Monday, July 20, 2009

Damn. Does it -hurt?-



I never really took the time before to read Pamela Whosis of Atlas Shrugs before, I don't think. Not sure how much influence she has these days, or if she ever even really was more than a novelty act; after all, there's -so much- competition among the foaming classes. And that's before even taking Fox News Channel into account.

Surfing from Twitter just now, though, landed on this moonversation (moonologue?) on Obama's speech to the NAACP. I guess it's probably just boilerplate, standard levels of racism and stoopid from the World Nads Daily (and suchlike) set at this point, nothing new to see here, but. Actually stopped to read this one for some reason. Life on another (small, hostile, noxious) planet:

The speech proves, yet again, that he does not (nor does he want to) represent all Americans. He is the most racist, divisive official we have ever elected to any high office, let alone the most powerful office in the world. The speech was scandalous. Listen to the African American president of the United States rail against discrimination in the country that elected him. Obama deceives and demagogues when he castigates the economy (which he is destroying) as being racist. The economy targets blacks - got that? The US has the highest standard of living for African Americans anywhere in the world, but to the left, facts are irrelevant. He preaches to us that AIDS devastates the African American community here in the US with disproportionate force. Whose fault is that? Sex and drugs is the problem. The culture in the Black community promotes the riskiest behavior...


Oh, there's more. The Muslims are coming ooh ahh etc. More screeching Buchananesque spittle at the Black! President! of the! United! States! focusing on African Americans. In a speech to the NAACP. I mean, how inflammatory and radical can you get?

[Obama]: The first thing we need to do is make real the words of the NAACP charter and eradicate prejudice, bigotry, and discrimination among citizens of the United States. (Applause.) I understand there may be a temptation among some to think that discrimination is no longer a problem in 2009. And I believe that overall, there probably has never been less discrimination in America than there is today. I think we can say that.

But make no mistake: The pain of discrimination is still felt in America. (Applause.) By 2African American women paid less for doing the same work as colleagues of a different color and a different gender. (Laughter.) By Latinos made to feel unwelcome in their own country. (Applause.) 3 By Muslim Americans viewed with suspicion simply because they kneel down to pray to their God. (Applause.) By our gay brothers and sisters, still taunted, still attacked, still denied their rights. (Applause.)

On the 45th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, discrimination cannot stand -- not on account of color or gender; how you worship or who you love. Prejudice has no place in the United States of America. That's what the NAACP stands for. That's what the NAACP will continue to fight for as long as it takes. (Applause.)

I think all of us understand that our task of reducing these structural inequalities has been made more difficult by the state and structure of our broader economy; an economy that for the last decade has been fueled by a cycle of boom and bust; an economy where the rich got really, really rich, but ordinary folks didn't see their incomes or their wages go up; an economy built on credit cards, shady mortgage loans; an economy built not on a rock, but on sand...

...So, yes, government must be a force for opportunity. Yes, government must be a force for equality. But ultimately, if we are to be true to our past, then we also have to seize our own destiny, each and every day.

That is what the NAACP is all about. The NAACP was not founded in search of a handout. The NAACP was not founded in search of favors. The NAACP was founded on a firm notion of justice; to cash the promissory note of America that says all our children, all God's children, deserve a fair chance in the race of life.

It is a simple dream, and yet one that has been denied - one still being denied - to so many Americans.


Quoth the Pam:

When Obama speaks of children who don't "have a fair chance in life", he victimizes them before they have had a shot at grabbing the brass ring. Keep telling someone he's/she's a loser and pretty soon they believe you. Everyone is this great country has a fair chance in life.


It is, I suppose, an interesting twist on the "what happens to a dream deferred" question. Angry White Left Behind Version: What happens to a fantasy based in privilege and denial, challenged? I don't know what the verb is, but judging from the output of folks like Ms. Geller, Pat "Sunshine" Buchanan and Glenn "The Alien Probe Was Too Cold Again" Beck, the result rather closely resembles the end of a very long night with severe stomach flu, no meds, and a stopped up toilet.

The comments are...remarkable only it that their ilk is relatively unremarkable in right wing circles by now: Obama is an Indonesian pretender without a REAL birth certificate and will soon be removed from office, Obama was a Black Panther, W.E.B. Dubois was a commie, and the requisite cry to "arm yourselves." Hey ho, let's go.

Ultimately spending too much time around this sort of thing leaves me feeling strangely...inert. Because, you really -can't- argue with this logic, can you:

The US has the highest standard of living for African Americans anywhere in the world


ETA: DUDE!

I have asked the Netherlands Justice Ministry to issue an exclusion order, barring Pamela Geller Oshry from the Netherlands, and I have asked the British Home Secretary to issue an exclusion order, barring her from the United Kingdom. Better known as Pamela Geller, she is the sole author of the xenophobic, racist, right-wing blog 'Atlas Shrugs'. (For coverage of the blog by others, see LGF Watch and GOVVS).

In general, I believe that the American right is America's problem. However,the US 'counter-jihadist' movement has begun building links with the xenophobic-populist parties in Europe, united by the fear of 'Eurabia'. They have adopted Geert Wilders in particular, and Pamela Geller is his strongest supporter in the US blogosphere. Like some other supporters there (e.g. Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch) she has now begun fundraising for him...

She supported the recent anti-Islam rally organised by Pro-Köln, a regional xenophobic-populist party which is active in building contacts among European right-wing parties. The meeting signals the shift to pro-Israel, pro-Jewish, anti-Islam positions, among xenophobic-populist and nationalist parties in Europe.

...Geller promotes in the United States the activities of the German xenophobic-populist party Pro-Köln. She has regularly written in support of their anti-Islam meetings, at which neo-fascist and right-populist parties are represented: among others, Vlaams Belang, the Czech Národní Strana, the French Front National, and the Austrian FPÖ.

Through her activities, Geller contributes to the emergence of a transatlantic xenophobic movement, and to increasing co-operation among xenophobic right-wing parties.

...Geller openly advocates the use of torture, inside and outside the United States. In combination with her support for racial profiling - classification as a terrorist suspect on the basis of ethnic origin - this constitutes a physical threat to immigrant minorities in the EU member states.

...she describes other Jews who don't share her hard-line right-wing views on Israel and the Palestinians, as "Jewicidal" or "jihadi".


Why, yes, yes it does hurt, apparently. -clutches head and wanders away, muttering about converting to Druidism and changing my name out of vicarious shame-

16 comments:

RMJ said...

He is the most racist, divisive official we have ever elected to any high office, let alone the most powerful office in the world.

The amount of stupidity in that statement is astounding. I mean come on. We elected a LOT of SLAVE OWNERS.

I know he probably thinks that doesn't count because "that's how things were", but even leaving that aside: Andrew Jackson? The many many Southern governors who enforced segregation?

CrackerLilo said...

Oooh, good point, RMJ.

And this--this!--is why about half of my relatives have prompted L'Ailee and I to decide we're skipping Christmas with my family this year. It reads too damned familiar, unfortunately.

Comrade PhysioProf said...

Yeah, Pam is completely off the deep end.

SnowdropExplodes said...

"you really -can't- argue with this logic, can you: 'The US has the highest standard of living for African Americans anywhere in the world'"

Yeah, that struck me too - because of course, every person of African descent not living in Africa must be an African-American, right?

But, even ignoring that problem, it's an absurd statement because hey - here in the UK, everyone (regardless of skin colour or economic situation) can afford healthcare (but, OMG, that's socialised medicine - which is like, it sounds almost like "socialist") which in my book means they've got a much better standard of living right there!

But like you say, spend too long looking at that stuff and you go mad.

(Oh, yeah, and love the coinage 'moonologue' - I may have to steal that one!)

Nick said...

Atlas Shrugs is such a rancid blog. I've only visited it once or twice, but she had some poorly argued justifications for the police crackdown during RNC 08. She cheered on Amy Goodman's arrest due to her er attempts to encourage "anarchy" in the streets.

AMY GOODMAN

A mild mannered host of a radio show!

Re: anti-Islam stuff. Well I don't want to be lumped in with vulgar patently unsophiscated xenophoba or racialist rhetoric conflating a religious belief system with Arab ethnicity ~ as so many are known to do. Nonetheless, I don't see a need to be politically correct on Islam either. The right has taken to demonizing Islam post 9-11, but the liberal or left forces of the 19th century were in the forefront of anti-Christian free thought. I personally find Islam as metaphysically flawed as any other religious faith. It's probably not an entirely unfair argument to give Bin Laden an Islam influenced motivation for his view of the West in the Middle East. That other self-identified Muslims disagree with him and view the Koran differently is indisputable. This can't justify an intellectual relativism or multiculturalism though. It's of concern to me that faith based methods of acquiring "knowledge" and devising morality not acquire cultural prominence. As far as Europe's Muslim population goes; I am not concerned with sweeping collectivist impersonal judgments of entire populaces. I am however keen to observe whether or not Islam plays a greater role in shaping state structure there. The relative secularism of Europe is such a breath of fresh air. It would be a bad development to see fundamentalists make strides similar to the religious right here ~ for example: laxer policies towards honor killings out of a need to respect "Islamic culture".

belledame222 said...

Look; the comparison of the current anti-Muslim sentiment with the "western" Left's anti-Christian/anti-religion sentiment is a specious one. Christians have never been in the minority in the U.S. or Europe; there have not been historical Crusades against Christians by/from the secular left (unless you buy the right wing paranoia that not being wished "Merry Christmas" or having their prayers mandated in schools is indeed a form of persecution). As for any actual persecution or harassment of people practicing any religion under a Communist state, well, that's not exactly something to emulate either, is it? Statist abuse and/or doctrinaire assholery not just for people with gods.

And I mean, going directly to honor killings...do you imagine abuses (state-directed and/or private) are limited to those sanctioned by a religion? And more to the point, this particular religion, since that's where all the fear and loathing is, and no it's not really possible to separate that out from anti-immigrant/racist sentiment? State sanctioned censure of women publicly wearing the hijab isn't exactly going to make women any safer.

I am however keen to observe whether or not Islam plays a greater role in shaping state structure there.

Where in Europe do you imagine this is actually taking place, or likely to take place? I mean, I can do my research too, but frankly I see a lot more danger from right wing nationalists like this.

belledame222 said...

Also, in general, I tend to feel this way about the phrase "politically correct."

belledame222 said...

Anyway: to me the most interesting thing about Pam there is how in spite (or because of) her...her-ness, she apparently manages to be a player in bringing the European far right and the U.S. far right. Which general trend is a particularly Not Good development, I feel. Naturally Glenn Beck and politicians like Jon Kyl are in it as well...

belledame222 said...

well, that, and she's apparently pulled off the sky-raining-toads phenomenon of making Little Green Footballs come off as the voice of sweet reason in comparison.

Nick said...

Belle,

I wasn't endorsing any specific policies of the French government ~ let alone hijab censorship. I wasn't even comparing the current actually existing anti-Muslim sentiment to free thought tirades against Christianity ~ didn't word it particularly well. What I was trying to get across was just that criticizing a religion on philosophic grounds need not involve xenophobia. The emphasis is on the ideas rather than generalized dislike. I still have to judge an Islamic believer as an individual. My comment about relevativist approaches to cultural politics and a certain version of multi-culturalism was about the tendency of some leftists to adopt a post-modernist anything goes mentality ~ thus negating any objective value judgments about different cultures/cultural practices. To each volk its own practices is what it ends up amounting to.

"the comparison of the current anti-Muslim sentiment with the "western" Left's anti-Christian/anti-religion sentiment is a specious one. Christians have never been in the minority in the U.S. or Europe; there have not been historical Crusades against Christians by/from the secular left"

The first is indisputably true. The second hinges on whether or not one views the Soviet Union and similar states as left-wing ~ and you mention Communist states later on in the discussion. I guess I wasn't really trying to make an exact historical comparison. I just wanted to remind people that generically liberal or left-wing people have criticized religious doctrine before. The substance of claiming an incompatibility between reason and faith doesn't change when you're talking about Islam. I wouldn't credit the xenophobic right with any great use of reason.

I entirely agree that fascist parties are a threat. The nationalistic framework is incompatible with any kind of free thought. Their philosophic methodology is extremely similar to Osama's volkish theological one. That's why I distanced myself from them at the beginning. I would never couch criticism of Islam or any other religion in a "national front" framework.

"And I mean, going directly to honor killings...do you imagine abuses (state-directed and/or private) are limited to those sanctioned by a religion? And more to the point, this particular religion, since that's where all the fear and loathing is, and no it's not really possible to separate that out from anti-immigrant/racist sentiment? State sanctioned censure of women publicly wearing the hijab isn't exactly going to make women any safer."

Oh; of course not! I am not saying honor killings should be treated as the only abusive practice in the world. I'd be the first to fight a Communist state style persecution of Muslims or any other religious minority. If an individual is worried about individual Muslims following what has been credited to be Islamic law to the point of denying that non-religious or non-Islamist abuses exist, then that's a good sign of xenophobia/racism. As far as actually existing Europe goes; you can separate out a politician who has evidence of Islamist law practices being followed from racists/xenophobes ~ the emphasis for them isn't particularized. You probably know more about the situation than I do. I wouldn't be surprised by widespread racism/xenophobia/anti-immigrant sentiments. The French occupied Algeria not too long ago and saw it in racialist colonialist terms.

I have no idea whether or not other religions have individuals justifying them through scripture. The Christian right's patriarchy makes you think some of them would be eager to do it. I am not wedded to any notion of Muslim communities being the only place where such things take place ~ and I don't view Islamic culture as an uncontested monolith. There still has to be some objectivity in deciding what constitutes part of a culture genuinely informed by Islamic doctrine ~ a debate for theologians.

Nick said...

Ugh it wouldn't let me leave all of my comment, so here's the rest:

"Where in Europe do you imagine this is actually taking place, or likely to take place? I mean, I can do my research too, but frankly I see a lot more danger from right wing nationalists like this."

"Like I said above, I admit to not being super knowledgeable about this. I guess I was speaking in the abstract about criticizing religious doctrine irrespective of taboos. People who take religious identity very seriously tend to have it reflected in their politics. This is true of both religious left and right. Marx and Jesus have similar communal emphases."

Dw3t-Hthr said...

People who take religious identity very seriously tend to have it reflected in their politics.

Psychologically healthy people generally integrate all parts of their lives rather than treating them as dissociated lumps. That this includes religious identity and political identity is hardly remarkable or alarming.

Nick said...

D,

I entirely agree! I didn't mean it was surprising. I am 100 percent against the kind of collectivist attacks Belle criticizes here. My main concern was with ideas.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

Ideas are ideas whether or not they have roots in religion; the origin doesn't really matter.

The core thing that people putting forth their ideas have to do is present them in terms that will make sense to their audience. There are people out there who really only convince those that already agree with their theology (and a lot of them do door-to-door godbothering).

Someone with more skill and broader appeal? Can translate their non-religious ideas into terms that appeal to the local religious weltanschauung. Or can express their theological ideas in terms of things with broader appeal than their gods.

A really, really good rhetorician? Can do both. Sometimes even at the same time. Or play a shell game such that someone on the outside cannot tell if they're putting forth a religious-origin position or something deriving from secular logic. (That shell game is pretty much a requirement for members of very small minority faiths, for that matter.)

Packaging is piffle. If the idea is dangerous, it's dangerous whether or not it's framed in terms of a theology. If the idea is sound, it's sound whether or not it derives from someone's thoughts about gods. Since it's not possible to sort out from the rhetoric-patter who's genuinely using theology in their shell game, ignore the patter, get the pea.

littlem said...

"What happens to a fantasy based in privilege and denial, challenged?"

Doesn't have quite the same - ah - scansion, I guess?

So since there is, arguably, no "artistic merit", as such as determined by the wise all-seeing kyriarchal eye, perhaps that's why it so rarely gets published.
*sigh*

Alon Levy said...

The part about the US having the highest standard of living for black people may be true, if you count standard of living by income. Europe has both lower overall incomes, and more racial discrimination. For instance, in the UK, black men make 65 pence on the white male pound; in the US, black men make 78 cents on the white male dollar. Continental Europe is supposed to be worse than the UK, but governments there don't collect statistics about such issues. Canada is almost certainly better than the UK and may well be better than the US, but, again, I can't find numbers.

But if you count standard of living in other ways, like health outcomes, the US does really poorly. African-Americans have about the same life expectancy as residents of the better-run third world countries, such as China and some Caribbean islands.

Nick: the lax policies about honor killings and FGM seem less a matter of misplaced political correctness and more a matter of the authorities not caring about what happens in minority communities. New York has a serious unacknowledged FGM problem that the government does nothing about. The authorities have never been subjected to any political pressure about it or admonished to respect immigrant cultures more, but by the same token, they've never been pressured to do anything about the situation.