Friday, October 21, 2005

'Red' Card for Andrew Sullivan?

James Taranto skewers blogger Andrew Sullivan for, well, a fixation with fake menstrual blood. [You CAN'T make this up.]

It seems that Sullivan cannot help but constantly refer to an episode reported in the Associated Press which recounts how an female interrogator used red ink on a prisoner claiming it was menstrual blood. Taranto goes on to cite a dozen instances where Sullivan declaims "fake menstrual blood".

So the "fake menstrual blood" that Sullivan describes as "insane," "inhumane," "evil," "immoral" and "disgusting" turns out to be . . . red ink!...Sullivan's frenzied reaction seems completely out of place--and it also leads us to think that the use of "fake menstrual blood" may be an effective interrogation technique, just as the Muslim linguist told the female interrogator it would be.

Note how when Sullivan (or most anyone else) writes about this, it's always "fake menstrual blood," never just "fake blood." Lots of people are squeamish about blood, but the suggestion here is that there is something sordid about menstruation. [emphasis original]

This is nonsense. A woman's reproductive cycle is natural and normal. Girls realize this within hours of hitting puberty, but it takes longer for boys to figure out. To a preteen male, the news that women have periods is unsettling. But boys eventually become men, and most of them have intimate relationships with women, which helps to demystify the female reproductive system. To a mature man, menstruation is not a horror.

There are, however, exceptions--adult men who remain strangers to the female body. Among them are homosexual men who identify as gay at a young age and thus do not have heterosexual experiences. Also among them are single men from sexually repressed cultures, such as fundamentalist Islamic ones, in which contact between the sexes is rigidly policed. Many of America's enemy prisoners fall into the latter category. If the mere idea of "fake menstrual blood" discombobulates Andrew Sullivan so, it stands to reason that its actual employment might be an excellent way to break the enemy's resistance.

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