The Cognitive Dissonance of 'A Gay Girl in Damascus'
Coming hot on the heels of the misuse of technology by Rep. Anthony Weiner's (D-NY) comes an even further to the left high-tech aficionado of of social media, Georgia-born, transplanted to Scotland lefty Tom MacMaster, aka, "A Gay Girl In Damascus." As Jonah Goldberg writes in the L.A. Times, "People desperately wanted to believe in this 'hero:'"
A saucy, sage, left-wing member of the LGBT community who likes to wear the hijab, can't stand Israel or George W. Bush and who parrots every cliche about the romantic authenticity of the Arab people and their poetic yearning for democracy, peace and love. Whereas no one cared about McMaster's "Anglo" arguments, Amina's assertions succeeded with little effort. For instance, "she" writes of the Palestinians' need to return to their homes in Israel: "It's simple but, maybe, you have to be a Levantine Arab to get this. It makes perfect sense to me." Of course it does!
CNN interviewed "her" — by email — for a story about gay rights and the Arab Spring. "She" said things were going great for gays. The feedback, even from Muslims, for her blog was "almost entirely positive."
But the CNN story troubled her. The outlet encouraged the sin of "pink washing" — a term used by some anti-Israel critics to decry any attempt to compare Israel's treatment of gays with that of Arab states. Israel is tolerant, even celebratory, of gay rights (Israel recently launched a gay tourism campaign with the slogan "Tel Aviv Gay Vibe — Free; Fun; Fabulous"). Syria punishes homosexual activity with three years in prison (In Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Iran, the punishment is death).
Who cares, Amina angrily responds. In fact, how dare "advocates of war, occupation, dispossession and apartheid" use Arab and Muslim hostility to gays as "'evidence that the primitive sand-people don't deserve anything other than killing by the enlightened children of the West."
Besides, "she" has never been harassed by Arabs for being gay. But in America, "she" has been "struck by strangers for being an Arab" and "had dung thrown at me" for wearing the hijab.
Except that is a lie.
Worse, it's propaganda. McMaster's fake-but-accurate lesbian was perfectly pitched to Western liberals desperate to alleviate the pain of cognitive dissonance. No longer must you think too hard or make tough choices if you're, say, anti-Israel and pro-democracy or pro-gay rights and in favor of the self-determination of Muslim fanatics. Heck, you can even stop worrying and love a lesbian feminist who sees no big deal in wearing a religiously required sack over her head.
Of course she was a hero. Of course she didn't exist.