Wednesday, July 09, 2008

They Hate Us For Our Freedom

Via a reader, a post on another blog:

Sunday, a Hasidic woman scolded me for inappropriate behavior in her neighborhood. I was running up Bedford toward Williamsburg, following a part of the marathon course I often branch from to go over the bridge into Manhattan for a longer run. That day I elected to just do a fairly mindless 35 minutes out and back, a route I don’t have to think about.

It was warm and I dressed in fairly traditional summer running attire: shorts, jog bra and a baseball cap, a far cry from the traditional attire of this conservative religious sect where the women don wigs and hats and long dark dresses.

By the time I turned onto Bedford, I was feeling pretty good. My iPod was dishing out tunes that make me dancingly happy and I was starting to feel the effects of the runners’ high, moving at a speedy clip and jogging about in place when traffic lights held me up. I’d just hit my half-way point and turned around when she stepped toward me on the sidewalk, shook her finger and said, with a disapproving frown, “you can’t go like that through here.”

My first feeling was embarrassed sheepishness. It’s not like I was unaware of the neighborhood’s demographic, and in her eyes I was practically naked. It was disrespectful, probably, for me to prance, flushed and happy, along this avenue of Hasidim with my navel showing. I wouldn’t have dreamed of baring even my ankles in parts of Jerusalem.

But then a bit of defensiveness kicked in. This is not Jerusalem, it’s New York freakin’ City, and to the best of my knowledge I can “go like that” anywhere I damn well please. I’m not sure what’s on the books legally as far as lewdness and public attire, but I’m pretty sure a jog bra and baggy shorts are well within reason.

This isn't an isolated incident for that area of New York; I've heard variations of it over the years. In addition to my full support of a woman's right to wear skimpy jogging attire, I wonder how many breathless updates and flashing sirens we'd see from the Titular Right if, instead of a Jewish community, this sort of overt intimidation took place in a Muslim one. "See? Paris and London appeased them, and now it's happening right here in New York City!"

14 Comments:

Anonymous Kilfarnsar said...

"I wonder how many breathless updates and flashing sirens the Titular Right would use if, instead of a Jewish community, this sort of overt intimidation took place in a Muslim one. "See? Paris and London appeased them, and now it's happening right here in New York City!"

Yeah, but that would require, perspective, consistency, and intellectual honesty. All of which are lacking on the Titular Right.

7/09/2008 12:03 PM  
Anonymous Mary said...

Yeah. Whatever. People scold people for all kinds of odd reasons . . . but that won't stop anyone who wants to cherrypick from cherrypicking.

7/09/2008 1:37 PM  
Anonymous John Wendt said...

What we consider freedom, some consider license. This is a distinction that is very familiar to the Christian right.

7/09/2008 3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a man, I think we need to organize a mass bare-navel jog by women thru that area to make a statement. I'm willing to donate my time to this cause. I'll require contact info of course.

7/09/2008 9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What exactly does titular mean anyway?

7/09/2008 10:57 PM  
Blogger Spider said...

From Yahoo Dictionary

Titular

ADJECTIVE:

1. Relating to, having the nature of, or constituting a title.
2.
1. Existing in name only; nominal: the titular head of the family.
2. Bearing the title of a church or monastery that is no longer active.
3. Bearing a title: titular dignitaries.
4. Derived from a title: the titular role in a play.



I think it terms of the phrase "Titular Right" we are referencing defintion 2.1 above, "Existing in name only," as in the Right is only "right" in name only.

7/10/2008 10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, you said 'titular'.

7/10/2008 1:16 PM  
Anonymous e. nonee moose said...

I wonder how many breathless updates and flashing sirens we'd see from the Titular Right if, instead of a Jewish community, this sort of overt intimidation took place in a Muslim one.

Michelle Malkin would wet herself over this had it happened in a Muslim community.

7/10/2008 1:31 PM  
Anonymous efrex said...

Now, maybe it's just me (potential conflict of interest, modern orthodox Jew speaking), but what exactly is the big deal? The hasidic woman didn't scream, didn't call the jogger any names, didn't throw stones... she

"shook her finger and said, with a disapproving frown, 'you can’t go like that through here,'"

in an area which is inhabited almost exclusively by those who would be offended by this display.

Since when is expressing disapproval an "act of overt intimidation?"

7/10/2008 2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This is not Jerusalem, it’s New York freakin’ City."

7/10/2008 3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Efrex:

Not intimidation? Yes, you're wearing your conflict of interest on your sleeve.

You're passing through a Muslim area on your way to temple. You're approached by someone in traditional Islamic garb who warns you that "you can't go like that through here." Would you feel intimidated? And if not (are you male?) how do you think the average woman walking alone would feel?

7/10/2008 5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being JUDGED is never pleasant, and that is the jist of what happened. Did the jogger go up to the Hassidic woman and say, "You look like a dork in that wig"???

No, she did not.

I say if you want to live in Israel, and enjoy the solitude of like minded people, all with matching wigs and 16th century side curls and fur hats, then MOVE TO ISRAEL.

7/10/2008 11:09 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

The correct response was the one you were thinking:
"This is not Jerusalem, it’s New York freakin’ City, and to the best of my knowledge I can “go like that” anywhere I damn well please. "

It's America; if she can scold, so can you, right back, and she'd better learn it. :-)

7/13/2008 9:17 AM  
Blogger dgj said...

To respond to that as advocatus diaboli, yet in good faith (the former b/c I am, if anything, a member of the untitled left; the latter b/c I largely take CR's point here):

The person who faced this outburst of Hasidism placidly, yet who would be outraged about the hypothetical Muslim variant on this incident, might respond to CR's taunt by noting that there are relatively few incidents like this reported where the antagonists are basing their actions on conservative Judaism.

7/15/2008 11:59 AM  

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