What We Talk About When We Talk About Islam.

From the transcript of SBS Insight’s “Fear of Islam” episode, which aired back in November of last year:

“… Every single thing that has been said about Muslims, that they are un-American, that they are foreign, that they are exotic has been said in this country about Jews in the 20th century, was said about Catholics in this country, in the latter part of the 19th century, so it’s a common occurrence in the United States…

“If we want to make sense of this mess and stop pushing Muslims into the arms of the extremist, we need to make meaningful distinctions between the religion of Islam that a billion Muslims follow and see as a guidance of peaceful righteous moral life and the puritanical Islam of a minority which so captures the media’s attention…

“… It’s kind of convenient to simply pick an choose whatever violent bits and pieces one finds in the Koran and ignore the equally important verses that talk about compassion and peace…

“… You have Today Tonight and A Current Affair which essentially on a fortnightly basis is Muslim bash [sic]. When you get that perception of Muslims, for a lot of mainstream people their understanding of Islam is established through a ridiculous documentary focused on extremism or A Current Affair Muslim bashing, so we need to understand where we are getting our knowledge of Muslims…”

Elsewhere: [SBS] Insight: Fear of Islam Transcript.

Image via Quran Reading.

TV: Glee Gets Down on Friday at the Prom.


So Rebecca Black has officially permeated the zeitgeist, with “Friday” being performed by Puck, Artie and Sam at McKinley High’s junior prom on last night’s episode of Glee.

And despite Quinn’s monotonous efforts to be crowned prom queen, along with Finn as her king, she lost out to “queen” Kurt.

Kurt’s date Blaine told Kurt of what happened to him at his last prom (he and another gay friend were set on by the school homophobes and gang bashed) and that he wasn’t 100% comfortable with attending, but he went for Kurt anyway.

Kurt’s dad, Burt, was concerned that Kurt’s “royal wedding-inspired” tux, which he handmade himself, wasn’t appropriate and that Kurt shouldn’t draw any extra attention to himself and Blaine.

Kurt thinks, despite Santana and Karofsky escorting him to and from classes as part of their Bully Whips anti-bullying squad, that McKinley is really coming around to the idea of gay acceptance, because he hasn’t been physically or verbally abused since returning from Dalton Academy.

Hatred builds up inside if we can’t let it out, and it seems that the kids at McKinley let it out sneakily and quietly, by “secret ballot” for prom queen.

But you know Kurt: he sucked it up and went out there in front of the school to tell them… “Kate Middleton, eat your heart out.” Okay, I was expecting something a little more inspirational than that, considering the “gay prom” issue is one that’s rampant in the U.S., and also here, as a recent episode of SBS’s Insight will attest.

But I suppose we have Chris Colfer’s Golden Globes speech to comfort us.

And, as is Glee’s trademark, the controversy was wrapped up nicely into one 42-minute episode and McKinley’s homophobia will live to fight another day.

Until then, let’s get down on “Friday”!

Related: The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Born This Way” Episode.

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Original Song” Episode.

Gwyneth Paltrow Addresses Tabloid Culture & Her Haters.

Glee “Sexy” Review.

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Blame it on the Alcohol” Episode.

How to Make a Woman Fall in Love With You, Glee Style.

Glee “Silly Love Songs” Review.

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Furt” Episode.

The (Belated) Underlying Message in Glee’s “Never Been Kissed” Episode.

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “The Rocky Horror Glee Show” Episode.

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Duets” Episode.

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Grilled Cheesus” Episode.

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Britney/Brittany” Episode.

Elsewhere: [SBS] Gay in School: SBS Insight.

Images via Showbiz Nest, I Am Thea 07, Maurissa Weiner.

ADFA Sex Scandal—Just a Few Bad Eggs?

Here are some particularly poignant quotes from Insight’s look at the sex scandal that rocked the Australian Defence Force Academy, and their treatment of women:

“… We are recruiting from a society that may put great emphasis on masculinity, blokey behaviour, these young men coming into ADFA, their heroes are  footballers who are getting slaps over the wrists for sexual misbehaviour and alcohol. You have to realise that we are bringing those sorts of people in…”

This is very true of Australian “blokey” culture, but is it similar inside the defence force?:

 “The cases that we have been looking at are very sad and certainly not accepted in defence but they are in a minority and it is disappointing that I think the culture is not the negative culture that we are trying to portray in some of these stories. As bad as they are it’s a strong culture based on values and values based leadership. Yes, there are some bad eggs out there and bad incidents. But that’s not the culture of defence. The defence culture is a positive one based on really strong values.”

Is it really about just a few “bad eggs” amongst a lot of standup officers (as the below anecdote will illustrate) that happen to get their stories of “misbehaviour” in the news? Is “defence culture” a reflection of Aussie society that, indeed, slaps footballers on the wrist for major indiscretions and blames the victim? Or are “these attitudes… coming from within defence”, and somehow perpetuating the above cultural perceptions? Really, how can we trust the ADFA to act within the best interests of Australia and to keep us safe when they can’t even act within the best interests of their female cadets; to keep them safe?

“I had a private soldier come to me who said, ‘Sir, I’m really upset. The sergeant has given me some papers and I’m to be discharged and I don’t know anything about this.’ I asked him to sit down and tell me his story. He was being discharged because his fitness had decreased and reason his fitness had decreased was because he was upset because he had just lost his twins, his twin babies. Both his twins had just died. Of course he was beside himself with grief and wasn’t exercising and wasn’t able to pass his fitness assessment.

“So I said to the sergeant, ‘Leave this with me.’ I went off home, the sergeant had gone into my office and taken the papers out, gone back to the private and told him he was being discharged and that this was what defence was doing with him because he couldn’t pass his fitness assessment. I took that sort of complaint to my Commanding Officer and I was referred for psychological assessment. When I complained about that I was charged with insubordination, when I complained about being charged with insubordination for following the redress of grievance system I was threatened with court martial, a full on court martial for writing letters to people complaining about their behaviour.”

Related: Why Are Famous Men Forgiven for Their Wrongdoings, While Women Are Vilified for Much Less?

Elsewhere: [SBS] Under Fire: SBS Insight Transcript.

Images via SBS, The Daily Telegraph.