August 15th, 2003


Be politically consistant -- take your shirt off.

habibi asked "I wonder why the hijab, burka and various forms of veils that Muslim women choose to wear are so threatening to many Western women?" This simple question has illicited lots of comments.

... and he has a point. Women in the west are more political about the veil overseas than they are about their own shirts and bras. Nevermind the fact that I can be topless in public if I want to be -- no so for women.

Still, even for men, there is a quiet societal restriction; if you're going to take your shirt off, it should generally be done only in certain settings -- at the beach, exercise, at a festival on a hot day yes... in the office at work or as an escape from a shirt and tie during your lunch hour, no.

So, why do men keep their shirts on? Would men start "going homo" or something around other men's heaving chests or something?! Is it for done for women, because there is something violent, oppressive, and sexually harassing about a man without his shirt off? Why is it that we call the least encumbering shirts for men "wife-beaters"?

Maybe America needs a new social movement if it's going to judge Arabic countries about the veil. A coalition of the shirtless or something to that effect.

Fair and balanced?!? My ass!

Many of you have heard that Fox News is suing Al Franken over the title of his new book, but have you heard why?! Because Bill 'wetbacks' O'Reilly urged them to do so, as the book is particularly harsh on O'Reilly, exposing his less-than-truthful side.

So, Fox coddles a rightwing, racist commentator, calling him "a national celebrity", while calling Franken "deranged", a "parasite", and "shrill". Of course, O'Reilly is the one known for shouting down his guests, pulling the plug on them, and telling them to shut up... but no, he's neeever shrill. So, does that sound like "Fair and Balanced" behavior from Fox to you?!

Meanwhile, Franken's book has recieved so much free publicity because of this that it has shot to #1 on the Amazon charts, even though it hasn't been released yet!

... and Fox is getting widely criticized as attacking the freedom of the press, Jon Stewart ripped them a new one, and webloggers have announced that today is Fair and Balanced Day... a day for everyone to weaken Fox's trademark just that much more.

It's worth mentioning that there is a veritable smorgasbord of sites out there that are technically in on the act, and plenty of examples of the phrase "fair and balanced" being used before Fox tried to lay claim to the expression... even CNN is in on the act! So how come Fox isn't suing them too?!

"Well, one is an obvious act of parody and satire..." and the other? It's apparently not so funny anymore, because Fox has gone out of their way to transform their "Fair and Balanced" trademark into full-on Orwellian doublespeak. It's a scary, sick joke... and so is Fox News.

If Fox wants some hint of respectibility, they should drop "their trademark"... and the lawsuit too.