16 August 2010

The dumbest thing I've ever heard in my life

I hate to be all "we've finally succumbed to the vortex of stupid!" on you, but the fact that this "Ground Zero Mosque" non-story still has legs makes me feel we have crossed some final threshold of no return.

Yes, the "controversy" which initially began as a few far-right Islamophobes getting all pouty that the brown heathens were approaching the consecrated crucifixion scene has somehow transformed itself into a legitimate political issue on which our Serious leaders are being asked actual questions and are expected to respond in some way other than "Have you dumbasses ever read the First Amendment?" If there was any doubt about how much the right controls popular discourse, and how desperate the ruling class is to talk about something other than the shape of the economy, this should be proof enough.

How many mental hoops do you have to jump through to manufacture some outrage about this story? Well, there's the fact that the "Ground Zero Mosque" is neither a) a mosque (not that it matters) nor b)at Ground Zero (it's two blocks away, and can't even be seen from there.) Then you have to bypass the dangerous precedent of declaring where and when a minority religion gets to practice, although, given the rise across the country in anti-Muslim fervor I suppose this is past the point now. Why don't we skip right to the yellow crescent stickers? Nevermind that, though, because how could you have missed the outrage of scary Muslims praying in the Pentagon of all places! To steal Elliot's great number, they didn't even have the decency to move two blocks away!

I'm struggling to come up with ways to express how ridiculous and outrageous this story is, and what it says about the complete depravity of our elite opinion-makers and the right-wing knuckle-draggers they are so eager to swoon over. What's somewhat surprising is that the United States has generally been better at integrating its Muslim population, probably moreso than Western Europe, for example. Even George Bush, perhaps unconvincingly, tried to insist he was not at war with the entire religion of Islam. That appears to be very over. Why now? Obviously, there's always the opportunity that economic crisis brings to facilitate the scapegoating of a small, unpopular and powerless minority. The more likely cause, though, is the need of the war party to wave the bloody shirt of 9/11 martyrdom and keep the public's thirst for destruction primed for the liberation of the next enemy.