Monday, February 6, 2006

Muslims Behaving Like Muslims

Whatever is behind the latest episode of Muslims-Behaving-Badly it's not that their outrage results from the fact that Muhammed was represented in cartoons. Muhammed has been depicted many times in Islamic history (see here). What's different, perhaps, is that this time it's been done by European infidels. Then again, maybe it has just been a while since they've had an opportunity to act like true Muslims, and the cartoons were as good an excuse as any to shoot a few Christians:

A teenage boy shot and killed the Italian Roman Catholic priest of a church in the Black Sea port city of Trabzon in Turkey yesterday, shouting "Allah Akbar" (God is Great) as he escaped, according to police and witnesses. The priest, 60-year-old Andrea Santoro, was shot hours after Mass at Santa Maria Church....A woman who answered the telephone at the church said the priest was inside when he was attacked, and prosecutor Burhan Cobanoglu said he was shot twice from behind, with bullets ripping through his heart and liver.

"Allah Akbar," indeed. We're sure Allah is pleased that his devotees are acting like the spawn of twenty generations of incest among a population of imbeciles.

By the way, can you imagine a Muslim doing this?

You Better Shop Around

A former student sends this along after having read our post titled Orwell Warned Us About People Like This:

Your recent article entitled Orwell Warned Us About People Like This reminded me yet again why I find your site so enjoyable. Your assertion that "universities do not exist to challenge established thought-forms, they're not supposed to be "opening" minds" is, in my opinion, completely accurate at most universities. While there are some professors that are the exception, often they are denied tenure, made to silence their views, etc.

Most of the professors in today's universities seem to simply peddle a blatant left-wing agenda, which wouldn't be so bad if they didn't try to pass it off as unbiased. For example, my Contemporary Arab World Professor nonchalantly will defend the Arabs/Palestinians and rant on against the "evils of Israel" - how they butcher civilians, stole the land from the Arabs, have no right to that land, etc.- and she doesn't present this as an opinion, but as accepted belief. The sad part is, for most of the left-wing ideologues at American University (and other schools), they view their extremist beliefs as in the mainstream, unquestionable, and perfectly acceptable.

As always, I find your site informative and entertaining. Keep up the superb work.

We wonder what this student's university would do if a professor of Israeli or Jewish studies promoted the same sorts of hate-inspiring propaganda against the Palestinians. Doubtless, he or she would be the object of loud protests, demands for disciplinary hearings, and on and on. Universities, or at least certain departments in many of them, have lost their soul along with their intellectual integrity. They've abandoned the academic ideals of scholarship, objectivity, and fairness and have transformed themselves into crass megaphones for left-wing ideology.

Mama, before you send your child off to college, you better check into what you'll be getting for your thirty five thousand dollars a year. You might also do well, if you have a high tolerance for sleaze, to read Tom Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons. It's an eye opener for a lot of parents.


The New York Times has an interesting profile of perhaps the most prominent of contemporary philosophers, Saul Kripke. Kripke is a true genius and a genuine eccentric. The Times article is a good read. Here's part of it:

Mr. Kripke, a rabbi's son, grew up in Omaha, and by all accounts was a true prodigy, so brilliant and precocious that the so-called prodigies of today are by comparison mere shadows flickering on the wall of our collective cave. In the fourth grade he discovered algebra, which he later said he could have invented on his own, and by the end of grammar school he had mastered geometry and calculus and taken up philosophy. While still a teenager he wrote a series of papers that eventually transformed the study of modal logic. One of them, or so the legend goes, earned a letter from the math department at Harvard, which hoped he would apply for a job until he wrote back and declined, explaining, "My mother said that I should finish high school and go to college first."

The college he eventually chose was Harvard. "I wish I could have skipped college," Mr. Kripke said in an interview. "I got to know some interesting people, but I can't say I learned anything. I probably would have learned it all anyway, just reading on my own."

While still a Harvard undergrad, Mr. Kripke started teaching post-graduates down the street at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and after getting his B.A. didn't bother to acquire an advanced degree. Who could teach him anything he didn't already know? Instead, he began teaching and publishing. His 1980 book "Naming and Necessity," based on work he began in high school, is among the most influential philosophy books of the last 50 years, and his book-length interpretation of Wittgenstein, published two years later, is so thoroughgoing that some scholars now refer to a sort of composite figure known as Kripgenstein.

He certainly sounds like an amazing character.

Living in a Fantasy World

Amy Goodman, whoever else she is, must be the poster child for left-wing naivete. She thinks the American media are declining in popularity because people are fed up with positive coverage of the war in Iraq and that the Arab media have an opportunity to take over as the premier global news source, presumably because the world hungers for the sort of honest, objective reporting they would get from, say, al-Jazeera. Here are the opening paragraphs of The Guardian's report on a News Forum sponsored by al-Jazeera at which Ms Goodman spoke:

Arabic-language media have an unprecedented chance to take over as the world's premier news source because trust in their US counterparts plummeted following their "shameful coverage" of the war in Iraq, a conference heard today.

The US media reached an "all-time low" in failing to reflect public opinion and Americans' desire for trusted information, instead acting as a "cheerleader" for war, said Amy Goodman, the executive producer and host of US TV and radio news show Democracy Now!, at a news forum organised by al-Jazeera. Ms Goodman said in the run-up to the Iraq war a study of NBC, CBS, ABC and PBS newscasts over a fortnight recorded 393 interviews on the conflict, of which only three reported the anti-war movement.

"This is a media cheerleading for war and does not represent mainstream opinion in the US," she added. Ms Goodman said she believed the policy of embedding reporters with coalition forces was "a total failure for independent journalism ... western audiences need to see the other side of the story - from communities and hospitals".

"If people in the US had a true picture of war - dead babies, women with their legs blown off, dead and dying soldiers - they would say 'no'," she said. "There is nothing more important than the media - it is more powerful than any bomb or missile and we have to take it back ... we need a media that is independent and honestly showing us the images, the hell, ugliness and brutality of war, not selling us war."

Well, of course. No one wants to be confronted with the ugliness of war in their living rooms every evening, and many people who don't otherwise think very much about the reasons for going to war would be repelled by the visuals of death and carnage, but if the nightly news bombarded us with the horrors of automobile accidents night after night many people would probably support serious restrictions on automobiles, too. Her complaint, at bottum, is that she's against the war and she's upset that the media haven't done everything they could to turn the rest of public opinion against it.

If Ms Goodman thinks the American media are in decline because of their alleged support for the war, she hasn't been paying attention. Every night we're reminded of the death toll. Every night we hear of bombings and mayhem, but rarely is there a report on the many positive developments taking place in Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead we hear report after report about how dire the situation is "on the ground" and how chaotic Iraq is.

Moreover, both the LA Times and New York Times are, in fact, anti-Bush, anti-war papers, and their circulation numbers are in decline, especially those of the LA Times. People are resigning their allegiance to the old media for a number of reasons, but dissatisfaction with their "cheerleading" is hardly one of them. If it were, how would we explain the fact that conservative talk radio is prospering?

The old media is suffering because of the proliferation of competitive alternatives on cable news networks, talk radio, and the internet. They're also declining in influence because people are disgusted with their liberal tendentiousness and the realization that they can't be trusted to present the whole truth.

If Ms Goodman thinks that the solution to the woes of mainstream print and broadcast media is to embrace the likes of al-Jazeera then she's living in a fantasy world. As a perusal of the article linked above will show, even others at al-Jazeera's News Forum said as much.