Bonfire of the Islamophobic Vanities – Updated after Breaking News

To mark 9/11 this Saturday, I plan to gather together printouts of certain blog posts, articles, and interviews, and burn them on my outdoor barbecue grill – specifically within a charcoal chimney – before fixing some dinner and getting back to the important business of watching college football… assuming that praying and praying and praying on this provocative proposal doesn’t change my mind first.

As you may know, Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney have now joined diverse conservative bloggers, as well as General David Petraeus, in criticizing, denouncing, or, anyway, seeking separation from the most obviously dangerous stupid-craziest of the looniest.   I’m referring, of course, to the burn-the-Qur’an on 9/11 stunt we’ve mentioned before, and specifically to Gainesville conceptual artist Pastor Terry Jones – not to be confused with a different brain anaesthetist, though clearly an American Gumby if ever there was one. The merely moderately dangerous averagely loony loonies remain safe from the wrath of Sarah, Mitt, and the tens if not hundreds if not thousands of amateur anti-Imams who’ve been busy creating the atmosphere – of suspicion, hatred, prejudice, fear, and self-righteous anger – in which men like Pastor Gumby flourish.

I’ve very prayerfully determined that Sarah and Mitt’s statements don’t go anywhere near far enough.

I yesterday observed that Howard Portnoy had come up with a novel if niggling line of personal assault on the dreaded sponsor of the dreaded 9/11 Victory Mega-Mosque Mosque Mosque, but I neglected to mention that just the previous day Howard had joined our other former colleague J..E Dyer taking that same heroic stance that Mitt and Sarah have now taken.  Today, J.E. has heroically expanded her criticism of the Qur’an-burning to include… President Obama, who, according to J.E., got things wrong in his interview with George Stephanopolous.  J.E. helpfully writes out what a good president would have said, and as far as I can tell from her text, the main problem for President Dyer is that the three or so paragraphs President Dire got out at the end of the interview dwelt too much on the requests for a message to Pastor Jones, for an assessment of the practical dangers, and for reflection on the limited powers of the presidency.  The President should, in J.E.’s view, have emphasized much more strongly that “provoking people… must always be a secondary concern”:  We have to do what’s right in our own eyes regardless, and we must support our fellow Americans’ right to be provocative, uncompromisingly.

For shame, Dire.  As for Dyer and all the right-thinking people who will agree with her, to my knowledge they’ve never considered that, if avoiding provocation – i.e., knuckling under to bullies, hysterics, and lunatics – is a bad rule, maybe it applies, uncompromisingly, to fellow Americans proposing community centers in Lower Manhattan, too.

Anyway, now that the not-as-openly-quite-as-far-gone have attacked the blatantly-all-the-way-gone, the former can get back to nit-picking the President and minimizing or outright denying the role and influence of bigots, nutjobs, and nutjob bigots among the “anti-mosque” forces. Allahpundit or David Gergen can show up to remind the anti-Islamics and other hysterics always to blame their own vindictive emotionalism and dark fantasies on the provocative Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.  After that, it will be all-clear for going on the attack – perhaps amidst general mutual back-slapping if the Pastor gets the thumb-down from on high, via all that praying he says he’s doing on the tough decision to burn or not to burn. At the next opportunity, invented if necessary, the bloggers, pundits, and politicians will happily and defiantly join in again with the rest of the virtual lynch mob.

In short, the somewhat-more-restrained have all along been providing cover and encouragement to the somewhat-less-restrained.  The anniversary of 9/11 is the right time for both groups, or at least their sinning ways, to be ritually consigned to Hellfire.

I will treat any criticisms of my proposal as highly secondary.

UPDATE: No, the announcement that the Park51 project will be moved in exchange for Pastor Gumby standing down does not affect my plans. I will be praying for Donald Trump to buy me a stainless steel grill with built-in charcoal chimney, however.  That could change my mind.

UPDATE II:


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42 comments on “Bonfire of the Islamophobic Vanities – Updated after Breaking News

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  1. Last year we got a stainless steel grill with a built-in charcoal chimney – so no need to dump white hot charcoal into the grill. It works quite well and impresses the neighbors. Admittedly the impressing part is secondary. Cooking dinner ranks first and last night’s chicken was delicious.

    I just hope that cooked goose is not on the menu for Saturday.

  2. I think that President Dyer needs to realize that if Social Security and Medicare benefits have deep cuts,military pensions are going to go down that same route;maybe some common sense self interest might dawn upon her highness.
    I know that she would think it gravely unfair even to consider that her pension/benefits should be reduced. JED,my dear,what makes you any different than any other good citizen who is living off one of those guv tits. We’ve all paid into the cow,but like in Animal Farm, do you think that some titsuckers are more equal than others?

  3. Yes, Colin, way to miss the whole point of the exercise, both are provocations, that interfere with a proper memorialization of the
    events of that dark day in September. The whole clique around the good imam, Hamas donating Al Zinatty, tax dodging Al Sharif, Daisy Khan and the phantom tax exemption, seem to have a counterpart in the dodgy Pastor’s flock of Westboro like congregants

  4. CK MacLeod wrote:

    I think I’ll burn that comment.

    No, you’re going about the burning all wrong. “Stupid white man.” There’s no power in burning things that should be burned. You do a “Havan.” You burn things you love. The best thing muslims could do on a level of spiritual empowerment would be to go to the spot where Jones was going to do his dirty work and light fire to their own books. In my opinion, that’s what Shams (Rumi’s real-life beloved) would do if he were alive. It would be radical spiritualism at its best–leaving folks who feel “calmed” by “big peace” articles scratching their heads. (I went to big peace page by the way. Unreal. I didn’t know that kind of thing existed.)
    Of course, the Havan is a Hindu fire ceremony, so if you do some research and decide to go with it, there is also some subversive value to it as a piss off in several directions. Feel free to burn this comment in it, since I know it’s something you’ll love.

  5. @ Scott Miller:
    Hmmm. Sorta spiritual jiu-jitsu, and would certainly be very ecumenical for a Muslim group to do a Hindu-inspired ceremony at the site of a Pentecostalist church. My initial reaction is that the Imam and staff should consider hiring you as a public outreach consultant, but I’m going to have to pray, and pray, and pray on it. After the game maybe.

  6. There is no reason ever, to burn a mosque, a synagogue, a church or the books associated with either. I know actually following the links probably interferes with your meditation, Scott, but the “aid and confort” provided to this organization, which does do evil things, is of note.

    Actually this Jones fellow, makes me quite angry, as long as he had this platform, he could have endeavoured to learn and consequently
    teach about the well spring behind this political movement represented by Deobandi and Wahhabi Islam, but in his own way
    he is as ignorant as the NCC folks who piped in on the controversy earlier this week

  7. @ miguel cervantes:
    Funny you should go there. I started to write a blog post today on the misogyny of patriarchal religious institutions and how they affect society. It got ugly and I quit right around the time that I slid off point and started siting facts like, “two out five policemen in the U.S. admit to having committed domestic violence,” and “three out of ten American women have been raped.” The point had to do with casting stones. Yes, the real stones cast by some Islamic men create more dramatically visual horrors. Yes, suttee is dramatically horrific. However, the American way of torturing women is perhaps more profound in the way that it succeeds in getting women to horribly objectify themselves even as they take part in the finger pointing at other cultures’ hatred of women, which then connects with all the other things Americans don’t really care about but use to justify bombing the shit of people no worse than they are on any level. And I also stopped writing because of the effort required to properly expose but not condemn my own self-congratulatory ain’t-I-being-such-a-good-male-feminist schtick. Ugh. Now, I wish I hadn’t written any of this. It’s definitely not going on my havan.

  8. Yes the bikini is the new burka, do you ever listen to listen to yourself,
    are that willing to make excuses for tyranny around the world. ‘torture’ you’ve been watching too much law and order SVU,

  9. Let’s give some credit to our own George J who has concluded that “selflessness” and “Virtue” are close to the roots of Terrorism. Professor Hassan writes that “Surprisingly, altruism emerges as a major factor in the complex set of causes behind the suicide attacks”

    http://www.realclearworld.com/articles/2010/09/10/why_do_terrorists_blow_themselves_up_99169.html

    However,it seems to me that suicide bombing/terror is a way to educate a “Percieved” enemy, who believes he holds all the cards, that no one ever holds all the cards. REALITY is always a powerful subterranean force in this world of appearance,fantasy,and illusion. The suicide bomber is saying,we are all alone,we are born,live,and die alone. The illusion of a nation,of an empire,of wealth, all vanish in the one on one personal encounter with the nemisis. This is the core of the success of “Organized Crime”,The force(Police,FBI,etc)that protects society is a legal fiction that is populated by individuals,who can be attacked one on one,(as well as their loved ones and Families). The Individual is the Weak Link for the Terrorist as well as the Criminal,their message,we’ll get you,and The state and all its components is unreal. And they’re correct. Therfore,if we become a target,we are required to target those who target us.

  10. “Unfortunately, however, on September 11, 1973, twenty-eight years to the day before the Attack on America, our image as a defender of democracy was shattered when Augusto Pinochet overthrew the elected government of Salvador Allende in a bloody military coup d’état. Allende in the eyes of President Richard Nixon and his National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger, was a communist hostile to the interests of U.S. based multinationals with investments in Chile. Consequently, Nixon and Kissinger helped to engineer the coup. Afterward, furthermore, they supported Pinochet as he abolished the Chilean congress, outlawed political parties, censored the press and imprisoned and tortured thousands. The implicit message behind this sequence of events was the United States supports the interest of the wealthy even at the expense of democracy.”
    http://www.counterpunch.org/cantor09102010.html

  11. Thank you, Rex, for your kind words.
    And thank you for reminding us about Pinochet. Nixon and Kissinger were following in the footsteps of Eisenhower, who overthrew Mossadegh–admittedly, not a good guy–and ended democracy in Iran, paving the way for Khomeini and Ahmadinejad.
    Eisenhower, Nixon, and Kissinger feared democracy, because they thought that outside of the United States and Europe, people would inevitably vote for communism.
    They didn’t know that democracy is the only system of government that is inherently moral. They didn’t know that with its built-in elections, democracy is the least unstable of all political structures.

  12. Well Taheri would disagree with you, on the latter point, AJAx only punctuated the ongoing revolt of the bazaaris and the mullahs, but that is a reasonable disagreement. Why were their no elements of
    the MIR or the Manuel Rodriquez group attacking the US Govt, only
    our most pampered Arabian fiefdom to raise these sorts of characters

  13. George Jochnowitz wrote:

    democracy is the only system of government that is inherently moral. They didn’t know that with its built-in elections, democracy is the least unstable of all political structures.

    Pretty to think so, ahistorical and probably meaningless. Granted if you presume a democratic morality – however you define “democracy” and “morality” – then only democracy will qualify as moral, but that’s a given. If the U.S. qualified as democratic during the historical periods you reference, then the implication is at a minimum that democracy is capable of immorality, again by your own definition. So what does it mean to say that democracy is “inherently moral”? That only the moral actions of a democratic government are the ones that were truly democratic? In that case, you’ll end up defining moral as democratic and vice versa – and the definition again becomes tautological.

    And surely we understand by now that elections guarantee very little in themselves.

  14. As Churchill said ‘its the worst of all systems, except for all the others’,
    it’s a fairly unobjectionable statement, CK

  15. @ CK MacLeod:

    Voting is moral. Saying a country is the property of a family (monarchy) or belongs to whatever brute took it over (dictaorship) is not moral.
    Although the Civil War was a revolution of sorts, the United States has remained in existence since 1776. That’s pretty stable.

  16. miguel cervantes wrote:

    it’s a fairly unobjectionable statement, CK

    I don’t know what it’s supposed to mean, and it has little to do with Churchill’s aphorism, unless your definition of “inherently moral” is “overall relatively better given adequately non-specific and unstated assumptions.”

  17. George Jochnowitz wrote:

    Voting is moral.

    Voting is neither moral nor immoral. It’s a mechanism that can be implemented in a wide range of ways, and that in many social-political contexts, including to a great extent our own, expresses and produces alienation and pseudo-representation alongside whatever indirect guarantees for “democratic rights.”

    Saying a country is the property of a family (monarchy) or belongs to whatever brute took it over (dictaorship) is not moral.

    That’s not “what monarchy says,” and those aren’t the only alternatives, just as democracy is a name for a wide range of alternatives.

    Although the Civil War was a revolution of sorts, the United States has remained in existence since 1776. That’s pretty stable.

    It’s a moment in time, in a particular and peculiar geographic and historical context. We’d have to know how you define “democracy” and “in existence.” By some standards, in the long historical view, democracy is both the most unstable and most de-stabilizing form of government – though, again, it all depends on how you define “democracy.” On the other hand, many constitutional conservatives are fond of claiming that the U.S. isn’t really a “democracy.” They’re especially fond of the claim when the polls are against them.

  18. Here’s a narrative that makes sense to my defective intellect,notice I have spoken often of the advantages of secession,Ms Supkels is predicting a split into three. Elaine,although very obnoxious,is our Cassandra.

    “One of the biggest and oldest oak trees in NY happens to grow on my own property. It is over 26 feet in circumference. It is more than a thousand years old. And it is about to collapse into three sections. It has been the main metaphor for the US empire in my blog: the US is NOT a ‘young country’ but rather, an old empire. We were part of the British, Spanish and French empires and then, instantly, on winning our revolution, we went on our own imperial rampage, displacing those three European empires.
    These empires had to be bailed out by the US in WWI and WWII but only after we ravaged the Spanish empire in previous wars and basically, after WWII, we took over the French and British empire’s Asian and African territories even as the people there sought, often quite violently, to be free of both the US and European empires. The costs of this post-WWII empire building has been so immense, this post-WWII effort has basically bankrupted the US. We run on debts which we sell even to obvious future power rivals like China.
    ——When every political leader’s solutions are to continue deindustrializing the US, taxing the middle class to death and funneling all the wealth overseas or to a tiny clique of bankers, this will lead to a massive explosion and like my oak tree, the US will cease to exist and split in three: Arcadia (the NE sector and Great Lakes will join with Eastern Canada), the Northwest Alliance (Northern California to Alaska with Western Canada), Atzlan (Southern California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and a huge part of Texas) and the Slave States of the deep South which will try to form an alliance with Atzlan. We shall see.
    It happens a lot in history! No empire’s borders has been stable for more than 200 years.”
    Elaine Supkels

  19. @ Rex Caruthers:
    Reminds me of “Ecotopia” and other speculative fiction. One of my favorite science fiction subgenres, as a matter of fact. But there’s a huge difference between “unstable borders” and “blasting into pieces,” and a lot depends on how you choose to define sovereignty and political coherence. It’s true, in my view, that the U.S. took over for the European colonial empires, but the differences between the U.S. and British empires are as important as the similarities. Supkels’ description of what we’ve gotten for our empire is completely one-sided, of course. She probably understands that herself, but enjoys writing something that feels provocative.

    When and if the American national idea is supplanted by something else, the American world-historical role will end. New forms of sovereignty and political organization may emerge that don’t fit easily into current categories.

  20. Voting is not simply a mechanism. It is a recognition of the fact that all human beings deserve respect. It is a way to enable individuals to participate in the government.
    Monarchy is the heritage of dictatorship. The Kim Dynasty is showing is, right now, how monarchies come into existence. As for the powerless monarchies of Europe, they are relics and serve no purpose except to provide an extra source of scandal for the press to jump on.
    Morality is not merely good; it is also logical and practical. The United States is the richest and most powerful country on earth because democracy is moral.
    Marx hated democracy because he linked it with civil society, which, as we know, constantly excretes the Jew from its intestines. He knew that when the final stage of communism arrived, everybody would think alike–how can there possibly be disagreement of there are no economic differences?–and the state would wither away. People who admire Marx hate democracy.

  21. Now you’re right mere democracy is just formalism, institutions have to be resilient enough, and frankly many of these core elements have been weak in the last few years,

    Now getting back to the real point, the Wahhabi/Saud relationship has not served that emirate, well. When many of the institutions seem to lipsynching that old MaSH theme song ‘Suicide is Painless’ we have a real problem, and not just in the corner of the peninsula

  22. When and if the American national idea is supplanted by something else

    Unfortunately,it has been,Bankruptcy is part of the supplantation,unhealed schism is part, but the main aspect of change is the view that our nation is a huge cow with 300,000,000 million tits. The upper one percenters want 90% of the milk pouring out of their 3000000 tits. Some tits are more equal than others.

  23. GJ/ People who admire Marx hate democracy.

    I’ll try again,Marx’s ECONOMICS was consistent and compatible with the other great Economic theories,Smith,Ricardo,Mill,Bentham,Veblen,even Schumpeter,Von Mises,and Hayek. They all talked the same language,the only difference was the Free Marketers said that the were dangers/temptations that Capitalist society needs to avoid to maintain stability,Marx opined that Capitalist society COULD NOT avoid those same temptations/dangers(one being currency degradation),which would lead to inevitable instability. George,who was right?
    I know nothing about Marx as a person,and his politics/social theories/philosophy are of no interest to me, but his analysis of Capitalism,is right on the mark. Long Live the US Republic/may the US Empire die a sweet death.

  24. @ Rex Caruthers:
    Marx didn’t understand that there is more to economics than products. He didn’t know about services. He didn’t know about the importance of office work. He thought shopkeepers were parasites who served no purpose.

  25. He ultimately didn’t understand people, so he created abstracts like
    the proletariat, which are much more multidimensional, even the bourgeoisie isn’t united, one might look at the Tea Parties as essentially petit, their leading opposition, are the effete elites, allied with other elements

  26. GJ/He understood that the CAPITALISTS WOULD kill the Golden goose, the other great Economists warned against killing that Goose but believed that Capitalist self interest would prevail,Who was right?

  27. The Golden Goose is alive and well, albeit a bit obese

    “French economist Jacques Rueff once said “Tomorrow, to save man, we will give him a real currency.” For a world that has suffered nearly 40 years of economy-retarding currency instability, that tomorrow is very near.
    If history is any kind of indicator, by 2013 we’ll return to money defined in terms of something real. No currency in history has lasted longer than 42 years after its intrinsic backing has been abandoned, and it was 39 years ago that President Nixon severed the dollar’s link to GOLD.”(GOOSE)
    http://www.forbes.com/2010/09/07/dollar-currency-gold-standard-2020-opinions-columnists-john-tamny.html

  28. It really does go farther than 1971, some might argue back to the whole series of Court cases, after ‘Court packing incidents’ that made
    the Commerce Clause, the supreme authority, getting off the gold standard was a symptom of the problem, dirigism was the actual condition

  29. @ miguel cervantes:
    I think that it’s very good that Oklahoma whipped on Florida State.

    Maybe people in Oklahoma can focus on that rather than another dopey Oklahoma Kid essay.

    She’s been on a real roll (in the gutter) of late. Hope she’s not on anybody’s bowling team.

  30. That’s the thing about Florida teams, they almost invariably dissapoint, but they usually wait till you’ve gotten your hopes up

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