: Tonight, in his never-ending screed on Krugman, Sullivan ask, “AM I CRAZED?” If you ask to ask…
Boycott Saudi skiing
: An intriguing proposal from a story in LA Weekly [via HolyWeblog]: Ban Arab nations that mistreat women from the Olympics. In the story, Parvin Darabi says:
They wonít allow women to participate, and then they say they have Olympics for women. Where? In their basements where no one can see?… We watch Iran beat women, and we watch Saudi Arabia put women in jail for driving cars, and we wonít come out and criticize Islam. I say itís time to criticize Islam. And itís time to say that had we done something about women in Afghanistan sooner, we would not have had the disaster that we did.
Not a bad idea, actually. South Africa was banned from the Olympics because it subjugated blacks and did not treat them as equal citizens. Why should Arab nations not be banned for subjugating women and not treating them as equal citizens?
There was a time when I objected to politicizing the Olympics (as when President Carter canceled our reservation over, ironically, the Soviet war in Afghanistan). But the Olympics have long since lost their virginity; they are politicized and exploited by economic interests at every level.
So why not treat these nations the way we treated South Africa? Why not set a world-wide standard of civility that at least demands the equal treatment and rights of all citizens? Why not?
Oh, yeah: Oil.
Whatcha wanna Talk about?
: Andrew Sullivan argues, with typical eloquence, that Talk and Talk’s and Tina’s era died on Sept. 11:
September 11 wasnít therefore just a financial disaster for her; it was a cultural disaster. What seemed merely tired and exhausted in 2001 felt almost offensive and irrelevant in 2002. Like Clinton, Brown will be remembered in the future as an emblem of an era of profound shallowness and great fun. But that era is now over.
Ah, but at the same time, Knowledge Networks, a research firm, releases a panel studying saying that we’re getting back into trivia [via Inside.com]:
…post-September 11th shifts in the topics of greatest interest to magazine readers may already be giving way to old habits, with sports, movies, and people/personalities all regaining appeal. Conducted in December as part of ongoing magazine research among the national KnowledgeNetworks panel, the new study indicates that the proportion of consumers who are very interested in reading about people and personalities has increased significantly since October, from 11% to 16%.
In addition, when asked to compare their current reading preferences to those of 12 months ago, consumers are now less likely to report waning interest in sports, movies, or travel. In October, for example, 15% said that they were less interested in articles about movies; but in the new study, that figure dropped to 10%.
ìWhat may have seemed less important in the immediate aftermath of September 11th appears to be making a comeback, perhaps even as a kind of ëcomfort foodí for the mind,î observed Jay Mattlin, Vice President, Client Service. ìThe changes of this fall have not been undone ñ interest in news is still up significantly; but we may be seeing the beginning of a return to familiar preferences.î
It’s not as if the celebrity culture is going to die; this morning, we all watched what Nicole wore last night on the Golden Globes. But I think we are now less likely to care about what Nicole said.
The SLA days
: The SF Chronicle reports that Kathy Soliah was a leader of the SLA and then talks to her nonradical siblings in a family that produced three terrorist kids.
: James Lilieks on Soliah going to jail.
: Matt Welch says it better than I could:
People who shriek until they are blue in the face about the ìliberal media biasî or the ìconservative media biasî strike me as obsessive weirdos. Sure, thereís always bias, but I would argue that itís more cultural, and professional, than ideological. That is to say, story ideas and execution are frequently told through the prism of the social positioning of the writers and editors.