Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I’ve got only enough time these days for short posts, like the preceding one (and a random though hilarious photo to boot). As a matter of fact, I used to have a series of “rumble jumbles,” but those have fallen by the wayside. That and my computer (a 2005 iMac from the PowerPC era) has been acting screwy; almost makes me miss my old Dell laptop. Maybe needs more memory. Should be studying for that Hebrew midterm tomorrow, but first…

We’re now right in the middle of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. Stone a pundit! Declare a fatwa on your university, O Westerners! See, David Horowitz is a funny man. Not comedically; I mean there is something that is quite clearly imbalanced about him. I’ve read his autobiography (in 2006), and have read his writings as much as I can keep up, trying to keep appraised of where he’s at intellectually. And to be honest? Lunacy, sheer lunacy. The picture of his mind that he presents in that autobio is completely opposed to the character he parades as on TV and in his speeches, and diatribe-based performances. It’s day and night: one is a reasonable man trying to overcome and repudiate and have second thoughts from the shady notions he used to have, and the other is an unthinking, hysterical party-liner who sees criticism as an act of treason.

That said I agreed with every point on the Islamo-Fascism petition, which stated thoughtfully enough the following: “[W]e affirm four key principles denied by the jihadists and threatened by them: the right of all people to live in freedom and dignity; the freedom of the individual conscience: to change religions or have no religion at all; the equality of [sic] dignity of women and men; the right of all people to live free from violence, intimidation, and coercion… opposing all forms of religious supremacism, violence and intimidation.” Perfectly fine. No quarrel. And for the most part, I think “Islamofascism” is a valid and non-hateful term. I wouldn’t hestitate to designate hateful and intolerant species of Christianity as Christofascism and the same in Judaism (I believe Meir Kahane’s movement came closest to this) as Judeofascism.* Nor should Horowitz, and if he were consistent I don’t expect he would. An important caveat is that Islamist extremism is much more prevalent and, crucially, more violent: let us not forget that we are in deed at war with the Islamofascists. The Christofascists and Judeofascists have not yet embraced suicide terror, nor do they seek the destruction of Western civilization; conversely, the Christofascists seek the end of the American Enlightenment and constitutionalism and the Judeofascists seek the prevention of a viable, sensible Palestinian state. Alright, enough with this piece.

The Pew Research Center reported last Thursday that the news media, once again, is totally at odds with people’s “news interest.” It’s almost inverted. Twenty percent of Americans “listed” the “situation in Iraq… as their most closely followed story” and the media responded by giving it six percent of the coverage. Only eight percent are most closely keeping tabs on the 2008 presidential (ugh) campaign; fifteen percent of coverage is devoted to it, which admittedly is not quite as dramatic as the Iraq Slaughterhouse (er, war).

Jeff Bercovici’s Mixed Media blog at Portfolio raises an interesting question: if Fox has an alternative to CNBC (and the self-described “unabashed capitalists” who run it, quoted in the New York Times) with its Fox Business Network, who’s the enemy? The “news” division’s “bread and butter is the culture war, and it’s forever inventing new campaigns to boil viewers’ blood in the dead space between celebrity scandals.” Generally, the forgotten man versus a shadowy big government that overtaxes him and is prone to take away his land (the eminent domain demon). What’s the equivalent? “Where’s the us-versus-them?” Would it be “the forgotten little guy against the sinister corporate interests”? Likely not, since Bercovici quotes Fox president Roger Ailes as saying that he simply doesn’t see them “as the enemy.” Wouldn’t be politically correct.

“Alternatively,” Bercovici adds, “Fox Business could adopt a libertarian stance: embattled entrepreneurs versus heavy-handed, tax-and-regulate government.” Seems like it would jibe very well; in the news, the little guy gets fucked over by dastardly bureaucrats who think they’re doing it for the common good, and in business hard-working Joes trying to set up shop keep getting hassled. Their entire enterprise would be admirable if it weren’t soaked with nationalist ideology and tabloid-chic sensibilities, upon which blowhard “experts” and “analysts” get to pounce, snipe and self-aggrandize.

*In an article for Slate (Oct. 22), Christopher Hitchens goes farther, pointing out that Yeshayahu Leibowitz, “editor of the Encyclopaedia Hebraica, coined the term Judeo-Nazi to describe the Messianic settlers [Gush Enumim, Bloc of the Faithful] who moved onto the occupied West Bank after 1967.” Hitchens adds that “there need be no self-pity among Muslims about being ‘singled out’ on this point.”

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Strange days have found us: first there was that Israeli neo-Nazi cell (you read that correctly), and now this? Oh, and once again the Indians got massacred. Strange days indeed.

Monday, October 15, 2007

First time seeing this in any major U.S. paper. Yeah, it’s definitely a first (not counting the N-bomb in Slate some time ago):

“Our humanity has been compromised by those who use Gestapo tactics in our war. The longer we stand idly by while they do so, the more we resemble those ‘good Germans’ who professed ignorance of their own Gestapo. It’s up to us to wake up our somnambulant Congress to challenge administration policy every day. Let the war’s last supporters filibuster all night if they want to. There is nothing left to lose except whatever remains of our country’s good name.”

— Frank Rich, 14 October 2007

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Radiohead’s latest work, In Rainbows, their last since 2003’s Hail to the Thief (my pithy comments last time), is a Web-only deal at any price you choose. I decided to pay a fair share, considering my respect for their sound and the hypnotizing effect their music has always had on me: $8.50, which is what the baseline music album price probably ought to be I think. In only ten much-too-short tracks it’s clear it’s going to take time to grow on you like the others have; toward the middle it becomes almost symphonic, beautifully. Then it cuts off. Next year’s full-release should promise more, but with what exists now quality, at the outset, seems to have triumphed over its ne’er-do-well sibling quantity.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The royal treatment.

I’m with Hitchens on this one: enabling of genocide in Darfur, tyranny in Burma — not to mention the antifreeze and lead. Enough is enough. BOYCOTT THE 2008 BEIJING OLYMPIC GAMES