Paul From Minneapolis

Friday, December 09, 2005

"Two well-educated middle-aged white women talk about current events."

Not with each other. They’re thousands of miles apart, in fact. Separated by an ocean.

The first well-educated woman is named Samantha Smart. She’s a local. She recently ran for Minneapolis Library Board and very narrowly missed out on the top six. That would have elected her to one of the at-large seats in a contest where maybe 210 people in the city actually follow it.

Here’s a sample of her writing, a rambling (long, anyway) letter to the editor in a small but not very influential community newspaper:

“A correct and logical analysis would tell us that based on genocide, slavery and sexism, the entire economic, social and political systems of this country have always been corrupt and rotten to the core, and no election that will merely substitute one white man for another, without actually transforming the capitalism, imperialism, white supremacy and patriarchy that we live under now into an entirely new configuration, will constitute any REAL gain. Nader was right when he said there was no real difference between the democrats and republicans (they are all paid lackeys of the corporate elites), but he was not ready to present any radical transformative scenario either and therefore was still a subscriber to the basic capitalist, white supremacist and patriarchal regime we are forced to endure.”

Plus she really knows the Dewey decimal system. Meanwhile, over in Great Britain, there’s Melanie Phillips. Less activist in the Sam Smart sense, more a writer in her focus, a quieter sort of woman. Here she offers a typical entry in her blog, indicating the kind of thing she in her turn deems vital:

“On the Daily Ablution, Scott Burgess is doing heroic work digging into – and translating from the French – the claim that surfaced in Switzerland of an alleged Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy to subjugate Europe to Islam. Last October, an article in the Swiss daily Le Temps recounted how journalist Sylvain Besson had stumbled across the discovery by Swiss investigators of ‘The Project’…”

She excerpts Mr. Burgess quoting a ‘western Official’ to the effect that this semi-rumored, semi-documented thing called The Project is “a totalitarian ideology of infiltration that represents, in the end, the gravest danger for European societies.” In 10 years, says the official, demands for a parallel system will begin to emerge (haven’t they already? is this guy an optimist at heart?). The Project’s featured specifics include a war against Israel, which does keep coming up. They really, really don’t like Israel. The elimination of Israel – for these absolute non-cooperative types – is evidently an indispensable cherry on top of the scrumptious cake of turning the world in their direction. That’s just me blue-skying, that last part.

So wow. “The Project.” That’s weird. Maybe even a downer. And Melanie Phillips looks a little grim in her picture, I have to say. At least single-mom Smart (she once was married, perhaps in the days prior to her demands that society must learn to ignore disgusting concepts like “male” and “female”) talks about “joyful solutions.” Sam-bam’s writing doesn’t seem that joyful, but Melanie Phillips has never that I remember introduced the word “joy” into how to deal with the Islamist threat she sees. Here, the only thin smile she allows herself is granting that The Project’s existence is not totally verified: it may be an inverse up-to-date version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Maybe Burgess’s “western Official” is Commissioner of Highways in Scottsdale AZ, and he has a blog.

So anyway, which middle-aged white woman do you prefer? Or maybe they both offer something worthwhile. (That would be my woman-y take.) Shall we get go some punch and talk about it?

Update: Removed a confusing and open-to-misintepretation conjecture about S. Smart being somewhat "lesbian-y" these days. I didn't specifically mean her own sexuality; I meant the sort of militant sexual politics that's part of the overall Smart output now, and her audience for it, based on where she shows up links-wise. (I actually don't think she is lesbian, not that there's anything wrong with that, underscoring the faulty word choice.)

Update 2: Comments include thinking about how someone like Smart fits into the American political scene. Suffice it to say I think she's quite interesting, and quite worth thinking about.