Tunku Varadarajan thinks we have things backwards, and I’d have trouble debating otherwise:

“Farrah Fawcett was the perfect practitioner of that most prized of American feminine arts: that of semi-wholesomeness. She was lithe and sexy without being flagrant or debased, or–the biggest no-no of all–sexually threatening. She had an utterly American sense of openness and fun, with a smile that suggested that life was fundamentally good and full of promise, that anything could happen (and that a few really fun things certainly would). Imagine the impact of her image, and subliminal message, in the towns and cities of sterile societies where the pursuit of happiness was not part of political scripture.

“The contrast between Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson could not be clearer. He was a grotesque, and in every way. He’s an American icon in spite of his fondness for small boys, his skin-whitening and his general lunacy. So where does that leave us? Ululating for a Martian, and brushing aside the girl next door.”


The satirist blogger, Betty Bowers, is very good, very funny. And she seems to have written the Michael Jackson column I would have liked to have written – she got here first – credit where credit’s due:

“Somewhere in Hell, America’s most famous child molester is smiling. He got out of doing those onerous London concerts he was going to cancel anyway. And he can now sit back and watch the one thing he seemed to prize more than melody: flattery.”


Obama’s entreaties for tolerance in the Middle East, unfortunately, are at odds with a number of seemingly draconian laws being established in Israel, by the Knesset, affecting their own citizenry.

“…the Knesset voted by a large majority (47 to 34) for a law that threatens imprisonment for anyone who dares to deny that Israel is a Jewish and Democratic State.

“The private member’s bill …promises one year in prison to anyone who publishes “a call that negates the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State”, if the contents of the call might cause “actions of hate, contempt or disloyalty against the state or the institutions of government or the courts”.

“One can foresee the next steps. A million and a half Arab citizens cannot be expected to recognize Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State. They want it to be “a state of all its citizens” – Jews, Arabs and others. They also claim with reason that Israel discriminates against them, and therefore is not really democratic. And, in addition, there are also Jews who do not want Israel to be defined as a Jewish State in which non-Jews have the status, at best, of tolerated outsiders.

“By the way, the bill does not single out Arabs explicitly – even if this is its clear intention, and all those who voted for it understood this. It also prohibits Jews from advocating a change in the state’s definition, or the creation of a bi-national state in all of historic Palestine or spreading any other such unconventional ideas. One can only imagine what would happen in the US if a senator proposed a law to imprison anyone who suggests an amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.”