Archive | August, 2010

The Sinister Truth

Christopher Hitchens looking sinister

Christopher Hitchens looking sinister

To his credit, Christopher Hitchens is no fan of the anti-mosqueteers, whose arguments he has called “so stupid and demagogic as to be beneath notice.” But, as usual, he undermines his case by issuing very anti-mosqueteer-ish attacks on Faisal Abdul Rauf, the imam behind the non-ground-Zero non-mosque.

I don’t know enough about Faisal Rauf to assess the charge that he’s less moderate than he seems. I do know, however, that the main argument that Hitchens and others have been offering savours of merde du taureau.

Hitchens’ (and others’) chief case against the imam is that he made shady and creepy, or sinister (a favourite term of Hitchens’), remarks about 9/11 on 60 Minutes a few weeks after the attacks.

So okay, let’s check out Faisal Rauf’s shady, creepy, sinister sentiments:

Faisal Abdul Rauf, perhaps strangling an invisible baby

Faisal Abdul Rauf, perhaps strangling an invisible baby

Fanaticism and terrorism have no place in Islam. … There are always people who will do peculiar things, and think that they are doing things in the name of their religion. … God says in the Koran that they think that they are doing right, but they are doing wrong. … [Anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world] is a reaction against the US government politically, where we espouse principles of democracy and human rights, and where we ally ourselves with oppressive regimes in many of these countries. … I wouldn’t say that the United States deserved what happened, but United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened …. because we have been accessory to a lot of innocent lives dying in the world. In fact, in the most direct sense, Osama bin Laden is made in the USA.

Oh, I see. So by “shady,” “creepy,” and “sinister,” Hitchens evidently means “utterly reasonable and obviously true.” No wonder he wrote a book about Orwell.

Tertium Datur

gay Muslim demonstrators

I’m curious to know what the right-wing anti-mosqueteers’ response will be to this proposal (CHT Starchild) to open a gay bar – catering specifically to gay Muslims – next to the non-Ground-Zero non-mosque.

It puts them in a bit of a bind, I should think. Lately, people who’ve never given a damn about the rights of gays before have been invoking Islamic homophobia to justify their own Islamophobia. It’ll be interesting to see whether the conservatives’ newfound concern for gays will extend to a support for this latest effort, i.e., whether their anti-Muslim bigotry will be strong enough to overwhelm their usual anti-gay bigotry.

In other words: will the anti-mosqueteers be willing to pass beyond mere lip service, suppress their gag reflex, and swallow a gay bar? (Sorry.)

I reserve the right, however, to remain skeptical about the claim that the bar will have better music than the Islamic center. But then, I really like Islamic music.

8th from the 90s

8th Doctor

Owing to complex IP issues, the 1996 Doctor Who tv-movie – featuring the one and only tv appearance of the 8th Doctor – has long been unavailable here in Region 1. (Well, I say unavailable … of course there are region-free bootleg copies of the Region 2 disk floating around, but their picture quality is not great.) But it looks like the legal obstacles to a Region 1 dvd are finally being cleared away.

The tv-movie, a failed pilot for the first attempt at a Who revival, isn’t as good as the revived series that would eventually succeed a decade later; for one thing, it’s too oriented (or orientated, as our transoceanic cousins would say) toward American audiences to feel quite authentic. (The Master with an American accent? Really? It makes me tremble for Torchwood.) Still, this was the first time that Who was presented with modern production values and a decent sfx budget, and it serves as an interesting bridge between the classic show and the new one.

Up With Teleology! Down With Anarchy! Sideways with the Hypothetical Calculus!

Ludwig Boltzmann

Ludwig Boltzmann

Three more blasts from the past (all a bit more recent than my blast from Oscarville):

First, two papers I wrote for a science course in college: “The Temptation of Ludwig Boltzmann” (a short sf story exploring the implications of Boltzmannian probability theory – though Amazon thinks it’s something else) and “Evolution: Chance or Teleology?” (an essay on the spontaneous growth of physical order).

Next, a blast from my statist past: “Financing the Non-Coercive State,” an essay I wrote in (though not for) grad school, in which I decisively refute free-market anarchism!


The next time you hear someone say, “It’s disrespectful to the victims of 9/11 to build near Ground Zero a monument to the religious ideas that motivated their murder,” tell them: “Darn right, we shouldn’t have any mosques or churches or synagogues in the area – it’s an insult to those victims of monotheist ideology.”

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes