Hey! Who You Calling Curvy?

The Times reports that more and more teen fashion companies realize that the average girl isn't a size 2.

Teen magazines are also catering to their larger readers. They are putting more pictures of real teenagers on their pages. "One third of our format is showing real girls in real sizes," said Barbara O'Dail, managing editor of Teen People. "The average 16-year-old girl is 5-foot-4 and 135 pounds and is a size 10 to 14."
Next month, Seventeen is launching "Curvy Girl," a new section for larger girls. " `Curvy Girl' gets rid of all the old constraining rules," said Gigi Solis Schanen, a fashion editor for Seventeen. "No one is limited, especially now. All fashions — Bohemian, punk or sporty — are accessible for every body."

I laud their efforts, but there's a huge problem. "Fat," "curvy," or whatever, aren't compliments. They're just new labels. This issue isn't going to be solved until the world's cocoa beans shrivle up in a drought, or fashion execs -- the ones controlling the runways in Milan and Paris -- start parading their designs on normal women. "Curvy girl" doesn't get rid of any rules, just recasts them in a light that absolves fashion editors of their deserved guilt.
I Hate My State

While Derbyshire has the most intellectually stimulating takedown of Amiri Baraka, I still think that he misses a critical point:

It doesn't matter how good a poet Baraka is.

Baraka could, for all I think it's relevant, be the next Walt Whitman. He could have the emotion of Catullus, the polish of Vergil, the imagination of Moore, and the subtle brilliance of Auden. But the minute he uses taxpayer money for the purpose of insulting any taxpayer, he should lose his position -- and be forced to return all of his government stipend.

Ignore the argument over whether the government should fund arts (which, as a libertarian, I think it shouldn't...but that's for another time). An article in the Weekkly Standard quotes Baraka as saying:

"We'll fight this," Baraka recently told the Star-Ledger. "We'll go to the Supreme Court. The only thing they'll do is put me in a position to defend the rights of poets and the First Amendment." Regarding the charges of anti-Semitism, Baraka is quick to point out other stanzas in "Somebody Blew Up America" that ask, "Who put the Jews in ovens" and later, "Who killed Rosa Luxembourg, Liebneckt" and "Who murdered the Rosenbergs."

If the government were trying to shut down Baraka for his hateful poetry merely becaues it was hateful, then Baraka should most definitly bring his case before the Supreme Court. But the government isn't doing that; rather, it is arguing that it has no obligation to pay money to someone spreading hateful verses. (Asking who murdered the Rosenbergs make him unbiased? Spare me.)

The Standard also says:

[Fomer Laureate Gerald] Stern says the effort to remove Baraka "smacks of state control."

Exactly my point. The state has the right -- indeed, the obligation -- to control where its funds are spent. Stern, a National Book Award Winner, spent the money holding poetry readings around the state. Baraka spent his reciting loathsome lies. The state took issue with the way he was spending his money (not to mention his abuse of his official endorsement).

The issue isn't any more complicated than that.

At least, until you take a step up the argument tree and examine the issue of government-sponsored poet laureates.

You are Fozzie!
Wokka Wokka! You love to make lame jokes. Your sense of humor might be a bit off, but you're a great friend and can always be counted on.

I don't want to talk about it...



You've also forgotten just how cool we are.


We Got the Scoop!

Apparently, only now did Reynolds find out about Seventeen Magazine's college rankings. We found out about it, oh, a while ago.

Then again, he probably doesn't have a little sister who subscribes.
Go USHR! Go USHR! You go you go you go. I am so glad they passed. Ever since I read the Economist's views on the war, I've been increasingly hawkish. Who knows? It may even be good for the market.


Fr. Potter of Hogsmeade Parish

Dimpler Towers says that evangelical Christians are planning on co-opting Harry Potter to "spread the Christian message."


I disagree with the esteemed Mr. Dimpler on one point, where he recommends using the Narnia stories rather than the Potter quartet to "bring the kids in." While he is correct with regards to CS Lewis' rather overt Christian imagery, Potter is more overt with regards to morals. Voldemort: bad. Dumbledore: good. Hurting your friends: bad. Sticking up and being loyal: good. If the Church wants to reinforce their moral message as opposed to their evangelical one, Potter is the way to go. Plus, everyone knows Harry.

Dimpler concludes by saying: "There's nothing wrong with young Harry, but it is just fun fantasy. Nothing more."

Does this mean I won't be getting the Nimbus 2002 broomstick I wanted for my birthday? Dammit.
Educational Highlights -- Or Not

Reynolds links to this blog post on buying pre-highlighted books. According to a study conducted by two researchers, buying these books hurts a student's grades if those highlights were put in by someone with a low IQ.

Agreed, somewhat. The point of highlighting a book is a) to focus on the importance passages but also b) to force yourself to read through the entire thing. Lazy people deserve to get bad grades if they can't be bothered to actually read the material. (That being said, I've been guilty of leafing through used books to find ones with the most annotations, especially for Shakespeare things)
Revisionist Etymology

That infamous conference on Racism that just evicted all non-Africans (in the name of eliminating race-based bias, of course), has, on their website, a list of rather interesting documents. Examples, if I don't say so myself, of the amazingly high level of scholarship that has gripped our society.

This essay, on Africianism in America, is a prime example of twisting knowledge as a tool for the perverted goals of the conference. (One of which is making France pay for the Haitian revolution. I'm not Francophile, but there are limits). According to this essay, the word "bad," as used with a positive connotationis is found in the African language Mandingo. Also in this language, is "wicked" with a positive connotation (and here I thought that was a peculiarity of my strange Upstate NY friends). "Bogus" is also of African origin, from the Hausa word "boko-boko," meaning deceit.

Now, if I may, I'll draw your attention to the stalwart of the English language, the inimitable OED. According to the OED online, "bad" with a positive connotation is common, but indeed appeared first around the Jazz Age, which might confirm this paper, although the OED mentions that this was more of a "perversion" (perhaps to subvert the white authorities) and less of a derivative of any one language. Same for "wicked"; the OED finds the earliest positive usage of the word from Fitzgerald in "This Side of Paradise" (pub. 1920). Again, the word is traced from the society of the Jazz Age, where it is doubtful that the twisted connotations of the word was a direct effort to imitate a specific language.

Likewise, "bogus" is traced to 1827 in Ohio, where it was used to describe an apparatus for coining false money. The OED speculates that the etymology of the word is a Vermont slang term, tantrabogus, which itself is of Devonshire etylomology.

Great scholarship, don't you think?
Happy birthday to Sarah. Happy birthday to Sarah. Happy birthday to Sar-ah. Happy birthday to Sarah.
On an unrelated note, I heard about this rich guy who's taking up a collection for a reward for anyone who finds the sniper. Good luck I say.


Over on a "respectable" blog, Andrew Stuttaford says that the new James Bond movie won't have martinis. Are they kidding? He already can't smoke because the producer, Barbra Broccoli (Al's daughter) is an anti-tobacco advocate. Now, not only can he not ask for a light, he now can't even have his martini, even though Aaron Sorkin (through his minion-- President Bartlet): :Shaken not stirred would get you cold water with a dash of gin and dry vermouth. The reason you stir it with a special spoon is so as not to chip the ice. James is ordering a weak martini and being snooty about it."
For the Record

1) Over on WBW, some fools apparently believe that the opinions provided herein can be immediately dismissed because I link to MEMRI. For the argument as to why MEMRI is a great boon to society, click here. And does it bother anyone that something as small as that would render this blog's opinions worthless? If they thought the opinions were badly written, or inconclusively argued, fine. That's why I discredit their sites. But because I linked to someone? Puh-lease.

2) Birthday's next Wednesday. In my name, my mother donanted to the Give Jonah a Raise fund. Now they mail me a magazine every week. Weird. Wonderful.

3) Why do pundits always refer to the leader of Iraq as Saddam? News story, as far as I can tell, follow standard procedure and call him Hussein. So what's with the pundits? Three theories: first, they want to avoid confusing with the royal family of Jordan, and two, calling him by his first name makes him seem less official and legitimate, and three, to the Western ear, Saddam sounds like it could be a last name, and using it is unconcious. Any thoughts?

4) Sorry for the posting drought last week. Real life became busy. This week we'll be more active. Swear.