Posts Tagged ‘cultural imperialism’
Well, it’s certainly getting interesting over in the Middle East. The response to it around these parts is pretty interesting too. Neither are the good kind of interesting, they are the cursed form of interesting. As the putative Chinese curse goes: “May you live in interesting times.” In really local news, I, for the first time ever, banned a commenter. His comments just got angrier and angrier, and I’m not even sure why. I certainly didn’t get into it with him, he mostly just seemed to be really upset about stuff I was posting. My blog, my opinions. And I try to be respectful of others, I can’t read hard core conservative or liberal (or whatever) blogs because they are so, well, personally insulting of the other side’s beliefs. In any event, I’m not angry at Steve. I used to fly off the handle like that myself, I hope he finds peace someday. Clearly reading my blog wasn’t helping him any in that sense.
People can and do get outraged by stuff they read. Or, say, see in a movie trailer. And in the right context, can get violent over it. People get irrationally violent over all sorts of things. All depends on how propagandized and and programmed they are. Typically people believe violence on their side’s part is rational, and violence on the other side’s part is irrational. And they believe this so strongly that for the most part there’s no point even trying to debate with them. They have such a negative perception of the other side that they can’t even begin to see it from their perspective, and judge it by their own standards. Standards which are often culturally or otherwise enforced in spades. This is how some Americans were able to rationalize civilian deaths in Vietnam. The Vietnamese were Buddhists, they believed in reincarnation, so dying wasn’t a big deal for them. I hope most of my readers can see that this is a profoundly racist and culturally imperialist view, which basically reduces the other side to the status of little more than animals to be butchered without remorse. Leaders of all sides, with few exceptions, espouse this sort of toxic nonsense.
Which brings us the the current sorry state of affairs in the Middle East and beyond. Anti-American and anti-western riots. People dead. Those crazy Muslims is the typical refrain in the west, rioting over a movie trailer. Proof that Islam is a violent (read: irrational and primitive) religion? I mean, these people are rioting and making death threats because their religion was insulted, how irrational does it get? Well, when one has been taught since birth that Muslims and Arabs are inherently violent primitive people who don’t want peace, despite all the west has done for them, it sound irrational as hell. This is the beauty of propaganda, once people have internalized it, they will believe the most egregious nonsense. Not only will they believe it, many of them will actively seek news that reinforces their belief. It’s called confirmation bias. This is how Hitler was able to convince many Germans that they lost World War One because of the Jews. Were the Germans being prejudiced believing this? You betcha.
By now my more astute readers may have discerned where I am going with this. At the risk of losing friends, not that I have a whole lot of friends, a person that thinks Islam is a violent religion compared to say, Christianity and Judaism … is a bigot. While this movie trailer is the catalyst for the riots, it’s not the cause. The cause is decades of western crimes against Muslim nations in the Middle East and central Asia. We’re talking war, occupation, ethnic cleansing, and arming brutal undemocratic governments that were in the west’s pocket. The sorts of things that Americans would be seething with rage about had they been on the receiving end. Look how apeshit many Americans went after 9/11, yet many Muslim countries have suffered and continue to suffer at western hands crimes that kill far more people than 9/11. It’s OK though according to many in the west, the Muslims brought it on themselves with their violence.
And so the violence continues, with all sides believing egregious nonsense about the other side. And far too many leaders on both sides doing their best to reinforce the prejudices their followers hold. Clinton and Obama gave lovely speeches basically calling Muslims violent primitive savages, of course all couched in oh-so-reasonable language, and the media was all-too-happy to reinforce this prejudice with endless stories about Muslims rioting over the movie trailer, completely without any context as to why there might be seething discontent in many Muslim countries directed towards the west. Whoever translated movie this trailer into English has succeeded beyond their wildest dreams in reinforcing western prejudice against Muslims, frankly I suspect Israeli counter-intelligence is behind that. The timing was just too perfect.
What will happen now? Damned if I know. Christians, Jews, and Muslims have lots in common. All are easily propagandized and all will support and execute amazing levels of violence. And in the modern world where propaganda is so easily and widely disseminated, it’s a problem. Add to it a situation where many or most leaders on many fronts have made the sociopathic calculation that a war now will advance their interests in the long run, and we have a recipe for a wider or even a global war. Stay tuned.
“It takes two fools to have a fight.”
(The above image is all over Facebook, so again, no clue on copyright. Not being used for profit yadda yadda yadda. Yes, it would be nice if Jesus, Moses, and Mohamed came back and told their followers to cool their jets. Not going to happen of course, since dead people don’t come back, ever. Maybe if the aliens tied everyone to a chair for a few days and showed them images of what violence actually accomplishes. That’s my plan for peace. And if they don’t do that, maybe they could take those of us who still want to live in peace with their neighbours away? A man can dream.)
Is that a lovely? That’s California Fish and Game Commission President Daniel Richards posing with a cougar he recently killed in Idaho. He claims it was in self defence. OK, that was a joke. He killed (and reportedly ate) the cougar in a perfectly legal hunt in Idaho. This has caused a storm of protest and calls for his resignation in California, where such hunts are illegal. Mr Richards says the hunt was legal, it was on his own time, and is no different than, say, any other California state official travelling to Nevada to go gambling, which is also illegal in California. So what’s the problem?
The problem is that Mr Richards is an insensitive idiot. Now don’t get me wrong, I support hunting and fishing when well regulated, the alternative is much uglier. And while I’m not a big fan of trophy hunting, within reason I don’t have a problem with it. I would prefer that trophy hunters be limited to hand weapons like spears and knives. I mean come on guys, if you have to kill a big animal to prove you have stones, do it like a man. Any a**hat can shoot a cat in a tree. Bring down a cougar or a bear with a spear, and I’ll buy you a drink dude. Or have one in your memory at least.
I digress. Suffice it to say that any state official careless enough to allow a public picture of himself grinning like a loon while he pursues an activity that the majority of his employers disagree with, an activity he is sworn to prevent in his state, is an idiot. Yes, as a state official he is working for the voters of California. That he doesn’t understand, or is pretending not to understand, that letting a picture like this hit the airwaves would cause some major backlash, is mind blowing to me.
The point here, is that Mr Richard’s attitude is an excellent example of Vulcan logic. Because what he did was legal, he’s basically claiming that anyone who gets upset isn’t being logical, therefore he can ignore them. People do react emotionally to stuff, and anyone who has lived on Earth for more than a few weeks should understand that. Anyone who completely disregarded the emotions of people in their personal life pretty quickly wouldn’t have any friends, or at least they would have just strange stunted friendships. Now for the record I am not saying that every time someone gets upset at a public official’s actions it means they were wrong. I am saying that to claim that your actions are defensible because “people shouldn’t rationally get upset by this” is in and of itself a profoundly irrational argument. People are creatures of emotion, and to pretend otherwise isn’t rational.
And we come to a similar situation in Afghanistan. Despite the fact that there is ample evidence that defacing the Koran violates a core value of many or most of the Afghan people, many Americans in and out of politics and the media act surprised every time something like this happens and cluck cluck about how “irrational” their response is. With simply zero empathy for how they would respond in a similar situation. If a Muslim Army had occupied the USA for a decade, waging war against the Tea Party the whole time, and the charred remains of the Star Spangled Banner flag was found in a trash pit outside a Saudi military base, many Americans would go ballistic. The point is that the burning of the Korans, and allowing Afghans to find out, was a sign of either mind numbing incompetence on the part of some Americans … or mind numbing indifference.
The meta point I am dancing around here is that the attitude of many Americans about this Koran issue is simply a reflection of the fact that they think we are the good guys with the superior values, and our values trump theirs. This is the colonial mind set or cultural imperialism or American exceptionalism … or just plain old fashioned being arrogant and condescending. Claiming one is “helping” people by invading their country and installing a government of our liking is bizarre enough, claiming that trampling on their values at the same time is “no big deal” is beyond bizarre, it’s insane.
And frankly, my current theory is that imperialism is a disease. And the USA has a raging case of it.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit and at this point is definitely an historically important image. My opinion on the topic? I say to Mr Richards: “Good shot! However, this picture shows you are too stupid, arrogant, and insensitive to hold public office, do us all a favour and resign.”)
PS: Have a great weekend everyone!
There’s been a developments in Iran, Syria, and Afghanistan, so another extemporaneous post on this scary and developing situation. Iran first. The UN has been asking to look at a military base where it is suspected that Iran may have been testing components for a nuclear weapon. This has been an issue for at least six months or so. The inspectors spent a few days cooling their heels, and are now on their way home. Much sabre rattling and threats from the USA ad Israel, with Iran not backing down in its own stead, pointing out that the have the right under international law to launch a preemptive attack at the forces arrayed around Iran if they think an attack is imminent.
This is not good, but it’s not what it seems. The military site isn’t a nuclear site, and Iran is within their rights to refuse access to it. Especially since the US has been known to place spies in UN inspection teams, and considering that the “evidence” claiming this base has been used for nuclear testing isn’t exactly iron clad. Look at it this way, would you let your sworn enemy to send their finest James Bond type guy into your most top secret military base on the basis of what you know to be faked evidence? The damage done by something like that could be incalculable, they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. They’ve wisely chosen the known diplomatic damage by refusing entry, instead of the unknown damage a spy could cause.
Does this make an attack on Iran more likely? Yes, yes it does. I still think it’s a crazy idea, but Germany declaring war on France and England in World War One was a crazy idea, and they did it anywise. Add whatever historical examples of stupid wars one wants, there are a lot of them when it comes right down to it. Lastly on Iran, note that this military base is NOT a nuclear facility, yet somehow the UN is demanding to see it? Iran’s nuclear fuel supply and enrichment facilities are carefully monitored, this is another example of the USA making demands that are above and beyond Iran’s treaty obligations. (The UN is now just an organization for rubber stamping pretty much whatever the USA wants.)
Sigh. Moving right along, anti-US riots and protests in Afghanistan, several dead. These were triggered by locals discovering charred copies of the Koran dumped in a local dump by US forces. Two points here, the first being that while the burned Korans triggered these protests and riots, they’re a symptom of deep anger and dissatisfaction at the foreign presence in their country. Secondly, how the hell did this happen? Our forces are unaware that if they were going to burn copies of the Koran, they shouldn’t let the locals know about it? Talk about a PR bonanza for the Taliban. Major facepalm. And in Syria, two western reporters were killed. That will certainly spur more calls for the west to “do something” in Syria.
Not a good morning for news out of the Middle East. As a capstone to all this madness, US proxy forces in Somalia have captured a major town. Yes, decades after our humanitarian adventure in Somalia ended in Black Hawk Down, we are still intervening and Somalia is still a bloody mess. That’s because humanitarian intervention really means invasion, meddling, and often occupation. And oddly enough, people tend to resent outside powers fucking up their country, that’s because it’s their country, something the west has forgotten under the all encompassing Christian religion known as cultural imperialism.
Sigh. Tomorrow I will get back to the GOP’s War on Women, another fine example of Christianity’s dark side.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s a very low resolution copy of the original poster, it’s not being used for profit. Credit: Advertisement from the 1970s by American nuclear-power companies. It’s used to show that times have changed, and that Iran’s reasons for building nuclear power plants are as good as they were then. Of course then they were a US lackey, today they are one of the world’s few remaining sovereign states.)