Monday, March 07, 2005

Showing your stomach is both a provocation and a dramatic symbol of emancipation


Today’s NYT’s front page has, side by side, 1) a story about the Pentagon’s slowness in provided armor for troops in Iraq, which says “the Army’s equipment manager effectively reduced the armor’s priority to the status of socks” -- actually, one might argue, the Army reduced soldiers’ priority to the status of socks, and 2) “US Checkpoints a Deadly Gantlet: Iraqis Killed or Injured in Troops’ Security Effort.” These stories are of course linked: in the absence of proper defensive self-protection, soldiers have resorted to offensive self-protection, i.e., shooting anything that moves. In a classic case of shit rolling downhill, Washington demonstrated a clear lack of interest in the lives of American soldiers, who evinced the same lack of interest in preserving the lives of Iraqi civilians.

Also, note to the NYT: gauntlet, not gantlet. The London Times also uses the word, but correctly, in a story on the same subject tomorrow.

Today, Kuwaiti women demonstrated for women’s suffrage, while in Germany, Free Democratic MEP, Silvana Koch-Mehrin shows off her naked, very pregnant stomach in glamor photos in this week’s Stern, because “showing your stomach is both a provocation and a dramatic symbol of emancipation”. The Christian Democrats respond by officially denying that pregnancy is political. The London Times story on this little piece of self-promotion promotes her age, which is actually 34, to 44. But they did get the gauntlet/gantlet thing right.

The Thai government, worrying about the effects of the tsunami on tourism, has come up with an answer, albeit the wrong answer: a tsunami museum, complete with “a Universal Studios-style simulated tidal wave”.

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