Driving Women Crazy

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that prohibits female drivers. This has always infuriated and saddened me. But Wajeha al-Huwaider's personal story, Saudi Women Petition for the Right to Drive, in Monday's Washington Post, brought home what this law means.

Al-Huwaider, who is leading a campaign for the right to drive in Saudi Arabia, tells of a night when her baby became ill and her husband wasn't home (a democracy advocate, he was in jail that evening). Due to the ban on women driving, she couldn't get her infant to a hospital on her own. There is limited public transportation in Saudi Arabia. Taxis, driven by male strangers, are considered unsafe. Some wealthy women have full-time live-in chauffeurs, but most cannot afford them. That night, Al-Huwaider had to go out into the street at 2 a.m. and beg a ride to the hospital to save her child's life.

Saudi laws also prohibit women from renting or owning property, travelling or marrying without a male relative's permission. If I lived in Saudi Arabia (the driving ban applies to all women, Saudi and foreign), I couldn't have taken my children to school today, gone to the supermarket to buy them food, driven myself to the dentist, attended a meeting for work, picked my children up from school, or met their teachers at back-to-school night. This is important but relatively mundane stuff for parents.

By contrast, imagine not being able to get your sick child to a doctor because your country believes it is immodest for you to drive a car. Three years ago, when my youngest had a series of seizures, I wouldn't have been able to take her to the hospital. Nine years ago, I went into labor when my husband was five hours away on a business trip. Should I or my child have risked dying for the sake of modesty?

Think for a moment. What couldn't you have done today if you weren't allowed to drive yourself and your children anywhere? Could you get to work? To school or daycare? To the market? To a hospital? How could you be a good mother without the ability to care for, protect and transport your children?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  September 26, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Moms in the News
Previous: A Layoff's Unexpected Bonus | Next: It's In The Bag


Add On Balance to Your Site
Keep up with the latest installments of On Balance with an easy-to-use widget. It's simple to add to your Web site, and it will update every time there's a new entry to On Balance.
Get This Widget >>


Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



First! (chomp!)

I let Mrs. Mako drive anytime she wants! She does have a mean bite!

Posted by: nonamehere | September 26, 2007 7:12 AM

LOL. Thank you, Mako, for (almost) always making me laugh.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 26, 2007 7:38 AM

fyi - there are a lot of people in this country who cannot afford a car. Whether they can drive is immaterial if they can't afford it. I once gave a ride to a mother standing on the corner in the rain waiting for a bus with an infant in a cast from hip to toe - not as bad as Saudi Arabia, but still a pretty difficult life.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | September 26, 2007 7:48 AM

Well, comedy is my middle name! Wait, I don't even have a first name. In fact, I have only one name as well as my wife and children!

Posted by: nonamehere | September 26, 2007 7:51 AM

I try really hard to understand different religions and cultures. I feel it is part of being human to take the time to listen and try to understand. But I still really have a hard time understanding the oppression of women in the Islamic culture. This is one day where I would like to sit back and read or "listen" to what others think about this. I hope some Islamic women weigh in as well. Have a good day everyone.

Posted by: foamgnome | September 26, 2007 7:51 AM

I'm with foamgnome. I cannot understand why the oppression of women in Islamic cultures is tolerated. The driving ban is unbelievable. I mean, is it in the Koran? What's the rationale?

I, too, am planning to sit back and (hopefully) be educated today.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 26, 2007 8:06 AM

Although I think the driving ban in Saudi Arabia is wrong, and certainly not in keeping with Koranic law, I take issue with the idea that women are oppressed in "Islamic cultures." As in any culture, women are sometimes oppressed. But most women in most Islamic countries (with the exception of Saudi Arabia and Iran) would argue that they don't WANT men outside of their family to be staring at them - they see it as a sign of respect that their family protects them. Many of them are apalled that families in the States make their daughters leave home at 18 to live with strangers. Just another point of view...

Posted by: rmiriam | September 26, 2007 8:18 AM

I'm all for CHOOSING modesty. I'm appalled when it's forced. I'm also appalled when Muslim woman are forced to give up their modesty, like France's ban on head scarves.

Irishgirl- Did you see the news on Madeleine this morning?

Posted by: atb2 | September 26, 2007 8:23 AM

One practical issue at play here -- Islamic women in Saudi Arabia fully veil when in public (you can only see their eyes) to comply with modesty requirements. When we lived in Riyadh in the mid-80s my mother found other motorists to be frightening and was glad she couldn't drive.

With regard to the interpretation of the Koran and a woman's role, the very conservative view in Saudi Arabia is at odds with the view that Prophet Mohammed's wife Khadijah was very active in the founding of Islam.

Posted by: tntkate | September 26, 2007 8:23 AM

Leslie,

"How could you be a good mother without the ability to care for, protect and transport your children?"

By your logic, I am a BAD mother. I don't drive.

Posted by: chittybangbang | September 26, 2007 8:29 AM

"I once gave a ride
to a mother standing on the corner in the rain waiting for a bus with an infant.."

Moxiemom, were you acting as a responsible citizen when you did this, or did you break the car seat law?

Posted by: DandyLion | September 26, 2007 8:31 AM

I have been without a car and it is extremely inconvenient, but, at least here in America, you can usually call an ambulance for a medical emergency. Was that not an option for this Saudi woman (and, Leslie, was that not an option for you with your two medical emergencies)?

Posted by: jjtwo | September 26, 2007 8:32 AM

This is the definition of bad parents.

http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/news/14179778/detail.html

Crystal Adams, 31, and James Chandler, 33, are accused of reckless endangerment, because police say the two grabbed their pet dogs and fled the fire at Center Manor Court but left Chandler's young son behind on Friday night.

The 4-year-old boy was treated for smoke inhalation after a firefighter ran inside and pulled him out, township Fire Chief Bill Brucker said

Posted by: r6345 | September 26, 2007 8:42 AM

rmiriam, first, if someone is uncomfortable with people staring at them, they can choose to wear a scarves, robes, etc, no matter what culture they live in. In the US, there's no law that says that people can dress in whatever manner makes them most comfotable, but people do it all the time. There doesn't need to be a law to tell them that.

Second, you get comfortable with whatever is the norm in your culture. The women in Saudi Arabia are only uncomfortable with men staring at them because that's how they are told to feel. In the US, we have different standards of modesty.

Having said that, I try not to judge other cultures because I don't know enough about them. I think it's a stupid law. I also feel that way about any law that curtails what I consider to be freedom. But I know that other people have different ideas of freedom, so that rationale doesn't apply.

What outrages me are the laws that curtail human rights. Driving is not a right (it's a priviledge, as we all heard from our parents). But the laws infringing on women's right to life are completely and utterly wrong. There's no grey area with those laws.

Posted by: Meesh | September 26, 2007 8:51 AM

ChittyBangBang -- Please don't misunderstand. I wasn't trying to cast aspersion on you or anyone else who can't or doesn't drive (MoxieMom's good point too about not everyone having a car).

What I specifically said was "transport and protect your children." And even then, there are exceptions -- for instance, a mother who is paralyzed can still be a very, very wonderful mother and advocate for her children.

What I meant was for us to sit back and imagine life for all of us women (men should try this too) if our government and society said we weren't allowed to to take public transportation or a taxi or drive a car.

And TNTKate, tell us more. How then did you and your mother get around Riyadh?

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 26, 2007 8:55 AM

Re: ambulances. There are some places where you can rely on ambulances, and some where you cannot. Many countries do not have ambulance -- although most of us take them for granted, they are in many ways a luxury of highly developed, wealthy, democratic countries. And even in our beloved DC, there have been times when ambulance service has been a joke. Maybe someone who has lived in Saudi Arabia recently can tell us how widespread ambulances are there.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 26, 2007 8:57 AM

Has anyone here ever veiled themselves in public? If you haven't, it is an enlightening, fascinating (and to me, horrifying) experience. I'm not talking a burka -- just take a large head scarf, wrap it around your head to cover your hair, neck and shoulders, and spend a few hours going about your business in public. (Also you should wear long sleeves and a long skirt.) I had to do this recently for a Muslim funeral, as a sign of respect for an acquaintance who had died. I felt invisible and as if the ultimate message was that I needed to be ashamed of my physical appearance. While I was happy to do it in this instance to honor my friend, it showed me how difficult and self-abnegating it is to cover one's self solely because you are female. I do not understand why this is considered an act of respect to some.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 26, 2007 9:02 AM

Since when are 18 year old girls forced to leave home in the US? As with boys, in most families those girls who want to leave go away to college, those who don't, stay home and go to a local school. Obviously that's a generalization, but that's the normal expectation.

Rather than any one point that could be endlessly argued, it's really the difference in freedom between the genders that is so terrible, treating women like they aren't fully human. And the excruciating lockdown of many Muslim women is designed to keep them dependent on men, no matter what. The same could be said about many other traditional religions, but nowhere else is the legal, social, as well as religious culture so punitive towards women.

Why are independent women so scary to male-dominated cultures?

Posted by: capsfan16 | September 26, 2007 9:03 AM

Yes, I agree. If men were required to veil themselves and banned from driving, I would think "wow, wacky religion, but whatever." It's the gender divide that is impossible to comprehend as a fair, devout practice.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 26, 2007 9:09 AM

It sure is terrible that women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. The question (as Lenin would ask it) is, ¿shto delat'? (what is to be done)
about it?

In her notorious column, "This is War," published in National Review Online two days after Arab terrorists massacred 3,000 Americans in NY, DC and Pennsylvania, Ann Coulter wrote:

"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."

Seeing as how 15 of the 19 terrorist hijackers came from Saudi Arabia, we don't have to look far to figure out what country Miss Coulter had in mind. The leaders of the country where women cannot drive come to Texas and play golf with our leader. Meanwhile, in Christian countries in North and South America and Europe, women can drive. In fact, women can drive in most Mohammedan countries, too, because there is nothing in the Koran that forbids a woman from operating an internal combustion engine. This is not a Mohammedan thing, it is a Saudi thing, and if we follow Miss Coulter's advice, not only will we free Saudi women to drive, we'll be able to bust up the OPEC monopoly and return to 60-cent-a-gallon gasoline.

Of course, if we were to follow Ann Coulter's advice, I'd love to see what the ladies of "Code Pink" would scrawl on their protest signs: "No Blood for Feminism"?

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | September 26, 2007 9:10 AM

I don't agree with the idea that a woman who isn't allowed to drive is oppressed. I didn't get my first car until this year, and I didn't get my license until I was 22. I survived college without having a car. I walked and took the bus. Occasionally, I took a taxi or got a ride from a friend.

What's more oppressing is having someone who doesn't understand one's culture come in and "you're oppressed because you're not allowed to do the same things I can do."

Posted by: Strawberry23 | September 26, 2007 9:11 AM

Well, Leslie, in the religious Jewish community, people are expected to be modest as well.

The way it is taught is that you should be proud of who you are and shouldn't just let anyone see your body (that's why they wear long sleeves, long skirts, cover hair if married). You should only let your husband see many parts of you because you are not so unhappy with who you are that you'll just let anyone ogle you.

One other interpretation (much less 'feminist') is that men are pigs and they can't take their eyes off it when it's out there, so women need to cover up so that men aren't distracted.

And capsfan, I think you can answer that question (was it rhetorical?). Men don't want to lose their power. In fact, anyone *in* power, rarely wants to lose it.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 26, 2007 9:12 AM

OTHO, I would prefer to be born and raised in Saudi Arabia than in Egypt where 96%/97% of women are circumsized.

I'm a little puzzled that Leslie says taxis are considered unsafe, but this woman thought that going out on the street at 2 a.m. and begging a ride was a good idea.

From the Department of State we have the following:

"Traffic accidents are a significant hazard in Saudi Arabia. Driving habits are generally poor, and accidents involving vehicles driven by minors are not uncommon. In the event of a traffic accident resulting in personal injury, all persons involved (if not in the hospital) may be taken to the local police station. Drivers are likely to be held for several days until responsibility is determined and any reparations paid. In many cases, all drivers are held in custody regardless of fault."

Assuming for purposes of discussion that this information is accurate, I'm not sure I'd WANT to put my children in a car and risk ending up in jail. What would happen to my children if I was arrested?

Perhaps driving is not the number one freedom a mother wants in Saudi Arabia. Women are the property of their husbands - I suspect that's a bigger issue of freedom, if not of day to day parenting. For the sake of argument, consider whether, just because many of our lives are constructed in a way that relies on the ability of both parents to drive, driving really is such an essential right that life isn't worth living without it. For the most part, we are simply used to living life our way - with great roads, city services, and the freedom to travel as we wish, when we wish regardless of gender.

Posted by: MN | September 26, 2007 9:13 AM

Matt, don't kid yourself. We will never be back to 60 cent gasoline. People in the world have decided they are willing to put up with $3 gas, it might go down at some point (highly unlikely) but it will never go there.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 26, 2007 9:21 AM

MN: I think the idea was that taxis were unsafe because a woman would be in a confined space with a man - and all taxi drivers are men.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 26, 2007 9:24 AM

Strawberry23 -- I agree totally -- the ability to drive, per se, does not equal freedom, and your decision not to drive doesn't equal oppression. Especially when there is available, affordable, safe public transportation as a substitute.

There is a big difference between your experience and Saudi women because on some level, this sounds like your choice. It's not a choice in Saudi Arabia when you risk being jailed or killed if you are a woman and drive.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 26, 2007 9:28 AM

Simple solution: spandex shorts and bicycles for all the women of Saudi Arabia.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. This isn't a realistic suggestion, but I'm having a lot of fun thinking about a mass protest in Saudi Arabia of this sort--all the women getting together and saying "you think driving is immodest? Try this!" and then hopping on their Schwinns in bike shorts, carrying their groceries in panniers and their kids in bike trailers. Maybe driving wouldn't be seen as quite so immodest then.

Posted by: sarahfran | September 26, 2007 9:28 AM

Giving women some economic/social power translates to better outcomes for children. I am so grateful I can get about in the world physically and financially -- especially since ex-DH got very sick and was unable to contribute for a long time. I understand there is a family-driven safety net in Muslim culture but I also know it can fail. I won't impose my decision on others but I'll pick financial independence any day and I'd like my Muslim sisters to have the same choice.

Posted by: anne.saunders | September 26, 2007 9:30 AM

What is this business of saying that we shouldn't compare, contrast and evaluate different cultures? Saudis won't let women drive, but we're supposed to parrot the line that, "well, they're as good as we are"? Egyptians cut little girls, and we're supposed to agree that their ancient civilization is on a par with ours?

Shortly after the Arab terrorist massacres of September 11, 2001, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said:

"L'Occidente deve avere la consapevolezza della superiorità della sua civiltà ... una civiltà che ha garantito benessere largo ai popoli e garantito il rispetto dei diritti umani, di quelli religiosi, che non c'è nei paesi islamici, il rispetto dei diritti politici".

("The West must be aware of the superiority of our civilization, a system that has guaranteed well-being to the people, respect for human rights and - in contrast with Islamic countries - respect for religious and political rights . . .")

Of course, the Politically Correct tiers-mondistes crucified Signor Berlusconi and forced him to recant, sort of like defendants were forced to recant during the Soviet purge trials of the 1930's. But he had it right the first time. The West is by no means perfect, but it's the best that Earthly mortals can do, until the True Redeemer comes.(may it be speedily, in our days, amen!)

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | September 26, 2007 9:46 AM

While I feel that the driving ban in Saudi Arabia was ridiculous and horrifyingly insane, every time I read about this problem, I think of my late grandfather.

My grandfather was...erm...not a very nice guy. Let's just say he liked to be in - and exerted - as much control of his wife and children as possible.

So my grandmother - who married my grandfather when she was very young and worked as a waitress to help support the family - was never allowed to get her driver's license. Ditto for my mother and aunts, since women didn't "need" to drive in my grandfather's mind.

Luckily, my mom grew up in NYC so there was public transportation, and nearby family and friends to help the women of the family get around. But as soon as they could move out of the house, my Mom and aunts learned how to drive. And when my grandfather died, I think one of the first things my 60-something grandmother did after his affairs were settled was to get her driver's license.

While times have changed in the past 50 years in the US, I'm sure there are still women in our own country who still live in situations that are pretty oppressive.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | September 26, 2007 9:46 AM

yes, chasmosaur, BUT, once your grandfather was out of the picture, your grandmother was able to just go and get her license. No rallies, no lobbying, nothing, she could get up and drive.

You are right, unfortunately, there are many people who live in those situations, but our society has determined that that is a bad thing, which is why there are shelters, and services for women (and men) in those situations.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 26, 2007 9:49 AM

MN: I think the idea was that taxis were unsafe because a woman would be in a confined space with a man - and all taxi drivers are men.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 26, 2007 09:24 AM

I understand, atlmom. I don't see how you have a better outcome at 2 a.m. on the street though. Since women can't drive, you'll still be in a confined space with a man. Right?

Matt - you are taking an extreme view of sopmthing no one has said. Sometimes the response to a hysterical blog entry is more practical than political: maybe driving isn't so essential in a country where the roads are abominable. Maybe we should be concerned about the lack of education or free speech, or the fact that women are not permitted to leave the country without the permission of the fathers or husbands. Saudis don't let women drive OR ride bicycles, but no one is suggesting that the bicycle prohibition is going to bring down the universe. Why? Because we don't ride bicycles, so we don't care about THAT right. If we are going to evaluate whether another culture is repressive to women, perhaps we should look at their culture from a viewpoint that doesn't start with life in Potomac, Maryland as the gold standard.

Oh, and re: Egypt?? There ARE more repressive and worse places for women to live than Saudi Arabia. Acknowledging those realities doesn't make SA great. It does, however, keeps us honest in discussing gender issues worldwide.

Posted by: MN | September 26, 2007 9:58 AM

Chasmosaur -- absolutely. i love your grandmother's story. there is no shortage of of oppression in our own backyard.

Anne.Saunders -- Thank you. Such a voice of reason.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 26, 2007 10:11 AM

Just so you know, in some places in the US an ambulance can take a while to reach you. I would never want to have to depend on someone else to take care of my child. What an awful feeling to have to live with day in and day out. I try not to judge other cultures, but the culture of Saudi Arabia does seem oppressive towards women.

ATB that kid looks like Madeline. I don't know much about Morocco, what is that country like? Can the McCanns just go there and look for her? I just don't know why anyone would take her to cart her around Morocco on their back.

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 26, 2007 10:11 AM

"Matt - you are taking an extreme view of something no one has said."

Posted by: MN | September 26, 2007 09:58 AM

I'm taking an extreme view of something that Meesh has said:

"I try not to judge other cultures because I don't know enough about them. I think it's a stupid law. I also feel that way about any law that curtails what I consider to be freedom. But I know that other people have different ideas of freedom, so that rationale doesn't apply."

Posted by: Meesh | September 26, 2007 08:51 AM

Yeah, well, the Confederates also had "different ideas of freedom" that included slavery. African-Americans were slaves to the rednecks on Dixie, and Abe Lincoln fought a great Civil War to conquer the South with infantry, cavalry and artillery. And if Abe Lincoln had not sent the Union Army with infantry, cavalry and artillery to free the slaves, behold: they, and their children, and their children's children would still be slaves to the rednecks in Dixie. And therefore, no matter how wise we are, no matter how smart we are, no matter how learned we are, it is incumbent upon us to study the history of the War Between the States, and whoever studies the history of the War Between the States is greatly to be praised.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | September 26, 2007 10:12 AM

Leslie- to answer your question my dad drove us everywhere. It evolved into a routine where we went to the grocery store once a week (whether you needed to or not) for two reasons - 1- dad was available and 2- you never knew what might have come in stock. My mother was able to get a job at my school so she and the other mothers who were teachers and admin. staff at the school rode our school bus with us. (My mother is a hard ass bus monitor by the way!) Home are built behind walls - we were fortunate to live in a community behind walls so I rode my bike to the pool and walked to the library -- a bit of a throw back to small town America. I had friends whose home environment was a house and a pool behind walls -- I found it very stifling when I spent the night there once.

Posted by: tntkate | September 26, 2007 10:13 AM

"I don't agree with the idea that a woman who isn't allowed to drive is oppressed. I didn't get my first car until this year, and I didn't get my license until I was 22. I survived college without having a car. I walked and took the bus. Occasionally, I took a taxi or got a ride from a friend.

What's more oppressing is having someone who doesn't understand one's culture come in and 'you're oppressed because you're not allowed to do the same things I can do.'"

No. What's oppressive is having the government say "you're not allowed to do the same things I can do because you're a woman." I didn't have a car either when I was in college. BFD. Do do you seriously not see the difference between that and having the government decide for you? Between not being able to afford it and having the government prohibit it? Just because of your gender?

And Meesh, I'm going to disagree somewhat with your issue of rights vs. privileges. I agree that the larger issue is some governments' denial of basic human rights. But restricting these kinds of privileges is a critical tool that those governments use. Yes, driving is a privilege, but it's an important one -- it's the freedom to travel, to move around at will, that opens up the world, exposes you to different people with different ideas. Which is precisely why one of the very first things oppressive regimes do (after controlling the press) is take away that right.

Want to keep women subservient? Ok. Prohibit them from driving, and make sure they don't have other reliable, safe public transport. Because if they don't go out into the world much, they won't be exposed to "dangerous" ideas about women's rights. And they won't meet other people who have those kinds of uppity notions about their "place." And they sure can't start protesting about women's rights if the men in their lives refuse to take them there. And hey, we don't have to worry about them getting jobs and becoming financially independent if they can't get there, right?

Posted by: laura33 | September 26, 2007 10:14 AM

Get up get get get down
911's a joke in your town

Ambulance service doesn't always "serve" even in the US. The point is not that this woman couldn't drive or that she couldn't take a taxi or that there wasn't an ambulance but that she couldn't drive AND she couldn't take a taxi AND there wasn't an ambulance. All her options were cut off except begging for charity in the street. And wouldn't that involve a certain level of immodesty?

Posted by: kk | September 26, 2007 10:14 AM

Welcome to the realities of fundamental Islam ladies...............

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 10:25 AM

Strawberry23 said: I don't agree with the idea that a woman who isn't allowed to drive is oppressed. I didn't get my first car until this year, and I didn't get my license until I was 22. I survived college without having a car. I walked and took the bus. Occasionally, I took a taxi or got a ride from a friend.

What's more oppressing is having someone who doesn't understand one's culture come in and "you're oppressed because you're not allowed to do the same things I can do."

You said it, Laura. I didn't get my license until I was 19, but I was _able_ to get a license. It was _my_ _choice_ to not bother getting a license until then. And Strawberry, you were still able to make that choice to get a car, to get a license, to take a taxi or grab a ride with a friend. None of these options were open to the Saudi woman in question. Get a car/license? Nope. Bus? No. Taxi? Hell, no. Grab a ride with a friend? Not unless she had a male relative present. Now, tell me again, Strawberry, why this isn't oppressive??

Posted by: blahblah6b | September 26, 2007 10:25 AM

"I had to do this recently for a Muslim funeral, as a sign of respect for an acquaintance who had died. I felt invisible and as if the ultimate message was that I needed to be ashamed of my physical appearance. While I was happy to do it in this instance to honor my friend, it showed me how difficult and self-abnegating it is to cover one's self solely because you are female. I do not understand why this is considered an act of respect to some. "


You are SUPPOSED to feel that way, you don't count and you are seen as less than a man. It is a culture and religion mired in medevalism.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 10:28 AM

I believe that taxis would be considered "unsafe" for women in Saudi Arabia if for no other reason that the perspective of a male stranger driving a woman to whom he's unrelated.

My father was several hours away fighting a forest fire when I was due to be born, so their plan was for my mother to take a cab to the hospital if she went into labor while he was away. Since I was late (or, more likely, the doctor had miscalculated my due date), my father had returned home in time to drive my mother to the hospital once the contractions were close enough together to indicate it was time.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 10:34 AM

Well said, MN. However, sometimes the idea that everyone is okay and all cultures are fine and equal isn't the best idea.

We don't all believe that our own cultures are the best - but most of us do. Or else we'd go find another culture to live in. Of course, if you're familiar with what you do, then you think that's the best way.

Look, I think driving in cars is horrible, for so many reasons (increasing crime (hey, there's a reason Atlanta is tops in crime stats - and I think that's one of them), increase in obesity, increase in not knowing your neighbors, waste of time, waste of space and turning grass into blacktop, parents forcing their kids to drive when they aren't really ready, just so they don't have to do it - and said teens get into accidents that should have been avoided), but the 'culture' here is SO against it (thinking of spending *$26 BILLION* on new roads, but not a penny on new rails). I think that culture is WRONG. I am judgemental about it (ask my DH).

Yes, I do have judgements about what i think is right and wrong, on some ideas about the way we live. We all have these ideas - or we'd go live somewhere else. I think that the prohibition on women driving is wrong - it's not just custom, it's their LAW.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 26, 2007 10:43 AM

Plenty of respectable people in large urban areas either can't afford to own a car, or they choose not to shoulder the major expense of owning one (including exorbitant parking charges), not to mention coping with horrendous traffic jams. If such regions offer decent mass transit, that can be the most sensible transportation solution the majority of the time; parents/guardians standardly take their children on the subway, bus or train on errands, e.g., when going to, say, the doctor/dentist/etc. When a vehicle is absolutely necessary, such people rent a car (usually no more than a few times a year) and combine a number of car-based errands, or enlist a friend's help, or take a cab. City people also tend to shop for groceries more frequently and close to where they live so they can carry their purchases home.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 10:44 AM

Posted by: laura | September 26, 2007 10:14 AM

Hooray for Laura! Deniers of freedom always do those things and then they couch it in terms of "safety" or "tradition", it is a cynical ploy to keep people down.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 10:45 AM

I WALKED to the hospital to deliver my first child.

Posted by: chittybangbang | September 26, 2007 10:45 AM

Yeah, right, barefoot uphill for five miles in the snow. Then immediately upon delivery, barefoot uphill another five miles in the snow going home.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 10:47 AM

Another sad thing is that MEN buy into this nonsense and use it against their own blood, which I find disgusting. Some spare is going to make the rules for MY daughter based on her sex and his medeval sense of religion and then turn it into law? No way! Now when you talk about keeping women down in Saudi Arabia, I turn into a left wing feminist, because it is a fundamental denial of freedom and human rights.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 10:49 AM

BTW, I seem to recall that NPR's Scott Simon has repeatedly mentioned that he does not drive, at least as of a few years ago. Nor has Barbara Walters. Although both could afford a car, they were, of course, city-raised. Nor did the fictitious character of Jessica Fletcher on "Murder She Wrote," as that fact figured pivotally in the plot-line of an episode where she was supposedly seen driving. These folks (real and otherwise) are not considered oppressed or incompetent just because they don't drive. That's more of a suburban prejudice.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 10:52 AM

pATRICK I can't imagine living that way, but do you think that most of those women are so used to it that they don't see anything wrong with it?

I can't walk ten miles to the hospital while in labor. I guess I am a wuss.

Speaking of which I am dilated one centimeter and the doctor said they don't stop labor past 33 weeks, so I guess the baby could come anytime now.

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 26, 2007 10:53 AM

Matt: Actually, if you talk to people IN the south, they say that slavery wasn't the biggest issue - economics was. The idea of the plantation was changing - as it was becoming too expensive, our economy was moving into the industrial (manufacturing) age, and they were still pretty much farmers.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 26, 2007 10:53 AM

Irishgirl: wow, it could be soon! My water broke around 34 weeks (with the first), but I didn't go into labor, and they didn't induce me. They said if I went into labor, they would let it go, though.

So much fun laying in the hospital for 10 days, unable to get around, etc. After a couple of days we found a VCR, so that wasn't so horrible!

Well, good luck - are you feeling well?

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 26, 2007 10:56 AM

"pATRICK I can't imagine living that way, but do you think that most of those women are so used to it that they don't see anything wrong with it?"

No, they know they are being oppressed. My guess is that they feel powerless to do anything about it. I hate this stuff because it is a small step from oppressing women to oppressing men.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 10:57 AM

Leslie asks: "How could you be a good mother without the ability to care for, protect and transport your children?"

Leslie, would you consider all visually- or hearing-impaired women, or women with epilepsy or other physical conditions which preclude their being eligible for a driver's license, to be bad mothers? Likewise are fathers with these conditions bad parents? That's the prejudice you're conveying here. Is driving a bona fide occupational qualification for being a good parent? I'd say not. Leslie, you need to THINK more carefully about what you write before hitting the "Send" button.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 10:57 AM

Irishgirl, best of luck to you, whenever the baby comes. We'll all be waiting for your news!!!

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 11:00 AM

Driving a car really is an empowering thing. My mother grew up in a tiny town in the midwest where girls just didn't do certain things, and learning to drive was one of them. When she found herself living in the suburbs with five little kids years later and no way to do the grocery shopping, take kids to the doctor (I remember clearly being a preschooler in need of a trip to the hospital while she frantically searched for a neighbor at home to take us), or go on any outings beyond walking distance she was miserable. It wasn't just her inability to drive that was causing her depression, but when she started seeing a psychiatrist for major depression, part of her therapy was to get her driver's licence. Having her license opened up a world of new opportunities for her--she joined volunteer organizations, she got her kids involved in sports and music lessons, she no longer had to rely on my father for simple things like picking up a gallon of milk.

I guess you could argue that not having a driver's license was her choice for all those years (she was 36 when she finally got one), but it was a choice imposed on her by her father and the culture of her small town upbringing. Once she realized that this wasn't something she had to put up with, she was a much happier and freer person.

Posted by: sarahfran | September 26, 2007 11:00 AM

Hey, I grew up in the suburbs, and I think if Barbara Walters & Scott Simon don't want to drive, that's fine. People can and ought to be able to choose whether or not to drive! Nobody's saying you're oppressed if _you_ choose not to drive! It's when the government steps in & says you can't, that's it's oppressive!! The only people who should be oppressed like this are the 15-and-under crowd, because we all know they're not real people yet.

Posted by: blahblah6b | September 26, 2007 11:01 AM

I love reading this post, but today, I'm a little dismayed by some of the comments. I'm an American Muslim woman. I cover. I work. I drive. I am raising my children. I wish for women in Saudi to have the same freedoms. I choose to wear hijab-scarf and an outer cover called jilbab. My religion isn't stopping me from doing any of these things. Something I would really like to make clear, Islam isn't the reason the women in Saudi aren't allowed to drive. It's not in the Quran or Islamic teachings, it's a cultural issue. All other "Muslim" countries allow women to drive. The culture in these lands unfortunately has superceded what the religion allows.

Also, to the poster that commented on being "hidden" or not there due to covering, i'm sorry you felt that way. Wearing the hijab on a daily basis is not something to take on lightly. It takes a woman with a strong sense of self to do so, especially in our society here. I don't feel relegated to nothingness. I stand tall, i walk tall, and I know my worth. Please don't misunderstand the reason for a Muslim woman's covering. Also, Muslim women aren't the only ones asked to cover. As was mentioned, Jewish women do so also, and Catholics still cover their heads when they go to church. Why is a nun's habit seen as something positive she's doing for her love of God, but a Muslim woman's attire is viewed as being forced or demeaning?

Posted by: Isra | September 26, 2007 11:01 AM

Matt - unfortunately Lincoln didn't (initially) fight the war to free the slaves. The south siezed a fort/armaments first, which was what really spawned the war, or at least the violent parts of the war. The south later on was using their slaves to do work that was helping them in the war, so Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation (which only applied to seceded states, not union states that were slaveholding) to try to encourage slaves to run away to the north so that they wouldn't be helping the south.

I think it's interesting to note that in many wars the reasons we fight are different from the outset, but we make up nice little huminitarian reasons towards the end or after it's over to justify it. Not that I'm saying we shouldn't have or couldn't have fought the civil war, but the reasons/justifications changed only in the end.

Posted by: _Miles | September 26, 2007 11:02 AM

Thank you for posting Isra. I think we all appreciate your insight on this.

Posted by: _Miles | September 26, 2007 11:04 AM

Mehitabel -- see my earlier post. I made the exact same point as you are making. of course you can be a great parent without driving. any chance you could lay off me today? i think you got plenty of good digs in yesterday! enough for one week.

I actually think that NOT having a car is a great freedom too -- as long as you live in an urban area, within easy walking distance to stores, schools, work, and safe public transportation. And assuming you are not disabled and unable to walk or easily take public transportation. When I lived in New York and Chicago I didn't have a car and it was wonderful to be "free" of the headaches and expenses of it.

Cars don't equal freedom. But in the case of Saudi Arabia, clearly women would have greater freedom if they could drive themselves, and their children, wherever they wanted. And FYI -- in parts of some Muslim countries, women can't WALK places alone either.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 26, 2007 11:05 AM

LizaBean -- Thank you for your words of encouragement last night on the Layoff's discussion. Meant a lot --

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 26, 2007 11:09 AM

Right on, leslie, if only I could convince more people here that cars are oppressive! Certainly not freedom. I'd like to walk out my door and go anywhere at anytime without having to worry about parking, getting the kids in and out of the car (they could walk or be in a stroller), etc.

I HATE HATE HATE driving. one day, we'll move somewhere I don't have to. Ahhhh, to dream....

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 26, 2007 11:09 AM

"Also, Muslim women aren't the only ones asked to cover. As was mentioned, Jewish women do so also, and Catholics still cover their heads when they go to church"

Yes but no threatens to chop off her head or stone her to death if they refuse. Your ability to practice your religion is based on the freedoms we hold dear. I as a christian can't practice my faith in saudi arabia.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 11:10 AM

Leslie wrote: "any chance you could lay off me today? i think you got plenty of good digs in yesterday! enough for one week."

Not if the shoe fits. Do a better job and you'll be praised accordingly.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 11:13 AM

Matt, I think that it's very important to study and evaluate other cultures. I come from a family of anthropologists, and I've seen some horrible injustices in other parts of the world with my own eyes. But it does no good to judge those people, because you end up judging the victims as well as the oppressors. Trust me, I have my opinions, but I didn't think it was important to air them.

Laura, I completely agree with you. That practice is alive and well here in the States, too. The Patriot Act, anyone? So many of our freedoms are slowly being chipped away so that the government can control us better. Abortion laws are an example of oppressive laws that target women.

But see? Some one will say that the freedom of a mother to choose is not as important as the freedom of the fetus to live. It's all about how you interpret freedom.

Women in Saudi Arabia might say that while they give up the freedom to drive, they get the freedom from being saddled with that burden.

We should avoid judgement and stick to facts. We need to study cultures objectively to decide what laws can be repeal on the basis of human rights. That way, we're not saying "you primitive people! You need someone to save you from these laws that treat you as property and you obviously can't save yourselves!" We're saying "these laws are unjust based on human rights," not in comparison to what we have in the West.

Posted by: Meesh | September 26, 2007 11:13 AM

And if Abe Lincoln had not sent the Union Army with infantry, cavalry and artillery to free the slaves, behold: they, and their children, and their children's children would still be slaves to the rednecks in Dixie. And therefore, no matter how wise we are, no matter how smart we are, no matter how learned we are, it is incumbent upon us to study the history of the War Between the States, and whoever studies the history of the War Between the States is greatly to be praised.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | September 26, 2007 10:12 AM

So true that it is incumbent upon us to study the history of the War Between the States, what led up to it and its aftermath, and the realities and myths about Mr. Lincoln, the pragmatist. Those who do so generally agree that slavery, a commercially driven enterprise, would have died long before now, whether or not the War occurred, because progress marches on in the form of improvements to agricultural practices and machinery. No one would be a slave in Dixie today, whether to a redneck (nice perjorative term - that) or to anyone else.

People are so much more complex than 4th grade history books permit. Abe Lincoln's preferred solution to the slavery debate was to establish an island and send all of the slaves to it. We don't hear much about that. In fact, Lincoln did not intend to free slaves at all, but was forced into it as a matter of political expediency. Here as his words, written one month before he signed the Emancipation Proclamation:

"I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be "the Union as it was." If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views."

Slavery was a terrible thing. Knowledge of history, on the other hand, is a beautiful thing and within all of our respective grasps.

Posted by: MN | September 26, 2007 11:14 AM

(how could we all enjoy the Creepy Van (tm)without motor transport?)

Small story about sainted mother. When we lived in Chicago the first few years of my life, mom was able to get around the small city we were in.

When we moved to L.A. it became a necessity that mom learn to drive at the age of 32! Mom took a commercial driving course and she had her permanent license before she completed the course!

Posted by: Fred | September 26, 2007 11:14 AM

altmom I feel icky of late and can't wait for the baby to come.

Isra,

I am Catholic and have never covered my head at church or for that matter ever seen any other lady do it. I also can't recall the last time I saw a nun at church in her habit. I also don't care what you wear as long as you don't care what me and my daugher wears.

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 26, 2007 11:14 AM

pATRICK: but what she was saying is she does it because she *wants* to. She won't get her head chopped off if she doesn't comply, but it is her choice.

I think we mainly agree, though - re: whether it's one's choice to cover/not drive/etc, or whether it's govt imposed.

And, for the record, I love my republic in the US (even though some of it has deteriorated recently), I love the freedoms, and I do think that this is the best way there is. I do think we should storm our own govt for things that they are doing these days (and no, I don't mean the bushies, actually), but all in all, for the most part, I think it's sort of running okay. Better than most anywhere else.

As churchill said (and I quote, poorly): democracy is the worst form of government. Except for all the others.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 26, 2007 11:15 AM

Isra, interesting post. One big difference between nuns & muslim women is that only nuns dress like that. I'm not catholic, so I don't know, but I don't think that even devout catholic women wear habits! But the point is that _you_ choose to wear the hijab, and that's fine, you should wear what you want. And people should dress appropriately when they go to a synagogue or a church or a mosque. I doubt you would say that these should be government mandated, though, right? It's rules & customs v. laws. Someone breaking the norm, whether it's regarding dress or getting a driver's license shouldn't be subjected to fines or imprisonment.

Posted by: blahblah6b | September 26, 2007 11:15 AM

"pATRICK: but what she was saying is she does it because she *wants* to. She won't get her head chopped off if she doesn't comply, but it is her choice"

yes HERE it is her choice based on the freedoms we enforce. There it would NOT be her choice it would be compulsory and refusal could lead to death by very nasty means.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 11:19 AM

IMO wearing those burqas and headscarves are really no different then when the Nazis forced the jews to wear a star of david everywhere they went upon penalty of death. The names change, the garb changes but the oppression is always stays the same.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 11:22 AM

I'm no advocate of the canvas sack as fashion wear (though some would say it'd be an improvement on my current wardrobe) but I'm not sure American women have some great advantage in facing cultural pressures to dress like Britney Spears.

And best wishes to Irishgirl -- keep us posted.

Posted by: anne.saunders | September 26, 2007 11:22 AM

irishgirl: Sorry to hear that! Hope it's getting better though...
Have some ice cream.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 26, 2007 11:24 AM

And Laura, did I thank you for your sanity today as well?

Gotta jet...I am going to DRIVE myself to teach a class and then DRIVE myself to kids' school to DRIVE them to their annual dentist appointment.

All by myself! Love this country!

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 26, 2007 11:30 AM

"Leslie wrote: "any chance you could lay off me today? i think you got plenty of good digs in yesterday! enough for one week."

Not if the shoe fits. Do a better job and you'll be praised accordingly."

CATLADY, I think that is LESLIE's way of crying uncle...................

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 11:30 AM

irishgirl: Sorry to hear that! Hope it's getting better though...
Have some ice cream

I've been eating everything and still have only gained 15 pounds. One of my neighbors hates me because she has gained 40.

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 26, 2007 11:30 AM

pATRICK: I completely agree with you on that one. Keep the government OUT of my business. Don't tell me what to wear, say, do, etc.
Just protect me (from others) as best you can (big thanks to those in the armed forces).

As for abortion rights (MN, right, you brought it up?), I so think abortion should be legal for a zillion reasons. But in reality, on laws, I think you CAN have moral relativity. I.e., is it better for something to be legal or illegal?
All laws will be broken, no matter what. So, what are the consequences to society when they are? With something like murder: hey, you don't want people able to murder others in the street, do you? SO, okay, that one's illegal.

With abortion, being legal is a better way to go - because the mom has decided that she can't raise the child properly. Because if she had one and it was illegal, she could die, or have other medical complications. I guess if you think the woman should be 'punished' for getting pregnant and not wanting to have the child, you disagree with me, however.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 26, 2007 11:33 AM

Sorry, pATRICK, that's just Leslie's way of trying to whine her way out of being held accountable for not doing a good enough job. Maybe it worked with her parents or teachers when she was a kid, but some of us recognize the transparency of her tactic, and it's irresponsible as adult behavior..

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 11:35 AM

IMO wearing those burqas and headscarves are really no different then when the Nazis forced the jews to wear a star of david everywhere they went upon penalty of death. The names change, the garb changes but the oppression is always stays the same.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 11:22 AM

Wow, didn't take long before Nazis were brought into this. Forcing Jews to wear something that, in that form, hadn't been historically or traditionally part of the religion is *slightly* different from a woman choosing to wear something that women in her religion have been wearing in that matter for centuries.

Btw, I am Catholic. It was traditional in Church for women to cover their hair on Sunday mass. I don't know the reason, just been that way for a long long long time. Only in the 60s after Vatican II did they decide women no longer have to do this. I still some older women who cover their hair at mass, but most don't. I'd like to think those that do, do so because the tradition of their religion is important to them whether it's required of them or not. I don't think they are being oppressed, it's just a choice they've made. And yeah, in America at least, prior to Vatican II if you didn't like it you always had the freedom to go join another religion.

Posted by: _Miles | September 26, 2007 11:35 AM

Isra,

I am Catholic and have never covered my head at church or for that matter ever seen any other lady do it. I also can't recall the last time I saw a nun at church in her habit. I also don't care what you wear as long as you don't care what me and my daugher wears.

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 26, 2007 11:14 AM


psst. Scarry, is it okay if we comment on the awfulness of 15-year old girls wearing low-slung, short shorts with JUICY or any other sexually suggestive wording on their tushes?

I'm sorry you feel lousy and am crossing my fingers that this phase is for you as short as healthfully possible.

Posted by: MN | September 26, 2007 11:37 AM

"Wow, didn't take long before Nazis were brought into this. Forcing Jews to wear something that, in that form, hadn't been historically or traditionally part of the religion is *slightly* different from a woman choosing to wear something that women in her religion have been wearing in that matter for centuries."

You completely missed the point! When a government FORCES a people (jews, women) to wear something upon penalty of death, it is OPPRESSION!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 11:38 AM

Miles: they probably do it cause that's the way they are comfortable. In the last 20-30 years in Judaism, some things that had been reserved only for men are now starting to be done by women. I am not comfortable with doing some of them, as I did not grow up with it - but I have actually started to do it for various reasons. however, i have a friend who used to teach kids who specifically did not teach the girls to do some things since he was uncomfortable (even though they should have been doing them). The issue wasn't pushed, he is no longer there, etc, but it's kind of what you're used to.
I think the changes are good, but understand when people are uncomfortable (I was of the first year of Bat Mitzvahs who could have theirs on Saturday mornings - before that girls were bat mitzvahed on Friday nights, which is what my sisters did - I'm sure there were MANY in the congregation who were uncomfortable, but it was a sign of the times and the synagogue was changing).

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 26, 2007 11:39 AM

"As for abortion rights (MN, right, you brought it up?), "

Abortion rights were raised by Meesh.

Posted by: MN | September 26, 2007 11:39 AM

Anyway, my point was to look at what's better for society as a whole. And I guess if you're looking at it from a religious perspective, you can interpret your documents as you please. As was mentioned, driving is not prohibited in the Koran, so it's the interpretation by the Saudi govt that says it should be.

Whereas, with the way the laws have been implemented, with women not being able to do what they want when they can't drive (have to wait for DH to bring them somewhere), if you want your women to be oppressed, to not have options, then that law has definitely succeeded.

If you just want women to be modest, it has not succeeded.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 26, 2007 11:48 AM

You completely missed the point! When a government FORCES a people (jews, women) to wear something upon penalty of death, it is OPPRESSION!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 11:38 AM

Agree with you there. Just think people are a bit quick to start calling up the specter of Naziism everytime it fits their particular argument. Oppression, yes.

Posted by: _Miles | September 26, 2007 11:49 AM

In the US, you can go to jail if you're "indecently exposed." We do have laws that prevent us from exposing ourselves, it's just level cover-up that's different.

And women don't get stoned here for breaking that law, but no one gets stoned here (um, you know what I mean), so you can't look at that as unfair because men get stoned in SA as well. That's just another form of punishment that they have.

The human right atrocities that occur in SA are, to me, more important to fight against. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_Saudi_Arabia
(I know it's Wikipedia. Take it with a grain of salt)
I think that our view of SA may be a little more conservative than the way things actually are.

Posted by: Meesh | September 26, 2007 11:51 AM

pATRICK, mehitabel, can we give it a rest RE Leslie? I think we all understand exactly how you feel.

Posted by: Meesh | September 26, 2007 11:53 AM

"Women, both of Saudi citizenship and foreign, are often victims of discrimination and human rights violations. With the rise of conservative Islamic culture as well as the ongoing adherence to Shari'a, women in parts of the Middle East continue to be treated as second-class citizens. In Saudi Arabia, an unmarried adult woman is a ward of her father. Once married, she becomes a ward of her husband. Without the express permission of her male guardian ('mahram'), a woman cannot be admitted to a hospital, obtain an exit visa, or attain an identification card. Furthermore, women are strictly segregated from men in public. They are required to wear an abaya (a black garment that covers them from head to toe) at all times when outside of their homes, barred from workplaces, educated in female only schools, restricted to "family sections" of restaurants and made to shop in female-only stores. They are prohibited from driving and forbidden to travel without the company of a male relative. In fact, women cannot leave the country without the written permission of a male relative, and may not even travel in a taxi unless accompanied by her mahram or husband. Women are made to enter buses from separate entrances in the rear and must sit in designated sections.2 In other words, the ability of Saudi Arabian women to move about freely is nearly non-existent. This lack of freedom of movement has severe impact on other basic human rights, such as the right to work. Foreign domestic workers are often locked inside their workplaces and forbidden to leave. This restriction of movement makes any course to redress for this and other human rights virtually impossible."

Modesty my rearend. Substitute women for Jews and you have 1930's Germany. This is oppression plain and simple.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 11:53 AM

The following article was linked in Weingarten's chat yesterday:
"The Kingdom in the Closet":
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200705/gay-saudi-arabia

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 11:56 AM

If I approached this issue solely from the whitebread, American, my way is the right way point of view, then sure, I would think this is oppressive. However, if I approach this from a different cultural practices are just different and not wrong POV, then it's easier to understand this.

Heck, some of you think it's oppressive to live on less than $200,000 a year and to not have enough money to dine at fine restaurants and live in exclusive neighborhoods. Other people, like myself, understand that freedom is a state of mind, not a list of permissable and available activities.

Posted by: Strawberry23 | September 26, 2007 11:57 AM

Still advocating "tolerance"? Read on.....


Saudi Arabia's inability to protect women from the acts of non-state actors as well as the continued impunity of those that commit violent acts against women is disturbing. Limitations on the freedom of movement often make it difficult to seek safe haven or redress for domestic violence. Domestic workers are often knowingly held captive by their employers and are denied any sort of rights based on their gender and religion (many are non-Muslim).10 Domestic workers are not afforded protection under labor codes; they are frequently overworked and locked in their employer's homes, making them vulnerable to sexual and physical assaults. The conditions that domestic workers face are tantamount to slavery.11 On a wider scale, domestic violence is a quiet secret in Saudi society. Authorities do not publish statistics, and the state tolerates men chastising their wives for certain things such as disobedience. Police do not respond sympathetically to wives who have been beaten by their husbands, and the legal system offers women virtually no recourse.12 There are also no centers or shelters for women who are at risk of abuse and who want to flee. Information on state support for counseling or other treatment services is not available. Even for serious crimes, the legal system provides little help or refuge for women. For example, in the case of rape, either a confession or four witnesses are required to convict the accused. Rapists are almost impossible to convict, so the impunity continues and women are left without a voice.13

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 11:58 AM

«Islam isn't the reason the women in Saudi aren't allowed to drive. It's not in the Quran or Islamic teachings, it's a cultural issue. All other "Muslim" countries allow women to drive. The culture in these lands unfortunately has superceded what the religion allows.»
«Posted by: Isra | September 26, 2007 11:01 AM »

As-salaamu alaykum, O Isra, and a thousand thanks for defending Islam. Crusaders, they confuse Saudi with all Islam. Saudi, that is where religious police, they forced girls back into a burning school, the girls were not modestly dressed, this would not happen in Pakistan. But in Pakistan, religious police, they break up with force any Ahmadiyya Muslim wedding, they persecute Ahmadiyya Muslims. The best place for a Muslim woman to live, it is right here in America, no French or Turkish laws forbidding wearing hijab, no AGM (African genital mutilation) as in Egypt and Somalia, AGM is illegal in USA, no Danish or Swedish cartoons mocking the Prophet (SAWS), no checkpoints on roads. In America, Christian workers go off to lunch, they do not harass you for keeping Ramadan.

Posted by: abu_ibrahim | September 26, 2007 11:58 AM

Basically, women are treated like children. Slightly different than Nazi Germany, actually, pATRICK.
Jews were not treated as children, they were treated as animals.

A few years ago, I believe it might have been in Chechnya, but I could be wrong, at a muslim girl's school there was a fire. Since it was a girl's school - and the teachers were women, the girls did not have the full muslim regalia on. Apparently, the occupants of the building were not allowed to leave as they were not properly covered, so many of them died, rather than be immodest for a short period of time so they could leave the school and perhaps dress more appropriately.

This is only one of the stories we hear about.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 26, 2007 11:58 AM

"I am Catholic and have never covered my head at church or for that matter ever seen any other lady do it. I also can't recall the last time I saw a nun at church in her habit. I also don't care what you wear as long as you don't care what me and my daugher wears."

Irishgirl, I'm also Catholic and I have to tell you that covering your head and shoulders was a common practice, and still is in more conservative countries. In Italy, I have had to cover my shoulders and wear pants below my knees in order to enter some churches. Orthodox Catholics do cover their head and shoulders as well.

There are also different orders of nuns, and not all wear the habit. Some orders are cloistered, meaning that they renounce the outside world.

Posted by: MV_78 | September 26, 2007 11:59 AM

"Basically, women are treated like children. Slightly different than Nazi Germany, actually, pATRICK.
Jews were not treated as children, they were treated as animals."

Yes there are significant differences. But when you can be raped with impunity,can't work, can't travel based on your own free will and can be put to death for refusal to wear certain clothes, it's a little bit more than being treated as children.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 12:04 PM

"The south later on was using their slaves to do work that was helping them in the war, so Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation (which only applied to seceded states, not union states that were slaveholding) to try to encourage slaves to run away to the north so that they wouldn't be helping the south."

Actually, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, hardly "near the end of the war" as you said, and it wasn't to deprive the South from a source of labor. He issued it after Antietam, the bloodiest day of the entire war, to solidify support for the war in the North, which was wavering after that fight.

The Proclamation also only applied to the occupied (or liberated, take your pick based on your geography) parts of the South. While technically it applied to all the seceded states, since he had no way to enforce it in unoccupied areas, it had no force there and very few slaves tried to escape as a result.

What it did do was unify the North into defeating the South under one banner; in much the same manner it tended to unify the South as well, however.

Posted by: johnl | September 26, 2007 12:05 PM

pATRICK, That sounds just like the Fundamentalist LDSs in Southern Utah/Northern Arizona/Edl Dorado, Texas.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 12:08 PM

Wow - a little different topic today!

I thought Leslie's post at the end of yesterday hit just the right tone. She is a woman of many talents. But I think we're still gonna call her on it if she gets all lazy and elitist on us again.

I'm sort of disappointed at the number of people who are mixing "choosing not to drive" with "being prohibited under penalty of death from driving." Not the same thing at all. I think some of the Saudi laws are weird.

I'm sort of like pATRICK - when someone tries to limit by law or rule what my daughters can do because of their gender, I turn into a left-wing feminist. If my daughters choose to be a SAHM, or drive or not drive, or want to major in English or Electrical Engineering, or have kids or not, that's their choice. NO ONE will tell them that they can't while their brother can just because of the respective genders. Period.

_Miles is right; covering of the head for Catholic women went out with Vatican II. Some (a very small minority in my experience) women do choose to cover their heads, either because they're old enough to remember when it was mandatory and keep the tradition, or because they see it as a sign of respect and want to do it. But it's a choice, even for most orders of nuns. (And yes, we have the constant fights with our teenagers about what's appropriate dress for church and what's not. Grrr - sometimes there are four or five trips upstairs before we come to an agreement, and we wind up going to a later Mass because of it!)

Irishgirl/Scarry - the best to you and child. You're in our thoughts/prayers - keep us posted.

DS is a Civil War buff - belongs to the History Club at school, and goes on all the field trips to battlefields. He and I have the discussion all the time about the reasons for the war. Political Correctness dictates that the reason was slavery; it was the only reason; and any other assertion is simply wrong. While slavery was a horrible, horrible stain on this country, it was far from the only reason for the war and he needs to understand that. Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it. Or, as former Senator Moynihan once put it, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts."

Back to work - this work/life balance thing has been a little unbalanced away from work lately!

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 26, 2007 12:09 PM

"Leslie, would you consider all visually- or hearing-impaired women, or women with epilepsy or other physical conditions which preclude their being eligible for a driver's license, to be bad mothers? Likewise are fathers with these conditions bad parents? That's the prejudice you're conveying here. Is driving a bona fide occupational qualification for being a good parent? I'd say not. Leslie, you need to THINK more carefully about what you write before hitting the "Send" button."

Mehitabel, you seem to have it in for Leslie, no matter what she says. In this case, she used the word, "transport", not drive. In this case, she was talking about the situation in Saudi Arabia, in which there is apparently limited public transportation, and womem are not allowed to drive. Not a lot of choices there. Leslie even clarified and stated the following:

"What I specifically said was "transport and protect your children." And even then, there are exceptions -- for instance, a mother who is paralyzed can still be a very, very wonderful mother and advocate for her children.

What I meant was for us to sit back and imagine life for all of us women (men should try this too) if our government and society said we weren't allowed to to take public transportation or a taxi or drive a car."

Perhaps you are the one who needs to think and perhaps read more carefully before YOU hit the send button.


Posted by: Emily | September 26, 2007 12:16 PM

Other people, like myself, understand that freedom is a state of mind, not a list of permissable and available activities.

Posted by: Strawberry23 | September 26, 2007 11:57 AM

Or, as former Senator Moynihan once put it, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts."

Army Brat's already provided the best response to Strawberry's nonsense. Ask the men in Attica whether freedom is a state of mind. Better yet, ask Nelson Mandela.

Posted by: MN | September 26, 2007 12:18 PM

Leslie's paragraph began: "Think for a moment. What couldn't you have done today if you weren't allowed to drive yourself and your children anywhere?" So the part about transporting children was clearly in the context of driving, as is the title of today's blog, "Driving Women Crazy."

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 12:20 PM

This is the rare poster formerly known as MaryB...

I grew up Roman Catholic post-Vatican II (think that came into play right around the time of my birth). Not only did we not cover our heads, most people didn't dress up for church at all. This, of course, was different church to church, but we went to 7 that I can remember plus when visiting my grandmother, and there really was no dress code at all. Now I'm mainline protestant and most people choose to dress nicely for church (even some with hats!).

As for nuns, most American nuns no longer wear habits. This varies throughout the world depending on the culture of the country and the strictness of the order.

Posted by: nahnah | September 26, 2007 12:25 PM

Mehitabel,
Believe me, I have felt (about other people) the same way you seem to feel about Leslie. I disagreed with them and they bothered me, to such an extent that I could find fault with anything they said. But eventually, I figured out that some of it was me, not them, when I discovered that I was looking for something offensive in everything about them.

You seem to be searching for offensive things about Leslie, and you seem to be finding them, not because they are objectively there, but because you are so intent on interpreting everything she says that way. Sure. She is human and will sometimes stick her foot in her mouth. But come on. Not everything about her merits your constant hand slapping. Pick your battles. You are being petty here.

Posted by: Emily | September 26, 2007 12:26 PM

"Yeah, right, barefoot uphill for five miles in the snow. Then immediately upon delivery, barefoot uphill another five miles in the snow going home."

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 10:47 AM

Leslie,

Please remove this personal attack. Thank you.

Posted by: chittybangbang | September 26, 2007 12:29 PM

Sorry, Leslie is supposed to be the professional on this blog. She's being paid to do her job, so she has a responsibility to her employer to do a better job.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 12:31 PM

personal attack. heh. Your post was what pATRICK would call a soft ball. Surely you saw that coming!

Posted by: atb2 | September 26, 2007 12:35 PM

Gee, why so much acrimony today?

Especially on a delicious day like today. Who would have ever thunk it? Both pATRICK and Army Brat one (small) step away from being a "left-wing feminist!" WOW!

Posted by: Fred | September 26, 2007 12:36 PM

Sorry, Leslie is supposed to be the professional on this blog. She's being paid to do her job, so she has a responsibility to her employer to do a better job.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 12:31 PM

I don't find major fault with Leslie as I consider her comments on equal with everyone else who comments here. Her comment to ArmyBrat yesterday(?) was a little snarky, but other than that, she's human and allowed to attack people in text as much as we all attack/argue with each other.

The thing that really gets me, is that i still find it hard to believe someone like her gets paid what she does, gets to work from home most days, just to "blog" and work on the occasional book. Someone please tell me how it's done. I'd love to sit at home all day and write crap that only sometimes has to be good and still have a steady paycheck coming which (judging from her attitude) is more than I get paid now.

[Ok, you could argue I *am* writing on a blog right now, and that I *am* in fact getting paid for it, but this isn't what I mean, putting aside my serious lack of a work ethic, how does one get this job?]

Posted by: _Miles | September 26, 2007 12:39 PM

Miles, you and I are not getting paid to post here -- although goodness knows we're both good enough to deserve it, don'tcha think? -- so we don't have the level of responsibility that Leslie does. Leslie, in her professional capacity as the leader of this blog-board, ought not to be "allowed to attack people in text as much as we all attack/argue with each other."

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 12:43 PM

LOL, Miles, I would live Leslie's gig also.

But my guess is you have to establish yourself professionally first, like by, for example, heading up a major marketing campaign and getting a successful book published. After that, you may be able to get away with coasting for a while. But you have to pay your dues first.

Posted by: Emily | September 26, 2007 12:45 PM

Leslie, in her professional capacity as the leader of this blog-board, ought not to be "allowed to attack people in text as much as we all attack/argue with each other."

Why shouldn't she be allowed to argue with people? It's a blog for goodness sakes. It is a place for voicing dissent, and disagreeing. What fun would it be if we all thought the same thing? FWIW, I have never seen her be vicious. Flip, yes. Sometimes even confrontational. But never vicious or cruel.

Look at other mediums for voicing opinions. Radio and tv talk show hosts often disagree forcefully, and sometimes even humiliate the people who come on their show. I have never seen Leslie behave in extreme ways. I think she should absolutely be able to stand up for herself when she thinks it is appropriate.

Posted by: Emily | September 26, 2007 12:50 PM

Personally, I think WashPost should give this job to somebody like Laura since she seems to have more meaningful things to say than Leslie (not that she'd want it). I have nothing against Leslie per se, but some (most) of her comments just don't seem thoughtful enough to be getting paid for...

Posted by: londonmom | September 26, 2007 12:51 PM

"But when you can be raped with impunity,can't work, can't travel based on your own free will and can be put to death for refusal to wear certain clothes, it's a little bit more than being treated as children."

I agree. Let's pick our battles, though. In India, dowry murders - by burning, by beatings - continue. I'm thinking I'd rather walk to the hospital than be burned to death, but that's just me.

Following (paraphrased, barely) are the countries and sufferings highlighted by Human Rights Watch's Womens Rights Divisions.

Combatants and their sympathizers in conflicts, such as those in Sierra Leone, Kosovo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, and Rwanda, have raped women as a weapon of war with near complete impunity.

Men in Pakistan, South Africa, Peru, Russia, and Uzbekistan beat women in the home at astounding rates, while these governments alternatively refuse to intervene to protect women and punish their batterers or do so haphazardly.

Women from Ukraine, Moldova, Nigeria, the Dominican Republic, Burma, and Thailand are bought and sold, trafficked to work in forced prostitution, with insufficient government attention to protect their rights and punish the traffickers.

In Guatemala, South Africa, and Mexico, women's ability to enter and remain in the work force is obstructed by private employers who use women's reproductive status to exclude them from work and by discriminatory employment laws or discriminatory enforcement of the law.

Along with Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan, Kuwait consider women chattel.

Is not being able to travel freely awful? Sure thing. There are worse things, though, IMHO.

Posted by: MN | September 26, 2007 12:53 PM

So Leslie insulting Army Brat's intelligence yesterday wasn't "vicious or cruel"? She should've thought twice, or even thrice, before hitting the "Submit" button on that one. "The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on...

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 12:57 PM

Excellent points, MN.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 12:58 PM

I thought maybe she was trying to be funny/sarcastic. I didn't take it to be a serious attack, though not well thought out obviously.

And when I say I'm getting paid I mean I'm getting to paid to do something else, that obviously when I'm typing/reading/clicking submit am not doing. But yes, I'd take Leslie's gig in a heart beat. I might even do it for free, it's obvious I have the time!

Posted by: _Miles | September 26, 2007 1:00 PM

MN,
YOu are so right. Among the list of oppressive things that women in the world endure, not driving seems to be a small thing. But even small things add up. Being hispanic, I think I have been exposed to a wider range of subtler oppressions that are perhaps less severe than institutionalized beatings, rapes, etc., but which are just as insidious and debilitating to women. I know a woman who will not sit down until she has served her husband her meals and he has tasted it and approved. I know another woman who works full time and has an infant, but has never had any help cooking, cleaning, taking care of the baby, or doing any of the tasks that her hispanic husband deems to be women's work. I know a woman who, after her father died and she was in her 20s, needed her brother's approval to date. And these examples are all in the great USA. So yes, we have come a long way. But we still have a ways to go.

Posted by: Emily | September 26, 2007 1:02 PM

mehitabel: but the supposed attack on army brat was, to me at least, just a joke.

Like: hey, you must not be that smart (with a wink and a smile and maybe a little laugh). Of course, in blogland, things like that are hard to 'hear' since you don't have any context at all.

I think ArmyBrat can take care of himself (please don't see any of this as an attack on you, though - I think a lot of what you're saying is true - but what I'm hearing as your tone is what is turning me off more).

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 26, 2007 1:03 PM

"Sorry, Leslie is supposed to be the professional on this blog. She's being paid to do her job, so she has a responsibility to her employer to do a better job."

It's a blog!!! It doesn't require much! What she needs to do is provoke people, start a conversation...and she's doing that so her employers must be happy.

Posted by: MV_78 | September 26, 2007 1:04 PM

And I know a woman (my great aunt, may she rest in peace) who, within two weeks of marriage thought: wow, what a jerk - I'm not living with someone who hits me and tells me I'm worthless, so she left him and went to live with my very gracious grandmother. This was 70+ years ago, btw.

But certainly, still know women who stay with their oppressive husbands cause they 'love' them. People make their own choices.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 26, 2007 1:06 PM

Awww, thanks, Londonmom. But I ain't giving up my day job. :-)

Oh, and OT: thanks to everyone who responded on the homework issue. I talked to the teacher, and apparently the issue is that she's actually in the second grade reading class (which explains why the two non-reading 1st-grade worksheets took @ 5 mins each, while the reading/writing one took over an hour). She keeps pace in class just fine, but since she's newer to writing and spelling, it just took her longer to look stuff up and write it out. So the teacher is going to help her during "homework hour" until she gets the hang of things -- and I'm going to keep a close eye to make sure she's not overwhelmed. Meanwhile, last night's only took 30 mins. -- yay.

Posted by: laura33 | September 26, 2007 1:06 PM

"Look at other mediums for voicing opinions. Radio and tv talk show hosts often disagree forcefully, and sometimes even humiliate the people who come on their show. I have never seen Leslie behave in extreme ways. I think she should absolutely be able to stand up for herself when she thinks it is appropriate."

Posted by: Emily | September 26, 2007 12:50 PM

I agree with the analogy to radio talk show hosts. With no TV or cable (yes, this means I have never watched Fox News), we listen to a lot of talk radio. The radio talk show host that I liken Leslie Steiner '87 to is the Rev. Les Kinsolving, White House correspondent for World Net Daily and host of "Uninhibited Radio" on WCBM, Baltimore. We listen to Les a lot. Here is how Baltimore's City Paper Online captioned a picture of Les at his microphone in 2005:

"GOOD SPORT: Kinsolving is generally kind with his callers, and often invites those who vehemently disagree with him to call again."

Just as Lester invites those who disagree with him to call back, so Leslie invited Baba Booey '02 MPP to return to "On Balance." If the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton, surely the battle for civility is led by alumni like Les Kinsolving Penn '51. I have never heard Les snap, "Get off the 'phone, you big dope," or call those who differ with his politics "mentally deranged."

And to top it off, Les Kinsolving is a student of the War Between the States, that great victory of Freedom over Slavery.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | September 26, 2007 1:06 PM

Journalist Megan Stack of the Los Angeles Times wrote a great article this summer on what it felt like to be a woman in Saudi Arabia. Here is the link:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-women6jun06,0,5491632,full.story?coll=la-home-center

Posted by: cjbriggs | September 26, 2007 1:07 PM

Like: hey, you must not be that smart (with a wink and a smile and maybe a little laugh). Of course, in blogland, things like that are hard to 'hear' since you don't have any context at all.

I think ArmyBrat can take care of himself..

Yes, I agree that ArmyBrat handles himself well :-) But Leslie needs to provide verbal cues if she's doing the wink-wink, nudge-nudge thing. Otherwise she comes across as insulting and elitist.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 1:09 PM

So yes, we have come a long way. But we still have a ways to go.

Posted by: Emily | September 26, 2007 01:02 PM

I agree, Emily, and I'm probably taking a more extreme devil's advocate position than I would on other days. It's not that the lesser evils don't matter, like restrictions on girls' education in parts of Afghanistan. I don't in any way mean to minimize the oppression that is death by a thousand cuts, only to suggest perspective. (My MIL is like the woman you describe AND her adult sons are told to leave their plates on the table, she or her daughters will clean up after them.)

Posted by: MN | September 26, 2007 1:09 PM

yeah, looking back I think it's utterly horrific that my dad was just allowed to leave the table after dinner, DW and the three girls will clean up. He never took a dish to the sink, or cleaned up when he ate something (like making himself a sandwich).

It's mind boggling. I'm teaching my two sons to clean up after themselves. And it's working, too.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 26, 2007 1:12 PM

"Let's pick our battles, though. In India, dowry murders . . . Sierra Leone, Kosovo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, and Rwanda, have raped women as a weapon of war . . .Men in Pakistan, South Africa, Peru, Russia, and Uzbekistan beat women in the home at astounding rates, . . .Women from Ukraine, Moldova, Nigeria, the Dominican Republic, Burma, and Thailand are bought and sold, trafficked to work in forced prostitution, . . . In Guatemala, South Africa, and Mexico, women's ability to enter and remain in the work force is obstructed by private employers . . . Along with Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan, Kuwait consider women chattel."

Posted by: MN | September 26, 2007 12:53 PM

Unfortunately, the Third World is a hellhole of barbarism and savagery. Part of the Western man's burden, part of what the French call their "mission civilisatrice," is to bring the Third World up to speed on human rights. Make no mistake about it: Our own Western ancestors engaged in all these primitive anti-woman behaviors (except for Chinese foot-binding; see Andrea Dworkin's book, "Woman Hating"). But we have passed beyond these practices. We have overcome them. And, praise to the West, over the last 500 years the light of Western civilization has been able to extinguish monstrosities like Suttee in India (burning widows on their husbands' funeral pyres), hara-kiri in Japan, and cannibalism. And what thanks does the Western man get for his efforts? He gets accused of Orientalism, of cultural imperialism, of (gasp!) racism. In Rudyard Kipling's words, he gets to

". . . reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard--
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:--
'Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?'"

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | September 26, 2007 1:20 PM

GOOD SPORT: Kinsolving is generally kind with his callers, and often invites those who vehemently disagree with him to call again."

Just as Lester invites those who disagree with him to call back, so Leslie invited Baba Booey '02 MPP to return to "On Balance."

What you call a good sport, in this case I call a lazy spineless spare. IT does not disagree, IT posts crazy funny farm things.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 1:24 PM

And we haven't even touched on honor killings...another "cultural" issue that has migrated to the West.

But we do have a long way to go here in the U.S. as well with regard to violence against women. Each year, roughly 30-35% of women who are murdered are killed by a current or former intimate partner. And that's here, where laws exist to protect women.

October is domestic violence month, and these are the "feminist" issues that are important to me (and thanks, Patrick, for noting that these are not feminist issues, these are human rights issues).

Posted by: pepperjade | September 26, 2007 1:24 PM

This whole "what if women couldn't do..." Discussion takes me back to Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" where women are treated as children whose lives, in every possible way, are dictated by men. Other people decide what their occupation is, how they dress, where they live, with whom they communicate. They are not allowed to read or participate in government. They are basically brainwashed and beaten into compliance. They have no control over their own bodies.

Now take those conditions and have them exist for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Eventually, women would believe that this is the way to do things, because humans tend to adapt to circumstances. So perhaps we would agree that not being allowed to be alone with a man is for our own protection and a sign of respect. Not being allowed to make any decisions is a burden lifted from us. Being covered from head to toe is a measure taken to protect us. Etc. And then, we might become advocates of these practices, because we have never known anything else. It reminds me of how animals that are constantly in cages, and never have the freedom to move freely, eventually become afraid of being outside that cage.

Posted by: Emily | September 26, 2007 1:25 PM

Just as Lester invites those who disagree with him to call back, so Leslie invited Baba Booey '02 MPP to return to "On Balance."

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | September 26, 2007 01:06 PM

Doesn't say much for Lester's judgment if it's being equated with Leslie's tolerance for a poster you know well and who tells those with whom he disagrees, e.g., atb, that she should kill herself. Quite an advancement of free speech, that.

Posted by: MN | September 26, 2007 1:27 PM

Matt, what's the Western woman's burden?

Posted by: Meesh | September 26, 2007 1:28 PM

Matt go read "Heart of Darkness" and see what comes of the Western man bringing his civilization to these so-called barbarous or savage people. I think making the US a place of freedom and a shining example to the rest of the world is probably the strongest thing we can do. Invading other countries doesn't work. Trying to push of "democracy" or "christianity" as the solution doesn't work (though democracy is wonderful, I don't think you can successfully force it...or it isn't democracy). But reaching out with charitable, humanitarian aid in a non-pushy helping the hungry and the oppressed seems to help. Just have to be careful with "helping" as sometimes it is hurting.

Posted by: _Miles | September 26, 2007 1:29 PM

Meesh - LOL - good one!

Posted by: MN | September 26, 2007 1:29 PM

EMILY you NEVER cease to amaze me how you can dismiss any atrocity committed as long as it is not done by the USA. Trying to rationalize and give cover to these islamic nuts is crazy!They HATE women, they think they are a step above animals, you think your hispanic friends had it bad, this is a hundred times worse, it is enshrined into law!

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 1:30 PM

Miles obviously discounts Germany, Italy and Japan after WW2, (sigh) All invaded and all converted to peaceful democracies

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 1:37 PM

"Miles obviously discounts Germany, Italy and Japan after WW2, (sigh) All invaded and all converted to peaceful democracies"

And all had their share of wacko nut jobs.

Posted by: chittybangbang | September 26, 2007 1:40 PM

In honor of pATRICK's and Army Brat's near conversion.

The tune is "Walking in Memphis", one of Frieda's favorite songs!

Put down my chauvinistic shoes
And I got on the train
Touched down to pay my feminist dues
In the middle of the pouring rain
Margaret Sanger -- won't you look down over me
Yeah I want a first class ticket
But you need to fully educated me

Then I'm Walking in Protest
Walking my feet off for all to be free
Walking in Protest
But do I really feel the way I feel

Saw the ghost of Azbug
On Union Avenue
Followed her up to the gates of Congress
Then I watched her walk right through
Now security they did not see her
They just hovered 'round her tomb
But that's a pretty good thing
Waiting to sing
Down in the Representatives' room

(Chorus)

They've got Friedan's book on the table
They've got Eleanor on the air
And Maureen Dowd be glad to see you
When you haven't got quite there
But boy you will get there in feminist

Now Elizabeth makes the statues
Every Friday in the senate well
And they brought me down to see her
And they asked me if I would --
Do a little conversion
And I said with all my might
And she said --
"Tell me are you for equal rights?"
And I said "Ma'am I am tonight"

(Chorus)

Took off my chauvinistic shoes
And I boarded the train
Got down with Namoi Wolf to get some clues
In the middle of my searing pain
Got down with Susan B. to get more clues
In the middle of my searing pain

Posted by: Fred | September 26, 2007 1:47 PM

Whoa, Patrick. I am not giving cover to anyone, or dismissing the oppression that women in other countries face. Where are you getting that???

Posted by: Emily | September 26, 2007 1:48 PM

Go Fred -- fantastic!!

Posted by: laura33 | September 26, 2007 1:49 PM

Whoa, Patrick. I am not giving cover to anyone, or dismissing the oppression that women in other countries face. Where are you getting that???


Well to me that's how your post read, if that is not what you meant, then I will accept that.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 1:52 PM

Posted by: Fred | September 26, 2007 01:47 PM

Oh brother

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 1:54 PM

Which post? It doesn't matter. I think it would be a really loooong stretch to say that I am giving cover to oppression of women in muslim countries. I am just saying that even in the US, we haven't completely solved the problem.

Posted by: Emily | September 26, 2007 1:56 PM


Mehitabel writes

>Otherwise she comes across as insulting and >elitist.

As opposed to you, in your determination to play Professor Higgins to Leslie's Eliza?

Her faults, which you're pointing out now more than daily, seem mainly to be speaking in her own voice from her own experience, instead of speaking in your voice from yours. "That trip's not so expensive." "It is to me, you elitist swine!" "It's oppressive, to be forbidden to drive or control one's own transport; imagine how debilitating that would be" "Hey, in my urban little corner of the world, I don't need or want to drive, so what's the big deal?" (Sort of like, "What's the big deal, why would a woman want to work outside the home? *I've* always been happy to leave that to my husband." )

When Leslie's perspective diverges from yours, why not enrich the pool of perspectives by *adding* yours in your own voice . . . why the crusade to reform her into your own echo? She seems no more dismissive than you do . . . you demand her every sentence gibe with *your* experience, and bow to your editorial control.

Posted by: kbatl | September 26, 2007 2:02 PM

Emily, I agree (hope you don't mind).

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 2:03 PM

Miles obviously discounts Germany, Italy and Japan after WW2, (sigh) All invaded and all converted to peaceful democracies

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 01:37 PM

OK, but we didn't seek out Germany ahead of time and say "huh, that's not working, let's go invade them." And converted to "peaceful democracies" is an interesting way of looking at the fact that we utterly defeated them and completely destroyed their economy and political system by criminalizing nearly everyone involved. They were completely dependent upon us for economic recovery which we took very seriously.

Whereas, Afghanistan for instance I'm not sure has gone so well. We invaded them to "fix" their country as one of our major points. I don't think that would have been our objective with the axis powers had they not attacked us first and we were forced to defeat them and then rebuild them so they didn't grow like German grew between the World Wars.

Posted by: _Miles | September 26, 2007 2:05 PM

Of course, not, Mehitabel. I love it when we agree. And when we don't, I just think of it as two reasonable people who think differently. :)

Posted by: Emily | September 26, 2007 2:05 PM

Leslie = Eliza? Oh, give me a break! Between Leslie and me, only one of us went to Ivy League schools; the other one is the product of CSSs. I suspect one purpose of Leslie's blog is that she feels those who sometimes disagree with her need to be edified.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 2:07 PM

Heck, Emily, we might even order different flavors of flan ;-)

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 2:08 PM

Posted by: _Miles | September 26, 2007 02:05 PM

Well that certainly is trying to put the best face on what was obviously an ill conceived post. Keep spinning......

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 2:14 PM

"I suspect one purpose of Leslie's blog is that she feels those who sometimes disagree with her need to be edified."


CATLADY, I would say given LESLIE'S disastrous personal life over the years, that she is in no position to edify anyone.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 2:20 PM

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 02:14 PM

You keep using the word obviously! So sure of yourself and your interpretation of my words aren't you! Or are you just trying to pick a fight? I can't tell sometimes. But "obviously" you think very highly of yourself. WWII and World History expert today. What shall you be tomorrow? I can't wait!

Posted by: _Miles | September 26, 2007 2:21 PM

Mehitabel,

I don't see Leslie trying to reform *you*. I don't see her as trying to edify inferiors, so much as trying to start conversations among equals.

Is class the only lens you see through? If you look at the issue as trying to impose one's voice on another, I'd say you're the one filling the Professor Higgins role. Do you think a class difference means you can never be the boorish or bullying or self-absorbed one in an interaction?

Which schools either of you went to has little direct bearing on whether your blog-styles are open-minded and open-hearted, or bullying and dismissive.

Posted by: kbatl | September 26, 2007 2:23 PM

pATRICK, In all fairness to Leslie -- Leslie, please take note! -- I think she is well-qualifed to warn and/or counsel people who are victims of spousal abuse. I would not wish such a fate on anyone I know.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 2:23 PM

CATLADY, I would say given LESLIE'S disastrous personal life over the years, that she is in no position to edify anyone.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 02:20 PM


Pot meet kettle.

Posted by: chittybangbang | September 26, 2007 2:25 PM

Ah, yes, the old "class warfare" alibi -- wherein the Haves blames the Havenots for haing the temerity to point out that class differences exist. Yep, just blame the poor for their plight. Hey, maybe we could bring back Dickensian-era debtors' prisons, poor-houses, all that good stuff, right?

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 2:27 PM

Posted by: _Miles | September 26, 2007 02:21 PM

I actually was being polite given your lack of knowledge of world history and your off axis view of the world. Your post was silly and not well thought out.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 2:28 PM

I would say given LESLIE'S disastrous personal life over the years, that she is in no position to edify anyone.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 02:20 PM


Pot meet kettle.


Posted by: chittybangbang | September 26, 2007 02:25 PM

WTF?? pATRICK's given you lots of good material to work with if you want to bash him on his opinions, but there's never been a suggestion that pATRICK's personal life is anything other than happy. No starter marriage. No restraining orders.

Posted by: MN | September 26, 2007 2:34 PM

Not only that, pATRICK loves cats and flan (no, not together!).

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 2:37 PM

Posted by: _Miles | September 26, 2007 02:21 PM

I actually was being polite given your lack of knowledge of world history and your off axis view of the world. Your post was silly and not well thought out.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 02:28 PM

"Not well thought out" aka, you didn't agree with it. Let's go take tests on world history and find out, shall we? I'd hate to think my ability to articulate my opinion on here should reflect the full body of my knowledge on any subject. But dismiss all you want today. Oh dear pATRICK, please do educate me. You're right; Germany, Japan, Italy are all proof that the US running out and invading other countries to change their government works every time. I'm sure that Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea, Cuba, Lebanon, Panama, Chile, Nicaragua, Grenada...and oh the list of countries could go on and on where our efforts succeeded. I'm sure all of these countries are just budding democracies that COMMUNISM is just holding back from being truly successful. Or perhaps it's the left-wing media that just doesn't want to show us success.

Posted by: _Miles | September 26, 2007 2:44 PM

"You keep using the word obviously!"

Posted by _miles.
Couldn't help but be reminded of this exchange from The Princess Bride:

Vizzini (Wallace Shawn):
"Inconceivable."
Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin):
"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 26, 2007 2:46 PM

Wow lots of food for thought today.

The point has been made in the comments, I see, but I wanted to reinterate that Islam is a large religion and that it is ignorant to confuse the way one particular state has enacted legislation with the practices of an entire religion. Where I live I often see Muslim women in hijabs and other pieces of traditional dress driving cars; one of my son's teachers wears the hijab and jilbab (sp?) and is a vibrant professional.

I do think women's rights globally are important and it does occasionally grate that Saudi Arabia is perceived as such a great partner, when these kinds of what I would consider to be human rights abuses are going on.

I also basically fear fundamentalism in many forms and especially where it mixes with politics. As an American woman I keep a particular eye on reproductive rights here. The removal of funding from non-abstinence based sex ed programs is one thing that concerns me, as well as the teaching of intelligent design in public schools.

For the comments about Leslie running the blog, I think people are probably unaware of the work involved. Sure, it's not a full-time job all on its own (and I seriously doubt it is paid like one - I know some full-time bloggers for slightly smaller sites who are paid in the range of $400-600/mo) but there is a certain grind in making sure there are solid posts that cover a range of issues within the topic. It's the kind of thing that looks really simple on the outside and kind of is... for about a month or two, when the original spate of ideas dries up. After that it takes thought and research and coordination.

Posted by: shandra_lemarath | September 26, 2007 2:47 PM

Posted by: MN | September 26, 2007 02:34 PM

Well, there was that mail order bride, but that's another story. ;) HAHA

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 2:47 PM

BTW Miles, still wondering if our capitalist way of life is better than North Korean or Soviet Gulag Communism?

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 2:50 PM

Careful, pATRICK, there are people here who might take you seriously.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 2:51 PM

My 2:51 comment was WRT pATRICK's of 2:47 PM.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 2:53 PM

Ok, for the record, No mail order brides. Unfortunately Catlady, these days you're right.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 2:55 PM

CATLADY, I would say given LESLIE'S disastrous personal life over the years, that she is in no position to edify anyone.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 02:20 PM

I reread this again, and it was really out of line. LESLIE, I apologize.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 2:58 PM

BTW, the views of the individuals cited on the song parody of "Walking in Memphis" do not necessarily reflect the views, in part or in whole, of the writer.

He was just trying to put together a good and coherent song parody for entertainment purposes! (and to tweak pATRICK's nose!)

Posted by: Fred | September 26, 2007 3:00 PM

Nice deflect, pATRICK. Your debate skills are certainly far superior to mine.

Posted by: _Miles | September 26, 2007 3:00 PM

FRED, Those fumes from the creepy van must be getting to you.....

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 3:05 PM

Well MV I am just plain old Irish Catholic from the USA and have never seen anyone in real life cover their heads and shoulders here. I do see girls wearing shorts and jeans though.

And, sure you can comment on the lack of clothing some young girls are wearing (my daughter won't be one of them) but you just never know when someone will say something back to you about it.

The point I was going to make, but didn't is that I have seen ladies in head scarves give the evil eye to girls in tank tops. I think respect goes both ways and if you want me to accept your head scarf or whatever else you are wearing don't look at me with disgust when I have shorts and a tank top on. This is America and within reason, we can all wear what we want and be happy.

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 26, 2007 3:07 PM

FRED, BTW I am VERY disappointed my 'LESBIANS AGAINST BUSH" post did not win FQOTD yesterday.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 3:10 PM

CATLADY, I would say given LESLIE'S disastrous personal life over the years, that she is in no position to edify anyone.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 02:20 PM


Pot meet kettle.


Huh? I think Mr. and Mrs. pATRICK seem okay to me. Although your comment about Lelsie was a bit harsh pATRICK.

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 26, 2007 3:10 PM

SCARRY, I apologized for that, it was too harsh.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 3:11 PM

OK:
Some nuns wear habits, some don't. Depends on the order. Not all non-cloistered go habitless.
Little old Catholic ladies still cover their heads at Mass. Other than that, Catholics show up looking worse for their religious services than any other denomination I know. Forget covering heads -- I'll be happy with covered ta-tas and tushies!

Not being allowed to drive, to talk to men, to marry who you choose, to learn to read, to feel secure in one's person, without the male guardian's permission is inhumane, oppressive and barbaric. I really don't care HOW the insecure men running those countries justify their unacceptable actions. To treat people as less than completely human based on the XY chromosome is WRONG!

Posted by: educmom__615 | September 26, 2007 3:11 PM

SCARRY, I apologized for that, it was too harsh.

I know, I know but I still had to call you on because it was out of your character.

Yes, I know your true character and it is SOFT when it comes to women and children.

Did you see the news today about Madeline McCann?

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 26, 2007 3:14 PM

Did you see the news today about Madeline McCann?

Yes, I feel so bad for the parents. What a living hell. Lose the daughter and now being looked at by the police. I really, really hope they find her and the parents were not involved. Child crime makes me want to throw up.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 3:18 PM

"I also basically fear fundamentalism in many forms and especially where it mixes with politics."

Dingdingdingdingding!!!! I think we have a winner!

"Not being allowed to drive, to talk to men, to marry who you choose, to learn to read, to feel secure in one's person, without the male guardian's permission is inhumane, oppressive and barbaric. I really don't care HOW the insecure men running those countries justify their unacceptable actions. To treat people as less than completely human based on the XY chromosome is WRONG!"

Wait -- it's a tie!

Posted by: laura33 | September 26, 2007 3:22 PM

pATRICK,

There is a picture of a little girl who looks like her in Morocco.

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 26, 2007 3:26 PM

The UK's Evening Standard is reporting it's not her. Apparently she's some olive farmer's daughter.

Posted by: _Miles | September 26, 2007 3:27 PM

I'm still a bit miffed that I didn't get FQOTD for suggesting you offer kongs filled with pb as add-ons at daycare. I rarely laugh at my own jokes, so that was a big accomplishment for me!

Posted by: atb2 | September 26, 2007 3:36 PM


I think I lost a post, so sorry if this is redundant.

LOL, Mehitabel, you're on a roll. I question your harping at Leslie, belittling her point of view to impose your own --- and instantly you've painted me as a social Darwinist, pining for the age of workhouses and debtor's prisons :-) GWB may have some competition in the straw market. (To clarify, no, I do not favor debtor's prisons, rugged individualism, robber baronism, free markets restrained only by an invisible hand . . .)

How convenient that anyone who disagrees with you *must* be an elitist snob, whose views are automatically unworthy of consideration. Whose points had validity or interest? No need to think or open one's mind --- truth and insight are the sole province of the class underdog.

Contributing your point of view is great, as is illuminating class differentials in experience and perspective. This can be done in a broadening and inclusive way. Insisting that your point of view is the only valid one and belittling others', bullying Leslie to bow to your views, . . . this is noxious regardless of your class background.

I find class-bashing and anti-intellectualism no nobler than nativism and xenophobia.

kbatl

>Ah, yes, the old "class warfare" alibi -- wherein >the Haves blames the Havenots for haing the >temerity to point out that class differences exist. >Yep, just blame the poor for their plight. Hey, >maybe we could bring back Dickensian-era debtors' >prisons, poor-houses, all that good stuff, right?

Posted by: kbatl | September 26, 2007 3:37 PM

The UK's Evening Standard is reporting it's not her. Apparently she's some olive farmer's daughter.

Thanks Miles, but I have to admit, I a crushed again. Poor little girl.

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 26, 2007 3:38 PM

I eschew anti-intellectualism.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 3:40 PM

I stand by my point of view, even if I stand alone.

A similar discussion was made in my Women of Africa college course on the topic of FGM, or female circumcision, or female cutting. While many of us thought this was a horrible practice, I also understood and acknowledged the opinion of those women who said its a tribal practice and that its not always truthfully perceived on the world's stage.

With this topic, my main point is that I am choosing not to filter this subject through my own perceptions and those of this society. Some of you think this is so horrible simply because you think everyone should live like you. To me, that kind of social and political proselytizing is just as bad as a government preventing a person from driving based on gender.

Posted by: Strawberry23 | September 26, 2007 3:43 PM

Back from kids' dentist etc.

What does EDIFY mean????

Army Brat, you have figured this out I'm sure, but I have a TOTAL love/hate thing with you. I want to delete you and then you write something I totally agree with. You drive me CRAZY! In a mostly good way. See? Love = Hate.

Which brings me to you, Mehitabel. I am beginning to feel perversely flattered that you hate (love) me so much. What is going on here? Why do I get under your skin so intensely?

And pATRICK, I think it was you who called my personal life disastrous, and I just want to say -- you have no idea. But I'm playing the hand I've been dealt and really, really trying to learn as I go along. Karma, you know. Some of us get economic security, others get relationship security...and I would trade a bit of the financial security for a little more sanity on the relationship front.

Clarification: I can't and won't remove a comment just because one person finds it offensive. We TRY to use objective boundaries about commonly accepted vulgarity etc. But keep those complaints coming and we will keep on deciding.

And just for the record, to paraphrase my fellow NH resident Daniel Webster, although I disagree with Britney Spears' wardrobe choices, I will fight to my death for her right to make them! (Well, maybe not quite to my death, because then I'd leave my kids with no mom, but you know what I mean.)

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 26, 2007 3:52 PM

And I HATE flan.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 26, 2007 3:54 PM

"Why do I get under your skin so intensely?"

Your magnificent cluelessness, as exemplified in your even having to ask.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 3:54 PM

Leslie: "And I HATE flan."

Too many calories?

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 3:55 PM

LESLIE, I also apologized to you. Which makes the tird time I have said it. Now don't EVEN start about flan. ;)

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 3:56 PM

How many people have written in to complain about It's offensive comments last week? More than one, I'd hazard.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 3:57 PM

LESLIE where were you when IT said that I and MN threatened her/his child or when IT said I was begging IT for sex etc? You have some splaining to do...........

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 3:59 PM

"Clarification: I can't and won't remove a comment just because one person finds it offensive. We TRY to use objective boundaries about commonly accepted vulgarity etc. But keep those complaints coming and we will keep on deciding."

So now there's a volume-based standard? That's not objective. An objective standard doesn't rely on a headcount.

If you didn't think that Friday's accusations that several of us were threatening someone's minor child via e-mail obtained somehow from either you or elsewhere was objectively offensive, that atb should commit suicide and had a history of minor sexual abuse, or that pATRICK desired fallatio from He Who Must Not Be Named, then I don't see any objective standard being enforced.

I'm not giving you a hard time, Leslie, but constructive differences of opinion and the occasional off-color comment or a nasty response here or there are worlds away from permitting a single person to highjack the blog and fill it with deliberately offensive, aggressive, arguably libelous comments: Friday is the Poster Child for no-one-is-in-charge. No poster should be banned, but someone should at least be reading the blog in real time and imposing a consistent standard, low as it might be. Just my two cents, of course.

Posted by: MN | September 26, 2007 4:04 PM

"Clarification: I can't and won't remove a comment just because one person finds it offensive. We TRY to use objective boundaries about commonly accepted vulgarity etc. But keep those complaints coming and we will keep on deciding."

What do you need a vote? YOU are the person in charge. I can't remember ONE post you have removed on your own. Some posts are obvious, and the worst offender YOU welcome back!

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 4:04 PM

WELL SAID MN!

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 4:05 PM

Thanks, pATRICK. This is ridiculous.

Posted by: MN | September 26, 2007 4:09 PM

Indeed, pATRICK! Remember how Leslie lamented that some of IT's most egregious posts were justifiably removed (by Stacey, I believe) while she was on vacation? Leslie made a point that SHE was not behind their removal. Not a boast of which to be proud, IMHO.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 4:10 PM

I keep getting the feeling LESLIE is one of those people who can't do things on her own but needs a committee to do it. That way she can duck the responsibility directly.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 4:13 PM

>I eschew anti-intellectualism.

LOL, so do I, we agree on some things . . . the anti-elitism on this board often seems to have both class-bashing and anti-intellectual overtones though . . . a derision of academic accomplishment as just an elite indulgence, or trophy . . .

However, I do agree that education is not compensating well enough in our society, to act as the engine for class mobility. There was an excellent op-ed in the NYT today about this

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/24/opinion/24karabel.html?ref=opinion

Money quotes:

"students from the top quartile of the socioeconomic hierarchy (based on parental income, education and occupation) are 25 times more likely to attend a "top tier" college than students from the bottom quartile."

"by the conventional definition, which relies heavily on scores on the SAT, the privileged are the meritorious; of all students nationwide who score more than 1300 on the SAT, two-thirds come from the top socioeconomic quartile and just 3 percent from the bottom quartile".

This to argue for some sort of class-based affirmative action. I have always supported affirmative action, in the sense that affirmative action is just an acknowledgment that accomplishments to date are not a direct measure of a person's potential. Accomplishments are a convolution of persistence, ability, *and* opportunity. The best candidate is the one who makes the best use of her opportunities, the one who shows the most potential to thrive once admitted onto a level playing field. Of course, it would help to level the playing field earlier to let more of us shine . . .

Posted by: kbatl | September 26, 2007 4:17 PM

I see that baba's posts from Friday have been removed. I suppose that's better than nothing, but when you publish offensive posts and leave them up for several business days, you can't very well erase the shadow of the venom, now can you?

now, pATRICK, about that mail order bride . . .

Posted by: MN | September 26, 2007 4:18 PM

Well, ha. I didn't commit suicide, despite the heartbreak of being accused by an anonymous psychopath of unspeakable crimes.

I agree. Remove the posts. Calling someone out for claiming to have walked to the hospital while in labor is different than accusing someone of being a sexual predator. I'm sure you see the difference.

Posted by: atb2 | September 26, 2007 4:20 PM

Friday was a weird fluky day when we didn't have enough hands on deck to remove offensive comments quickly. Apologies all around.

And FLAN IS A VILE, DISGUSTING EXCUSE FOR A DESSERT.

Dessert must be 90% chocolate to qualify as edible.

That reminds me, can you help me with edify?

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 26, 2007 4:20 PM

Posted by: kbatl | September 26, 2007 04:17 PM

Affirmative action, oh you asked for it now. You might as well have just said you support murder. The conservative hounds will be all over you instantly...

Posted by: _Miles | September 26, 2007 4:21 PM

Okay, so it's a bit long, but it's hysterical and ties in something Emily said yesterday with (sort of) the topic at hand. So I had to:

Three men were sitting together bragging about how they had given their new wives duties.

The first man had married a woman from Atlanta and bragged that he had told his wife she was going to do all the dishes and house cleaning. He said it took a couple days but on the third day he came home to a clean house and the dishes were done.

The second man had married a woman from Kansas City. He bragged that he had given his wife orders that she was to do all the cleaning, dishes and the cooking. On that the first day he didn't see any results, but the next day it was better. By the third day, his house was clean, the dishes were done and he had a huge dinner on the table.

The third man married a girl from New York. He told her that her duties were to keep the house clean, dishes washed, lawn mowed, laundry washed and hot meals on the table for every meal. He said the first day he didn't see anything, the second day he didn't see anything, but by the third day most of the swelling had gone down and he could see a little out of his left eye; enough to fix himself a bite to eat, load the dishwasher, and telephone a landscaper!

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 26, 2007 4:21 PM

I wanted to thank cjbriggs for posting this address. It's a great read, chilling really.


http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-women6jun06,0,5491632,full.story?coll=la-home-center


Posted by: anne.saunders | September 26, 2007 4:23 PM

Shhh, atb. My "five miles in the snow" post is still up.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 4:23 PM

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 26, 2007 04:20 PM

So now what, are you committed to keeping IT's posts within civilized boundaries?

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 4:24 PM

"While many of us thought this was a horrible practice, I also understood and acknowledged the opinion of those women who said its a tribal practice and that its not always truthfully perceived on the world's stage."

I don't know how this can be perceived in any other way. Take a child, hold her down and cut off her privates, sometimes with a dirty knife. These children have no choice in the matter and many of them die.

While driving CAN be a life or death situation for some women in Saudi Arabia, the act of female circumcision is so horrific that I can't even comprehend anyone thinking about or caring how it is perceived unless it is to condemn it. I can and will filter it through my Western lens, the same way I filter genocide, child abuse, or any other form of oppression.

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 26, 2007 4:25 PM

Affirmative action, oh you asked for it now. You might as well have just said you support murder. The conservative hounds will be all over you instantly...

Maybe another day, my FLAN'S honor has been impugned. Flan is a GREAT dessert, humble, tasty, easy to make and fun to eat with friends.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 4:26 PM

"can you help me with edify?"

Look it up in the dictionary. Isn't that what you'd tell your kids?

Re chocolate desserts: I wouldn't necesarily turn them down, but do enjoy variety.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 4:26 PM

Ya, I'm not a chocolate person. Apparently I'm one of a very small minority. (Does this qualify for affimative action?) Flan's texture freaks me out a bit, so I have to say I prefer it's French cousin, creme brulee. I love carmel-y things.

Posted by: atb2 | September 26, 2007 4:26 PM

edify \ED-uh-fy\, transitive verb:
To instruct and improve, especially in moral and religious knowledge; to teach.
--edifying, adjective

and I'm siding with Leslie on flan vs. chocolate desserts. Sorry, mehitabel. That's just the kind of principled girl I am, LOL.

Posted by: MN | September 26, 2007 4:28 PM

IrishGirl- Oh, thank you for posting that. The PC garbage was so ridiculous it failed to even register.

Posted by: atb2 | September 26, 2007 4:28 PM

I am a pie or cookie girl. I don't think I would like flan either, although I have never tried it in real life that is.

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 26, 2007 4:28 PM

I feel compelled to say a few things here for the first time in a long time reading this blog.

I'm half-Egyptian, lived there for a time, and lived for years in Saudi Arabia as a child. (and my mom dressed up like a man so she could drive - don't think she got that idea herself!) My father is Muslim, my mother is an Italian Catholic (anthony and cleopatra in reverse, they used to joke).

This "cultural" issue is much more complex than many of you seem to realize, but I can only make a few points here.

First - Saudi Arabian women may seem to be among the most oppressed in the Muslim world, but that is partially because their oppression is public and obvious to us all. In countries like Jordan and Lebanon, where western culture is quite common and somewhat accepted, things that we call oppressive are entirely behind closed doors. One woman in these countries would have a much more difficult time banding with others to change a practice because she doesn't even know if the girl in the next apartment lives under the same rules as she does.

Second - as a few others have mentioned here, many of the practices that we see as oppressive to women are appreciated by women in that culture. (There are some that are not.) Here is a personal story from my family in Egypt. When I moved in with my cousin's family while in college, and being a hotheaded young american girl, I sat them all down to talk about this issue. I was baffled, as many of you are. How could they live like this? They talked about modesty and all that. But what was much more revealing was how they actually lived. All the women in my family in Egypt are treated in ways that many of us would be jealous of. They run their households, they dictate when the family does what, they are coveted and worshiped and supported in ways I never was growing up. They cover up because they think they are so spectacular that it is a privilege to see an inch of them uncovered. And it's a privilege that a man must earn and pay for dearly for the rest of his life.
When my aunt's husband left her for someone else - her brothers-in-law went to his house and strong-armed him into providing her and her children with generous financial support for the rest of his natural life. That was over 20 years ago and he's still paying even though she's remarried.

When my aunt found out that I was paying for college myself - she got my dad on the phone (overseas, mind you) and read him the riot act. This is your child - she said - and nothing is more important than you providing for her in every way you can. It didn't matter that I was a girl.

Third - Islam is practiced by thousands of people in all parts of the world - and in as many different flavors. Muslims in Indonesia (and there are loads of them) are culturally worlds away from Arabian Muslims. Every country's culture is shaped by the religions of its people in different ways, but at the end of the day, it is the country and its government that needs to answer for how it treats its people - not the religion they claim to hide behind.

Posted by: stephanaynay | September 26, 2007 4:28 PM

Custard desserts, including flan, are a part of my cultural heritage (Emily, are you still here?). So are chocolate desserts, on the other side of my family. Lucky me!

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 4:30 PM

I don't know how this can be perceived in any other way. Take a child, hold her down and cut off her privates, sometimes with a dirty knife. These children have no choice in the matter and many of them die.

While driving CAN be a life or death situation for some women in Saudi Arabia, the act of female circumcision is so horrific that I can't even comprehend anyone thinking about or caring how it is perceived unless it is to condemn it. I can and will filter it through my Western lens, the same way I filter genocide, child abuse, or any other form of oppression.


Posted by: Irishgirl | September 26, 2007 04:25 PM

*claps* *cheers* *claps*

btw, I understand in Egypt the "girls" are 13 years old. Just imagine. This isn't something that occurs when you are less than 2 years of age and unlikely to remember - not that making them younger would somehow lessen the brutality and oppression, but memory does make certain experiences worse. I imagine. Maybe not.

Posted by: MN | September 26, 2007 4:31 PM

Strawberry23,

Yes, there is some cultural filter in our perceptions of human rights deprivation. However, I think we can clearly call out oppression if those we perceive as oppressed also label themselves so, if they chafe and struggle and declaim against their restrictions. And women in India protesting suttee and dowry rules, women in Saudi Arabia protesting their restriction to only tightly chaperoned movement --- if they feel the inequity and don't welcome it as intrinsic to their culture (and it's usually culture, not religion, provincial habits appealing to religion for stolen authority --- as plenty of Moslem societies offer more balanced opportunity and rights for women than the Saudis) --- if they judge themselves oppressed, who are we to excuse and relativize it away?

Anecdotal aside: when I was 8 and living in Turkey, our landlord's daughter came to my parents (Americans), begging them to try to talk her father out of forcing her into an arranged marriage . . . sometimes the locals aren't happy with their oppressed lot . . . (I don't really know how it turned out, my parents hesitated to get directly involved - strong prohibition against cultural imperialism for officers abroad - and Turkey is very progressive on women's rights and opportunities now).

kbatl


> Strawberry23's post:
With this topic, my main point is that I am choosing not to filter this subject through my own perceptions and those of this society. Some of you think this is so horrible simply because you think everyone should live like you. To me, that kind of social and political proselytizing is just as bad as a government preventing a person from driving based on gender.

Posted by: kbatl | September 26, 2007 4:36 PM

Stephanie - thanks for the insight. Your first point, in particular, struck me as something I've heard before but had forgotten. It is key.

Posted by: MN | September 26, 2007 4:37 PM

Favorite chocolate desserts (at this moment in time):

Edwards Chocolate Creme Pie
Toblerone
Ritter Sport Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts
Lindt Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts

The chocolate bars go great with a little coffee and vanilla Haagen Dazs, slightly melted.

How can anyone chose FLAN over this?

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 26, 2007 4:40 PM

How can anyone chose FLAN over this?

Easy: I don't much care for milk chocolate. Bittersweet is so much better.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 4:51 PM

Can't resist throwing this match onto the gasoline: If holding down a girl and cutting off her genitals is horrific, why is it not horrific to do it to a boy?

Posted by: kk | September 26, 2007 4:51 PM

Thank you stephanaynay for your perspective.

And I have to agree with Leslie on this one, I tried flan many years ago and was not impressed. Perhaps (however) it was bad flan. I swear by chocolate and ice cream, any other kind of dessert is secondary to me.

Posted by: _Miles | September 26, 2007 4:51 PM

Miles, it must've been bad flan.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 4:54 PM

Have a nice evening!

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 4:57 PM

Can't resist throwing this match onto the gasoline: If holding down a girl and cutting off her genitals is horrific, why is it not horrific to do it to a boy?

Posted by: kk | September 26, 2007 04:51 PM

Castration is horrific. Male circumcision is not castration. Or to restate, comparing male and female circumcisions is like comparing toothpaste and oranges.

Posted by: MN | September 26, 2007 5:04 PM

How can anyone ignore the wonder that is cheesecake? Plain cheesecake. No pumpkin. No chocolate - plain cheesecake with graham cracker crust. The top must be cracked. It must weigh a ton. It must take so good that you are unwilling to swallow it. Cheesecake!

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 26, 2007 5:09 PM

Duh - I mean taste so good. Those darn gremlins.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 26, 2007 5:11 PM

Yes, classic cheesecake! And blintzes, too -- preferably with blueberry sauce.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 5:12 PM

Don't forget Italian rum cake.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 5:13 PM

castration and cheesecake. such are the joys of the OB blog that these two topics can be covered in the same 30 minute span.

Posted by: MN | September 26, 2007 5:15 PM

MN,
Where do you stand on the dessert debate? It is after 5 so we can get goofy.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 26, 2007 5:16 PM

MN, I thought your comments re the difference between circumcision and castration were excellent.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 5:17 PM

Imposing our many freedoms and values on other countries only seems to cost us thousands of lives and billions of dollars. This is the beauty of living in different countries and having different values. Not everyone in the world wants to be a soccer mom afterall. Not that that should stop us Americans from looking down our noses at everyone and standing in judgement of the entire planet.

Posted by: Dremit97 | September 26, 2007 5:19 PM

"Not everyone in the world wants to be a soccer mom afterall."

*coughs* The US is one of the most apathetic nations when it comes to what most of the world reveres as Football. When it comes to soccer, it's almost as though everybody's out of step but us.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 5:22 PM

MN -- That last post was like a little piece of poetry. Thank you.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 26, 2007 5:22 PM

Where is the line between caring about human rights for all people and interfering with a people's heritage and culture?
Female castration is obvious to me but others may not be.
What about ritualistic scarring with rusty razor blades to signify entrance into manhood?
Tattooing with with sharp pieces of bamboo?
Piercing of ears, noses, lips?

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 26, 2007 5:24 PM

And as for circumcision vs castration, if all these countries ban the more extensive forms of this 'female circumcision' and just found some skin down there that didn't matter to cut off would you still object? Sure you would because we don't do it in America so therefore it is wrong and must stamped out around the world.

Posted by: Dremit97 | September 26, 2007 5:25 PM

Cake...chocolate, lemon pound, pecan spice, carrot, hot milk, chiffon, devils food, chocolate mayonnaise...cake!
Chocolate creme brulee...
Key lime pie...
Flan, sometimes...
Strawberries & heavy soft-whipped cream...

Now that I have finished drooling over tonight's dinner...

I must say that Strawberry23 needs to think long and hard about the 'cultural prism' idea. This is moral relativism at its worst. Perhaps she should move to one of the countries which still oppresses women and live there for a year. I think she will say to h*** with cultural prisms -- human rights know no cultural bounds!

As for female genital mutilation, I mean, circumcision:
Think of it this way, guys. Imagine if your "happy stick" was removed down to a nub, using a dull knife and no anesthetic, when you were about 11 years old. Further, it was severed in such a way that whenever you have the natural reaction to arousal, you undergo intense pain. You feel this pain more intensely during intercourse. And your wife can force you to undergo that pain whenever she is in the mood. Now, remember that male circumcision is the removal of a small flap of skin that may not even be useful anymore (and there are now some studies saying that there are some health benefits).

Posted by: educmom__615 | September 26, 2007 5:26 PM

What about ritualistic scarring with rusty razor blades to signify entrance into manhood?
Tattooing with with sharp pieces of bamboo?
Piercing of ears, noses, lips?

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 26, 2007 05:24 PM

Eww
Eww
Eww

Posted by: educmom__615 | September 26, 2007 5:28 PM

All seen on either History or Discovery. I find myself unable to watch anymore. They say the rusty blades are to cause inflammation which will increase the size of the scarring.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 26, 2007 5:30 PM

KLB, that is frightening. I can't believe some of the things people will do to themselves, or allow their culture to do to them. I hope most of that was on History.

Posted by: educmom__615 | September 26, 2007 5:34 PM

As for female genital mutilation, I mean, circumcision:
Think of it this way, guys. Imagine if your "happy stick" was removed down to a nub, using a dull knife and no anesthetic, when you were about 11 years old. Further, it was severed in such a way that whenever you have the natural reaction to arousal, you undergo intense pain. You feel this pain more intensely during intercourse. And your wife can force you to undergo that pain whenever she is in the mood. Now, remember that male circumcision is the removal of a small flap of skin that may not even be useful anymore (and there are now some studies saying that there are some health benefits).

So, if the procedure was changed so that only a small flap of skin was removed and didn't cause continuing pain and was done in the hospital shortly after birth, and it prevented supermarkets from having and acre of hygine products you wouldn't object?

Posted by: Dremit97 | September 26, 2007 5:34 PM

Sure you would because we don't do it in America so therefore it is wrong and must stamped out around the world.

Posted by: Dremit97 | September 26, 2007 05:25 PM

Have you read anything here today? I thought not.

KLB: YES: cheesecake and blintzes, fuits pies, key lime pie and every dessert Leslie identified PLUS chocolate-covered espresso beans. NO: flan and cake. and I don't want a dessert wine to ruin the taste of my rare dessert. A fine cup of coffee will suit me to a t.

everything you mentioned at 5:24 strikes me as a matter of culture and history and unconnected to any sort of systemic oppression. many people are opposed to the tattooing conducted by Black service fraternities. bless them. they should shut up about practices that have no meaning or history for them.


Thank you, Leslie.

Posted by: MN | September 26, 2007 5:38 PM

Dremit97, you are raising "Straw Man" arguments which are irrelevant to the topic under discussion.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 5:39 PM

It's not a straw man arguement, and I don't see why that phrase needs to go in quotes as common as our president as made them. What I am trying to point out is that whenever Americans are entirely too quick to point, label, judge and ban anything that differs from our day to day lifestyle. Of course anything we do can be justified to no end, it's so obnoxiously arrogant, and one of the main reasons the world is so sick of us.

Posted by: Dremit97 | September 26, 2007 5:48 PM

"Not that that should stop us Americans from looking down our noses at everyone and standing in judgement of the entire planet."

Dremit, Do you appreciate irony? You appear to be the only one looking down your nose and standing in judgment.

In contrast, if you'd care to read anything and learn rather than parrot something you heard somewhere else, you might want to start with stephanie's comment at 4:28.

Posted by: MN | September 26, 2007 5:53 PM

Not that I agree that it is equivalent to female genital mutilation, but there are in fact a number of groups that are fighting in this country to eliminate routine circumsicion of boys as medically unnecessary and cruel. We did not have our son circumscised after researching the procedure, and I know a lot of families who have made the same choice. And I'm sorry I'm too tired to figure out how to spell it, LOL.

Posted by: LizaBean | September 26, 2007 5:54 PM

"the world is so sick of us"

But they are certainly willing to take our money during a disaster. The US is usually one of the first with financial and personal assistance be it a sunami or earthquake.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 26, 2007 5:54 PM

"Well MV I am just plain old Irish Catholic from the USA and have never seen anyone in real life cover their heads and shoulders here. I do see girls wearing shorts and jeans though.

And, sure you can comment on the lack of clothing some young girls are wearing (my daughter won't be one of them) but you just never know when someone will say something back to you about it.

The point I was going to make, but didn't is that I have seen ladies in head scarves give the evil eye to girls in tank tops. I think respect goes both ways and if you want me to accept your head scarf or whatever else you are wearing don't look at me with disgust when I have shorts and a tank top on. This is America and within reason, we can all wear what we want and be happy."

Irishgirl, I think you're responding to several posters here. No idea what you're referring to in your 2nd and 3rd paragraph. What is Irish Catholic???? I've never heard of that....is Catholicism now given a nationality?

Posted by: MV_78 | September 26, 2007 5:57 PM

"But they are certainly willing to take our money during a disaster. The US is usually one of the first with financial and personal assistance be it a sunami or earthquake."

Actually KLB, Scandinavian countries donate more money to development and other causes.

Posted by: MV_78 | September 26, 2007 5:58 PM

I didn't say we donate the most - simply that the truth is that our teams are usually on the first flight out be it search and rescue or the American Red Cross.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 26, 2007 6:01 PM

"Where is the line between caring about human rights for all people and interfering with a people's heritage and culture?
Female castration is obvious to me but others may not be.
What about ritualistic scarring with rusty razor blades to signify entrance into manhood?
Tattooing with with sharp pieces of bamboo?
Piercing of ears, noses, lips?"

The ironic thing is that scarring, tattoing, and suspension are all practiced here in the US...and it's not an issue related to culture.

Posted by: MV_78 | September 26, 2007 6:02 PM

"The ironic thing is that scarring, tattoing, and suspension are all practiced here in the US...and it's not an issue related to culture."

But here it is usually a choice made by the individual based on personal preferences, not a ritual that is basically mandated.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 26, 2007 6:07 PM

"I don't see why that phrase needs to go in quotes as common as our president as made them."

Huh???

LizaBean, some scientific studies are lately indicating that male circumcision may be of some help in reducing HIV infection. This is a public health concern expecially in developing parts of the world, where medicines are less available for economic reasons, or where there is greater social stigma associated with AIDS.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 26, 2007 6:12 PM

Male castration = male sterilization, i.e., the removal of the testicles necessary for reproductive function. The equivalent in a women would be removal of the organs necessary for reproduction such as the ovaries or uterus. The clitoris is analogous to the foreskin in that, while part of the reproductive machinery, neither is necessary for reproduction itself. So, no, not like comparing toothpaste and oranges. Both are practices that take a part of the natural body and remove it for cultural reasons.

Posted by: kk | September 26, 2007 6:14 PM

Yes, mehitabel, I am aware of the recent studies and of the problem of AIDs in the developing world.

Posted by: LizaBean | September 26, 2007 6:16 PM

Removal of the clitoris is not the same as the foreskin. If removing a woman's clitoris causes pain during intercourse and lack of sexual pleasure, as has been reported, it is not the same. Maybe removing the foreskin decreases sexual pleasure, but it does not eliminate it.

A month or so again there was a heated discussion on the On Parenting blog about circumcising infant boys. Both sides have strong opinions and valid points. It is a choice that each family with male childrens( ... as GWB would say) has to consider for themselves.

Posted by: mlsm01 | September 26, 2007 6:23 PM

And the arguments about preventing HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa are very recent, generating considerable controversy among certain tribes, and are poor justification for Americans to reflexively perform the operation on their sons. BTW, I agree that FGM is horrific, probably more so than infant male circumcision, but when you think about it, they are fundamentally about chopping off a part of a child's body to fit in with the tribe.

Posted by: kk | September 26, 2007 6:24 PM

What is Irish Catholic???? I've never heard of that....is Catholicism now given a nationality?

You've never heard of someone saying they are Irish Catholic? Back home there are churches that are attended by mostly Italians, there is a Ukrainian Catholic church (it's even in the title) and then there are churches that are mostly Irish. These churches are different from each other, have different festivals and different cultural things going on within the walls. However, I have never, ever seen anyone with their head covered in church unless you count Jackie Kennedy and that was on TV. Also you should know that I was raised like the girl in My Big Fat Greek wedding, everything comes back to being Irish in my house.

I was replying to someone else in the other paragraphs, sorry for the confusion

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 26, 2007 6:47 PM

Actually, when you say other countries give more, I've actually heard that that is partially a fallacy. Supposedly (and I don't know that I could verify this) you are comparing what the GOVT of this country and the GOVTS of the scandinavian countries give. When the money and aid that is given by NGOs and private individuals would also be counted, then BY FAR AND AWAY, the US gives more than any other country.

Of course, we have more, so that we give more is a good thing. But I would much rather this be the case than the govt giving more. No one really includes that as individuals, we americans give a whole bunch.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 26, 2007 9:33 PM

Well said. A good note to end on.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 26, 2007 9:41 PM

Fred's Quote of the Day
(Men can get it, sometimes!)

Wow! Many great quotes today, Ole Fred had a hard time choosing (not!) When Army Brat and pATRICK are in accord, we all have to stand up and notice! So in a joint award:

"...I turn into a left wing feminist, because it is a fundamental denial of freedom and human rights."

Posted by: pATRICK | September 26, 2007 10:49 AM

And Army Brat, "...I turn into a left-wing feminist."

I guess that I will have to fix the Creepy Van (tm) soon!

Posted by: fred | September 26, 2007 11:35 PM

BTW, you can never win FQOTD by self nomination or even saying directly this should be the quote of the day. The FQOTD judge immediately eliminates such putrid nominations.

Now, if you say, I really like what (insert name here) said, the judge does take notice.

And if you whine about it (pATRICK), you may be permanently disqualified!

Posted by: fred | September 26, 2007 11:46 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2007 The Washington Post Company