I love The 40 Year Old Virgin for the same reason Shoshanna Shapiro quickly became my favorite character on Girls, not because of her personal virginphobia, but because in a world threatened with terrorism, hunger, and the pending threat of Obamacare, virginity remains one of the greatest crises of our time.
Thanks to the goddess feminist revolt of the sexy sixties, bedroom activities have risen to the top of the pops when it comes to ratings-driven conversation. As a result, virgins have become stigmatized as uncool goods. It’s no wonder, then, that pop culture-obsessed Shoshanna is neurotic enough to spend an entire season trying her best to lose her virginity so she could catch up to her “adventurous” female counterparts like Jessa who came to the states for an abortion and Hannah who has recently been diagnosed with HPV.
How did feminism come to embrace promiscuity as a form of empowerment? Is the “adventurous” woman treating her HPV really happier than the Biblical feminist who resisted the culture and waited until marriage to have sex?
Love them or hate them, the Star Wars prequels prove by comparison why the original trilogy boasts such universal appeal. We love Luke, Han, Leia, and their ragtag band of rebels because they act from a profound moral conviction. They pursue liberty at any cost, and defy tyranny with admirable resolve. The prequel heroes, by contrast, spend a lot of time wringing their hands.
Over the course of the saga, Skywalker and son operate as essentially the same character presented in different contexts. Despite enjoying the collective instruction of the entire Jedi Order, Anakin falls to the Dark Side. Conversely, his son Luke adheres to the Light despite coming of age in dark times.
Upon due consideration, the prequels reveal that the Jedi Order was the true phantom menace. They took an innocent child with earnest moral impulses and turned him into a deeply conflicted, morally confused time bomb ill-equipped to deal with reality. Surely, the Sith were evil. However, despite an alleged moral dichotomy, so were the Jedi. Our recognition of their error makes it difficult to regard them as heroes and thus care about their plight. In the end, the teachings of the Jedi led directly to Anakin’s fall and the galaxy’s plunge into darkness. Perhaps that’s a large part of the reason we don’t care for their story that much.
The Jedi of the Old Republic operate from a disturbing moral ambivalence, fully personified in Grand Master Yoda and reflected to lesser degrees in the rest of the Council and their knights. At the close of Attack of the Clones, after reluctantly deploying the titular army to counter a clear and present separatist threat, Yoda rebukes Obi-Wan for regarding the outcome as victory.
Victory? Victory, you say? Master Obi-Wan, not victory. The shroud of the Dark Side has fallen. Begun the Clone War has.
Therein lays one of the distinguishing characteristics of the prequel trilogy, an aversion to war among its heroes. From Queen Amidala’s initial refusal to “condone an action that will lead us to war,” to Yoda’s above noted refusal to acknowledge a moral mandate to destroy aggressors, the prequel protagonists spend most of their time trying to weasel out of conflict – and thus exasperate it.
“I think there’s another revolution coming. I’m not sure what it’s going to look like but I think it’s going to be very interesting and it’s going to unfold over the next ten years. And I think it needs to be a spiritual revolution because I think that our systems are broken. I don’t think our political system will ever work. No matter how great a man, if you cloned JFK and Abraham Lincoln and made them president it wouldn’t matter. Our system is just too corrupt and too broken.” Rainn Wilson
Wilson goes on to say that he expects to see wild pendulum swings between Left and Right in the coming years. The only answer he sees is a spiritual revolution among the young — “like they did in the ’60s.”
Because the ’60s brand of teen revolution that jettisoned God and authority and traditional values worked out so well the first time around? By all means, let’s try that again! Oy.
Wilson concludes: “It’s gonna have to go to that or we’re all going to destroy each other.”
Are those our only two options?
Wilson is right that our systems are broken — or at least many of them are. Every day it seems we discover a new reason to be concerned about the government infringing on our liberties or we see a sign that our society is in a state of moral decay. Who ever imagined an America where a government agency would demand to know the contents of a group’s prayers? President Obama recently told grads at The Ohio State University to beware of the voices doing their best to “gum up the works.” The sad reality is that “the works” have been gummed up for decades and, despite the best efforts of a generation of good Americans, the gears refuse to budge. Many are frustrated with both parties and are beginning to understand, perhaps for the first time, that our nation’s problems are too immense to be solved with political — or even human — solutions alone.
“Arming teachers” with guns is a subject often fraught with emotion and one that can divide communities into different “camps” — usually into the stereotypical left vs. right, NRA vs. gun-control arguments. But the issue is much more complex and nuanced and even those usually on the same side of the gun control debate disagree about whether teachers should carry guns in classrooms.
Ohio is no exception as the state grapples with school safety a year after T.J. Lane killed three classmates and paralyzed another in a shooting at Chardon High School.
“Twenty-two seconds from the time he shot the first shot until he left the school building. Twenty-two seconds.”
That’s how Superintendent Joseph Bergant described the shooting at Chardon High School. He spoke at an Ohio State Board of Education (SBE) meeting earlier this month and said that Lane fired the first shot through his backpack and killed the student next to him.
“How do you guarantee the safety of 3000 students in a school building?,” Bergant asked. “You can’t.”
The Chardon district had a comprehensive plan for what to do in the event of an active shooter. They practiced so that students, parents, and teachers knew exactly how to respond. That training included role playing — even discharging a firearm in the building — practice reunification with parents, and parents receiving text messages to make sure the notification system was operational.
Bergant said, “Teachers had more anxiety when we did the crisis drill than on the day of the shooting.”
Despite all the preparations, the shooting only ended as quickly as it did because of the heroic actions of teacher and football coach Frank Hall who risked his own life by charging Lane — while dodging bullets — and chasing him out of the building.
Metal detectors. Uniformed police officers (euphemistically called “school resource officers”), buzzer systems at the school entry, armed teachers, brave and burly football coaches, duck and cover drills. No single solution or combination of protective measures will guarantee the safety of children when there is an evil murderer bent on snuffing out human lives. Arming teachers is not “the” answer to preventing — or stopping — active shooters.
But are they one solution that could help to make kids safer? Are there legitimate safety concerns about arming teachers? And who should decide if teachers should be armed with guns in schools?
Why Benghazi Is a Crime More Evil Than Anything a President Has Done in Our Lifetimes… in 60 Seconds
I published this on November 4, the conclusion of an article titled “The 15 Best Books for Understanding Barack Obama’s Mysterious Political Theology,” and a summation of my conclusions after more than three years spent investigating the president’s ideology full time:
Sitting here on this Sunday morning before the election, the Sun now up, reflecting back on these years scouring through dusty old Marxist books, trying to understand a president who built his career on a mountain of lies, I confess a peace with either electoral result on Tuesday. A part of me almost wishes that Obama
stealswins reelection (as I anticipate he will). The thought of him quietly retiring to a mansion in Hawaii in January to live out the rest of his life in comfort and adoration should inspire nausea. Only if Obama wins reelection do conservatives have a chance to hold him accountable for Benghazi, Fast and Furious, and all the crimes we don’t even know about yet. The man has blood on his hands and we can’t let him get away with it.
An ancient dictum popularized in recent years by the late Christopher Hitchens on the path forward, should Tuesday disappoint:
Fiat justitia ruat caelum
Do Justice and Let the Skies Fall
Check out the previous installments in Becky Graebner’s dissection of House of Cards. Spoiler Warning!
Politicians… we love to hate them. And sometimes we love them more than they deserve.
Politicians have a tough rap in Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, many citizens have come to associate public office with corruption. Thanks to the media, it has become the norm to see “scandal” written all over the papers, and these frequent scandals have exposed some of our leaders as immoral, untrustworthy frauds.
Playing with our already preconceived perceptions of politicians in Washington, D.C., House of Cards portrays almost all of its political characters as being corrupt. I shiver to think that there are politicians running around D.C., killing their mentees, but sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. A lot of the activities seen in HoC are things that our beloved senators, congressmen, and presidents have been caught doing. What’s even more shocking is that the public seems to take them back. Are we so jaded that bad behavior has become the norm? Not quite — but I do blame Disney.
It’s odd. Finding God in middle age brought more joy and peace into my life than I ever thought to expect, and yet listening to people talk about religion and reading modern writers on the subject often leaves me cold, alienated. I don’t care how brilliantly they refute the atheists. I don’t care whom they think God wants me to sleep with, or how they believe I should say my prayers. When they tell me I cannot call myself a Christian unless I condemn what they condemn and despise whom they despise, it makes me faintly nauseous. And though I’ve read many sentences that begin “If you only knew your Bible, you would see…” I’ve never reached the end of any of them.
What good religious discourse does — what good religious writing does — what they do for me, at least — is reorient my spirit toward its lodestar, which is Christ. For some reason, this is less likely to be achieved through flashy logic and pompous denunciations than through humble seeking and painfully honest self-examination. Go figure.
At any rate, here’s a lovely little book of really good religious writing: Strange Gods, by Elizabeth Scalia, who is also known by her blogging name The Anchoress. For reasons I’ll explain, it is an excellent corrective to our ferocious historical moment.
I was first led to the Anchoress by — who else? — Instapundit, (Him By Whom All Good Things are Linked!). I was taken with the gracefulness of her prose and the graciousness of her outlook and often found them an antidote to the fever of political confrontation. It’s not that she doesn’t have her opinions, she just usually manages to remain open-hearted toward her opposition while expressing them. No common thing these days and no mean trick either.
In Strange Gods, subtitled “Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life,” she examines a few of the infinite ways in which she and all the rest of us break the first commandment. She speaks personally and movingly about how an excess of attention to ego, ideas, ideology, coolness, sex — even the films made from Jane Austen novels! — can position these false idols between ourselves and the source of all goodness.
Why do people allow their relationship with God to become disoriented? Sadly, the problem usually starts with love. The human heart craves attention and love — love is the common longing of our lives. We may search for a career, or wealth, or status, but the desire to be loved and valued is usually at the root of our strivings…. Sometimes, discouraged or impatient in our search, we chase illusions…
This week’s House of Cards essay will expand on last week’s piece, “The House of Cards Vision of Infidelity: More Fact than Fiction.” Yes, unfortunately we remain stuck with this slimy theme of infidelity. But instead of pegging our nation’s male moral-offenders, this week let’s talk about the women.
Men have had a leg up in the world, especially in the workplace. Females are still trying to catch up. Salary comparisons and lack of women in certain fields will underline this fact. Unfortunately, Some women feel like they are faced with two options: be ruthless and work really hard to achieve their goals at the risk of the “ice queen” label or take an easier route and use other means… Some women do decide to hark back to medieval methods (think Anne Boleyn in the Tudor days) in order to succeed in the workplace… and this is all too evident in big cities like Washington, D.C.
Women have employed method #2 for centuries — men have as well. But dabbling in this kind of currency can lead to two very different ends: career destruction or the attainment of dreams. In our foray into the Little Black Book of Washington, D.C. last week, we talked about how scandals tend to be both concentrated and magnified in The District. The cutthroat culture here seems to breed an underground marketplace of give-and-gets with scandal as the most likely outcome. Ultimately, Washingtonians must decide if they are going to enter that market — or try and forge their own way up the ambition ladder.
* …Spoilers on coming pages…*
The Shubert. The Apollo. Carnegie Hall.
So the “Snapple Theater Center” doesn’t provoke the same reverent awe as do the names of those famous New York City landmarks, but hey, a gig’s a gig, right?
Maybe Christina Crawford inherited more of her adoptive mother’s trooper spirit than she’d care to admit.
It’s so easy to imagine Joan Crawford growling, “Snapple, crapple! The show must go on!”
And so it does: the longrunning “Mommie Dearest” franchise, one angry daughter’s single claim to fame — first a blockbuster 1977 memoir, then a cult movie — is back in a rather downmarket iteration: A Conversation with Christina Crawford: Live and Onstage in Surviving Mommie Dearest.
Or rather, was. The show’s very brief run at the Snapple overlapped Mother’s Day.
After more than 30 years of telling all, what possible secrets could Christina Crawford have left to reveal about her infamous mom?
Well, now she’s claiming (sort of) that Joan Crawford murdered her husband Alfred Steele, the Pepsi CEO whose position the widow snatched for herself after his death.
Here’s Faye Dunaway reenacting the power grab in the aforementioned cult flick, Mommie Dearest (1981):
Last Friday, an Afghan journalist named Mustafa Kazemi posted on Facebook a harrowing story about an eight-year-old girl in the Khashrood district of Nimruz province in Afghanistan, who was sold off into marriage to a mullah in his late 50s, and who bled to death on their wedding night.
It was one of many such tragedies in a land that little notes nor long remembers such deaths. An eight-year-old girl sold into marriage and dead after a brutal sexual assault that her body could not withstand is no more noteworthy than a pack animal that collapses under a too-heavy weight. It’s time and money wasted, that’s all. Forget about it. Get another one.
Indeed, the day after Kazemi posted his account, pro-Sharia lawmakers in Afghanistan blocked a proposed Law on Elimination of Violence Against Women, which would have set criminal penalties for child marriage. Pro-Sharia legislator Khalil Ahmad Shaheedzada denounced the law as un-Islamic, explaining: “Whatever is against Islamic law, we don’t even need to speak about it.”
That means that more girls like the eight year old in the Khashrood district will continue to suffer. For few things are more abundantly attested in Islamic law than the permissibility of child marriage. Islamic tradition records that Muhammad’s favorite wife, Aisha, was six when Muhammad wedded her and nine when he consummated the marriage:
The Prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death) (Bukhari 7.62.88).
Another tradition has Aisha herself recount the scene:
The Prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj. Then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later on my hair grew (again) and my mother, Um Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me. She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house. I was breathless then, and when my breathing became Allright, she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it. Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some Ansari women who said, “Best wishes and Allah’s Blessing and a good luck.” Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly Allah’s Apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age. (Bukhari 5.58.234).
Muhammad was at this time fifty-four years old.
Some slaves prefer slavery: “A prominent Saudi female activist,” Emirates 24/7 reported recently, has come out against the decision by Saudi Arabia to lift its ban on women driving cars.
Rawdah Al-Yousif complained that campaigns to give women the right to drive ,
continue despite the clear response by the rulers of this country that any decision to allow women to drive cars is up to the community not to just 3000 people or to some articles in newspapers or online. I hope there will be no decision to allow women to drive at this stage because we have first to respect the wish of the people and the society…Women are also not ready yet to bear their responsibility and leave their homes at a time when news of blackmail against the women are widespread.
Ah, yes. Women are not yet ready to bear their responsibility, just as we heard in the antebellum South that black Americans were not yet ready to bear the responsibilities of freedom, or in the Jim Crow South that they were not yet ready to bear the full responsibilities of citizenship. This is a common argument that oppressors make to justify oppression; it is unusual to hear it offered by one of the oppressed themselves.
Yet Rawdah Al-Yousif is the prime mover behind a recent campaign in Saudi Arabia called “My Guardian Knows What’s Best For Me.” This involved, according to Emirates 24/7, “sending letters to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in which women confirmed their full support for an Islamic approach in administering the Kingdom.” Al Yousif expressed her “dismay at the efforts of some who have liberal demands that do not comply with Islamic law (Shariah) or with the Kingdom’s traditions and customs” and railed against what she characterized as “ignorant and vexatious demands” to abolish the guardianship system.
When news of a horrific crime like the Cleveland kidnappings and subsequent escape and rescue breaks, what follows is a media circus and 24-hour news cycle. It’s not unusual to hear reporters, in their quest to fill space and time, making vapid comments and asking extraordinarily dumb questions. We can always count on Piers “That’s Appalling” Morgan to add to the collective tomfoolery. On Friday night he asked a “man on the street” in Cleveland (in his most earnest, probing voice), “Is there a sense of collective guilt?”
Morgan was referring to all the people who certainly overlooked clues that something was terribly wrong at the house on Seymour Avenue in Cleveland. How could a man keep three young women imprisoned in his home for ten years without anyone noticing? Shouldn’t the neighbors have known that something ghastly was going on there and then done something about it? Shouldn’t service workers like meter readers and mail carriers have noticed signs that this wasn’t a normal home with one resident? And perhaps most disturbing, shouldn’t police have investigated alleged calls by neighbors who reported odd things they saw at the residence?
Somebody should have done something, right?
The three women held in the Cleveland house of horrors were treated to the repulsive annual ritual of being served cake on their “abduction days.”
Wednesday brought more horrible revelations about what the captives endured for the past decade, even as they were happily reuniting with family members and friends.
The women watched heartbreaking TV coverage of vigils that were held on their behalf, CNN reported.
Ariel Castro allegedly made this Cleveland house a hellish hostage dungeon.
And their alleged twisted kidnapper, Ariel Castro, marked the anniversaries of their abductions by serving dinner and a cake, the cousin of one victim told The New York Times.
“He would celebrate their abduction day as their new birthday,” the relative told the newspaper.
Overhead aerials of Amanda Berry (in yellow) and her 6-year-old daughter (being carried at the back door of house) arriving Wednesday at their house in Cleveland.
Then there was the police report Wednesday that Amanda Berry, the courageous former prisoner who led the breakout from what had been their prison, had been forced to give birth to her baby girl in an inflatable kiddie pool.
But in a telephone chat with her grandmother Wednesday, the young mom sounded upbeat and even proud of her 6-year-old Jocelyn — who is believed to have been fathered by her captor, Ariel Castro.
“Yeah, she’s my daughter,” said Berry, 27. “Born on Christmas.”
Temple prostitution — the kidnapping of young girls and their sexual enslavement — persists into the modern world. An excerpt of an article from World Outreach Ministries on the fight in India:
Sleeping with the Goddess
BY SHELLY NGO WITH SANJAY SOJWAL
Each year in India, thousands of girls are dedicated to a temple goddess in a ceremony that begins a lifetime of prostitution.
Through the whitewashed arches of the Uligamma temple, Durgamma proudly marches toward the banks of India’s Thungabadra river. Today is the girl’s wedding day. The eyes of her relatives, friends, and neighbors are fixed on the 12 year-old bride.
Close to an overhead bridge spanning the Thungabadra, a priest accepts the goat brought by Durgamma’s family. With a quick stroke of a blade, he sacrifices the animal to the temple goddess Uligamma. The goat’s blood drips into the river where hundreds of worshippers are bathing.
Durgamma patiently submits. to her women relatives who apply a sandalwood paste to her body and bathe her in the river. After they dress her in a white sari and blouse, she listens to the high caste priest chant and pray in Sanskrit, the ancient language of Hindu scriptures, which none in the crowd understands. As his prayers conclude, the priest sprinkles a yellowish mixture of turmeric paste and water over her head and she feels the refreshingly cool liquid trickle clown her head and back.
Durgamma walks up to the temple where a priest puts a glittering string of red and white beads strung on saffron colored thread around her neck. No groom, however, comes to meet this bride. Instead Durgamma is wed to the temple goddess, and her life will be spent as a devadasi, a temple prostitute. Today, Uligamma’s spirit, the priests teach, has entered Durgamma’s body; for the rest of her life, when priests and other men sleep with her, it is not Durgamma, but the goddess they are sleeping with. It is the goddess’s desires the men must appease.
“This simple word, ‘devadasi’ says Dr. I.S. Gilada, one of India’s most prominent AIDS activists and an honorary secretary of the Indian Health Organization, “is a label which condemns 5,000 to 10,000 girls every year into a life of sexual servitude (concubinage) and subsequently into prostitution.
Despite India’s government law forbidding the practice of temple prostitution, the centuries old religious tradition continues. To understand the mentality that permits this sexual exploitation, one has only to think of those in Western societies who are enthralled with the idea of sleeping with models, sport heroes or other celebrities. Young devadasís are regarded by some as deities, and then discarded when they grow old.
On April 10 I published the next step in my developing self-improvement program, an application of Charlie Martin’s 13 Weeks method to my problem of better organizing my research. I looked forward to diving back into a deep reading routine filled with novels and culture while blogging my results here at PJ Lifestyle so all the wiser, more enlightened souls who make it their business to fill the comments section with their manifestos could tell me what an idiot I was for not seeing the world exactly the way they did.
But then on April 15 — Patriot’s Day — bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon, resulting in 3 deaths and 264 injuries. The real world had intruded on the Wonderland of Books I’d constructed for myself. As Charlie has pointed out from time to time in his 13 Weeks series, life has a way of throwing off our plans.
For days the country sat in nervous panic as police searched for the killers. Partisans of every persuasion speculated about the motives of the evil monsters who would load pressure cooker bombs with shrapnel to mutilate the bodies of innocent human beings they had never met. David Sirota of Salon longed for the murderous act to serve as fodder for his goal of demonizing his political opponents. I liked the way PJ columnist Roger Kimball put it on on the morning of April 18:
One of the curious, but also most predictable, responses to the Boston Marathon bombings from the Left has been the fervent expression — amounting nearly to a prayer — that the perpetrator or perpetrators of this act of mass murder be “homegrown,” preferably white, male, Christian, and conservative.
Why? Why does the Left prefer to have its terrorism served up by Timothy McVeigh rather than Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad? It’s an interesting question. That the Left exhibits this prejudice is, like Falstaff’s dishonesty, “gross as a mountain, open, palpable.”
David Sirota, writing at Salon, gives almost comic expression to the genre in an essay with the really special title “Let’s hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American.” Why does Mr. Sirota wish that the Boston murderer of 8-year-old boys be a white American? Because a spectral quality called “white male privilege” operates insidiously behind the scenes. If Timmy McVeigh blows up a government building, says Mr. Sirota, only he is blamed. If Mohammed does it, Muslims are likely to be “collectively slandered and/or targeted with surveillance or profiling (or worse).”
What do you think of that argument? I think it’s hooey.
But how can intellectual and cultural warriors do battle with hooey level arguments? PJ Media Legal Editor J. Christian Adams offered advice to the Benghazi whistleblowers that is just as applicable to every American striving to fight for these issues in their own way:
I know a thing or two about being a whistleblower. I appeared on the Huckabee show this weekend (see video below) and explained how simply telling the truth is the way to shield yourself from the sinister deceptions from places like the Huffington Post and the George Soros-funded Media Matters. They can try to smear you, but the truth of your testimony will rise above their smears.
All we can do is present the truth about the nature of the enemy. If that doesn’t work, then what else is left?
As an early teen in the early ’80s, it was just about impossible not to like Michael Jackson’s music. It was certainly impossible to avoid it. With Thriller, Jackson and producer Quincy Jones set out to make the ultimate crossover album — one that would gain black and white audiences in equal measure. And equal airplay, too, back when radio stations were even more racially targeted than they are today.
And boy, did they succeed.
But Michael Jackson the person? It was pretty obvious even then that he was one strange dude. What happened though is what happens to too many child performers: The weirdness went up and up, while the quality of the performances went down and down. By the time Dangerous came out in 1991, the magic was pretty much gone. It sold in the millions, yet nobody was buying it. And by that I mean, nobody was buying Jackson’s pseudo tough/tender/ladies man act anymore. The weird was just too weird.
Then came the obligatory-yet-somehow-disappointing greatest hits collection, the horrifying-yet-believable stories about his sleepover parties with kids…
I shudder even to think about it. His last studio album, ironically named Invincible, came out after years of delays and way over budget — and to a tepid response.
It was around this time he was dangling babies off balconies and looking like a bad drag queen version of Elizabeth Taylor. Oh, and he’d somehow managed to go broke buying giraffes and rollercoasters and stuff. The music had hit bottom and the weird was at the top of the charts.
The amazingly talented and abused little boy who never had a childhood, never really had an adulthood, either. There’s so much blame to go around, you barely know where to start.
There’s nothing that makes Hollywood more nervous than portraying Islamist terror. As far back as 1994, James Cameron’s True Lies was denounced as racially insensitive for imagining a chillingly plausible Islamist terror threat involving nuclear weapons. Cameron, anticipating accusations of unfairly linking terrorism with Islam and Arabs, took care to try for “balance” by placing an Arab-American character on the good guys’ side (the actor who played him, Grant Heslov, this year won an Oscar as one of the producers of Argo). Yet the advocacy group the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) slammed the film anyway. The hysterical 1998 movie The Siege imagined that, in an overreaction to a terrorist attack, Brooklyn would be placed under martial law and all young Muslim men would be interned in Yankee Stadium. Ridiculous.
Since 2001, of course, Hollywood has almost completely avoided showing any Muslim involved in terror, changing the bad guys in 2002’s The Sum of All Fears from Palestinians to neo-Nazis. The 2005 Jodie Foster movie Flightplan, about an abduction on an airplane, used a hint that Arabs might be responsible as a red herring. The actual villain: an all-American air marshal played by Peter Sarsgaard. Several Middle East themed movies like Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies essentially saw a moral equivalence between the U.S. and the Islamists, saying both sides were up to comparably nasty stuff in the War on Terror.
Before the Call of Duty franchise took on the subtitle Modern Warfare, it arguably reigned as the pinnacle of the World War II genre. While other first-person shooter games like those in the popular Tom Clancy series — including hit franchises like Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six – offered players the ability to engage in simulated modern warfare, for much of video game history the default setting for a run-and-gun, first-person shooter was World War II.
Many factors contributed to the period’s popularity as a setting for video-game violence. Chief among them march the jackbooted villains of the era, the Nazis. No one feels bad after shooting a Nazi. In fact, their evil proves so incontestable and absolute that killing them fulfills a profound sense of justice. No doubt that moral certitude contributed to their proliferation throughout gaming. Killing Nazis invites no controversy, leaving game developers with one less thing to worry about.
While the nature of Nazi evil may seem self-evident, the recent anniversary of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., provided an occasion to demonstrate that even former United States presidents can miss the mark. The local CBS affiliate reports:
Washington has many monuments and memorials that offer something special for visitors from around the world, “but the Holocaust memorial will be our conscience,” [President] Clinton said.
Since the museum opened 20 years ago, the world has made huge scientific discoveries, including the sequencing of the human genome, which proved humans are 99.5 percent genetically the same, Clinton said.
“Every non age-related difference … is contained in one half of 1 percent of our genetic makeup, but every one of us spends too much time on that half a percent,” Clinton said. “That makes us vulnerable to the fever, the sickness that the Nazis gave to the Germans. That sickness is very alive across the world today.”
The report does not include any specific examples of what Clinton diagnoses as the Nazi “sickness.” However, we may fairly assume he was referring to any intolerance of human diversity.
Vice President Joe Biden drew parallels with the movie Deliverance while addressing a benefit dinner for a volunteer legal group that helps domestic violence survivors.
Biden’s daughter-in-law, Kathleen Biden, is a co-chair of the group. Calling him “Pop,” she introduced the veep to the crowd packed with even more Bidens.
According to the White House pool report, he peppered his speech with family stories and told the audience that his granddaughter implores him to stop referring to them as his daughters in public because “people will think something’s wrong.”
“All you women out there: Daughters are wonderful. Granddaughters are better,” Biden said. ”When they’re 12 to 14, a dad puts his beautiful little daughter to bed. And then the next morning, there’s a snake in the bed.”
Biden talked about his work in Congress on the Violence Against Women Act when he brought up the Deliverance reference.
“After those guys tied that one guy to the tree and raped him, man-raped him in the film, why didn’t the guy go the sheriff?” Biden asked. “They don’t want to get raped again by the system.”
Editor’s Note: Starting today, Robert Spencer’s weekly PJ Lifestyle article analyzing stories on Jihad terror from a cultural perspective will appear on Mondays, our day focused on family, parenting, motherhood, fatherhood, and relationships. With this shift in publication date also comes a change in angle. A broader picture of the motives behind the 4/15/13 Boston terror attack is beginning to come into greater clarity. Who radicalized these once American young men? The picture that has emerged is one common throughout the Muslim world: sons drink in the hate and anti-Americanism as they would mother’s milk. The disturbing proclamations of mama and papa Tsarnaev make clear that these were not two sons led astray by malevolent outside influence.
So on Mondays Robert will explore the relevant Jihad stories of the week through a family-centric lens, considering male-female dynamics in the Muslim world and the Koran’s influence on defining the ideals of masculinity and femininity. What does Islam proscribe for how to raise children and maintain a family? What can Muslim parents in America do to make sure their sons do not become Tamerlans and Dzhokhars? And what are other parents like the Tsarnaevs secretly doing right now to prepare their children for the glory of martyrdom? How does one raise a future Jihadist who loves death more than Americans love life? I look forward to seeing Robert explore these subjects and hope you will join us each week at PJ Lifestyle.
- David Swindle
In the movie Prizzi’s Honor, Jack Nicholson plays mafia hitman Charley Partanna, who is known as “Straight-Arrow Charley, the All-American Hood” for dutifully and unquestioningly carrying on the family business in which he was raised. And as more details emerge about the family of Boston Marathon jihad bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, it’s increasingly clear that they, too, were just carrying on the family business: jihad.
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva is proud of her boys. She insists that they didn’t set off the bombs in Boston, and that in fact, the whole thing was staged. The bombings, she said, were just a “really big play” featuring “paint instead of blood.” Consistency is not her strong suit, for she also said: “What happened is a terrible thing but I know my kids have nothing to do with this. I know it, I am mother.” She claimed that her sons were targeted because they were Muslim, and said: “America took my kids away from me. I’m sure my kids were not involved in anything.”
The bombers’ father, Anzor Tsarnaev, struck a tone more of grief than accusation. He assured the world: “I am not angry at anyone,” although he hinted that he also accepted his wife’s conspiracy theory when he added: “I want to go find out the truth.” Go, that is, to the United States, although plans for the trip have since been scrapped due to the possibility that he and/or his wife could be arrested if they do come here. “I want to say that I am going there to see my son, to bury the older one. I don’t have any bad intentions.” He added reassuringly: “I don’t plan to blow up anything.”
Just as Hitler loved his dogs, Tamerlan Tsarnaev loved his mama. Just before getting into a shootout with police in Watertown, Massachusetts, he called her on his cellphone and gave her the news:
The police, they have started shooting at us, they are chasing us….Mama, I love you.
PJ Lifestyle Editor’s Note:
This is Part 11, the conclusion, of Volume 1 of Robert Spencer’s Jazz and Islam series. Yes — Volume 1 does imply the intent for Robert to return to this subject again in the future so we can someday produce a Volume 2. As the Islamic War Against Freedom has intensified and arisen again into the foreground of public consciousness, Robert and I have decided on a new cultural angle through which he will seek to illuminate each week’s dark, confusing stories of jihad terrorism. I won’t reveal the secret yet of just what Robert’s new focus will be. But perhaps this astounding article today revealing the troubled story of a lost young man who poisoned his mind with deadly ideas will provide a hint of what’s to come…
– David Swindle
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who along with his brother Dzhokhar murdered three people and wounded nearly 200 more with twin bombs at the Boston Marathon, was a musician. John Curran, Tamerlan’s boxing coach, recalled: “He also played the piano very well.” The Lowell Sun reported that “Tsarnaev also studied music at a school in Russia and played piano and violin.”
As late as 2010, according to Gene McCarthy of the Somerville Boxing Club in Massachusetts, Tsarnaev was still playing:
“I brought him to the registration” for a boxing tournament, “and while he was waiting in line, he saw a piano and was playing classical music like it was Symphony Hall.”
However, the Associated Press reported Wednesday that “in the years before the Boston Marathon bombings, Tamerlan Tsarnaev fell under the influence of a new friend, a Muslim convert who steered the religiously apathetic young man toward a strict strain of Islam, family members said.”
Not much is available regarding Chiheb Esseghaier, the man charged with conspiring to derail a VIA passenger train in Canada. That is, until we began researching the Arabic and discovered a Tunisian Al-Qaeda operative’s facebook page in Arabic, all with the chilling details.
From western sources, the man’s Internet activities are summarized thusly, via National Post:
“[His] professional networking site LinkedIn that is illustrated with the black flag of the Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella group of Iraqi insurgent groups affiliated with al Qaeda.”
That’s hardly a dossier.
Yet, his facebook page which was deleted minutes after our discovery (and after we saved it) is a different story. At the top is a detailed flowchart on Al-Qaeda’s plans, command and control, and methodology – from leadership to cell creation.
His favorites include several links to some of the most notorious terror groups including a facebook dedicated for the famed Abu Mus’ab Zarkawi. On that facebook page, it gives a glimpse of the Al-Qaeda recruitment in the Levant (Syria).