Monday, January 28, 2013
Promiscuity OK in homosexual marriage, says BritGov
A touch of realism? Homosexuals are notorious for promiscuity
Plans to allow same-sex couples to marry in Britain could pave the way for the concept of adultery to be abolished in law, experts have said.
Under the Government's draft Bill only infidelity between a man and a woman constitutes adultery.
So while the law would give same-sex couples the right to wed, they would not be able to divorce their partner on the basis of adultery if their spouse went on to be unfaithful - unless they cheated with somebody of the opposite sex.
It also states that a straight person who discovered their husband or wife had a lover of the same-sex could not accuse their unfaithful partner of adultery in a divorce court.
Lawyers and MPs have argued that the distinction over adultery - which arose after Government legal experts failed to agree on what constitutes sex between same-sex couples - would cause confusion.
They warned it would create inequality between heterosexual and homosexual married couples who found themselves in the divorce courts, and said it would likely result in adultery being abolished altogether as a grounds for divorce.
The lawyers who drafted the Government's Bill managed to swerve the contentious question of what constitutes sex between homosexual couples by adding a clause which states that only 'conduct' between a married person and a person of the opposite sex would constitute adultery.
Leading divorce lawyer Ayesha Vardag told the Daily Telegraph the impact of the clause could lead to the concept of adultery to being scrapped from law altogether.
She said abolishing the act of adultery as a basis for divorce would be the only 'appropriate and balanced' way to deal with the distinction between same sex and straight couples arising from the new Bill.
Why can't we laugh at the old jokes any more?
A 'racist' joke in Fawlty Towers has been cut because it might offend. Well, it might - if you didn’t get the joke
John Cleese and cast in Fawlty Towers. Lines like the major’s might not be very nice. None the less, this is how a lot of people used to talk, and it’s not much use pretending it isn’t
Strange place, the past. It appears to have been full of people who had next to no understanding of 21st-century mores. For some reason, they all seem to have carried on as if it didn’t remotely matter how their 20th-century attitudes and language would be judged by us, their descendants and superiors, in 2013.
This week the BBC was confronted with this problem when airing a repeat of Fawlty Towers. The episode had a scene with the words “wogs” and “niggers” in it. The old major, played by Ballard Berkeley, is explaining the difference between the two. The line gets a big laugh from the studio audience. Or it used to. This time, the BBC cut the line out.
The reason given was that it contained language that might offend. Well, I’m sure it might, if you didn’t get the joke. The joke's on the major. At first it looks as if he’s about to scold someone for being racist – but then he turns out to be racist himself. So we laugh at him. The joke’s actually quite PC.
But still it was cut, because these are words the BBC now feels uncomfortable airing, certainly at 7.30pm. It’s happened before. In 2007, a joke about gay men being sticklers for cleanliness was removed from a repeat of Porridge. It makes you wonder what’s next for the cutting-room floor.
Take Monty Python’s Life of Brian. In 1979, Life of Brian was thought shocking because it mocked man’s weakness for superstition and doctrine. Today, I suspect a broadcaster would be more shocked by the scene in which a male character is ridiculed for his desire to change sex. “I want to be a woman,” he says. “From now on, I want you to call me Loretta… It’s my right as a man… I want to have babies… It’s every man’s right to have babies if he wants them… Don’t you oppress me…” Plainly, we’re meant to find him absurd, and to agree with the male colleague who grumbles about the man’s “struggle against reality”. (“What’s the point of fighting for his right to have babies when he can’t have babies?”)
Given the outrage this month when the columnist Suzanne Moore joked about transsexuals – and the even noisier outrage when another columnist, Julie Burchill, used the phrase “chicks with d----” – I doubt such a scene could be written today. Lynne Featherstone, a Lib Dem minister, demanded that Burchill and her editor be sacked. What would she do with John Cleese? Hang him by his tonsils from Tower Bridge?
Soon, we’ll start to find Nineties comedy failing the 21st-century rectitude test. For some, this process has already begun.
Last year, Word magazine ran an article claiming that the “Scorchio!” sketches in The Fast Show – first broadcast in 1994 – were xenophobic. “Humour born of bored English comedians sat in luxurious holiday villas,” it growled. “Greek, Portuguese, Italian and Spanish people all sound the same! How hilarious.” Maybe if the BBC repeats The Fast Show it could edit those sketches out. I’m pretty sure the Ralph & Ted ones were OK. Hang on, though – the joke is that a man has an unspoken crush on another man. Is that homophobic? Oh dear. Future generations are going to be very cross with us.
Lines like the major’s in Fawlty Towers might not be very nice. None the less, this is how a lot of people used to talk (it’s how quite a few people still do talk), and it’s not much use pretending it isn’t. Because that’s what this type of editing is: a pretence.
George Orwell, incidentally, used to write disparagingly of “the pansy Left”. He was, by 2013 standards, homophobic. Should publishers erase his prejudice from his essays? Or would that be a little, well, Orwellian?
Diversity With Conceit
The diversity warriors, with no sense of humor and short on irony, keep looking for victims in all the old places. President Obama, advertising his inaugural address as a call to unity and a "coming together as one people," rounded up the usual suspects as if nothing in America had changed since Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall.
The suffragettes at Seneca Falls in 1848, the marchers at Selma in 1965 and the resisters at the Stonewall Inn in 1969 all led the way toward tolerance, but the president spoke of their sacrifice as if frozen in a time warp of old grievances and tribulation. Even elevating the barroom brawl at Stonewall to landmark status with voting rights for women and the civil rights revolution is a few inches over the top.
Obama's frantic search through his binders of women, looking for names to fill low-level positions for women to make it look "more like America," veers from the ridiculous to the theater of the absurd.
The search for such phony diversity is of a piece with the culture. Consider, for example, the HBO hit "Girls." Lena Denham, its creator, was scolded for not casting a black actor as one of the show's characters.
Since her characters -- college-educated, privileged young women with rich parents -- are drawn from the writer's own personal experiences, they're logically all white. But the chastened Denham responded with satire, intended or not: This season begins with Hannah, her leading character, taking a black boyfriend who is a conservative Republican. She criticizes him with cliches, assuming he prefers friends with guns. She says she never noticed he was black.
When the spoiled liberal white girl discovers how awful it is that two out of three men in prison are black, the Republican boyfriend thanks her for tutoring him in the difficulties faced by black men. She's not sure if he's being sarcastic.
Making fun of white liberal condescension is rare on screens small and large, and hasn't been done with flair since Tom Wolfe satirized the "radical chic" of composer Leonard Bernstein, who served Roquefort cheese balls wrapped in crushed nuts to the revolutionary Black Panthers, who ran through his luxury Manhattan penthouse in leather pants and tight black turtlenecks, titillating his guests like a "rogue hormone." Like the lumpen proletariat, "victims" must be brought together for "collective action."
The president who gave his inaugural address on Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday was in no mood for good humor or challenging cliches and bromides. Nor did the man who invented eloquence inspire with the soaring rhetoric of the prince of the civil rights movement. He echoed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and quoted a few lines from Abraham Lincoln, but he was determined to make the day more political than presidential, more prosaic than poetic, more pompous than patriotic and proud.
He suggested that our mothers and daughters are still unable to earn a living equal to the pay of men, even though statistics make clear that whatever gender gap remains, it's a gap created mostly by women making choices and trade-offs that are different from those of our fathers, husbands and sons. Historian Jay Winik observes that the president's speech was one that "could have been given 50 years ago."
The president continues to appeal to separation, to division, to littering the national landscape with regiments of straw men and women in the name of the politics of polarization. Intolerance and prejudice certainly remain in the culture, but no longer as a national attitude and not without corrective appeals to public exposure and legal remedies.
The visual trumped the verbal at this inauguration. If the speech failed to express unifying commonalities, the television camera surveying the crowd in Washington told the real story, of children raised to the shoulders of their parents, of beaming black, white and brown faces of young and old, of the gorgeous harmony of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir lifting the music of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" to the sky, and of the beautiful Beyonce belting out "The Star Spangled Banner" (even if she did lip-synch it).
A grace note was provided by Richard Blanco, the young Cuban poet, speaking of the "many prayers, but one light breathing color onto stained glass windows."
They made it a day to be proud of America. Only an authentic grudge could not see the idealism that brings us together beyond political partisanship. This was the real and natural diversity that animates Lincoln's "mystic chords of memory," reaching out to "the better angels of our nature." Not even a president stuck in a time warp could spoil that.
A Religious Taboo
Can we at least agree that reports of al-Qaeda’s death have been greatly exaggerated? You’ll recall that Peter Bergen, a director at the New America Foundation and the national-security analyst for CNN, began pronouncing AQ dead last summer. At the Aspen Institute, he even gave a speech titled “Time to Declare Victory: Al Qaeda Is Defeated.” He defended this thesis repeatedly, including in a debate with me on Wolf Blitzer’s show on CNN.
President Obama has not gone quite that far. Prior to the election, in stump speeches round the country, he said al-Qaeda had been “decimated.” And even in his inaugural address this week he claimed that “a decade of war is now ending.” (He also spoke of “peace in our time” — a phrase made infamous by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain at Munich in 1938. Is it possible Obama did not know that? Worse, is it possible that he did?)
The evidence that AQ is alive and lethal is abundant. To cite just a few examples: the French ground war in Mali against AQIM (al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) and associated forces, the hostage-taking in Algeria by self-proclaimed jihadists closely linked to AQ, the surge of AQ-connected fighters in Syria, and, of course, the 9/11/12 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi by AQ-affiliated groups.
I do not stress this to disparage anyone. Nor do I intend to pat on the back those of us who have maintained that AQ and other jihadist groups are neither dead nor dying but rather evolving in ways that merit both study and concern. Serious analysts sometimes arrive at wrong conclusions. But serious analysts acknowledge their errors, attempt to determine what data or misassumptions led them astray, and work to reshape their narrative in conformance with reality. Serious analysts are acutely aware that no strategic mistake is more dangerous than telling yourself you are winning when you are not.
Last weekend, I spoke with someone I’ll identify only as a senior American military official. It required no prompting from me for him to express his frustration over top officials in the Obama administration’s continuing to insist that the global conflict is “receding.” Challenging that notion is difficult because within the administration it is forbidden to speak or write openly about the ideology of those fighting us. To do so, the official said, would be “inflammatory,” requiring discussion of the role of fundamentalist Islamic theology. In a sense — the literal sense — what we have here is a religious taboo.
The irony is glaring: American officials can kill our enemies (mostly with drones). They just can’t analyze, criticize, or challenge the beliefs that motivate them. Fighting a kinetic war is permitted, but waging a cognitive war is prohibited. If we are to avoid defeat, we need to be fighting both.
Closely related to the “AQ is dead” thesis is the “Muslim Brotherhood is moderate” thesis. The most recent contradictory evidence: videos of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi three years ago, when he was a leader of the MB, urging parents to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred for them, for Zionists, for Jews. The hatred must go on for God and as a form of worshipping him.” In addition, he called Jews and Israelis “the descendants of apes and pigs.”
Here in Israel, where I’m spending a few days reporting, few people were surprised by those remarks. And, to be fair, vicious and even genocidal Jew-hatred has echoed throughout the Middle East at least since World War II, when Arab lands were barraged by Nazi propaganda (as meticulously documented by historian Jeffrey Herf) — and within secular as much as Islamist regimes. That fact, however, can hardly be reassuring.
Among the reasons for Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s (narrow) reelection victory this week: A majority of Israelis have come to the conclusion that at this moment no Palestinian who wields power is willing to negotiate with them, much less make peace with them. That situation will not change as long as so many Arabs and Muslims deny Israelis both their history (Israelis are, unquestionably, living in a part of their ancient homeland) and their humanity (which is what is intended when Morsi talks of “apes and pigs”).
Perhaps you’ll object that Morsi has not broken Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel and that he helped broker a ceasefire in the most recent battle between Hamas and Israel. I would respond: Morsi is not stupid. He is not prepared to win a war against Israel today or tomorrow. He is desperately in need of financial aid from the U.S. He is putting his interests ahead of his values — for now.
At the same time, he’s working to reconcile Hamas and Fatah, the factions that rule Gaza and the West Bank respectively, and to create a united Palestinian government. Hamas, of course, is committed to the elimination of Israel — and to the elimination of as many Israelis as possible. Hamas is not planning to moderate that position. On the contrary, it expects Palestinian president and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas to more openly support “resistance,” which means the use of terrorism and other violent means to weaken and eventually annihilate Israel. (Abbas recently told a Lebanese television station that before World War II, the Nazis and the Zionists collaborated.)
Can we at least agree that reports of the death of the peace process have not been exaggerated — and that Israelis’ constructing apartment buildings in and around Jerusalem, their capital, is not the reason why?
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.