Posted: 30th June 2011 by traumaturgist in Uncategorized

Ok….this sorta thing just pisses me off. Maybe what I’m about to say is a platitude….then again, when I read things like this maybe it isn’t to some people:

Pakistan backlash grows over Internet ‘sacrilege’

This needs to be said: MUSLIMS ARE NOT SPECIAL. Now, I know you think you’re special; and if I don’t believe it, I can read that wacky piece of third-rate journalism called the Koran (which is about as factually accurate as the Bible or any other religious narrative). However, I’m here to tell you and whoever else will listen – you’re not. I know some people are rolling their eyes at just how obvious this is – but when the shit hits the fan in global culture, it’s always the simple, self-evident truths that are the first to be thrown out the window. Ironic, innit?

Now. Before I get in deep shit, I will say the following: thankfully there are Muslims that are smart enough not to fall in for such mouth-foaming fanaticism. See, this means that Muslims, in the end, are just like the rest of us – people with certain beliefs whose personal passion about those beliefs exists along a really wide spectrum – from easy-going personal faith to book-thumping, book-burning (but alas, not book-reading)1 fundamentalism. However – this also means that, just like everyone else, their beliefs and passions are going to be roundly ridiculed in this global public sphere we are all now forced to live in to varying degrees. This is a supreme irony: that in order to enter into the realm of credibility in this new global public sphere, you must first open yourself up to its ridicule; and because true irony is one of the most difficult things in the world to purvey to groups of human beings, puddingheads who are used to thinking in terms of group psychology are simply not gonna get it. All of this is precisely why Kierkegaard writes that “the crowd is untruth”, and it’s a fundamental reason why if you want to change anything, you need to change yourself first. As Jung also wrote, people who want to look first outside themselves to change the world are almost always doing this as a means to evade the difficult and arduous task of changing themselves first.

But is this the whole story? Looking generally at Muslims (insofar as this is possible), one can see why they have a reason to feel pissed off. And yes, at the risk of reiterating another platitude, America is largely responsible for this: since the Monroe Doctrine in 1823, in which America basically staked its claim to the Western hemisphere as part of a future bid for world domination through economic and/or military force, part of this global agenda2 has been the support of Israel as glorified military base in the Middle East3 and the marginalization of Arab Muslims as the dominant ethnic group in the region. As a result, cultivating good old Islamophobia is a clear benefit to cultivate (and, where it cannot be cultivated, create) support for ongoing nation-building projects in the Middle East (sorry, Ari Fleischer).

So suffice it to say I agree that the Muslims have generally had a rough time of it. Now, I’m not a fan of Islam (or Christianity or Judaism); I’ve tried to read the Koran and found it monotonous and rather lacking in philosophical and literary beauty that I, personally, see more in the Bible.4 But whether or not I like Islam has nothing to do with people having the right to be Muslims and more or less keep it to themselves (do I need to highlight, underline or throw down road flares around these last few words?). However – what I see here is a conflation of aesthetics and politics; a confusion of the two, based on the assumption that Facebook or YouTube aesthetics necessarily translate into political power. It’s all very chic and postmodern to say that “everything is political”, and so it is – but not always in an important way. Facebook and YouTube are more or less the Internet’s “Flavour of the Month” club for a culture with an ever-dwindling attention span; and while there are useful causes being furthered on both, let’s face it – the signal-to-noise ratio of both – not to mention the Internet in general – far, far outweighs the former.

These fundamentalist gooheads are obviously overstating things. Banning Facebook and YouTube in the name of human rights or people’s “hurt feelings” – one of the stupidest excuses there is for this sort of thing – is only going to feed into the emotional reactionism that caused this in the first place. And to get back to my previous point – if said Muslims are interested at all (and maybe they aren’t) in becoming members of a larger global community, they will have to accept the fact that Islam is going to be ridiculed. And they’re not alone – hell, look at Judaism; look at Christianity, which at the very least in North America is the most ridiculed religion of them all!

Ye gods I get sick of people who can neither think nor read truncheoning the world with their insecurities and lack of faith. Yes, it is a lack of faith. To end: if Mohammed is a prophet and saint or grand poobah of the multiverse for you, then you are a fucking idiot to demand the same of others. This is precisely the test of inwardness; can your faith survive when everything around you seems indifferent or hostile? If you believe something passionately and insist the world believe the same thing, I have news for you: you aren’t fighting Satan – you are Satan. But I mean Satan without all the cool rockstars and gifted musicians crashed out as his pad.

God, I feel like Dr. Phil spouting these platitudes….so dirty….I need a shower and a drink.

  1. Ok, ok, so they read it….but probably only every second word. And they probably skip to the wacky fire-and-brimstone parts and ignore the parts that make you think. In fact, they probably just read that parts where Mohammed comes off like some Muslim Chuck Norris punching the world with his bearded fist. And if you’re reading this and think this is blasphemous then take a long, thoughtful look at the world around you and shut the fuck up for reasons I am about to explain.
  2. Again, I’m indebted to Noam Chomsky here for making some crystal clear distinctions: this is not a conspiracy theory – it’s institutional analysis (see Manufacturing Consent)
  3. And need we mention the Casa del Negroponte? – the massive US Embassy being built in Baghdad? Will he sit on the porch with a shotgun, white suit, white brim-hat and Colonel Sanders tie while an old dog lies lazily at his feet?
  4. Now I know what some Muslims would say to this: you need to read the original Arabic! Which may be true – but the Bible wasn’t originally written in English either, and the Bible has moving poetry and great insights…