Friday, September 15, 2006

The Friday Follies

Women in the European news. Something about zero.

TGIF. It hasn't been a good week for women. Most seriously, Oriana Fallaci died. She was brilliant, beautiful, and brave. (Look here for the encomiums I'm not qualified to offer.) The western world will miss her, and so should the angry feminists who want so desperately to be considered brilliant and brave, if not beautiful, but they seem a very long way from understanding the civilizational concerns any superior intellect should share. For example, this was the week in which Rosie O'Donnell squawked on national TV that "radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam." The sheer ridiculousness of this position... ah, excuse me... ladies coming through... stand aside, please.

Psst. Don't look. Their brothers might have to kill them if you do.

Thank you. Now, where were we? That's right. A bad week for women. They definitely didn't need this:

British-born researcher John Philippe Rushton, who previously created a furore by suggesting intelligence is influenced by race, says the finding could explain why so few women make it to the top in the workplace.

He claims the 'glass ceiling' phenomenon is probably due to inferior intelligence, rather than discrimination or lack of opportunity.

The University of Western Ontario psychologist reached his conclusion after scrutinising the results of university aptitude tests taken by 100,000 students aged 17 and 18 of both sexes.

A focus on a factors such as the ability to quickly grasp a complex concept, verbal reasoning skills and creativity - some of they key ingredients of intelligence - revealed the male teenagers had IQs that were an average of 3.63 points higher. The average person has an IQ of around 100.

The findings, which held true for all classes and levels of parental education, overturn a 100 year consensus that men and women average the same in general mental ability.

One can already hear the women objecting -- strenuously -- although they will probably be more tactful than a man would be because everyone knows that intelligent or not, they excel at cooperation and empathy. That's why Rosie O'Donnell, Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda are starting their new women's radio network, as we reported yesterday. How did Steinem describe the difference we should expect? "...More community. It's more about information, about humor, about respect for different points of view and not constant arguing."

Somebody forgot to let Nancy Grace in on the secret, though. She made headlines twice this week -- first when her adversarial interview with the mother of a missing child was followed by the mother's suicide, and then again when Nancy disavowed any responsibility for the unfortunate outcome.

Grace declined to be interviewed Tuesday but issued a statement by e-mail.

"We feel a responsibility to bring attention to this case in the hopes of helping find Trenton Duckett, who remains missing. Our goal in our continuing coverage of Trenton's disappearance is to enlist the public's help in finding him," Grace's statement read. "While Ms. Duckett's death is an extremely sad development, we remain hopeful that Trenton will be found safe, and we will continue to cover the case until it is solved."

Oh well. Women are mostly more respectful and sympathetic. That is, except when they're having a really really bad week, like the Dixie Chicks were apparently having when they were filming their documentary Shut Up and Sing.

In one memorable scene, [Natalie] Maines watches news footage of the president being interviewed about the furor that followed the singer's on-stage comment that she was ''ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas,'' which resulted in the group being dropped from most radio stations, as well as protests and plummeting sales. ''The Dixie Chicks are free to speak their mind,'' Bush told Tom Brokaw at the time, adding, ''They shouldn't have their feelings hurt just because some people don't want to buy their records when they speak out. You know, freedom is a two-way street.''

After watching this footage, Maines repeats the president's comment about how the group shouldn't have their ''feelings hurt,'' incredulous, and then says, ''What a dumb f---.'' She then looks into the camera, as if addressing Bush, and reiterates, ''You're a dumb f---.''

You see, ordinarily, Natalie would be more tolerant of the President's views. If he weren't such a dumb f---. You know. Because women are really so much peacefuller and not so violent-like. Except for this week, when we were treated to the story of an attempted contract hit on

A 22-year-old woman was arrested after authorities say she tried to hire someone to kill another woman whose photo appeared on her boyfriend's Web page.

Heather Michelle Kane was booked Tuesday for investigation of conspiracy to commit murder, Mesa Detective Jerry Gissel said.

She was arrested after she met an undercover Mesa police detective at a grocery store, gave the officer $400 and offered to pay an additional $100 once the woman had been killed, according to court records.

The records say Kane gave the undercover officer photographs taken from her boyfriend's social networking Web page of the woman she wanted killed. She also requested a photo of the woman's dead body.

Golly. That's cold. Several degrees chillier, in fact, than the reception of Oprah Winfrey's usually warm-hearted audience to the TV confessions of former NJ Governor Jim McGreevy, this year's recipient of the Andrew Sullivan Award for most wretched victim of anti-gay bias in the United States. The story he told was so sad, so candid, and so pitiful that the Oprah fanatics should have lapped it up and come pleading for more, but that's not what happened.

McGreevey opens closet for Oprah but audience icy

Former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey spilled his guts to Oprah yesterday about the years he spent living as a closeted "gay American," but Oprah's audience was unimpressed.

Oprah swore the audience to secrecy at the taping of her show, which airs Sept. 19 - the same day that McGreevey's memoir, "The Confession," hits store shelves.

If the reaction of her fans who watched the taping are any indication, McGreevey's musings - for which he reportedly got a $500,000 advance - could be a tough sell.

"Not impressed with him or his story," one woman who declined to give her name said after she left Harpo Studios, the Chicago home of "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

Another woman was put off by McGreevey - and the subject matter. "It's not my type of show," she said.

Ladies! Where's the sympathy? (To be fair, there's no way to know if some or many of these ladies were imported from New Jersey, where McGreevy's fall has precipitated another cascade of dubious political maneuverings covered in today's WSJ under the title New Jersey Switcheroo. On the other hand, New Jerseyans have been begging for things like this to be done to them for years...)

It would be nice to conclude with something positive, but as close as we could get was a story about the world's biggest baby.

Oh baby! Marie Michel's fifth child was one for the record books. Michel gave birth to a 14-pound, 13-ounce boy Tuesday at William W. Backus Hospital.

Backus officials said the newborn _ Stephon Hendrix Louis-Jean _ broke the 18-year record for the biggest baby ever born at the hospital by 1 pound, 13 ounces. He was nearly 23 inches long.

"He's built like a linebacker," said Dr. David Kalla, who delivered the baby by Caesarean section.

I mean, this is supposed to be good, right? Women producing huger and huger American babies? Isn't it? Well, maybe not. I don't know. Maybe I'm just being influenced by the perverse bit of irony that is somehow bringing us full circle back to the death of Oriana Fallaci. There's been a flood of news items out of Europe about the emerging fashion trend of the size zero model. Britain is thinking about banning them. You can see what they look like at the top of this entry. So, here in America, our women are giving birth to baby Hulks, while over in Europe women are dissolving into splinters at just the time cultural warriors like Fallaci are most concerned their final disappearing act will be into a burkha. Worse, the Zero Girls are actually abetting the trivialization of the terror threat in Europe. The photo gallery at the upper left of this page is part of a fashion spread from Vogue Magazine in Fallaci's home country, Italy. It depicts a series of anorexic women being oppressed in various ways by the security and police personnel who stand between Europeans and Islamic bombs.

But mere fashion doesn't matter. We established that here at InstaPunk long ago. Perhaps Oriana Fallaci would have found the Vogue spread amusing. Unless she'd find it despicable, insulting, and sick in the head. Something like the movie about the assassination of George W. Bush commissioned by "Channel 4's Liza Marshall, who...said it sets out to examine the effects of the war on terror." You know. Just like the Vogue pictorial. Or like Rosie O'Donnell, but a lot thinner.

Forgive us. But it's been that kind of week.

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