Fascinating piece on religious extremists wanting women out of the picture by Michelle Goldberg:
The latest publishing phenomenon is the return of Sweet Valley High. For a whole generation of young teenage girls, Francine Pascal’s series about Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield, the gorgeous California all-American twins, got them reading. Indeed they were key for libraries in luring readers through their doors. 150 million copies were sold worldwide.
Now Pascal has written a book, Sweet Valley Confidential, about the twins’ exploits 10 years on. It has garnered such attention that it was on the front page of Sunday’s New York Times a few weeks ago. It had sold out when I tried to buy it.
Eventually I did read it, in a sitting – as I always did with the SVH books. And it has compelled me to get off my backside and say something and I fully intend to figure out a way I can actually do something.
Back in the day, Jessica and Elizabeth were physically perfect. At a “size 6″ – a UK size 10. Perfection now – whether it be a Cheryl Cole or almost every Hollywood actress, is usually portrayed as a “size 2″, sometimes a “size 0″ – sizes 6 and 4 respectively in the UK.
When you examine what I had to look at growing up – for instance the girls in Beverly Hills 90210 – and compare them to the girls in the new 90210 – they were a good 2 sizes bigger.
The mass media in all their airbrushing of models are bombarding young girls with images of “perfection” that are far from that. This is physically and emotionally damaging enough, but then there is the dark side of the Internet revolution that is truly terrifying.
Access to “naughty pictures” for teenage boys used to be about trying to get hold of a copy of National Geographic or perhaps a dog-eared Playboy. Because of the world-wide-web, boys are learning about sex through hardcore video porn – and that has got to have a direct impact on their relationships. The instances of girls sending naked pictures to their boyfriends who then send them to their friends and consequently worldwide continue on an exponential basis. The advent of Social Networking has led to the rise of “cyber bullying” on a massive scale.
I don’t know how we help young women today, but they need our assistance – they are tomorrow’s leaders, tomorrow’s mothers. Society needs to have a serious think of what we can do to support them.
A bit of a chat about Royals… and Libya.
I was having fun on Imus again this morning… links below.
Government shutdown… and Donald Trump’s hair:
Obama running again… and Royal Wedding:
I was having fun on Imus this AM – Liz Taylor and Libya here:
Japan and Royal Wedding here:
First of all, I want to pay tribute to our armed forces, who are doing a great job, even if our politicians are not. But if our armed forces are in danger – which they are by the very nature of what is going on in Libya – they deserve to know why and we should be asking why.
The reason why the Coalition can’t state a clear goal for Libya is because none of its members have clear national interests at stake in Libya.
Some have claimed, most notably Democratic Congressman Ed Markey, that we are in Libya because of oil. I don’t believe this to be the case. If it really was about oil, we would have gone for stability and propped the Gaddafi regime up. The safe pair of hands that was the front of Saif Gaddafi traipsing around St Bart’s and employing pop stars to sing for him, while his madman father ruled with an iron fist at home. Libya has less than 2% of the world’s oil reserves, long term we’ll be moving to the abundant energy source that is gas – oil in Libya was not worth our military involvement for.
What about the humanitarian aspect? In this region especially, you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Libya is a country of 6.5 million people – we’ve walked on by from bigger atrocities. What sort of precedent does this set? Aren’t there other countries which would be more deserving of our “help”? Statecraft is not the same as moral empathy.
So are we there for the removal of Gaddafi? There seems to be a complete lack of clarity around this point.
UN Resolution 1973 appears to be intrinsically illogical. So the UN is saying that it is legal to take out a man in a Libyan tank attacking rebels, but illegal to take out the man who sent him, i.e. Gaddafi. This makes no sense.
Our politicians are in a muddle. At the weekend, the UK Defence Secretary said that targeting Gaddafi was a possibility. Then the Chief of the UK’s Defence Staff said it wasn’t. After this bundle of contradictions we had David Cameron skirting around the issue for six hours in parliament on Monday. They are no clearer in the US.
Sending forces somewhere without a proper aim is downright irresponsible. History has proved a plan is only as good as the exit strategy (Iraq, anyone?). The UK Armed Forces minister admitted yesterday that we have no exit strategy. Our troops deserve to know what the endgame is. The human cost. And what about the physical cost? We’ve been told we’re having to live in “Austerity Britain”, to deal with deficit. Fine. But running around getting involved in aimless wars is not a sensible way to spend money.
Best case scenario seems to be that a rebel puts a bullet in the brain of Gaddafi in the next fortnight. Unfortunately, this is Gaddafi. Stalemate for months is a distinct possibility – he has spent 42 years hanging on in while other politicians on the world stage come and go.
If intervention was so necessary, as we were told by the “game changer” that was the Arab League saying something should be done, why didn’t they go in and do it? Libya is their neighbour. They understand the tribal aspects of the region in a way the West have catastrophically misunderstood over the centuries. The Arab League as I understand it spends a combined $80 billion a year on their military. Libya has less than 200 old jet fighters while Saudi and Egypt have formidable air power.
And the actual contribution from the Arab League? Increasingly mixed messages, some arms to the rebels from Egypt, a few Qatari jets flying over Libya and perhaps some money somewhere.
The shame of all of this is, we were doing so well. America was doing so well. For the first time in years our PR was looking up in the region – by staying out of it. Intervening in Libya as we have done could alter the dynamic of the Arab spring. Obama is acutely aware of this, hence his reluctance to act. As David Cameron rightly put it: you can’t drop democracy out of a plane at 40,000 feet. No system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other. What was wonderful about Egypt, was that it was organic.
The Egyptian people owned their own revolution. Self empowerment enabled the region to regain pride in itself, to embrace human rights not as western ideals but as global ideals that belong to them too. Ideals that are far away from radical Islam. There was a shift in advantage to the West – being passive was active. I don’t recall seeing an American flag burn during the Egyptian protests, while such anti-Americanism was rife in the region before. By acting on Libya as we are now, we are handing out the anti-imperialist and anti-American PR card to radical Islam again.
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. To govern is to choose the least worst option. Yes it was important to keep the flow of humanitarian supplies to Libya. To ensure Gaddafi & co know they will be held fully accountable for war crimes. To freeze their assets.
But this military venture into Libya. Really, what are we doing?
I am having problems understanding how Pete King could ever have been allowed to run for office under the banner of the Republican Party, let alone win.
King has been in the news lately because of his controversial House investigation into the radicalization of American Muslims, which begins tomorrow.
But why is he in government in the first place? King was extremely vocal in his support of terrorism, in the form of the Irish Republican Army. And apparently he has no regrets.
Now, there can be no doubt that the British, on many levels, were in the wrong when it comes to many countries in the world, including Ireland.
However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that the IRA were terrorists. They almost blew me up once on my way to school. My near miss was commonplace – so many others were not so lucky. Now King tells The New York Times, that “I understand why people who are misinformed might see a parallel. The fact is, the IRA never attacked the United States.”
No. They just attacked the population of one of America’s key allies for years.
How can this hypocritical man be anywhere near a position of authority, let alone leading extremely sensitive hearings – on terrorism, of all things? King makes a mockery of the process – he is not a credible person to be in charge here, full stop.
This is a brilliant piece in Newsweek by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, on Clinton’s mission to put women and girls at the forefront of the new world order.