Tuesday, March 8

Card Games

Roxanne links to the Pentagon's Iraqi Culture Smart Card with emphasis on some gender distinctions which might just point out that, uh, we're not too concerned that every Iraqi citizen share equally in the fruits of democracy.

The thing that came immediately to my mind was the scene in Buñuel's Viridiana where the Baron buys a wretched little dog which has been paddling along tied to the rear axle of a cart. As he turns and carries the dog off to its happy new life, another cart comes down the road from the opposite direction, equally wretched dog in tow.

What do you do? People tend to champion the "moralist" view unless and until it crowds them personally. Convince them something is Bad, and provided it's politically expedient they'll vote to send Good in after it armed to the teeth. It seems impossible to break through, to make people think about the full consequences of our actions before we take them. So moralism has this inbred advantage: that it can be used to urge an act, but need not be referenced to explain (or correct) any adverse results. If Iraqi women are less free now than they were three years ago, well, that's the culture.

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