Notepad on Life

May 1, 2018

Make your case for political correctness, and I’ll buy it

Filed under: foreign,race — - @ 12:30 pm
Tags: , ,

pexels-photo-704379.jpegMuch of this blog rails against misguided ideology, so when that ideology mounts an impressive defence, it’s only fair that I record the fact.

Weary of the obsession with words where race issues are concerned, my patience has traditionally run out whenever the word ‘Oriental’ comes under a critical spotlight.

It just means “eastern”, I’ve always reasoned. What the hell?

This week, however, catching up with back issues of the football quarterly The Blizzard, I read this, by Gabriele Marcotti, in an article called The Race Card

“…it’s worth noting that each culture has a very distinct sense of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. That very same article about [footballer Alvaro] Recoba talked about his “oriental” features. Now, I went to a university that helped define political correctness at its peak in the early 1990s. “Oriental” was a term that was exclusively acceptable when describing rugs. Why? Because the word “oriental” carries with it a geographic bias. “Oriental” comes from the word “orient” which means “east”. East of what? Why, east of Europe of course. Using that word places Europe at the centre of the world, to the detriment of other parts of the globe. Of course, in the UK, “oriental” as a term is fine and dandy with most people.”

Some people might still harrumph in protest, but no, I think Marcotti makes his case; one based on logic, rather than the mere whim  of self-appointed arbiters of what is and isn’t ‘the done thing’.

‘East Asian’ it will be from now on.


March 27, 2018

Recommended – ‘The Lives of Others’

Filed under: Cinema,foreign,History — - @ 12:30 pm
Tags: , ,

Next year will see the 30th – count them – anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down. After so long, it is easy to forget the significance of a time when totalitarianism was not merely the province of far-off lands like North Korea, but of whole swathes of Europe.

Be reminded in no uncertain terms and watch The Lives of Others. Set in East Germany in 1984, it tells the story of a committed Stasi officer charged with bugging the flat of a writer and his girlfriend and gradually melting as he eavesdrops on a life totally different to his own lonely existence.

Subtitled and tightly shot around a handful of bleak locations – not a recipe I normally associate with compelling movies – it had me gripped right up to its poignant closing line and freeze-frame.

Real-life only adds to its lustre. The film’s star, Ulrich Mühe, died of stomach cancer within a year, believed to have been triggered by ulcers that blighted his time as an East German army conscript.

“When asked how he prepared for his role in the film Mühe replied simply: “I remembered.”Daily Telegraph

January 27, 2017

O Canada – sexual assault exposes West’s ‘terminal niceness’

Filed under: foreign,immigration,Kids,school — - @ 9:44 am

Pic courtesy of Harlow Heslop

Countless women descended upon Washington DC last weekend, determined to prove that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned by the electoral college system. They’re not backwards in coming forward, women nowadays, be it the marchers, the breast-barers, or the actors with a cause.

I just wish they’d mobilise with equal fervour when it really matters. When a 14-year-old Canadian schoolgirl is sexually assaulted, for example, only to have it put to her afterwards that she needs to cut her assailant some slack.

This latest tale of bleeding-heart madness is said to have begun at what should have been a happy occasion: a high school dance at Fredericton High School, New Brunswick.

“Speaking on condition of anonymity, the girl’s mother said two Syrian students attempted to grind with her daughter at the dance, before one of them began groping her breasts and forced his hand inside her underwear, touching her vagina.” – from The Daily Caller

If the poor girl thought the worst of her ordeal was behind her once her attacker backed off, she could have been forgiven for wondering who was the villain here, once the school’s victim support kicked in.

“…vice-principal, Elaine Kilfillen, worried that the alleged attacker “will become a target in our student population once the rumor mill gets going.” The girl’s mother claimed that school officials encouraged her daughter to understand the alleged attacker’s perspective and consider the effect her clothing may have had.” – ibid. [point of order here – if she’s allowed to remain on school premises in unsuitable clothing, Fredericton High; that one’s on you]

The culprit, who denied the accusation, was suspended for one week. His victim, whose own ‘sentence’ will probably last rather longer, should the allegation be true,  is in therapy.

This account comes from just one or two secondary news sources (disturbingly, a possible reason for this is suggested at the foot of this post) so a cautionary note must be sounded. Should the story be solid, however, then it would be the latest recurrence of a familiar pattern. The Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens speculated for some time over what would happen when political correctness towards women collided head-on with political correctness towards Islam. Slowly but surely, we are beginning to find out. Islam wins.

Oh-so-enlightened Western civilisation makes all the concessions, and what passes for civilisation in parts of the Middle East presses on gleefully through the doors we hold open.

The school’s reported attempt at compassion ensures only that there will be more emboldened young men, more attacks, and more traumatised young women. Former muslim Nabeel Qureshi sets out here (starting at the 3:55 mark) exactly where this misguided approach is destined to lead us.

“I think the term that’s being used for it…is ‘terminal niceness’. We’re being so nice and politically correct, to things that are willing to rip us apart, that it will be the end of us.”

As I write, meanwhile, Emma Watson’s Twitter feed makes no mention of Fredericton, and the town’s edition of the Washington march appears to have had eyes only for a caucasian male with bad hair.

And on the theme of ‘familiar patterns’ – if this tweet is true, then this is another one…

January 6, 2017

Shut the door on your way out, John Kerry

Filed under: foreign,politics — - @ 9:23 am
Tags: ,


May 26, 2016

Where’s a burqa when you really need one?

Filed under: foreign,Religion,Women — - @ 11:10 pm
Tags: , , ,

I mentioned the film Eye in the Sky in my last post. There is a scene in it where a woman in the market place of a Muslim neighbourhood is chivvied in no uncertain terms by the apparel police for having her wrists uncovered.

From the burqa to the niqab, we are left in no doubt these days that preserving the modesty of women is a big deal in Islamic circles. Now, however, it seems that this may depend on what type of woman you are.

When you’re a Christian woman in Egypt, for example, suddenly modesty isn’t quite at such a premium, not when you’re stripped naked and made to walk through the streets by a mob of 300  Muslim men, as described in this report from The Independent.

No doubt this horrific tale (although the poor woman was 70, so at least there’s no suggestion of ageism) may trigger a familiar debate.

“That’s not real Islam.”

“Yes it is.”

“No it isn’t.”

And so on.

I’m not an authority on what is definitive Islam, so I’ll make do with this. Whatever label is most appropriately attached to the ghastly events of last Friday, be it ‘authentic Islam’ or a ‘rogue strain’, whoever aligns himself with it needs to know that an ideology capable of such a glaring double standard, is holed well and truly below the credibility waterline.

Shame on all involved. Whatever they are.

August 12, 2014

RIP Robin Williams

Filed under: Cinema,foreign,TV — - @ 8:59 pm
Tags: , ,

(Photo: Wikipedia)

Not sure it would have done his state of mind much good to see so many people basing their social media tributes on Mork & Mindy clips. Did you people stop watching him in 1980 or something?

My own abiding memories of one of the most inventive comic minds I ever saw are set out below [Salty language alert]. Not sure his manic ‘stand-up’ style will have been everyone’s cup of tea but for me he stands right up there with the best comedians/comic actors of all time.

And if this is indeed what underlies his final act, what on earth do we make of genuine depression? A talent that seemed so fulfilled and well-rewarded, a man who was not just admired but liked by so many, a man with children. And it still wasn’t enough. “People think they want flash cars, big houses and money,” a former boss of mine once suggested to me, “but they don’t. Even if they don’t realise it, what they really want is peace.”

Someone reviewing the autobiography of fellow-depressive and ex-footballer Ian Redford – who was found dead at 53 earlier this year – wrote “That he suddenly found life unliveable exemplifies the mercilessness of depression”. ‘Merciless’ does seem an apt label.





August 4, 2014

Jews arrested for singing Jewish songs…at Auschwitz

Filed under: foreign,politics,Religion — - @ 9:21 am
Tags: ,
That sign

Auschwitz (Photo credit: decafinata)

I was trying to figure out what the hell was going on here but then I read this:

Danny Feigen, a student at Yeshivat Eretz Hatzvi in Jerusalem and member of Rabbi Ostroff’s group, witnessed a guard ask, “would you sing in the British museum?”

…and it all became depressingly clear. Rules is rules.

I see that the Auschwitz Press Office has clarified the situation in comments at the link, in much the way I anticipated but if they can’t see the PR disaster they have on their hands, particularly at this sensitive time, then it may not just be their security staff who could use a little ‘sensitivity training’.

Put it this way, were I running a Jobsworth of the Year ballot, I might be tempted to declare a winner at this point.


July 25, 2014

America’s shame? Tell me I’ve misinterpreted plight of forgotten translators

Filed under: foreign,News,politics — - @ 11:01 pm

Let me see if I have this straight: the USA’s southern border is looking rather more porous to immigrants than many Americans would like. Yet if you put your life on the line for Uncle Sam in Afghanistan, you’re pounding  at a locked door…?

“Afghan interpreters who helped American soldiers through more than a decade of combat are being left to die at the hands of the Taliban, as detailed in a new, multi-part documentary by Ben Anderson of Vice News

For all Gaza is dominating the headlines, I would suggest that this, too, is a story that shouldn’t be allowed to go away.

June 26, 2014

Will England and USA even qualify for World Cup 2026?

Filed under: Education,foreign,Kids,Sport — - @ 9:00 am
Tags: ,
School children playing jump-rope in between c...

Jump-rope in between classes at a Cuban elementary school. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Nice though it is to know it’s not just us, Elementary Politics‘ lament for the idea of games without competition in American schools is nevertheless depressing reading:

“But these bans speak to a larger problem with the schools nowadays. People are so terrified of children possibly feeling anything less than successful that they remove all obstacles. Might fail? Let’s get rid of tests. Actually failing? Let’s punish the students who actually did their work. Can’t play a sport? That’s okay, precious snowflake, go jump rope for an hour. It’s insulating an already coddled generation of children in a bubble full of fake success, a bubble that will quickly burst once they get to the real world. Schools do children a disservice when they remove competition and the situations to learn how to cope with failure.”

June 11, 2014

This just in from the Parallel Universe…

Filed under: foreign,music,politics,TV — - @ 9:00 am
Tags: , ,

Right Said Fred Discuss Their Anti-Assad Version of “I’m Too Sexy”

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