URLs du Jour

2006-02-05

  • Here's how Joe Malchow works: at 8:34am on Saturday, he says blogging will be "light today". This is followed by one, two, three, four, five postings in less than 24 hours; then at 3:29am Sunday he posts an long and well-researched article on the recent history of the "backlash against Muslims" meme, which, like most mirages, always seems to be just ahead, but never actually arrives. Sample:

    As George Bush has said, the entire system of Islamic fundamentalism is eerily similar to Communism, in that it is pillared by peons and controlled by rich elites. As has always been the problem the top-down elitist regimes, the West has an irksome habit of attempting to supplant tyranny with freedom. The Islamists have guarded against this troublesome interest in human rights in two ways: through terrorism and by convincing Muslims that every day brings the high likelihood of a genocide prosecuted against them by everyone else in the world (the infidels) and that therefore ‘offense’ must be taken—or in the least, professed—early and often.

    One major component of insightfulness is a long memory, and Joe's obviously got one. Or at least he remembers enough to ask the Google the right questions.

  • Also insightful is Mark Steyn in the Chicago Sun-Times: "'Sensitivity' can have brutal consequences"

    Very few societies are genuinely multicultural. Most are bicultural: On the one hand, there are folks who are black, white, gay, straight, pre-op transsexual, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, worshippers of global-warming doom-mongers, and they rub along as best they can. And on the other hand are folks who do not accept the give-and-take, the rough-and-tumble of a "diverse" "tolerant" society, and, when one gently raises the matter of their intolerance, they threaten to kill you, which makes the question somewhat moot.

  • But it's not all insightful out there today. In fact, in a (London) Times column, one Simon Jenkins bemoans the awfulness of the "derisive images of Muhammad." Here's a typical paragraph:

    To imply that some great issue of censorship is raised by the Danish cartoons is nonsense. They were offensive and inflammatory. The best policy would have been to apologise and shut up. For Danish journalists to demand "Europe-wide solidarity" in the cause of free speech and to deride those who are offended as "fundamentalists … who have a problem with the entire western world" comes close to racial provocation. We do not go about punching people in the face to test their commitment to non-violence. To be a European should not involve initiation by religious insult.

    In the war for free speech, Jenkins clearly is staking out the Neville Chamberlain position. Saying that Danish journalists come "close to racial provocation" cravenly avoids having to consider whether what they're saying is true. Which, of course, it is. But Jenkins' mind just slips by this inconvenient fact, because it's easier just to slap the "provocation" label on it. (And to make false analogies to violent behavior. Publishing pictures is not "punching people in the face.")

    Jenkins warns that the alternative to self-censorship of the press is real censorship by the state, asserting a neat dichotomy that makes it easy to reach the "right" conclusion. A flat and principled defense of free expression is out of the question. He concludes:

    The best defence of free speech can only be to curb its excess and respect its courtesy.

    Back in the day, a military guy once said about a Vietnam battle: "It became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it." Jenkins has the same attitude toward free speech: to save it, it must be destroyed.

Tomorrow: something else, I hope.


Last Modified 2006-02-06 3:52 PM EST

Belated New Hampshire Holiday Crime News

From the Dover (NH) police log, as published in the January 16 Foster's Daily Democrat (free registration probably required):

Gail P. Napolitano, 49, of 80 Union St., Dover, was arrested on Dec. 24 and charged with simple assault, domestic related, following a dispute with her mother. Napolitano allegedly winged a fruitcake at her 71-year-old mother, who had been staying with her for the holidays, after learning of her mother's decision to spend Christmas Eve night elsewhere. She was released on $500 personal recognizance bail, and had a court date on Dec. 27.

Christmas, of course, always brings its share of fruitcake-winging incidents, not only here in New Hampshire, but as far as I know in the rest of the country. When will our legislators wake up to ban this alleged "foodstuff"? Too many of our homes have them just lying around, especially during the stressful holiday season; a simple momentary flash of hot-headedness can result in yet another senseless winging. Because of their usefulness as doorstops and paperweights, fruitcakes are often carelessly left within reach of children.

This madness must stop!


Last Modified 2006-02-08 2:19 PM EST