, he turned in the doorway of the shop on Ringelblum Avenue and took hold of Zimbalist's sleeve.
I couldn't resist rendering the first sentence in bold. This is why I love Agamben, and this is also why I actually have a good idea for my dissertation.
For the one who knows, it is felt as an impossibility of speaking; for the one who speaks it is experienced as an equally bitter impossibility to know. [new paragraph] In 1928, Ludwig Binswanger published a study bearing the significant title The Vital Function and Internal History of Life. Introducing into psychiatric terminology a phenomenological vocabulary that is still imprecise, Binswanger deelops the idea of a fundamental heterogeneity between the plane of the physical and psychical vital functions that take place in an organism and in personal consciousness, in which the lived experiences of an individual are organized into an inner unitary history.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Judaism is a religion of Job, not just Sunday School, and Allen's extended meditations on the presence or absence of moral order are the essence of the Jewish ethical conscience.
Though Allen has seemingly rejected Judaism as a religion, Michaelson argues that Allen's later films, which aren't typically seen as falling into the same autobiographical vein as most of his earlier ones, are precisely and even traditionally Jewish. Rather than accept theodicy or assert that God knows all, the films depict an internal conflict about what, exactly, constitutes good and evil in this world. They are, in Michaelson's view (and I think I agree to a certain extent), more or less meditations, like the book of Job, on justice and what it means to be ethical.
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Like most academics, I'm an obsessive highlighter and note-taker. Here, however, I found myself highlighting not the things that I would go back and try to integrate into an academic essay, but those things that somehow resonated with me on a personal level. One of the most intriguing things about this text is the idea of hundreds of tefillin being cast over the sides of ships by people who were fleeing the pogroms and their former lives in Russia and Eastern Europe. It's not the main point of the story, but it surfaces and re-surfaces on a few occasions.
Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you this day shall be on your heart. . . You shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
And if you listen to my commandments...then I will give the land rain in its proper season, early rain and late rain, and you will harvest your grain and wine and oil. I will give grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied. Take care, lest your heart be deceived and you turn away and serve other gods and worship them. For then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and he will stop up the heavens and there will be no rain; the earth will not yield its produce, and you will soon disappear from the good land which the Lord gives you (110).
Saturday, January 19, 2008
I'm currently co-guest-editing an issue of Modern Fiction Studies. The topic is Levinas and Narrative, and we have finally chosen an image for the cover of the issue (above). It's a piece called "Interpretation" (2003) by Samuel Bak, who is one of my favorite artists of all time. Isn't it lovely?
You can see more of Bak's work here.
Friday, January 18, 2008
According to an article over at the Forward, Ms Magazine has
refused to run the above advertisement, which features images of Israel’s top female political leaders, and the American Jewish Congress is not too happy about this.
The ad was submitted by the American Jewish Congress to Ms. Magazine, and spotlighted photographs of Dorit Beinisch, president of Israel’s Supreme Court; Tzipi Livni, Israel’s foreign minister, and Dalia Itzik, speaker of the Knesset, over the text, “This is Israel.”
According to the AJCongress, Ms. initially approved the ad but then reversed course, saying that the ad would “set off a firestorm.”
Says AJCongress President Richard Gordon: “Since there is nothing about the ad itself that is offensive, it is obviously the nationality of the women pictured that the management of Ms. fears their readership would find objectionable. For a publication that holds itself out to be in the forefront of the women’s movement, this is nothing short of disgusting and despicable.”
But according to Ms. Magazine’s executive editor, Kathy Spillar, it's not "the women’s nationality but their party affiliation that was the problem. Two of the featured officials, Itzik and Livni, are both members of the Kadima political party," and thus, Spillar said, "the ad would leave Ms. Magazine open to the charge of political favoritism."
The AJCongress created the ad to highlight the fact that women now occupy leading positions in Israel’s executive, legislative and political branches. In response, a Ms. representative said that “we would love to have an ad from you on women’s empowerment, or reproductive freedom, but not on this,” according to the AJCongress.
But, for me, this is the kicker:
“Not only could the ad be seen as favoring certain political parties within Israel over other parties, but also with its slogan, ‘This is Israel,’ the ad implied that women in Israel hold equal positions of power with men,” she said. “Israel, like every other country, has far to go to reach equality for women.”
Now, I don't think anyone is going to argue that the equality gap between men and women has completely closed in any nation. But it's hard to deny that there are some countries that have done a much better job of narrowing this gap than others. In particular, I can think of many countries in the same region as Israel (i.e. Saudi Arabia, where women can't even drive cars) that have done virtually nothing to rectify this situation. In my opinion, the position of women in Israel is one of the best in the world, and the fact that women can hold positions of political influence in Israel should be celebrated by a feminist magazine, especially when considered in contrast to other countries in the Middle and Near East.
I don't know that I agree with the political ideologies of all three of these Israeli women, but I do appreciate the fact that they have been given the opportunity, as women, to hold these positions of power, and I think that is something worth celebrating (or, at least, acknowledging). But the only thing worth acknowledging here is the ease with which Ms. Magazine is able to flaunt its own political and ideological biases at the expense of their own cause.
Monday, January 07, 2008
I just discovered this link over at Jewcy.com. It's a piece about five brands the Nazis gave us.
The list includes:
1. Volkswagen -- At this point, is there anyone who does not know that Volkswagens were little Nazi-mobiles designed by none other than Ferdinand Porsche?
Porsche's partner in masterminding the Beetle was also the mastermind of World War II: that crazy, affable buffoon Hitler. Hitler specifically wanted a cheap, sturdy vehicle everyone in Germany would be able to drive. Being the opportunistic businessman that he was, Porsche quickly whipped up the Volkswagen Beetle and lobbied heavily for the Fuhrer's approval. Soon, Porsche had his slave labor factories churning them out by the thousands, and eventually, flying out of dealerships.2. IBM -- Yeah, I didn't know about this one, but it's kind of creepy.
According to a book a guy wrote about it, as soon as the Nazis invaded a country, they would overhaul the census system using IBM punch cards. Then they'd track down every Jew, Gypsy and any other non-Aryan until they were all rounded up onto cattle carts. And, next stop wasn't Space Mountain.3. Bayer -- Once proud partial owner of the company that churned out Zyklon B, which means that Bayer was invested not only in getting rid of headaches and other physical ailments, but also in snuffing out Jewish vermin.
On one hand, the company that actually manufactured the gas was just partially owned by IG Farben, and Bayer was just one part of IG Farben. It's like the way we don't think of General Electric as a military contractor, because they make so many other things.4. Siemens -- Oh, yeah, I'd forgotten about this one. These guys think it's cool to trademark the name "Zyklon" for a range of home products. No, that's not offensive at all.
Bayer, though, has continued some of its old douchebaggery into the modern era. First off, Aspirin was invented by a Jewish man, Arthur Eichengrun, whose name Bayer still refuses to acknowledge. To this day, the "official" history of the company denies Eichengrun's involvement in the invention of aspirin, and states that an Aryan invented the drug, because as we all know, Aryans are better at everything.
One such Bayer-employed Aryan was a nice, thoughtful fellow by the name of Josef Mengele, who Bayer sponsored to seek out medical discoveries in the important field of torturing people to death.
Though they weren't the only company at the time supplying the German war effort, they were certainly the most prolific. Siemens was in charge of Germany's rail infrastructure, communications, power generation ... the list goes on. If the Reichstag was the brain behind the war, Siemens was definitely the right hand that stroked Hitler to ecstatic glory.5. HUGO BOSS -- Now, this came as a shocker. I had never heard this, but apparently SS soldiers and even Hitler Youth were stylin' in Hugo Boss uniforms. I just bought a Hugo Boss shirt for someone this past holiday season. It's nice to know that I spent $155 on Nazi wear.
Members of the Hitler Youth were also decked out in Boss wear, teaching children an early lesson in looking good whilst beating up minorities.