Another Leftie Whinge - or The Danger of The Neat Narrative in an Untidy World
I take the following quotes as representative of what I consider to be the dangerously simplistic 'reasoning' that characterises a lot of right-wing blogging (RWB) on recent events. It has become a game, I submit, to fit every nasty manifestation of the world today into a neat absolution of a blanket-defined 'us' by way of an equally neat condemnation of a blanket-defined 'them'.
The stuff wars are made of, I reckon.
So, let's assume, for the purposes of this game, that Mr Muhammad does turn out to be the Washington sniper.
"ISLAM'S P.R. PROBLEM: They keep killing people."
Rule One in this game is apparently to generalise across an enormous population so as to damn the criterion that defines said population. A Leftie player could consequently produce something like so: Christianity's (or America's, or The West's, or whatever - all you have to do is choose your phobic population and let rip) PR problem is that they keep talking poisonous, ignorant, prejudiced hate. After all, a couple of notorious US evangelists vomited their disease all over the media last week, and RWB has to be more careful if he wishes to avoid giving the impression that the bacillus has spread to Sydney.
Anyway, the application of Rule One allows us to get to:
*All Christians (or whatever - as I say, just choose a criterion that neatly encompasses your 'representative' 'sample') are poisonous, ignorant, prejudiced haters.*
Easy so far, eh?
Our RWB goes on:
"I'm down in Sydney right now, but my correspondents in the U.S. tell me that TV is pretty much wall-to-wall with coverage of the sniper arrests, which is being spun as a larger meta-story about scary-looking guns and some sort of sniper "subculture." (Little mention is made of the suspect's pesky...um...last name)."
Rule Two is to characterise contending explanations as 'spin'. Remember, YOU get to choose what population The Bad Dude represents. Sorta like so: JA Muhammad is a product of US army culture. So were Charles Whitman (the Austin sniper of 1961), David Berkowitz ('Son of Sam') and Jeffrey Dahmer (the list goes on; check out Doug Saunders' piece in yesterday's *Globe And Mail* or Tim Reid's "What They Can't Control, They Kill" in *The Times* of August 2nd - four soldiers' wives were killed by their husbands at Fort Bragg alone).
So, deployed to suit, Rule Two allows us to get here:
*Anything in Muhammad's background not concerned with his enculturation in the US military - where the training regime inculcates both the technical (shooting straight) and emotional ('disengaging' the killer by way of objectifying the 'target') prerequisites - is spin designed to turn us from the pesky truth.*
But wait, there's more:
"But along with this bit of what might turn out to be freelance jihadism, others are killing loudly and publicly right now in the name of Islam. In Russia, hundreds of theater-goers are at the mercy of Muslim rebels who want to slaughter "infidels", though I don't think this is getting as much attention as it deserves in North America."
Rule Three, then, is to deploy the first application of Rule One (which RWB formulated as 'Muhammad killed on behalf of Islam') in concert with a second application of same (which, in RWB's hands, comes to 'the theatre killers killed on behalf of Islam'), and the first application of Rule Two ('all contending explanations are merely spin') with a second of same (effectively: 'the theatre killers are not [for instance] nationalists from an occupied land, not people brutalised by personal histories of suffering, bereavement and systemic rape at the hands of members of the Russian military'; they are simply Muslems killing for Islam.)
As a player of The Left, I could of course apply Rule Three thusly:
*Muhammad is not a creature of Osama bin Laden, he is another Timothy McVeigh.*
But then, we'd do well to remember, this is just a game.
In the real world, we westerners know full well that a couple of bigoted evangilists are not at all representative of Christianity (or Americans or Westerners or whatever). We also know there is rarely one 'cause' for any instance of human conduct. We know, too, that there are millions of US military-trained people who have never killed - and would never kill - innocents in their spare time. So even if it could be established that Muhammad's training and enculturation were necessary preconditions, they were demonstrably not sufficient.
I merely ask RWB to apply that reasoning to others. Logic demands it, ethics demand it, and sheer pragmatism (a much-prized criterion on the right wing of Ozplogistan) demands it.
It wouldn't do to lose sight of who the allies and opponents actually are in the ghastly business at hand. After all, the West needs Muslem allies badly.
I'll try again. The rest is at
A FURTHER INSTALMENT IN THE SAGA OF THE NEW WORLD (DIS)ORDER
"A STRATEGY FORETOLD
By Tom Barry
September 11 did not change everything. It certainly did not change the
security strategy that a network of hawks and neoconservatives has been
promoting since the early 1990s ... "
Good stuff. The rest's at
COLLINGWOOD RUNNING OUT OF TIME?
James Russell's HOT BUTTERED DEATH sadly advises that the universe may have as little as ten billion years left to it.
HOW HEALTHY IS NEO-LIBERALISM?
Any hegemony worthy of the name must succeed in convincing those who are hurt by its sway that it is either A Good Thing (Keating's 'you've never had it so good') or An Inevitable Thing (Thatcher's TINA ['There Is No Alternative'] doctrine). Hard to find a citizenry anywhere in benighted Latin America who buy either them lemons. Same in Western Europe, where even Tory Blur's government can't spin away those ever cash-strapped, often tragic, 'public/private' 'infrastructure' 'investment' 'strategies' of theirs. And, whilst I refuse to be carried away by an isolated by-election in Wollongong, I did hear Mark Latham admit tonight that it was time for Labor to gird the loins, confront the establishment, and 'rattle some cages'. This from Australia's most passionate apologist for that most notorious of all public relations stunts - that most craven of ersatz-leftie retreats before ersatz-economic fashion - the idea of the idealess - The Turd Way!