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These [pirates’] rules, they’re more like guidelines anyway

November 17, 2009 Leave a comment

Cap’n Barbosa from the Dead Man’s Chest speaketh:

The Indian Air Force on Tuesday said it was planning to have women fighter pilots in future, but they will be inducted with a pre-condition of not bearing children till a certain age.

“In a few years time, we might see this change (women getting inducted as fighter pilots) coming in with certain pre-conditions that till this age we request you to be happy, be married, but no offsprings,” IAF Vice Chief Air Marshal P K Barbora told reporters here.

After 13-14 years of service, investments made on fighter pilots are actually recovered by the government,” he said in an indication that women fighter pilots will be allowed to have kids only after putting in 13-14 years in IAF.
The IAF Vice-Chief said if a woman pilot has to take pregnancy leave, she will be off-flying for around 10 months, which will not be fruitful for both her and the Service.

Citing reasons for Services not inducting women into combat arms, Barbora said, the armed forces “feel that it is not right to have a lady or a woman exposed to a conflict where she can be a prisoner of war.”

Secondly, psychologically, are we fit? another factor,” he added.

This is when I stop being proud of the Indian military that ‘keeps us safe’ (wev), and start wondering about eligibility & selection criteria that allowed Barbora and his ilk to come up through the ranks. First, psychologically, is he fit? Second, mathematically, is he sound? Third, how robust are his faculties of logic?

If 13-14 years are all that are required to break-even on training costs, then what’s preventing them from directly saying that they require 14 full years of service – get initiates to sign a bond to deliver 168 full months of committed service or pay back training costs and suffer penalties? If someone takes 10 months off to deliver it’s not like they are never fit to do anything after that – ask Kim Clijsters, who won the US Open 18 months after delivery. And why the exception for pregnancy – what if someone (a male candidate maybe?) falls ill with a debilitating heart disease at 30, and needs to take six months off to recoup?It’s not like large emergencies never happen to fighter pilots, or that employees of the IAF are exceptionally protected from all such unexpected events .

Do Barbora and others that helped make this decision think they’re fooling anyone when they say “Now, women in the age group of 21-23 years are inducted into the flying branch and may be allowed to start family after crossing the 35-37 years age bracket.”? Is that condition likely to allow for any woman’s priorities at 21? Or, for that matter, any man’s priorities? What about changing priorities? And what if someone gets pregnant by accident? Is the IAF going to demand and force abortions? Sheesh, people, do you even think these things through before you call press conferences to shoot off yer mouths?

Maybe Barbora and ilk need to recieve printed copies of the story of Major Stephanie Nelson (her story here), the US Air Force fighter pilot (she flies F-16s) who got pregnant and was still treated with respect and equality.

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French maid fantasies, Om?

November 11, 2009 Leave a comment

Via Indiequill, apparently Om Puri slept with two of his maids a while ago. I’ve seen this in Hindi movies from the 80’s and in books about pre-Civil War America when slave owners raped their slaves, but never realized this was such a wide-ranging phenomenon. Who knew an essential rite of passage for so many of our ‘gritty, realistic’ Indian male actors was to have sex with – or rape – a woman from a different economic class who was clearly their dependent? Who’s next, now – Nana Patekar?

In Om Puri’s case, of course, it’s a little more complicated. In the first incident, apparently he was only 14, and they haven’t spoken about the age of the maid then. Does that count as statutory rape on the part of the maid? Was she exploiting her adult privilege, or was he cruelly leveraging his economic and male privileges? In cases such as these, if the sex is consensual, is it still ‘improper yet natural’, like workplace sex, or exploitative, like boss-subordinate sex, or is it a whole different class altogether?

After watching Vanaja’s nuanced portrayal last year, it’s hard for me to be sympathetic to men who make out with maids/servants/nannies. And especially in the Indian context, where class and caste and English language privilege are still often insurmountable barriers, how can these people not see that what they’re doing or did – or had – was not clear consensual sex but murky coercion, often based on economic dependency? These are the very same people who’ll rant and rail against the Catholic Church donating money to poor untouchables to convert them.

But what truly sent chills running down my spine were not the incidents, but Om Puri’s furious-ness at his wife:

“I don’t care if she’s my wife. I won’t let her get away with it

When Nandita expressed a desire to write about me I couldn’t stop her because she’s my wife but she has forgotten who she is,” added Om.

She has forgotten who she is? Erm, dude, I’m guessing you don’t mean the journalism part of her. She’s forgotten she’s your WIFE, you mean. Or rather, YOUR wife. Who shouldn’t be doing things without your permission. Maybe you should meet Mr. and Mrs. Sanjay Dutt sometime soon – I have a feeling you’ll like them.

And seriously, ‘I won’t let her get away with it‘?!!????@##@$#$%

Class superiority much? Male privilege much? Of, maybe that will turn you on, knowing now what we do about you – you get off on that superiority thing, don’t you, you sick ba****d.

*breathing deeply to calm myself down*

Hrumph. I wonder if French maid costumes are really disproportionately popular in Indian role plays. Maid (truly desi, subordinate, available) + white woman (loose, unattainable but ‘available’). Business idea # 562, indeedy.

A many-colored jackass

November 6, 2009 Leave a comment

Yeah, something was always definitely off with this guy:

“He wanted a woman who prayed five times a day and wears a hijab, and maybe the women he met were not complying with those things,” the former imam said.

Mr. Hasan, 40, a lawyer in Virginia, described his cousin as a respectful, hard-working man who had devoted himself to his parents and his career.

Well, he was surely not ‘respectful’ of the women he met – but of course, that’s such a minor detail that no one would even care about.

Apparently this guy was such an enormous patriot that he would go “against his parent’s wishes to join the army” to demonstrate his patriotism, the same parents that he was devoted to – but this same uber-patriot had expectations from his wife that she behave in accord with a totally different culture, a different country’s social norms.
And add to that, the mandatory inflexible hijab requirement should’ve set off major alarm bells that this man needed an eerie amount of control over his dependents, and would not compromise such control. Obviously it didn’t set off those alarm bells, because who cares – women are meant to be controlled any way, whether you’re Muslim or Christian, brown or white or black.

Ugly girls must rightfully be abandoned

November 2, 2009 Leave a comment

The story is, in itself, sickening – who was this orange-sareed-woman who could so callously drop off a new born infant the middle of a busy Indian road with cauliflowers on top of her head? What was the system around her that compelled such action? And what are the bets that there’s no police searching for this woman or her family, even though she’s attempted to murder a human being in cold blood?

But the last line in the article should get a prize.

Newborn girl found abandoned in vegetable bag
AHMEDABAD: The cries of an infant from a bag kept in the middle of a road confounded passersby in Amraiwadi area on Friday night. Some curious people ventured to probe and found a newborn girl, wrapped in a white cloth, kept under vegetables.

According to residents of Amraiwadi, a woman in her 30s, clad in orange saree, was spotted by a few handcart vegetable vendors placing the bag on the divider around 9.30pm. They thought she would come back for the bag. However, she did not return.

When Ramesh Gadhavi, a local resident, was passing by Hatkeshwar Circle at 10.30pm, he heard the baby’s cries. He opened the bag with the help of others and found the infant.

“Vegetables such as cauliflower, eggplants and potatoes had been placed atop the baby. We then rushed her to Civil Hospital where she was examined by doctors who found her healthy. She weighs 2.55 kg,” said Harshad Patel, a social worker from Amraiwadi.

According to local residents, the circle, bustling with activity, has been used very often for abandoning unwanted children. “The girl is very pretty. One cannot understand why such a child has been abandoned by her parents,” said BR Patel, inspector of Amraiwadi police station.

Rape? Eh. Slavery? Oh, GOD!

October 9, 2009 Leave a comment

Apparently Michelle Obama’s great-great-mother was a slave whose child was born to her when she was 15.

In First Lady’s Roots, a Complex Path From Slavery

Melvinia Shields, the enslaved and illiterate young girl, and the unknown white man who impregnated her are the great-great-great-grandparents of Michelle Obama, the first lady.

Funny how they never note that Michelle Obama’s ancestors, like countless others, was the product of a rape. A forced sexual encounter, i.e. rape, of a 14-year old girl child. Who was also a slave – her body was bought and paid for. And then used.

It’s almost like that part doesn’t even count – oh, of course there was rape. What’s the big deal? Oh, but look, one side of her family was black.

Sheesh, maybe that’s why discrimination of one sort (e.g. rape) still happens today, and the other is a historical fact they needed to have experts dig for.

Selective editing

September 23, 2009 Leave a comment

Funny how both these news reports are from the same source research report:

The Hindu

Contrary to popular perception by historians that the caste system seen today is an invention of colonialism, the study found scientific evidence to show that “many current distinctions among groups are ancient.”

“The caste system is not recent,” said Dr. Thangaraj. “The social stratification existed right from early human divergence, some 50,000-60,000 years ago when initial settlement happened in India.”

versus:

Reuters

While the genes clearly show that the caste system has existed for hundreds of generations, the genes do not line up by caste.

“It is impossible to distinguish castes from tribes using the data,” Kumarasamy Thangaraj of the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad, India, who worked on the study, said in a statement.

“This supports the view that castes grew directly out of tribal-like organizations during the formation of Indian society.”

Women are dumb

August 25, 2009 Leave a comment

Not in the dumb=stupid sense, but women literally do not speak in public. I notice this at work all day, and in the news, on TV, in movies around me. Remember the Lindsay Campbell Moblogictv video Where My Ladies At?, where the less men know the more they’re willing to spout their wisdom but women always, always are so reluctant to speak – afraid, intimidated, hesitant, nervous, silent.

Look at Mika Brzezinski here, she would make my mother-in-law totally proud with her wonderful portrayal of a good desi bahu in the company of men. In the middle of a heated and very profoundly dramatic ideological debate taking place in front of her. And it’s unlikely that she has nothing to say or think, or that she agrees with both sides – that’s simply not possible, and not now after 15 years and 6 months of public debate on these issues. Notice the only time in both videos that she feels bold enough, or uninhibited enough, to open her mouth – she shakes her head in disgust and mumbles in agreement when Joe brings up the ‘death panel discussion’ – obviously to Mika, she can only compete on equal intellectual terms against a woman, that woman being Sarah Palin. Mika seems to believe that debates are like matches at Wimbledon – you can only play against others your own gender.

And oh, don’t you love Anthony Weiner – and he’s engaged to Huma Abedin. I don’t know which of them I’m more jealous of. Umm, wait, actually, my crush on Huma is a thousand times bigger. But Anthony’s not too bad either, and he’s the only one in this administration or in the public debate to so boldly make some very obvious points – not even Krugman has pointed directly to the large elephants in the many rooms this debate is taking place in.