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Culture Briefs

- - Sunday, October 17, 2010

Men are aliens

"Slate's Dana Stevens is a nice person and an often sharp writer, but sweet you-know-who on a stick, my eyeballs almost permanently rolled into the back of my head when I read the lede of her review of ['Jackass 3-D'] here: 'When I was pregnant, I was afraid of having a boy.' Okay. Thanks for sharing. … But it gets better: 'It wasn't that I didn't like little boys, but there was something about them that felt alien to me.' And perhaps that's as it should be. Funny, though, how getting pregnant usually works, huh? What a world!

"But anyway, rather than get angry, I thought maybe it would be fun to come up with a list of movies for which the lede 'When I was pregnant, I was afraid of having a boy' would be equally, erm, appropriate. So far I've got the entirety of Hal Roach's Our Gang shorts, 'Wild Boys of the Road,' 'Dirty Harry,' 'Helter Skelter' (that's a TV movie, does it count?), 'Citizen Kane,' 'Carlos.' There have got to be a few more, I'm sure, ar ar ar. What I'm really waiting for is the male film critic who'll have the balls to kick off a review by writing, 'When I knocked up my wife, I sure … didn't want her to have a … girl.'"

Glenn Kenny, writing on "The current cinema," on Oct. 15 at his site Some Came Running

Honor, Islam style

"'Allah honored wives by instating the punishment of beatings.' So said Cleric Sa'd Arafat earlier this year. Last month, a Wellesley, Massachusetts, public school took a trip to a mosque, where the schoolchildren were taught to pray to that same Allah.

"Well, except for the icky girls. Cooties, and all. They were not allowed to take part in the 'tolerance' indoctrination. Have to teach these girls how to show respect! And teach them a little about the benefits of misogynistic subjugation in the Muslim world, right? See, they were shockingly told - as they were shuttled off to an area away from males - that Islam is 'pro-women' and 'Islam was actually very advanced in terms of recognizing womens rights.' They were also told this: 'At the time of the Prophet Muhammad, women were allowed to express their opinions and vote. In this country, women didnt gain that right until less than a hundred years ago.'

"Of course. Blame America and try to make some sort of sick moral relativism argument. Whats the matter with you rube Islamophobes? Muhammad let women vote and express their opinions. Of course, they were then beaten for them, but still. In Islam, it is an honor to be beaten by your husband! There is even etiquette and stuff. We honor women by beating the crap out of them. Sheesh!"

Lori Ziganto, writing on "Tolerance and Diversity: Teaching Girls That Misogyny and Beatings Are an Honor," on Oct. 16 at Big Journalism

Abortion's impact

"International singing phenomenon Susan Boyle has revealed in a new autobiography that doctors had told her mother to abort her, because they thought the pregnancy was risky. Boyle soared to stardom in April 2009 after appearing on the UK television program, 'Britains Got Talent,' when the plain-looking Scotswoman shocked audiences with a powerful rendition of 'I Dreamed a Dream' from the musical version of Victor Hugos 'Les Miserables.'

"But the 49-year-old native of Blackburn, a village in West Lothian, Scotland, would never have dreamed the dream of singing on the international stage, if her mother had agreed to abort her on the advice of doctors. In her autobiography, 'The Woman I Was Born To Be,' Boyle reveals that doctors recommended a "termination" to Bridget Boyle, who already was a mother of eight children, because they feared physical complications. Boyle reveals that her mother rejected this advice as 'unthinkable' since she was a 'devout Catholic.'"

Peter J. Smith, writing on "Susan Boyle: Docs Told Mum to Abort Me," on Oct. 15 at Lifesite