Eteraz on Hijab, Clinton on Values, and the ROARing Lions

October 28, 2006

Until I return to the proper blogging mood (of actually setting aside some time and cranial stamina to write something worthwhile), I shall content myself and shortchange my readers with dumping links and playing the middle-blogger. It really seems that I will take some time in transitioning from a passive consumer to an active blogger.

Since my graduation from college -yes, a whole summer ago- I have been a consumer-reader -primarily of graduate school informational packets, but also a few novels and blogs here and there, and because of a free subscription, a hostage to the Wall Street Journal. I don’t even have to write term papers and such anymore. (Wait… what graduate school applications?)

While still connected to the blogiverse, I often read the “Unwilling Self Negation” blog by Ali Eteraz. The new Eteraz in WordPress is a pleasure to rediscover- in particular a fantastic post on a theme that I struck upon on an earlier occasion in Safrang- “The Unintended Consequence of Headscarves?”. Eteraz’s piece “To My Dear Hijabi Sisters” is many times wittier and certainly bolder, and though I will maintain that I was the first to strike on the subject, his is more poignant nowadays in light of the pronouncements from the British government about Hijab (which is really an attemp to emulate the French -an age-old game of catch-up that the Brits have played with their more sophisticated and no less xenophobic continental peers). Appropriately, Eteraz blogs from the UK, I think.

Also, worthy of your attention dear readers, is this talk by former president and current moral compass of everybody left of the farthest rightwing fringe of the Republican party Bill Clinton in his alma mater Georgetown University. (That a sleazeball who was nearly impeached for perjury and perversion comes to be regarded as a moral compass is a sad testament about our times and the deep moral abyss that the politics of my wonderful host country has descended into these days- especially after the successive Lay/Delay/Foley episodes.)

But seriously, listening to Clinton over the past few weeks (on the campaign trail -for the Clinton Global Initiative) has restored my faith in politics and pulled me back from the edge of nihilism as far as my attitude towards public officials is concerned. (Also noteworthy is his infamous interview recently with a “a monkey posing as a newscaster” -Keith Olbermann’s words about the FOX news interviewer). Maybe Clinton has the luxury of lofty moralism, now that he is an ex-president. Been there, done that, don’t need to keep doing it. All the same, his musings on faith, the importance of values in public life, committment to truth, fight for justice, and his indignation at all that is wrong and immoral about American politics these days -including, as he admits over and again, in his own party- is uplifting and restorative and heart-warming. (Yes, it is true that his unmatched charisma is a big help too.)

And lastly, tonight I took my little cousin to her elementary school’s Holloween social party gathering night thing. Everyone agrees that these are usually awkward affairs for adults. It is all about the kids, regardless of how the parents try hard to busy themselves at the expense of their kid’s reputation among his/her peers. But what piqued my interest in this certain elementary school (which shall remain anonymous, save for its mascot of the Roaring Lions) is the motto of the school. It is ROAR, a nice play on words with the “Roaring Lions” mascot, and an initialism for words that I thought were far too disciplinarian and damaging to young souls:

Respect, Order, Attitude, Responsibility.

Save for the vacuous A for Attitude, the rest of this (plus the obsessive emphasis at the event announcements on the words “Safety” and “Dangerous”) is a perfect recipe for bringing up a conformist, orderly, and spartan society. I am of the opinion that is a terrible development, and that a good measure of irreverance in young people is a healthy thing. Getting home, I started listening to “Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Floyd, The Wall (1979).

We Don’t Need No Education / We Don’t Need No Thought Control / No Dark Sarcasm in the Classroom / Teacher Leave Them Kids Alone

Hey! Teacher, Leave them Kids Alone…


Safrang in WordPress

October 27, 2006

October 27, 2006

My abortive migration to Slanted Eyes, I have realized, was due more to my own slothfulness than anything else. It certainly had nothing to do with the kindness and responsiveness of this blog’s readers.

Maybe I just needed a break from sharing my thoughts for some time. Maybe all it takes to get me blogging again is something to keep me busy enough in my offline life -like my graduate school applications now- that I will take to spending more time blogging. (It is true that the escapism of blogging continues to remain its most attractive attribute for me.) And maybe, just maybe, I was getting plain tired of the blogger service, and of all the bells and whistles that adorned the old safrang.

Either way, kudos to the writer of Slanted Eyes for rolling a welcome mat when I put the idea of collablogging to him.

I will continue to entertain the idea of a joint blog with a few like minds in the future. But I have also realized that we all need a tiny private corner of the web to call our very own. It seems Safrang is just that kind of a place for me: a “Temporary Autonomous Zone” of sorts, as I came to call it.

So I am back with a resolve to write and share -as before, on Afghanistan, and on everything under the sun.
I hope many of Safrang’s readers will make the move along. It has been a pleasure to knowing that you read my thoughts, and God knows it has been a pleasure whenever you have chosen to comment on them. I hope to continue hearing from you. (In the mean time, I will try to transfer the old safrang’s archives over this this service too.)

Welcome back to Safrang: opinion, judgement, cynicism, existential angst, and prayer dished out daily (or regularly at least.)

Safrang does WordPress (click here)

October 26, 2006

… so joint blogging was not as easy as I had thought.
More likely, I was not in a state to blog, period, leave alone collaborative blogging -an enterprise that needs some real committment.

Now I have decided to give WordPress a try.
I hope to see many of this blog’s regular visitors there:
News – Opinion – Cynicism – Prayers : Dished Out Daily