Tuesday, May 12, 2015

"You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war." William Randoph Hurst As The Model of Our Atheist Hatemongers

For someone who used to like reading her column in The Nation, I've got to say that Katha Pollitt has turned into a real asshole these days.  She's pushing the "blasphemy is good" line hard, no doubt hoping to raise her standing in organized atheism, clearly her planned retirement career as paid scribbling isn't as secure as it used to be.  She's pushing that in a couple of recent pieces, one last month and one this month that is behind a pay wall, its subtitle probably gives away her motives in all of this,

The Courage of ‘Charlie Hebdo’
The French magazine is blasphemous—and isn’t that an honorable thing to be?

I am sure in the bubble of the New York City scribbling class who are also prominent in anti-religious organizations, such as Pollitt, it is honored but considering the death toll of their publicity stunts you could only find it honorable if you truly didn't care about those people.  In the very apt analogy of Noam Chomsky, clearly for such writers as Katha Pollitt the people who die in the violence which is quite intentionally incited by such "honor" are like the ants you step on when you have to walk somewhere, only you can't help but having to walk and there is no need to intentionally incite murderous violence by drawing seriously unfunny cartoons to service the hate industry.

While her point that women in many Islamic countries are seriously oppressed is certainly valid in those countries - not nearly as true in all Islamic countries - I would really like to read the opinion of the majority of feminists in those countries as to whether or not what Pollitt is championing, such garbage as the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, are at all helpful in promoting rights of women in such countries.  I strongly suspect that such Western stunts by Western atheists is more likely to harden attitudes that will need to be softened to make any kind of progress for women.  Atheists who dream of weakening and overturning Islam are deluded, dreaming idiots.   Only I have come to see the effort that Pollitt is championing as more massively and coldly cynical, more like Jeanne Kirkpatrick and Midge Decter than Gloria Steinem and Shirley Chisholm.

If I were curious enough about her thinking I might go into her archive of columns and see if that kind of indifference to such lives wasn't evident in other ways, aside from the stupidly romantic view of Marxism well after body count from that ideology as lived in real life was in the tens of millions.   There was, actually, a big difference between those on the left who saw Marxism as honorable and good and desirable and those on the left who saw it as a fact of life which,  if we didn't want to be continually involved in ruinous wars and risking nuclear annihilation we had to live with, while being frequently appalled by the violence, the viciousness and the expansionist goals of communists.  It is rather telling that the post-communist atheist scribblers seem to be calling for policies not unlike those they opposed when it was the cold warriors promoting them in opposition to communism.  I will reserve the observations centered on the trust-fund Stalinist Corliss Lamont for now, though they are certainly apt and relevant.

It is telling that someone like Pollitt, who seems to consider herself as something of a red diaper baby, continued and perhaps continues to see communism as something to hope for in the future, even in the face of its massive violence, its inherently anti-democratic and oppressive features, whereas she is joining the atheist war on the billion and a half Muslims in the world, clearly praising the attempt of her fellow blasphemy fans to incite more violence so she can get more columns out of condemning it.   Whereas I wish I didn't have to talk about such stupid, puerile, corrupt and dishonorable scribblers at all, concentrating on problems that already exist instead of those which are invented by such folks so they can do what the commercial media does,  attract eyes so they can make money.

And at Salon, their resident exploding cesspool of hate, Jeffrey Tayler is doing his bit to fan the flames.  I won't give you a link, I have decided that I won't link to the really serious haters who clearly are deranged.   There is a level of irresponsibility that I won't encourage people to read.

Update:   Here's my response to Tayler's hate-feast at Salon.

If the more than a billion and a half people who are Muslims were reading those verses in the Quran in the way Jeffrey Tayler wants to pretend they must read them, the bloodshed would be thousands of times more than it is in the real world, outside of his febrile assertions.

Let me break this to you, Salon Hate Choir, a billion and a half Muslims don't care what you think but a sizable number of them will react if you intentionally insult Muhammad or depict Muhammad insultingly or kill their children or do any of a number of other acts.  AND YOU CAN'T MAKE THEM STOP DOING THAT BY DOING THAT.

It must feel really frustrating for you boys and girls that you can't just insist that they convert to atheism and have them go along with it, but that's never going to happen.  In the mean time it's for the adults among us to face reality and to try to repair the damage you insist on causing.

If you want to contain Islamic imperialism, a real problem caused by petro-billionaires wanting to impose their will on others - hardly a problem exclusive to Islam or other religions and almost always having an economic and egotistical motive - don't use so much oil.  Defund them. Though the atheists in places like China will be more than willing to make nice with the billionaires anywhere, absorbing a few inconveniences, such as funding for Islamic nationalist groups which they will put down in ways I imagine the Taylers and Mahers and Gellers here can only dream of.

The ideas in this piece are far more of a danger to egalitarian democracy here than mainstream Islam as practiced by most American Muslims who haven't been radicalized by being insulted and oppressed.

Update 2:  I should note that the overwhelming violence of the Islamic fundamentalist imperialism funded by petro-billionaires has been paid by Muslims in more moderate Muslim societies.  It is a mark of how cynical our foreign policy props up the elites that sponsor that imperialism based on business and economic interests.  There is some point to be made about us paying for the rope that is going to hang us, only it's more likley to hang people in less developed countries, many of them Muslims.   The extent to which Islamic fundamentalist killing is considered an acceptable price to do business can be seen in the Bush Crime Family invasion of Iraq when the enhancement of Islamist groups and movements resulting from it was one of the most certain costs of overturning Saddam Hussein.  The position of women in Iraq taking a drastic down turn was another of those predictable results.

1 comment:

  1. Tayler is an idiot. That he is associated with "The Atlantic" in any way (he lists himself as a "Contributing Editor," which really doesn't mean much. Annie Dillard was a contributing editor to Harper's for the years I subscribed (the Lapham years) and I don't think I ever saw a piece by her in those pages, much as I love Ms. Dillard's work) means that magazine has really fallen from grace.

    He ends every vitriolic column with a call to arms, with how we must "push back hard" against whatever outrage he's just flecked spit about. Keyboard commandos have nothing to lose but their Cheetos! Or something.

    He's a joke. But it's all about power, and nothing else. We must be in command to defeat fundamentalists who have taken over every school in America and forced them all to teach creationism and hatred of gays and so on and so on. All Muslims want to kill anyone who draws a picture of Mohammed (they have eyes everywhere, so don't dare draw one at home, kids!). All Muslims want to kill everyone because the Quran says they must!

    There are more Quranic scholars online than there are grains of sand on the beach of every shore in the world, and they all agree the Quran says only one thing.

    It's all about power. And more and more, as usual, power is being justified by violence. We must oppose Islam or oppression by publishing offensive cartoons, but only of Muslims. No bug-eyed, thick lipped black men or women with vacant stars and lolling tongues, please. No hook-nosed men in yarmulkes counting coins. No Native Americans in long feathered headdress, stripped to the waist and painted with "war paint," waving a tomahawk.

    But Mohammed? Fire away!

    It's all about power, and violence is always the justification for power, and violence is always done to us first (the great myth of the post WWII era, where the War Department became the Defense Department), so we have to deal it back in spades, in tonnage, in overwhelming force and "shock and awe." We have to be more violent than them to defeat their violence and prove we're better than them.

    It was Nazis for the "Greatest Generation," then it was Commies in the fake "Cold War," then it was little brown men in black pajamas for Vietnam, but now we have a real enemy again, one even Katha Pollitt can rally 'round and fight! With her keyboard!

    It's telling that there were two stories about Pam Geller in Garland: the first, that she wasn't even in town; the second, that she was whisked from the arena the minute trouble occurred, even though the trouble (thankfully) was confined to the parking lot, and only an unarmed security guard was injured. Violence is usually wielded most forcefully by cowards.

    Just ask Dick Cheney.