Monday, April 12, 2010

Learning Can be Bad for You

Maureen Dowd recently returned to the USA from Suadi Arabia. Upon her return she understood that the oppression of woman over there is more or less the same as their oppression by the Catholic Church.

I spoof you not. Her column is at the top of the list of popular stories at the NYT website.

The only interesting part of this otherwise silly story is that her insight is the result of her trip. Her encounter with the reality, that's what did it, not the other way around. You might have expected an ignoramus to make a thoughtless comment, then to correct it once shown reality. You'd be wrong: it works in exactly the opposite direction.


Anonymous said...

what do you expect ?

- she also realized during that trip that because Saudi Arabia moved slowly towards "liberal" it was better than Israel which moved towards "less liberal"
- Jeffrey Goldberg applauded.

None of the two asked the question whether Israel's push towards deplorable conservative (if it exists) might be a bit of a reaction to excesses by liberation having gone so far that it does seem to switch into bad for decent society.
That Saudi nobleman Dowd talked to must have induced a Rodolfo-Valentino-swoon in her. ..

Recently on the BBC a woman brought up in the Jewish Orthodox fate declared in a conversation with Tariq Ramadan that her effort to escape was the same as one of muslim women - none in the circle asked her whether she was threatened with "honour" killing!


PS: my mother told me that her female catholic colleagues in pre-war Düsseldorf had found a priest who would "absolve" them after having had sex - they all took their confessions to him - oh and BTW she didn't mention that any of them feared "honour"-killers to be let loose on them by their families.

NormanF said...

Leftists don't perceive reality the same way the rest of us do. I see nothing good about Sharia and Islamic fanaticism. Maureen Dowd I think, learned nothing from her trip to Saudi Arabia and its all lost on me.

Anonymous said...

would you mind calling them "modern day leftists" or some other thing like evil lunatics?

admiring the left in my youth meant admiring Israell and wishing it well with all my heart and agreeing with others who did (for a working girl in postwar Germany left and right were never clearly defined before the 68ers got going at it and at that time conservatives kept on saying terrible stuff, even if one didn't know the facts one recoiled from their callousness)


Anonymous said...

I am NOT a Maureen Dowd fan. But the point she is making, is the opposite:

If you are going to complain about the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia, then why not also look at the behavior of the Catholic Church and its failuare to protect children from sexually abusive priests, and failure to punish those priests. I don't think she is equating them. She is saying this is a problem and this is a problem.

Similarly, I would add, that if you are going to talk about rights and progress in Israel, then you should also be talking about the orthodox rabbinate's control over marriage and divorce, and the inequity of the situation for women, and the rabbinate's refusal to even address the issue.


Anonymous said...


I think Yaacov was referring to this:

"How could such spirited women, smart and successful on every other level, acquiesce in their own subordination?

I was puzzling over that one when it hit me: As a Catholic woman, I was doing the same thing."


Sergio said...

To surrender oneself is balmic: gone is the autonomy and responsability, the
effort to face one's limitations, to think critically, etc. No wonder...

Methinks that lady is not that "spirited"
at all, unless this means she had had some drinks...


Lee Ratner said...

To be fair honor killing isn't so much of a Muslim habit as a Mediterranean habit. It used to be common in Spain, Italy, and Greece, and the Spanish derived cultures. Never heard of honor killings being a custom north of the Alps though.

Anonymous said...

Lee Ratner
according to British and German media to date no honour killing cases have come to court which have been performed by a non-muslim (besides feeling sad for the murdered woman I also feel very sad for the under-age son who seems to be the one the family prefers to send to do the deed - if that isn't abuse in your book I don't know)
- and if you think we are after blaming Muslims
- not too long ago a bus went off the road crashing down a hill some of the passengers claimed it felt intentional to them - I saw one half sentence mentioning the name of the driver, after that silence - nobody is "after" them because if somebody were that would have been the ideal occasion.

- if I remember correctly Asians have done it in Britain also, the admittedly few killings in Germany were done by Turks but I think one Lebanese family was involved also. Of course the majority doesn't even dream of going to such extremes but always remember that this cartoon depicts the all-time best method to "regulate" human behaviour

Of course they may have been Christians for all I know but they made a point in appearing in public very much dressed in a way to make that unlikely.
oh and here is another example of how "Islamophobia" reacts to what their "literalists" (as Tariq Ramadan wants us to call extremists) demand of their new countries.
it seems to me that text books on customs of foreign folks aren't well connected to realities on the ground which have an annoying tendency to vary greatly from country to country from case to case from human to human

Ruth said...

Well, I would assume that during her visit in Saudi Arabia her learning process was helped along by a nice incentive: Cash or non-cash goodies. The Saudis have a way of bribing and only rarely is the bribe refused (as by Giuliani after 09/11