Friday, July 20, 2018

The transgender posse vs. Scarlett Johansson

I can see Jeff Jacoby's point below but in the end I don't agree with him.  This business of women playing men and blacks playing whites seems stupid and inauthentic to me. Why would you do that?  There are plenty of actors and actresses of all shapes and sizes. The case Jeff discusses may be an exception in that there may be no good tranny actors. Transgenderism is a mental illness so that may interfere with good acting.  Looking at it the other way, however, if trannies are bad actors, bad acting is to be expected in the part. 

And why was Scarlett Johansson chosen to play a rough bird dressed up in men's clothing?  She is a gorgeous female. It's a crazy way to cast her.

I am a devotee of Viennese operetta and in some operettas women were deliberately cast in male roles ("trouser roles").  And I greatly dislike  that. As far as I can see, it was just an instance of the decadence that was common throughout the German lands in the early C20 -- particularly in artistic circles.

The present fashion also has whiffs of decadence.  It is a feminist credo that men and women are so similar that  either sex should be able to play any part, whether the part is male or female.  That seems to me as blind as the rest of feminism.

Men and women are stylistically different in all sorts of subtle ways:  The way they stand, the way they walk, the way they run, the way they drape scarves around themselves, the way they simper, the way they talk etc.  It is rare for a male to be able to portray a female convincingly and I doubt that there are  even many actors who can do so.  I see trannies around the place at times and to me they stand out like dog's balls.

It should simply be easier to get a convincing performance from a member of the group concerned

SCARLETT JOHANSSON IS no stranger to left-wing pressure. In 2014, protesters demanded that she sever her ties to an Israeli company, SodaStream. Last year a racial interest group condemned her for playing the character Motoko in "Ghost in the Shell," a Hollywood remake of a Japanese classic.

The posse came after Johansson yet again last week. Her supposed sin this time: agreeing to star in the upcoming movie "Rub & Tug," which tells the story of Dante "Tex" Gill, a brothel owner in 1970s Pittsburgh who was born female but lived as a man. The casting of Johansson triggered a backlash from transgender actors, who not only argued that the role should go to someone who personally identifies as transgender, but claimed it would be unethical and hostile to do otherwise.

Typical of the criticism was a tweet from Jen Richards, a transgender activist: "Here are the rules we the Trans decided," she posted. "Until the world stops erasing/oppressing/murdering us, trans women play trans women, trans men play trans men, nonbinary people play NB people."

The self-described "queer and trans" Yas Necati was even more categorical. "I don't care if Scarlett Johansson gives the performance of her life playing Gill," she wrote. "I don't care if it's beautifully acted, emotional, or even convincing. She shouldn't be playing a transgender man as a cisgender [i.e., conventional] woman."

This may pass for sophistication in Hollywood and other lefty precincts. It strikes me as pernicious nonsense.

To begin with, it denies the legitimacy of acting as a profession. Actors make believe. They portray characters who they aren't, and the more gifted and perceptive the actor, the more penetrating and meaningful the portrayal. In past films, Johansson has played a 17th-century Dutch servant, a high-school dropout, a drug mule who develops psychokinetic powers, and an extraterrestrial in human form. If Johansson's real identity didn't disqualify her for those roles, why should it disqualify her from the role of Gill?

To act is by definition to pretend — to pretend to be severely deformed, to be a Mafia don, to be the queen of England, to be a paralyzed mathematical genius.

Or to be transgender.

The demand that only transgender actors be cast in transgender roles is similar to the demand that only nonwhite actors be cast in nonwhite roles, and vice versa. The late playwright August Wilson, whose work chronicled the black experience in America, vehemently pressed that view in a series of high-profile clashes 20 years ago with Robert Brustein, the renowned drama critic and founder of the American Repertory Theater. Wilson argued that black actors should never appear on stage except in black roles (and, for that matter, that women should never play men). Brustein passionately rejected such separatism. The deepest purpose of drama, he said, was to illuminate "the workings of the human soul, which has no color."

Happily, Wilson's view hasn't prevailed. Some of the most memorable performances in modern times have been explicitly colorblind. To cite only a single illustrious example, think of Lin-Manuel Miranda's "Hamilton," with its cast of nonwhite Founding Fathers.

Catholic roles do not automatically go to Catholic actors. You don't have to be an immigrant in real life to play an immigrant in a film. Gay actors are not restricted to gay parts.

Great actors transcend their demographic categories. It would be folly to demand that casting decisions be rigidly confined within them. The last thing transgender actors should want is a rule restricting them to a ghetto of transgender roles.

Under pressure, Johansson has withdrawn from "Rub & Tug." Now it isn't clear the movie will even be made. The protesters may have ensured not only that Gill won't be played by a non-transgender woman — but that his life won't be depicted by anyone at all.


UK: Why has Labour run the risk of alienating progressive Jews?

You catch it on the edge of a remark,” says Harold Abrahams of antisemitism in Chariots of Fire. Three decades on from its success at the 1982 Oscars, you should marvel at how “progressives” have progressed: antisemitism is no longer on the edge but at the centre of leftwing life.

Conspiracy theory binds Corbyn’s disparate militants. Labour cultism fools members, who never had a racist thought before Corbyn became leader, into believing accusations of antisemitism are Zionist “smears”. To think otherwise would mean their leaders have dark flaws, and that remains a truth large numbers of otherwise robust democratic citizens won’t grasp.

To see how deep the rot has penetrated, imagine a racist police force – it isn’t hard to do. Imagine a chief constable had endorsed fantasists who say black men are natural criminals and Muslim men are paedophiles. Imagine, to the relief of everyone who thought the police should fight crime rather than race wars, the chief constable announces that there is “no place for racism in my force”. If the chief constable then wrote his own definition of racism and drew its terms so tightly that hardly any officer fell within it, no one would find his conversion convincing.

Rather than building a popular front to fight Trump and Brexit, Labour has taken it upon itself to reject the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism. Don’t panic, the alliance isn’t a Jewish conspiracy. It states that “criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic”. Its working definition is accepted by thousands of public bodies. But not the British Labour party.

Labour dropped the alliance’s stipulation that it was racist to accuse Jewish citizens of having a greater loyalty to world Jewry than their own country, or to hold Israel to a higher standard than other democratic nations. The international definition implies that Ken Livingstone’s “Hitler was a Zionist” fake history or comparisons of Israel with Nazism are racist. Labour prefers to hide in a forest of equivocation. It is normal to draw metaphors from history, its Jewsplainers state. It is not antisemitic to use them “unless there is evidence of antisemitic intent”. As you can rarely look into another person’s soul and prove intent, I take that to mean Labour is giving many of its racists a free pass.

Its press officers assured me that the party wasn’t rigging the system. As they are good people wasting their lives working for compromised men and women, they must believe it. We do not. Recently departed Labour staffers describe as a “political project” the party’s decision to make Jews the only ethnic minority Labour denies the right to define the racism they face. Dissident leftists are already providing examples of the anti-Jewish hatred the new guidelines might allow.

To ask why Labour has chosen to alienate progressive Jews just days before a Trump visit that demands liberal-left unity is as futile as asking why it chooses to alienate opponents of Brexit as the Tories lead the country into chaos. Understand that its leaders care only about the creation of a new extremist party, and you know all you need to know. From Labour’s point of view, the toleration of antisemitism is in its interests. Just as Viktor Orbán can target Muslim refugees as there are hardly any Muslims in Hungary, so Labour faces few electoral costs from baiting Britain’s tiny Jewish minority.

 Labour now needs the Muslim vote, and antisemitic prejudice is higher among Muslims than the general population. Although it is false to say all Muslims are antisemites, it is true to point out that antisemitism is endemic among the political Islamists who back Corbyn.

His other “base” is among former Stalinists from the old Communist party and Trotskyists from the remnants of Militant and the Socialist Workers party. Stalinists and Trotskyists once hated each other (Stalinists spent a part of the early 20th century murdering Trotskyists, after all.) . Neither has anything in common with Islamists, whose theocratic dreams could not be further from Stalin’s and Trotsky’s utopias.

All three are united by conspiracy theory, however. And all conspiracies go back to Jews in the end. Antisemitism isn’t like other racisms. There’s almost a note of envy in it. Ordinary racisms hate the foreign “other”. The prejudice is bound up with notions of filth and promiscuity – as shown by the picture of the refugee as rapist painted by today’s far right.

By contrast, 20th-century fascists thought the Jews so brilliantly cunning they could be behind both capitalism and communism simultaneously. Their successors find them responsible for everything from 9/11 to the Salisbury chemical weapons attack.

It ought to be notorious that antisemitism is an anti-democratic project built on almost two millennia of religious prejudice. The Tsarists and fascists used it to dismiss human rights and free elections as tricks the Jews used to hide their secret power. The old Marxist-Leninists who surround Corbyn were not so different. They also believed human rights and democracy were shams – only in this instance they hid the machinations of corporate capitalism. It’s only a small leap to say the capitalists are Jews – or “Rothschilds” as Corbyn’s supporters so tellingly call them – and you have reached the other side.

Whenever you raise leftwing racism, Labour activists accuse you of repeating Tory smears. You reply that politicians always smear their opponents: what matters is whether the accusation is true. They say: “Jeremy’s words have been taken out of context.” You show they have not. They say: “But what about right-wing Islamophobia?” You reply that a true anti-racist would fight both. That used to silence them. But now they will be able to produce the conclusive rejoinder that Labour has investigated and found to its relief and delight that antisemites barely exist.


Germany's Dysfunctional Deportation System

A court in Gelsenkirchen has ruled that deporting a self-declared Islamist — suspected of being a bodyguard of the former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden — was "grossly unlawful" and ordered him returned to Germany.

The case has cast a spotlight on the dysfunctional nature of Germany's deportation system, as well as on Germany's politicized judicial system, which on human rights grounds is making it nearly impossible to expel illegal migrants, including those who pose security threats.

The 42-year-old failed asylum seeker from Tunisia — identified by German authorities as Sami A., but known in his native country as Sami Aidoudi — had been living in Germany since 1997. Aidoudi, a Salafist Islamist, is believed by German authorities to have spent time in Afghanistan and Pakistan before the al-Qaeda attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001. Since then, he was under surveillance by German intelligence for propagating Islamist teachings and attempting to radicalize young Muslims. He had "far reaching" relationships with Salafist and jihadist networks, according to an official report leaked to the German newsmagazine, Focus.

Aidoudi's asylum request was rejected in 2007 after allegations surfaced that he had undergone military training at an al-Qaeda jihadi camp in Afghanistan between 1999 and 2000. During his training, he had allegedly worked as a bodyguard for Osama bin-Laden. Aidoudi denied the charges and claimed to have been studying during that time in Karachi, Pakistan.

Despite rejecting Aidoudi's asylum application, German courts repeatedly blocked his deportation out of fears that he could be tortured or mistreated in his homeland.

In April 2017, for instance, a court in Münster ruled that Aidoudi faced "the considerable likelihood" of "torture and inhumane or degrading treatment" if he returned to Tunisia.

In April 2018, Aidoudi's continued presence in Germany sparked public outrage when it emerged that he had been living in Bochum for more than a decade with his German wife and their four children — at taxpayer expense — even though German intelligence agencies had classified him as a security threat.

In response to an inquiry from the anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD), the government in North Rhine-Westphalia confirmed that for years Aidoudi had been receiving €1,168 ($1,400) each month in welfare and child-support payments.

In May 2018, Germany's Constitutional Court ruled that another Tunisian jihadi — identified only as 37-year-old Heikel S., accused of involvement in the March 2015 jihadi attack on the Bardo museum in Tunis — could be deported to his homeland.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer seized on this ruling and called on immigration authorities to make Aidoudi's case a top priority. "My goal is to achieve deportation," he said.

On June 25, Aidoudi was detained after Seehofer ordered immigration authorities to expedite deportation proceedings.

A few weeks later, on July 13, before dawn, Aidoudi, escorted by four federal police officers and a doctor, was placed on a specially chartered Learjet and flown from Düsseldorf to Tunisia. Aidoudi's deportation cost German taxpayers nearly €80,000 ($95,000), according to Focus magazine.

Although the Gelsenkirchen Administrative Court had blocked Aidoudi's deportation the night before, the decision was not passed on to immigration authorities until the next morning — after the plane was already airborne.

When the court learned of Aidoudi's deportation, it demanded that he be returned to Germany. The court said that Aidoudi's deportation had infringed upon "fundamental principles of the rule of law." The judges, apparently sensing that they had been duped, complained that German immigration authorities had failed to reveal to them the time of Aidoudi's flight and implied that those authorities had "knowingly" defied the court's order.

The next day, on July 14, Tunisian authorities added fuel to the fire by saying that they had no plans to return Aidoudi to Germany. "We have a sovereign justice system that is investigating him," a spokesperson for Tunisia's public prosecutor's office, Sofiene Sliti, told the DPA German news agency.

On July 17, Aidoudi claimed that his deportation was "pure racism" and implied that he would file a lawsuit against the German government. In an interview with Bild, he said:

"I was kidnapped from Germany. At three o'clock in the morning they simply took me away. I told the police: 'This is not possible. A court has blocked my deportation.' But they said the order had come from the top and that I could not do anything about it. I was not even allowed to see my lawyer. They also prevented me from contacting my wife and children."

Seehofer blamed the deportation on a "communication failure" but his critics accused him of knowingly trying to out-maneuver the German courts.

Justice Minister Katarina Barley, a Social Democrat, said: "What independent courts decide, must apply. When the authorities choose which judicial decisions they will follow and which they will not, that is the end of the rule of law."

In an interview with Süddeutsche Zeitung, Greens leader Robert Habeck said: "Either it is absolutely embarrassing chaos, or it stinks to high heaven, because the authorities at the interior ministry wanted to make an example [of Sami A].

"First and foremost, we need to clarify whether Interior Minister Horst Seehofer personally tried to circumvent the court's decision. "In any event, the damage that has now been done is much greater than waiting for the court decision. The authorities are weak and stupid, especially in times when trust in institutions is dwindling."

By contrast, critics of Germany's deportation system called for changes to the existing laws. The CDU/CSU parliamentary group member Axel Fischer said that under the current system, "The personal rights of Islamists are given more weight than the security interests of the German people." He added that current legislation "gives the impression that it is virtually impossible to deport Islamist perpetrators to countries such as Tunisia, regardless of how dangerous they are."

In an editorial published before Idoudi's expulsion, the newspaper Bild commented on Germany's dysfunctional deportation system:

"The deportation lunacy of ex-bin Laden bodyguard Sami A. is never-ending. German authorities still see no way to send the top Salafist back to his homeland — even though Tunisia's Minister for Human Rights, Mehdi Ben Gharbia, assured Bild that there is NO risk of torture in Tunisia.

"Since 2006, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) and the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia have been trying in vain to get rid of the former confidant of the mass murderer Osama bin Laden.

"Although the al-Qaeda man (living in Bochum since 1997) is classified by the constitutional protection as a 'dangerous preacher,' he continues to be tolerated in Germany, and collects 1,100 euros in monthly support.

"In the words of Alexander Dobrindt, a Member of the German Bundestag, 'Salafists such as Sami A. have no business in Germany and should be deported. Germany should not be a retirement retreat for jihadists.'"


‘They prefer to back a regime of murderous thugs’: Left-wing Australian unionists push for Israel ‘genocide’ motion

Leftist antisemitism goes all the way back to Karl Marx, who hated Jews even though he was one.  In his day it was a common saying: "Der Antisemitismus ist der Sozialismus der dummen Kerls." (Antisemitism is the socialism of stupid people).  Not much has changed

A SENIOR union official has broken ranks with his colleagues to speak out against an “anti-Semitic” push to condemn Israel for the “genocide” of Palestinians.

The resolution, which called on a Labor government to immediately recognise a Palestinian state, was passed overwhelmingly by the Left Caucus at the Australian Council of Trade Unions Congress in Brisbane on Monday afternoon.

The Left Caucus makes up roughly 400 of the estimated 1000 union delegates attending the three-day union meeting, which will set the scene for Labor’s upcoming National Conference in December.

“The motion itself condemned Israel for the ‘genocide’ of the Palestinian people and called on a Labor government to immediately recognise the Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders,” said Jeff Lapidos, tax branch secretary of the Australian Services Union.

The left and right factions met separately on Monday to put forward motions that would then be debated on the floor of the congress. ACTU members collectively represent an estimated two million Australian workers.

A delegate from the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union put forward the anti-Israel motion, calling for it to be put direct to the ACTU executive to avoid debate on the floor, where it would be voted down by the right.

“They didn’t want a divisive debate,” Mr Lapidos said.

“He made it clear that the Right Caucus didn’t support the motion but the left had a majority at the ACTU executive, so the plan obviously is to discuss it behind closed doors and ram it through.

“I got up and spoke against it, that it was wrong and shouldn’t be supported. I spoke for a minute or two, someone else spoke in favour for 30 seconds, then it was passed by an overwhelming majority by a vote of the hands.”

In 2011, ACTU secretary Sally McManus said she vigorously supported the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel “to end the violation of human rights and to campaign against ­Israel as a means of peaceful resistance”.

Mr Lapidos stressed he was speaking in his personal capacity and not on behalf of the ASU, which unlike more militant left-wing unions does not take positions on international affairs.

He said the motion was effectively a “vote of no confidence” in the Labor Party’s current policy on Israel “which is to be even-handed”, and was the only motion that had to be “debated behind closed doors”.

“For reasons I don’t fully understand, the left in Australia has developed a very anti-Israel, anti-Semitic passion,” he said. “Instead of backing the only democracy in the Middle East, they prefer to back a regime of murderous thugs. That’s what Hamas is, that’s what the Palestinian Authority is.”

Mr Lapidos said it was a “big distraction for the ACTU”. “Most ordinary working people aren’t interested in the socialist revolution,” he said. “They want a better outcome for them and their families.”

An AMWU spokesman said, “It would be inappropriate for us to distribute any motions before they have been debated and voted on at the ACTU executive or congress. We don’t intend to make any further comments about this matter.”

Peter Wertheim co-chief executive of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, said accusing Israel of genocide was an “outrageous lie, in fact an inversion of the truth”.

“It is Palestinian terror groups such as Hamas, which has a charter pledging that it will ‘obliterate’ Israel, who adopt the cowardly practice of hiding behind Palestinian civilians in Gaza while targeting Israeli civilian population centres with thousands of rockets and mortars, and burning hundreds of hectares of crops and nature reserves in Israel with incendiary devices,” he said.

“The Palestinian population in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza has increased fivefold since Israel was established, but if the Palestinian leadership had their way, the Jewish population of the country would be evicted or exterminated.

“This is why Israel defends its people so determinedly. Israel has offered the Palestinians statehood on at least three occasions, but the Palestinian leadership gives far higher priority to destroying the Jewish State than establishing a Palestinian State.

“If the ALP Left really champions human rights, as it claims, it should come to grips with these realities instead of indulging in outdated polemics.”

Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong distanced the party from the motion. “This is a motion before the ACTU Conference — it is a matter for them and has no relationship to the position of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party,” a spokesman said.

“Labor has long supported, and continues to support, a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We support Israel’s right to exist within secure and recognised boundaries and the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza.

“A just two-state resolution will require recognising the right of both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples to live in peace and security.

“Labor, whether in government or opposition, will continue to work with the parties to the conflict, with our allies, and with the wider international community to achieve a peaceful resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.”



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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