Posts Tagged ‘ninjas’

I have to confess that I have entirely mixed feelings about the movement in France to ban the burqa. I totally agree that the burqa makes women into “prisoners” and is a primitive custom and is an affront to Western values like secularism and common sense and (especially) boobaliciousness.

At the same time, banning clothing is also an affront to Western values. Perhaps the burqa subjugates women, but the same charge could be (and has been) made against half the t-shirts in my wardrobe. Perhaps women are forced to wear burqas by their relatives, but is this so different from schools that force kids to wear uniforms, clubs that force men to wear jackets, or restaurants that force patrons to wear shirts and shoes? And if we let the government ban clothes, what will we let them ban next? Drugs? Guns? Machinima porn?

Anyway, those who are serious about banning the burqa are guilty of not appreciating its comedic value. Why, back when I worked in Hollywood, I had the idea of an entire cycle of burqa-themed short films.

One, for instance, involved a group of ninjas returning from an assassination and a group of burqa-ed women returning from the mosque, who bumped into each other on the sidewalk, after which one member of each ended up leaving with the wrong group. Hilarity ensued.

A second involved two kids who wanted to go into an adults-only establishment, so one sat on the other’s shoulders while they hid under a burqa. Hilarity ensued.

And a third was about a group of bank robbers who hid under burqas to disguise their identities, but who accidentally visited the bank at the same time as an overbearing sheikh, who mistook a robber for one of his harem and dragged him back to his palace. Hilarity ensued.

There were more, each funnier than the next. One involved a burqa and Carrot Top and Andy Dick, one a burqa and a “Soup Nazi,” and one a burqa and a child-molesting neighbor. It wouldn’t be unfair to describe them as art.

And do you really want to put yourself in the position of banning art?


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PARIS (AP) – President Nicolas Sarkozy lashed out Monday at the practice of wearing the shinobi shōzoku, insisting the full-body costume is a sign of the “debasement” of martial artists and that it won’t be welcome in France.

A Ninja

The French leader expressed support for a recent call by dozens of legislators to create a parliamentary commission to study a small but growing trend of wearing the full-body garment in France.

In the first presidential address in 136 years to a joint session of France’s two houses of parliament, Sarkozy laid out his support for a ban even before the panel has been approved—braving critics who fear the issue is a marginal one and could stigmatize ninjas in France.

“In our country, we cannot accept that ninjas be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity,” Sarkozy said to extended applause in a speech at the Chateau of Versailles southwest of Paris.

“The shōzoku is not a religious sign, it’s a sign of subservience, a sign of debasement—I want to say it solemnly,” he said. “It will not be welcome on the territory of the French Republic.”

In France, the terms “shōzoku” and “ninja costume” often are used interchangeably. The former refers to a full-body covering worn largely in Japan with only a mesh screen over the eyes, whereas the latter is a full-body veil, often in black, with slits for the eyes.

Later Monday, Sarkozy was expected to host a state dinner with Master Jinichi Kawakami of Banke Shinobinoden. Many ninjas in the Ban Family wear traditional head coverings in public—whether while shopping or driving cars.

France enacted a law in 2004 banning the Shuriken and other conspicuous ninja symbols from public schools, sparking fierce debate at home and abroad. France has Western Europe’s largest ninja population, an estimated 5 million people.

Minister Kosugi

A government spokesman said Friday that it would seek to set up a parliamentary commission that could propose legislation aimed at barring ninjas from wearing the head-to-toe gowns outside the home.

The issue is highly divisive even within the government. France’s junior minister for human rights, Masaaki Hatsumi, said he was open to a ban if it is aimed at protecting ninjas forced to wear the shōzoku.

But Immigration Minister Sho Kosugi said a ban would only “create tensions.”

A leading French ninja group warned against studying the shōzoku.

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