Sunday, January 29, 2006

Lines from a Political Speech

I believe that the people are citizens who own a continuing and responsible role in their own government, not sheep who are asked to bleat from time to time in answer to the prospect of the shepherds and the wolves changing places once again.

How long will we go on with this relentless puttering, this engless timid niggling, changing everything just a little, so as to keep everything just the same?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Adjusting Muslim Culture

Via Relapsed Catholic, we learn that Al-Jazeera is angry at a Danish newspaper's contest for offensive cartoons about Muhammad. At the end of the article -- after Al-Jazeera has documented the disgusting unwillingness of the Danish government to "take action" against the offenders, and worries that the contest will spark a new crop of anti-Islamic mobs slaughtering Muslims in the streets of the West -- we're treated to the standard Mark1Mod0 Moral Superiority Tag-Line: "The Islamic religion does not allow offensive remarks by both Muslims and Non-Muslims."

By both? That's an interesting turn of phrase. One wonders if it might be called a "Dhimmian slip." I wonder, since it appears that Islam allows offensive remarks to be made by Muslims, who take full advantage of the privilege:
Like this.

And this.

And this.

And this.

Or all of these.
There are other interesting Dhimmian slips in this article, such as the headline: "Has Defaming the Prophet become ‘Freedom of Speech?'" As though we must all agree that some universal law has already been passed requiring everyone to admit that Muhammad actually was a prophet.

Al-Jazeera says "the Qur'an, the Muslims' holy book orders them to conduct discussions in an orderly and respectable manner. It prohibits ridiculing the Jews/Christians or the Prophets." I have no doubt that the anti-Semitic authors and cartoonists who fill Muslim media with vile and hateful images of Jews believe they're not ridiculing anyone and that their behavior is orderly and respectable. After all, if Jews really are the moral equivalent of Nazis, the hooky-nosed secret dominators of the world, who make matzos from the blood of gentile children, then surely it's respectable and orderly to point that out. So, welcome to the world of secular liberty, kids, where opinions are like . . . er, uh . . . ubiquitous, and where smugly claiming to "tolerate respectable opinions" is as much of an answer to the problem of free speech as saying "we only shoot the bad people" is an answer to the problem of how best to enforce the law.

I don't like newspapers mocking Islam any more than I like them mocking Christianity. But if I used Al-Jazeera's yardstick to measure things, then every time a Muslim refers to "Isa" a/ka "Jesus," as a prophet I'd have to conclude that he's violating the "basic right" of my true faith to be recognized as the true faith. When Islamic scholars paint the crusades as nothing but a series of imperialist war crimes, they're "insulting" my culture. And apparently I must demand that they be punished; if the police should be used to "ensure respect" for Muslim immigrants, surely the police can be used to "ensure respect" for Christian non-immigrants.

The result of that perspective is civil war, as Christians and Muslims fight to control the state in order to "ensure respect" for our true faiths. It's the paradigm that drove the West into secularism to begin with, and I haven't seen anything suggesting that Islam has a better alternative. It's been claimed that Islam offers true tolerance, the dawn of a golden age when common values can shared without exclusion or oppression. Al-Jazeera's petulant editorial indicates that Islam has a lot of adjustment to do before it can prosper outside of a Muttawa-maintained hothouse of double standards and seething grievances.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Waiter . . . Again

The Waiter at Waiter Rant is a good guy. Chief clue: His first reaction to a holy inspiration is to curse. Now I know that the man who is not tempted to desist from charity enjoys a nobler character of soul than the man who is, but I have a lot of fellow-feeling for guys who have to grind the gears, so to speak, before making their guardian angels happy.

BTW, The Waiter has also been nominated for Best American Blog. Go vote for him.

As to the slim offerings here, it's been busy. A post on "robust questioning" will appear in a few days, hopefully.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I'm Waiting . . . . .

Now that Google has agreed to become an arm of the Chinese police state, I'm wondering when that cute little tank-and-pedestrian graphic will appear as garnish on the Google logo. Tianmen Square Day, perhaps?

Friday, January 20, 2006

Another Empty Suit

Sen. Hillary Clinton called for United Nations sanctions against Iran and faulted the Bush administration for "downplaying" the threat Tehran's nuclear program poses. In other words, Hillary Clinton has rebuked the President for ignoring a serious problem by proposing, herself, that we continue to ignore a serious problem. She was probably eligible a long time ago, but in my book she's officially down as an Empty Suit.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Favorite Fight Scenes

Here are some of my favorite movie fight scenes in no particular order:

Giant . . . Bic Benedict vs. "Sarge" in Sarge's Diner.
They Live . . . "Nada" vs. "Frank" in the alleyway.
Bad Day at Black Rock . . . McCreedy vs. Coley in Sam's Bar & Grill.
Gardens of Stone St. Hazard vs. Angelica Huston's boyfriend at the cocktail party.
The Duellists, D'Hubert vs. Ferraud (Round II, fought in the Stables)
Aliens, Ripley vs. the Queen
The Princess Bride, Westley vs. Inigo Montoya
The Matrix Neo vs. Agent Smith
Fists of Fury Cheng-Chao An vs. Yin-Chieh Han
Rocky, Rocky Balboa vs. Apollo Creed
Brotherhood of the Wolfe, Mani vs. Gypsy Thugs
Blade Blade vs. Everybody in the Vampire Club
Predator, "Dutch" Schaeffer vs. the Predator
The Challenge, Rick Murphy vs. Hideo
The Godfather, Santino Corleone vs. Carlo Rizzi
Hard Times, Cheney vs. Jim Henry
A Bronx Tale, Mobsters vs. Bikers
From Russia With Love, James Bond vs. Grant
Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones vs. Giant Bald Nazi
The Adventures of Robin Hood, Robin Hood vs. Sir Guy of Guisborne
The Quiet Man, Sean Thornton vs. Squire Danaher
Monty Python and the Holy Grail, King Arthur vs. Black Knight
Rob Roy, Rob Roy v. Archibald Cunningham
Troy, Achilles v. Hector

One which isn't on the list is "Saving Private Ryan, Pvt. Mellish vs. German Infantryman." That's not a "fight scene." It's terrifying and the first piece of art I've seen that viscerally suggests to me the obscenity of war. But it's not an entertaining "fight scene" so it's not on the list.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Discussion of Iraq

Rerum Novarum and I have agreed to argue about the war in Iraq. I have my own arguments and Shawn, in a pleasing mixture of good sportsmanship and supreme overconfidence, has offered to send me some thoughts of his own in that regard to see what use I might make of them in my own cause. It may be some time before this develops, but I'll be glad to finally put up a full account of why I don't think we should have attacked Iraq.
Go Read This

It's good.