May 29, 2008

Rachel Ray's Checkered Past.

Sorry, boys and girls. I know I'm supposed to see a keffiyeh here. But I don't.

Of course, I haven't talked to the Dunkin's Donuts stylist yet, so I could be off on this. But Ray's scarf just doesn't look like an Arafat special to me: the "Palestinian scarf" always looked to me like an old-fashioned American checkered tablecloth, except with black instead of red (insert Rolling Stones joke here).

The fact is, I'm not really high on any intentional use of a keffiyeh design in any outreach aimed at a mainstream American audience, but to proclaim any use of back and white as an approving reference to terrorism is plainly ridiculous: that amounts to a center-right sort of political correctness. Suddenly, the toys we get for infants are naughty advocacy on behalf of murderers. Art deco color schemes are a tip of the hat to bombers. It gets very silly very quickly.

I'm going to have to side with Linda Lowen on "scarfgate," to some degree. Particularly if the scarf at issue sports a paisley design, rather than checks, like my terrorist-loving chess set.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought we were on the side of freedom of speech, and it was the Islamic radicals / fundamentalists / terrorists / extremists who advocated either censorship—or at least a sort of walking-on-eggshells approach to expression.

So. That's that.

Oh, yeah: I've been wondering about something. Is Virginia Woolf's Lighthouse really a penis? I used to bristle at the suggestion; now I'm not so sure. The book certainly has to do with the conflict between authorship as a writer, and "authorship" as a parent. Last I knew, the penis was implicated in human reproduction . . . though of course that could change once we perfect cloning.

Isn't that what men are afraid of?

Posted by Attila Girl at May 29, 2008 02:27 PM | TrackBack

All I know is, my students told me in no uncertain terms that the lighthouse that Miss Lucy hovers over, shuddering mysteriously, in her Dracula-bite-induced erotic dream, is NOT a phallic symbol.

It's just a lighthouse; get over it.

And the huge stake her fiance pounds into her, looking "like Thor," while she spurts blood and trembles and his friends stand around admiringly: totally not symbolic.

Posted by: Rin at May 29, 2008 02:31 PM

Now I'm all turned on . . .

Posted by: Attila Girl at May 29, 2008 02:37 PM

Let's see, political correctness dictates that we support the Left's support of the Palestinians--including their terror wings. Political correctness dictates that we don't use the terms terrorist and jihadist. What could be more 'anti' than to dismiss this for what it really is.

The Left has been pushing kaffiyehs since the Iraq invasion, why bother with trifles given the Palestinians aren't involved except as traveling jihadists. Big in Europe--appearances in fashion weeks in London, Paris, and Milan. Appearances in trendy stores in the US, disappearing when the protests start. Rebirth as "peace scarfs" and other nonsense. Fatah, the PLO, and Hamas are synonomous with peace. With every protest, the perpetual adolescents who are smarter than everyone in the room play their games and modify the designs to slip them past the yearbook and school newspaper faculty monitors. I wasn't flipping anyone the bird! Honest! I was only scratching my nose!

Swastikas, brown shirts, Che t-shirts, kaffiyeh--all have a history, none have any political meaning. Move along! Right!

Rachel Ray can do what she pleases. Dunkin Donuts can do whatever they want. People can let DD know that they will stop patronizing their stores if they don't make it clear that they do not support terrorists or those that do. The American way.

Posted by: Darrell at May 29, 2008 09:26 PM

"There are indications that the kaffiyeh style, now competing with running shoes as hot dress-down items in New York City and Washington, is spreading ever westward. When Herman Ruether, interim director of the Chicago-based Palestine Human Rights Campaign, heard that the kaffiyeh was becoming fashionable, he said, "I started talking to people at random." The results of Ruether's informal poll: only three out of ten people cited politics as their reason for wearing the scarf. He adds, however, that during the most & recent episodes of violence in Israeli-occupied areas, his office received a large number of calls from Americans sympathetic to the Palestinian cause inquiring where kaffiyehs could be bought.

Long a staple of the Middle East tourist trade and a basic component of wardrobes in the Levant, the kaffiyeh came to the U.S. via Europe, where, in all its checkered permutations (black, blue, green, red or purple on white), it is almost as ubiquitous among the young as fatigue jackets. Yasser Arafat has worn a kaffiyeh, usually with army duds, for 20 years now, and the scarf became a garment of choice among the political protesters and antimissile advocates of the '70s and early '80s. Fashion, of course, mutes political reverberation. With time the kaffiyeh became politically neutral and lost some of its freshness. But the current televised spectacle of kaffiyeh-wearing rebels playing hob with the Israeli army gives the scarves an odd, often ironic resonance when they are worn in the West. Visual continuity suggests a political solidarity that usually comes as a big surprise to the Western wearer. "It's just an accessory," says Kenneth Kaiser, a Boston retail- clothing-store manager. "The ethnic type of look is in right now." "The idea that it's political is ridiculous," says New York City Artist Steven Charny. Comments Mordechai Levy, head of the Jewish Defense Organization in New York City: "Now there are so many, they are just like any other scarf.",9171,967046,00.html By Jay Cocks. Seriously.

Posted by: Darrell at May 29, 2008 09:29 PM

But black and white checks are so universal: old linoleum floors. Those retro houndstooth slacks I can neither wear nor get rid of (okay--not a true check, but certainly closer thereto than a paisley scarf).

And I get the capitalism and freedom-of-choice thing. But I can't see this as being like a Che T-shirt. Heck: I have a Che-style T-shirt (though it happens to bear Mark Steyn's image rather than Che's).

This is like getting mad about the temples with swastikas on 'em that were built before the Third Reich: surely it is possible to overreact.

Or are we having the same argument we had about the Flight 93 Memorial? I just don't want to be looking for terrorist symbolism behind every tree, when I'd rather we were looking for the actual terrorists.

I mean, I have an army shirt that I like to wear as a jacket. I wore it that way when I was a lefty, and I wore it that way as a righty. I never meant it as a symbol of anything; I just liked it. Like I liked the way my Levi's looked, without any particular thought of the history of denim--nor any particular allusion to the Gold Rush.

I also own a pair of camo pants I got at the Army-Navy store. No statement about the military is intended--pro or con.

Posted by: Attila Girl at May 29, 2008 11:17 PM

You know by the look in their eyes. And the smirk.

When I sent you the original photos of the crash site showing no crescents in the topography, you never responded. Nothing but rectangles, as one would guess from developed farm/mining land. That architect is another perpetual adolescent/smartest guy in the room that I would have fired when I saw his included tributes to the terrorists. Any person who thinks there's only one way to fill a blank page wouldn't be working for me anyway. Volkswagen engineers included. They ran an add a few years ago showing that their engineers couldn't find a single thing to change when it came time for a new model. "Have your desk cleaned out in fifteen minutes and report to the reception desk for your last paycheck. Thanks!" Maybe we could find ONE unemployed architect/designer in the US?

I see your point, but the only reason they aren't in every store now is that we've been vigilant. We let the newspapers get away with including opinions outside of the op-ed pages. We've let every TV show/movie slam Bush/Republicans every episode. We've let the Left create the concept of political correctness, which is shorthand for permitting anything the Left esposes/banning every thing it opposes. Where is it going to end? Besides turning the world into a hell dimension, that is.

Solution? They do what they want/we do what we want. It's an Absolut world, after all. . .

Posted by: Darrell at May 30, 2008 12:02 AM

Sorry about the Flight 93 thing: I was actually going to ask you for a topo map of the area, because it had been my impression that the "roundness" of the site was a hollow in the land itself, which wouldn't necessarily have shown up.

I see where you're coming from too (hey, man . . .). My problem, however, is when we get tired of walking on eggshells and hand the opposition a fresh new set of eggshells to walk on. So we're all navigating land mines on issues of symbolism, intentionalism, and the like. Apologizing. Pulling ads. Talking around evil, but not confronting it directly.

Also--I don't like it when I sense a sort of whiny, vicim-ey tone in people who are supposed to be my allies. I'm not saying that you get that way, but there's a faint whiff of it out there in the Rightosphere, and it's no more attractive there than it is anywhere else.

Posted by: Attila Girl at May 30, 2008 12:14 AM

The land dictated little because it had already been developed. A look through Murdoch's hard drives, files, and ISP would show that he researched Mihrabs and sundials and prayer wheel gardens, and would end the speculation once and for all. I suspect that he thought that flyover Joes and Marys Sixpacks would never spot the 'clever' symbolism he had hidden, and imagine his inner joy at knowing that the unwashed masses were paying for their own funerals and honoring the agents of their own destruction. His only mistake was not being able to resist naming it the "Crescent of Embrace." Even the teacher could figure out 'beaver shot' or 'pretty pussies' and all the variations, even if you could get them to call out 'Mike Hunt' when they passed around the attendance sheets when substituting for absent regulars. "Mike Hunt? Mike Hunt? Has anyone seen Mike Hunt?"

Posted by: Darrell at May 30, 2008 02:21 PM

I've got it right here. Oh . . . wait.

Never mind.

Posted by: Attila Girl at June 1, 2008 10:26 PM

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