Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Today's Lesson From The Koran: How To Turn Your Worst Enemy Into A Folk Hero

Mark Steyn is a belligerently right-wing essayist and author whose great gift is his ability to make you laugh your head off even while he's explaining to you that the world is going straight to the dogs and it's all because of liberals and there's nothing you or anyone else can do about it and we're all screwed.

He's just now found himself at the vortex of a freak show that promises to keep us all amused for quite some time to come, and that's what I'm on about in my Tyee column today.

No Canadian embassies have been burned down yet, but everything's up for grabs: Islamophobia, hate speech, political correctness, multiculturalism, big government, and the freedom of the press. Everybody's invited, so put on your shiniest iron breastplate, bring along your greasiest trebuchet, and choose sides.

You can team up with the neoconservative, waterboarding, immigrant-loathing Islamophobes over on one side, or with those moonbats who don't understand that here in the West, free speech is a bedrock, absolute right, over there.

Or you could could just calm the hell down, because if you do, you just might notice that the game is rigged. That's the way it looks to me anyway, and I try to explain why in my column.

It's already too weird for words.

Here we have Canadian Islamic Congress bigshot Mohamed Elmasry dragging Steyn and Maclean's magazine, in three separate proceedings, before three separate human rights tribunals, when it wasn't so long ago that Elmasry was singing a different song: "In a democratic society, all voices should be heard - even ones whose viewpoint some of us might oppose."

Of course back then, he was arguing for a Canadian broadcasting licence for Al-Jazeera.

Meanwhile, who was the federal politician that came rushing to defend Steyn, whose career includes a bulging portfolio of columns and essays slagging off multiculturalism? Why, none other than Jason Kenney, Secretary of State for Multiculturalism.

As for Steyn's demography-is-destiny theory, it's all well and good, except when he's trying to make it fit, in practice. Steyn gets a bit of a thumping about that here. Christopher Hitchens is skeptical, but admiring. When Johann Hari crunches Steyn's numbers, they don't add up.

So sit back, watch the show, and enjoy it while you can, but be warned. I have a nagging feeling that no good will come of any of this.

UPDATE: I blew a gasket here this morning.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

wonder what Steyn will have to say about the father murdering his own daughter, strangling her with the hijab she refused to wear but he insistedon, to the point of death.

Elmasry thinks such barbarous murder is "a teenage problem".

Time for the HRC Star Courts to have a look at him and his organization.

5:42 AM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

I saw that, Fred. "Oh, just another teenage problem." If some Muslim kid got beat up in high school for being a Muslim kid, I know just the type who'd rush to write it off as just a teenage problem. The bigoted crank type. Elmasry's type.

10:45 AM  
Blogger richard said...

Certainly this is my assumption as well, Fred, but until the police stop speaking as elliptically as they have so far, I'm uncomfortably aware that it's my assumption. If her brother keeps saying it's not as simple as this, then I'm prepared to wait to judge.

But Elmasry's out-of-hand denial of the possibility is absurd. Domestic violence does occur across ethnic groups in Canada, certainly, including violence that fathers direct at daughters they perceive to be misbehaving - but each kind of violence needs to be rejected utterly, and the reasons for each kind and case need to be uncovered and overcome.

If a girl is killed because of her preference for clothing, then the reason for that objection has no place in the world I want to live in. This might be a rejection of the hijab, or it might be a taste for very short skirts: either way, she deserves to live.

2:20 PM  
Blogger Mark, Ottawa said...

Where it will all end knows God, Allah, Vishna, Jehovah...


5:42 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

Hi Mark.

I blame the Freemasons.

Someone has to.

6:10 PM  
Blogger Mark, Ottawa said...

Or the Elders, or somebody.

Upon semi-mature reflection, first read when thirteen, then again at fify-one, the most interesting novel ever:

"A Canticle for Leibowitz"


6:50 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

Ages since I read that. Should again.

The Elder always get blamed, though.

Lets go after the Jesuits then.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Will said...

I just like winding fucknuts up.

Tis was the reason interwebnetstubes was inventerated for.

7:39 PM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

"either way, she deserves to live"

To deserve:

": to be worthy of : merit, deserves another chance
intransitive verb

: to be worthy, fit, or suitable for some reward or requital

have become recognized as they deserve — T. S. Eliot"

Excuse me for being pedantic and cantankerous, but what does it mean "to deserve to live"? There is judgment implied in this formulation. As if there is a possibility that some girls might not be deserving to live.

Deserving suggests entitlement, not a right. And the right to life, secure and free of persecution, is a primary human right. A person does not have to earn that right, in any way. Using this kind of word is a variation on the theme that brought her to her death.

Again, I'm sure nothing like that was meant by Richard but I would plead with him to try to use more accurate language in such cases.

7:06 AM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

I rather liked Richard's construction. The proposition is put in a more active voice, avoiding the negative "didn't deserve to die." A right can also be an entitlement, besides. And it is by no means "a variation on the theme that brought her to her death."

So you are being a bit cantankerous, although not pedantic.

You'll also want to watch Richard on these points. If I'm not mistaken, he teaches this stuff.

8:34 AM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

What stuff?

If a right is also an entitlement, it is no longer a right. One may be entitled, or not, to be respected. One should not have to deserve the right to live.

To deserve suggests that someone else decides.

9:34 AM  
Blogger richard said...

Teachers fuck up as well, though, Terry. I'll take my reply over the the centrist's blog, where he seems to want to talk about this on his own ground for some reason. I agree with him that the language of rights is more appropriate, but I'm displeased with his wilfully obstreperous reading.

9:51 AM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

I'm cowed. Did I deserve such a big obstreperous gun waved at my face?

BTW, I'm a "she".

I post a trail of comments every once in a while, when I'm too lazy to start a new post about the subject, but still want to keep a record of what I said. Imagine that!

10:30 AM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

For the record, then:

It was a tiny bit obstreperous, I thought - after all, Noga said she was being cantankerous and pedantic; and I thought she was being a bit too hard on herself.

Now you two can have a quarrel about whether obstreperous is worse than cantankerous!

11:04 AM  
Blogger richard said...

Sorry for the he/she error, centrist -- I thought I saw the name "Brad" over on your blog, but now I see there were two separate names.

Nah, don't be cowed by me: I get cranky then calm down.

2:41 PM  
Blogger Mark, Ottawa said...

Was the Wandering Jew ("Canticle") an "Elder"?


2:47 PM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

Richard: Oh. Sorry. I forgot about Brad. He is a silent co-owner of the blog, so silent that I forget about him.

I get very indignant when mistaken for a man, based on my writing. Even though why is not quite clear.

3:32 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

I meant "elders," as in your "Or the Elders, or somebody." And no, I don't think the wanderer has anything to do with the elders.

Besides, I thought we were pinning it on the Jesuits. Shall we try for the Trilateral Commission, then?

3:36 PM  
Blogger Mark, Ottawa said...

I find the Club of Rome (ooh, Western cultural and imperial perspectives though they try otherwise) more to the point.

" high civil servants..." Help.


5:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many people talk about the need to reform Islam. Now you can stop talking and start helping.

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In Memoriam of Aqsa Parvez.

9:18 PM  

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