The Thinking 
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Viva Las Fishwives

October 26, 2010



Everything means something, the Good Lovelies and the Viswijfenkoor not being excepted. For what it’s worth, I concur with Laura that the Good Lovelies put me off; the little-girl, sleepover antics and the false lesbianism are inconsistent with my sense of adult femininity. The Dutch ladies of the Viswijfenkoor play at nothing, make no attempt to doll themselves up, but sing lustily and are unmistakably female. In these traits they strike me as more feminine, actually, than the trio of teasing come-on girls. Laura mentioned the four girls of Kraja, the Swedish folk-group. They are in their late teens and early twenties, but their presentation is not “girlish” in any pejorative sense; they maintain a happy (sometimes a solemn) dignity (depending on the song) that requires no antics. They have enormous natural charm, an essential component of which is an unstudied modesty. I very much liked the Quebe Sisters. Playing the fiddle signifies plenty of discipline over the years, and their choice of repertory is refreshingly non-contemporary. The last fact suggests their healthy independence from “youth culture.” Does anyone remember the Elvis film, Viva Las Fishwives?

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The Illusory Muslim Woman

October 26, 2010


JOSH F. writes:

I believe it to be a dangerous illusion to view Muslim women as  oppressed. After all, good, devout Muslim women are mothers of devout  jihadists. In fact, when one really absorbs the head-to-toe covering  of a devout Muslim woman, it is hard not to see the uniform of a  warrior. The amorphous, ambiguous, unpredictable essence of the  “dress” gives indication of intelligent life, but that’s it. I was at  Sea World when I first observed this military garb. It was futuristic and Star Wars-like. The movement underneath seemed gateless, travelled without effort then stood motionless. Repeat. A small perfectly  retangular “slit” for vision and eyes hidden in shade. I didn’t see  oppression. I saw assertion.


Are Muslim Women Oppressed?

October 26, 2010


A READER writes:

I appreciated your brief thoughts in reaction to the United Nations’ report on the global lot of women.  The subject it raises is one that always causes me to wonder just how clearly we in the West see reality when we choose to analyze societies in points East, especially when these analyses delve into relationships between the sexes.  The assertion that seems to always surface is that women are oppressed, and men are their oppressors.  Rather, even more than asserted, it is assumed and taken for granted that this is the defining characteristic of life for a woman who lives in eastern, especially Islamic, societies.  The woman is bound and chained, a prisoner in her own society, and it is unthinkable that she could be happy.  After all, she is not even allowed to drive a car!      Read More »


The Beautiful Hijab

October 26, 2010



A WOMAN almost never does something that will bring about social annihilation for herself or her family. Men are more influential in shaping society through idea. Women are more influential in shaping it through form. Mark Richardson at Oz Conservative considers the case of Lauren Booth, the sister-in-law of Tony Blair who recently converted to Islam. My guess is that she sought to embrace God in a socially acceptable form. She might have lost more friends if she had become a pious Christian than a pious Muslim. She did not risk social annihilation, not in the self-annihilating, anti-Christian Europe of today. More Western women will probably follow in her footsteps. Read More »

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