Sunday, December 26, 2010
Skin colour row in India
Criticizing this is in a way to criticize India. Skin colour and prestige are highly correlated in all of India and the correlation is of very long standing. And, "incorrect" though it no doubt is, I too think she looks better with pale skin. But I am very pro-Indian and so respect Indian values
THE Indian edition of Elle magazine has stumbled into a race row after allegedly whitening the skin of a Bollywood actress on its cover.
Britain's The Daily Mail Online reports that readers had reacted with anger after it was suggested the fashion magazine might have digitally lightened the complexion of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, a former Miss World who has also starred in Bride & Prejudice and The Pink Panther 2.
The 37-year-old appears on the cover of this month's Indian edition. Inside the magazine, she is again pictured in a series of shots, all showing her with pale skin.
It is not the first time that Elle has been attacked for appearing to lighten the skin of its non-white models.
In September this year, black actress Gabourey Sidibe appeared on the cover of the US magazine with a much paler complexion. On that occasion, Elle claimed it had not altered the Precious star's skin any more than that of the other models photographed alongside her.
Fans have posted angry comments online about the latest cover, one saying: "It's annoying because it seems like lighter skin is always in fashion, as if darker skin is something to be frowned upon."
Skin lightening is a controversial issue in India, and those with a lighter complexion are often perceived to be both more successful and wealthy.
Skin-lightening products aimed at young men and women now form a multi-million-dollar industry.
Jesus Who? Christian Cross Banned from Bethlehem Souvenir Shops
Two-thousand years after Jesus Christ was born in the town of Bethlehem, the Christian cross has reportedly been banned from souvenir shops as tourists and pilgrims pour into the Holy Land for the Christmas season.
According to AsiaNews, textile shops in Jerusalem and Hebron have begun to print and sell tee-shirts “depicting the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem without the cross.” The cross has also been removed from tee-shirts of local football teams “because of the growth of Islamic fundamentalism in the Palestinian territories.”
Interviewed by AsiaNews, Samir Qumsieh, journalist and director of the Catholic television station Al-Mahed Nativity TV in Bethlehem, said: “I want to launch a campaign to urge people not to buy these products – he says – because the removal of the cross is an intimidation against Christians, it is like saying that Jesus was never crucified. “
Like every year, thousands including authorities, faithful and tourists from all over the world crowd, the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem for midnight mass on the night of 24 December. It will be celebrated by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and will be attended by the highest offices of the Palestinian Authority.
Qumsieh says that the population is living these days with joy, but the situation for Christians is still dramatic. According to the journalist, the dialogue of recent years between Muslims, Christians and Jews has not changed the situation.
“In the Holy Land – said Qumsieh – the emigration of Christians is growing, even if the authorities refuse to give precise numbers. Every day there are people who flee to other countries. As Christians, we live in a constant feeling of fear and uncertainty, and if you live in constant tension and pessimism you can not plan anything.
According to the journalist, “people leave because there is no work and movement is restricted under Israeli control.” Other factors are the internal problems of Palestine, such as the clash between Hamas and Fatah, which has repercussions on the economic situation. Qumsieh points out that from 2002 to 2010 the Christian population of Bethlehem has dropped from over 18 thousand to 11 thousand people.
In Gaza, after Hamas came to power in 2006, Christians have fallen by about 3,200 units, from 5 thousand to less than 1800 in 2010. Only 15,400 Christians (2% of the population) live in Jerusalem, as reported in a study by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies. They are 50% less than the 31 thousand registered residents in 1948, when Christians accounted for 20% of the population of the city.
The reporter says that if this exodus continues there will be no more Catholics in the Holy Land and that one day the Church of the Nativity could be turned into a museum. “If there are no more Christians in the Holy Land – he says – then there will no longer be Christians anywhere.”
Meanwhile, as religious worshipers descend on the Holy Land for Christmas celebrations, the Israeli military has reportedly ordered troops deployed to the Palestinian territories to facilitate safe passage for Christian pilgrims.
Storm over Pope's Thought for the Day as scores of listeners complain to the BBC
I think if I was a traditional Protestant, I would be a bit miffed too
Scores of listeners have complained to the BBC over the Pope's historic Christmas Eve message on Radio 4's religious slot Thought For The Day. The Corporation said it had already received 60 formal complaints following its decision to grant Benedict XVI such a prominent platform, and there were dozens of hostile comments on BBC internet sites.
During the three-minute broadcast on Friday morning, Benedict XVI prayed for the elderly and recalled his State visit to Britain in September 'with great fondness'. He focused on traditional Christian themes and made no reference to scandals that have recently engulfed the Vatican and its leadership.
No Pope has ever presented the BBC radio's religious slot before, and it was the first time the Pontiff had addressed a Christmas greeting directly to one of the countries he had visited during the year. The coup follows months of lobbying by BBC executives, including its Roman Catholic Director-General Mark Thompson.
But critics said Benedict XVI should not have been allowed to present his views unchallenged when many people questioned his role in controversies such as clerical child abuse.
Keith Porteous Wood, of the National Secular Society, said: 'I've got no problem with the message itself, but I think it's an extraordinarily bad choice for the BBC and I think it's actually a slap in the face for these hundreds of thousands of child-abuse victims.'
Comments posted on the BBC's Radio 4 blogsite echoed his criticisms. One read: 'I hope that the Pope's message will provide some comfort to the great many children throughout the world who were raped and abused by Catholic paedophile priests.'
Some messages supported the Pope's right to be heard.
A spokesman for the BBC said: 'As a religious slot, Thought For The Day has guest speakers from many faiths. 'Previous religious speakers have included the Chief Rabbi, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of Westminster and representatives from other faiths.'
The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham Bernard Longley told Radio 4's Today programme that it was the Pope's reception on his recent visit to Britain that had persuaded him to make the ground-breaking broadcast.
The Pope stirred more controversy in his traditional Christmas Day message from the Vatican by referring to the limits placed on Chinese Catholics by the state. China's 10million Catholics are split between followers of the Pope and the state-sponsored version of the church, the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.
He said: 'May the birth of the Saviour strengthen the spirit of faith, patience and courage of the faithful of the Church in mainland China, that they may not lose heart through the limitations imposed on their freedom of religion and conscience but, persevering in fidelity to Christ and his Church, may keep alive the flame of hope.'
Killjoy British officials ban pantomine stars from throwing sweets to children
They are traditions that no proper pantomime should be without – the over-dramatic dame, the frantic cries of ‘It’s behind you’ and the hurling of sweets into the audience for excited children to grab. But council officials have now decided that throwing boiled sweets is a health-and-safety risk and have ordered amazed actors to lob marshmallows into the crowd instead.
The stars of a new production of Aladdin have also been forbidden from squirting water into the auditorium – and the pyrotechnics that usually herald the appearance of Aladdin’s genie have been barred as well.
Panto traditionalists believe the measures are the most stringent ever applied to a production, and the producer of the show has described the council’s attitude as idiotic and miserable.
The restrictions have been imposed by officers at Barrow Borough Council in Cumbria. The council says the rules are necessary to ensure no members of the audience are injured during the production of Aladdin And His Wonderful Lamp, which is playing at the town’s 500-seat Forum 28 venue.
Duggie Chapman, the show’s producer, said he was saddened by the excessive requirements. ‘Pantomime is the only really British theatre tradition we have left and these rules do bother me,’ he said. ‘They are idiotic. I guess it’s down to someone in a particular department making a job for themselves. It is a bit miserable.’
Mr Chapman is also producing a version of Aladdin in Bolton – where no such restrictions on panto fun have been imposed. He said: ‘In the Bolton production we can have enormous fun slopping water all over the audience and we do have some amazing pyrotechnics. But we can’t do any of that in Barrow because of the conditions the council has imposed. ‘When the genie comes in, we have to make do with some lighting tricks because we are not allowed the pyrotechnics.’ He added: ‘The ban on throwing water into the audience is particularly crazy because the kids love being splashed.’
The council’s rules were slammed by Christopher Biggins, the country’s most celebrated pantomime dame, who is starring in another production of Aladdin at the Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton. He revealed that in his production, too, actors had also been barred from throwing sweets. And he added: ‘These sorts of rules are idiotic and ludicrous.
‘I would love to throw boiled sweets like the old days and hit them right between the eyes. But we can’t so I have to make do with marshmallows and things like that. We have a lot of pyrotechnics in our show and the day they say I can’t have pyrotechnics is the day I retire.’
Nigel Ellacot, who is the dame in a production of Jack And The Beanstalk in Dartford and who runs the It’s Behind You pantomime website, said audiences liked some physical interaction with the cast, but he added: ‘We are living in the world of Claims Direct.’
Sandra Baines, manager of Forum 28 in Barrow, insisted the council was not over-reacting. She said: ‘The council has a responsibility to ensure everyone has a fantastic show in a safe environment.’
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.
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