Monday, May 9, 2011

Powerful women erased from history. What else is new?

Some of the most important women in history have been effectively removed from it. Cracked's book You Might be a Zombie and Other Bad News gives the examples of DNA pioneer Rosalind Franklin, brilliant sculptor Camille Claudel, nuclear physicist Lise Meitner and Beatrix Potter — who before she became a children's book author, basically discovered penicillin 30 years before Flemming in the playfully-titled article "Four Great Women Buried by Their Boobs".

But that's all in the past, right?

You're no doubt familiar with this picture, from the White House situation room during the deadly Bin Laden raid:

Pretty much a boy's club, isn't it?

But ultraorthodox Hasidic newspaper Der Tzitung apparently didn't think it was enough of a sausage party. So they did a little Photoshop magic:

Not only did they remove Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (who is kind of like, you know, an important player down there) but they also nuked Director for Counterterrorism Audrey Tomason from the back.

What the hell?

Update: Official response, as published in the Washington Post:

The White House released a picture showing the President following "live” the events in the apprehension of Osama Bin Laden, last week Sunday. Also present in the Situation Room were various high-ranking government and military officials. Our photo editor realized the significance of this historic moment, and published the picture, but in his haste he did not read the "fine print" that accompanied the picture, forbidding any changes. We should not have published the altered picture, and we have conveyed our regrets and apologies to the White House and to the State Department.

The allegations that religious Jews denigrate women or do not respect women in public office, is a malicious slander and libel. The current Secretary of State, the Honorable Hillary R. Clinton, was a Senator representing New York State with great distinction 8 years. She won overwhelming majorities in the Orthodox Jewish communities in her initial campaign in '00, and when she was re-elected in '06, because the religious community appreciated her unique capabilities and compassion to all communities. The Jewish religion does not allow for discrimination based on gender, race, etc.

We respect all government officials. We even have special prayers for the welfare of our Government and the government leaders, and there is no mention of gender in such prayers.

All Government employees are sworn into office, promising adherence to the Constitution, and our Constitution attests to our greatness as a nation that is a light beacon to the entire world. The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. (See below.) That has precedence even to our cherished freedom of the press! In accord with our religious beliefs, we do not publish photos of women, which in no way relegates them to a lower status. Publishing a newspaper is a big responsibility, and our policies are guided by a Rabbinical Board. Because of laws of modesty, we are not allowed to publish pictures of women, and we regret if this gives an impression of disparaging to women, which is certainly never our intention. We apologize if this was seen as offensive.

We are proud Americans of the Jewish faith, and there is no conflict in that, and we will with the help of the Almighty continue as law-abiding citizens, in this great country of our's, until the ultimate redemption.

Correction: what the holy hell?


  1. Also the subject of today's XKCD, as narrated by a zombie Marie Curie:

  2. Thanks for posting this, Tom. Staggering.