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"Itís safe to say that Iíve snapped." Joss Whedon

Islam Honor Killings Sunni Muslims Joss Whedon 2007

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#1 Nonny

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 11:09 AM

Equality NOW

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Let's Watch A Girl Get Beaten To Death. This is not my blog, but I donít have a blog, or a space, and Iíd like to be heard for a bit.

Last month seventeen year old Dua Khalil was pulled into a crowd of young men, some of them (the instigators) family, who then kicked and stoned her to death. This is an example of the breath-taking oxymoron ďhonor killingĒ, in which a family member (almost always female) is murdered for some religious or ethical transgression. Dua Khalil, who was of the Yazidi faith, had been seen in the company of a Sunni Muslim, and possibly suspected of having married him or converted. That she was torturously murdered for this is not, in fact, a particularly uncommon story. But now you can watch the action up close on CNN. Because as the girl was on the ground trying to get up, her face nothing but red, the few in the group of more than twenty men who were not busy kicking her and hurling stones at her were filming the event with their camera-phones.

There were security officers standing outside the area doing nothing, but the footage of the murder was taken Ė by more than one phone Ė from the front row. Which means whoever shot it did so not to record the horror of the event, but to commemorate it. To share it. Because it was cool.

I could start a rant about the level to which we have become desensitized to violence, about the evils of the voyeuristic digital world in which everything is shown and everything is game, but honestly, itís been said. And I certainly have no jingoistic cultural agenda. I like to think that in America this would be considered unbearably appalling, that Kitty Genovese is still remembered, that we are more evolved. But coincidentally, right before I stumbled on this vid I watched the trailer for ďCaptivityĒ.

A few of you may know that I took public exception to the billboard campaign for this film, which showed a concise narrative of the kidnapping, torture and murder of a sexy young woman. I wanted to see if the film was perhaps more substantial (especially given the fact that it was directed by ďThe Killing FieldsĒ Roland Joffe) than the exploitive ad campaign had painted it. The trailer resembles nothing so much as the CNN story on Dua Khalil. Pretty much all you learn is that Elisha Cuthbert is beautiful, then kidnapped, inventively, repeatedly and horrifically tortured, and that the first thing she screams is ďIím sorryĒ.

ďIím sorry.Ē

What is wrong with women?

I mean wrong. Physically. Spiritually. Something unnatural, something destructive, something that needs to be corrected.

How did more than half the people in the world come out incorrectly? I have spent a good part of my life trying to do that math, and Iím no closer to a viable equation. And I have yet to find a culture that doesnít buy into it. Womenís inferiority Ė in fact, their malevolence -- is as ingrained in American popular culture as it is anywhere theyíre sporting burkhas. I find it in movies, I hear it in the jokes of colleagues, I see it plastered on billboards, and not just the ones for horror movies. Women are weak. Women are manipulative. Women are somehow morally unfinished. (Objectification: another tangential rant avoided.) And the logical extension of this line of thinking is that women are, at the very least, expendable.

I try to think how we got here. The theory I developed in college (shared by many Iím sure) is one I have yet to beat: Womb Envy. Biology: women are generally smaller and weaker than men. But theyíre also much tougher. Put simply, men are strong enough to overpower a woman and propagate. Women are tough enough to have and nurture children, with or without the aid of a man. Oh, and theyíve also got the equipment to do that, to be part of the life cycle, to create and bond in a way no man ever really will. Somewhere a long time ago a bunch of men got together and said, ďIf all we do is hunt and gather, letís make hunting and gathering the awesomest achievement, and letís make childbirth kinda weak and shameful.Ē Itís a rather silly simplification, but I believe on a mass, unconscious level, itís entirely true. How else to explain the fact that cultures who would die to eradicate each other have always agreed on one issue? That every popular religion puts restrictions on womenís behavior that are practically untenable? That the act of being a free, attractive, self-assertive woman is punishable by torture and death? In the case of this upcoming torture-porn, fictional. In the case of Dua Khalil, mundanely, unthinkably real. And both available for your viewing pleasure.

Itís safe to say that Iíve snapped. That something broke, like one of those robots you can conquer with a logical conundrum. All my life Iíve looked at this faulty equation, trying to understand, and Iíve shorted out. I donít pretend to be a great guy; I know really really well about objectification, trust me. And Iím not for a second going down the ďwomen are saintsĒ route Ė that just leads to more stone-throwing (and occasional Joan-burning). I just think there is the staggering imbalance in the world that we all just take for granted. If we were all told the sky was evil, or at best a little embarrassing, and we ought not look at it, wouldnít that tradition eventually fall apart? (I was going to use Ďtreesí as my example, but at the rate weíre getting rid of them Iím pretty sure we really do think theyíre evil. See how all rants become one?)

Now those of you who frequent this site are, in my wildly biased opinion, fairly evolved. You may hear nothing new here. You may be way ahead of me. But I canít contain my despair, for Dua Khalil, for humanity, for the world weíre shaping. Those of you who have followed the link I set up know that it doesnít bring you to a video of a murder. It brings you to a place of sanity, of people who have never stopped asking the question of what is wrong with this world and have set about trying to change the answer. Because itís no longer enough to be a decent person. Itís no longer enough to shake our heads and make concerned grimaces at the news. True enlightened activism is the only thing that can save humanity from itself. Iíve always had a bent towards apocalyptic fiction, and Iím beginning to understand why. I look and I see the earth in flames. Her face was nothing but red.

All I ask is this: Do something. Try something. Speaking out, showing up, writing a letter, a check, a strongly worded e-mail. Pick a cause Ė there are few unworthy ones. And nudge yourself past the brink of tacit support to action. Once a month, once a year, or just once. If you canít think of what to do, there is this handy link. Even just learning enough about a subject so you can speak against an opponent eloquently makes you an unusual personage. Start with that. Any one of you would have cried out, would have intervened, had you been in that crowd in Bashiqa. Well thanks to digital technology, youíre all in it now.

I have never had any faith in humanity. But I will give us props on this: if we can evolve, invent and theorize our way into the technologically magical, culturally diverse and artistically magnificent race we are and still get people to buy the idiotic idea that half of us are inferior, weíre pretty amazing. Let our next sleight of hand be to make that myth disappear.

The sky isnít evil. Try looking up.
Forgive me if I've screwed up the links, again.  My hands are shaking, and I keep hitting wrong keys.  Like every other woman on this planet, I've lived with so much unfair stuff, been called names when I've complained, been hit when I haven't complied, been fired when I wasn't the right gender, been done to a whole lot worse than I'm willing to say, and here's this guy who puts it all into words better than I ever could.  Before I read this, I was angry about what happened to another young woman.  Now I'm mourning the loss of Dua Khalil, and all women who have suffered so much for such a stupid, stupid reason.  

Thanks, Joss.

Edited by Nonny, 21 May 2007 - 11:20 AM.

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#2 Cait

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 12:04 PM

I don't even know what to say to this.  Like Joss, I don't understand it either.  I never have.

Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.

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#3 Mr. Synystyr

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 01:09 PM

I do understand it.

This is one of those times when understanding doesn't help.  It doesn't make it in any way reasonable.  It doesn't illuminate a solution that wasn't visible before.  It doesn't make it any more tolerable.

This is not the place for my rants, so I'll leave it at that.
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#4 Palisades

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 01:16 PM

^ If you understand it, would you care to enlighten us?
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#5 Spectacles

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 01:26 PM

Quote

Joss: The theory I developed in college (shared by many Iím sure) is one I have yet to beat: Womb Envy. Biology: women are generally smaller and weaker than men. But theyíre also much tougher. Put simply, men are strong enough to overpower a woman and propagate. Women are tough enough to have and nurture children, with or without the aid of a man. Oh, and theyíve also got the equipment to do that, to be part of the life cycle, to create and bond in a way no man ever really will. Somewhere a long time ago a bunch of men got together and said, ďIf all we do is hunt and gather, letís make hunting and gathering the awesomest achievement, and letís make childbirth kinda weak and shameful.Ē Itís a rather silly simplification, but I believe on a mass, unconscious level, itís entirely true. How else to explain the fact that cultures who would die to eradicate each other have always agreed on one issue? That every popular religion puts restrictions on womenís behavior that are practically untenable? That the act of being a free, attractive, self-assertive woman is punishable by torture and death? In the case of this upcoming torture-porn, fictional. In the case of Dua Khalil, mundanely, unthinkably real. And both available for your viewing pleasure.

Joss's explanation sounds as good as any I've heard. But really, why the subjugation of women seems to be shared imperative in many cultures, I don't know. It just is. And it just shouldn't be.

Great post. I do love Joss Whedon. And I appreciate his taking such a vocal stand on this horror. Bless him.
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#6 Spectacles

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 01:30 PM

http://www.stophonourkillings.com/

Something to do with the outrage.
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#7 Cheile

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 01:41 PM

this "blaming the victim" crap is part of their problem.  and i don't give a damn that their "culture" permits it.  no culture should permit blaming the woman for a) stuff she didn't do and/or b) things that happen to her (i.e. rapes).

like i've said...and these people wonder why we (the horrible, evil "infidels") want to make them join the 21st century.  because we see crimes against humanity, that's why.

well said, Joss.

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#8 RobL

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 01:43 PM

I have to say, Joss does know how to put words together.

Bring back Darthsikle!


#9 QueenTiye

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 01:51 PM

Thank you, Nonny for posting this.  I'm one who always agrees that we should have a bit of cultural sensitivity - appreciation for differing outlooks...  and for all of that, there just isn't any excuse for such callousness of life - any life.  Joss speaks effectively to the core - that women are devalued such that our lives can be so easily forfeit is something that should be fought with every available means.

QT

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#10 Mr. Synystyr

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 02:42 PM

View PostSolar Wind, on May 21 2007, 11:16 AM, said:

^ If you understand it, would you care to enlighten us?

There's no enlightenment to be found in anything I would write.

And I agree with Specs, Cheile and RobL - Joss has a wonderful way with words.  I hope they reach, and touch, many.
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#11 Hambil

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 02:48 PM

View PostMr. Synystyr, on May 21 2007, 12:42 PM, said:

View PostSolar Wind, on May 21 2007, 11:16 AM, said:

^ If you understand it, would you care to enlighten us?

There's no enlightenment to be found in anything I would write.

And I agree with Specs, Cheile and RobL - Joss has a wonderful way with words.  I hope they reach, and touch, many.
One can assume he's referring to dominant vs. submissive nature. Understandably (and graciously) he is trying not to derail this thread, as it is an argument that I'm sure has been discussed before and will generate a lot of heat.

If you wish to pursue that discussion, Solor, then perhaps a new thread for it? :)

Oh, and can we get a What Joss Said button? :)

Edited by Hambil, 21 May 2007 - 02:49 PM.


#12 Mr. Synystyr

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 03:15 PM

View PostHambil, on May 21 2007, 12:48 PM, said:

One can assume he's referring to dominant vs. submissive nature. Understandably (and graciously) he is trying not to derail this thread, as it is an argument that I'm sure has been discussed before and will generate a lot of heat.

If you wish to pursue that discussion, Solor, then perhaps a new thread for it? :)

Oh, and can we get a What Joss Said button? :)

You know what happens when one assumes, Hambil.  ;)

Thank you, though, for the rest.
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#13 Hambil

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 03:26 PM

View PostMr. Synystyr, on May 21 2007, 01:15 PM, said:

View PostHambil, on May 21 2007, 12:48 PM, said:

One can assume he's referring to dominant vs. submissive nature. Understandably (and graciously) he is trying not to derail this thread, as it is an argument that I'm sure has been discussed before and will generate a lot of heat.

If you wish to pursue that discussion, Solor, then perhaps a new thread for it? :)

Oh, and can we get a What Joss Said button? :)

You know what happens when one assumes, Hambil.  ;)

Thank you, though, for the rest.
I said 'one' can assume. Certainly not me... :p

#14 G1223

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 03:58 PM

View PostCheile, on May 21 2007, 02:41 PM, said:

this "blaming the victim" crap is part of their problem.  and i don't give a damn that their "culture" permits it.  no culture should permit blaming the woman for a) stuff she didn't do and/or b) things that happen to her (i.e. rapes).

like i've said...and these people wonder why we (the horrible, evil "infidels") want to make them join the 21st century.  because we see crimes against humanity, that's why.

well said, Joss.

Sorry to be the person who looks over and says. This is one reason why I am prepared to destroy their whole culture.
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#15 Spectacles

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 04:09 PM

Let's not forget that Joss is pointing a finger at our own culture as well. We don't condone "honor killings," but our treatment of women sometimes leaves much to be desired.

Here's a link to the website of the film "Captured" that Joss finds appalling.

http://www.captivitythemovie.com/
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

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#16 QueenTiye

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 04:15 PM

Thank you for the reminder, Specs.  I won't be clicking on the link - Joss's description was sufficiently nauseating.

It is far too easy to miss that Joss's rant has to do with the opinion that women are less than - in some cultures, sufficiently "less than" that their lives are forfeit for less than life and death matters, but in all cultures, sufficiently less than as to support all manner of suppression, oppression, and abuse of various kinds.

We often disagree on how to cure the problem - in the US the debate is about abortion rights and such - and this is an area of disagreement. But behind even that divide is a more pertinent, hard to get at reality - Joss describes it here:

Quote

How did more than half the people in the world come out incorrectly? I have spent a good part of my life trying to do that math, and Iím no closer to a viable equation. And I have yet to find a culture that doesnít buy into it. Womenís inferiority Ė in fact, their malevolence -- is as ingrained in American popular culture as it is anywhere theyíre sporting burkhas. I find it in movies, I hear it in the jokes of colleagues, I see it plastered on billboards, and not just the ones for horror movies. Women are weak. Women are manipulative. Women are somehow morally unfinished. (Objectification: another tangential rant avoided.) And the logical extension of this line of thinking is that women are, at the very least, expendable.

QT

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#17 G1223

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 04:18 PM

Oh that pile of steaming crap. Sorry I could tell from the poster I wanted nothing to do with it. Let alone go see it. It is why I look at films like Hostel  and dubbed the genre the sick flick. But anyone who suddenly goes it is wrong for films like Hostel II to be made where it is a group of women who get torn to bits needs to look at the part of the title that said 'II'. If you condone part 'I' set you deserve part 'II'.

We have a entire group of film makers who this is what they get to do. live out some sick dream.

Well at least I will pass on Craptured.. Or Captured as the title will say. And will get to enjoy At World End.  and simply let the rest of the world have this mess if they are not going to do anything to make it stop.
If you encounter any Trolls. You really must not forget them.
And if you want to save these shores. For Pity sake Don't Trust them.
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TANSTAAFL
If you voted for Obama then all the mistakes he makes are your fault and I will point this out to you every time he does mess up.

When the fall is all that remains. It matters a great deal.

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My playing well with other's skill has been vastly overrated

Member of the Order of the Knigths of the Woeful Countance.

#18 Spectacles

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 04:33 PM

Quote

G: Oh that pile of steaming crap. Sorry I could tell from the poster I wanted nothing to do with it. Let alone go see it.

I hear ya, G. :)

What's disturbing is that there apparently *is* a market for these kinds of films.

Our culture, especially popular culture, degrades women, too. It's just that instead of covering them from head to toe and stoning them when they get out of line, we parade them around half-naked as accessories to powerful men. And so many young women buy into that crap. Each year, it seems that more and more young women show up to class with as much T and A showing as possible-even in winter. It's insane. Obviously, their image of what it is to be a woman has been shaped by an excessive diet of crappy movies and music videos. Something has gone terribly wrong in their lives if they don't have any more sense than to run around half-naked, especially when there's snow on the ground.  :blink:

I assume that along with the dress code, some have adopted the self-image of woman as expendable commodity, just walking "bling," one who gets her power only through attaching herself to the most sociopathic man available. I hope I'm wrong about that, but it's something that worries me.
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#19 White Tiger

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 04:36 PM

Understand I am not trying to get people angry...but I will tell you why this happens.
Human Agenda. As humans all our actions, concious and uncouncious come from an agenda. Much of it stemps from 2 emotions
Fear and Jealousy. These two can be broken down into the myriad of actions that take place next. (Please remember this is a simplified breakdown...I cannot recount 2 years of training at this time.)

But what is happening here is simply about POWER. They are angrey someone defies their rules.
This is what makes this crime that much worse. Its about them....not their family honor.
That is it....nothing more.
(I'm REALLY sick with a chest cold...so if doesn't make sense ...shrug for me :))
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#20 Nonny

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 04:38 PM

View PostQueenTiye, on May 21 2007, 02:15 PM, said:

in the US the debate is about abortion rights and such
For me, the fight to keep abortion safe, legal and available is just as important as the fight to end the other misogynistic horrors all over the world.  Every fight we win, to keep abortion safe, legal and available, to open the workplace to women, every single win is a beacon of hope for those on the front lines of the fight to end female genital mutilation, the fight to end bride burning, the fight to end marital slavery, the fight to end patriarchal destruction of women's right.  They are all important.  

Nonny
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"Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank, give a man a bank and he can rob the world." Can anyone tell me who I am quoting?  I found this with no attribution.

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Stupid is stupid, this I believe. And ignorance is the worst kind of stupid, since ignorance is a choice.  Suzanne Brockmann

All things must be examined, debated, investigated without exception and without regard for anyone's feelings. Diderot



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