A number of items in the news have caught my attention. I remember that I vowed to be less cynical in '09. After reading the news, my feeling is: fat chance.
See, a number of things have been happening, in the middle east, naturally, because that's where you want to go for high irony (Africa is the place for political farce and plain unadorned tragedy -- see South Africa). So, what set me off this time? A number of articles about that collective nutbasket, the Taliban. It seems that in their effort to root out the Taliban, Pakistan had some collateral damage (dead civilians). The news account showed, not dead soldiers, not Taliban atrocities, but an injured child. A new high in journalistic lows. Pictures are powerful; pictures of children are very powerful; pictures of hurt children kick in the parental impulses and drive logic right out of the discussion. The upshot of the whole thing is that Pakistan (can an entire government be a jerk?) comes out looking like an insensitive, cruel, devil-worshipping band of cutthroat jackals, when for once in its shoddy existence Pakistan is doing the right thing.
The other news item, one that prompted the title to this piece, is a small item that the Taliban was being mildly criticized for flogging a teen-aged girl in public. No pictures were provided.