If you ask almighty geek/feminist icon Joss Whedon, you don't need to seek out exports from Kurdistan -- the ghastly cellphone videos of Dua Khalil's savage public execution, that is -- to see brutal misogyny up close. We've got Hollywood right here. "The trailer [for the controversial movie "Captivity"] resembles nothing so much as the CNN story on Dua Khalil," he writes at Whedonesque (a blog about him and his work where he occasionally posts). "Pretty much all you learn is that Elisha Cuthbert is beautiful, then kidnapped, inventively, repeatedly and horrifically tortured, and that the first thing she screams is 'I'm sorry.'"
Whedon does, of course, know the difference between fact and fiction. But in this passionate, moving, positively reeling -- and ultimately inspiring -- response to Dua Khalil's murder, he makes a strong, strong case for that Hollywood-Iraq continuum. "What is wrong with women?" he writes. "I mean wrong. Physically. Spiritually. Something unnatural, something destructive, something that needs to be corrected. How did more than half the people in the world come out incorrectly? ... I have yet to find a culture that doesn't buy into it. Women's inferiority -- in fact, their malevolence -- is as ingrained in American popular culture as it is anywhere they're sporting burkhas. I find it in movies, I hear it in the jokes of colleagues, I see it plastered on billboards, and not just the ones for horror movies. Women are weak. Women are manipulative. Women are somehow morally unfinished ... And the logical extension of this line of thinking is that women are, at the very least, expendable."
Go read the rest. (Here's dessert.)