Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Women Who Weren't There

I really didn't mean for it to turn into Chez-vs.-God day around here, but it's admittedly been a while since we've done a theme day, so maybe we're due.

Chances are by now you've either seen the above photograph or heard about it. I'm of course not talking about the instantly iconic original image of the scene in the White House Situation Room as a Navy SEAL raid was ending the life of Osama bin Laden; I'm talking about the picture as it appeared in the Brooklyn Hasidic newspaper Der Tzitung, the one with the noticeably photoshopped space where Hillary Clinton should be. The paper admits to removing both Clinton and former counter-terrorism director Audrey Tomason -- who was at the back of the room -- from the picture because it says it has a policy of not displaying a female image of any kind because it might be interpreted as "sexually suggestive."

Setting aside the idea that anyone can be so sexually repressed that he's afraid the sight of Hillary Clinton in harsh light and a pant-suit will get him hard, I need a question answered: Why am I supposed to respect a belief system this ridiculously backward? Keep in mind that while Hasidic Judaism is extreme by its very nature, it's still a legitimate part of the Jewish faith, and that faith is something that overall we're expected to at the very least show deference to even if we don't necessarily subscribe to it. This isn't the much-maligned Heaven's Gate cult or a bunch of Raelians worshiping an alien god -- it's a supposedly "acceptable" religion, whose tenets are adhered to by millions, and yet you can see the irony. We're now in the second decade of the 21st century and there are people for whom the need to appease a lunatic superstition -- an incomprehensible vestigial remnant of a time when man didn't know anything about anything -- demands that they excise all images of women from photographs. What's more, the rest of us are expected to show respect to this nonsense simply because enough people happen to subscribe to it; it somehow stopped being crazy through sheer force of democracy and we're supposed to now pretend that it's off-limits to the kind of ridicule it's always deserved.

The editors at Der Tzitung shouldn't be able to hide behind the impenetrable shield of their "religious beliefs" because the rest of us shouldn't accept that kind of horseshit excuse as impenetrable. This case acts as a perfect snapshot, literally, of how faith-based religion adjusts notions like reality and the truth in order to create the kind of conditions in which it can survive. Just because these idiots don't want to believe that Hillary Clinton was in the Situation Room, standing toe-to-toe with men, when Osama bin Laden was killed doesn't mean she wasn't there. Just like the absurdly archaic belief that their god exists and cares one way or the other about them doesn't mean he does.


Anonymous said...

Completely agree.

They could have put have taken the paintbrush with the color black in Photoshop and blackened them out. In the caption it could have included their names. They just edited them out of the picture. At the very least it should make everyone wonder how much creative editing of holy books have taken place under regimes like this.

VOTAR said...

You always call it "faith based religion." Is there any other kind? It's all just "religion."

Plain. Old. Dumb. Religion.

Alanna said...

This paper probably more closely caters to Lubavitch Jews.

Regardless, this is just an example of why I can't stand the extreme fanatics of any religion.

I'm surprised they didnt superimpose a stick of deodorant in Hilary's place - lest it too sexually suggestive. Blech.

Alanna said...

Would have been awesome if they superimposed a picture of Marty McFly in her place, though.

VOTAR said...

Also, "DER TZITUNG!!" would make a great metal band name.

The Bacon said...

I'll come from different angle. This is insulting to men.

Being a man, I have first hand knowledge of what a warm breeze and a woman in a pants-suit can do to a guy....and I think for speak for all of us when I say "I can handle it."

Sheriff Bart said...

MMMMMM Hilary. When you gonna ditch the zero and get with the Sheriff Bart, Hilary?
Call me.

Le Penseur said...

I know that every time I see a 63 yr old woman in a sensible pantsuit, it's all I can do not to start furiously masturbating on the spot.

kanye said...

Would have been awesome if they superimposed a picture of Marty McFly in her place, though.

Or perhaps a cardboard cutout of Jon Favreau, Alanna.

Anonymous said...

not sure how i feel about this.
i'll crunch the numbers and get back to you.


YZF said...

I totally get where you're coming from, Chez, even though I'm a religious Jew. Just to defend my people a little bit, though, I'll state that the type of "religiosity" on display here is a very recent innovation. Historically -- and even Chasidim would acknowledge this -- Jews were *never* this obsessed with such strict definitions of "modesty." This "erase all pictures of women" silliness is a Chasidic response to their perception of secular culture -- a response which many Jews (including Orthodox, and even some Chasidic sects) flat-out reject as decidedly antithetical to the tenets of Judaism. Despite the central belief in God (which we know cannot be proven), most Jews tend to be big fans of reality. And Streisand.

NoxiousNan said...

Right on The Bacon!

I often wonder why men generally don't get insulted by the implication that they are all mindless brutes lacking any self control.