Friday, November 27, 2009

<i>Twilight's</i> Unfortunate Messages

If teenage girls issued fatwahs John Lewinski might need round the clock police protection after writing his critique of The Twilight Saga: New Moon. Lewinski lists twenty unfortunate messages young girls take home from Twilight. I haven't seen the movie so I can't say how accurate he is, but I think the twenty lessons are pretty much ubiquitous in our culture anyway, sadly. Here's Lewinski's amusing lede:

From a male point of view, the only redeeming feature of the Twilight books and movies is the ammunition they provide against female claims of innate moral superiority over men.

Whenever a woman criticizes a man's lust, aggression, shallowness or any other lesser angel of his personality, the quick-witted fellow can point to the millions of women addicted to the base, insipid, bad-boy-worshiping, misogynist syrup so many female viewers of all ages knelt to this past weekend, when The Twilight Saga: New Moon raked in $147 million at the box office, setting several records.

In the spirit of speaking truth to diamond-skinned power, enjoy this list of unfortunate lessons girls learn from Twilight. (The list operates under the principle that any grownup female who embraces Twilight's junior-high dreck temporarily sacrifices her "woman card.") And so, with an insincere "love is forever," we begin.

Go to the link to read the twenty lessons. If you know someone who has seen the movie you might want to share them with that person as well. The lessons could have been titled, with a nod to Laura Schlessinger, Twenty Stupid Things Girls Believe That Make a Wreck Out of Their Lives.



One of the innovative ways in which the internet is being put to use to help poor people around the globe is what might be called internet microfinance.

The way it works in a nutshell is this: You go to the website of an organization doing microfinance (providing small loans to the working poor) and view pictures and summaries of entrepreneurs from third world countries who need loans (usually a couple hundred dollars or less) to get a business going or to get over a rough spot, etc.

One such organization that works to provide loans to such people is a group called Kiva. Kiva has field partners in countries around the globe who dispense loans to small businessmen and women. You and others make a contribution to the loan (usually $25.00 or more) which, in aggregate, gives the field partner the capital he needs to secure the loan. When the loan is repaid you get your money back and can use it to fund other loans.

If you're looking for a good way to help people but feel that handouts are often counterproductive this is an excellent way to give people who are working hard a hand up. Check out the Kiva site to get a better idea of what they do.