Do I look like Naveen Andrews?

Interesting article about Iraq the other day in the Washington Post. Of note is the slideshow that demonstrates that Iraqis definitely do not look like Naveen Andrews. I have hammered this nail before, and we will continue to provide evidence that it is an insult to the proud Iraqi people to assume that we resemble South Asians in some way.

For further demonstration of the differences between Iraqis and South Asians I give you Figure 1: a portrait of Caliph and famous Baghdadi, Harun al-Rashid.

As you see, he looks almost exactly like the Iraqis pictured in the slideshow.

Figure 2 shows the famous Indian prince Rama from the famed story called Rendezvous with Rama.

If you are having trouble identifying Rama in the illustration above, just look for the blue guy. Yes, he is shown twice. Soooo confusing.

There you go. I don't think the dramatic difference of appearance between Mesopotamians and Hindustanis could possibly be made clearer. But apparently, J.J. Abrams never bothered to figure out what an Iraqi actually looked like.

Again, this is the most insensitive piece of casting since Robert Rodriguez tried to pass off Antonio Banderas, a Spaniard, for a Mexican in Desperado.

"I'm NOT Mexican"

And by the way, it was pretty insulting to have Salma Hayek, whose parents are both Lebanese, portray Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.

"I'm NOT Lebanese"

I hope that Hollywood will come to its senses and factor in the appropriate sub-continent/blood lineage as it goes forward. If not, does anyone have George Clooney's phone number?


Lightning Strikes Twice

Turkey makes it exciting, but the Germans, as usual, exploit the Turks' efforts and impose limits on their aspirations.
The skies unleash their fury on Basel, reminding us that if Julie Foudy and Tommy Smith were playing, we probably would be doing something else.
All in all, the Milli Takimi plays with Heart, and can dream sweet tavuk gogusu dreams for 2010.

Quick, Abi, before I cry, pour me a raki...

In the Mood for Victory

To get you in the mood for this historic Turkiye - Germany confrontation, here's a little ditty from the hipsters who straddle the German/Turkish divide... and who brought us the notorious Almanci Yabanci:


Reminder: A Day without Scarves

Tomorrow, June 21 is the day we have declared action against the Oppressive Dunkin Donuts Regime (ODDR). Here's how you can make your voice heard:

  1. DO NOT wear a scarf, no matter how tempted you are to accessorize.
  2. Go to the nearest Dunkin Donuts.
  3. Order a "Deici Frapped Mochislamofascichino."
  4. When asked to repeat your order, ask for one dozen maple frosted donuts (may be replaced by French crullers and/or chocolate honey-dipped.
  5. Pay in cash.
  6. Include with your payment, a 3X5 yellow index card with the words "Free Rachael Ray's paisley scarf!" written on either side.
  7. Once you have your Donuts and change, leave the store.
  8. Eat the Donuts.
  9. DO NOT put a scarf on even after leaving the store and returning home.
  10. Repeat steps 1-9 as necessary.
Thank you for your cooperation. Together, we can defeat the forces of xenophobia and racism in our midst (unless they happen to be the Italian national team, in which case we will be forced to tolerate them for 90 incredibly boring and frustratingly sad minutes.)

And another thing...

I would like to devote this celebratory video to Monkey, who I believe I caught sight of when the TV camera panned over the stands -- although all guys look the same with their shirts off and Turkiye written across their stomachs in red grease paint.

Monkey, come home!

Time to convert?

Is secularism's subtle rollback in Turkey the cause of the miraculous way in which the Turkish National Team is winning every game in Deus Ex Machina fashion? I, for one, am getting religion!

The Turks just made the Croats relive the battle of Krbava Field all over again! Will they succeed in extending their empire over the rest of Europe? All I know is, come Wednesday, the Germans are going to look like the wrong end of a Fassbinder flick, if the Milli Takimi keeps this up!

Ne mutlu....

The Persistence of Metternich

When are cliches not just bad color commentary?

So Tommy thought he was complimenting Tuncay when, during the first half of today's Turkey-Croatia quarterfinal match in Euro 2008 competition, he declared "He played with all the persistence of an Istanbul carpet seller!"

What was this remark truly, but yet another European belittling of how progressive and unencumbered by morbid European nostalgia Turkey is today? Maybe to this haggis-eating lout, Turkey today is just another rustic Old World tourist destination teeming with swarthy, Euro-grubbing merchants.

But perhaps more tactful praise might have been directed at Tuncay, giving Ataturk's children their due and providing those watching at home with some sense of the complexity of contemporary Turkey. I don't know -- something along the lines of:

He played with all the persistence of a populist pro-Islamic politician.

...with all the persistence of the headscarf ban.

...with all the persistence of Armenian genocide denial.

I'm just sayin'...


Cosi Fan Frutti

I generally refrain from using the word "Gay" unless I am talking about my 2nd favorite movie, Zorro the Gay Blade. Many people (some of my best friends) tell me that the G-Word can be a hurtful slur, especially when used to describe things that are actually homosexual -- like batteries, celibate fish, and marriage -- and even moreso when used pejoratively.

But, as anybody who tried to communicate with me during the Euro 2000 France-Italy final knows, I think the Azzurri are totally gay! They ruin the game. And I hate them.


3 - 2

I notice that the Czechs are pretty tall. That kind of makes Turkey's victory all the more impressive.

That was kind of weird when Demirel got sent off in extra time, huh? What a weird and glorious match.


Places to Go, People to See

I am headed to the Palmetto State to see some people. Please return to visit our blog on Sunday, June 8, when I am sure we will have something nice to say about Cokie Roberts.

In the meantime, to help you get into the spirit of Summer, please enjoy this clip from a movie that, if Bryan Adams made movies, would surely be his chef d'oeuvre:


Truth in Advertising: You can predict the future

Please help me determine where these two awesome hip hop free-eating kids will be ten years from now:

A) Dead of e-coli infection
B) Dead of botulism
C) Dead of the plague
D) Brain-addled by Creutzfelt-Jakob disease

10 Things I hate about you

Like many young Americans who are trying to enjoy History today, I am finding there is something stuck in my craw. And it is making odd scratching noises as I get all choked up and teary eyed, singing Wind Beneath My Wings while thinking about Barack Obama.

Ah, yes... it must be the fact that Hillary Clinton has already begun the 2012 campaign.

Now, there are times when it is important to leave well enough alone. But that time is not now. As an avid reader of advice columns, I recognize that now, more than ever, it is time to stage an intervention. In fact, the bunker relationship of Clinton and her supporters, bears all the signs of emotional abuse. Indeed, her supporters are clearly victims of narcissism.

In the advice columns, one finds the evidence of this particularly poisonous relationship in the Best Friend Conundrum or the In-Law Standoff. It generally goes something like:
I've been friends with Chuck and Blair since we all met in college a few years ago. Since that time, Chuck and Blair began going out together, but things recently deteriorated and they went through a messy breakup. I value my friendships with both of them, but in my recent meetings with Blair, she has told me some awful things about how Chuck treated her and specifically requested that, if I want to keep my friendship with her, I will cut off contact with Chuck. I want to be supportive of Blair, but I have also heard different versions of the break-up from some of Blair's other friends. What should I do?
I am very close to my family and live a few hours away. As a result, I usually devote about one weekend per month to visiting them. I have recently become engaged to a guy who is all that. The initial meet-and-greet with my parents went over well, however, following the previous two monthly visits at my parents house, my fiance spent the entire drive back talking about how disrespectful my parents behaved toward him. To be honest, this takes me by surprise, since I didn't notice anything off about how they treated him, but he insists that I am too close to them to notice the slights he has picked up on and then proceeds to review with me in detail. It is now a few days before our next planned visit, and he has become increasingly irritable as the date approaches and has asked if we can call the trip off. I have offered to make excuses for him and go by myself, but he protests that this would send the wrong message to my parents and has said that if I really loved him, I would stand up to them about the way they treat him. I'd like to defend him, but I really have no idea how to when I honestly cannot see what they have done wrong. What do I do?
For a while, I have wondered why the Clinton supporters were so angry and how they managed to maintain their furor despite the lack of empirical support for Clinton's claims of wrongdoing on the part of the Obama campaign and the media. Only last night's speech and its specific location -- sealed off from cell-phone, Internet, and televisual communication -- revealed to me the truth: Clinton is manipulating and abusing her supporters in order to keep them from leaving her for Barack Obama.

As most advice columnists will point out, whether the abuse or manipulation is conscious or not is irrelevant. A narcissist genuinely believes that he or she is constantly being persecuted either by a real or constructed rival for the constant attention and validation he or she seeks, or due to his or her grandiose status, of which the rest of humanity is intolerant or envious.

A narcissistic abuser, as advice columnists will point out, will try to cut off his or her victim from information, construct false narratives of victimization (e.g. "Your father told me that I wouldn't make enough money as a professional blogger to support your lifestyle"; "The media has kept me down because I'm a woman.") and apply rules arbitrarily such that they are to their advantage (e.g. "Blair made Chuck systematically go through his photo albums and e-mail account to delete any photo, message or reference involving his exes, but she still regularly meets with several of her ex-boyfriends"; or "You owe it to me to give me all the delegates from the primary we agreed not to contest in Michigan, but you shouldn't have any, because they didn't vote for you.").

As with any abusive relationship, the victims cannot leave, because the combination of control of narrative, arbitrary application of rules, and the control of information create a vicious cycle of misperception and anger, where anyone who seeks to criticize the relationship or the abuser only further justifies the abuser's false narrative of persecution: "See, the media and Obama supporters say that I cannot win the nomination because by all empirical measures I cannot: They must really hate me and love Obama!" This feeds the bunker mentality of an abusive relationship, where the victim cannot leave, because the abuser has convinced him or her that he or she cannot trust anybody external to the relationship as they are only motivated by hatred for the specialness of what they have together, and further, that the victim would have no life worth living without the abuser.

It is this detachment from reality, the spectacle of seeing a small fraction of those 17 million voters (since it is only a small fraction who have been emotionally fragilized by the process) continue to be ensnared in Clinton's abusive manipulations, that has angered Obama supporters and generated the inflammatory rhetoric and counter-accusations that comes across online. Wat can we do to solve this?

First, as any advice columnist will tell you, validating Clinton in any way shape or form would be the worst possible reaction. That will only further perpetuate the adherence of her troubled victims to the "Clinton-BocaRaton Co-dependency syndrome" by legitimizing her delusions of grandeur and providing another false narrative to her supporters. But, then, so will our continued anger and incomprehension of how someone can survive by fueling so much hatred.

No, as most advice columnists will suggest and as clinicians will agree, we need to engage Clinton's victims in a slow, methodic phase of questioning the different principles upon which their relationship is founded. Ask pertinent questions. Provide them small snippets of information when you think they are ready. Allow them to hope for positive outcomes that might not be dependent on their relationship with Clinton. More than anything else, though, you must give them time. Time to cope. Time to heal.

But, be patient. Even if we start today, it may take up to five months.

Yes We Can!


Through the Looking Glass meets Toxic Avenger

Na na na na na we're not listening!

How can a speech be resilient? That's what Chris Matthews just said. Was it that despite mangling the truth, words still managed to come out of Clinton's mouth? Or is "resilient" just the only acceptable word now to describe anything Clinton does that is destructive and irrational.

Howard Fineman mentioned that Hillary's camp is demanding that Obama not offer the VP spot to another woman. I had my doubts for a while, but I have now come to realize that -- far from being a movement defined by obtaining power to fight for equal rights and equal status -- feminism really is just Hillary Clinton's one-woman cult of personality. My only question, then, is why not choose someone with a better personality?

Tom Brokaw mentioned that Obama's speech moved from "Yes We Can" to "Here's How." He says that that's what we've been waiting for all this time.

Actually, Tom. No. We haven't been waiting, because we've actually been listening to Barack Obama. While I feel good about Obama's chances for winning in November, something tells me that even by January 20 2009, we'll still be hearing from the Russerts and Brokaws of the world: "Gee, he sure can talk about hope, but Obama is still a cipher in terms of the policies he plans to enact..."

Can we drop the Klinton Krazies and still win in November? Yes we can!
My assumption is that the Appalachian voters who voted for Clinton did not actually and would not actually vote Democratic in most of the last election cycles. They do not belong, then, to the vote total of reality-challenged Clinton supporters who plan to defect in November. No, these are more likely to be of the sort who, as the Clintons themselves pointed out: "Don't need a president, they need a feeling."

By a crude estimate, then, my sense is that these voters will have the most effect on Obama's margin in Arizona, California, New York, New Jersey, and Florida. While Arizona is probably safely in McCain's hands already, the only states where defections may make a difference are New Jersey and Florida. With the political climate as it is, though -- and, by the way, Thank G_d for Bob Barr! -- it seems fair to give Obama the benefit of the doubt in the Mountain West and Virginia such that an unfavorable turn in the two pivotal "angry states" would be offset. I am, in fact, predicting here and now, a Reagan-esque landslide in the Fall.

But even if some tell-tale combination of racists and the Klinton Krazies (these are distinct constituencies, right Geraldine Ferraro?) does signal an Obama defeat in the November, I believe that it is far more important to rebuild the soul of the Democratic Party around the assumption that we can assemble a majority progressive coalition and re-mold the political rhetoric of foreign policy and national security to the Democrats' advantage, than to cater to the demagogues and power brokers within the party who would insist on turning virulent Bush-hatred and the bitter memory of the Clinton impeachment into the only coherent and sound form of Democratic discourse for the foreseeable future.

Finally, is it okay to refer to Clinton's now defunct campaign for the nomination as the Ronaldo candidacy? It seems that many women thought they were voting for the first woman to ever run for president. Oddly enough though, the Clinton campaign conveyed the message that a woman would only be fit for the job if she knew how to act like a man, thus increasing the degree of difficulty for any future women politician seeking the office. If anyone has run a sexist campaign, then, it has been the Clintons. It is they and their surrogates who have persistently challenged Obama's masculinity and, thus, fitness for the job, and suggested to her voters that... um... at least anatomically speaking... Clinton is a man. (And a Latino one, at that.)

Disaster: The story of a primary gone wrong

As the final primaries take place even now, I will try to offer assorted reflections on the months that were...

First, given that the nomination of Barack Obama spells certain apocalyptic destruction here on earth, there is a vital question that I need your help answering.

Is the certain disaster represented by the Barack Obama candidacy more like the looming asteroid of Armageddon or more like the unstoppable comet of Deep Impact? And, in a related question, is Hillary Clinton then, the awesome, ballsy Bruce Willis character who will obliterate Obama? Or is she the bold Morgan Freeman-esque national leader who decides the fate of the select few survivors?

(In the interest of full disclosure, I haven't seen either movie, but I bet they're both awesome!)