Monday, August 31, 2009

Plumber's Cracks

Are perfectly OK, but women who have jeans low enough to reveal the beginning of their butt cracks are headed for lives of indignity, irresponsibility and self-loathing.

These words are not from some Taliban playbook. They are from a book by an American wingnut, Christopher Caldwell, who writes about the problems with European women's freedom and the beginning of the era of Islamic Europe:

This is why Caldwell refers to poverty-stricken Muslim enclaves as "the strongest communities in Europe" — strong, that is, in the context of a pitifully weak post-religious and post-nationalist Europe. "Islam is not the second religion of Europe but the first," he says, because it has maintained its "vital energy," while there is nothing left to European Christianity but a superficial "lifestyle." He even ends up agreeing with Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, that Europe's "materialist civilization" is "on the verge of collapse." Caldwell feels more at home with Muslim values than with the values of contemporary Europe — as, he says, would Dante. And Caldwell also values women's chastity more than women's autonomy because chastity (not to mention virginity) "can further dignity, responsibility, and self-respect." You may think that burqas and niquabs demean women, he ironizes, but what about "jeans that cinch halfway down the bum crack"?

It's always refreshing to find a wingnut honest enough to admit that he'd love to have his own Taliban-movement here at home. Women properly sequestered! Uteri carefully covered! Dignity and self-respect blossoming everywhere among women!

Except that I have never seen the chain of logic spelled out on all that properly. For instance, once we get all those horny women off the streets, will there be no demands for porn, no demands for sex, no demands for extramarital affairs? Once all women are chaste, what the fuck will men do for a fuck? And if covering up is the way to dignity, responsibility and self-respect, why not advocate it for all the wingnut men, including Christopher Caldwell?

But I forgot. Of course women are different from men and of course the topic of how women should behave is a legitimate one, because the future of the Western culture depends on it! The topic of men's behavior is not a legitimate one, and men may behave as they wish, in Caldwell's world. They may even do their utmost to persuade women off the glorious street of chastity! And if they succeed in that, it's the women's fault.

More generally, I love the circularity of the anti-feminist wingnut theme in the wider story of why Yurp Will Fall To Islamic Extremists:

The licentious and irreligious Europeans are what will cause the end of Europe As We Know It. In particular, European women, selfish creatures as they are, refuse to breed in adequate numbers, because that would hamper their enjoyment of nasty infertile sex, foreign vacations, BMWs and other such incredibly common aspects of European life. The evil European women also refuse to stay at home with the children they have not produced.

These are the reason why Islamo-Fascists will win! The New Europe will be a place where women will be forced to breed, to stay at home and to cover up! And the European women deserve all this, because they have refused to breed, to stay at home and to cover up to prevent it!

See the problem with these types of arguments? Well, one problem. The other one is the general misuse of statistics in pieces like these. I also get the feeling that very little actual travel in Europe is required before a wingnut writes a book bashing a whole continent.