Saturday, March 29, 2014

I Hate The War

We're going to deal with a few e-mails on this "I Hate The War."  First up, a woman wrote, "I'm not a member of your community so my opinion may not matter but I still can't get over that you highlighted some actress's right-wing talk show.  I don't think I'll ever forget that."

I'm so glad that something left a lasting impression on you.

Thing is, though?  You're not the only person who reads this site.  And, honestly, I didn't even know you existed until you e-mailed.

The woman's e-mailing about Thursday's snapshot:

March 8, 2014, International Women's Day, Iraqi women protested in Baghdad against Nouri al-Maliki's proposed bill which would allow father's to marry off daughters as young as nine-years-old, strip away the need for consent to sex,  and would strip custodial rights from mothers.  The State Dept only commented when pressed during a briefing.  The White House -- despite pretending to support women -- has still had no public statement.

While Women's Media Center and Ms. magazine's blog have still not had time to address the issue a conservative radio talk show has.

Actress Janine Turner first garnered attention on Behind The Screen and then played Laura Templeton on General Hospital, Maggie on Northern Exposure and Dana on Strong Medicine.  Janine's way to the right of me (and I'm way, way to the left of her), which is fine.   I didn't know she had a radio show.

  • Ashe Schow: In Iraq: Girls can marry @ 9 yrs. old- In America: Feminists are trying to "Ban Bossy": LISTEN HERE:

  • We'll do an excerpt of her show but, to be accurate, Ashe Schow is characterizing a bill as a law.  The offensive bill has not yet been passed by the Iraqi parliament.  (It did pass Nouri's Council of Ministers.)

    Asche Schow: Well, in Iraq, they just passed this law that's basically saying a man is basically entitled to have sex with his wife whenever he wants, whether she wants to or not -- it's essentially spousal rape.  The law also allows for girls to be married as young as nine and basically says that a woman can't leave her house without a man's permission -- basically nothing without a man.  And this is a law that they passed to put these old, old world -- decades old things into law, legitimizing it all.  Meanwhile, in America, feminist women aren't talking about that.  They want to ban the word "bossy," saying that this hurts girls and this stops girls from achieving things when what really stops girls from achieving things is being marries at the age of nine and being told that you are property and that kind of stuff.

    Janine Turner:  I agree with you.

    Ashe Schow:  But the word "bossy"?

    Janine Turner:  I know, it's just unbelievable.  I'm glad you brought this to everyone's attention, Ashe, because not only that, it says here that in Iraq some things that stand out to me in your article, in your opinion and editorial here, one is that they automatically can get married at -- no, girls can get married now by law by the age of nine and the husband automatically gets custody of these girls.  Nine!  Nine.  And another thing that appears to me is that they had a protest in Iraq -- and this speaks volumes, I believe -- two dozen women protested, it's only 24 women.  That goes to show how frightening it is and how they really worried about probably their lives and why more couldn't go out and protest. 

    Ashe Schow: Right.  Exactly.  And meanwhile I protested this article like I put up a meme saying basically the same thing is in the article and a whole bunch of American feminists attacked me for it saying like, "How dare you equate the two."  It's not me who's equating the two, it's them that are saying that the word "bossy" is just as terrible in America as spousal rape is in the Middle East. That's equating the issues.  I'm saying they are not the same and you need some perspective and you need to take a look and say, "Maybe this isn't such a big deal after all when they [. . .]"

    "Bossy" is a word.  Were it to be banned, a new word would pop up. The problem isn't the word, it's the way girls are seen.  And that could be addressed and should be.  But that's not what the ban campaign is about.  It's about a faux feminist, Sheryl Sandberg, promoting her tired wares.  This is corporatism, it's not feminism. [If this is news to you, refer to Susan Faludi's "Facebook Feminism, Like It or Not" (The Baffler).]

    The e-mailer didn't like that.

    But the Iraqi women that read this site?  The ones in Iraq who feel like they have little support from the global community?

    Three of them e-mailed to say they were glad that Janine Turner addressed the issue of the law which would make spousal rape legal, allow fathers to marry off their daughters as young as eight-years-old, and many other awful things.  One even knew who Janine was.  She knew her from the film Cliffhanger which, she explained,  is very popular on the pirated DVD market there.  (I'd only noted Janine's TV work, my bad.)

    To the two who'd never heard of Janine Turner before the snapshot and to the one who knew her from Cliffhanger, it mattered that an American radio talk show addressed the issue.  They weren't caught up in right or left labels, just glad to know that the issue mattered to women outside of Iraq, mattered enough for them to speak out.

    For those who've missed it (and many have unless they read Arabic), after women protested against the bill March 8th, Nouri's people had women take to the streets for support rallies in favor of the law.  That lasted about a week because it became too humiliating for them.  (We mocked them here but I'm referring to what Arabic social media did.  They shut it down and, hopefully, shut it down for good.)

    The e-mailer in a tizzy sure is lucky to live in the US because, in Iraq, the people who proposed this hideous and offensive bill still think they're doing the right thing.  In the US, if some member of Congress proposed the same bill?  They'd be mocked non-stop -- on MSNBC, yes, but on CNN and even on Fox News.  They would be ridiculed, their sanity questioned.

    So the e-mailer in a tizzy has it a lot better off than the women in Iraq and instead of being offended that 'evil' Janine Turner got recognized in the snapshot, she should be asking herself why Janine can speak out about it while most women and men in America have remained silent?

    Hillary's campaigning for president right now -- whether she decides to run or not, she is campaigning.  The reason she had support in 2008 from so many women is because she treated issues effecting women as the very real issues they are and not a sidebar.  She can certainly find time, Hillary Clinton, to bully and bluster about how the US needs to attack this person or that but this rebooted Hillary can't find time to speak out for Iraqi women?  She could even get in a dig about how this is what happens when men control decision making (Nouri's Cabinet approved the bill which Nouri then forwarded to the Cabinet -- Nouri really only has one woman as a Cabinet Minister) "from Iraq to around the world, this is what happens and why women need to take part when decisions are being made."

    But instead of making a statement like that, Hillary's convinced that what America really wants in the next president is someone who'll declare a new war every six weeks.

    Another e-mail says I've called out Jason Ditz "before so I was surprised that you would praise him this week."  First, he deserved to be praised.  Second, I've called out pretty much everyone at some point.  This site has lasted far too long.  In most cases, if you're called out for behavior, that's not the forever stance.  For most, they can get better and improve.  Alissa J. Rubin was awful when she started reporting for the New York Times.  Her work got better.  We had little but praise for her in the final stretch.  She earned that praise.

    Jason Ditz earned his praise last week.

    There's also the possibility that Alissa or Jason may have been just fine and wonderful when I called them out.  These are critiques which are opinions so they can be wrong.  And I can be wrong and frequently am.  The "Iraq snapshot" is a look at Iraq on that day but every entry here really is just a snapshot of that moment in time.

    With Ditz -- and I'm not doing this with everyone so don't e-mail about your pet opinator and my comments on them -- I don't remember what he did that earned him my wrath but I do remember it was part of a larger problem with at that time.  (And actually, I now do remember.  And I'm not unpacking it.  I remember it though and I stand by my comments from then.) I remember going back and forth on whether to call him out because I hadn't up to that point.  You usually get at least three strikes.  The first two, I roll my eyes and don't say anything.  By the time we're up to number three, it's on.

    But he can get praise or he can get slammed based on the work.

    We're not a fan site.  We're not a public relations firm.

    Repeatedly, e-mails from others (Ditz has never e-mailed this site) have whined that you catch more bees with honey.

    Why the hell would I want to catch bees?

    What would I do with them?

    Some have written I would catch more flies with honey and that's even more confusing.

    With bees, presumably, I could start my own honey production.  But what, pray tell, would I do with a cluster of flies?

    Another e-mailer insists, "You never compliment anyone!"

    Actually, I do.

    I'm not Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune meaning I don't applaud everyone just because they're going to spin the wheel.

    But I do offer compliments.  And when they're offered they may actually mean something because I'm not endlessly praising everything -- regardless of merit.

    An e-mailer wrote, "I'm bored with Iraq."

    That was the entire e-mail.

    Here's my reply: I'm bored with you.

    Iraq was devastated and destroyed by an illegal war.

    The US government didn't stop with an invasion.  Though Iraq was a populated country, the US installed exiles to rule over it. That was the first step for an illegitimate 'government.'  Then the US, in 2006, insisted not just on installing groups in charge but on selecting the person who would be in charge.  In 2010, Barack insisted on keeping the same individual.

    Iraq's about to have another election.  Oh, and the board of commissioners of the Independent High Electoral Commission all submitted their resignations this week.

    That bores you?

    I'm sure your life is far more fascinating than any thing that could happen in Iraq.  Tell me, who is winning The Amazing Race and who do you think will be crowned American Idol?

    Another e-mail wishes there was more Iraq coverage here at this site.  There should be.  If it were six years ago, there would be.  But I've gone on too long.  This was supposed to be an effort that was brief and would surely end after the 2008 US elections.  That didn't happen.

    I should do more but I'm so tired of writing and so tired of being online.  There's never a day off as I churn out copy, copy, copy day after never ending day.  And because our focus is Iraq, there's never a day where I'm not having to read and write about death and dying.

    All these e-mails are from non-community members, FYI.  I use the newsletter columns to respond to community members more and more.  Last e-mail we'll include is this, "Do you ever start to praise someone in a snapshot and then decide not to?"

    I don't think so.  Many times, I do start to negatively criticize and  then decide not to.

    (Ava and I are calling out a 'feminist' in a piece we'll write for Third this week.  We spent 30 minutes debating whether we should.  Yeah, she's rewriting history and she's being presented as a victim when a man who did what she did -- which was so offensive -- would be called out and has been.  But there was Hillary and Valerie Jarrett praising her and they don't know s**t and should probably slink away.  Hillary was blathering on about how hard it had been for the 'feminist.'  No, it was hard for the woman she victimized.  It wasn't hard for the feminist at all and a man who sleeps with women non-stop and betrays them is considered a pig and so is the 'feminist' hero Hillary and Valerie were praising.  The 'feminist' was brought down, in the end, because she was a damn cheapskate. During that 30 minute deliberation, I also called two friends who knew 'out and proud' back in the 70s and they said go for it because 'out and proud' such a revisionary joke. And we decided that hagiography had to be called out as did the cheating husband -- even when the husband is a woman.)

    (And a friend who knows the liar and fake 'feminist' just called to say she e-mailed me an article from May, 1981 that we should use in addition to her notes on the serial carousing of said fraud.)

    In terms of praise, what's more likely to happen is that I intend to praise someone but then the news of the day requires we focus on something else or there just isn't space.  One example from last week, Reidar Visser. I saw a Tweet he did and considered noting it.  We had to focus on something else.

    I don't think Visser has been accurate as an analyst.

    I also think he posted something that only humiliated him and damaged his reputation.

    Which is why I wanted to offer some praise.  He's attempting to focus on Iraq and make it about the work and move beyond the Margot Kidder - Anne Heche moment of public crazy.

    Anne did.

    Reidar can as well.

    (I love Anne and if you're sensing reluctance on my part with regard to Margot?  She destroyed her career.  Not by her public crazy but by her  appearance on NBC many, many years ago.  Crazy, the entertainment industry can forgive.  Bad manners -- I'm being kind here -- is something else.  I won't condemn Margot but I'm not going to defend her either.)

    We have all had our own public humiliations.

    It can be very hard to get back on your feet, dust yourself off and carry on when you know everyone's still thinking about your humiliation.

    I applaud Reidar Visser for  returning to his work.

    It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
    There's a war going on
    So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
    And I'm writing a song about war
    And it goes
    Na na na na na na na
    I hate the war
    Na na na na na na na
    I hate the war
    Na na na na na na na
    I hate the war
    Oh oh oh oh
    -- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

    The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4489.

    The e-mail address for this site is