Thursday, March 02, 2006

Crazy people

You know what I like? When amazon reviewers paint their own ideological biases over the thing they're reviewing and start raving like crazy people, to the point where all you can do is slowly back away, being careful not to make any sudden moves. I just finished reading The Moor's Last Sigh, by Salman Rushdie. There is certainly room for cogent criticism of this novel, but. Well, um. Here's part of the review from the reliably-ideological "brothersjudddotcom":

As to the first point, individuals are defined by their religious/moral beliefs and cultures are defined by the dominant religious/moral beliefs of their members. Mr. Rushdie seems to relish turning religious characters into evil caricatures; Abraham, for instance, is portrayed as the kind of evil Jewish criminal overlord that we would sooner expect to find in 1930's Nazi propaganda. He seems to believe that serious religious beliefs necessarily warp the soul & make believers evil. It's odd that this author who is so widely celebrated as a victim of religious intolerance, is himself so intolerant of others.

Um. Yes. Um. You know, I'll admit that there were things in the book that went over my head. Among other things, I believe one would need a working knowledge of modern Indian history to even hope to grasp all the nuances. So I don't claim to be able to expound in a particularly profound manner on the subject. But what I will say is, I wasn't actually asleep while I was reading. So okay, you know Abraham Zogoiby? The "religious character whose beliefs warped his soul and made him evil and whatnot? Right:

"'She walks around here. I've seen her.' Abraham in sky-orchard with stuffed dog confessed to a vision--driven, for the first time in his life, and after a lifetime of utter scepticism on the subject, to allow the possibility of life after death to stumble across his irreligious tongue." (328)

So...yeah. It's anyone's guess what Freudian mechanisms caused the Super Judd Bros to inject JEWISH! in "evil criminal overlord." We can argue whether religion is a net good or a net evil in the world, but not if we're going to act all deranged about it. But anyway:

In fact, there's a weird sort of dissonance in the outrage we hear from Mr. Rushdie and his defenders. On the one hand, they loudly declare the importance of free expression and the right to broadcast ideas, no matter how objectionable. But on the other hand, they react in horror to the fact that ideas & speech have consequences. Mr. Rushdie, like a neo-Nazi or a flag burner or a Klansman, has a right to propound his ideas. But having spewed forth his hate speech, he should not expect to be immune from the violent reactions of those he attacks. Ideas have consequences. If you aren't willing to cope with the consequences, don't express your ideas. Along with the right to speak, comes the right to shut up.

Uh huh. Although I like how flag burner goes right along with neo-Nazi and Klansman, this is probably the part where you should consider getting rid of sharp objects and covering up the electrical outlets.


Anonymous Anonymous pontificated to the effect that...

Oh, mah sweet Lawd, it's the brothers Judd. See, that's the best thing about being a conservative - it doesn't just mean that you're right about politics, it also instantaneously makes you a world-class expert on economics, history, etiquette, theology, science, literature and everything else. That's why, if you peruse the writings of dem cons now and again, you will often find this tone of faux-Greek-drama pathos, added to give the ideology a veneer of scholarship. Hence, ol' Orrin can issue pronouncements about (for instance) how Dostoevsky wasn't smart enough to grasp the truth and morality of a fundamentalist Christian worldview, and Fyodor Mikhailovich can't do anything about it! Judd's an Amazon reviewer, so the world's just gotta listen, that's the way it is. Similarly, why is it that our reactionary buddy can give a score of "F" to Yasunari Kawabata? Because he knows more about culture! Like, duh!

- SK

4:38 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. pontificated to the effect that...

Yeah, not much fun at parties, I'm guessing. Did you know Death of a Salesman is "Stalinist propaganda?" A TOP ONE HUNDRED REVIEWER scrawled it on a shithouse wall, so it must be true. Gawd.

8:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous pontificated to the effect that...

Not this dude, no; however, it seems that the newest generation of dem cons prides itself on being "hip" and "with it." Like, the various "campus conservatives" that have proliferated across this fine land of ours (there was one dude at Cornell who stayed there for ten years on a full scholarship from some right-wing think-tank or other) often adopt a smarmy, glib tone to indicate that they are sophisticated counter-culture commentators, and thereby mask the fundamentally un-hip views which they advocate. Sometimes they even use profanity, and if that's not cool, I don't know what is. Example: "Dude, like, fuckin' activist judges shoving their agenda down our throat! Like, fuckin' liberals think that every sexual orientation is morally equivalent! As if, dude!" I think this is just the historical process in action, which unfortunately means that there's nothing to be done about it.

10:46 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. pontificated to the effect that...

Well, Mr. Judd gave a glowing review to South Park Conservatives, including the jaw-dropping opener "all humor is conservative." So he presumably wants people to THINK he's "cool" and "with it" and "where it is at," except of course when that gets in the way of whinging about how degraded the culture is.

Please define: "dem con"

12:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous pontificated to the effect that...

It's my hip and with-it way of saying "them conservatives." By shortening this phrase, I can imply that they are, in fact, not as educated and high-brow as they wish to appear.

I remember when I was still a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed young undergraduate, there was a conservative fellow on my floor. He frequently typed long political rants and hung them on his door. Then, after these were ignored for a few days, he would follow up with even longer rants about how everyone in the building was a "coward" for not daring to "face" the "challenge" presented by his views. But midway through the year, he got tired of this practice and began to use his soapbox for bragging about "head" that he allegedly received from sorority girls. Ah, those were the days.

- SK

12:55 AM  

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