Wednesday, November 30, 2005

First, the basics. Then, on to jeans, layering and a girl named Ella.

Though modesty is a virtue that goes beyond the way a person comes across or the clothes he/she wears, it can be mistaken as concerning only externals. So, what's it all about? Here's something that'll tell you. Reading it would be a wise move (the better to appreciate the succeeding reads, and that other one I posted a few days ago).

The Beauty of Modesty for Men and Women
by Donald DeMarco

The modest person does not draw undue attention to himself. He is self-assured, but not self-absorbed. He is temperate in dress, language, and comportment and has a strong sense of the value of his privacy. He knows that being a person is fundamentally incompatible with being an object for public consumption. Modesty is, as it were, his body's conscience.

He is not interested in displaying his talents and attainments for people to admire. He even shuns making himself the subject of conversation. He is more eager to know what he needs to know than to parade what he already knows. He has a healthy sense of himself as he is and is less concerned about how others view him. His enthusiasms center around what is real. Therefore he has little patience with flattery and adulation. Nor is he inclined to exaggerate or boast. The modest person is aware of his limitations and retains the capacity to blush.

Click here to read the rest

* * * * *

Here's what resourceful shoppers have been doing when they're not satisfied with what they find on department store racks --

Tired of low-rise and low-cut? Modesty can be chic.

Home of the brave

This is part of the header of a blog that I just recently discovered. It is, simply put, a breath of fresh air, considering what ideas and attitudes the blogworld (and mainstream media in general) is overflowing with. That Modestly Yours lists more than a dozen contributors of varied ages and backgrounds turning in well-written posts takes care of the diversity factor.

Take my word for it: this is definitely not run-of-the-mill stuff.

Upon visiting today, I chanced upon several interesting entries -- and even more interesting comments! Here's a portion of one such comment, written by "HopingForStarsWithGrace":

Mariah is extraordinarily, wonderfully musical, with a voice that can carry without a microphone. I would have preferred her to sing her heart out, without being as still as a mannequin to avoid over-exposure on national television. And that is usually what happens to girls who wear clothes that they are nearly falling out of--while feeling increasingly uncomfortable, they hunch over, get all nervous, and stand abnormally still. A woman who reveals her beauty, comfortably, walks gracefully, moves freely, is [irresistible]. And she's usually not wearing a dress [that] suffered the consequences of an overly enthusiastic set of scissors.

If a 99-year-old is doing something...

There is no way to tell how many babies [Marion] Hite has saved, but he does have proof of at least one. Several years ago, a woman walked up to him with tears in her eyes. She said that nine years ago she was walking to the clinic to have an abortion when she saw him and changed her mind. She had come to report how happy she was to have a 9-year-old daughter.

Thanks to his hearing aids, he caught her every word.

When a person reaches a certain age, hearing difficulties usually start coming. And Mr. Hite is all of 99 years old, his 100th birthday in less than a month. His age, though, hasn't kept him from going over to a Portland, Oregon abortion clinic every morning and staying patiently on the sidewalk as a gesture demonstrating his life-affirming stand.

Mr. Hite has been honored by pro-life groups and even by the political Constitution Party, and on Dec. 4 he will be honored again with a special Sunday mass and a reception that follows.

"Thou shalt not stand idly by when human life is at stake," he once remarked.

Read the full story about Mr. Hite at Free Republic

Monday, November 28, 2005

Getting the thumbs-up out there

Does "with great power comes great responsibility" sound familiar to you? If not, well, don't worry -- it doesn't matter. I just thought of integrating Peter Parker into this post as a way to introduce the following review excerpt, which delves on how discerning media consumers can get past the private praises and lamentations. Whether it's a brilliant TV series or an insultingly trashy film, proper feedback can give you more control over the trends in what are shown on the silver screen. In other words, we can get better TV shows and movies!

Dean Batali, executive producer of That '70s Show, can tell you how to impact television programming - watch more TV. Batali urges readers to find and watch the good stuff on TV and voice their opinion. In praise, that is. Rather than simply criticizing shows (telling a producer you'll never watch their show again tells them that your opinion is now irrelevant to them), Christians should write letters praising aspects of a show that they liked (what's that saying about honey and vinegar?).

The same works for movies, according to Donovan Jacobs. A development executive and script consultant, Jacobs has worked with a wide variety of movie executives and declares that Christians need to make it clear to them that there is a longing for meaningful entertainment. They can do so by praising movies like Spider-Man (and its fantastic theme "With great power comes great responsibility") with as much passion as many Christians exhibit denouncing Harry Potter (for allegedly promoting occultism).

Please read the full article at and get informed!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

A misleading image of men in rap

It was the 1st Black Fatherhood Summit; the place was Harlem, New York. There were crucial issues to be tackled, but look what dominated the discussions during the summit:

Yes, fatherhood is hard. After years of neglect, the problem of "father absence" began to attract attention in the early 1990s, with the founding of national organizations like Promise Keepers and the National Fatherhood Initiative. A growing number of grass-roots African-American groups like Mr. Phillips's Real Dads Network provide moral and practical support. The current Real Dads newsletter contains brief, informative articles on "Improving Your Credit Score," "When She Makes More Money" and "Things to Remember When You Are Stopped [by the police]." Yet these subjects were not discussed at the summit. Instead, the conversation kept returning to the depiction of black men in rap.

First, the panelists expressed dismay at the way commercially successful rappers like 50 Cent, the Game, Snoop Doggy Dogg, and Nelly depict young black men. In countless song lyrics and videos, young men are either embittered losers despairing on the street corner (or cell block), or extravagant winners disporting themselves in surreal mansions or tropical paradises, amid harems of sexy, available and highly disposable young women. Some songs and videos are more offensive than others, but all reduce manhood to the pursuit of cash, followed by sex, in a world that requires no responsibility of any kind, least of all that of fatherhood.

Read the whole article at OpinionJournal

Can you say 'modesty' without the smirk and rolling eyes?

I've been coming across the word "modesty" more often during the past few months, and I tend to think it's due to the apparent backlash of feminism that has people looking at just what has happened to our society, especially when you look at the women. I'm not even referring to manner of dressing yet, but more of the values that are guiding their action, their speech and, yes, their choice of clothes and the way they carry these. Saying that modesty has been lacking is, I believe, not an inaccurate statement in this case.

Lately, feminism has been taking a beating and this is hugely because the spread of feminist ideas has resulted in the very opposite of women's liberation, which is what so many misguided proponents said and still say feminism has achieved and continues to advance.

And here I go again, attributing much of the societal damage to mass media. First of all, it's true -- media in this day and age is largely responsible for the perpetuation of ideas (both constructive and destructive) especially when the idea is deftly presented as something that will make you feel happy, free, strong, fabulously independent and/or desirable. The result: girls imitating what they see, whether it's a baby tee with "Porn star" flashed across the chest, the monthly boyfriend roulette, the spirit of abandon guiding underwear ads, or the whole attitude behind the "Sex Bomb Dancers" trend. An example:

Mothers who come into my office frequently express doubt about their own judgment, not knowing where to draw the line when their daughters dress provocatively. Girls, meanwhile, freely admit that they are only aping what they see in the media. One young woman told me, "I love 'Sex and the City,' but I know it's contributed" to the problem. " Desperate Housewives" does, too.

Believe me, people behind magazines, ads and TV programming know how to make practically anything -- even the trashiest, most indecent fashion styles and intrinsically wicked ideas -- look good and spend tons of money to do research to get better at it! Is this the part where someone interjects, "Decency is subjective, and one's choices from clothes to lifestyle are a personal matter"? True, and if this subjectivity is what's guiding you to believe that wearing that cleavage-baring top is a sign of strength and real girl power, um...invest in a shawl first and then read the rest of this post.

Here's something from a fabulous article titled "Deconstructing Dowd" which I love and came across at a website called The Modesty Zone but which, unfortunately, I can't find anywhere anymore (I should have saved the entire piece):

It is not a career that will make a woman feel good enough about herself so that she won't feel the need to put her body on display in vulgar and boorish ways, nor is it picking up the tab on a date. Neither one will make a man—or another woman—respect her more, as a person. Neither will make her a more desirable partner or mate. The only thing that is really going to make a difference in the day-to-day gender politics we all face, is when women decide that their true worth is inside of them, not outside, and then behave and dress accordingly.

But this is the clincher for me:

What Dowd and other writers fail to realize is that there is an assertiveness that comes with modesty—but it is a quiet self confidence that allows women to stand firm with who she is. That's more attractive and powerful than any Maxim cover, but it is also something that most modern feminists have ignored.

Oh, that paragraph up there that mentioned "Sex and the City" didn't come from the same article but another one, published in The Washington Post. I must warn you though -- it's hard not to keep reading paragraph after paragraph. The writer, Patricia Dalton, is a clinical psychologist, and I sure would love to have her in my neighborhood when I start raising daughters of my own. If you're a mom, you'll be reassured -- and given witty ideas -- by her article, What's wrong with this outfit, Mom? But even if you're the daughter, the son, the dad, the grandma, grandpa, best friend, boyfriend...check it out if you want something that's not the typical read.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The rappers of Palestine

They're young and they're using music instead of rock-throwing to make their voices heard. Here are excerpts from an article published in one of Scotland's independent newspapers.

Making their voices heard
A group of young rappers are using lyric-writing rather than stone-throwing to battle oppression

From Martin Patience in Gaza City

MOHAMMED al-Fara no longer makes an entrance. At the upmarket Marna House hotel in Gaza City, groups of young men sit under the yellow and blue umbrellas in the hotels walled garden quietly chatting. The scented smoke from their water pipes fogged the cool air. In walks Fara, a tall, slender 20-year-old, sporting a neatly-trimmed black beard and teeth whiter than snow. Wearing a navy blue T-shirt and beige jeans, his entrance barely draws a glance.

A year ago it was all very different. As the leader singer and songwriter for Gaza's first rap group, The Palestinian Rappers, Fara used to kit himself out in standard rapper apparel: a sports jumper three sizes too big, baggy trousers, and a chunky silver necklace that dangled down to his belly-button.

These days the rapper clothes remain in the closet - only getting an outing at concerts.

"The people here thought we were trying to be American, which we weren't," says Fara. "But I also realised that the rapping isn't about the clothes, it's about the lyrics."

During the start of the second intifada in September 2000, Fara, along with hundreds of other youths, threw stones at Israeli armoured jeeps and tanks close to the Neve Dekalim settlement which abutted the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. (All 21 Israeli settlements in Gaza were finally evacuated this summer.)

A bullet fired by an Israeli soldier flew over his head. As he turned to run, another bullet hit his left arm.

"I realised that it's not my way to throw rocks," says Fara, who has fully recovered from his injury. "I realised that, by rapping, my message will be heard by other people."

Fara's interest in rap began as a 12-year-old when he bought bootleg cassettes of US stars such as Puff Daddy, Biggie Smalls and Coolio. But it was Tupac Shakur who really caught Fara's attention.

"He was a man who rapped against racism, against the black and white divide, the rich and the poor, and against the government," says the sociology student at the al-Quds Open University in Khan Younis.

"He rapped about important issues, not about bling, cars and girls. People in the world don't think we're suffering. That's why I resorted to rapping to give people the real message."

You can read the full story at the Sunday Herald

Another feature about the group and life in and around the Gaza Strip, which came out early this year (the Sunday Herald piece was published just this month), is at

Franklin's no ninja turtle, thank goodness

Notwithstanding the "idiot box" moniker that TV has come to deserve in many respects, there is still good material if we look really hard (and if we persist with the feedback to the networks and advertisers). Here's one of them! According to Common Sense Media, "parents need to know that FRANKLIN is highly recommended for preschoolers and has no worrisome content. The characters are good role models, and the pace and situations are age-appropriate. It's a rare show that celebrates the innocence of childhood."

Franklin is a Canadian children's TV series based on a series of books by Brenda Clark (illustrator) and Paulette Bourgeois (writer). It first aired in 1997 and originally ended its run in 2000. Then three years later, digital cable channel Noggin introduced the show to American preschoolers, who by then were familiar with the books. How did the show do? It enjoyed instant popularity!

Common Sense Media's latest newsletter issue contains a review of the series:

Based on a children’s book by Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark, FRANKLIN is about a turtle who is trying to figure out his place in the world. He lives in a village where he and his friends enjoy swimming in the pond, playing outdoors, and going to school. Yes! They enjoy school. For this and other refreshing reasons, parents will feel comfortable letting their preschoolers tune in.

Franklin is a turtle who "...could count by two’s and tie his shoes," as the narrator notes during the show’s preamble. Such things denote the innocence of a certain age. And as this program suggests, such innocence should be nurtured. Franklin is an every-turtle who is learning his way in his world. Though he lives in a village, Franklin is aware that things are “different” in the city, and he knows that he is growing up.

To read the whole review, go to Common Sense Media

Monday, November 21, 2005

We'll all be old and gray one day

There's been more talk than usual lately about the issue of health care for the elderly, euthanasia and assisted suicide. Regardless of your stand on these issues, I tend to think that all these discussions on blogs, websites, medical institutions, congressional hearings are something positive. Through them, the different angles pertaining to the matter are threshed out; various experiences also come out, bringing to the fore just how some members of society are coming to regard old people.

MercatorNet has a great article that partly delves on the matter. An excerpt:

[Taking Care: Ethical Caregiving in our Aging Society] says it is necessary to steer between two rocks: "We need to prevent the worst kinds of betrayal and inhumanity towards the dependent elderly – such as relying on institutions that 'warehouse' elderly persons," promoting assisted suicide and embracing euthanasia.

But we must also "avert the danger of inter-generational conflict over scarce resources, meeting our obligations also to our children and grandchildren, sustaining other social goods, and avoiding a major new drag on the economy that would (among other things) weaken the economic capacity of working families to provide care for their loved ones".

Put positively, this means "we need to encourage families and local communities to become responsible caregivers and to sustain one another in giving care, while recognising the role of the state in providing a safety net of decent care for those who lack adequate economic resources or a network of family support".

And WorldNetDaily came out with this one, about the experience of a young woman whose father recently died in a nursing home under the care of what she deemed as pro-death caregivers. An excerpt:

"One thing that has shocked me throughout this ordeal is the number of health-care 'professionals' that seem to major on killing rather than healing," Deanna Potter told WND. "It's truly frightening to think that these are people charged with overseeing health care for very old and very sick human beings."

In the meantime, laugh

Laughter is like changing a baby's diaper. It doesn't permanently solve any problems, but it makes things more acceptable for a while.

- Anonymous

Friday, November 18, 2005

Here's a chance to concretely help the pro-life movement in Colombia, and we can do it via the email addy above...

Colombian Pro-Life Leaders Request Show of Support from Other Countries

By John-Henry Westen

BOGOTA, November 17, 2005 ( - Leaders of the pro-life organization Red Futuro Colombia (The Future of Colombia Network) have requested organizations which believe in the right to life to send e-mails in support of the pro-life cause and in opposition to the very serious current attempts to overturn Colombia's constitutional protection of the right to life. In addition to emails, pro-life leaders are asking for urgent prayers on their behalf.

This South American country has been able for many years to resist the attempts of internationally-backed efforts to legalize abortion. However, they are now confronting their most serious threat, at their Constitutional Court and in their legislature, pro-life leaders tell A case brought in April before the Constitutional Court calling for Colombia's laws against abortion to be declared unconstitutional could very well become the "Roe v. Wade" of Colombia. A decision by the Court is expected in days. (see additional coverage of the case: )

Meanwhile renewed pro-abortion efforts in the Federal Legislature are underway.

Red Futuro Colombia and many other organizations together with Church leaders have been responding to these threats. Their most recent activity is a pro-life demonstration this Saturday, Nov. 19th in the Plaza de Bolivar in downtown Bogota, Colombia.

Red Futuro Colombia's leaders have asked for support from other pro-life organizations in other countries who believe in the sacred right to life to please send an email indicating support. Some of these emails will be read publicly at the pro-life demonstration on Saturday and all will be tallied and used to show pro-life international solidarity.

Send your email now to

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Changes in Afghan life

Female candidates have triumphed in Afghanistan's parliamentary elections, with one bidding to become the new parliament's speaker.

After a delay in counting of more than a month, official results show women secured seats ahead of male candidates in a quarter of the 34 provinces, while in one a woman was outright winner.

Shukria Barakzai, a women's magazine editor who took the 24th of Kabul's 33 seats, said: "People saw election posters for people who destroyed this city plastered on the walls of Kabul's broken buildings."

Mrs Barakzai said she hoped to stand for the role of speaker in the new parliament: "I want to create a cultural revolution in Afghanistan.

"If a woman becomes the chairperson of the parliament that will show the good aspect of change in Afghanistan."


What's going on?

Sometimes I really wonder if I contribute to the problem by pointing out the horrible things going on in the world. Shock value diminishes over time, and sometimes I think that by tackling the downside of different issues here, I may be saturating some readers in the process. I certainly hope not! Still, headlines can be indicative of the different turn that events are taking around the globe.

Canadian psych hospital promotes patient sex with private rooms, on-demand porn

There are a lot of good news, too, but one piece of really bad news (or a bizarre incident) can somehow overshadow the positive -- albeit temporarily, of course. Headlines can be shocking, then when you read the report, all you can do most of the time is shake your head, ask "what's the world coming to?" then move on.

First comes gay marriage then comes bestiality in Massachusetts

China moves from bullets to mobile execution vans to improve int'l image

Other times, one can't help but snicker in amusement or probably laugh out loud even. Then what? Remaining passive about these things we read about is an option, of course, but shouldn't bad news move us to act even more? Most of the time, we're in no position to do something about the news we hear of. Maybe not directly.

Berkeley High offers Condom Club
Ad: 'Having sex? Thinking of having sex? Come to room...'

Homosexual gov't minister loaned failed gay porn shop $10,000 taxpayer funds

Maybe these headlines are becoming too much. Or, I'm probably running the risk of making unnatural things and initially repulsive incidents sound natural, acceptable or even attractive in the long run. But that's only for the still media-unsavvy (to make something look ordinary and the most natural thing in the world, bombard the reader/viewer with constant exposure to that which you'd like to seem ordinary and natural). Hopefully, this makes you think about your own awareness (or lack of it) of how you're reacting to the media's manipulation, too.

Sexual affairs between pupils and teachers 'can be beneficial' says UK prof

Animal rights activist: 'Kill the researchers'

Hopefully, too, remaining passive won't be an option for you. That's being part of the problem, not the solution. And nobody would want that.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The decency in every person

"Each person has inside a basic decency and goodness. If he listens to it and acts on it, he is giving a great deal of what it is the world needs most. It is not complicated but it takes courage. It takes courage for a person to listen to his own good."

- Pablo Casals (1876-1973), Spanish cellist and conductor, known for his virtuosic technique, skilled interpretation and consummate musicianship

Keeping the dirt at bay

Nobody said it would be easy. A lot of us want decency to prevail in society; many are actually working to battle the spread of smut and to protect families and children, especially, from the effects of pornography.

In the United States, here's the latest on the initiatives to keep the media as smut-free as possible:

Officials and advocacy groups discuss keeping
electronic devices smut-free.

Pornography is an insidious problem that is having
devastating effects.

Dowry and decadence

Is this a case of materialism?
Holding on to destructive traditions?
Simple prejudice?

Whichever it is, something NEEDS to be done about it.

A stubborn practice

By John Lancaster

India’s middle class grows, but ugly dowry war tradition persists.

Charanpreet Kaur, 19, had been married less than nine months when her husband and his family decided it was time for her to go.

Trapping her in the bathroom, her husband clamped his hand over her mouth while his father doused her with kerosene, according to a police document.

The father then lit a match, setting his daughter-in-law on fire. She died five days later.
India’s endless dowry wars had claimed another victim.

Notwithstanding the gold jewellery, colour television set and other finery that served as the price of admission to her husband’s middle-class Sikh household, Charanpreet’s new relations were not satisfied with the bounty and kept demanding more, according to Charanpreet’s relatives and the statement she gave investigators before she died.

“Even before this incident my father-in-law used to put pressure on me to get more money,” said the statement by the young woman, who was three months pregnant.

Unusual only because Charanpreet lived long enough to point a finger at her alleged attackers, who claimed the fire was accidental, the case underscores the deeply entrenched nature of dowry — and its grim corollary, the murder of young brides whose families fail to ante up — even in the face of rising levels of income and education linked to India’s fast-growing economy.

You can read the rest at Gulf News

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Fighting spirit!


Friday, November 04, 2005

Advertising and us

Radio commercials announcing the upcoming Advertising Congress in the Philippines have been hitting the airwaves more often the past few weeks. It's to be held sometime this month, and as always, advertising and marketing of the annual event have shown uncanny creativity and imagination (it is, after all, a gathering of people in an industry that relies largely on creativity -- artistic or otherwise).

This document I dug up recently couldn't have resurfaced at a better time! It's a well-thought out speech delivered at the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the World Federation of Advertisers, held in Brussels in October 2003. Here's an excerpt from the speech that was voted best of the Conference:

Ethics in Advertising
Sound advertising makes useful products and services known; it contributes to wider employment; it educates the public; in so many ways, it contributes to raising the standard of living; it promotes understanding and tolerance.

On a more profound level, I would like to discuss with you several principles and concerns.

‘Being is better than having’

The first principle is: Being is better than having.

There are some people who think that if they don’t have the fanciest car or the latest shoes or the shirt with the correct logo, they are “out of it,” not worthy of the esteem of their peers.

You and I know that “being is better than having,” that our essential God-given human dignity is not based upon the possessions which we have. We also know that our dignity is enhanced not by the shirt we wear or the car we drive but by the virtues we manifest and by our authenticity and integrity.

I think you, as advertisers, face a terrible dilemma: you obviously want to sell your product or service, but very few of you, I am convinced, want to make people feel bad or unworthy if they cannot afford to buy the product or service you are advertising.

In short, in your advertising, try not to put poor people down, even subconsciously.

Emphasize quality, emphasize efficiency, emphasize even better grooming and cleanliness and good appearance – but please do not suggest that a possession is going to make one person better than another person.

Perhaps not one of you even or ever intends to communicate that message, but that is the message which some people receive, and some young people, in particular, wind up with a very poor self image; not because of who they are but because of what they do not or cannot afford.

Truth is or at least should be a basic principle in advertising as in all communication, and a basic truth for all of us to consider is that being is prior to and indeed essentially better than having.

Treat each person with respect

A second principle is: Each person must be treated with respect.

It frankly surprises me that, as women rightly fight for equality of treatment in politics and in business, they are still so often exploited in the media in general and in advertising in particular as objects, as sex symbols. Such exploitation has now apparently been extended to men as well.

Thus, while no one would deny the justifiable attraction of love and romance in life, I think we should all resent being treated as objects rather than as persons. We resent it as employees if we are treated as factors of production rather than as persons; we can resent it in advertising if individuals depicted are portrayed as objects rather than as persons and, indeed, if we – the audience of consumers – are treated as so many numbers to be reached instead of as persons to whom an important message is to be communicated.

I would hope that communication in general, including and perhaps especially advertising, would keep in mind the priority of the dignity of the human person: the dignity of the persons portrayed, the dignity of the individual members of the audience to be reached.

- Archbishop John P. Foley
President, Pontifical Council for Social Communications
Oct. 28, 2003

A copy of Ethics in Advertising in its entirety can be found here


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

When their lips were sealed

Stories have started coming in about what happened during the Student's Day of Silent Solidarity, in which some 1,200 campuses in and outside the United States participated. You can read all about it (and see some photos) at the event website but here are snippets from a student named S.J. :

A white paper sign I taped to my black shirt read, "I AM SILENT TODAY IN MEMORY OF THE UNBORN BABIES WHO LOST THEIR LIVES BEFORE THEY EVER HAD A VOICE. My mother chose life, and now I'm here. Please pray for others who must make the choice.
Here are some reactions people had when they found out what I was doing:

"I don't believe in picketing abortion clinics, but that silence thing is a good idea. It's like a fast."


"Are you the only one doing it, or are there more?"

*understanding smile and nod*

"Aww... and now I forgot what you ordered 'cause I was reading your shirt..."
(lunch lady)

More stories here

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...