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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

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Ugliness of a beauty contest A couple of days back I suggested here that it would be interesting to see which way the National Organization of Women would go on the Nigerian anti-Miss World riots. Jill Nelson is hardly NOW but she makes my point:

"What this is really about is men protecting men’s domination of women across geography and religion to perpetuate the tyranny of an acceptable womanhood created and enforced by men."

Well, no. What it is about is the surge of the 13th century's view of what is acceptable in defence of Islam. Murdering people in the street and burning churches has nothing at all to do with male/female issues.

Nelson's wonderfully even handed conclusion is:

"While I’m well aware of both the real impact and profound symbolism of exporting Western values, standards and most of all products, around the world as part of globalization, I don’t believe that Muslim or Christian men are really concerned about the rights of women. As far as I’m concerned it’s equally disrespectful and abusive to have women prancing around a stage in bathing suits for cash or walking the streets shrouded in burkas in order to survive."

The point she misses or choses to ignore is the bathing suit clad women are volunteers. We might not like their choice but it is theirs to make. The women in burkas risk beatings or even death at the hands of Islamist religious police. No Western woman who declines to participate in the Miss World Contest will have either the state or the mullahs flail or stone her.

Ms. Nelson calls for what she lamely describes as,

"Certainly there must be a way for us to join in a discussion of how we believe the world can become more fair and equitable. If nothing else, we must raise our voices and declare that there must be an end to intolerance and violence."

Such as discussion can only be joined when people like Ms. Nelson stop making specious moral equivilancies between bathing suited volunteers and burka bound slaves and the societies which produce either.


Osama/Saddam As always Debka files information is a bit too good to be true - but what if?

Just as there are conspiracy theorists who still cling to the belief the CIA ran 9/11, there is lots of room to suggest that binLaden has been deliberately "lost" by Western intelligence. The Empty Quarter is as good a place as any for him to have gone to ground. And it has the advantage that the American's unwillingness to offend the House of Saud precludes sending in significant military resources.

The link up with Saddam is a stretch - after all it was only a few days ago that Debka Files reported that Saddam was making a deal with Lybia to take him and his family in case of attack.

binLaden and Saddam would make odd cave mates - Saddam is hardly pious. However, the old saw of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" could well operate here.


Working Day I managed to get the first 600 words of my interview with Guy Vanderhaeghe into rough. I'll finish the draft in the morning and then polish for a day or two. No rush as the Sun has two of my reviews pending....grrr. The Citzen has a review and an interview with Amir Aczel....I have another Amir piece to write for the Edmonton Journal and one short review and a revised version of the interview with Amir for the Times Colonist.

I had a quick chat with Martin Levin today. Nice sounding man. I was calling to check the quote I want to use in my GV interview....namely that The Last Crossing is the best book ML has read this year. Then I have to call David Kent and get his permission to use his remark over drinks to the same effect. I hope I can get som work from Levin as there is no question that the Globe is the leading place to review books in Canada.

Then off to get cartridges for the printer. Even with 15% off they were still nearly $40.00. But if the Paradox project is to fly I have to be able to make up catalogues and order sheets.

I have just finished another Patrick O'Brian novel. That is three in a little over three weeks which is the beginning of madness. O'Brian has the great virtue of writing well. There is enough tension in the plot to keep you reading; but the real value is in Aubrey and Maturin's friendship and the sense of how the Royal Navy really did rule the waves.

I am almost finished James Morris' Trilogy of Empire and enjoying it throughly. It came up when I interviewed Vanderhaeghe. The Victorians had something - I am inclined to think clarity of purpose. Though one might argue it was simply arriving at the Industrial revolution first.