Eager as I am to break a good story, I’d have wrestled long and hard about being first to publish this information. Isn’t it a private matter in the life of a man who is no longer a public official?
The associate editor at The Atlantic deliberates on the Los Angeles Times decision to be the first to publish the story about Arnold Schwarzenegger fathering a child with a household staffer ten years ago.
Is it a private matter? Would you have published the story?
About the image: Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks at a lighting ceremony at the California capitol building in 2008. (photo: Lon R. Fong/Flickr, cc by-nc-nd 2.0)
by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
China’s biggest strategic resource is not oil, not rare earths, not even pandas. It is young women.
—Luo Tianhao, as quoted in Damien Ma’s recent blog post in The Atlantic.
by Susan Leem, associate producer
I couldn’t help but swoon a little when reading Ma’s piece. Luo Tianhao proposes a “mei nu" tax (read Ma’s post for more detailed explanation) on Chinese women who marry foreigners to prevent them from leaving the country. Though Ma meant to illustrate a comical bureaucratic solution to China’s longstanding concern about men outnumbering women, I saw it as a kind of backhanded love letter to China’s women.
An economist would see the quote above and weigh that claim against the proposal and try to parse out its potential for success (or maybe quickly denounce it based on moral principles). But, to me, it reads almost like a Hallmark card for the emotionally clumsy on Valentine’s Day, “Dear Jane, you are my biggest strategic resource, better than oil, rare earths, or even pandas.”
Damien Ma doesn’t give much credence to this proposal. But like the awkward, late valentine, maybe it is the thought that counts.
A Mormon Example on Sexuality and Religion
by Krista Tippett, host
Religion Dispatches offers a riveting report of a recent meeting in Oakland in which a leading Mormon authority offered an apology for the pain caused by the LDS Church’s activism on California’s Propisition 8. To an emotional gathering of “LGBT Mormons and their allies,” Elder Marlin K. Jensen reportedly said:
"To the full extent of my capacity, I say that I am sorry … I know that many very good people have been deeply hurt, and I know that the Lord expects better of us."
I’m on record as saying that we should measure the public virtue of religious traditions not merely by the positions they take, but by the way they treat those with whom they agree and disagree along the way. It is, sadly, rare to witness religious authorities open up to this kind of human and seemingly searching encounter on an issue in which they have staked a theological and political claim. I say, “Bravo.”
The Prophet Muhammad’s first wife, Khadijah, proposed to him. What is that, if not a precedent?
—Ruqaya Izzidien, from "Muslimahs doing it for themselves" in today’s Guardian.
I’m currently editing Kate’s interview with Omid Safi, which focuses on his recent book about memories and stories of Muhammad. During the conversation he says that if you ask most people a story about Christianity they can tell you about a prevailing idea or parable about Jesus; ask about Judaism and you’ll often hear something about Moses; inquire about Hinduism and Gandhi will come up or the idea of non-violence. But, if you ask them about the Prophet, they most likely will have no concrete idea or story.
Later on, he shares a wonderful story about the Prophet and the “naked embrace” of his wife when he’s questioning the veracity of his divine visions. A concrete story that humanizes Muhammad, to be sure, but also a tale about women and their influential role within Islamic thought.
In the quote above, Ms. Izzidien gives another concrete example of the Prophet through an interaction with his wife — but, this time, by weaving it into her delightful and light-hearted, but sincere, take on young Muslim women assuming the lead in courtship. A modern-day perspective worth noticing, and look for the produced interview with Omid Safi later next week!
Trent Gilliss, online editor