The Manchester Arena bombing was not about feminism

The May 22nd bombing of Manchester Arena during a concert by Ariana Grande was a major atrocity and should be resoundingly condemned by anyone morally sane.

As ought to be the case whenever major atrocities occur on the soil of Western powers, especially when enacted by official state enemies, our anger is better to yield to our grief; since we are all in general unaccustomed to glimpsing, on our own streets or those of our friends, the violence we routinely inflict on vast portions of the world, the brisance of Monday night’s bombing should hopefully provide space for reflection. These actions cannot be forgiven or excused – but perhaps they can be understood.

Reflections are not all equally or equivalently valid or useful – to say nothing of factually sound – however.  Among the latest of the “hot takes” is a theme of wearying, propagandistic moralizing and pro-Western liberal jingoism best summed up as: the Ariana Grande concert bombing was an attack against women and feminism by primitive, misogynistic Muslims.

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W(h)ither a National Theatre? (corrected below)

The impetus for this post comes from Michael Wheeler (Artistic Director of the politically minded Praxis Theatre Company), whose new project is called SpiderWebShow, described as “A theatrical space where Canada, the Internet and performance minds intersect” (the absent Oxford comma is, I assure you, thoroughly sic). Both Mr. Wheeler & Praxis are rare creatures of at least the Torontonian theatre scene that I know, in that they are interested not just in the creation of performances, but in seriously pursuing the “Why” of theatre in Canada. Practitioners too often leave these questions to academics – Holger Syme, for example – & adopt a sort of “See No Evil” attitude which ultimately manifests in the work. Not to say the work is bad, per se; merely that a lot of times it seems disconnected from a public discourse about theatrical teleology. Even in the way plays are marketed (& reviewed) they adopt the qualities of commercial products, of things which are bought & sold but not necessarily important, vital, or immediate.

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News round-up for 30.08.2013.

1. David Miranda

  • The partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald (who is the primary reporter on Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks) will go forward with an injunction against the UK government in response to his 9-hour interrogation at Heathrow airport.

2. Legal aid

  • The Canadian Bar Association releases a report criticizing the current legal aid system as being “too costly,” “too inaccessible for most Canadians,” “and too reliant on pro bono work.” (N.B.: these are not direct quotes.)

3. Syria

  • The BBC has a horrific report on an incendiary bomb whichh was dropped on a school playground.
  • In the wake of a “No” vote on military intervention in British Parliament, other countries scramble to form coherent strategies.
  • French President Francoise Hollande is determined to intervene in Syria, with or without British/US support.
  • In the lead up to a possible military strike, the US Secretary of State John Kerry tried to actually call off the UN probe into the putative use of sarin gas in Syria.

4. Chelsea Manning

  • The New Yorker has a great piece  on what prison would mean for the transgender whistleblower.

5. Toronto Police

  • The head of the Toronto Police Department’s SIU harshly criticized chief Bill Blair for ignoring reports that officers were obstructing investigations.

 

News round-up for 29.08.2013. (update)

1. Syria

  • UK Prime Minister David Cameron continues to push for a military strike, without giving indication as to what, exactly, would be struck.
  • Not “news” precisely, but important to bear in mind, at at all times, the sheer magnitutde of US hypocrisy.
  • US Intelligence admits there is no “smoking gun” to link the Assad regime with the chemical weapons attack.
  • UK & US remain skeptical about blaming Assad, saying “it is not a slam dunk.”
  • From the above article, a graphic of potential strike targets in Syria:

syria

2. Egypt

3. Fraser Institute inanity

  • A new report from the Fraser Institute concludes that all immigration of “parents and grandparents” be ended, so as to ease the “fiscal burden” of immigrants & refugees. Make of this what you will.
  • MP Niki Ashton deconstructs a recent report from the same which concludes that the minimum cost of raising a child is $4000/year. Yup.

4. Poll: Half of Canadians say government surveillance is OK

  • Too depressing for words: here.

5. The Most Astonishing Headline of 2013?

(Update – 11:33am)

  • French prosecuters have launched a criminal investigation in to the NSA’s PRISM spying program

(Update – 2:29pm)

  • Using documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the Washington Post details the top-secret US “Black Budget,” the goals, expenditures, & logistical history of never-before-scene global spying apparatuses.