sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

August 30, 2011

That Libyan Opposition, That’s no Longer the Opposition

Filed under: Middle East, politics — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 1:18 pm

Take a look at this graffiti in rebel town of Benghazi:

This picture was taken by an Australian photojournalist Jeromy Starkey in May 2011.

Now it all makes sense: Gaddafi is a tool of Zionism!  And what do we learn from this one?

Same photojournalist on the same trip.

Apparently, they are aware of Che, Hitler (but Jews are the root of all evil, heh?), “No Fear,” pacifism signs, and perhaps Leo Tolstoy.  Just like us!

Jeromy Starkey took some production pictures.  This graffiti does not appear to be a work of some kids with spray cans; it’s produced by artists who work on sketches in a studio.  I suspect there is some kind of institution behind it.

I never really expected the Libyan Rebels, or whatever they are supposed to be called, to be model philosemites.  Even the better guys in the Middle East are wacky genocidal conspiracy theorists, and I’m not sure that the opposition are better guys.  I’m glad Gaddafi is gone, and now I’m cautiously pessimistic.


August 29, 2011

Femen v. Slut Walks, Part II (PARTIAL NUDITY)

Filed under: politics, Ukraine — Tags: , , , , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 12:01 pm

Femen is most famous for being a feminist group.  The Other McCain has a video of their protest against the treatment of women in Suadi Arabia.  That particular action was in support of Saudi women driving.  Femen girls were screaming “Cars to women, camels to men.”  Ukraine — and Eastern Europe in general — is not excessively averse to ethnic stereotypes.  This would be a taboo to Western feminists because in the liberal worldview multiculturalism trumps feminism, so no reminding Arab people of their contributions to civilization — or lack of thereof.

For some reason, a half a century ago, Western women allied themselves with non-whites and gays in an effort to fight white male patriarchy.  Maybe it made some sense in the 1960s, but contemporary feminists (and gays) should be opposed to multiculturalism because the Third World doesn’t treat women and gays very well.  If men from, say, Kenya and Malaysia didn’t seem too powerful back then, they wield considerably more power now that their numbers have grown, and many of them have voting rights in the West.  That’s a threat to the status of women here.

When Femen strips in their cultural centers, purveyors of Islamic chauvinism get what they deserve.  If our own Suicide Girls had any shame, they’d be stalking Saudi Embassies.  Or staging mass nudist protests in neighborhoods where Muslim men rape indigenous girls.  Or even demonstrate in front of the nearest city hall demanding a burka ban, because if public nudity is illegal, why not the full cover up?  Unfortunately, Suicide Girls or Slut Walkers have no shame; they are insecure girls who try to figure out if they feel any guilt, and if they do, exorcize it.  Which seems to be the point of the Third Wave feminism around here.

Back to Ukraine, although Femen is known to be a feminist group, they are  kind of multipurpose protestors.  Here, for instance, they register their disapproval with the Viktor Yanukovych’s use of the Presidential helicopter:

naked feminists

Question: Does his why fly her own? (H/t Heathermc).

And here I give you their protest against turning off the water at the Kiev University dormitory:

naked feminists

"Drown bureaucrats in the fountain," declares the sign.

When I was growing up, which is the 70s and the 80s, the water would get turned off a few times a year because of pipe issues.  Nice to know that it still happens in the Old Country.  I doubt if the government still owns the water and the plumbing, but if I were a student at that university, I’d be pissed too.

And here they are protesting poor driving conditions:

naked feminists

They should protest poor walking conditions as well.  They are not into removing ice and snow from the streets in winter.  Old people have to be either brave or desperate to leave the house.

As you noticed, Ukrainian women are uniformly flexible.

Femen knows how to create a spectacle, and they do seem to be an exclusive group.  From time to time they recruit dancers who, as you see, don’t necessarily wish to go topless.  No worries; Gustol has a half a dozen of hot chicks willing to play this part; and they always seem to be the same girls.

Compare it to San Francisco Slut Walk recorded by Zombie.  The event is fairly well attended, not bad for an Obama-era protest, actually.  But the women look goofy and frumpy by comparison.  Even the supposedly hot chick is not that hot (sorry, I had to make a value judgment here).  Slut Walk does manage to flex the feminist muscle: If they can convince goofy girls to dress up as sluts on occasion, they are a power to recon with.

And Femen, what did they achieve?  Anna Gustol claims that the ladies draw attention to specific problems, and that, for instance, nobody in Ukraine talked about sex tourism and prostitution before the Femen protests.  Well, that’s something.

On the other hand, the Russian and Ukrainian press looks at Femen with derision.  For instance, last September Natalya Radulova wrote an essay about the group for the Russian periodical Ogonek.  Radulova wanted who know who’s behind Femen.  Turns out, the group is financed by a German DJ who likes the ladies because they are “crazy like me” and a media mogul Jed Sanden whose publications frequently feature hot Ukrainian feminists.  Although Gustol claimed that they get contributions from local businesses, Radulova reasoned that those came mostly in the form free coffee.  Something tells me this  journalist is correct.

Gustol once ran for Ukrainian Parliament, and lost.  Femen is not a mass movement, but an elite group of protesters.  No political interest backs them.  Evidently, they don’t respect an upstart like Femen in the East. The  Ogonek article is full of condensation and derision.  The girls are first-grade narcissists, and are just kind of sad.  Parents won’t talk to them, and, although they had no problem finding men to spank them in public, young ladies are single because no self-respecting man would date a slut.  If Radulova’s analysis is correct, the women of Femen are too into themselves to actually date.  Oh, and although they are subsidized from abroad, the money is barely enough to live on.

Radulova finds Femen’s political philosophy wanting.  The ladies are against many things, which, I suppose, makes them kind of anarchist.  I suspect that like all good anarchists they want a big government.  I once wrote to Femen requesting an email interview; they didn’t respond.

As a side note, there is, apparently, a call for young women of Russia to bare their chests for Putin (h/t Rouge Operator):

Note the Orthodox cross prominently featured on the student’s chest and the consumer electronics in her possession.  Technically, women are not bearing all for Putin, but for the electronics promised to the creator of the most original video.

Ukrainian feminists of more traditional orientation (yes, apparently, there are some) hate Femen.  Femen perpetuates sexual exploitation and sucks all the oxygen out of press coverage of Ukrainian feminism.  Also, Femen girls are hot.  Femen are not without a competitive streak themselves.  While opposed to sex tourism, the group is not too proud to sell their trademark boob-painted merchandise.

What gives?

August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene

Filed under: Uncategorized — edge of the sandbox @ 8:29 pm

My thoughts go out to my friends and readers on the Eastern Seaboard.  I hope you are all safe and away from Irene’s pass.

August 24, 2011

Slut Walks: It Was Done Before, and Done Better. (PARTIAL NUDITY)

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 10:09 pm

Slut Walk are in the news now, see for instance this very entertaining coverage of a recent San Francisco Slut Walk by Zombie.  Western Slut Walks were sparked by a Canadian policeman who suggested that women shouldn’t dress like sluts, lest they get raped, hence providing an excuse to go out and buy a skimpy outfit and show the world that 3rd wave feminism is alive and kicking.  90s Revival.

There are several problems with Slut Walks.  First, participants are not very attractive.  Seconds, they are unwilling to strip.  Third, the protests are too egalitarian, meaning, no sufficient care is taken to draft the most attractive women to front the event.

Ukrainian feminist group Femen makes no such errors.  Femen’s leader Anna Gustol has a theater background and doesn’t shy away from putting it to use.

Femen Ukraine

Witness this perfectly choreographed protest against sexual harassment in universities.

Femen Ukraine

Or this perfectly staged Christianity-related something or rather.

Femen Ukraine

Or this seamlessly executed protest against what Femen describes as the Ukrainian government's overreaction to swine flu.

Femen Ukraine

Demonstrating for freedom of the press.

Femen Ukraine

Femen is not a fan of DSK, but this demonstration must have some sort of a local angle as well, considering that it's staged in front of Ukraine's National Bank.

Femen bills itself as a group of 300 Kiev co-eds, although it’s pretty obvious that there is maybe a dozen of them.  Western media eats them up, they were on CNN world, Reuters had opeds on them, Ms, etc.  Russian press is sarcastic, predictably highlighting the girls’ narcissism.  Well, they certainly enjoy themselves.


Protesting journalistic corruption on Journalist Day, surrounded by journalists.

The girls are feminist, and as such they are most famous for taking up women’s issues such as sexual harassment captured above or equal representation.

Femen Ukraine

Here is a Halloween-themed demand for inclusion of women in the Ukrainian cabinet.

Femen’s trademark issue is sex tourism.  It is a real issue, to be sure, considering that minors are involved.  However, Femen has a tendency to branch out.  Here we see them protesting a reality TV show where a man from New Zeland won some sort of a Ukrainian mail order bride.  I have no problem with this transaction.  One of my former classmates is now married to a much older German guy.  I don’t know the detail, but it certainly looks like one of those marriages.  Good for her, and considering that everyone meets through online personals now anyways, well, I guess some people meet on specialty websites.

Yep. Ukrainine is not a brothel.

The sign in Russian says “A bride for Papuas“.  Papuas is a slang term, referring to a native of Papua New Guinea.  Femen is very much into race and nationality.  Their trademark wreaths with ribbons are part of the Ukrainian national dress.  Sometimes they wear yellow and baby blue shirts, the colors of Ukrainian flag.

That's the Femen logo in form of the Ukrainian flag, in form of boobs. Yes, Femen has a logo.

Here Papuas is translated as wildman, which is rather vague.

Note the construction site in the background; it’s very Ukrainian.  When I lived there, some construction site was always nearby because such enterprises lasted forever.  A nine-story telephone station a few blocks away from my house took eight years to built.  It was never used as a telephone station, mind you, because by the time it was actually built, it was said that the technology no longer required that large of a building.  Or else Perestroyka came along, and perhaps, they decided not to eavesdrop on us anymore.  But I digress.

Continuing with the feminist theme, here is Femen protesting the stoning of an Iranian woman in an Iranian cultural center in Kiev:

Sign says "Murderers out of Ukraine".

Have to admire her burka.

The girls know how to get arrested.

More of them getting arrested:

Certainly a worthy cause, and one that Western feminists won’t touch with a 10 ft pole.  When Femen were asked what they want, they said they want a modern Islam.  Nobody asked them how they are going to achieve it.

The Other McCain has the scoop on Femen protesting treatment of women in Saudi Arabia.  I would sit on this post for another half a year, had he not beaten me to it.  Oh well, I’ll be back tomorrow with the second half of the Femen special.

Vacation Propaganda Review

We have wrapped up our summer travel season with trips to Sonoma County and Monterey.  Sonoma was supposed to be our anniversary wine tasting getaway, but our plans fell through when my parents, who were supposed to babysit, got sick.  They had some sort of a cold, which is nothing major for younger people.  Something to consider in deciding when to have children: older grandparents are less reliable.  So we ended up taking the kids with us, which made it a different trip altogether.

Although we mostly did tot things, we did manage to visit two wineries.  Both were touting themselves as kid-friendly, and one, Cline Cellars, was very nice.  We did a flight at a counter outside the main tasting building, and the little ones were playing maybe twelve feet away from us.  We had to watch out for bees flying around the flowers, and, of course, my two-year-old wanted to rip all sort of greenery.

Cline is known for zins, and we brought a bottle home.  They grow eucalyptus trees around their property, and the soil is infused with eucalyptus.  As a result the grapes have a very interesting minty taste.  The staff was very personable.  I give Cline a lot of points for not growing biodynamic wines.  Biodynamic viticulture is all the rage in Sonoma and Napa right now, and it’s advertized as one step above organic wines.  What’s one step above organic wines, you say?  Wicca.  Biodynamic viticulture involves some interesting practices, such as putting cow dung in cow horns and burying them in soil.  It’s not just Barack Obama that Northern California geniuses fall for.

The kids can check out the birds and the donkeys the vineyard has on it’s property.  They also have a model of California missions, but our children are too young for that.

The morning after our return from Sonoma we went on our yearly trip to Monterey where we meet up with my sister-in-law and her family.  We went to the aquarium, the main attraction there.  It was nice, but pricy.

The problem with aquariums is that they have walls.  Zoos are outdoors, so they house animals and have nice lawns.  American zoos have tot areas, with some sort of sculpture the little ones can clime.  It’s understood why they do it.  Aquariums, on the other hand, are located indoors, which means that many of them can’t merely house fish; they have to decorate the walls.  And so the jelly fish exhibit has a hologram of jellyfish swimming really fast.  Why?  Do the curators feel that the real thing is not interesting?  The seahorse exhibit has a seahorse video game.  Again, why?  Are kids today that uninterested in nature?  I kind of can’t stand this gimmickry!

All this available wall space is crying out for a display of propaganda, and so Monterey Aquarium has a show on global warming.  I snapped some pictures.

What a good propagandist needs is a good proletarian. Workers of the world unite.

The poster is based on the Bolshevik by Kustodiev, I believe:

The Bolshevik, 1920.

Kustodiev’s painting doesn’t quite have the easy glory of Nazi/Communist propaganda. The style is practically impressionist, and the expression on the Bolshevik’s face… well, he could well be Raskolnikov.

This muscular handsome worker/peasant has a French kind of look.

Lets call it Germinal.

No propaganda exhibit would be complete without an homage to Lili Brik.

The original was used to advertize books:

1924 poster by Rodchenko.

Lili Brik was wrong about a lot of things, but not about her lover Vladimir Mayakovsky, who was one of the most important poets of the era.  And she was no shrinking lilly either.  She certainly deserves credit for canonizing Mayakovsky’s work, about whom she wrote to Stalin when he briefly fell out of favor.  Whoever did the global warming poster above is a tool.

Multiculturalism and global warming are birds of a feather — because white people are fond of both.

And no multiculturalist extyravaganza is complete without Islam.

Actually, the only two religions represented in the exhibit were Zen and Islam.  As for the Bridgeview Islamic Center, it has all sorts of terrorist connections, from terrorist fundraisers to glorification of terror to a member making it to the FBI most wanted terrorist list.  But, you know, throw a little bone to global warming and all is forgiven.  Actually, it’s not even that we forgive said mosque for terrorism because forgiveness implies working through the crime.  We are much worse, we simply ignore the crime and focus on the facade this organization built for us.  Go back to drinking your biodynamic wine.

Speaking of multiculturalism, does this seem a bit anti-Japanese?

I mean, with all those posters the only negative one is Japanese.  Or is it negated by the Zen poster?

Of course there is a call to fathers:

There are also posters directed to mothers and grandparents to “do something” about global warming.  I can’t get my outrage on because I kind of doubt anyone but the most brainwashed will take it seriously.  It’s just too ironic.  More irony:

Even a housewife can “do something”.  She’s still worried witless, of course, come on, she’s a housewife, but not about the climate.  That’s a relief!

The exhibit is several years old; it was around last year, so there is this hippy:

Inhabiting the cultural space between John Lennon and Barack Obama.

After passing through the poster gallery, visitors are asked to press a button that most closely corresponds with how they feel about global worming.  Evidently, 11% are unconcerned:

Maybe they need to recruit artists who have their own ideas.  Obviously inferior imitations of early Soviet art and little Roy Lichtenstein-like doodles suck.  On the other hand, if children weren’t bombarded with global warming propaganda so much, maybe they’d actually learn to love nature.

August 21, 2011

Soviet Sci Fi, Pt II

Filed under: Russia — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 5:11 pm

And here’s the end of my piece on “Priklyucheniya Elektronika”.

August 20, 2011

Soviet Sci Fi, Pt. I

Filed under: Russia, tv — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 11:24 am

Many thanks to Harrison of Capitol Commentary for giving me an opportunity to do my first ever guest post.  It’s about a Soviet Sci Fi children’s mini-series “The Adventures of Elektronik”.  So, if for some reason you read my blog and not his, and not both of them, check it out!

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