- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 20, 2004


“Egyptian TV viewers are questioning the appropriateness of suggestive music videos in a traditional, Islamic culture, saying they fear for ‘their daughters’ morals.’ Last year, the exuberantly nubile Lebanese singer Nancy Agram excited the wrath of the People’s Assembly, who called for a ban and fines to channels airing her video, though their threats were widely ignored. Recently, however, an Egyptian girl named Rubi upset members of parliament and the TV authority enough to institute a ban (affecting state-owned TV) on music videos where women’s navels appear. In a characteristic mix of probity, lust and national pride, a Music Syndicate official described Rubi as a ‘sex-bomb’ whereas Nancy is merely a ‘sex-pot.’ …

“But lest we accuse Egypt of being alarmist or old-fashioned, it’s worth noting that American television imposed a similar restriction in the midst of the permissive ‘60s. … ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ was a classic piece of sexist kitsch featuring a curvy actress wearing a jewelled bra and gauzy pants that started out as hip-huggers and ended up around her waist.”

Maria Golia, writing on “Meditations on the navel ban,” July 4 at www.nthposition.com

No offense

“There is … an alarming number of people whose entire mission in life is to seek out things to take offense at. I recently wrote something to the effect that a side benefit of the Iraq war is the combat experience our troops are getting. I then said: ‘Soldiers want to fight, and soldiers like ours and Britain’s, who have recent experience of hard fighting, are keener, better motivated, swifter, calmer and more skilled at their trade than armies that have spent 20 years doing training exercises and “peace-keeping” missions.’ This perfectly innocuous (it seems to me) comment drew a furious e-mail from some military guy who had been involved in ‘peace-keeping,’ seen soldiers die in these operations and demanded that I apologize to their shades. He was in a spitting rage. I think he actually challenged me to a duel. …

“The world is full of stupidity, and there is nothing you can do about it. Furthermore, our current culture encourages people to take mighty offense at the teeniest imagined slight. That’s their problem. … If people misunderstand what I have said, it’s their fault, not mine. If they want to vent their spleen on me: Well, at least I’m used to it. Better they should vent it on me than on their wives and children, I guess. I’m performing a public service, see?”

John Derbyshire, writing on “Sleepless in Suburbia,” Monday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Au revoir, France

“I am convinced that the fate of France is sealed … because the situation is moving irreversibly towards the final swing in 2050 which will see French stock amounting to only half the population of the country, the remainder comprising Africans, Moors and Asians of all sorts from the inexhaustible reserve of the Third World, predominantly Islamic … this dance is only the beginning.

“France is not the only concern. All of Europe marches to its death. …

“What I cannot understand and which plunges me into an abyss of sorry perplexity, is why and how so many informed Frenchmen and so many French politicians contribute knowingly, methodically, I don’t dare to say cynically, to the certain immolation of France … on the altar of an aggravated utopian humanism.”

French novelist Jean Raspail, writing on “The Fatherland Betrayed by the Republic,” in the June 17 issue of Figaro

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