Credit when due

It’s been quite awhile since TOC’s poster child for woke-feminist cluelessness made an appearance here. She first came to my notice in March, 2006, before “woke” was a thing.

There was a controversy at the time over the admittance to Yale of Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, who had been a Taliban ‘diplomat’ in the Afghan Embassy in Islamabad in 1998, then a ‘roving ambassador’ in 2000. He apparently did not even possess a GED.

Sentilles found her new extreme affirmative action classmate unremarkable 5 years after 9/11, when we well knew how the Taliban treat women.

One striking aspect of this controversy is the reaction from Yale’s liberal community. Della Sentilles, a Yale senior, recently wrote a piece for the Yale Daily News denouncing such manifestations of rampant misogyny at Yale as the shortage of tenured female professors and poor childcare options. On her blog, a reader asked Sentilles about the presence at Yale of a former spokesman for one of the world’s most misogynistic regimes. Her reply: ”As a white American feminist, I do not feel comfortable making statements or judgments about other cultures, especially statements that suggest one culture is more sexist and repressive than another. American feminism is often linked to and manipulated by the state in order to further its own imperialist ends.”

No shit, Sherlock, though who is the subject and who the object of the imperialism could be debated. Let’s just say it’s a symbiotic relationship.

So. A “shortage of tenured female professors and poor childcare options” is a result of our horrible misogyny, while any comment on excluding females from education entirely, a national dress code requiring Burqas at pain of severe beating, and mass public execution of women by gun-shot in the back of the head… would be culturally inappropriate?

In June, 2006 I applauded pushback on this from self described radical feminist Phyllis Chesler: An American Jew who had been married to an Afghan and lived in a harem in Afghanistan. Go figure.

Unlike Sentilles, Chesler was able to render an opinion of the culture. It seems her 2005 book, The Death of Feminism: What’s Next in the Struggle for Women’s Freedom, had not reached Yale.

It looks like Sentilles is now working for the DOJ. Naturally.

Chesler is actually doing something about Afghan women now trapped behind Taliban lines by Feckless Joe. She writes about it here:
Team of Radical Feminists Rescues Thirty Afghan Feminists

Props to Phyllis Chesler! And to those who helped her, even if she’s not sure who all of them are. I say that because I found this a little curious.

“She obtained vital paperwork, helped remotely guide our Afghan women through the streets to the airport, and was perhaps aided by some on-the-ground muscle. Of this, I am not sure.”

I guess there may have been some men involved. And not remotely. They aren’t exactly dismissed, but the word “objectification” comes to mind. I probably wouldn’t have had that reaction if the essay had not been quite so celebratory of radical feminist bona fides.

A nod to the undoubted expertise and courage of such men wouldn’t have been so difficult. Even less difficult would be simply to omit the comment, if you are “not sure.”

There certainly was some of that “muscle” going around in other rescues, and I can’t imagine it would not have been highly appreciated by the evacuees. Maybe critical to their escape.
As Biden Abandoned Afghan Allies, Retired US Special Ops Hatched “Operation Pineapple Express” – Rescuing Over 600 From Taliban Slaughter

In Bari Weiss’ words:

I’ve been thinking a lot these past two weeks about luck. The luck of where we are born. The luck of the parents we are born to. And, right now, the luck of who we know.

Knowing — or having proximity to someone who knows my well-placed friend, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — is a matter of life or death for untold numbers of Afghans…

That’s in an intro to an essay by another woman, Melissa Chen, a classical liberal perhaps less attuned, shall we say, to radical feminism. Bari Weiss introduces Chen:

Melissa co-founded an organization called Ideas Beyond Borders, which digitizes and translates English books and articles into Arabic. And not just any books: Books like Orwell’s ‘“Nineteen Eighty-Four,” Steven Pinker’s “Enlightenment Now,” and a graphic novel based on John Stuart Mill’s “On Liberty.” Works that promote reason, pluralism and liberty. Suffice it to say the translators she works with in places like Egypt, Syria and Iraq do so at great risk.

Because of her connections in the Middle East — and because she is the kind of person who lives by her principles — it did not surprise me that she found herself involved in the efforts to save Afghans from the horrors of the Taliban. She shares some of the details of those remarkable efforts in the essay below.

Inside the Underground Railroad Out of Afghanistan

It was at this point that Esther told me she found out about a WhatsApp group with roughly 15 members including a former CIA agent and a former Marine who had connections on the ground. They had successfully extracted other girls from the school and felt they could do the same for Rahima…

As for me, as Esther had been working on getting Rahima out, I had been fretting over a list. On August 17, I was part of a group that was given access to a list of 500 names of Afghan aid workers, human rights activists, and religious and ethnic minorities. When it became clear that the American government wasn’t doing enough, such lists started circulating among various volunteers. My heart sank when the person in charge of flight manifests asked us to split the list into “high priority” and just “priority.”

By Wednesday night, August 25, shortly after receiving a memo from the U.S. military that signed off with a bleak “may God be with you all,” I was asked to cut my evacuation list down to just five people.

Might there have been a shortage of “muscle?” I’m asking you, Joe.

Finally, compare and contrast Chesler and Chen with what passes for feminism among the #METOO wokerati. It’a not just Afghani women abandoned by the corrupt shell of feminism, it’s any inconvenient female.
TIME’S UP FOR TINA TCHEN

Everybody Burn a Flag with Mohammed’s Image Day

James Taranto, whose missives I read daily and greatly appreciate, has decided that “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” is maybe not a good idea:

Everybody Burn the Flag
If we don’t act like inconsiderate jerks, the terrorists will have won!


He describes an epiphany on the subject, occasioned by an Ann Althouse post. I extensively quote Mr. Taranto’s thoughts here because I have reactions to many of them.

The “South Park” Muhammad meshugass in turn inspired a joke that is being taken too seriously. MyNorthwest.com, the Web site of three Seattle radio stations, reports that Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris “wanted to counter the fear. She has declared May 20th ‘Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.’ ” The story reproduces Norris’s strip, which depicts an anthropomorphic teacup declaring, “I am the real likeness of Mohammad” and other household items–a cherry, a domino, a spool of thread–claiming that, no, they are the prophet’s image.

Blogress Ann Althouse notes that commentators across the political spectrum–Glenn Reynolds, HotAir.com, Dan Savage, Reason magazine–are endorsing the idea, apparently in all seriousness. Which prompts an update to the MyNorthwest.com story:

After the massive response to the cartoon Norris posted this on her website:

I make cartoons about current, cultural events. I made a cartoon of a “poster” entitled “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!” with a nonexistent group’s name–Citizens Against Citizens Against Humor–drawn on the cartoon also. I did not intend for my cartoon to go viral. I did not intend to be the focus of any “group.” I practice the first amendment by drawing what I wish. This particular cartoon of a “poster” seems to have struck a gigantic nerve, something I was totally unprepared for. I am going back to the drawing table now!

Our reflexive response to “Everybody Draw Mohammad Day”–which we too thought was serious, not having seen Norris’s cartoon or her disclaimer–was sympathetic. But Althouse prompted us to reconsider. Here is her objection:

Depictions of Muhammad offend millions of Muslims who are no part of the violent threats. In pushing back some people, you also hurt a lot of people who aren’t doing anything. . . .

I don’t like the in-your-face message that we don’t care about what other people hold sacred. …

At the same time, real artists like the “South Park” guys or (maybe) Andre Serrano should go on with their work, using shock to the extent that they see fit. Shock is an old artist’s move. Epater la bourgeoisie. Shock will get a reaction, and it will make some people mad. They are allowed to get mad. That was the point. Of course, they’ll have to control their violent impulses.

People need to learn to deal with getting mad when they hear or see speech that enrages them, even when it is intended to enrage them. But how are we outsiders to the artwork supposed to contribute the the [sic] process of their learning how to deal with free expression?

…Until 1989, it was a crime in some states to burn the American flag as a political statement. In Texas v. Johnson the U.S. Supreme Court held that this is protected symbolic speech. In ensuing years members of Congress repeatedly tried to propose a constitutional amendment permitting the criminalization of flag burning. It is the view of this column that flag burning is and should remain protected speech. We deplore it nonetheless, and we think holding an “Everybody Burn the Flag Day” would be stupid, obnoxious and counterproductive if one seeks to persuade others that flag burning should be tolerated.

…[W]e would not endorse or participate in an “Everybody Shout a Racial Slur Day” or an “Everybody Deny the Holocaust Day” to make the point.

Why is “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” different? Because the taboo against depictions of Muhammad is not a part of America’s common culture. The taboos against flag burning, racial slurs and Holocaust denial are. The problem with the “in-your-face message” of “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” is not just that it is inconsiderate of the sensibilities of others, but that it defines those others–Muslims–as being outside of our culture, unworthy of the courtesy we readily accord to insiders. It is an unwise message to send, assuming that one does not wish to make an enemy of the entire Muslim world.

First of all, “Everybody draw Mohammed Day” could be a joke if death threats weren’t involved. However, that isn’t the case, and self-censorship is not how we encourage moderate Muslims living in our culture to speak out against their fanatic co-religionists. What’s the message for moderates? What’s the message for the fanatics?

Second, the question of racial slurs and Holocaust denial are trademarks of those very Islamist fundamentalists being defended because of their association with Muslims who neither foam at the mouth, nor open it to complain about their brethren.

If fanatic Muslims can say these things in America, I’ll be damned if I’ll accept the idea we can’t say they are idiots. If they can enforce this and other death penalty offenses in their own countries then they live in inferior cultures, and I’ll be damned if I’ll encourage them to intimidate ours.

Third, for Taranto’s main analogy to hold we would be talking about death threats over a drawing of somebody burning our flag. Tangentially, we might consider the insult to our culture they display in stomping on our flag. It’s a bigger deal for them than burning, as I understand it.

Fourth, I would say of flag burning, as has SCOTUS, “Get over it.”

Fifth, maybe the “millions of Muslims who are no part of the violent threats” should push back on those Muslims who are part of violent threats. That way Islam might only be subjected to the same frequency and intensity of ridicule that every other religion has experienced at the hands of South Park. Oh, wait, that would be a lot worse wouldn’t it?

Sixth, May 20th is still “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” even if the originator of the idea has withdrawn from fear of beheading.

Finally, we don’t, in fact, “care about what other people hold sacred,” when it arises from the same spirit and intellectual rigor as voodoo. We do insist, “[T]hey’ll have to control their violent impulses.” And why should they not control their violent impulses whether the offender is a “real” artist or not?

We can burn our own flag because that only offends some of us, but we’d better not be offending others to whom we offer the privilege of burning our flag and protection for calling us infidels who deserve to die.

“The problem with the “in-your-face message” of “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” is not just that it is inconsiderate of the sensibilities of others, but that it defines those others–Muslims–as being outside of our culture, unworthy of the courtesy we readily accord to insiders.” Yes it does define those who advertise, or acquiesce to, the idea that a drawing is worthy of death as “outside our culture.” What’s wrong with that?

If we grant the power to ridicule, then we grant the power to ridicule. That’s how it is in our culture. As Mark Steyn points out:

…In a more culturally confident age, the British in India were faced with the practice of “suttee” – the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. Gen. Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural:

“You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks, and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.”

Instead of cultural confidence, we have Ann Althouse writing this:

In pushing back some people, you also hurt a lot of people who aren’t doing anything (other than protecting their own interests by declining to pressure the extremists who are hurting the reputation of their religion).

Allowing your religion to come into disrepute is “protecting” your interests? I’d call it a cultural judgment with which you acquiesce through your silence. Not unlike those in India who were quite happy to watch suttee. Or as Martin Niemöller said of the Nazis, “First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews…” Do these moderate Muslims think they are not targets just as soon as practicable?

And Althouse goes on to this, reminiscent of Della Sentilles,

…how are we outsiders to the artwork supposed to contribute the the [sic] process of their learning how to deal with free expression?

Well, they’ve had several hundred years to acclimate. I mean, we assimilated algebra, but there hasn’t been much since.

It’s – “Get a life. When you moderate Muslims rise up and call farce on the Islamic leaders who urge a new holocaust and describe America as the Great Satan, then maybe we’ll think about observing your loosely held 12th Century iconographic distinctions.” Of course, if you get that far, we probably won’t have to.

(For the Andre Serrano reference, see TOC’s own effort to offend every religion here.)

Update 8:31:
Regarding the third point: Actually, we would be talking about death threats over a drawing of somebody burning a bear suit rumored to contain our flag, but didn’t.

What is Feminism?

Megan McArdle wonders whether to call herself a feminist:

…I differ from the feminist mainstream on many of the questions of how we should change… I don’t think that subsidized childcare should be a civil right, I think comparable worth is a very bad idea, and I don’t view abortion rights as fundamentally a question of female equality, but rather as an incredibly complicated attempt to trade off two important and incommensurable values that has no overwhelmingly obvious answer.

…The feminist movement has a right to define what constitutes being a member, and I’m not going to appropriate their label if it bothers them…

…But that does leave women (and I suppose men) like me with a bothersome question: what do we call ourselves? I share a lot of opinions on structural cultural issues with feminists, even when we disagree on the solutions these imply; I think we’ve come a long way, baby, but I don’t think we’re quite there yet. If I am to leave feminists in peace, I need my own word. Suggestions are welcome.

Gynoequist?

Heather D. McDonald examines the consequences of Della Sentillianism:

The struggle for women’s equality comes down to this: the men’s grill in the Phoenix Country Club has television and a bar, while the women’s grill has neither of those amenities—though it soon will, following renovation. The New York Times deems the separate and unequal Phoenix grill rooms so laden with national significance as to merit front-page treatment, which it provided on Saturday.

Have the Times get back to me regarding the TV in the Phoenix Country Club women’s grill after clitorectomies have been abolished and honor killing is outlawed.

Camille Paglia provides some history and some suggestions:

…What precisely is feminism? Is it a theory, an ideology, or a praxis (that is, a program for action)? … Who is or is not a feminist, and who defines it? Who confers legitimacy or authenticity? … Who declares, and on what authority, what is or is not permissible to think or say about gender issues?

…In general, feminist theory has failed to acknowledge how much it owes to the Western tradition of civil liberties… Second, feminist theory has failed to acknowledge how much the emergence of modern feminism owes to capitalism and the industrial revolution, which transformed the economy, expanded the professions, and gave women for the first time in history the opportunity to earn their own livings and to escape dependency on father or husband.

…In the 1970s, women’s studies courses and programs were created in profusion… Women’s studies was assembled haphazardly and piecemeal, without due consideration of what the scholarly study of gender ought to entail. The victim-centered agenda of the current women’s movement was adopted wholesale, an ideological bias that neither women’s studies nor its successor, gender studies, has been able to shed.

…In conclusion, my proposals for reform are as follows. First of all, science must be made a fundamental component of all women’s or gender studies programs. Second, every such program must be assessed by qualified faculty (not administrators or politicians) for ideological bias. The writings of conservative opponents of feminism, as well as of dissident feminists, must be included. Without such diversity, students are getting indoctrination, not education.

My final recommendation for reform is a massive rollback of the paternalistic system of grievance committees and other meddlesome bureaucratic contrivances which have turned American college campuses into womblike customer-service resorts. …we must stop seeing everything in life through the narrow lens of gender. If women expect equal treatment in society, they must stop asking for infantilizing special protections. With freedom comes personal responsibility.

Indeed. Fund your own damn bar and buy your own damn television. Or maybe build your own golf course where you can exclude men entirely. Or, maybe, get publicly and officially outraged by the treatment of women in those cultures clinging to the 14th century, and stop your narcissistic whining.

Do one-tenth as much for those women as has the United States military you generally so doctrinally despise.

Update 8:30PM. From the comments.

Like you, I’m more concerned about the women who don’t yet have even the most basic of human rights.

Ellen R. Sheeley, Author
“Reclaiming Honor in Jordan”
http://www.redroom.com/author/ellen-r-sheeley

What is a black female to do? Doctrinairily, that is.

Over the weekend we were treated to barrage and counter-barrage on the subject of the Hillary Clinton campaign’s flirtation with the race card. After her husband dismissed Barack Obama’s campaign as a “fairy tale,” Hillary seemed to imply that Lyndon Johnson’s contribution to civil rights progress was more important than Dr. Martin Luther King’s. (Never mind that it was Republicans in Congress who supplied the votes to override Dixiecrat filibusters.) She went on to say “When they say to themselves, OK, I have a choice between a truly inspirational speaker (Obama) who has not done the kind of spade work with the sort of experience that another candidate has…” Now, I don’t subscribe to the PC BS that would take offense to that; but as a liberal Democrat, and wife of the first black President, she should have known it would get some people upset.

This allowed the blogosphere to go nuts over a comment by NY State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo that wasn’t even directed at Obama.

It’s not a TV-crazed race, you know, you can’t just buy your way through that race … It doesn’t work that way, it’s frankly a more demanding process. You have to get on a bus, you have to go into a diner, you have to shake hands, you have to sit down with 10 people in a living room.

You can’t shuck and jive at a press conference, you can’t just put off reporters, because you have real people looking at you saying answer the question, you know, and all those moves you can make with the press don’t work when you’re in someone’s living room.

“And I think it’s good for the candidates. I think it makes the candidates communicate in a way that works with real people because you know in a living room right away whether or not you’re communicating. And I think the questions are good and I think the scrutiny is good …

I’m having trouble being serious about this, but if it comes down to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton in one corner and Gloria Steinem and Kim Gandy in the other, I know where I’d place my bet.

All this is too bad, and I say that with less irony than you might think. Some will argue that having been the party of identity politics for decades the Dems deserve a nasty internal battle, but the showdown between the politics of sex and the politics of race only provides soapboxes for gender feminists and race baiters. If your impulse is to vote for someone based either on their genitalia or on their melanin content, it would be better if you just don’t bother.

But why bring sex into it, you might ask? Well, last week Gloria Steinem felt compelled to play the “gender card” on behalf of Hillary Clinton. Steinem thinks that’s trump. She wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times titled Women Are Never Front-Runners.

Steinem went on to explain why Hillary’s presidential “inevitability” was illusory. Predictably, Steinem identified the cause as men. Young women failed to vote reflexively for Hillary in Iowa because they had been intimidated. Apparently they didn’t get Gloria’s 1975 memo about The Patriarchy. These women had also not been paying sufficient attention to Della Sentilles’ assertions that feminism is only for white women of privilege.

Steinem didn’t stop with complaining about men, however, she had to discuss how unfair it was that Barack Obama hadn’t suffered from a racist backlash:

But what worries me is that he [Obama] is seen as unifying by his race while she [Clinton] is seen as divisive by her sex.

Now, I thought Obama’s Iowa victory was proof of an ability to unify across the demographic continuum. I mean, if every black person in Iowa, but no others, had voted for him he could not have won. Some not-of-color people must have screwed up, or maybe it was a massive mulatto vote.

Steinem’s not finished, however:

What worries me is that she is accused of “playing the gender card” when citing the old boys’ club, while he is seen as unifying by citing civil rights confrontations. [An MLK reference preceding Hillary’s gaffe. Talking point?]

What worries me is that male Iowa voters were seen as gender-free when supporting their own, while female voters were seen as biased if they did and disloyal if they didn’t. [This is the females were intimidated bit. They don’t have the courage of their convictions.]

Seen by whom, Gloria? The vast right wing conspiracy of young females who could project their own hopes onto the blank liberal slate of Barack Obama more easily than they could onto a too well known politician of personal destruction? Did you ever consider that, in addition to having run a crappy campaign based on being the front runner, Hillary actually is divisive across all demographics because of her history, actions and beliefs?

That is, if Hillary is seen to be a congenital liar trying to trade on her spouse’s experience, maybe it’s because she’s a congenital liar trying to trade on her spouse’s experience. We suspect this from observation, not misogyny. From a woman’s perspective, one might think Hillary’s acceptance of, and collusion in, her husband’s harassment of women is a negative. Not to mention his utter disrespect for her. In a world where we all understood common English words she’d be an embarrassment to feminists.

If the cause of women’s disdain for Hillary is women’s fear of disapproval; then despite 35 years of Ms magazine and the ashes of thousands of brassieres, feminism has accomplished exactly nothing. Therein, I think, lies Steinem’s angst.

As noted, since Steinem’s article appeared in the NYT, we’ve seen several charges of racism thrown at the Clintons. With the race card now in play we may well look back at Steinem’s screed as the beginning of some pretty ugly sniping among the Democrats. Steinem anticipates this, even while making an argument that sex is more important, oppression-wise, than race:

Senators Clinton and Obama have to be careful not to let a healthy debate turn into the kind of hostility that the news media love.

Too late, Gloria. And, as I say, you may well have fired the first shot.

Ms Steinem closed her essay with an exhortation to vote for “the woman:”

We have to be able to say: “I’m supporting her because she’ll be a great president and because she’s a woman.”

In fact, we don’t have to be able to say that at all. The logic is all too obvious. Beyond that, since Ms Steinem provided no evidence as to her first assertion, and since only the second is demonstrably true, we are left with nothing but her unsubstantiated opinion that Hillary would be even as good as Barack as president.

Since policy differences between a Clinton and an Obama administration would be minimal, Hillary is left with only one message – she has “experience.” Since this experience is primarily that of being someone’s wife, it seems a strange argument for a feminist to swallow.

Nobody seriously believes Hillary’s experience as First Lady prepared her to be President. In fact, dwelling on this only reminds us of her time in the White House. Nothing good for her campaign can come of that.

So Steinem says, “Vote for the woman, not the black guy. She deserves it because she’s good enough.”

To close, I’ll give you the view of two other observers whose credentials are as least as good as Ms Steinem’s on the matter. We have this from alpha-feminist and Al Gore sartorial consultant, Naomi Wolf:

Message, not gender, turns voters off Clinton

[Hillary’s presidential hopes] …could be fading if primary voters opt for the promise of hope and change projected by Obama over Clinton’s experience and readiness to lead.

Those issues rather than gender will determine whether the U.S. senator from New York and wife of former President Bill Clinton stands or falls, according to Naomi Wolf, author of the 1991 bestseller “The Beauty Myth” and other books.

“None of the polling or the focus groups indicate that people are … (snubbing) her because she is a woman but because of a deficit in how she is projecting leadership,” Wolf said.

…Even if U.S. feminists can chew on many issues such as workplace constraints and lack of widely available cheap child care, few female voters view Clinton as a “standard bearer” for their cause because women span the spectrum of opinion and leaders already seek out their votes by responding to some of their concerns, Wolf said.

Finally, here’s Michael Barone, with the analysis Steinem should have considered.

Young Women, Feminism, and Hillary Clinton

Today’s young women voters are different. They were not raised by mothers who told them they had a duty to stay home with their children. They were raised by mothers who told them they had all sorts of choices they could choose. …These young women don’t react defensively to antichoice politicians and don’t feel a need to be liberated from restraints that were never urged on them. In fact, it appears that the percentage of mothers of children under 5 not working outside the home has been on the increase for a decade or so. Politically, the idea of a first woman president does not transfix them-or at least not enough for them to prefer Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama. At least in the Iowa caucuses.

This would actually be counted as a success for feminism, if feminism were about what’s good for women instead of what Gloria Steinem sees as her legacy.