One of the most senior members of the Turkish government sparked an outcry on Tuesday, after declaring that women should not laugh loudly in public. The deputy prime minister, Bülent Arinc, one of the co-founders of the ruling Islamic Justice and Development party (AKP), made the comment while lamenting the moral decline of modern society. “A man should be moral but women should be moral as well, they should know what is decent and what is not decent,” Arinc said in a speech on Monday, in the western Bursa region for the Bayram holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. “She should not laugh loudly in front of all the world and should preserve her decency at all times,” he added.
Mr Arinc also shares his wisdom on other matters.
He denounced the excessive use of cars, saying that if even the “river Nile was filled with petrol” there wouldn’t be enough to go around. Arinc also slammed the excessive use of mobile phones in Turkish society, with women “spending hours on the phone to swap recipes.”
It’s been a while since we’ve had a classic Guardian sentence. Thank goodness, then, for Tracy Van Slyke, who can conjure elaborate grievance from a cartoon about sentient trains:
For the record, all the “villains” on Thomas and Friends are the dirty diesel engines. I’d like to think there was a good environmental message in there, but when the good engines pump out white smoke and the bad engines pump out black smoke – and they are all pumping out smoke – it’s not hard to make the leap into race territory.
You see, that “leap into race territory” isn’t hard to make because dirtier cartoon train engines producing darker cartoon smoke obviously constitutes a “message about race.” When she’s not explaining the devilish racial subtext of animated puffer trains, Ms Van Slyke “writes about the intersection of social justice and pop culture.”
According to the Supreme Court, the only reason why schools should be allowed to discriminate against more academically qualified applicants in favour of less qualified black and Hispanic applicants is that those “underrepresented” minorities will bring otherwise missing perspectives to the classroom and cafeteria. But if each individual is in fact sui generis, then there is no reason to believe that selection by skin colour will lead to a non-random introduction of additional viewpoints.
Ah, but race goons and “diversity” hustlers do seem to regard minorities not as individuals but more like spices. And all those exotic brown people taste the same, apparently.
In the United States, we have a minimum wage; Cuba has a maximum wage — $20 a month for almost every job in the country… Even employees inside the quasi-capitalist bubble don’t get paid more. The government contracts with Spanish companies such as Meliá International to manage Havana’s hotels. Before accepting its contract, Meliá said that it wanted to pay workers a decent wage. The Cuban government said fine, so the company pays $8–$10 an hour. But Meliá doesn’t pay its employees directly. Instead, the firm gives the compensation to the government, which then pays the workers — but only after pocketing most of the money. I asked several Cubans in my hotel if that arrangement is really true. All confirmed that it is. The workers don’t get $8–$10 an hour; they get 67 cents a day — a child’s allowance.
And Tim Worstall on a certain Guardian columnist and his deep, deep guilt about “our pointless hyperconsumption”:
Sadly, George Monbiot has gone off on one again. Decrying the fact that we neoliberals in the Anglo Saxon capitalist style world don’t feel guilty enough about despoiling Gaia. The poor in other places, being as they are not Anglo Saxon and also sanctified by their being poor, care a lot more. We are sinners as a result.
Tim goes on to note some important ways in which Mr Monbiot’s feelings are misplaced. And readers may wish to ponder George’s urge to romanticise poverty and pre-modern living, an urge perhaps best expressed in his claim that “we” should be more like the peasants of Southern Ethiopia, who “smile more often” than we do and whose fields “crackle with laughter.” These noble, laughing peasants may live in homes constructed from leaves and packing cases, and they may have Stone Age sanitation and alarming child mortality, but at least they’re not being “isolated” by sinful material trappings, like dentistry, double glazing and TV remote controls. Think I’m kidding? Think again.