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February 17, 2004

East Valley roadkill
Posted by Teresa at 12:06 AM *

Janet Kagan writes:

I’ve got some kind of browser or ISP problem or I’d stick this up on the Short Creek page as some sort of … accident on the highway. Uh, you can’t not look. (At least, I couldn’t not look.)
What she said.
Comments on East Valley roadkill:
#1 ::: Suzanne ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 01:05 AM:

He's serious, isn't he? That really isn't tongue-in-cheek, is it?

Figures. My first actual comment to one of these threads, and I'm too nauseated by the subject to articulate a proper response.

#2 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 01:20 AM:

"Oh, barf" will do just fine.

#3 ::: Alan Hamilton ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 02:19 AM:

"Oh, yuck" is what came to my mind, but "barf" will do. "J-Nap"?

I get the North/Central edition, so I didn't see this in my paper.

#4 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 02:42 AM:

For those of you who did not bother to read the link, it's a newspaper column that condemms efforts to crack down on teen-aged sex slavery. The columnist says the crackdown is a conspiracy of the homosexual liberal establishment.

The article itself isn't so shocking - you can find all sorts of appalling opinions in print. What's shocking is that the newspaper it runs in, the Arizona Republic, appears otherwise to be a mainstream regional newspaper. Other columns include Dear Abby, a computer column advising parents on programs appropriate for pre-schoolers and - I expect - a comics page containing "Garfield" and "Cathy."

#5 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 08:07 AM:

*makes small sputtering noises*

Blech.

I'll rant later...when not at work.

#6 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 08:25 AM:

' I expect - a comics page containing "Garfield" and "Cathy."'

sounds like a long line of bad editorial decisions were made.

#7 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 08:25 AM:

I was particularly struck by the Liberal Democratic jackboots.

Can't say it's surprising, though; the "conservative" position in the US is now, and has been since Regan, that the existence of governmental authority is illegitimate. Cross that with the push to corporate autocracy social models and the horror of living in a world with error bars and that's exactly the sort of thing you'll get -- an argument that a desire to escape sexual slavery is equivalent to not wanting to do your homework.

Start lying about matters of fact to maintain your comfort and you'll go mad. If you're lucky, you won't commit an attrocities, but that's not the way to bet.

I do wonder what scares everyone so much that they'd rather go mad than find and fix the busted axioms.

#8 ::: Jimcat Kasprzak ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 08:37 AM:

A telling phrase that I noticed:

"...the civil war raging inside the Mormon Church between the traditional fundamentalists sect and the "New Age" Mormons who sold out the beliefs of their founders in exchange for Utah's statehood"

That's a pretty disparaging tone to take against mainstream Mormons. He's not making himself any friends anywhere with this article, except those who think that forced polygamous marriages for teenaged girls are divinely sanctioned.

As for the spurious parallels between retro-Mormon polygamy and homosexual marriage, one might do well to consider that gay couples are flocking to places like San Francisco, Vermont, and Canada to have their unions sanctioned, while the Mormon child brides are running away from these marriages (for which "abductions" might be a better word in many cases).

#9 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 08:39 AM:

I can't help it....must....comment.

(Unfortunately, my browser just decided to burp, so I can't quote exactly.)

The part that really pisses me off--well, besides the WHOLE thing--is where Dary Matera equates repressive, unwanted, abusive marriage with not wanting to do one's homework or other teenage follies.

That, and deciding that the boys can't be suffering because what red-blooded het male wouldn't WANT to be a polyg. Never mind that the boys are just as abused, used as slave labour, and sometimes driven from their hometowns so they won't compete with the older males for the resource of child brides.

Asshole.

#10 ::: Greg G ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 09:10 AM:

Oh, barf.

I like the bad Left Behind ripoff novel listed on his web-addy - www.darymatera.com

Teresa, he also has online book proposals if you're interested...

"Tough Men - Tender Hearts -- How A Rough Guy Should Treat A Soft Lady"


#11 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 09:29 AM:

Vile. Absolutely vile.

I can't even formulate a coherent response--or at least one what wouldn't fall afoul of common decency. But I also can't just let dreck like that pass by without registering how offensive it is. Just in case anyone would think to take my silence as agreement.

#12 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 09:40 AM:

What really bothers me (besides the pro-sex slavery angle, the homophobia and the standard claim that America was founded as a judeo-Christian nation) is that this guy gets published while my thoughtful, incisive and well crafted prose languishes somewhere in a slush pile. One almost needs to be a racist, gay-bashing throwback to get into print these days. Ugh.

#13 ::: LNHammer ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 09:42 AM:

Mitch: The Arizona Republic is, yes, the daily newspaper of Phoenix, distributed state-wide.

---L.

#14 ::: Kellie ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 10:29 AM:

Damn, where was "J-Nap" when I was sick and tired of being home by 10 in high school? Because ratting on my parents for being strict as all hell was very high on my list of reasons to run away from home. Right after "didn't let me eat the entire bag of M&M's in one sitting".

Best responses to this guy are "Oh, barf" and "Asshole". Anything beyond that might encourage the chauvinist to spew more bile.

#15 ::: Jim Meadows ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 10:34 AM:

For the record, Editor and Publisher reports that the Arizona Republic suspended the columnist, Dary Matera, after publishing the column in question:

"Ken Western, editorial page editor, said that Matera's piece was 'one of the most incoherent columns I have ever read and I just said enough is enough. My suggestion was to give him a three-month break to gather his thoughts.'"

You can read more at
http://209.11.49.220/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=2088986

#16 ::: Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 11:06 AM:

Aren't editors supposed to read their writers' material before it sees print?

#17 ::: Ailsa Ek ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 11:54 AM:

Ugh. *shudder* I couldn't even finish it. I'm very happy to hear that the writer of that... stuff... was suspended.

#18 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 12:09 PM:

Mitch, the Arizona Republic and the Phoenix Gazette (a.k.a. the Repulsive and Gazoo or just the R&G) were for many years the only two serious dailies in the greater Phoenix area. I believe the Republic is still the area's predominant newspaper.

Historical note: Both the Republic and the Gazette were owned by reactionary newspaper mogul Eugene C. Pulliam, whose holdings also included the Indianapolis Star and the Indianapolis News (he liked owning the competition), the commie-hunting Weekly American, two or three dozen other newspapers at one time or another, and a grandson, Dan Quayle.

By "serious" I only mean they ran national and international news every day, and didn't think a photo of icicles on somebody's orange tree (= "rare overnight dip into freezing temperatures" + "someone left their lawn sprinkler running") was major front-page news. Editorially, I suppose you could compare them to the Manchester Union Leader before it went soft on communism and other godless menaces.

This would be easy to explain if I could find more specimens of their editorial cartoons. These were drawn by Reg Manning, and deserve to be collected and reprinted for a disbelieving world. You know that style where a bunch of allegorical figures (inevitably including an alarmed-looking Everyman named "Uno Hoo," and a guy with a globe of the world for a head) are shown (for instance) playing poker together under a caption that says Who dealt this mess?, and every one of the figures has a little identifying Post-It Note label? Reg Manning's cartoons were like that, only dumber. A friend of mine swore he'd once counted fourteen labels in a single cartoon.

Manning learned his style during WWII, and his work during that period can still be found illustrating articles on the propagandistic use of gross racial stereotypes during wartime. His Little Itchy Itchy collection is such a vivid example of that mindset that it can't be sold on eBay.

Unfortunately, the specimens of Manning's Cold War-era cartoons that are available online are uncharacteristically simple and punchy. Only a single 1937 piece of FDR-bashing gives you any idea of the glory that was to come.

I digress mightily.

These days the Arizona Republic is a much more balanced publication than it used to be. I'm not saying it's genuinely fair and balanced, but it really has improved. You'd have to have known it back when to twitch uncontrollably at the description of it as "mainstream."

Dary Matera, the man who wrote that awful column, has got to be a Mormon fundie, and is probably a schismatic. No one else would be talking in terms of "The civil war raging inside the Mormon Church between the traditional fundamentalists sect and the 'New Age' Mormons who sold out the beliefs of their founders in exchange for Utah's statehood." There is no such civil war, though the LDS fundies would like there to be one; and the "sellout" he's ranting about happened in the late 19th century -- initially, at the behest of Brigham Young.

Describing Brigham Young as a "New Age Mormon" takes some doing.

Otherwise Matera's your basic provincial nutjob: loud, lurid, and incoherent, full of unearned anger and an unjustified sense of moral superiority, and having an unfortunate tendency to write thrillers. He's nothing new. I knew his spiritual forebears when I was growing up, though back then they were less prone to write bad novels. I'll admit, I am a little surprised to see this kind of thing in the current version of the Republic. It's a real pity that Reg Manning is dead, though. He'd be the perfect cartoonist to illustrate the piece.

#19 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 12:50 PM:

I'd just like to add my "Oh, barf" to the pile.

Also, I will link to this article when I want to illustrate the Hegelian categories of "wrong" and "loony."

#20 ::: Diane ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 02:04 PM:

"Ken Western, editorial page editor, said... My suggestion was to give him a three-month break to gather his thoughts."

Can you say Detox Centre?

#21 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 02:30 PM:

It's bizarre that this guy thinks (or at least claims) he was suspended for criticising the LDS Church. There's really no bottom, is there?

#22 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 02:41 PM:

My Usenet-crank filters perked up their ears when he used scare quotes about the word "escaped", went "unh-hunh" when called the governor "J-Nap", and then he made the inevitable Nazi comparison in the next paragraph. I know that Colorado City has a real and awful problem...but is it all right if I snicker at Matera?

This is a for-real newspaper? Gaw!

#23 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 02:54 PM:

Oh. My. God. (Anybody's God.) The man is insane. Did he write this dreck with crayon? With his toes, because his arms were in a strait-jacket?

O.M.G.

#24 ::: Zeynep Dilli ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 03:00 PM:

I knew his spiritual forebears when I was growing up, though back then they were less prone to write bad novels.

Teresa: This has to be one of the most poignant "back then..." statements I have ever read.

As for the article... ew? Common sense? Decency? No? OK, then.


(And being new to commenting at this site, protocol question: I've seen people call each other by first name when addressing each others' comments, but being a newcomer I'm hesitant, even though I did it above. Is that OK?)

#25 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 03:09 PM:

I'll betcha that Dary Matera likes 'em pretty young himself. If I were one of Dary Matera's neighbors, and I had 12- or 13-year-old daughters, I'd be giving them a good talking-to right now.

I'm basing this on nothing more than the tone of the article. I'm reminded of discussions I got into, in my early years on Usenet and in fandom, with men who talked about the sexuality of 12- and 13-year-old girls and boys. At first, I'd be up for the conversation, thinking I was involved in a nice Heinleinesque discussion of sexual mores that might exist in other cultures and at other times, but then I'd come to realize that me and my conversation partner are actually having two different conversations.

#26 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 03:22 PM:

Zeynep Dilli, it's usually OK. Sometimes it's not clear if the letters before the first space are a "first name," and in that case I use the whole name.

#27 ::: Matt Runquist ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 04:02 PM:

Oh, barf.

#28 ::: JMKagan ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 04:04 PM:

Teresa - Special thanks for making light on this one for me. I kept thinking Matera couldn't possibly mean Brigham Young, could he? He did. Yeah, he did. Wow and OMG and it was even worse than I thought it was.

You've no idea how much roadkill I've found on the superhighway that is the internet. I think of it as keeping an eye on the opposition, actually. As much as I don't want to hear or see it, I think I'm better off knowing what's out there that's dangerous. Though I'd've put a Not Safe For Work a link like that myself.

Nice to have the J-Nap reference explained too because I wasn't getting that at all.

Diane - LOL! Yes, I can say "Detox Centre." That would explain a whole lot.

OK. Now let's see if I've worked enough of the kinks out of my system so I can post again.

#29 ::: Rivka ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 04:45 PM:

That article in Editor & Publisher has a remarkably kind take on the story. If they were going to provide a platform for his assertion that he was suspended for being critical of the Mormon church, they should've quoted the paragraph that likened forced marriage to being required to do homework.

Although they may have assumed that all their readers are Godwinites who wrote the guy off as soon as he mentioned Nazi Germany.

#30 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 04:46 PM:

What's the name of that rule where you lose an argument by invoking comparisons to Nazis?

(BTW, as for civil wars within the Mormon church--they don't really rage. They do, however, involve many many rugs and copious, quiet sweeping.)

#31 ::: ers ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 05:03 PM:

That little column there is a laundry list of rhetorical and factual errors, a true How Not To Argue Your Point Fairly if ever I saw one. (Alas, I've seen many such screeds.)

What say we start making donations to the Democratic Party, or NOW, or the ACLU, or any other nice progressive (feminist, les-bi-gay-trans positive, for extra points) in honor of Matera? Like Planned Parenthood's pledge drive in "honor" of W's inaugration?

I like imagining Matera's face when he starts receiving donation notifications from organizations that he considers Evil.

Now, where do I find a pair of Liberal Democratic Jackboots? How I hate to be improperly dressed for the revolution...

#32 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 05:27 PM:

I think I'm going to have to go with "Oh, barf" as well.

There really doesn't seem to be anything else to say about it. I mean, you can't reason with someone like that, and it's not like you can accuse someone of inaccuracy when it's clear they're living in a world with different facts than the one you live in, so, er.

Oh, barf.

#33 ::: Ab_Normal ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 05:40 PM:

ers: I wonder, do Doc Martens count as Liberal Democratic Jackboots?

#34 ::: Kim Wells ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 06:04 PM:

Ab_Normal said: "I wonder, do Doc Martens count as Liberal Democratic Jackboots?"

If not those, then you could probably get away with something from Birkenstock. :) Do they make boots? (Probably not, but still.)

#35 ::: Lara Beaton ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 06:05 PM:

Ab_Normal - I would say that Birkenstocks would be the Liberal Democratic Jackboots.

#36 ::: ers ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 06:41 PM:

Oh, well then. I'm all set. Birkies, and backup sandals, Tevas, are present and accounted for.

Y'know, as a Jew of Eastern European origin who did lose extended family members in the Holocaust, I wish "Nazi" had not been trivialized as an epithet. It is sometimes appropriate (i.e., if one is wondering if the situation in Rwanda is the kind of genocide meant when Holocaust Remembrance folk say "Never again."). I am just as offended when PETA uses the term as when a right-wing fundie does.

#37 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 08:22 PM:

.... what color is the sky in his world?

For pete's sake....

#38 ::: Alan Hamilton ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 09:15 PM:

The "Republic" is certainly less loopy than it was under Eugene C. or Duke Tully. However, there's the occasional abberation like this column.

Yeah, Reg was an interesting character. The only book I'm aware of is the non-political What Kinda Cactus Izzat?. The current staff cartoonist is Steve Benson (grandson of Ezra Taft Benson), who I believe finally got excommunicated.

The Phoenix Gazette (the evening paper) shut down in 1997.

#39 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 09:48 PM:

I thought the linking of Waco and Jonestown was intriguing, in a barf-inducing way.

Incidentally, the Reg Manning cartoon pointed to by the word "simple" is on a site that doesn't allow access by off-site referrers. The cartoon can be seen by going directly to "http://www.members.tripod.com/frasuer/ADspider_412x507.jpg" (yes, that's "frasuer").

#40 ::: Phil Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2004, 11:07 PM:

PiscusFiche said: "What's the name of that rule where you lose an argument by invoking comparisons to Nazis?"

You may be thinking of Godwin's Law. From the Jargon File:

"Godwin's Law: prov.
[Usenet] “As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.” There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress. Godwin's Law thus practically guarantees the existence of an upper bound on thread length in those groups. However there is also a widely- recognized codicil that any intentional triggering of Godwin's Law in order to invoke its thread-ending effects will be unsuccessful."

http://www.jargon.8hz.com/html/G/Godwins-Law.html

Phil

#41 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2004, 12:49 AM:

Zeynep, it's generally okay to address people by whatever name they put on their comments. If they have a common first name, especially one used by multiple participants, you might want to use their first and last names, just to keep things from getting confused.

I don't know whether this is useful information, but some people in this conversation today will be addressing each other for the first time ever, while others have known each other for decades. Local custom neither privileges nor deprecates either state to any unnatural degree, but knowing that both are present may help you sort out what's going on.

Rivka, my sense of the E&P piece is that Jennifer Saba is doing a scrupulous and highly polished version of "more professional than thou." If so, it's an unexceptionable piece of work.

Christopher: It's not that there's no bottom, or at any rate I don't think that's what's going on here. You know how pompous blowhards who've gotten sat upon for being rude will often get all huffy and self-righteous about how we're repressing them because we can't cope with the power and splendor of their arguments? Same thing. He's imagining himself in his best full-length cape, resolutely facing into a wind machine, while behind him the first rays of morning sunlight streak across a projection screen. He's being oppressed because he bravely criticized the LDS church (*yawn*), not because he's incoherent, ill-informed, rude, and an inept writer. Here's my favorite bit:

"'The suits downtown have woke up and they realized that I've been writing a lot of columns that have been controversial,' Matera told E&P. He is not on staff but has been regularly contributing to the paper since last April. 'The Mormons are very powerful. They're in all aspects of [Arizona] society. What happened here is that the Republic and the government and the church are too cozy right now and that's what is personally disturbing.'"
Right. And that's why the Republic's current cartoonist is the far more scandalous and openly apostate Steve Benson, who's landed more than a few shrewd blows on the LDS hierarchy over the years.

Everyone who hypothesized that Materia's a candidate for detox: Highly unlikely. It's a nondrinking culture. He might be abusing therapeutic drugs, but that's about as far as it goes.

#42 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2004, 01:01 AM:

There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress. Godwin's Law thus practically guarantees the existence of an upper bound on thread length in those groups.

Anyone know just which groups have that "tradition" in anything like viable form? In fifteen years on Usenet I've seen the above quoted many times, of course, but I've never seen anything to make me believe that this "upper bound on thread length" is anything more than wishful thinking.

#43 ::: Virge ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2004, 01:46 AM:

David,
laws like these describe a humorous exaggeration of reality. To posit any upper bound on thread length is wonderful sarcasm.

Godwin's Law happens to provide a convenient heuristic to determine when an argument has gone beyond rational discussion. It provides more than just humour, but its value is still limited. Most disputants will have already realized long before the law can be applied.

#44 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2004, 01:47 AM:

Everyone who hypothesized that Materia's a candidate for detox: Highly unlikely. It's a nondrinking culture. He might be abusing therapeutic drugs, but that's about as far as it goes.

In that case, someone send the man a few bottles of single-malt. Label them "Tea" if you think it would help.

#45 ::: Audrey Estock ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2004, 02:02 AM:

I think I'll add my 'Oh barf' to the list.

Thank heaven he was suspended is all I have to say. How that was even put into print in the first place is a good question to ask.

#46 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2004, 02:07 AM:

When somebody is compared to the Nazis, the thread is over. However, people will often continue posting to it for quite some time.

#47 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2004, 08:00 AM:

One correction: THE WEEKLY AMERICAN wasn't a Pulliam publication. It was Evan Mecham's right-wing rag, and started because he felt the Pulliam newspapers were too liberal.

(Rick Cook, author of WIZARD'S BANE and other books from Baen Books, was a reporter for the WA as a very young man. He sort of cringes and goes very quiet when the subject comes up....)

And the latest issue of PHOENIX magazine has a very nice article on Steve Benson and his conversion from conservative Mormom cartoonist to liberal non-Mormon cartoonist.

#48 ::: LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2004, 08:37 AM:

How repugnant.


-l.

#49 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2004, 11:53 AM:

David Goldfarb:

Anyone know just which groups have that "tradition" in anything like viable form? In fifteen years on Usenet I've seen the above quoted many times, of course, but I've never seen anything to make me believe that this "upper bound on thread length" is anything more than wishful thinking.

I had a group of friends with whom I would regularly debate anything and everything, and I think we independently evolved that rule (We started out on a BBS network, but eventually moved to e-mail). You mentioned Hitler or the Nazis, you automatically lost the argument.

Of course with a small group it was pretty easy to enforce.

I still find myself doing it though. Someone uses either of those terms and I immediately yell out "You LOSE! You mentioned Hitler! You LOSE!"

#50 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2004, 01:06 PM:

Ugh.

#51 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2004, 07:46 PM:

"Incoherent" strikes me as a remarkably gentle term for that editorial. I'd start with "atrocious" and go on from there.

#52 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 03:19 AM:

I quit reading when he invoked Godwin, about the 3rd paragraph I think, but I'll barf along just to keep everyone company.

MKK

#53 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 11:36 AM:

Article headlined in the Independent today: "We Fear Another Waco". From the teaser:

With the authorities in hot pursuit, a Mormon 'Prophet', Warren Jeffs, has gone to ground with his 70 wives - and enough ammo for Armageddon. Andrew Gumbel reports from a community in fear.

I could do with a little less of that reporting from a community in fear stuff, not to mention the "enough ammo for Armageddon", but it does seem as if things are heating up.

#54 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 05:03 PM:

Somehow buggered up that url. May I blame my cat?

Story is here. Promise.

#55 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2004, 12:05 AM:

I'm "oh Barf" with the rest of you, but the implications in this line bother me as much as the weird conspiracy mongering:

"The prospect of teenage boys running headfirst into safe houses promoting a life of grinding monogamy is too absurd to consider, so one can assume these were girls."

A) It completely ignores the fact that there are slavery-like crimes being committed other than forced marriage. Many perpetrated on the boys as well.

But worse:

B) There's a loud suggestion that all people, given the opportunity, WANT to be slaveowners. Would prefer wives like chattel to real lovers. Ugh. Double-Barf.

#56 ::: Alan Hamilton ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2004, 12:40 AM:

The two girls who left have run away from their foster homes. The notes they left indicated they were afraid they might be sent back.

#57 ::: Mr Ripley ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2004, 03:50 PM:

Pericat --you can't label them "tea": it's a non-caffeine culture as well, IIRC.

#58 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2004, 04:24 PM:

Pericat --you can't label them "tea": it's a non-caffeine culture as well, IIRC.

Hadn't thought of that. Be a waste of good single-malt, anyway.

#59 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2004, 08:18 PM:

From the article Alan refers to: "... the girls wrote that they feared being locked up or forced to marry much older men.... "

That's it in a nutshell: At some point centuries ago, we in the west viewed children as the chattels of their parents, but at some later point - I'm guessing it was sometime in the 19th Century - we in America, and in other countries, decided that children were people too, with inalienable rights, albeit not as many inalienable rights as their parents.

One of the inalienable rights of children: they can't be forced to marry against their will. Even a parent has no right to order a child when to marry, and whom to marry.

Actually, the situation is a little more complicated than that: if the child is of legal age to wed, the parent may order the child when to marry, and whom to marry, and the child may believe him or herself to be obliged to follow those orders -- but the child can ALSO choose to say no. Same thing for communities and religious orders that believe the woman must subject her will to her husband -- the community has a right to demand that of her as long as she remains a member, but she always has a right to say no.

This occurred to me when we were visting Rob Hansen and Avedon Carol in London. They live in an East Asian neighborhood, lots of women in burqas. The difference between London and, say, Afghanistan under the Taliban is that the London woman is allowed to take off the burqa whenever she wants to. She may have to pay a terrible price - ostracism from her religious community, but (at least theoretically) that is the only price she has to pay, she (at least theoretically) will not be beaten, stoned or otherwise restrained, and if she is she will (at least theoretically) receive police protection.

Dary Mateera and his ilk simply don't see that.

#60 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2004, 09:34 AM:

Mitch: As you say, theoretically; there's a South Asian serving life in a British prison for murdering his daughter when he decided she was -"bringing shame upon his house"-. Admittedly, this is well-known because it's the only recent case known. OTOH, it's unclear how much less-fatal abuse is happening.

And the acceptance that children had rights certainly wasn't complete in the 19th century. In Fiorello! one of the cases that wanders into Laguardia's law office (~1910) is a father in legal trouble because he hit his daughter to stop her going out with a "bad boy"; this was presented to 1950s audiences as someone worthy of support (in the first song, "Working on the Side of the Angels"!). Granted, there is a difference between one blow and an underage marriage -- but the recognition of rights is a gradual process that I don't think has finished yet.

One thing that IIRC is associated with the 19th century is seeing children as still developing rather than as miniature adults; cf the lengthy discussion (disguised as a stage direction?) at the beginning of The Crucible, or perhaps the way old ]fairy[ stories were ]purified[ for children's consumption. (Yes, I'm stretching here; anyone want to supply details or corrections?)

None of which makes Mateera any less disgusting....

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