Wente Watch

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Veiled hostility

Can Wente ever give it a rest?

Today's column is basically a repeat of two weeks ago.

Wente writes For many people, [the niqab] stands for the deliberate rejection of Western norms. They argue that it is a political symbol as much as a religious one. Funny how everyone has an opinion on what the niqab means except the people actually wearing it.

We are seeing the rise of reverse political correctness, where inferences are drawn from even the tiniest statements or practices. Ideological hawks monitor people's words, and now, their clothing. To a sane person, a niqab is a sign of a particular cultural attitude; but to the new ideological thought police, it is a sign saying "I hate the West".

Wente can cite no survey correlating niqab wearing with radical or extremist political views. She just assumes things, inferring words into people's minds. The niqab furor says more about those who oppose it than those who wear it. Fundamentally, it is about being uncomfortable with people who are visibly different, or seem alien.

If you don't like the niqab, don't look at it. Why is that so hard?


  • By Blogger FurGaia, at October 24, 2006 6:58 p.m.  

  • I wonder if Ms Wente would want orthodox Jews to dress in colourful sportswear, or Sikhs to replace their turbans with baseball caps, or RC nuns to wear miniskirts and stilettos? And maybe she'd be willing to stop driving round in her environment-destroying SUV because it shows her "separateness," as she calls it, from the values of a large part of the population.

    By Anonymous N. I. Head, at October 25, 2006 8:30 a.m.  

  • I agree with you and n.i. head that Wente is a bigot, but I'm also not very fond of oppressive patriarchal religion, whether it be Christian, Jewish, Muslim or any other.

    Interesting point about the SUV and separateness... that is exactly what an SUV signifies, in addition to flaunting wealth and disregard for the environment and fellow human beings.

    By Anonymous lagatta à Montréal, at October 25, 2006 6:15 p.m.  

  • I don't like oppressive patriarchal religion, either. I also don't like neo-conservatism, neo-liberalism, conservatism, liberalism, the corporate media masquerading as purveyors of information rather than as the purveyors of corporate propaganda and fantasy that they are, or the management of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Doesn't mean I think Leafs caps should be banned, though.

    We probably agree about that, though, as we agree about the SUV. Another thing the SUV is a manifestation of is low IQ -- spending a lot of money more than you need to. In my status-crazed neighbourhood I see plenty of spotless, undinged Escalades which seem to be used chiefly to drive to the corner to buy milk.

    By Anonymous N. I. Head, at October 26, 2006 9:00 a.m.  

  • I don't agree with the veil, because I personally see it as oppressive to women. But, I see it as only slightly more opressive than any religious form of observance i.e. orthodox Jewish women having to wear wigs and long dresses, yamulkas, crosses etc. So what's the big deal? What country do I live in again? You can't make people stop doing something and we shouldn't make anyone feel uncomfortable for wearing one. I think the majority of people that are against it haven't left Canada in way too long and forget that there are different cultures that exist other than their own.

    It should be noted here that I am an atheist who disagrees with religion (not with people who observe it to be sure, but the nature of it) in general - christian, jewish, muslim or 'other'.

    By Blogger Scott Bradley, at October 26, 2006 9:53 a.m.  

  • "If you don't like the niqab, don't look at it. Why is that so hard?"

    Are you joking? The current controversy began with the firing of an elementary school teacher in the UK. Would you tell her students not to look at their teacher?

    Give me a break.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 26, 2006 10:21 a.m.  

  • The controversy began in the UK with Jack Straw's comments on Oct. 5. Aishah Azmi was dismissed from her job on Oct. 12.

    That same day, Wente's first column on the subject appeared. It mentioned Straw but not Azmi.

    Wente has called for niqabs to removed everywhere, not just in schools.

    By Blogger Tyrone, at October 26, 2006 10:52 a.m.  

  • There is something pathological about resolving all of people's anxieties about the Other into a fixation on What Women Wear. That obsession always gets my antennae quivering.

    Many of Wente's arguments on these and other topics can easily be reduced to "I believe what I believe," which hardly makes her a shining representative of Western Enlightenment culture.

    If she or anyone else is genuinely worried about the civil liberties of Muslim women, here or abroad (which I seriously doubt), then maybe she could submerge her ego long enough to get to know some much better-informed progressive Muslim women's organizations (we have them in Canada, y'know) so that she could follow their intelligent lead instead of just sticking her tongue out at the world, which is mainly how her columns read to me.

    By Blogger skdadl, at October 27, 2006 6:29 a.m.  

  • What you wear in terms of cloths is your own business. Cloths or jewelery are a expression of how we feel. They can also serve as memories of things we've done. Everyone wants to find meaning behind what we wear but sometimes there is none. Sometimes we wear things just because it looks good. Everyone wears jewelery for different reasons. People may be wearing the niqab for cosmetic reasons or for religious reasons. Whatever the case leave these poor people alone.

    -Zane of ontario honey

    By Blogger Zane Wooder, at October 01, 2012 10:02 a.m.  

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