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Cannot say hi to Jack inside a plane. #MuslimRage
September 19, 2012 10:13 AM   Subscribe

MUSLIM RAGE! in response to an alarmist Newsweek cover: 13 beautiful photos of Muslim "rage," a few round-ups of #MuslimRage and a brief history of hysterical Newsweek covers. [via Making Light]
posted by straight (178 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
This makes me so mad.
posted by anothermug at 10:21 AM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


The angriest Muslim I ever knew was a dude I went to high school with who got grouchy during Ramadan because he was hungry. The rest of year he was totally cool.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:21 AM on September 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


A chilling portrait of rage.
posted by Egg Shen at 10:22 AM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Newsweek! Cause it's always time to SCARE GRANDMA
posted by The Whelk at 10:23 AM on September 19, 2012 [25 favorites]


The last one in that slideshow of Newsweek covers is a nice...twist.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:24 AM on September 19, 2012 [22 favorites]


Those pictures were pretty awesome. I think those images could go a long way to fighting prejudice if only more people got to see them.
posted by pickinganameismuchharderthanihadanticipated at 10:24 AM on September 19, 2012


Those protests in the streets of Egypt, Syria, and Libya are all illusions concocted by the fearmongering Western press #pandering #denial
posted by Fritz Langwedge at 10:26 AM on September 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


LOL
posted by infini at 10:27 AM on September 19, 2012


It's almost as if they were trying to gin up controversy & leverage people's fears in order to sell more copies of their magazine.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:28 AM on September 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


Oh god, this cover and this one are just... wow.
posted by kmz at 10:28 AM on September 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


There are NEGROES IN AMERICA?!? Why wasn't I TOLD?!?

goddam.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:29 AM on September 19, 2012


What with the videos and news and the magazine covers, one wonders who is managing the international/global reputation of the nation?
posted by infini at 10:29 AM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Babies, yes, -- BUT WHAT ELSE?!?!?"
posted by kmz at 10:29 AM on September 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


> Oh god, this cover and this one are just... wow.

The best part of the second one is "(SPECIAL SCIENCE REPORT)".
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:30 AM on September 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


#williamrandolphhearst
posted by DU at 10:30 AM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Related: Newsweek: Is Asking Inane Questions the Future of Journalism?

What's "funny" is that when I read this yesterday, at first, I really thought the "Was Mussolini Right?" wasn't a joke, which says something about me, but says something about Niall Ferguson and Newsweek too.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:31 AM on September 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


WHY WON'T THIS FUCKING CHRISTMAS PUDDING SET #MUSLINRAGE
posted by griphus at 10:35 AM on September 19, 2012 [10 favorites]


Asking inane questions has been a tactic since 2006.

(Yes, much of America's best journalism is still found on Comedy Central. And it's still depressing.)
posted by deanklear at 10:36 AM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dateline: Is America sick of being asked stupid questions by the media?
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:37 AM on September 19, 2012


I wish these morans would get a brain. Go usa.

HAS RIP-OFF BRITAIN HAD SEX WITH YOUR PETS? HAVE MUSLIMS GIVEN HARD-WORKING FAMILIES SWINE FLU? HAVE HOODIES BURGLED THE ROYAL FAMILY?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:40 AM on September 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


That "Was Mussolini Right" one is so realisticl that the only thing that sticks out is actually using the word "fascism" in the article. Because the policy espoused is actual underway and has been for decades.
posted by DU at 10:40 AM on September 19, 2012


Echos of The Daily Mail Song
posted by The Whelk at 10:41 AM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are NEGROES IN AMERICA?!? Why wasn't I TOLD?!?

Well, the headline actually reads, "The Negro in America," so apparently their reporter could only verify the one.
posted by PlusDistance at 10:44 AM on September 19, 2012 [15 favorites]


The best one I've seen so far is "Lost nephew at the airport but can't yell for him because his name is Jihad #muslimrage"
posted by prefpara at 10:49 AM on September 19, 2012 [11 favorites]


One "rage" picture is guy diving into a large public swimming pool, with the sarcastic caption "Look at this enraged Iraqi and tell me you're not scared".

On closer inspection: There are fifty men in that swimming pool and no women. I do find the implications of that scary.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 10:51 AM on September 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


On the bright side, twitter's #muslimrage hashtag has been this week's font of comedy gold. Everyone with a middle-eastern name and a gripe has been tagging stuff with it, to much hilarity.

I'm out of Ben and Jerry's "Sharia Garcia" ice-cream and Notting Hill is on TV. #muslimrage

Out of hummus!? #muslimrage

Having a great hair day. Nobody knows. #muslimrage

The Dark Knight Rises comes out during Ramadan? #muslimrage

Ramadan in Iceland! Days are 23 hours long! #muslimrage

Rebooting Windows again. #muslimrage


So good.
posted by mhoye at 10:51 AM on September 19, 2012 [19 favorites]


Those protests in the streets of Egypt, Syria, and Libya are all illusions concocted by the fearmongering Western press #pandering #denial

So here's this thing that I wrote for my friends on Facebook, because I was seeing a lot of comments about how wildly out of control the Muslim world is, and links to various jokey tweets and images about what's happening:

There's a thing that is fairly common in abusive relationships where the abuser just tears viciously into the abused, over and over again, breaking them down and destroying their sense of self and agency and safety. Then when they're out in public, maybe with family or friends, the abuser will make one tiny comment or joke, nothing big, and the abused has an explosive, visceral reaction, not to that one comment, but to the sum total of everything that they've been enduring in private. Now all the abuser has to do is set back and let people draw their own conclusions. Look how CRAZY the abused partner is! Look how wildly out of control of their emotions they are! How fucking saintly the abuser is for restraining themselves in the face of such unwarranted hostility and unbridled insanity!

What I would like is for the people in my News Feed and Twitter stream, my friends, to consider this the next time that they decide to post another "those wacky Muslims" update about the recent unrest in Benghazi, Cairo, Sana'a and Tripoli. I'd like for people to stop pretending that these riots are happening in a vacuum, that they're just about a harmless movie or comic drawing, and not taking place during a period in which the most powerful military in the history of the world has spent the last decade invading and destroying nations simply because they are Muslim. I'd like my friends to weigh the possibility that maybe this sudden outpouring of anger has something to do with the hundreds of thousands of Muslims who have died (I am being ridiculously conservative in my estimate of Muslim dead here, because I don't want responses to this note to derail into arguments about JUST HOW MANY people have died) in the last decade as a direct result of American military adventurism throughout the Islamic world. That this outpouring of rage might possibly be related to the American bombs that have fallen not merely in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also Libya, Pakistan and Yemen. I'd like for my friends, who I'm fairly confident are well aware that the United States of America has been involved in the torture and killing of Muslims for some time now, to consider that all of this is taking place while the United States government is making an effort to drum up support for military action in Syria, and that it's just possible that the international Islamic community is well aware of that.

I'm not a Muslim, and I have serious misgivings about some of the ways that Islam is practiced around the world. I do think that the world would be a better place if certain facets of Islam changed, but I'm pretty sure that the way that the United States has acted over the past ten years is not the best way to make those changes, and as the faces of the United States internationally, American embassies are going to have to deal with the fallout of America's treatment of Muslim nations.

So, yeah, that Onion image was funny, and I laughed at it. Yeah, Richard Dawkins can be witty, although I'd probably find his snide tweets a lot more humorous if I hadn't witnessed the outcome of the war that his friend Christopher Hitchens similarly championed. And, yes, you totally have the right to say whatever you want, and you certainly don't need my permission to be an asshole on the internet, but please consider that first paragraph. Consider that maybe this situation has an abuser and the abused. Consider, if that is indeed the case, whose side you want to support.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 10:57 AM on September 19, 2012 [80 favorites]


pickinganameismuchharderthanihadanticipated: "Those pictures were pretty awesome. I think those images could go a long way to fighting prejudice if only more people got to see them."

OH man - whatever you do, don't go into the the atheist subreddit and try to argue with them that muslims aren't all angry evil SOBs that should be wiped from the face of the planet (oh sure, I'm sure they'll say ISLAM, not MUSLIMS) but the seething rage and hatred there after this all blew up (no pun intended) was seriously disgusting.

I did find a picture of a vigil in Egypt and at least one person thanked me for showing them that there was another side. So I guess it does matter, but they have to see it with their own eyes in photos to believe it, apparently.

But will such pictures really defeat the hate? I'd like to think so - at least it might remove some barriers to understanding. But I am so bitter about humanity, and it seems to get worse every year. :\
posted by symbioid at 11:04 AM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's a thing that is fairly common in abusive relationships where the abuser just tears viciously into the abused, over and over again, breaking them down and destroying their sense of self and agency and safety. Then when they're out in public, maybe with family or friends, the abuser will make one tiny comment or joke, nothing big, and the abused has an explosive, visceral reaction, not to that one comment, but to the sum total of everything that they've been enduring in private. Now all the abuser has to do is set back and let people draw their own conclusions. Look how CRAZY the abused partner is!

Wow. Just wow. A new bar has been set for violence apologists everywhere.
posted by Behemoth at 11:05 AM on September 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


qxntpqbbbqxl: "There are fifty men in that swimming pool and no women. I do find the implications of that scary."
You find gender-segregated swimming pools scary? Why?
posted by brokkr at 11:07 AM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Parasite Unseen,

I was merely making the observation that Newsweek's shoddy and sensationalistic cover images don't change the fact that there have been widespread protests throughout the Middle East for a year now. Regardless of whether we nice Western liberal types consider their causes valid (like the oppressive Western-backed regime of Mubarak) or invalid (their outrage over a film produced merely to provoke their outrage), plenty of people in the Muslim world are legitimately up in arms. If it weren't for our fear of being branded Islamophobes for saying so, I'd say people are pissed off over there.
posted by Fritz Langwedge at 11:10 AM on September 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wow. Just wow. A new bar has been set for violence apologists everywhere.

I don't think that Parasite Unseen was necessarily referring to the acts of violence and murder, rather the general appearance of "rage", hence the title of the Newsweek article. I mean, we do live in a country that sends routine killer robot attack drones to bomb Muslim countries, and tautologically defines "Combatant" as "Anyone we happened to blow up, because why would we blow up civilians?"

In that sense, anyone who's not outraged by our actions is an apologist for violence. The intent of his post, I think, was to emphasize that there is plenty of reason for "rage," and ignoring the reasons that Arab and Islamic protestors might be angry at us is profoundly disingenuous. That doesn't make murder acceptable, it doesn't make terrorism acceptable, but it does put a different spin on media images of "Those Crazy, Touchy Muslims Always Getting Het Up About Cartoons Or Youtube Or Whatnot".
posted by verb at 11:12 AM on September 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


Of course not all Muslims are the radical protestors ready to kill and burn. In fact it is a small percentage. It would be nice if more pictures like this and the ones that had Muslims showing signs protesting and denouncing what the protestors are doing were distributed. Sadly hate sells far more than love and acceptance.

Part of the problem is shit like what is going on now. The large number of protests going on in the Muslim world is NOT about a year old movie. Which, actually is a good thing. If some low-budget movie about Islam and The Prophet unseen by 90% of the protestors truly got them this upset what would they do when the large budget White House approved movie about the Killing of OBL and Obama's part?

Claiming that they are this upset over a movie as opposed to a million other things including items mentioned by Parasite Unseen and others not only takes America and its leaders out of the blame target but makes the protestors to be unreasonable and rather barbaric. It dehumanizes them.

No doubt this would anger them even more.
posted by 2manyusernames at 11:14 AM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fritz I think the issue is that images like the Newsweek cover are the ONLY images most Americans ever see of the Arab world. Similarly, the only images most Americans ever see of sub-Saharan African are of extreme tribal violence and abject poverty/famine/starvation. That's the problem!
posted by Mister_A at 11:14 AM on September 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wow. Just wow. A new bar has been set for violence apologists everywhere.


I don't know that it really counts as apologetics to say that events have greater causes influencing them than just what's on the surface.

You wouldn't say that World War I was started over 'just a sandwich' or 'just the assassination of an Archduke'. You'd also go into the system of alliances and treaties and national identities which served as the background, and were lit off by the assassination as a flashpoint.

Similarly, brushing aside tensions within the region in favor of 'They are just violently responding to this video, because that's what they do' is extremely reductive.
posted by CrystalDave at 11:17 AM on September 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Wow. Just wow. A new bar has been set for violence apologists everywhere.
Such a new bar that it's been a defence in law for years?
posted by Abiezer at 11:18 AM on September 19, 2012


Sadly hate sells far more than love and acceptance.

Um, yeah, it also kills more than love and acceptance. But I assume you don't care that these reasonable and non-barbaric protestors stormed the US embassy in Tripoli and killed a few people. Because that would be bigoted, or Islamophobic, or something.
posted by Fritz Langwedge at 11:22 AM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


You find gender-segregated swimming pools scary? Why?

I find gender-segregated society scary.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 11:26 AM on September 19, 2012 [15 favorites]


Would it be safe to call this "Rage on a Page"?

posted by mmrtnt at 11:28 AM on September 19, 2012


"Look at this enraged Iraqi and tell me you're not scared".

On closer inspection: There are fifty men in that swimming pool and no women. I do find the implications of that scary.


I did feel something when I saw that picture that would replace both "scared" in the caption and "scary" in your assessment.

Hint: it's hot.
posted by psoas at 11:28 AM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Consider that maybe this situation has an abuser and the abused.

Would you say that the United States has treated Middle Eastern nations substantially worse than say Latin American nations? If we are going to tally up the crimes of the United States, I would say that Latin America is the clear winner. Sub-Saharan Africa would be next in line.

Why aren't these regions burning American flags then? Is it that Latin Americans are too scared - they do not have them same courage as Muslims?

Or maybe there is more going on in the Middle East than: "they were abused by the United States."
posted by Flood at 11:29 AM on September 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


Um, yeah, it also kills more than love and acceptance. But I assume you don't care that these reasonable and non-barbaric protestors stormed the US embassy in Tripoli and killed a few people. Because that would be bigoted, or Islamophobic, or something.

It's especially worth noting that the general consensus at this point is that the protestors were not the ones who attacked the embassy. Reports seem to indicate a concerted effort to drum up media coverage and outrage in the days leading UP to the protests, and a planned attack that used the protests as cover. In other words, a bunch of people deliberately pissed off Muslims, but rather than provoking them to violence they just ended up making enough noise to give the actual militants cover.

Over on Quora, an Egyptian user is attempting to give a feel for things over there:
Egyptian here. Freedom of speech is not a concept average joes understand here. The majority being muslims or christians, heresy is not well tolerated by either side. Each side does its best to make sure they lose nobody to the other religion or atheism.

Egyptians have been under military/authoritarian rule for 60 years (July 1952 - July 2012). Those regimes had ministries of 'information' and censorship committees to ban any publication/film/music deemed 'inappropriate.' Poor people (who are more emotional when it comes to religion/honor/face issues) believe that the US government can ban the film. I know it sounds funny but they think the ambassador would call Obama saying 'Egyptians are upset', so Obama calls his minister of information saying 'stop the screenings.' It's hard to talk logic into people who live on less than $2 a day, when they have not been exposed to it in their lives (not even at school, work, or courtrooms).

This was about the guys who were really there defending their religion. Also in the mix, there are:
  1. adrenaline junkies, who grew addicted to fighting police and any authority during the year and a half under the military junta;
  2. people who see the police as extreme evil e.g. street sellers, as they have been evicted by police in the last two weeks, as they were occupying every single inch of downtown illegally;
  3. people who have no job, no money and want to feel they are part of something bigger than themselves, a sense of purpose;
  4. people who believe the US is the HQ of evil, the enemy of Islam and Arab nationalism, and the large imperialist power that wants to subdue Arabs.
Mind you, parsing that is harder than simply calling people animals or whatever.
posted by verb at 11:30 AM on September 19, 2012 [32 favorites]


"Babies, yes, -- BUT WHAT ELSE?!?!?"

Ah, I see this Newsweek cover reads my Facebook feed.
posted by maryr at 11:32 AM on September 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


Um, yeah, it also kills more than love and acceptance. But I assume you don't care that these reasonable and non-barbaric protestors stormed the US embassy in Tripoli and killed a few people. Because that would be bigoted, or Islamophobic, or something.

What I care about is that this is the sort of thing that will be used by the American media in order to whip up support for future military action in the region, in the same way that it has many times before, at the cost of far more lives than those already lost.

There are mountains of historical examples of how media cheerleading for imperialist action have been used to justify military action far outstripping the situation that it was meant to address. Usually, some people got very rich in the process. "Unreasonable" and "barbaric" were words also used to describe the Native Americans by the US press, the people of India by the British press, and the people of Africa by just about half of Europe. And every time, just like has happened in the Muslim world since 9/11, those "unreasonable", "barbaric" people were put down in large numbers, and the select portions of the countries "civilizing" them managed to turn a substantial profit.

In order to run a shell game, you need someone to convince onlookers that the game isn't rigged, and that the person running the game has only the best intentions. This is historically the role of the media in military endeavors. I have no reason to suspect that this is not the case here.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 11:33 AM on September 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


Parasite Unseen: "American bombs that have fallen not merely in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also Libya, Pakistan and Yemen."
... Sudan, Somalia, plus further US military engagement in the Philippines, Djibouti, Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Nigeria, Kenya and Morocco. Among others.
posted by brokkr at 11:33 AM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


The objection, and what makes it look Islamophobic, is the use of the sweepingly broad term 'Muslim' to describe the people storming the embassy/protesting elsewhere when they mean Salafist militias and fellow travellers.
On preview - Latin America has hardly been a stranger to armed movements that attacked US interests in the recent past
posted by Abiezer at 11:34 AM on September 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


Or maybe there is more going on in the Middle East than: "they were abused by the United States."

Obviously big bad America was breaking down Muslims and destroying their sense of self and agency and safety when the USA put the Holy Emir of Kuwait back on his throne.
posted by Fritz Langwedge at 11:37 AM on September 19, 2012


Fritz, I do not think you are arguing in good faith.
posted by Mister_A at 11:39 AM on September 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Obviously big bad America was breaking down Muslims and destroying their sense of self and agency and safety when the USA put the Holy Emir of Kuwait back on his throne.

What's your solution?
posted by dirigibleman at 11:41 AM on September 19, 2012


Fritz Langwedge: Obviously big bad America was breaking down Muslims and destroying their sense of self and agency and safety when the USA put the Holy Emir of Kuwait back on his throne.

That's a pretty bad example; the restoration of a oil despot is not exactly looking out for the little guy.
posted by spaltavian at 11:42 AM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


And I want to add, I'm not dismissing your point. "Angry at Western injustices" does not totally explain what's going on in the Middle East.
posted by spaltavian at 11:43 AM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fritz, I do not think you are arguing in good faith.

Well, I don't seem to be alone. It's like anyone who deplores the violence that killed a few Americans in Tripoli, or condemns the outrage over a piece of moviemaking, or even admits that there's legitimate unrest in the Middle East, is doing so merely because of bigotry and a thirst for dehumanizing Muslims.
posted by Fritz Langwedge at 11:43 AM on September 19, 2012


Obviously big bad America was breaking down Muslims and destroying their sense of self and agency and safety when the USA put the Holy Emir of Kuwait back on his throne.

Unless we're thinking of different incidents, you're talking about something that happened twenty years ago, isn't related to the ongoing problems in the region, and was the result of Kuwait being attacked by a force that we'd historically backed and armed in the region.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 11:43 AM on September 19, 2012


these reasonable and non-barbaric protestors stormed the US embassy in Tripoli

Except that there's some evidence that those involved on the attack on the US embassy were not in fact protesters, and were instead militants who used the protests as cover for an attack.

Using "Muslims" or even "fundamentalists" is not a sufficiently nuanced or specific term when speaking about people involved in these kinds of protests or actions. It may be generically accurate, but it fails to differentiate between the many different groups of Muslims with different interests, different beliefs, and different social and political contexts. A big part of the problem with portrayal of Muslims in media is that these differences and nuances are rarely ever articulated. Muslims all get lumped together in a giant group, and their actions are almost always ascribed to their religion, when in fact there are complex social, political, and economic reasons and motives for their actions that sometimes intersect with their religion. Reducing all Muslims' motives to Islam, religious intolerance, or hatred of the West plays into racist and Islamophobic narratives.
posted by yasaman at 11:44 AM on September 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


isn't related to the ongoing problems in the region

Huh? The first gulf war was the key motivation behind the formation of Al Qaeda.
You just lost all credibility saying that the first gulf war is unrelated to the current politics of the Middle East.
posted by Flood at 11:47 AM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


even admits that there's legitimate unrest in the Middle East

Is anyone here denying that there's legitimate unrest in the Middle East? Saying there's unrest in the Middle East isn't Islamophobic. Simplistically reducing the reasons for that unrest to "lol Islam" and "they just hate us Americans because of our freedom" is.
posted by yasaman at 11:47 AM on September 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Using "Muslims" or even "fundamentalists" is not a sufficiently nuanced or specific term when speaking about people involved in these kinds of protests or actions.
Spot on (as is the rest of your comment) and I thought even more glaringly inadequate given it's a weekly magazine where you might expect something a bit more in-depth than a tabloid.
posted by Abiezer at 11:48 AM on September 19, 2012


Fritz, if you want to convince us of your deep knowledge of Middle Eastern politics, it might be a good start to stop confusing Benghazi and Tripoli.
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:49 AM on September 19, 2012


Saying "Muslims" attacked the embassies is like saying "Christians" attack abortion clinics.

Technically true, but it implies a wider sense of agreement over the issue within the group than actually exists.
posted by wildcrdj at 11:50 AM on September 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


Reducing all Muslims' motives to Islam, religious intolerance, or hatred of the West plays into racist and Islamophobic narratives.

Wheras reducing any admission that there's violence in the Middle East, and that at least some of it seems religiously motivated, to the urge to dehumanize is the most fair-minded and enlightened way to look at this complex issue.
posted by Fritz Langwedge at 11:50 AM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Simplistically reducing the reasons for that unrest to ...

But it is OK to reduce the problems to, "They were abused by the United States."
Right?
posted by Flood at 11:51 AM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


#ChristianRage
posted by saulgoodman at 11:55 AM on September 19, 2012


Thanks for this post. Till now I was taken in by flag burning and rock throwing and screaming people in some 20 plus nations but these [pictures gathered I assume during nice moments showed me that the "rage" was concocted by Newsweek and other American biased sources.
posted by Postroad at 11:56 AM on September 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


But it is OK to reduce the problems to, "They were abused by the United States."

As far as I can tell, no one did that.

He was offering a different perspective on some of the motivations that can often be at play in a culture that's been consistently kicked at by a more powerful culture. Suggesting that the perspective he offered reduced the entire problem to the abuse dynamic is disingenuous.

What we have here are a couple groups of people. The "It's simple" group insists on one particular cause, and claims that the "It's complex" group is denying that cause, when in actuality they're saying that there are numerous causes, some of which the American public tends to continually overlook.
posted by verb at 11:58 AM on September 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


these [pictures gathered I assume during nice moments showed me that the "rage" was concocted by Newsweek and other American biased sources.

How about it's not necessarily "concocted" but definitely taken out of context and sensationalized in the media to serve certain anti-Islamic political and cultural interests? Can you at least see that?
posted by saulgoodman at 11:59 AM on September 19, 2012


Muslim "passive resistance"
posted by Postroad at 12:00 PM on September 19, 2012


yasaman: Is anyone here denying that there's legitimate unrest in the Middle East? Saying there's unrest in the Middle East isn't Islamophobic. Simplistically reducing the reasons for that unrest to "lol Islam" and "they just hate us Americans because of our freedom" is.

Or indeed reducing it to 'they hate us Americans because of our inflammatory films'.

Fritz Langwedge: It's like anyone who deplores the violence that killed a few Americans in Tripoli, or condemns the outrage over a piece of moviemaking, or even admits that there's legitimate unrest in the Middle East, is doing so merely because of bigotry and a thirst for dehumanizing Muslims.

It's not like anyone here is celebrating the violence. Of course the violence is deplorable. And, if we don't want it to continue, it may be germane to examine all the underlying causes of it, complex a set of structures and events as that may be, rather than putting it down to Islam.

It's kinda like you're treating any degree of sympathy for the Muslim world as an explicit endorsement of their killing Americans. Should we read your sympathy for the Americans killed as an explicit endorsement of America's violence toward the Muslim world? Or are double standards really twice as good...
posted by Dysk at 12:00 PM on September 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


You certainly were taken in if you observed the attack and protests and thought simply 'Muslims'.
posted by Abiezer at 12:01 PM on September 19, 2012


Stating that there is more to the Arab world than the unrelenting image of anger and terroristic violence that is presented in the US media as the face of that world does not preclude condemning the murders of diplomats and and service people at consulates.

And yes, obviously there are some Arabs who are moved to these deplorable acts of violence, but even here, there's more to this situation than the simple-minded "they hate us for our freedoms" pap that people have swallowed for so long. Some of them hate us because our military has killed their brothers, mothers, wives, fathers, sons, daughters... Some hate us because our government has propped up cruel tyrants.

And you know, some Arabs probably love the US for killing other people that were causing them problems, or for contributing to conditions that allowed their particular caste or tribe to prosper. Because we've been picking sides in Arab affairs for a long time, and when you pick sides, the other side is your enemy. So the hate does not exist in a vacuum, and it is counter-productive to pretend that it does. I'm not even trying to make a broad condemnation of US policy in the middle east; just pointing out that, even if every military intervention or act of support for iffy-on-human-rights governments was driven by the purest motivations, these acts will end up getting lots of people killed, thus creating enemies.

So maybe, in the end, the meddling itself, regardless of motivation, is the source of most of the anger directed at the US from the Arab world.
posted by Mister_A at 12:01 PM on September 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


This may also be a good time to break out Pictures of Muslims Wearing Things, from back in 2010.
posted by running order squabble fest at 12:02 PM on September 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Wheras reducing any admission that there's violence in the Middle East, and that at least some of it seems religiously motivated, to the urge to dehumanize is the most fair-minded and enlightened way to look at this complex issue.

Again, no one said that "admitting there is violence in the Middle East" was dehumanizing. Perhaps you should read the article -- the one linked in the actual post at the very tippy-top of this page -- to see what's being discussed before you pass judgement on peoples' responses to it.

The article was very explicit in framing mideast violence as an inherently, intractably Muslim problem. It was also written by an author who has a long history of anti-Muslim writing and activism. That doesn't mean she should be rejected out of hand, but it does call the objectivity of the article into question.

See how that's different than saying, "acknowledging violence in the middle east is dehumanizing?"
posted by verb at 12:02 PM on September 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's like anyone who deplores the violence that killed a few Americans in Tripoli (etc etc)

do you think you could actually address what's being said in this thread instead of making up things?
posted by pyramid termite at 12:02 PM on September 19, 2012


More #ChristianRage

(Appalling what those Christians are up to these days, really. I hear they're openly plotting to establish a new global Christian monarchy based on the divine right of kings under the lead of some guy named Mitt Romney at the top. Someone ought to pass a law!)
posted by saulgoodman at 12:04 PM on September 19, 2012


the most powerful military in the history of the world has spent the last decade invading and destroying nations simply because they are Muslim.

Wait, wha?!??!?!
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 12:04 PM on September 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


But it is OK to reduce the problems to, "They were abused by the United States."
Right?


Well, I can't speak for the poster who made that comment. But I would say instead that part of the very crucial context for such actions includes the long history of colonialism and imperialism in the Middle East, US or Western-led warfare, military actions, and covert operations against Middle Eastern nations, in addition to social and political factors in the individual nations themselves. US media rarely if ever acknowledges this kind of context or nuance.

Just as an example drawing from something I'm familiar with, you will rarely hear US media talking about the overthrow of Mohammad Mossadegh (who nationalized Iran's oil industry, taking it out of British control) and Operation Ajax when discussing Iranian distrust or antipathy towards the US and UK, when those are crucial, huge reasons for that distrust. I would in fact wager that the overwhelming majority of the American public doesn't even know who Mossadegh is or that the US was ever involved in his overthrow, while you can sure as hell bet that most Iranians do.

Acknowledging these factors, motivations, and histories does not equal condoning violent action. It's better journalism and better analysis of current events.
posted by yasaman at 12:04 PM on September 19, 2012 [16 favorites]


It's not like anyone here is celebrating the violence. Of course the violence is deplorable. And, if we don't want it to continue, it may be germane to examine all the underlying causes of it, complex a set of structures and events as that may be, rather than putting it down to Islam.

Fair enough. Incidentally, I don't think we can put it all down to Islam either, and I think Newsweek was typically fatuous in its "Muslim Rage" headline. However, I'm also not sure we're acknowledging the complexity of the situation when we characterize the situation as abuser-abused, with the US foreign policy as the drunken wifebeater and the entire Middle East as the cowering victim.
posted by Fritz Langwedge at 12:13 PM on September 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


I told my shrink I was feeling suicidal and he reported me to the FBI #muslimrage

This is seriously the funniest thing I've seen in a while
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:14 PM on September 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Acknowledging these factors, motivations, and histories does not equal condoning violent action. It's better journalism and better analysis of current events.

You know how the civil war ended a super-long time ago, but some people still get all angry about it? And how even though it's oooooold news, aaaancient history, it still casts a long shadow over a lot of domestic politics?

It took place twice as long ago as the US-backed overthrow of Iran's government. Taking those kinds of things into account isn't about excusing violence, it's about not being a dumbass.
posted by verb at 12:16 PM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's a technical term from the fields of psychology and anthropology for what Newsweek is doing here: it's called in-group linguistic bias.

It means that in our speech and language use, we lump those we perceive as being part of an out-group together as if they were a single, homogeneous entity, while in contrast we speak of those we identify with as unique individuals with individual motivations and identities.

That's all any of this crap is really about from where I sit, and it's depressing we're collectively still too stupid or stubborn to suck it up and face that.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:21 PM on September 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


The Innocence of White People (an interesting piece from VICE.)
posted by Navelgazer at 12:25 PM on September 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I find gender-segregated society scary.

Are you scared of public restrooms?
posted by euphorb at 12:25 PM on September 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


There's actually a videogame about Mossadegh - The Cat and the Coup. You use a series of physics-based puzzles to steer the ghost of Mossadegh through his memories.
posted by running order squabble fest at 12:30 PM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Taking those kinds of things into account isn't about excusing violence, it's about not being a dumbass.

I hardly think I am a dumbass because I think reducing the issues in the Middle East to "They were abused by the United States" is simplistic and over-stated.

Granted, the Newsweek cover is pathetic - saying it is simplistic and over-stated is being generous. But the general attitude of most people posting here is to deny any problems in Middle Eastern culture. There are deep systemic problems in many of those countries - starting with the repression of women. Their criminal justice system is still basically an-eye-for-an-eye. People are being sent to prison to for the attending raves.

Taking those kinds of things into account isn't about excusing violence
Shouldn't we also take internal issues within Middle Eastern culture into account? And taking those issues into account is not about being an Islamophobe, it is about not being a dumbass (to use your phrase).
posted by Flood at 12:36 PM on September 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Flood: "But the general attitude of most people posting here is to deny any problems in Middle Eastern culture."
Which posters would that be?
posted by brokkr at 12:45 PM on September 19, 2012


euphorb: Are you scared of public restrooms?

(I, for one, pretty much am. There are lots of people for whom gender is an issue in some way that feel similarly. It's not as ridiculous as you seem to be implying.)
posted by Dysk at 12:48 PM on September 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


I hardly think I am a dumbass because I think reducing the issues in the Middle East to "They were abused by the United States" is simplistic and over-stated.

No, I said that ignoring the history and context of US military involvement in the middle east "isn't excusing violence, it's just not being a dumbass."

You are equating "taking that into account" with reducing complex issues to single causes.

It isn't an either-or question, it's a "simple or complex" question, and the argument you're making presupposes there can only be one causative factor. That's a problem.
posted by verb at 12:51 PM on September 19, 2012


Also, sigh, just reverse that statement -- ignore vs. not ignore, etc. My kingdom for an edit button. ;-)
posted by verb at 12:52 PM on September 19, 2012


Granted, the Newsweek cover is pathetic - saying it is simplistic and over-stated is being generous. But the general attitude of most people posting here is to deny any problems in Middle Eastern culture. There are deep systemic problems in many of those countries - starting with the repression of women. Their criminal justice system is still basically an-eye-for-an-eye. People are being sent to prison to for the attending raves.

From my very first comment in this thread:

I'm not a Muslim, and I have serious misgivings about some of the ways that Islam is practiced around the world. I do think that the world would be a better place if certain facets of Islam changed...

I would love to see a version of Islam and the Middle East in which women have freedom and equality, in which homosexuals are recognized and valued, in which inter-tribal violence is considered a relic of an unfortunate past. A stable, just Islamic world community focused on social justice would please me to no end.

But these protests were not sparked because of Kim Kardashian's immodest dress, or some Lybian guy finally learning about Queer Eye for the Straight Guy; they happened because word got out that someone had uploaded the contemporary equivalent to Der ewige Jude onto Youtube at a time when the United States was once again looking to involve itself in military intervention in a Muslim country, despite America's less-than-stellar track record in this particular field.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 12:53 PM on September 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


> Is it that Latin Americans are too scared - they do not have them same courage as Muslims?

My family's house was bombed by anti-American protestors in Buenos Aires. (My father worked for the embassy.) That courageous enough for you?
posted by languagehat at 1:00 PM on September 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


they happened because word got out that someone had uploaded the contemporary equivalent to Der ewige Jude onto Youtube

So, you are saying the violence is about the video and it was caused by the protesters. Because others are saying that it was an planned attack, the protesters were not really involved, and the attackers used this issue as an excuse. Which is it?

the argument you're making presupposes there can only be one causative factor

Not at all. If that is the way my words have sounded, then I did a poor job writing. I jumped into this argument to argue the exact opposite. It was posted above that the relationship that is going on is abuser / abused, with the US in the role of the abuser. That argument is saying one single factor. That argument is simplistic and inaccurate.

There is more going on in the Middle East than US mis-treatment of those countries. That is my argument.
posted by Flood at 1:01 PM on September 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


My favourite #MuslimRage was 'when you realise there isn't a halal version of Peppa Pig.
posted by mippy at 1:11 PM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


this is Blasphemy
posted by Postroad at 1:13 PM on September 19, 2012


There are deep systemic problems in many of those countries - starting with the repression of women. Their criminal justice system is still basically an-eye-for-an-eye. People are being sent to prison to for the attending raves.

Right, these things are undoubtedly serious issues and shouldn't be ignored when discussing the problems in Middle Eastern nations. And no one here is really ignoring them, we're just not talking about them because they have less immediate bearing on political protests and actions that get lumped under "Muslim rage," and media portrayal of Muslims. The ostensible trigger for the latest round of protests is that terrible Islamophobic movie, but that's not really entirely why people are protesting, and it's not why militants took violent action, it's just a trigger and an excuse. Again, the point is that more complex reasons should be acknowledged for these kind of actions, rather than conveniently reducing them to "Muslim rage."

The systemic problems you mention, conveniently the ones most related to Islam (and that's not a comment on you picking those out, it's a comment on the media frequently picking those out), are the ones the media loves to talk about, to the exclusion of more complex analyses of social and political realities in Middle Eastern nations. Honor killings, women denied the choice to veil or not veil, executions of gay people...these all happen, these are all tragedies and injustices that should be justly addressed by Middle Eastern nations, but media coverage of them is disproportionate to the more nuanced, even-handed media coverage that's the opposite of "MUSLIM RAGE!!!" type stories. "Muslim rage" sells, I guess, but that's a poor excuse for shitty journalism.

Again, the issue isn't what the exact, correct cause is for events like the protests over the film. The issue is media simplification of the many complex causes into "Muslim rage." It's never just "Muslim rage." It's anti-colonial rage, anti-imperialism rage, anti-war rage, inter-tribal conflict rage, ethnic conflict rage, Shi'a rage, Sunni rage, feminist rage, etc., etc. Pointing out the abuser/abused angle (or more specifically, perhaps, the anti-colonial/anti-imperial angle) is one possible lens through which to view current events in the Middle East. It is not the only one or the most correct one, it is simply one lens which mainstream US media rarely if ever bothers to use, and which goes a way towards making depiction of Muslims in US media less about the scary Islamic hordes who desire death to America.
posted by yasaman at 1:13 PM on September 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


Flood: So, you are saying the violence is about the video and it was caused by the protesters. Because others are saying that it was an planned attack, the protesters were not really involved, and the attackers used this issue as an excuse. Which is it?

Shock! Different people have different opinions!
posted by Dysk at 1:16 PM on September 19, 2012


So, you are saying the violence is about the video and it was caused by the protesters. Because others are saying that it was an planned attack, the protesters were not really involved, and the attackers used this issue as an excuse. Which is it?

Dude, look at my comment. Look at it. I said "These protests were sparked..." I'm not even going to pretend to step into the trap of speculating about the parties committing the violence.

It's still far, far too early for me to have any clear idea of whether or not the violence that took place was at the hands of the protesters or outside forces using them as cover. It could honestly be either or both. I know what I would like to be true, but MetaFilter has occasionally gotten wildly out of hand with speculating and reacting based on that speculation (the TSA baby-grabbing event, the balloon boy fiasco, etc.), and I'd prefer not to be a part of that particular problem.

There is more going on in the Middle East than US mis-treatment of those countries. That is my argument.

There absolutely is, and what I'm saying is that American media coverage of a sort that has historically been spun for the purpose of justifying military action is not going to help the Islamic popultion deal with those other issues.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 1:17 PM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


There have been men-only and women-only sessions in gyms and pools in the UK for at least as long as I've been alive. Some women don't want to exercise with men for religious reasons, some women feel more comfortable in single-sex groups, and some women are too short-sighted to tell if the person on the bike next to them is a man, woman or giraffe. It's not segregation, no, but not all single-sex things are there purely because the men want them to be. It's a safe space.

And I say that as someone who thinks women-only feminist groups may well send the signal to men that they don't need to be part of or interested in this stuff.
posted by mippy at 1:19 PM on September 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Not at all. If that is the way my words have sounded, then I did a poor job writing. I jumped into this argument to argue the exact opposite. It was posted above that the relationship that is going on is abuser / abused, with the US in the role of the abuser. That argument is saying one single factor. That argument is simplistic and inaccurate.

What you are saying is the exact opposite of what the poster said, very explicitly, in his first post in the thread. So, yes, you need to read much more carefully. The problem you're encountering is your own misreading of the post.

In a lot of ways, this post is a perfect microcosm of the way shitty discussions about complex issues in other cultures tend to go. There's a public outcry about "OMGZMUZLIMS!," someone offers more context, and then people accuse that person of "oversimplifying."
posted by verb at 1:21 PM on September 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Are provocatively phrased leading questions the only thing that can save us now?
posted by vibrotronica at 1:25 PM on September 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


But the general attitude of most people posting here is to deny any problems in Middle Eastern culture.

Cites, please? I count about, what, 50 posters or so in this thread? So, most - let's say 80%. That means 40+ people denying any problems in Middle Eastern culture. Go for it, dude.
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:31 PM on September 19, 2012


I find gender-segregated society scary.

Are you scared of public restrooms?


Would you like me to clarify how the systemic oppression of women in the Muslim world differs from gender-segregated restrooms in the West?
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:47 PM on September 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


Fritz Langwedge: "It's not like anyone here is celebrating the violence. Of course the violence is deplorable. And, if we don't want it to continue, it may be germane to examine all the underlying causes of it, complex a set of structures and events as that may be, rather than putting it down to Islam.

Fair enough. Incidentally, I don't think we can put it all down to Islam either, and I think Newsweek was typically fatuous in its "Muslim Rage" headline. However, I'm also not sure we're acknowledging the complexity of the situation when we characterize the situation as abuser-abused, with the US foreign policy as the drunken wifebeater and the entire Middle East as the cowering victim.
"

Wow - now I'm seeing everything in lights of the "men's rights" movement and it makes a hell of a lot of sense.
posted by symbioid at 1:57 PM on September 19, 2012


I mean I understand the reactions (and of course, both men's rights bullshit and the current debate have to do with privilege).
posted by symbioid at 1:58 PM on September 19, 2012


To ban or not to ban? German right-wing group to show anti-Islam film.

After protesters torched the German embassy in Sudan last week, a German right-wing group announced plans to screen 'Innocence of Muslims.' Now officials are weighing a ban of the event.
posted by Postroad at 2:00 PM on September 19, 2012


Would you like me to clarify how the systemic oppression of women in the Muslim world differs from gender-segregated restrooms in the West?

All this from one photo of only guys at a swimming pool? Way to exclude non-bias-confirming evidence like this.

Fact is, as recently as the 1950s, the US, too, had strict social codes and laws against men and women mixing in certain kinds of situations in public and women immodestly exposing themselves in public. Remember those frumpy old swimsuits from a little further back and those TV broadcast rules about depictions of men and women not being allowed to show them sharing a bed on-screen without keeping at least one foot on the ground (as in the Dick VanDyke show era)? We had gender segregated education in the recent past, too. Somehow we managed to move on from that cultural moment without outside parties imposing their looser morals on us by force or coercion. Why don't the Islamic parts of the world get the same benefit of the doubt and opportunity to reform themselves organically from within?

Should we get to work on constructing a time machine so we can go back and wage war on the terrible systematic oppressor of American Christianity in the 40s and 50s, or might there be more constructive, less confrontational ways to try to address the problems in Middle Eastern society from a position sympathetic and respectful of the cultures so many claim to be interested in saving from themselves while simultaneously demonizing them?
posted by saulgoodman at 2:05 PM on September 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wait, why do those women have beards?
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:12 PM on September 19, 2012


Would you say that the United States has treated Middle Eastern nations substantially worse than say Latin American nations?

Yes! Remember that whole genocide of the New World? Multiple ancient civilizations destroyed in the colonial expansion of European powers? Right, we don't remember that, because they are all dead and we trivialized any reminders that remained. Our mistake in the Middle East was to leave a people standing, with pride and a sense of their own history.
posted by kaspen at 2:15 PM on September 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd like for people to stop pretending that these riots are happening in a vacuum, that they're just about a harmless movie or comic drawing, and not taking place during a period in which the most powerful military in the history of the world has spent the last decade invading and destroying nations simply because they are Muslim.

Oh come on now. Of the hundreds of million of people living in the West, only a few thousands at the most have actually ever invaded a Muslim nation. How can you lump all these people together? Getting indiscriminately enraged at something for which only a miniscule portion of the population is responsible is, like, totally racist and ignorant.
posted by sour cream at 2:16 PM on September 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


sour cream, then there's all the 'support our troops!' people back home, who might not be actually invading personally, but are certainly well and truly behind the invaders...
posted by Dysk at 2:29 PM on September 19, 2012


I meant to say an emphatic No!, sorry for any confusion, *edit window fist shake*, I hope my point is taken as I think it stands. Historical amnesia is enormous and blindsiding and I don't outright condemn the myopic and privileged things people are enabled to say by it, but really, come on.
posted by kaspen at 2:29 PM on September 19, 2012


I mean, since we're giving all the protesters the blame for the actions of a handful of them (because they were part of the same movement or protest or supporting them or whatever) it doesn't seem that far-fetched to blame the supporters of the other side in the same way.
posted by Dysk at 2:31 PM on September 19, 2012


We had gender segregated education in the recent past, too. Somehow we managed to move on from that cultural moment without outside parties imposing their looser morals on us by force or coercion.

So here's the problem with cultural relativism in this situation: these social problems are catalysts for extremism, and extremism is a problem for everyone. So you can stand back and respect the autonomy of other cultures and say, "Honor killings? That's just how they roll!", or you can try to get involved to stop it. Imposing morals by force is a red herring: Even if one were willing to try, it doesn't actually work; Afghanistan and Iraq have conclusively demonstrated that. But I'd say there's a strong case to be made for "imposing morals" by exerting influence through diplomacy and economics.

Way to exclude non-bias-confirming evidence like this.

Actually that full-body burqa swimsuit confirms my bias pretty well.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 2:51 PM on September 19, 2012


Dysk, my read on sour cream's comment was as a joke.

(quite possible I'm wrong, as per usual)
posted by Lemurrhea at 2:55 PM on September 19, 2012


The post, I had thought, was about "rage" rather than religious dress or religious treatment of women...
posted by Postroad at 2:59 PM on September 19, 2012


In other news: Muslim Brotherhood ads hit Obama - A new ad seeks to "expose" Obama's "cozy ties" with the Islamic group, but won't expose who's funding it
posted by homunculus at 4:28 PM on September 19, 2012


So here's the problem with cultural relativism in this situation: these social problems are catalysts for extremism, and extremism is a problem for everyone. So you can stand back and respect the autonomy of other cultures and say, "Honor killings? That's just how they roll!", or you can try to get involved to stop it.

Honor killing is a really interesting phrase. We tend not to count the murder of women by men for, e.g. committing adultery, or indeed just for rejecting their sexual advances, as honor killings, if those men come from cultures we believe are civilized. Brazil, however, actually and specifically referred to "honor" as a mitigating circumstance in the case of the murder of women by their husbands. Murder in defence of honor was theoretically abolished as a mitigating circumstance in a 1991 constitutional amendment, but there was at least a 1995 case where a man was acquitted on appeal for killing his wife and her lover upon finding them asleep together. (source - "Family Life - A Comparative Perspective on 'Crimes of Honor'", UNICAMP Center for Gender Studies, Brazil).

(Meanwhile, of course, parts of the European media often refers to the US as a damaged culture, as demonstrated by its regular shooting massacres, the murder of doctors who perform terminations, its incarceration levels and the ongoing insistence of many states that they be allowed to execute those incarcerated. I'm not old enough to know whether Europeans were suggesting that they would be remiss not to exert diplomatic and economic pressure on the US after protests like the 12th Street riots, but YMMV.)

So, "honor killing" gets tied up with, it seems, religion and race - perhaps to the exclusion of social or economic factors.

And then the lines get blurry, because the noble aim - protecting women from these damaging and potentially lethal behaviors - justifies extreme rhetorical measures. So, for example, you've gone from a picture of a swimming pool full of men to suggesting that people in this thread are advocating tacit consent in the murder of women and gay men. Which is pretty much the death of good-faith discussion, TBH.

Personally, I think you'd need to work quite hard to get from:
Right, these things are undoubtedly serious issues and shouldn't be ignored when discussing the problems in Middle Eastern nations. And no one here is really ignoring them, we're just not talking about them because they have less immediate bearing on political protests and actions that get lumped under "Muslim rage," and media portrayal of Muslims. The ostensible trigger for the latest round of protests is that terrible Islamophobic movie, but that's not really entirely why people are protesting, and it's not why militants took violent action, it's just a trigger and an excuse. Again, the point is that more complex reasons should be acknowledged for these kind of actions, rather than conveniently reducing them to "Muslim rage."

The systemic problems you mention, conveniently the ones most related to Islam (and that's not a comment on you picking those out, it's a comment on the media frequently picking those out), are the ones the media loves to talk about, to the exclusion of more complex analyses of social and political realities in Middle Eastern nations. Honor killings, women denied the choice to veil or not veil, executions of gay people...these all happen, these are all tragedies and injustices that should be justly addressed by Middle Eastern nations, but media coverage of them is disproportionate to the more nuanced, even-handed media coverage that's the opposite of "MUSLIM RAGE!!!" type stories.
to
So you can stand back and respect the autonomy of other cultures and say, "Honor killings? That's just how they roll!", or you can try to get involved to stop it.
It's often fun to imagine the stupid things people must be saying, and especially to add an exclamation mark to a non-exclamatory sentence to show that the people you imagine to be saying these things cannot even punctuate, but it's not necessarily a useful thing to do. I don't see anyone here advocating for spousal murder, say, or speaking out against diplomatic pressure being exerted to encourage nations to base their legal amendments on the principle of gender equality before the law (cf this United Nations report of 2009 on legal responses to behavior uniquely harmful to women. This is a process which is already happening, to some degree).

So, I'm not wholly sure a) with whom you are arguing in this thread and b) what, specifically, you think should be done that is not being done at the moment. Are you talking about economic sanctions? Trade embargoes? Equivalents of Helms-Burton? These are all possibilities, but "try to get involved to stop it" is pretty vague.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:44 PM on September 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


Really interesting interview on NPR today with the author of "The Myth of the Muslim Tide." A Canadian journalist explores assumptions about Muslim immigrants made by non-Muslims. Spoiler: assumptions often incorrect.
posted by selfmedicating at 6:07 PM on September 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


although I'd probably find his snide tweets a lot more humorous if I hadn't witnessed the outcome of the war that his friend Christopher Hitchens similarly championed.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 6:57 PM on September 19


For the record, Dawkins vehemently disagreed with Hitchens on that topic, and said so very clearly.
posted by Decani at 6:20 PM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


So here's the problem with cultural relativism in this situation:

This isn't a point about cultural relativism, but about human nature and psychology.

There's abundant scientific evidence that whenever you try to push people into some particular position by coercion or force--particularly, people who perceive you as an outsider--you're only likely to make them retrench themselves and dig in even deeper into their previous positions.

Even just a moment of introspection can confirm the tendency in most of us to push back forcefully, even against ideas that are in our own best interests, if there's a perception the ideas are being forced on us, and there's lots of hard data backing that idea up as well.

So by trying to force cultural change on another group, we're likely only encouraging them to become even more extremist in defense of their cultural status quo, and indeed, we may be hindering social and cultural progress that would otherwise be occurring naturally (as a rational response to the brutal realities of life under oppressive cultural and social conventions) through our "well meaning" forceful interventions.

And the fact is, a lot of the same folks waving the banner of liberation for women oppressed under Islam come from the same cultural/political milieu most likely to endorse sexist attitudes and policies back here in the US, so it's hard to take seriously the suggestion that these self-appointed crusaders have only the best intentions of the Islamic people at heart--particularly when less noble personal motivations, like the potential to profit from arms and other forms of illicit trade that tend to flourish in conflict zones, are also so often in the mix.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:51 PM on September 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Actually that full-body burqa swimsuit confirms my bias pretty well.

Why? Your great great grandmother didn't consider similarly modest attire to be absolutely required when sunbathing? Not many generations ago, many women in America would have admired this style of dress for its chastity and modesty. Was our system so evil then it needed to be toppled by force at all costs? How about our casual acceptance of spousal rape and the right of men to correct their wives? Would those repellent features of our own culture in the not-too-distant past likewise have justified forceful military interventions and permanent occupation of American territories by some outside army?
posted by saulgoodman at 6:58 PM on September 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


("correct" should be in scare quotes because of course that's a euphemism for wife beating.)
posted by saulgoodman at 6:59 PM on September 19, 2012


And the fact is, a lot of the same folks waving the banner of liberation for women oppressed under Islam come from the same cultural/political milieu most likely to endorse sexist attitudes and policies back here in the US, so it's hard to take seriously the suggestion that these self-appointed crusaders have only the best intentions of the Islamic people at heart

Jargonauts are so cute when they poison the well.
posted by Fritz Langwedge at 7:24 PM on September 19, 2012


I didn't make any absolute claims about the motives of people championing the cause of gender equality in Islamic nations. I only suggested there are also many who cynically exploit those better intentions to advance a less honorable agenda--and specifically, I meant to single out those who try to justify the use of military force or other coercive forms of persuasion in service to such causes when their real interests are military adventurist/economically exploitative in nature. I'm sorry if I got testy, but you didn't address most of the points I tried to make and you seemed to accuse me of using jargon when there's no jargon in my original comment.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:01 PM on September 19, 2012


Here's a thought: What if internationalized empathy (in the true sense of understanding the motivations of others) is primarily unlocked by geographic knowledge?

I often take for granted that I have an above-average grasp of geography for an American. I can picture in my mind's eye, with a good degree of accuracy on the country level, 95% of the populated world. Many people in the US, I think, have almost no conception whatsoever of the basic shapes and relations between various world thingies-- countries, cities, seas, whatever. While I consider geographic awareness one of my skills, it breaks down quickly upon zooming in, of course. If you asked me to picture the Egyptian city of Hurghada, which I had never in my life heard of until just now looking it up to use an example, what do I see? An amorphous city of...Egyptness. Whatever weird stereotypes and preconceptions about Egypt and "The Middle East" hiding in the corners of my brain instantly blossom. Whereas ask me to picture Cairo? I see the familiar dot on the Nile, near to but not upon the Mediterranean. I've physically placed it and now I can understand it as a real location where real people do things for actual reasons, instead of a fairy tale cutout.

Is my Hurghada what less geographically-aware people see when they think of "The Middle East"? An unarticulated blob? That is, how can you really understand anything about geopolitics-- even on the basic interpersonal level-- without being able to picture the Red Sea coming up and splitting around the Sinai Peninsula? Or the fact that Jordan is south of Syria, which is south of Turkey? Or that Lebanon is little and Iraq is big?

I know this sounds sort of abstruse. But there's something to it, I think, that I'm having trouble even explaining. And I'm definitely not saying lack of education necessarily precludes empathy-- but I think it might seriously impede it in people who are not naturally disposed thereto.
posted by threeants at 8:13 PM on September 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


I should add that obviously everyone has different skills. My math ability is literally at the ninth-grade level, and I don't know the first thing about repairing a car. I'm talking about a skill that's particularly relevant to this conversation, not one that's all-consumingly central.
posted by threeants at 8:23 PM on September 19, 2012


My neighbor has Ravi Shankar on infinite play #hinduraga
posted by zippy at 8:23 PM on September 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


... And I forgot the link #htmlrage
posted by zippy at 8:25 PM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's like people. If I say "my Muslim friend Rashid", you likely ascribe to him, in your mind's eye, any number of assumed qualities based on your background and various experiences. If I say "my Muslim friend Rashid", and you've met him-- i.e. you can give him form-- you picture...Rashid.
posted by threeants at 8:46 PM on September 19, 2012


Actually that full-body burqa swimsuit confirms my bias pretty well.

In other news: Iranian Woman Beats the Crap Out of Cleric for Telling Her to Cover Up
posted by homunculus at 10:43 PM on September 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


This may also be a good time to break out Pictures of Muslims Wearing Things, from back in 2010.
posted by running order squabble fest at 12:02 PM


- Check out December 7, 2010 - " 'Axis of Evil' Syrian first lady Asma Al-Assad wears an axis of regal accessories."
posted by etherist at 12:00 AM on September 20, 2012


What if internationalized empathy (in the true sense of understanding the motivations of others) is primarily unlocked by geographic knowledge?

I think you're right to connect empathy with knowledge, but I'm not sure of the prominence you suggest for geographic knowledge. To me it seems just as likely that someone who is very familiar with, say, music the world over would find that this knowledge gives them the same kind of concrete anchor for their thinking about other nations and thus obstructs counterfactual stereotypes. (E.g., an Angry Muslim caricature would find no purchase because they know about the breadth of emotions expressed in some relevant musical traditions, or because they can't reconcile it with specific Muslim musicians they know of.) No?
posted by stebulus at 1:11 AM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm mildly surprised that this doesn't seem to have been mentioned.
posted by Wolof at 1:34 AM on September 20, 2012


This was about the guys who were really there defending their religion. Also in the mix, there are:
1. adrenaline junkies, who grew addicted to fighting police and any authority during the year and a half under the military junta;

2. people who see the police as extreme evil e.g. street sellers, as they have been evicted by police in the last two weeks, as they were occupying every single inch of downtown illegally;

3. people who have no job, no money and want to feel they are part of something bigger than themselves, a sense of purpose;

4. people who believe the US is the HQ of evil, ...

This is worth repeating -- if only to acknowledge that US protests have had this exact same problem of 'mix' as we are seeing in the Middle East. The Occupy movement was the most recent example -- it lost much of its support by not confronting the violent 'adrenaline junkies' 'police haters' et al.

This is not to say that this rage is not legitimate. And that is the rub; it is hard to be in a protest when rage wins over - but easy to see why it is happening. I can sympathize with an Egyptian tweeter who was saddened that the activists cannot call out the raging 'ultras' who promote violence without being called 'imperialist puppets'. As long as people believe 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' we will see the protesters protecting the 'ultras'.

Newsweek doesn't matter, labels don't matter, slurs don't matter -- these are only distractions. The real issue is - if social justice movements cannot adhere to nonviolent principles they will implode from the hypocrisy.
posted by Surfurrus at 1:58 AM on September 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Although... what are you defining as a social justice movement, here, Surfurrus? I don't think the protests about the movie are exactly social justice. Nor are they having Occupy-style encampments, that I know of, or calling upon their own governments to change.

(The interpretation of the failings of Occupy as a movement I think best left undiscussed, as derailing.)

And the armed uprisings in Libya and now Syria aren't exactly social justice movements either - they are armed uprisings, which are sort of definitionally not committed to non-violence.

I think the point verb's friend was making was exactly that it wasn't about social justice - it was about a specific understanding of the world which was simply factually wrong, believed by people who had lived their whole lives under an authoritarian régime which controlled and censored the media available to them, and so believe that the US government would be able to do the same.

So, the American President should be able to phone Salar Kamangar and tell him to take the video off YouTube, and indeed the Internet, and so on from there down, because that's how presidents interact with media.

And thus that not doing that is a calculated insult, which adds to helps to create the impression - one which can be exploited by religious or political figures looking to consolidate a power base (or just distract people from other issues) - that the US is purposefully engaged in a military and cultural war against their values, from the President down.

(Which is probably not unlike the attitude that has somebody lynching a chair in Texas, as it happens.)

That's a problem about people living in informational poverty - it's a mind-boggling concept, but some people in foreign nations actually know less about the US than the average US citizen knows about their country, through a combination of paucity of media and manipulation of what media are available by state and other interests who want to advance their own agenda.

Which is why it's instructive that Charlie Hebdo has gone back to the well on the pictures-of-Mohammed thing. The last time they did this, last year, the French Council of the Muslim Faith said:
For Muslims, the caricature of the prophet is unacceptable and offensive. We understand that this view is not universal, however.

We believe that freedom of expression applies to artists, but also to those who disagree with the art, as long as the disagreement is expressed in accordance with the laws and the integrity of people and property. There is no reason to act outside the law.

That said, we will continue to denounce drawings of the prophet, because they are not acceptable to Muslims. But at the same time Muslims must acknowledge that in our society the sacred is not the same for everyone.
Interestingly, when Charlie Hebdo published the Jyllands Posten images, the Council of the Muslim Faith was one of the plaintiffs in a legal action against it . Having been informed by that trial that French law supports the publication of the images, it seems that they appear to be accepting of that.

So, they are saying that both free expression by artists and the protesting of the fruits of that free expression should, where they are within the law, be protected: although they find the caricatures offensive, they are aware that their feelings do not constitute an argument for censorship by the French state in this instance, or a case for breaking the law in response to them.

(The situation in France is slightly different, of course, because there is no First Amendment, and so the answer to the question 'does the state have any business restricting the speech of private citizens' is not necessarily always "no". Specifically, there are articles in the 1981 law on freedom of the press dealing with speech by the press which defames, insults or advocates the harm of people based on their ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexuality.

Publishing images specifically to highlight the fact that people of a particular religion are offended by them is, or at least was, a grey area, and there are probably going to be instances where the Jyllands Posten precedent will not be relevant. However, Muslims in France may already be suspicious that the law of the land is not going to be applied equally when it comes to their religious sensibilities or practice, which is where things get trickier.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:20 AM on September 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


(Sorry, that should be private entities, not private citizens - corporations are not, to my knowledge, citizens in France. Weird place.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:30 AM on September 20, 2012


Rage is a fire that consumes reason.
posted by Goofyy at 4:14 AM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Would those repellent features of our own culture in the not-too-distant past likewise have justified forceful military interventions and permanent occupation of American territories by some outside army?

You have noticed that none of the above posters are advocating for military intervention and permanent occupation, right? I assume you're bringing up this total strawman that no one in the thread has rallied behind to, er, demonstrate the absurdity of strawmanning, or something?

Posters are saying that it's oversimplifying to say that the violent, censorious protests are simply an outcome of Western oppression of Muslim nations (or even more ridiculously, that the relationship between the West and the Middle East is the same as the relationship between an abusive spouse and victimized partner). They further suggest that these violent protests against blasphemous speech may, in fact, be in part a result of the oppressive governments and social customs of those nations themselves. No one is calling for military intervention. If you keep bringing it up, it's safe to assume you're incapable of good-faith discussion.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 6:46 AM on September 20, 2012


Interesting #muslimrage story from a little closer to home:

So FBI operatives groomed these two Muslim kids to carry out a domestic terrorist attack in the US--one of them for over a year, from the time he was 17--encouraging them and feeding them pro-Jihadist propaganda.

Finally, the big day comes when the FBI's "investigation" yields fruit, and the two (now) young adults show up to set off the fake bomb the FBI provided them with--but only one of the two kids shows up on the big day. Why? Because a local Muslim sheik/leader overheard the boys talking about their plans one day and intervened, castigating the boys and ultimately convincing one of them not to participate in the attack on the grounds that killing random Americans for the outrages of a few is as wrong under Islam as under any other religious system.

Anyone who claims our current policies (and as in this case, even our day-to-day, ground-level counter-terrorism policing tactics) aren't in any significant way contributing to or exacerbating the problem of violent Islamic extremism is being willfully oblivious to reality. In this case, the FBI tried to groom two teenage boys to become terrorists, and it was in fact only the intervention of a leader from the Muslim community that saved one of the boys.

If that's not a perverse state of affairs, I don't know what is.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:14 AM on September 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


No one is calling for military intervention. If you keep bringing it up, it's safe to assume you're incapable of good-faith discussion.

Okay, fine. But don't pretend others who aren't necessarily represented in this thread don't exploit liberal guilt about these cultural issues to advance their own various political and military objectives. You're correct that this view has not been explicitly on display here, but it's not a straw man. There are plenty of very real people who regularly invoke these issues in the public discourse as rationale for military and aggressive diplomatic interventions. And in general, these kinds of cultural criticisms are often used to demonize/other Islamic nations.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:18 AM on September 20, 2012


You have noticed that none of the above posters are advocating for military intervention and permanent occupation, right? I assume you're bringing up this total strawman that no one in the thread has rallied behind to, er, demonstrate the absurdity of strawmanning, or something?

To be fair, one difference between the Muslim countries of the Middle East, North Africa and South and Central Asia in 2012 and America in the 1950s, say, is that we've fairly recently seen military intervention in at least two nations (boots on the ground) and to a degree in a number of others (drone strikes, bombing raids). Leaving "permanent occupation" aside as hyperbole, that actually is a noticeable difference between the two situations.

Obviously, it's a highly rhetorical comparison to make, but nonetheless, ending the line of causation at oppressive governments is a little arbitrary as well, much less social customs (cf the London riots, the LA riots, the 12th Street Riots, the austerity riots in Greece - social customs? Were the young people rioting in Paris rioting because of social customs, or because they were poor, and bored, and disenfranchized?).

So, how about, in the interests of good faith, we note that nobody here is advocating military intervention to prevent rioting - the military movements towards Libya were addressing a different issue, which was the potential endangering of diplomatic mission staff in a volatile situation - or as a response to the oppression of women. But at the same time acknowledge that military intervention has in recent memory actually happened, and the emancipation of women (e.g.) has been used as a post factum rationalization for such intervention. And I think we can probably also note that women's rights and indeed gay rights have been used as campaigning planks by what is broadly identified as the "postmodern far right" (Wilders, Haider, Fortuyn, e.g. again), although also, of course, by many, many people with no associations with same.

(And also perhaps took a look at our standards, and see how consistently they are being applied.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:41 AM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gosh, and a moment ago everyone was all

"do you think you could actually address what's being said in this thread instead of making up things?"

"Cites, please? I count about, what, 50 posters or so in this thread? So, most - let's say 80%. That means 40+ people denying any problems in Middle Eastern culture."

"for example, you've gone from a picture of a swimming pool full of men to suggesting that people in this thread are advocating tacit consent in the murder of women and gay men."


And now it's about "well sure no on in this thread says this, but it's what's around." Whyever did the rules for discourse change so?
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 10:19 AM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


You'll note, you couldn't find a quote of me saying that, if that was directed at me. Or are you more comfortable having this conversation with a vague abstraction than with the specific people actually engaged in it?
posted by saulgoodman at 10:26 AM on September 20, 2012


No change - merely noting a way the conversation could proceed in a manner predicated on good faith, without getting bogged down in unproductive salvoes between "blame America" and "blame Islam". If you read what I wrote, I think that is pretty clear.

However, if you are not able to imagine the discussion being conducted in good faith, or have no wish to engage in such a discussion in good faith, you are quite right: attempts to facilitate engagement in good faith are not useful to you. Please continue.
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:52 AM on September 20, 2012


It must have been another saulgoodman who said You're correct that this view has not been explicitly on display here, but it's not a straw man.

Because that's basically an admission that "this view" is something no one here ever expressed, but you feel virtuous in attacking it anyway.
posted by Fritz Langwedge at 11:58 AM on September 20, 2012


I was mainly trying to make a point germane to the topic and adding context around it originally. Not really attacking anyone's particular claims specifically. I never said my response was aimed at any particular argument made here; you simply (mis)read that as the subtext on your own. And you attacked me first, accusing me of using jargon and "poisoning the well" (which, ironically, actually is academic jargon).

If you're up for it, though, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts about the substance of the basic points I made: do you think it's likely/possible that by pushing too aggressively to force reform on Islamic culture from the outside, we might actually contribute to the perpetuation of the very extremist ideologies and oppressive cultural institutions we mean to eliminate, as I suggested?
posted by saulgoodman at 12:13 PM on September 20, 2012


I'd be interested to hear your thoughts about the substance of the basic points I made: do you think it's likely/possible that by pushing too aggressively to force reform on Islamic culture from the outside, we might actually contribute to the perpetuation of the very extremist ideologies and oppressive cultural institutions we mean to eliminate, as I suggested?

The issue I have with this is that I dispute that we're trying to reform Islamic culture. Allowing the reprinting of those witless Danish cartoons in France or allowing that ghastly movie to be shown in Europe isn't doing anything in Islamic culture at all. It's the Islamists who are taking issue with what they consider Western contempt for their values. Um, if Western nations extend freedom of speech even to people "blaspheming" Islam, shouldn't this be a Western cultural issue?

And as far as women's rights go, I'm a pro-choice progressive. If I'm supposed to believe that there's a reason why women shouldn't have the same rights in Islamic nations that I believe they should in Western ones, then I want to know what the important distinction is. Is there one?
posted by Fritz Langwedge at 1:25 PM on September 20, 2012


So you think this event is so isolated, all that's really involved in understanding what happened is this film and the otherwise completely nonsensical reaction of the angry mobs protesting it? Nothing about the West's (IMO often accurately) perceived lack of respect for Islamic culture in general is relevant to understanding what's going on when incidents like this happen?

I never said anything about what you or anyone else should or shouldn't believe people's rights are. And this thread wasn't originally on the topic of women's rights under Islam at all, so I don't really understand why it was brought up in this context.

This still isn't about free speech, though, unless you ignore the content of the speech. Once you acknowledge the content, you realize it's about nothing more than the deliberate expression of disrespect for another culture and inflaming tensions. Especially now that we now more about the source of the film and its creator.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:56 PM on September 20, 2012


Dear Pamela Geller, If Someone Rips Down Or Otherwise Defaces The Disgusting Racist Advertisements You Have Won The Legal Right To Display In New York Subway Stations, I Will Not Know Anything About How That Might Have Happened
posted by homunculus at 6:11 PM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


This still isn't about free speech, though, unless you ignore the content of the speech.

Which is exactly how I define freedom of speech. I regret to inform you that certain forms of free speech are likely to offend saulgoodman.
posted by Fritz Langwedge at 6:46 PM on September 20, 2012


The mere fact that an incident or event also happened to involve someone speaking doesn't necessarily make it a Free Speech™ issue, does it?

No--never mind. You're right. Only never being offended by, reacting adversely to, or ever judging the content of any speech act is virtuous; anything less is fascistic. And all speech is compulsory. Even self-censorship is evil. So I have to keep responding to you. In fact, I'm morally obligated to, lest my own personal Free Speech™ rights erode through disuse.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:27 PM on September 20, 2012


Point being: no one has not been allowed to speak here. Some people "spoke" (and I'm being generous to call it that); and some other people got mad about what those people said.

If the film had targeted a single private individual for mockery instead of an entire population, it could absolutely have been judged libel or slander and subject to some form of civil remedy in court. As it is, there may be no legal grounds against such a film production, but the moral case is a slam dunk for the prosecution.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:37 PM on September 20, 2012


As it is, there may be no legal grounds against such a film production, but the moral case is a slam dunk for the prosecution.

Sorry, saulgoodman, this is at its core all about free speech and not about claiming the moral high ground.

The fact remains that Islamists are protesting the fact that people in Western societies are exercising their right to express opinions that others may not consider worthy. That's what free speech is about. I haven't heard anyone anywhere defend the nauseating opinions expressed in the movie, assert that people aren't allowed to judge the content of the speech act, or insist that Islamic societies allow the film to air there.

But your fertile imagination erects these straw men and topples them effortlessly. Congratulations again.
posted by Fritz Langwedge at 2:15 AM on September 21, 2012


One curious thing is that there are, as a matter of statistical near-inevitability, Muslims on MetaFilter, and probably still reading this thread, although at this point possibly from the same car-crash eyeball-glue as I am feeling, and yet they are not contributing. Or, if they are contributing, they are not identifying as Muslim.

I think that's a shame, but I can't see it as hugely surprising.
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:45 AM on September 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


It is important to note that lots and lots and lots and lots of Muslims are not protesting these ugly little videos, nor burning anything, nor killing anyone. That's pretty much the joke of the #MuslimRage tag. Running order's lame and racist attempts to pretend otherwise, by implying that any Muslim would feel the same way about the material as the worst Libyan radical, notwithstanding.

Meanwhile, saulgoodman, while "the moral case [against the video] is a slam dunk for the prosecution", the moral case against burning things and killing people over a video is a three-pointer. Were you also one of those odious people who murmured "Well of course Mr. Rushdie may publish whatever he likes, but he shouldn't act surprised when people are offended"?
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 5:41 AM on September 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Please support that catastrophically stupid and untrue assertion, or retract it.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:03 AM on September 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Running order, you've implied in the comment above that any Muslim would be offended by condemnation of the violence happening in Egypt and Libya. Have I misunderstood your implication?
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 6:07 AM on September 21, 2012


rosf, I wouldn't bother.
posted by brokkr at 7:02 AM on September 21, 2012


You are probably right, brokrr.

Briefly, TFB: Yes, you have - so unbelievably badly that it is almost impossible to imagine that you could have done so sincerely while still being literate enough to have made out the individual words. Read it again. Hell, ask a moderator to read it for you. Explain your reading, using the words I wrote, in the context of the thread. Or, you know, go think about what you just did.

And really? Is that your go-to response to uncertainty? "Lame and racist"? An _ablist_ kneejerk accusation of racism? Is that some sort of whacky performance art threadshit?

MetaTalk in these situations is primarily community theater, as I understand it, and thus not useful. But, wow.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:27 AM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, if I've misunderstood, then I'm happy to be incorrect. Though your leap to ablism is a pretty funny wet-cat squeal.

To review my position, I assert the following:

- The rioting in the Middle East has a number of causes, including rising food prices, political unfreedom, leaders who stir up rage over "offended sensibilities" , a culture of intense religiosity and accompanying irrational rage when offended, anger at Western countries attacking Muslim countries, misunderstanding of the nature of free speech in Western countries (based on the assumption that speech is as controlled by the government here as it is there), helpless rage at the American drone attacks that too often kill innocent people (and that the local government often assists with and then shifts blame for), and deliberate provocation by elements seeking to destabilize the government. Reducing it to "They're demonstrating to protest the war" is as reductive, ignorant, and simple-minded as "They hate us for our freedom."

- Mocking of Islam, when not accompanied by mockery of other faiths, is a nasty bit of punching downward, particularly in the context of Western invasions of Muslim countries. However, I approve of blasphemy always, and anyone who insists that we should refrain from engaging in it to protect the sensibilities of the religious---or worse yet, to prevent them from engaging in violence---is a traitor to freedom. Such a person deserves live in a world where we do not have the things that were seized in direct defiance of the protests of religious leaders, like knowledge of anatomy, women's right to vote, and birth control.

- There are millions of Muslims in the world. It is a very small percentage of them who are "enraged" by this sort of blasphemy, and an even smaller percentage who are engaging in violence in retaliation for speech. To imply otherwise---whether you're a Glenn Beck freak who says "that's what Islam is like" or a cringing university lefty who says "Muslims have a right to burn things when offended"--- is hella racist.

I would be pleased to hear how you disagree with the above. But if you just want to squawk, preen, and demand retraction, you can carry on without me.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:02 AM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, saulgoodman, while "the moral case [against the video] is a slam dunk for the prosecution", the moral case against burning things and killing people over a video is a three-pointer.

Yeah, but where did I ever endorse these violent reaction of the very small percentage of people who identify as Muslim who've reacted with violence?

I guess I didn't make it clear enough that, in addition to personally finding it absurd to defend this "film" on any grounds, I also find actual violence in response to it indefensible (though I will defend to the death the right of people to protest anything non-violently, as mass protest is itself a form of political speech that must be protected).

But the vast majority of Muslims haven't responded with violence, if at all! Which is why it's so wrong to characterize what we're seeing as "Muslim Rage," in the way that Newsweek and others have expressed it, and so misleading when we keep getting all these reports in the media describing this as the "Muslim" reaction.

You're either playing some strange sophist games here or I misrepresented my position pretty badly to have confused you into thinking I approve of any of this violence. I suspect you know pretty damn well that's not what I was arguing and are trying to tie me up in rhetorical knots to make it seem that way. So I think I'm done playing these games with you now.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:14 AM on September 21, 2012


SG, I don't think you "approve" of the violence, but you don't seem to disapprove of it as much as you disapprove of the speech that "provoked" it. Hence the slam dunk vs. three-pointer.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 9:38 AM on September 21, 2012


I would be pleased to hear how you disagree with the above.

This is an attempt to smokescreen your threadshitting with verbiage. The issue is your use of the phrase "lame and racist". So, since you do seem to have trouble reading things, and thought I said "please, ThatFuzzyBastard, I long to learn from you about your viewpoint. That's how we reward threadshitters here", let me repeat:

Explain your reading, using the words I wrote, in the context of the thread. Or, you know, go think about what you just did.

Please do this. Explain how you got to:

Running order, you've implied in the comment above that any Muslim would be offended by condemnation of the violence happening in Egypt and Libya.

Reference the words I actually used. Explain what kind of demented moon logic got you there from :
One curious thing is that there are, as a matter of statistical near-inevitability, Muslims on MetaFilter, and probably still reading this thread, although at this point possibly from the same car-crash eyeball-glue as I am feeling, and yet they are not contributing. Or, if they are contributing, they are not identifying as Muslim.

I think that's a shame, but I can't see it as hugely surprising.
Which is very clearly a reference to the ongoing othering of Muslims in this thread, and their treatment as the subject - as those people over there - rather than possible participants in the discussion.

I realize you might be used to r/atheism or something, but I think the standards of interpersonal behavior are a little higher around here.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:43 AM on September 21, 2012


the standards of interpersonal behavior are a little higher around here.

Indeed, this stops now. MetaTalk is an option from this point forward. TheFuzzyBastard, please skip the personal attacks, it's really not okay here.
posted by jessamyn at 10:00 AM on September 21, 2012


I do want to make clear I'm not trying to attack anyone personally; I don't know anyone personally.

It seemed to me that rosf's was asserting that a thread about whether the violence in Egypt and Libya was entirely due to Western intervention or in part due to other factors was a discussion that was a priori alienating or hostile to Muslims. I believe that attributing such beliefs to "Muslims" as a group is itself racist; different Muslims have different views. I don't think rosf intended it to be such, but I think rosf is giving in to blanket characterizations of a very diverse population. I not only do not wish to "other" Muslims, I am objecting to what I see as a condescending "othering" in rosf's comments.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 10:12 AM on September 21, 2012


MetaTalk at this point, period.
posted by jessamyn at 10:22 AM on September 21, 2012


In other news: Heathen President Refuses to Condemn Piece of Art From 1987
posted by homunculus at 1:43 PM on September 22, 2012


New thread about attacks by Libyans on the base of the Ansar al-Sharia militia, who are thought to be responsible for the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:50 PM on September 22, 2012


‘Savage’ NY subway ads get a make-over– revealing their true character
posted by homunculus at 1:58 PM on September 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


That Muslim Punk Thing, Ten Years Later
posted by homunculus at 6:53 PM on September 25, 2012


Christian conservatives angered by Obama's comments on Islam at UN
posted by homunculus at 6:54 PM on September 25, 2012


Also angered, to be fair, by pretty much everything else as well.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:05 PM on September 25, 2012


Journalist Mona Eltahawy Arrested in New York for Spray Painting Over Pamela Geller’s Racist Subway Poster
posted by homunculus at 3:38 PM on September 26, 2012


Most Republicans think west and Islam are in fundamental conflict, poll finds: Most Americans reject view of a clash of cultures that can only have one winner, but two-thirds of Republicans support it
posted by homunculus at 6:17 PM on September 26, 2012


Debbie Riddle, Texas State Rep, Tells College Student To Move To Afghanistan In Long Ranting Argument
posted by homunculus at 10:43 AM on September 28, 2012


In other blasphemy news: Greek Pastafarian arrested for "Cyber Crimes"

Pastafarian Rage!
posted by homunculus at 12:53 PM on September 30, 2012


Pro-Muslim Subway Ads to Hang Near Anti-Jihad Ads
posted by homunculus at 6:47 PM on October 5, 2012


Fox Guest Says The Pentagon Has Capitulated To Jihadists
posted by homunculus at 12:52 PM on October 8, 2012


Mona Eltahawy: If anti-Muslim ads are protected, so must be my free speech right to protest
posted by homunculus at 12:17 AM on October 13, 2012


Newsweek to halt print publication
posted by homunculus at 9:44 AM on October 18, 2012


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