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Essential Reading

Herostratus downunder

herostratusJohn O'Sullivan in National Review on the Martin Place siege:

"His was a terrorist version of a 'happening,' or what the Russian anarchists in the late 19th century called 'the propaganda of the deed.' Capturing innocent people, menacing them, making them help with his propaganda, maybe trying to kill them ... and then perishing himself when the police intervened to stop what threatened to be a massacre — these were intended to excite the admiration of other Islamists and young men tempted by the Islamist ideology.

In a narrow sense he may have briefly succeeded. Throughout the Islamic world there are likely to be terror groupies sending tweets out to celebrate his name. Let us help them. His name is Herostratus: He burned down the Temple of Diana at Ephesus so that his name would live in history. And so it has — as the man who burned down a beautiful building for a stupid pointless reason. Herostratus is not remembered with admiration or with fondness but merely with shrugging contempt. And so it will be with Whatshisname."

For the full column follow the link below

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The left's great betrayal

rotherhamNick Cohn notes the selective bravery of the left, which descends in a shrieking mass on a scientist who dares to wear a tasteless shirt but can't bring itself to utter a critical word about Islam:

"On Twitter and in the universities there are constant demands to ban and punish those who show the smallest disrespect to women — scientists who wear racy shirts, men who argue against abortion, pop singers who promote a rape culture, and pick-up artists who instruct men on seduction techniques. But with honourable exceptions, leftists will not argue against armed misogyny. On the contrary, they will ban those who try to take it on."

There is much more via the link below.

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Atticus Finch, patriarchal enforcer

finchFrom the Washington Examiner:

"...if To Kill A Mockingbird were taught in women’s studies classes today, Finch would have to be labeled the villain of the book for not accepting at face value an accuser’s tale of rape and for posing difficult, painful questions to her on the witness stand..."

Writer Ashe Schow's column will bring a smile -- until you remember the tongue-in-cheek exposition of Finch's gendered oppression would score top marks on many a modern campus for insight, intent and sincerity.


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Flagging intelligence

false flag"Once the false flag around the Sydney siege disintegrates," writes journalism academic Jenna Price, "we will know two things."

Well, Ms. Price might be looking forward to knowing two things, which some might take to represent a great mental expansion on her part, but the rest of us will have come to understand a bit more than that.

The third thing would be that Price doesn't understand the meaning of "false flag", which the Sydney siege would have been if, say, a Methodist had gussied himself as a devotee of Allah in order to bring the religion of peace into disrepute. As it happens, there was no need for a Methodist to do this.

The fourth thing -- and parents should bear this is in mind -- is that if your kid announces plans to enroll in a university journalism course, he or she really is every bit as precociously dim as you might secretly fear.

And the fifth thing? If your pride and joy lingers long enough to graduate, he or she will be even dimmer -- quite possibly to the abysmal extent of no longer understanding commonly used metaphors.

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Nietzsche's horse walks into a salon

Before becoming the Prime Minister's favourite novelist, Richard Flanagan inspired a rather different reaction from Quadrant contributor David Free, taken aback by writer's innovative appraisals of Jesus ("the world's first suicide bomber") and Nietzsche's equine empathy.

"Maybe you’re not even supposed to make sense of it all," Free wondered in our June, 2009, edition. "Maybe you’re just meant to feel the tone: highbrow, literary, mystical, profound. Maybe you’re just meant to feel generally assured that this will be the kind of novel in which current events will meet with deep thought. Maybe all you need to know is that the right thing is being said—that the figure of the suicide bomber is being understood, contextualised, rescued from the demonisation he’s suffered at the hands of the George Bushes of the world, who dig on Jesus but probably haven’t even heard of Nietzsche. Maybe you’re just meant to get a whiff of that heady atmosphere and move on."

To celebrate Flanagan's triumph in the PM's Literary Awards, Fine's essay has been removed from the paywall and can be read without charge by following the link below.

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A multi-culti kind of lovin'

baby bride

Girl meets boy, love blooms and it's happy ever after. Well that is the way it is supposed to go, but in multi-culti Australia nothing is quite so simple these days.

Take the habit of arranged child marriages, which civilised people regard as being beyond the pale. But how do you deal with mums and dads who fear for the family's honour if their frisky daughter isn't married off as soon as possible? Remember, the oppression of women, the business of treating them as commodities to be bartered and sold, is a proud tradition within some ethnic groups -- and all cultures are equal and their mores and customs must be respected. Right?

Fortunately, Dr Eman Sharobeem is beavering away at the Immigrant Women's Health Centre in western Sydney, where she has squared the circle by negotiation. As she explains it, the classic young-love scenario now plays out like this: Girl meets boy. Girl drops boy if father agrees not to make a match with Cousin Ahmed in Trashcanistan.

"We teach our girls to negotiate the future with their parents instead of being disobedient. As teenagers they may fall in love with another person and as soon as the parents see the girl's heart going in a different direction than what they desire for her - they think of marrying her off quickly," says Sharobeem.

"What we try in our negotiation here is to stop the relation between the girl and the boyfriend in order to ask the family to hold on from marrying her off. In this way, we protect the girl and the family as well."

Sharobeemis no absolutist when it comes to relativism, telling the ABC, that if there are "alarming signs" of danger or imminent marriage, "we contact the authorities directly."

While that is good to know, best not to dwell on the hapless youngsters who might have continued to enjoy each other's company if only their parents had integrated with what used to be the Australian way of life.

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