A long time ago, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention put together a track entitled: “It Can’t Happen Here.”  Exactly what it was or is that can’t happen here is never particularly mentioned in the song, but ol’ Frank seems to be adamant that whatever “it” is, it ain’t coming down around here (wherever “here” is) ... or maybe it is.

It was a long but productive week I spent in Dallas.  Helping bring a system up, teaching a maintenance course using that system, then assisting one of my students in qualifying some spare assemblies for that system while helping him learn how to do at least some of the work himself was tiring but satisfying.  We quit early that day (my associate was feeling a bit off), and I returned to the hotel to check email and watch news before going to grab some dinner.

I was stuck with using the hotel’s computers to do my cyber-homework, as the display on my laptop had decided to file for separate maintenance, and I spent maybe half an hour checking email and writing the last installment of a trip report for the man who was sponsoring this trip.  That done, I headed down the hall for the elevator which would take me to the third floor and my pro-tem residence.  The elevator door was open as I approached and I called out, “Hold, please!” as I watched a couple enter.  He was tail, dark-skinned, but the woman was far more notable, particularly for her dress.  It was long, flowing, a deep royal blue with black accents.  What was more remarkable, though, was that it did not stop at her shoulders, but continued all the way up to the top of her head.  As I entered and redundantly pressed the “3” button, she turned to face the elevator door, and my suspicions were confirmed: her face was as covered as her hair was, with the exception of a three-quarter-by-five-inch opening which revealed her blue-grey eyes and nothing more.  Yes, she was wearing a burqa, but that isn’t the end of it.  As I entered, I caught the end of an exchange between the man (I presume her husband) and the woman.  Her accent was 100% American.  We arrived at the third floor and the doors opened.  I went west, they went east and that was pretty much the end of that encounter.

So … yes I know there are all sorts of women, Americans included, who convert to Islam for one reason or another and wear the hijab or something like it.  I’ve seen many such women in my travels … but an American woman wearing the Islamic equivalent of the Full Monty?  I didn’t let my face show it, but I was seriously boggled to hear a Midwestern accent from the inside of what was that over-designed bag.

So Frank … was THIS what you were talking about when you said, “They were so sure it couldn’t happen here, buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut?” … and as for YOU, Suzy Creamcheese … what’s YOUR story?

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Tags: Frank Zappa, It Can't Happen Here, burqa

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Comment by Ian Mason on May 4, 2013 at 11:18pm

It's quite possible that some western women are adopting the burqa as a form of escape, like eating disorders or other forms of self-harm. I had a girlfriend some years ago who had a tendency to depression and who, at times, envied those "assimilated by the Borg", if you know Star Trek NG.  The rest of the time she was pathologically jealous or bad-tempered, all based on a fear of life and having to take responsibility for her own.

Comment by Joan Denoo on May 4, 2013 at 8:35pm

It can and is happening here. 

God created woman, hated & feared her and spent the rest of eternity trying to destroy her.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley wrote in her allegory, “Frankenstein”, knowing that having a female created by the good Dr. would not go well with the public; she wrote the Monster as a male who was created by Dr. Frankenstein, hated and feared; during the last scene, Dr. Frankenstein chased  the Monster over ice fields trying to catch and destroy him. 

This new insurgence of woman and sex hating, trying to take woman's control of her body away from her in the interest of some cells that do not have nervous systems, of seeking to silence women, and even putting them in pillow covers, of denying individuals the right to define their own love commitments, are all responses to the fear of god's creation, male and especially female. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on May 4, 2013 at 5:04pm

Well, good! My computer likes "Like".  Very capricious! Loren, your week adventure sounds interesting. Seeing a woman in a burqa is hard enough, but to see a USA sounding woman in a pillowcase with holes distresses me more these days when I had students who dressed that way because of their culture. I had a grade school friend who married an Iranian she met in college; the marriage didn't last long and she was able to get out of the country and marriage without undue and unusual hardships. 

The freedom to think, to travel and explore other cultures was a real asset for me. Not something I would do today or would want my grandchildren to do. 

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