Sunday, February 26, 2006

Islam and Violence

The phenomenon is fuelled by the growth of the Islamic influence in Western societies, the sense of Islamic anger not just at the cartoons but at world events and the precarious nature of relations between the West and the Muslim world.

This post is a little outdated, it has already been reported on ad nauseum and plenty have weighed in on the matter. Nobody seriously disputes (or they shouldn't) the tastelessness and bigotry found in the Mohammed cartoons that were published not long ago. The fact that several European countries proceeded to collectively flip off the Muslim world and reprint these images surely underlines the contempt for Islam found in the west.

But regardless, it is a hard stretch to justify the lunacy that poured out in the streets of Syria, Afghanistan, West Africa and Pakistan (to name a few). At the height of the cartoon row disaster, dozens of people died and the Danish embassy in Beirut, Lebanon was torched. These violent, explosive reactions fog the issues at hand and conversation quickly shifts, conveniently taking the debate elsewhere—to freedom of press in this case.

Such antics has done precious little for Islam or Muslims. In Palestine, they have derailed discussion from the very real encroaching of Israel on another country’s sovereignty, not to mention viability. Instead debate has centered around suicide bombers and other acts of terrorism. Violence has done nothing but impede action from the international community, and justified Western acts of violence.

Of course not all (not even most) Muslims are going out and torching embassies. Plenty are just plain outraged by the cartoons, and disappointed by these extremist reactions. However their voices are mostly muted, and not nearly enough Muslim countries have distanced themselves from these protests. We don't need any more reasons to hate each other.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

first real snowstorm this winter

Fat nuggets of icy snow smacked me
right on the face this morning,
as I stepped outside to take this picture.
Trees wanna have a snowball fight.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Random Thoughts of the Week

  • -Lunch doesn’t have to taste great, but dinner? Dinner must aspire to higher standards. It must sing and simmer. Dance into my soul. Leave me in a satisfied stupor.

  • - I equally hate green salads and most salty snacks. Well…I hate salty snacks a little less.

  • -I don’t like being preached to. Especially when the sermon is about things that I am used to preaching to others about.

  • -At work, there’s a janitor named Jose with whom I used to like practicing my Spanish with. Nothing long, just your basic Hola, Como estas? Gracias por limpiar me oficina. He would, in turn, parrot English words back to me. Good night. Clean? A few weeks ago, he started flirting with me in rapid-fire Spanish. I had to pretend I didn’t understand anything. Awkward. I told him I was married. I might have told him I am married and I have a boyfriend. Maybe several. Now every time he comes to vacuum my cube, I go for a walk.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Metro Etiquettes

Note: Sign pilfered from Joe's blog

The metro was full of assholes today.

At the gallery place junction, during rush hour, this woman getting off, blocked everyone and asked the oncoming crowd, "Is this the right stop? Is this it? Is this Judiciary Square?" It wasn't. She got off. No one stopped her. As the doors swished shut, two teenagers promptly made fun of her.

On my bus ride home, this obnoxious white woman got on, who breathlessly shoved her transfer ticket at the poor driver and started ranting. Hysterical about the fact that she had to wait in the cold for ten extra minutes (*gasp*) while a "perfectly functioning bus drove by without letting anyone on".

The driver was unusually polite at first, told her he was sorry. It wasn't his fault, that some driver drove past her. Someone in the bus pointed this out too, to which she started in on how "his colleague's behavior reflected poorly on him too." and how she "wasn't going to stand for substandard service." Eventually the bus driver lost his patience and yelled at the woman to shut up, and sit down. I almost applauded.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Presidential Speak

This post will have to be a serial blog, there are just too many of these gems floating around. Here are some of my immediate favorites (with links so you know it's not a liberal-conspiracy). They are a little outdated, but I dont' care. Is there any doubt that the man still smokes crack?

"I'm honored to, uh, shake the hand -- of a brave Iraqi citizen who had his hand cut off by Saddam Hussein." --May 25th, 2004

"To paraphrase President Kennedy, 'There's America, and then there's Texas.'"
--June 5th, 2004

"One of my hardest parts of my job is to console the family members who have lost their life."
--April 13th, 2004

---President George W. Bush, 2004

Sunday, February 05, 2006

You Can't Take the Sky From Me

Kaylee: Everyone's got somebody. Wash, tell me I'm pretty.
: Were I unwed, I would take you in a manly fashion.

: 'Cause I'm pretty?

: 'Cause you're pretty.

--Firefly, television series.

I never thought I would do this—blog about a television show. A sci-fi western, no less. But here I am...a self-branded brown-coat, sci-fi nut. And I don’t even like sci-fi all that much! Voted as the best sci-fi show on television by New Scientist Space, Firefly was ruthlessly canceled by FOX after less than a season on air due to low ratings a few years ago. Due to its dedicated fan-base, the show was recently released on DVD, and a major motion picture made called Serenity. Until two weeks ago, I had never heard of the show and the only reason I did was because I happened to walk in on my roommate watching the DVD. I fell in love instantly with the rich, wonderfully developed characters and the fresh, sharply witty dialogue and story-telling.

I watched Serenity last night. It’s a fine movie, but it’s a little like watching the film-adaptation of a great book. The movie simply doesn’t have the time and space to allow the characters to breathe and stretch out and become a person. There is so much joy and pleasure in the television series that gets lost in the sleeker, darker version of the same on big screen. It’s the subtlety and elegance with which characters are fleshed out, that makes Firefly so unbelievably good. The movie loses a lot of this subtlety; instead it brings traits and motivations into sharp, glaring relief. For example, when Zoe questions the Captain’s motivation for not helping someone escape death early on in the movie, and wonders if the “war had changed us”. Meh. It’s such a packaged answer—so predictable and bland. Ditto with the whole “you must believe in something, doesn’t have to be God” wisdom that Shepherd gives to Mal. The original Firefly series simply never pins down and boxes its characters like the movie is forced to do. It was a great show (and a decent enough movie) that could have flourished into the brilliance it promised in its first season, but was never given a chance. A show that makes FOX producers look like puppy-killing, suited up trolls with chubby, hoofed fists of cash.

There's a couple of petitions for the show that you can sign. They are here and here. I really don't know how legit they are, or how effective they will be, if at all. But I figure, I'd do my part to grease the wheels of capitalism for the underdog. Or something.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

You Got Me at Hello...

Some of my most beloved books, and my favorite first the idea from Jabberock
to check out this cool-ass website (Click Here). This list is not comprehensive and I am fighting the urge to keep adding to it. Woe is me, I can't find the best first line of them all (I gave away the book a few years ago)...The first line of "Isaac and His Devils" by Fernanda Eberstadt. I will post it as soon as I raid some used bookstores this weekend. Here are some of my favorites. What are yours?

-“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.” –Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov

-‘To be born again,’ sang Gilbert Farishta tumbling from the heavens, ‘first you have to die.”--Satanic Verses by Salman Rushide

-“124 was spiteful. Full of baby’s venom. The women in the house knew it and so did the children” --Beloved by Toni Morrison

-“The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious” –Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins

“Prolixity is not alien to us in India. We are able to talk at some length" -The Argumentative Indian by Amartya Sen

“I have never seen anything like it: two little discs of glass suspended in front of his eyes in loops of wire.” –Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee

“Not wanting to arouse Vishnu in case he hadn’t died yet, Mrs. Asrani tiptoed down to the third step above the landing on which he lived, teakettle in hand.” –The Death of Vishnu by Manil Suri

"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”-One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez