Archive for November, 2007
Gavin wondered if anyone had predicted that an Orwellian, totalitarian state might come in a religious guise.
Well the answer’s yes, of course. Margaret Atwood’s, The Handmaid’s Tale describes a totalitarian theocracy that specifically (for this is Atwood) oppresses women. She just picked the wrong religion.
Atwood’s novel doesn’t really take on the broader theme of totalitarianism, in the manner of 1984 and other dystopian nightmares, or of theocracy, except in their specific impact on women. She has a particular, feminist, fish to fry; but it’s interesting to hear that before she, perhaps unconvincingly, decided on Christianity as the theocracy of choice, she did consider Islam, in the context of Iran and the then recent Iranian revolution.
Surely the iconography and condition of women in The Handmaid’s Tale are directly read from Islam? In Atwood’s story, women have no property rights, they don’t study, they don’t wear make-up. Sexual expression is tightly regulated and homsexuals are hanged.
Where in the world does this sound like? The USA, the last surviving Enlightenment revolution where freedoms are constitutionally guaranteed, and religion and state rigourously separated? Or, Say Saudi Arabia, or Iran, or the Sudan?
The tendency in recent times by some on the Left to make common cause against the USA with theocratic fascists has coloured my re-reading of Atwood’s book. The Handmaid’s Tale wasn’t intended to be a prediction, and the theocracy was, if you like, a dark satire of Atwood’s projections of American, right-wing, fundamentalist Christianity. I can’t help but feel some irritation at the bien-pensants of the West continually, and safely, kicking out minor and temporary problems whilst before them lies a whole ocean of the traditional Islamic repression of women.
Gill Lusk, the associate editor of Africa Confidential and a specialist on Sudan, says the incident will have offended many in the country. As Sudan is a place where religion is never mocked or satirised, it’s “unthinkable” that a toy or pet could be given a religious name.
The BBC, What can’t be named Muhammad?
Sudan is a place where religion is never mocked? So over in Darfur, in Western Sudan the Sudanese military and Jajaweed militia, Arab, Muslims, are not mocking Islam when they kill 200,000, displace 2.5 million:
Independent observers noted that the tactics, which include dismemberment and killing of noncombatants and even young children and babies, are more akin to the ethnic cleansing used in the Yugoslav Wars
From a comment at Tim Worstall:
I am just stunned that they designed a computer system that allows “junior” to export that much raw data.
It will have been designed (if that’s the right word) by the shower of shits that the contract was awarded to; CAP Gemini, Fujitsu, ASPIRE, etc.
All the useless IT consultancy companies that have been responsible for all government’s failing and non-fit-for-purpose IT systems for the last 15 years.
I’ve worked with CAP Gemini, Fujitsu and the like. I couldn’t agree more about such arse-covering, paper-pushing body-shop jobsworths.
Police are to hold talks with the leaders of south London’s most violent gangs in an attempt to cut gun crime.
Leaders of seven gangs will be brought in one-by-one and told gun crime has to stop or police will come down hard on them, Scotland Yard said.
Eh? I thought that the Police would just go and arrest people who were committing crimes.
It is not reasonable, or legal, for anybody, fan or otherwise, to take an author’s hard work, re-organize their characters and plots, and sell them for their own commercial gain
J K Rowling, It is not reasonable, or legal, for anybody
Has J.K. Rowling ever been to a library? Seriously, I truly wonder. Because if she had, she might have seen many examples of exactly the sort of books she describes as “not reasonable.” For instance, a list of the allusions in “Ulysses”; or a complete guide to all of the characters in William Faulkner’s fiction; or a compilation and detailed analysis of Bob Dylan’s lyrics; or a book containing the complete chronology of the events in David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest.”
How much money does this woman want?