Thursday, January 8, 2015

"Clash Of Civilizations"

Recent events continue to confirm Bernard Lewis' prescient quarter-century old thesis that there is an ongoing existential struggle between Western Civilization and Islamism.

Fox News' Megyn Kelly interviews Mark Steyn about the terror attack in Paris.

Not all news media are as cowardly as those mentioned by Steyn. The Wall Street Journal today reproduced a non-pixelated cartoon from Charlie Hebdo mocking Islamism.

There are cowards, and there are morons... To get a taste of asinine moral equivalence currently infesting news commentary, watch this short MSNBC segment. Jonah Goldberg calls this the dumbest 57 seconds he's ever seen on TV.*

Mocking Christianity is not only not a capital offense, nor a subject to be avoided for fear of offending delicate sensibilities, it is a taxpayer supported enterprise deserving of accolades. From Wikipedia --

Piss Christ is a 1987 photograph by the American artist and photographer Andres Serrano. It depicts a small plastic crucifix submerged in a glass of the artist's urine. The piece was a winner of the Southeastern Center For Contemporary Art's "Awards in the Visual Arts" competition, which was sponsored in part by the National Endowment For The Arts, a United States Government agency that offers support and funding for artistic projects, without controlling content.

And then there's the Broadway musical, winner of numerous awards, "The Book Of Mormon", a derisive satire targeting the Church Of Latter Day Saints. The Church's response to the play?

The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people's lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ.

...Of course, parody isn't reality, and it's the very distortion that makes it appealing and often funny. The danger is not when people laugh but when they take it seriously—if they leave a theater believing that Mormons really do live in some kind of a surreal world of self-deception and illusion.

The LDS actually bought space in the play's program to advise theatergoers, "You've seen the play, now read the book."

A more heated reaction would no doubt be elicited from Islamists by a musical parody of their religion. Not that any Broadway producer would ever touch the subject. As Steyn wrote back in September, 2012 --

Last year Hillary Clinton went to see the Broadway musical Book of Mormon. “We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others”? The Book of Mormon’s big showstopper is “Hasa Diga Eebowai” which apparently translates as “F*** you, God.” The U.S. secretary of state stood and cheered.
Why does Secretary Clinton regard “F*** you, God” as a fun toe-tapper for all the family but “F*** you, Allah” as “disgusting and reprehensible”? The obvious answer is that, if you sing the latter, you’ll find a far more motivated crowd waiting for you at the stage door.

Worse, far worse, than the Paris terror attack was the recent Taliban perpetrated massacre of 145 people including 132 children aged 8 to 18 in a school in Peshawar, Pakistan. Though that outrage occurred less than a month ago (December 16) it has already faded from the collective global memory. In his latest WSJ column, Dan Henninger addresses this transience of focus and the danger it poses to peace and security.
Henninger notes the hollow attempt of some Parisiens to claim solidarity with the victims of Wednesday's attack as they hold signs proclaiming, "Je Suis Charlie". That sentiment is incongruous with Europe's overall support for Edward Snowden's publication of NSA secrets - an invaluable gift to jihadists.
Henninger brings up other forgotten atrocities including the April kidnapping of 276 girls from a school in Nigeria by the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram. Recall that incident and the social media memes it inspired. No less a personage than Michelle Obama got in on the feel-good exercise of posting inane and completely ineffectual hashtag slogans. And the FLOTUS is someone who, theoretically at least, should have a bit more influence on current affairs than your average tweeter.

The kidnapped girls are still missing nearly a year later, Boko Haram has expanded its reach and influence in the country and the mindless campaign has long been abandoned.

[Kevin Williamson has some harsh words for those he calls "hashtag activists" (as well as for other scorn-worthy types) in this column.]

* Added 1/10 - Goldberg expands on his criticism here, making some very good points about how the left repeatedly contorts arguments to blame America or conservatism for all the wrongs of the world. Highly recommended.

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