It’s not just the buildings

that King’s is spending money on while firing staff.

“A need has been identified to invest in a number of areas of strategic investment and growth through six new appointments for 2010-11 at a cost of £320,000” in such areas as “Culture and Identity” and “Digital and Visual Cultures.”

So it’s not just about valuing buildings more than academic integrity/people/contracts/philosophy. It’s also about bureaucrats, not academics, determining what topics are worthy of pursuit by the academics. Just when I think I can’t be more disgusted by their plans…. For more, so the “restructuring” plan. (Via Leiter.)

A puzzling analogy between honour killings and filmstars

According to Liz Jones of the UK Daily Mail, the stardom of Emma Watson is just as shameful to “our” society as honour killings are to the societies where those happen. Read the article here.

She draws a comparison between the victims of honour killings, like the poor Turkish girl Medine Medi, who was buried alive by her father and grandfather for having been talking to boys, and women in the “West” who suffer from the obsession with youth:

But can we in the West really claim the moral high ground when it comes to condemning these ‘honour’ killings’?

I would counter that the number of women harmed psychologically and physically by the West’s obsession with extreme youth far outstrips the number of women who are murdered for adultery, or even for the ‘crime’ of being the victim of rape in Islamic countries.

Apart from the fact that, given the choice, poor Medine would probably have preferred to be in Emma’s shoes, there are some things that grate me in this article.

I get the impression that Liz jones rather reduces Emma Watson to being a mere object with the property of “extreme youth” (I would think a new born baby is extremely young, but since being newly born happens to everyone, you can hardly call it extreme, I guess?) rather than the smart and self-determined young woman she appears to me to be. Kudos to Emma, really.

And I agree that it is likely that women in “the West” suffering physically or psychologically from the obsession with youth (which I think is there) outnumber the victims of honour killings (ergo, the ones that actually ended up dead), but the comparison is skewed.

I think it is highly likely that a lot of women in societies where honour killings take place suffer psychologically from anxiety and from their lack of freedom due to the threat of getting killed if they are believed to have consorted with guys. Also, the situations where the woman doesn’t end up dead, but just physically assaulted due to such suspicion should be taken into account if you are going to make a comparison of the suffering, if such a comparison is possible at all.

Honour killings should be stopped, there is no doubt in my mind about that. And I would really like it a lot better if there wasn’t such an obsession with youth in the world (not just “the West”, by the way, whatever “the West” may be, but that’s another matter), but I cannot possibly put an appreciation for young stars like Emma Watson on a par with burying your daughter alive for shaming the family’s honour.

(Thanks to @AllenStairs for bringing the article to my attention)