Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Soul of the Plot


The frost’s on the pumpkin, the fodder’s in the shock, the turkey’s in the straw, the bat's in the belfry…what else can all this mean, but that Islamofascism Awareness Week is drawing nigh?

All over “Christendom,” respected scholars like David Horowitz will be putting aside their alembics and retorts, their abaci and astrolabes, and training their penny-bright eyes firmly on this underexamined issue. Don’t expect Michelle Malkin to concern herself with immigrant lepers, or Baron Bodissey to speak out against leprous immigrants; the week will be consecrated to nothing but the contemplation of Nazi Ragheads, and no quarter will be asked or given.

Cynics might be amused by this proclamation. They'd probably say it's a bit like a child who wakes up screaming every night declaring Nightmare Awareness Week, or a miser declaring Hoarded Treasure Awareness Week, or a prisoner in solitary confinement declaring Cell Awareness Week, or Christopher Hitchens declaring Alcohol Awareness Week, or Thers declaring Bacon Awareness Week.

Cynicism, fortunately, died on 9/11, along with 3,000 brave, God-fearing, all-American heroes whose spirits will not rest easy until every Musselman from here to Chinnanallaballi is wailing in Hell.

Though Horowitz and Co. have often been accused – with some justice - of cowardice, and opportunism, and dishonesty, and stupidity, and ignorance, and venality, and racism, and silliness, and incoherence, and irrationality, and defamation, and amorality, and fraudulence, and viciousness, and paranoia, and authoritarianism, and stark staring insanity, it’s only fair to point out that fighting a phantasmagorical catch-all enemy is in many respects more difficult - if not more heroic - than fighting a strictly intelligible one.

As harrowing as it may be to dodge bullets and IEDs in Iraq, can it really compare to battling the miasmic influence of Edward Said’s Orientalism, or hunting for defeatist messages in the latest offering from Pixar, or cataloging the prospective rampages of that pitiless Wahhabist firebrand John Edwards?

Fire a round of bullets into an Iraqi hospital orderly, or an Afghani wedding guest, and the threat he posed to Civilization dies with him. Write a broadside against postcolonial theory, and you’ll just make its adherents more determined than ever to theorize. Sad to say, this is an all too typical denouement of this “play of hopes and fears,”

With its Phantom chased for evermore,
By a crowd that seize it not,
Through a circle that ever returneth in
To the self-same spot,
And much of Madness, and more of Sin,
And Horror the soul of the plot.
Though the subject doesn’t really call for it, I’ll end on a slightly serious note. The last time I made fun of “Islamofascism” – or one of the last times - I was challenged to explain my problems with the term. This time around, I’ll state my objections up front:
I view fascism as implacably statist and/or racist, which doesn't seem to fit Wahhabist Islam very well.

Also, the blanket term implies that there's a single ideological cause for violence committed in a variety of locales by a variety of groups, which is pointlessly reductive; its only real purpose is to blur the distinction between religious and secular violence, and between legitimate and illegitimate grievances.

It's convenient for propaganda purposes, granted, but it makes it harder to address real-world problems, whether you're talking about addressing them through warfare or diplomacy or education or what have you. Which seems to me to be a high price to pay in order to provide cowardly layabouts…with a unifying myth.

10 comments:

Eli said...

The term "Islamofascists" is about as intellectually imprecise as it is possible to be, and I don't really understand what purpose it serves.

Yes, obviously it's important to have a suitably catchy pejorative term for The Great Brown Enemy, but shouldn't it at least bear some passing relation to their actual ideology?

Maybe because Republicans get called fascists so often, they've concluded that it's some kind of catchall term meaning "horrible evil people who we hate", but it's really really hard to picture a Muslim version of Nazi Germany or Mussolini's Italy. I think Afghanistan under the Taliban is the more likely model; oppressive and horrid, sure. But not actually fascist.

Whether the demonization of Islam is warranted at all is a separate question, I'm mainly just expressing my irritation at the ignorance of the word itself. (Also noting that "fascism" is equally absurd when applied to liberals and most Democrats, although I'm not sure about the DLC...)

Phila said...

The term "Islamofascists" is about as intellectually imprecise as it is possible to be, and I don't really understand what purpose it serves.

Well, it definitely fits in with the whole "clash of civilizations" idea. And it hearkens back to WWII, which gives it a bit of reflected glory. And it also allows people to erase inconvenient ideological distinctions (e.g., between Saddam and AQ); they're all simply "Islamofascists," with no legitimate grievances and the same basic goals. They're not angry that their children got killed in a bombing raid; they're angry 'cause they're "Islamofascists."

Beyond that, naming the enemy is always a powerful act, and "Islamofascism" has a nice authoritative ring to it...it instantly gives the Toby Petzolds of the world the feeling that they really understand who they're vicariously fighting. And as silly as that sort of instant expertise is, I think it's pretty vital in terms of building and maintaining the appetite for war.

Eli said...

I understand that they need for there to be such a Term Of Demonization. I'm just mildly amazed that people who want to be viewed as hardheaded, pragmatic intellectuals would choose a word that makes them look so utterly ignorant and stupid.

Then again, looking ignorant and stupid has never exactly deterred them on anything else.

(Admittedly, I can't think of an alternative, but I'm not what you'd call highly motivated)

Phila said...

I'm just mildly amazed that people who want to be viewed as hardheaded, pragmatic intellectuals would choose a word that makes them look so utterly ignorant and stupid.

The thing is, they only look that way to dupes like us, whose Irrational Bush Hatred has led us to identify subconsciously with Islamofascism. By denying that this ideology exists, we're not only confirming its reality, but also admitting our emotional complicity with it.

Heil Osama!

Muslims Against Sharia said...

Muslims Against Sharia congratulate David Horowitz FREEDOM CENTER and Mike Adams, Tammy Bruce, Phyllis Chesler, Ann Coulter, Nonie Darwish, Greg Davis, Stephen Gale, David Horowitz, Joe Kaufman, Michael Ledeen, Michael Medved, Alan Nathan, Cyrus Nowrasteh, Daphne Patai, Daniel Pipes, Dennis Prager, Luana Saghieh, Rick Santorum, Jonathan Schanzer, Christina Sommers, Robert Spencer, Brian Sussman, Ed Turzanski, Ibn Warraq and other speakers on the success of the Islamofascism Awareness Week.

Islamofascism (or Islamism) is the main threat facing modern civilization and ignorance about this threat is astounding. We hope that this event becomes regular and reaches every campus.

A great many Westerners do not see the clear distinction between Islam and Islamism (Islamofascism). They need to understand that the difference between Islam and Islamism (Islamofascism) is the same as the difference between Christianity and Christian Identity Movement (White Supremacy Movement).

Original post

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