The burqa is confronting, but must not be banned

The artificial nature of the burqa debate notwithstanding, there appears to be no end of illogical argument about the issue, coming both from the proponents of outlawing the garment, and the defenders of the freedom to choose it as every-day attire.

I declare right now my close affinity with the latter position, but not without, I think, deeply offending the sensibilities of many of its proponents.

I call the debate in Australia artificial because it is my observation that it was manufactured by bored journalists attempting to bait one or another of our under-exercised politicians into making an injudicious comment about the proposition that some people might be ‘confronted’ by the sight of someone covered from head to foot in black or blue cloth. The underlying assumption, the bait in this trap, that agreeing with that proposition is inherently wrong, is exactly what is so dispiriting about the ploy.

What sort of a fool would argue against the observation that it is confronting? In Western culture a clear line of sight to the face is taken for granted [1] as a subconscious adjunct to personal communication, as a means of gauging mood, intent, sincerity and attention.

The absence of clues about a person’s focus or intentions is regarded as discourteous, sinister and suspicious. Anyone who wishes to argue that this is religious discrimination rather than reflexive behaviour based on survival instincts should dress up that way and approach a dog, a cat or their next door neighbour and take note of the reactions they get.

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Quentin Tranatino and Generation Y

Tarantino: Generation Y Zeitgeist.
Tarantino: Generation Y Zeitgeist.

Watching again both Kill Bill films, which I believe were actually one long film that had to be cut in half because of the self-indulgent length, I started forming some opinions not entirely related to Tarantino.

These opinions are raw and generalised, but appear to me to explain a whole lot of other cultural and social phenomena. As best as I can summarise them, the idea is that the baby boomer generation gave us guilt and political correctness, which stultified the world and imposed on Generation X a crippling moral deficit that saw it flounder and fail at all its projects. This in turn led to a Generation Y which has no moral compass at all, no education or desire for it, no ability to articulate its ideas and concerns (and, again, no desire to do so).

In my house, we have representatives of all three generations. Lloyd, the baby boomer, stuck in the moral retreat of guilt, shame and political correctness, but also increasingly wedded to romanticised ideas of the past rather than looking ahead. Myself, barely Generation X, feeling guilt about everything and resenting it, leading me to wage my own private war on all things politically correct. And Seth, who thinks vigorous debate is a sign of immaturity rather than a legacy of two thousand years of Western culture. Seth who knows nothing about his civilisation or its ideas, and who doesn’t care that he knows nothing. Seth, the epitome of the ‘whatever’ generation (the word being said with an American accent, with a shrug of the shoulders, arms crossed in indifference, and noisily chewing bubble gum).

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