They Don’t Give a Damn About the Children, Exhibit #3,972

It’s now been revealed that James Holmes’ psychiatrist warned school authorities he was dangerous a month before the Aurora theater massacre. Every time one of these massacres takes place, it turns out that someone recognized the killer’s derangement and tried to warn officials (often academic) – only to be ignored. Every time.
If our leaders really cared about “the children,” this is what they’d be screaming about, not how to take even more guns from normal Americans.

Guns Don’t Kill People, Political Correctness Does

Teachers reprimanded two seven-year-old boys for playing army games – because it amounted to ‘threatening behaviour’.
The youngsters were disciplined after they were spotted making gun-shapes with their hands.

Staff at Nathaniel Newton Infant School in Nuneaton, Warks., even told the boys’ parents to ‘reprimand’ them.

A father of one of the boys said: ‘This is ridiculous. How can you tell a seven-year-old boy he cannot play guns and armies with his friends.
‘Another parent was called over for the same reason.

‘We were told to reprimand our son for this and to tell him he cannot play “guns” anymore.

Obviously, it must be made perfectly clear to kids that guns aren’t toys, and if a teacher sees signs that someone doesn’t get that, then intervention in what he’s doing during recess is probably in order. But you don’t need to crack down on perfectly innocent and natural children’s fantasies to get that message across, any more than teaching them auto safety by keeping them from pretending to be NASCAR drivers

What prevents kids from misusing either is instilling in them a much broader ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy, as well as a basic respect for human life. The likelihood of misusing a gun isn’t an isolated issue that pops up in a vacuum. It’s either symptomatic of, or enabled by, broader problems that telling kids what they can’t play at recess just isn’t gonna solve, such as bad parents who don’t safely lock up their weapons or don’t teach their kids morality and responsibility.

Kids have always pretended to be cops or soldiers, and, the simple truth is that their primary purpose and characteristic of these institutions is protecting the rights of the community through lethal force, so if children are going to play army or police, then guns are going to be an unavoidable part of that scenario. And that’s not a bad thing. Because in the hands of the people these kids were emulating, guns aren’t intended to kill, but to protect. Children fantasizing about fighting fire with fire and standing up to genuine bad guys is not only natural, but healthy. 
Free societies need to pass a certain degree of fighting spirit, of warrior ethos, from one generation to the next – to venerate the fighting and punishing of evil, the willingness to fight and die if need be, etc. I’m not talking about anything close to Sparta-like indoctrination, but at the very least we shouldn’t be coming down on kids when their imaginations are captured by our society’s best and most vital role models.

Indeed, in their zeal to end “threatening behaviour” wherever it arises, the practical effect of such rules is more likely to be the message that military and police service aren’t something children should emulate or look up to, because they’re inherently “threatening” professions.

New on NewsReal – Obama Discovers Flip Side of Identity Politics as Muslim Groups Give Him Failing Marks

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

It seems another demographic group Democrats once took for granted is snapping out of Obama fever. At the Daily Beast, David Graham reports that American Muslims don’t think the president’s actions match his pro-Islam rhetoric. Aside from insisting that Islam is a religion of peace and appointing a few Muslims to important positions, Obama hasn’t met enough with American Muslim groups or “remade the political landscape for Muslims”:

“Just like the last time, we’re quite happy if any president offers positive rhetoric toward the Muslim world or Islam, but it really needs to be backed up with concrete policy initiatives,” says Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a leading American Muslim group. “We’re still in Afghanistan, we’re still in Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian situation has gone south. We’re not there—we’re just continuing with the previous policies.”

It’s not just foreign policy. Across the board, Muslims are expressing disappointment with Obama’s progress on issues relevant to them in the domestic policy realm. What they express is not so much anger as disillusionment, a recognition that the president hasn’t remade the political landscape for Muslims. (American Muslim opinions mirror international opinions. A Pew survey released Tuesday finds that citizens in majority Muslim countries remain skeptical of Obama.)

[…]

Exhibit A is the Park51 project, the proposed mosque and Islamic center in Lower Manhattan that opponents dubbed the “ground zero mosque”. After delivering what appeared to be a full-throated defense of the project, he walked back his comments the next day, saying, “I was not commenting, and I will not comment, on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there.” It was a crucial litmus test for many American Muslims—and one that Obama failed. “He’s still missing the political courage to stand up for communities, and not just Muslim communities,” says Shireen Zaman, the executive director of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, a think tank on Muslim issues.

As the Left always does when discussing different ethnic groups, it’s simply assumed at the outset that the positions cited are intrinsically anti-Muslim.

Whatever you think of the wisdom of starting or continuing the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, both conflicts were waged against specific governments the United States determined to be enemies, not against Muslims generally; indeed, both wars liberated their Muslim populations from nightmarish despots and gave them a genuine shot at liberty, so one could just as easily call a premature withdrawal from either theater anti-Muslim for enabling a descent back into totalitarianism.

Read the rest at NewsRealBlog.

New on NewsReal – PC Comics: Superman Renounces His US Citizenship

My latest NewsRealBlog post:
Once upon a time, superheroes were a source of comfort and escape from the difficulties and ugliness of real life. While real-life recession and terrorism aren’t likely to meet any tidy resolutions soon, we can always count on Batman to solve the Riddler’s latest puzzle just in time, or Spider-Man to save the damsel in distress (well, usually).
Somewhere along the line, though, it was decided that our heroes had to grapple with real-world issues. When done sparingly and handled well, this can elevate the genre, such as Harry Osborn’s battle with drugs or 2008’s brilliant The Dark Knight. But more often than not, such efforts these days instead result in train wrecks of heavy-handed political proselytizing and moral confusion.
Such is the case with the latest development in DC Comics’ Action Comics #900, in which Superman decides he has to renounce his U.S. citizenship:

In it, Superman consults with the President’s national security advisor, who is incensed that Superman appeared in Tehran to non-violently support the protesters demonstrating against the Iranian regime, no doubt an analogue for the recent real-life protests in the Middle East. However, since Superman is viewed as an American icon in the DC Universe as well as our own, the Iranian government has construed his actions as the will of the American President, and indeed, an act of war.

Superman replies that it was foolish to think that his actions would not reflect politically on the American government, and that he therefore plans to renounce his American citizenship at the United Nations the next day — and to continue working as a superhero from a more global than national perspective. From a “realistic” standpoint it makes sense; it would indeed be impossible for a nigh-omnipotent being ideologically aligned with America to intercede against injustice beyond American borders without creating enormous political fallout for the U.S. government.

First, it’s interesting to note that the story’s starting dispute comes dangerously close to a damning indictment of Barack Obama for not taking a stronger stand on the Iranian protests of summer 2009, which is surprising coming from an iconic cultural mainstay and a major entertainment company. And while John Hawkins is right to note that there are certain practical difficulties with throwing someone as powerful as Superman into geopolitical situations, I can see definite story potential in exploring the tension between Superman’s no-nonsense moral clarity and the empty suits on Capitol Hill.
But renouncing his citizenship?

New on NewsReal – Feminist Writer Tries to Put Natalie Portman in Her Place

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

The last time NewsRealBlog checked in on Natalie Portman, the actress was selling some new, decidedly-PC ideas about sex and love. But since her appearance at the Academy Awards accepting the Best Actress award for Black Swan, Portman has found herself on the other side of the feminist divide. LifeNews.com reports that part of her speech didn’t sit well with everyone:

After thanking fellow nominees, her parents, and the directors past and present who guided her career, Portman saved her concluding praise for “my beautiful love,” dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied.

Then, as if to underscore how the bright and promising career and the accolades she’s received up to that very moment paled in comparison, a visibly pregnant Portman thanked Millepied for giving her “the most important role of my life.”

The problem, according to Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams:

“At the time, the comment jarred me, as it does every time anyone refers to motherhood as the most important thing a woman can possibly do,” she wrote today. “But the reason why didn’t hit until I saw the ever razor sharp Lizzie Skurnick comment on Twitter today that, ‘Like, my garbageman could give you your greatest role in life, too, lady.’”

“When you’re pregnant, especially for the first time, there are a lot of amazed and awed moments in between the heartburn and insomnia. But is motherhood really a greater role than being secretary of state or a justice on the Supreme Court? Is reproduction automatically the greatest thing Natalie Portman will do with her life?” Williams wondered […]

“Why, at the pinnacle of one’s professional career, would a person feel the need to undercut it by announcing that there’s something else even more important? Even if you feel that way, why downplay your achievement?” a clearly befuddled Williams writes.

“Why compare the two, as if a grueling acting role and being a parent were somehow in competition? And remind me — when was the last time a male star gave an acceptance speech calling fatherhood his biggest role?

Yes, how dare Portman celebrate bringing a child into the world? Doesn’t she realize that ignorant political lectures are the only non-industry topics allowed by Hollywood etiquette at major functions?

Read the rest at NewsRealBlog.

New on NewsReal – Sheila Jackson Lee Comes Out Against Interracial Slapstick

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

I confess: I didn’t watch the Super Bowl. My interest in pro sports is pretty much limited to whether or not anything good comes out of the big game’s annual crop of Super Bowl commercials. We got a couple winners this year, but Democrat Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has declared one ad not only a failure, but an outrage, as well.

Pepsi ran this commercial, in which a black man on a park bench smiles at a pretty white woman who sits down nearby, and his wife angrily throws a Pepsi Max can at his head, which instead hits the woman when he ducks.
Lee’s reaction:

“In this month of African-American history where we’re trying to celebrate what is good and great, it certainly seems ridiculous that Pepsi would utilize this kind of humor,” she said. “It was not humorous. It was demeaning — an African-American woman throwing something at an African-American male and winding up hitting a Caucasian woman.”

Jackson Lee said she has a sense of humor and believes in the First Amendment. She also said the Super Bowl is a great time for “fellowship” with family members.

“That is why I’m so disappointed with the Pepsi advertisement that showed a demeaning role for African American women, in an ad that showed a can being thrown and being utilized to wound someone else or hit someone else,” she said.

“I think that we can come together in a much better way, sell Pepsi, and as well talk about good nutrition,” she said. “But, frankly, I consider this insulting, and so did many other women of all colors.”

Many? Name five. It’s a little hard to pin down the Congresswoman’s objection—is she coming down on the very concept of slapstick humor, or simply that Pepsi would dare depict black people up to the same sort of shenanigans that America has been laughing at white people doing for years?

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

New on NewsReal – Maybe America Could Use a Muslim Sitcom After All

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

Remember Katie Couric’s insipid suggestion that Americans needed a Muslim version of The Cosby Show to help us get over our seething Islamophobia? It earned derision in the blogosphere for its condescending view of the country as a hive of bigotry and its refusal to give the Islamic world any share of the blame for Islamic image problems, but PopEater reports that the idea is picking up steam among Muslims in the television industry:

“We want to see a typical Arab-American family that is just like every other family in America,” said Arab-American comedian Dean Obeidallah, who has developed a pilot for Comedy Central. “Television has had the ability to demonize Muslims and Arabs, but we realize that it also has the ability to humanize us.”

Couric’s suggestion might not be as radical or as far off as her critics decried. In fact, Muslim-American writers say that broadcast and cable networks are starting to be more receptive to scripts prominently featuring both Arabs and practitioners of Islam. A decade-removed from the September 11th terrorist attacks, television may finally be ready to portray Muslim-Americans as more than terrorists and taxi cab drivers.
Hollywood would definitely embrace a Muslim ‘Cosby Show’ with one caveat: It would have to be really good. It’s the one factor that has linked shows about minorities like the ‘Cosby Show’ or even ‘Will & Grace.’ Currently, I believe Americans are open to any minority as long as the show speaks to universal human truths and makes them laugh,” said Muslim-American Hollywood television and movie producer Tariq Jalil, the executive producer of the comedy ‘Marmaduke.’ [Emphasis added.]

That’s true—as we discussed on January 3, neither the words nor the deeds of the American people indicate hostility toward American Muslims—and it’s nice to hear Jalil acknowledge what Couric didn’t, but that also undermines the alleged need for more Muslim programming in the first place.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.