Love Thy Neighbour: November 2009 Archives

November 29, 2009

One for Julie Bindel: porn causes earthquakes.

Indonesia: Muslims aren't supposed to drink alcohol, but it seems that Indonesian communications minister Tifatul Sembiring had a wee tipple before he addressed a prayer meeting last Friday in an area where over 1000 people had been killed by an earthquake last September.

Communication and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring linked disasters to declining public morals when he addressed a prayer meeting in the city of Padang to mark a Muslim holiday on Friday.

Television broadcasts that destroy morals are plentiful in this country and therefore disasters will continue to occur, national news agency Antara quoted Sembiring as saying in the Bahasa Indonesia language.

He also referred to Indonesian-made hard-core sex DVDs available in street markets as an example of growing public decadence and called for tougher laws against pornography.

It looks as if his intemperate words might be a career-limiting move, as it has offended relatives of the victims, who know perfectly well that Indonesia lies on a series of fault lines.

Kikie Marzuki, a Muslim Aceh resident who lost 10 relatives in the tsunami, said victims were not to blame.

I prefer to believe that natural disasters occur because of the destructive force of nature that cannot be avoided by humans, he said.

The minister does have the support of religious authorities, though, as they are not concerned with actual facts or anything resembling the truth.

Indon minister blames disasters on immoralityMy Sinchew, 29th November 2009; Indonesia minister says immorality causes disastersBBC News, 28th November 2009.

November 25, 2009

Any relation?

United Kingdom: Police are investigating whether a man who allegedly stabbed his son to death in a frenzied attack is related to "miracle babies" pastor Gilbert Deya. Unfortunately the media have not explained why they are looking for such a connection, nor why it would be relevant. There is some discrepancy with the suspect's name, though: the BBC calls him Paul Otieno; the Daily Mirror Paul Deya. The latter, though, has not carried the story about his possible relative.

The press all point out something else though:

Neighbours have said the family were regular churchgoers.


Neighbours said they were a friendly family who regularly went to church and had lived in the flat for a year...

The last time I saw them was Sunday. You could tell they were going to church because they would come out all smartly dressed.

Stab father's family ties probedBBC News, 25th November 2009; Knife frenzy dad 'kills son aged 3' in bloodbath after divorce rowDaily Mirror, 25th November 2009.

November 22, 2009

Missing the point

Italian designer Eliana Lorena has put on a special exhibition to mark the 50th anniversary of the Barbie doll. It features Barbies dressed in costumes from all over the world, including the Japanese kimono, Indian saris and various African outfits. The dolls will be sold in a charity auction after the exhibition. So, which get-up do you think the press is all in a tizzy about? Let the Daily Mail explain:

One of the world's most famous children's toys, Barbie, has been given a makeover - wearing a burkha.

Wearing the traditional Islamic dress, the iconic doll is going undercover for a charity auction in connection with Sotheby's for Save The Children.

The Mail is sensible compared to some fora, though. Indeed, Phyllis Chesler at Pajamas Media appears to have not read the press release and news articles and seems convinced that the artwork is some kind of commercial product. One of which she does not approve. And strangely, Chesler is a feminist, not some kind of fundie bampot, though the language is similar:

Save the Children? Surely, you must be jesting. I would like to save the children from this as well as from every other Barbie doll. (Yes, I know Barbie has diversified and now comes in every color and profession). But naked, even Doctor Barbie is still a pagan goddess or fertility figure but one with absolutely no relationship to female biology or reality....

These dolls were so retro--or so I always thought. Well, shut my mouth, those were the good old days of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll. Now, Barbie is swathed, shrouded, in a burqa; now, she is even more hopelessly retro.

Strange, I've always thought of pagan fertility symbols looking more like:
Venus of Willendorf than Barbie. There then follows a call to boycott the "product", and a quote from the National Organisation of Women, who have also failed to notice that the doll is an artwork, from which Mattel will not profit, and not a product:

Mattel should be ashamed. Making a profit by selling a doll that is clearly wearing a symbol of violence is not acceptable and there should be a public outcry to take this doll off the market.

It's Barbie in a burkha: World-famous doll gets a makeover to go under the hammer for 50th anniversaryDaily Mail, 21st November 2009; Boycott Burqa BarbieChesler Chronicles, 21st November 2009.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Love Thy Neighbour category from November 2009.

Love Thy Neighbour: September 2009 is the previous archive.

Love Thy Neighbour: December 2009 is the next archive.

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