Sunday, September 03, 2006

Funny Old Blog

Here’s a funny thing.
You know the two Fox journalists who were kidnapped in Gaza? Apparently they promised to be Muslim, if their kidnappers would let them go, then reneged on the promise. You would think that folks would be grateful the reporters weren’t beheaded, much less released, but here’s what the ever-reasonable Debbie Schlussel had to say:

“That they apparently said the Shehadah, the oath to Islam (also known as the oath of Martyrdom) means that if they ever publicly denounce or renounce Islam--as they appear to have done--that is a mortal sin. And they're subject to a death sentence for it. Muslims can never leave the faith, no matter how they joined it. Good luck to them. Hope they have good security.”

And the ever so brave David Warren:

“I assume they are not Christians (few journalists are), but had they ever been instructed in that faith, they might have grasped that conversion to Islam means denial of Christ, and that is something many millions of Christians (few of them intellectuals) have refused to do, even at the cost of excruciating deaths . . . And the two Fox journalists, whom I will not stoop to name, begged for their lives even though, in retrospect, their lives probably weren't in danger. . . . Men without chests, men without character, men who don't think twice.”

The “whom I will not stoop to name” is a nice touch. I think we don't need more chesty men, though. America's got a surplus of those.

From Hot Air: “As for Centanni, he should be immediately fired from Fox News. I base my view not on the video here, but what he has said since his release, under no duress whatsoever. Let him seek employment with the Islamo-Nazi loving BBC or Al Gaziera.”

Again, this whole Islamo-Nazi thing doesn't sit with me.

“Among other things, Steve Centanni had this to say upon his release yesterday at the love-in with the Hamas leader and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister:

‘I just hope this never scares a single journalist away from coming to Gaza to cover this story because the Palestinian people are very beautiful, kind-hearted, loving people who the world need to know more about and so do not be discouraged. Come and tell the story. It’s a wonderful story. I’m just happy to be here. Thanks for all your support.’”

Of course, at the time of this statement, Mr. Centanni was surrounded by people quite similar to the ones who had kidnapped him in the first place. A chesty man might have said, "Go ahead. Pull the trigger. You don't have guts." A chesty man might haved died.

That Wily Iranian!
First, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent a long letter to President Bush, which was dismissed. Then he went on 60 Minutes, and displayed an amazing amount of television presence for an utter loon. Smiling, he beat Mike Wallace to a standstill, responding smoothly to his hardhitting barrage with answers like, "The problem that President Bush has is in his mind he wants to solve everything with bombs. The time of the bomb is in the past. It's behind us. Today is the era of thoughts, dialogue and cultural exchanges." It’s all about Bush, you see.

At one point, an assistant even came into the shot to fuss over the President’s suit.

Last week, he challenged President Bush to a debate, to which an unnamed White House official responded, “Talk of a debate is just a diversion from the legitimate concerns that the international community, not just the US, has about Iran's behavior, from support to terrorism to pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability."

“See,” the President of Iran seems to be saying, “I’m the reasonable one here.” Except for the wiping Israel off the map stuff. But again, he was probably just kidding.

In other news…
I just read a feature in the Chronicle telling me that Osama bin Laden is, according to the headline, “a dimming terrorist superstar.” The author, John Arquilla, a defense analyst, suggests that the US drop the bounty on him from $25 million to $5 million. “This action would be…making the point that bin Laden is simply less important than he used to be.”

Further, “Those familiar with retail closeout sales or limited-time offers know that they spur shoppers. Closing out the bin Laden bounty may impel a ‘buyer' to step forward.”

They’re not hunting a human! They’re shopping!

Is this shopping too?
From the NYT:
“Now a growing number of couples like the Kingsburys are crossing a new threshold for parental intervention in the genetic makeup of their offspring: They are using P.G.D. to detect a predisposition to cancers that may or may not develop later in life, and are often treatable if they do.

“For most parents who have used preimplantation diagnosis, the burden of playing God has been trumped by the near certainty that diseases like cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia will afflict the children who carry the genetic mutation that causes them. …

“Couples like the Kingsburys, by contrast, face an even more complex calibration. They must weigh whether their desire to prevent suffering that is not certain to occur justifies the conscious selection of an embryo and the implicit rejection of those that carry the defective gene.”

In other news…
Rumsfeld told the American Legion last week: "Any kind of moral and intellectual confusion about who and what is right or wrong can severely weaken the ability of free societies to persevere." Spoken like a man with chest to spare.

Ikea denies!
AP: “Ikea denies speculation that the picture of a dog in the Swedish retailer's new catalogue was doctored to make it appear it had a human penis.”

Weird blogosphere events.
Lee Siegel, a former columnist at The New Republic. A while back I blogged about his assertion that "The blogosphere…radiates democracy's dream of full participation" but is actually “hard fascism with a Microsoft face.” His claims were met with puzzlement and ridicule (further evidence of fascism to Siegel, who wrote: "Two other traits of fascism are its hatred of the process of politics, and the knockabout origins of its adherents.")

Well, he’s been fired. Apparently, he was a “sock puppet.” That is, he created a fictitious persona to attack his critics and defend himself. Posting under the alias of "Sprezzatura" he wrote, among other things, “Every young write [sic] in NYC has it in for poor Siegel it seems. They all write like middle-aged hacks. He has the fire and guts of a young man…” and “I'm a huge fan of Siegel, been reading him since he started writing for TNR almost ten years ago. (Full disclosure: I'm an editor at a magazine in NYC and he's written for me too.) I watch the goings-on and have to scratch my head. The people who hate him the most are all in their twenties and early thirties. …And I ask myself: why is it the young guys who go after Siegel? Must be because he writes the way young guys should be writing: angry, independent, not afraid of offending powerful people. They on the other hand write like aging careerists: timid, ingratiating, careful not to offend people who are powerful. They hate him because they want to write like him but can't.”

And now he can't write like him either, at least not for The New Republic.

Another weird blogosphere event.
A Tasmanian teen who called herself “Emmalina,” and became an Internet sensation on YouTube, has stopped blogging.

In her last post on YouTubeTalk, she wrote, “Every day I logged in and discovered more and more cruel spoofs, harassing videos, death and rape threats, incredibly nasty comments and God knows what else. I can't take it anymore. YouTube 'popularity' is hell unless you're a f---ing saint with nothing to hide, or you have indestructible confidence.”

Ah, the glory of YouTube.
Neva Chonin, in her wonderful Sunday SF Chronicle column, brought my attention to lonelygirl15 on YouTube. I have not seen all of these things, but Ms. Chonin says she “has a purple monkey hand puppet, a lazy eye and a mysterious shrine to ye olde occultist Aleister Crowley.” Her videos average a million views apiece.

But is she real? Ms. Chonin doubts it. “The narrative sounds formulaic and scripted, and lonegirl15/Bree is not an especially convincing actress.”

I checked out a couple of the videos. Man, are they fake. But I guess such things don’t matter any more.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ironic. People who use Muslims' belief in martyrdom as evidence of their insanity are now criticizing journalists for not being martyrs to the Christian faith.

5:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think "chestiness" is more likely to be found in films, like Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Commando". There we see the rather paradoxical CHESTINESS PRINCIPLE: The larger your chest, the less likely the bullets are to hit you. Perhaps the writer was thinking of that.

As a possible downside, chest hypertrophy often leads to chronic FLEX-ITIS!


10:48 AM  

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