Wotta guy! Equality rejected at HOLLYWOOD!
He had to backpedal, of course, but deeds will speak louder than words
THE President of Warner Brothers Pictures has caused an uproar in the US after allegedly declaring that the studio will no longer make films with a female in the lead role. Warner Bros. head Jeff Robinov made the order following the disappointing box-office takings for two recent female vehicles - Jodie Foster's The Brave One ($US42 million worldwide) and Nicole Kidman's The Invasion ($14 million). US newspaper LA Weekly has reported the story, quoting three separate Warner Bros. producers.
Women's rights activists are fuming at the studio boss's remarks after struggling for so long to win equal pay. "If that's what he said, when movies with men as the lead fail, no one says we'll stop making movies with men in the lead," said noted attorney Gloria Allred. "This is an insult to all moviegoers and particularly women. It is truly unfortunate that women get blamed for decisions which are made by men. "Instead of taking responsibility for their own lack of judgment about which scripts to make, directors to hire and budgets to OK, some men in the movie industry find it easier to place blame for their lack of success on women leads and to exclude talented female actors from the top employment opportunities in Hollywood in favour of macho males."
But Robinov yesterday denied the reports and blamed poor execution and bad timing for The Invasion, which both Kidman and co-star Daniel Craig refused to promote. As for The Brave One, Robinov said he is "proud of the movie", which Foster continues to support around the world. But Robinov said he is still willing to put a female star into an action role.
Gutless Dutch politicians
The Germans walked all over the Dutch in WW2 and the Muslims are now doing the same
Unlike the British, who have gotten used to the idea that faraway events can affect them, the Dutch, at least in this century, are more insular. That helps explain why, in 2006, the Dutch government tried to revoke Hirsi Ali's citizenship over an old immigration controversy, and why her neighbors went to court that year to have her evicted from her home (they claimed the security threat posed by her presence impinged upon their human rights). But although she did finally move to the United States, the argument continued in her absence. Last week, the Dutch government abruptly cut off her security funding, forcing her to return briefly to Holland.
The reasons given were financial, but there was clearly more to it. To put it bluntly, many in Holland find her too loud, too public in her condemnation of radical Islam. She doesn't sound conciliatory, in the modern continental fashion. Compare her description of Islam as "brutal, bigoted, fixated on controlling women" with the German judge who, citing the Koran, in January told a Muslim woman trying to obtain a divorce from her violent husband that she should have "expected" her husband to deploy the corporal punishment his religion approves. Hirsi Ali herself says she is often told, in so many words, that she's "brought her problems on herself." Now the Dutch prime minister openly says he wants her to deal with them alone.
Fortunately, Hirsi Ali is already back in the United States, under professional, full-time, well-resourced and for the moment privately organized protection. But this week, the Dutch parliament is due to debate her status once again. And once again, the Dutch will be confronted with the facts that Hirsi Ali remains a Dutch citizen; that the threat to her life comes at least in part from groups based in Holland; that she lives abroad because the Dutch political situation forced her to; and that when she speaks out, she does so in defense of what she believes to be Dutch values.
Whether or not the Dutch like it -- and I'm sure most of them don't -- revoking her police protection will send a clear message to the world: that the Dutch are no longer willing to protect their own traditions of free speech. Resources will be found, and she will recover. But will Holland?
Beware Muslim doctors
Some Muslim medical students are refusing to attend lectures or answer exam questions on alcohol-related or sexually transmitted diseases because they claim it offends their religious beliefs. Some trainee doctors say learning to treat the diseases conflicts with their faith, which states that Muslims should not drink alcohol and rejects sexual promiscuity. A small number of Muslim medical students have even refused to treat patients of the opposite sex. One male student was prepared to fail his final exams rather than carry out a basic examination of a female patient.
The religious objections by students have been confirmed by the British Medical Association (BMA) and General Medical Council (GMC), which both stressed that they did not approve of such actions.
It will intensify the debate sparked last week by the disclosure that Sainsbury's is permitting Muslim checkout operators to refuse to handle customers' alcohol purchases on religious grounds. It means other members of staff have to be called over to scan in wine and beer for them at the till.
Critics, including many Islamic scholars, see the concessions as a step too far, and say Muslims are reneging on their professional responsibilities.
This weekend, however, it emerged that Sainsbury's is also allowing its Muslim pharmacists to refuse to sell the morning-after pill to customers. At a Sainsbury's store in Nottingham, a pharmacist named Ahmed declined to provide the pill to a female reporter posing as a customer. A colleague explained to her that Ahmed did not sell the pill for "ethical reasons". Boots also permits pharmacists to refuse to sell the pill on ethical grounds.
The BMA said it had received reports of Muslim students who did not want to learn anything about alcohol or the effects of overconsumption. "They are so opposed to the consumption of it they don't want to learn anything about it," said a spokesman.
The GMC said it had received requests for guidance over whether students could "omit parts of the medical curriculum and yet still be allowed to graduate". Professor Peter Rubin, chairman of the GMC's education committee, said: "Examples have included a refusal to see patients who are affected by diseases caused by alcohol or sexual activity, or a refusal to examine patients of a particular gender." He added that "prejudicing treatment on the grounds of patients' gender or their responsibility for their condition would run counter to the most basic principles of ethical medical practice".
Shazia Ovaisi, a GP in north London, said one of her male Muslim contemporaries at medical school failed to complete his training because he refused to examine a woman patient as part of his final exams. "He was academically gifted, one of the best students, but gradually he got in with certain Islamic groups and started to become more radical," said Ovaisi. "You could see there was a change in his personality as time went by. During the final exams he was supposed to treat a female patient in hospital. He refused to do it, even though it would have been a very basic examination, nothing intrusive. "But he refused and as a result he failed his exams. I was quite shocked and disappointed about it because I don't see there being anything in our religion that prohibits us from examining male and female patients."
Both the Muslim Council of Britain and Muslim Doctors and Dentist Association said they were aware of students opting out but did not support them. Dr Abdul Majid Katme, of the Islamic Medical Association, said: "To learn about alcohol, to learn about sexually transmitted disease, to learn about abortion, it gives us more evidence to campaign against it. There is a difference between learning and practising. "It is obligatory for Muslim doctors and students to learn about everything. The prophet said, `Learn about witchcraft, but don't practise it'."
Australian PM hits out at 'jihad' Muslims
JOHN Howard has strongly criticised aspects of Muslim culture, warning they pose an unprecedented challenge for Australia's immigration program. While he remained confident that the overwhelming majority of Muslims would be successfully integrated, the Prime Minister said there were two unique problems that previous intakes of migrants from Europe and Asia did not have. "I do think there is this particular complication because there is a fragment which is utterly antagonistic to our kind of society, and that is a difficulty," Mr Howard told The Australian. "You can't find any equivalent in Italian, or Greek, or Lebanese, or Chinese or Baltic immigration to Australia. There is no equivalent of raving on about jihad, but that is the major problem."
The Prime Minister also expressed concern about Muslim attitudes to women. "I think some of the associated attitudes towards women (are) a problem," he said. "For all the conservatism towards women and so forth within some of the Mediterranean cultures, it's as nothing compared with some of the more extreme attitudes. "The second one of those things is a broader problem, but to be fair to them, it's an attitude that is changing with the younger ones."
The comments are contained in a new book to mark the 10th anniversary of Mr Howard's rise to power. Written by The Australian's team of journalists and commentators, The Howard Factor -- a decade that changed the nation will be published on February 27 and launched by the Prime Minister on March 2. Mr Howard gave a series of interviews for the book on December 9, the final sitting day of the parliamentary year for 2005. This happened to be just two days before the race riots in the Sydney beachside suburb of Cronulla.
The Prime Minister did not specify which Muslim source nations he was concerned about. By placing Lebanese immigrants in the same integrated category as the Italian, Greek, Chinese and Baltic, he appears to have been referring to the Christian rather than the Muslim intake from the Middle East.
The president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, Ameer Ali, said the conservative Muslims about whom Mr Howard was talking represented only a "tiny fraction". "There is (also) a tiny fraction of Australians who believe in white supremacy," said Dr Ali, who chairs Mr Howard's Muslim advisory group. "I think he (Mr Howard) understands that the large majority of Muslims are like everyone else. "In any society there are immigrants who try to hold on to their traditions, and it takes time to change. My faith is in the following generation -- the next generation will be more adaptive."
In the interview, Mr Howard was upbeat about the immigration program. Australia crossed two immigrant thresholds in 2003-04, which is the latest year for which Bureau of Statistics tables are available. The overseas-born population rose to 24per cent -- its highest proportion since the 1890s. And the European share of the immigrant total fell below 50 per cent for the first time. The previous Labor government of Paul Keating had the overseas-born at 23 per cent of the population, and the European component was 57 per cent. Mr Howard seemed genuinely pleased when the numbers were read out to him. "Really? I think what it demonstrates is that we have run a truly non-discriminatory immigration policy."
After slashing immigration in his first term between 1996 and 1998, Mr Howard has steadily ratcheted up the intake to levels that now exceed those under Labor's Bob Hawke in the 1980s. As Opposition leader in 1988, Mr Howard attacked Asian immigration. He later apologised and conceded the move cost him his job at the time. His comment in August that year was: "I wouldn't like to see it (the rate of Asian immigration) greater. I'm not in favour of going back to a White Australia policy. I do believe that if it is -- in the eyes of some in the community -- that it's too great, it would be in our immediate-term interest and supporting of social cohesion if it were slowed down a little, so the capacity of the community to absorb it was greater."
Mr Howard's latest observations on Muslim culture are not in the same category, because they do not suggest the rate of Muslim immigration should be slowed down in the interests of social cohesion. "The public sometimes mixes up attitudes to immigration with attitudes to our identity and our history," he told The Australian. "I think one of the reasons why people have been accepting of all of this is that they feel they have a Government and a Prime Minister that is in favour of what I might call a slightly less zealous multiculturalism than was practised by my predecessor. "Not a return to assimilation so much, but somewhere in between, which is what people want. "What resonates most with people, I find, is they don't mind where new people come from, as long as they've got skills, and as long as they become Australians when they arrive. "But that doesn't mean they should forget where they were born."
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.