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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky

These are all the Blogs posted on Tuesday, 27, 2010.
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
Lawyer sees red over Muslim headgear

This is from the Independent on Line of South Africa - the same arguements I have heard so many times in England. Proof if anyone needed it that it is not solely the wicked English (or Scots, or Welsh) 'at fault'

"Women sometimes appear in court wearing clothes baring their breasts and with mini skirts up to here! Muslims should be allowed to wear their headgear in court if it is in accordance with their religion."

This was the emotional argument by controversial lawyer Zahid Omar during which he asked the Pretoria High Court to order a magistrate to recuse himself from a murder trial.

Omar claimed the magistrate told his client - a devout Muslim - to remove his fez (headgear) in court. To illustrate his point, Omar, a devout Muslim himself, for the first time wore his fez in court.
In trying to illustrate his point, the colourful lawyer at one stage took off his headgear, which he referred to as a toppie or a doilie - and waived it before the judge.

The Prophet Muhammad expected his followers to wear headgear, Omar said, and questioned how the magistrate could refuse his client permission to wear it in court.

But Magistrate Ian Cox of the Benoni Magistrate's Court denied he told Ismail Essop that he may not wear his headgear.

The magistrate said he did, however, ask the guardian of another accused in a different case, to remove his headgear before he came into court.  The magistrate at the time apparently asked that man whether he was wearing his fez because it was a religious holiday.  Essop, who was being tried by the magistrate on a charge of murder after he allegedly killed a cop, claimed the words were aimed at him. He feared that the magistrate was biased towards him and that he would not receive a fair trail.

Judge Hiemstra reminded Omar that his client was never thrown out of court.

"But he told a Muslim in court to remove his headgear," the lawyer said. It was time judiciary guidelines regarding ethics were laid down, to which judges and magistrates had to adhere to, Omar said. A lot of people in the world adhered to the Prophet Muhammad, Omar said, and it was time that people learned about the religions of others and how to respect them. "In the old days if a white judge said wearing a toppie was wrong, then it was wrong. If he said God was white, then He was white. But this is no longer so. We have to develop judicial ethics," Omar said

The magistrate, who in a statement before court denied he was biased, tried to defend himself by explaining how he had in the past attended Muslim weddings and dinners. This caused Omar to exclaim "So what", adding that he did not want to be patronised.

The State opposed the application saying not a single instance could be found in the court record where the magistrate displayed bias towards Essop so there was no reason why the magistrate had to recuse himself from the case.

Posted on 07/27/2010 1:48 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
When It Comes To AGW, Melanie Phillips Still Insists On Podsnappery

Her latest on AGW is here.


And so Melanie Phiillips continues to do herself damage, for she continues to believe in  a conspiracy of left-wing scientists, or of others who in some undefined way want to make us "share our wealth" or some such. When she gets onto this subject, a subject about which she refuses proudly to inform herself, she merely weakens her appeal on other matters of moment -- and especially on the subject of Islam. And ordinarily one would not give a damn, but she is one of the few journalists writing correctly about the shameful treatment of Israel, based on both ignorance and malevolence, and the not-unrelated bland ignorance of Islam that is a threat not only to Israel, but to the countries of Western Europe, including Great Britain, now headed by two smiling  Bright Young Things whose understanding of the world terrifies.

Melanie Phillips could  start informing herself about anthropogenic global warming. But she prefers to dwell in the marble halls of what she "knows" or what she thinks she knows, and doesn't have to bother to study. That's not necessary. Political attitudinizing -- that's the ticket. B ut I don't think she's going to do it. It would be too much work, much too complicated work for her at this point.. And she prefers to stick with her comforting views -- for they do comfort her -- of what the silly fuss about silly AGW is really all about. It's really all about politics. Lef't-wing politics. In her unwillingness to study and to discover some things that are hugely unpleasant, she is akin to so many in Great Britain -- such as the vicious Clegg, the ignorant Cameron -- other Podsnaps of the Age, who don't want to find out about, don't want to know about, Islam.

There are  those who may still think there is something wrong, overstated, in the mediacoverage of anthropogenic global warmng, but who are willing not to be among those who simply stake out, and forever stick with, a position of being a "skeptic" or a "denialist"  -- that is, on e those who sometimes  sound as if they regard their own unwillingness to find out more as practically a red badge of mental courage. And  with the accumulating evidence --including that provided by those who clearly are not part of any "left-wing media conspiracy" -- such people may at long last be willing, however begrudgingly, to study, to read, to educate themselves on this matter so as to be able to think -- and even talk and write about it -- intelligently. And for these people, and for those who need no more convincing about Antrhopogenic Global Warming,  here are a few links: 

How To Talk  To A Climate Skeptic

The Montford Delusion

The Younger Dryas




Posted on 07/27/2010 7:47 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
Perhaps You Have Forgotten What Podsnappery Is


Mr Podsnap was well to do, and stood very high in Mr Podsnap's
opinion. Beginning with a good inheritance, he had married a
good inheritance, and had thriven exceedingly in the Marine
Insurance way, and was quite satisfied. He never could make out
why everybody was not quite satisfied, and he felt conscious that
he set a brilliant social example in being particularly well satisfied
with most things, and, above all other things, with himself.

Thus happily acquainted with his own merit and importance, Mr
Podsnap settled that whatever he put behind him he put out of
existence. There was a dignified conclusiveness--not to add a
grand convenience--in this way of getting rid of disagreeables
which had done much towards establishing Mr Podsnap in his
lofty place in Mr Podsnap's satisfaction. 'I don't want to know
about it; I don't choose to discuss it; I don't admit it!' Mr Podsnap
had even acquired a peculiar flourish of his right arm in often
clearing the world of its most difficult problems, by sweeping them
behind him (and consequently sheer away) with those words and a
flushed face. For they affronted him.

Mr Podsnap's world was not a very large world, morally; no, nor
even geographically: seeing that although his business was
sustained upon commerce with other countries, he considered other
countries, with that important reservation, a mistake, and of their
manners and customs would conclusively observe, 'Not English!'
when, PRESTO! with a flourish of the arm, and a flush of the face,
they were swept away. Elsewhere, the world got up at eight,
shaved close at a quarter-past, breakfasted at nine, went to the City
at ten, came home at half-past five, and dined at seven. Mr
Podsnap's notions of the Arts in their integrity might have been
stated thus. Literature; large print, respectfully descriptive of
getting up at eight, shaving close at a quarter past, breakfasting at
nine, going to the City at ten, coming home at half-past five, and
dining at seven. Painting and Sculpture; models and portraits
representing Professors of getting up at eight, shaving close at a
quarter past, breakfasting at nine, going to the City at ten, coming
home at half-past five, and dining at seven. Music; a respectable
performance (without variations) on stringed and wind
instruments, sedately expressive of getting up at eight, shaving
close at a quarter past, breakfasting at nine, going to the City at
ten, coming home at half-past five, and dining at seven. Nothing
else to be permitted to those same vagrants the Arts, on pain of
excommunication. Nothing else To Be--anywhere!


Posted on 07/27/2010 8:34 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
Does Islam permit Muslim men to rape their slave girls?

In this article, Raymond Ibrahim makes reference to a hadith where Mohammad tells his henchmen that they need not practice coitus interruptus with their captive female slaves, saying that only Allah will decide if a child will be conceived.   While searching for another topic, I happened to come across this defense of Islam on the topic of Muslims raping female slaves, by Bassam Zawadi.

Does Islam permit Muslim men to rape their slave girls?  Written in English, for a kufir audience: of course not!  In summary:

  1. Two commentaries say that a fine must be paid if a Muslim man rapes his slave girl, in the amount of which her worth was damaged.
  2. Bukhari said that Mohammad said that slaves are like your siblings.  No-one wants to have sex with their sister, right?
  3. In one hadith, Mohammad told a man to stop whipping his slave.  Rape would be worse than a whipping, therefore Mohammad disallows rape of slaves.
  4. Slave girls consented to having sex with their masters.  None of the hadiths specifically say that the women did not consent.
  5. Although Mohammad gave permission for Muslim men to have (non-coitus-interruptus) intercourse with their slaves, there is no proof of how many Muslim men actually followed His instructions and did so.  Maybe none did so.
  6. Some commentaries say that Muslims are forbidden from marrying idol worshippers and polytheists.  We may infer that it is also forbidden for Muslim men to have sex with idol worshippers and polytheists.
  7. A hadith says that Muslim men had sex with slaves who were idol worshippers, therefore we may infer that the slaves converted to Islam.  The hadith does not specifically say that they didn't convert to Islam.
  8. It's the disbelievers' fault for bringing their women, children, and belongings to the battlefield.  [Never mind that the battlefield was their village, and they were attacked by the Muslims].
  9. Al Tabari's commentary says that if a non-Muslim woman is captured as booty, her marriage to a non-Muslim man is annulled.  Therefore the Muslim captor is not committing adultery.
  10. It would not be absurd to think that Muslim men did not have sex with their female slaves.

Are you convinced yet?  If not, perhaps these quotations from the article by Bassam Zawadi will better explain it (emphasis and sics as in the original):

Critics would reply back and say that it's unthinkable that slave girls back then would hae willingly consented to having sex with their Muslim captors who just killed their family members. They would usually point to the specific example of Banu Al-Mustaliq.

The narration states:

Sahih al-Bukhari 4138 - Narrated Ibn Muhairiz: I entered the mosque and saw Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri and sat beside him and asked him about Al-Azl (i.e., coitus interruptus). Abu Sa'id said, "We went out with Allah's Messenger for the Ghazwa of Banu Al-Mustaliq, and we received captives from among the Arab captives and we desired women and celibacy became hard on us and we loved to do coitus interruptus. So, when we intended to do coitus interruptus, we said, 'How can we do coitus interruptus without asking Allah's Messenger while he is present among us?' We asked (him) about it and he said, 'It is better for you not to do so. There is no person that is destined to exist, but will come to existence, till the Day of Resurrection.'" (Sahih Bukhari, no. 4138)

 Here the critic's argument goes something like this:

  • The Islamic traditions show that Muslims had sex with their slave girls
  • According to my subjective logic it is inconceivable that slave girls would consent to having sex with the captors that just killed members from their tribe
  • In conclusion, the Islamic traditions show that Muslims raped their slave girls

These critics are ignorant of history, for slave girls did consent to having sex with their captors back in the past.

John McClintock said:

Women who followed their father and husbands to the war put on their finest dresses and ornaments previous to an engagement, in the hope of finding favor in the eyes of their captors in case of a defeat. (John McClintock, James Strong, "Cyclopædia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature" [Harper & Brothers, 1894], p. 782)

Matthew B. Schwartz said:

The Book of Deuteronomy prescribes its own rules for the treatment of women captured in war [ Deut 21:10-14 ] . Women have always followed armies to do the soldiers' laundry, to nurse the sick and wounded, and to serve as prostitutes

They would often dress in such a way as to attract the soldiers who won the battle. The Bible recognizes the realities of the battle situation in its rules on how to treat female captives, though commentators disagree on some of the details.

The biblical Israelite went to battle as a messenger of God. Yet he could also, of course, be caught up in the raging tide of blood and violence. The Western mind associates prowess, whether military or athletic, with sexual success.

The pretty girls crowd around the hero who scores the winning touchdown, not around the players of the losing team. And it is certainly true in war: the winning hero "attracts" the women. (Matthew B. Schwartz, Kalman J. Kaplan, "The Fruit of Her Hands: The Psychology of Biblical Women" [Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2007] , pp. 146-147)

Thus we see from two non-Muslim authors that slave girls back in the past would consent to having sex with their captors. So if we put aside our 21st century mindset and look at history objectively, there is nothing wrong with saying that slave girls back then consented to having sex with their captors.

One might object to the fact that the above authors are only speaking about the Israelite era. However, that is really not a good response. The point I am trying to make is that the idea of the possibility of slave girls willingly having sex with their captors is not absurd. Thus, one is required to provide proof that those slave girls who had sex with their Muslim captors did not consent. This is especially due to the fact that 1) It was possible for slave girls back in the past to consent to having sex with their captors and 2) Muslims were prohibited from harming their slave girls.

If the critic says that not all of the slave girls felt this way and there were bound to be some who didn't want to have sex, I would agree with him. However, how does this prove that the Muslims raped their slave girls? How does the critic know whether the Muslim back then actually raped the slave girl who was unwilling to have sex with him? Isn't it possible that if he saw her unwilling he would have sold to her to another Muslim at a cheaper price? Or he would have purchased another slave girl who was willing to have sex with him? Or he would have waited for her to consent, for by that time he would have treated her very nicely and convinced her that Islam is true and that it was her tribe's fault for starting the battle, etc. Yes these things are possible.

How does the critic know that none of these things happened? What is his proof that the Muslims raped their slave girls?

The narration doesn't show:

  • How many Muslim captors decided to go through with having sex with the slave girls?
  • How many women actually ended up having sex with their Muslim captors?
  • Most importantly, whether any slave girls were raped

Even if the critic is successful in showing that the Muslims raped them, what is his proof that this was approved by the Prophet (peace be upon him)? It's possible that Muslims committed sins back then and disobeyed the Prophet (peace be upon him). So where could the critic show us the Prophet (peace be upon him) approving of such behavior?

He cannot and I challenge him to.


Saheeh Muslim

Book 008, Number 3432:

Abu Sa'id al-Khudri (Allah her pleased with him) reported that at the Battle of Hunain Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) sent an army to Autas and encountered the enemy and fought with them. Having overcome them and taken them captives, the Companions of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) seemed to refrain from having intercourse with captive women because of their husbands being polytheists. Then Allah, Most High, sent down regarding that:" And women already married, except those whom your right hands possess (iv. 24)" (i. e. they were lawful for them when their 'Idda period came to an end).

So here we see that the Muslim soldiers were feeling uncomfortable with engaging in sexual intercourse with women who were already married. However, the verse was revealed saying that it is permissible to engage in sexual intercourse with slave girls even if they are married.

Imam Al Tabari in his commentary on Surah 4:24 cites several of the companions and second generation Muslims stating that the marriage of a woman is annulled after she has been captured and made a slave.

Imam Nawawi in his commentary on this hadith states:

It (i.e. to come to own a slave girl) annuls the marriage between her and her disbeliever husband. (Imam Nawawi, Sharh Saheeh Muslim, Kitab: Al Ridaa', Bab: Jawaaz Wati' Al Missbiyyah Ba'd Al Istibraa' wa en Kaana laha Zawj Infasakh, Commentary on Hadith no. 2643, Source)

 Thus, we see that in the eyes of Islam this marriage becomes invalid (some opinions like that of the Hanafi school state other conditions required for the annulment to occur). The critic would definitely argue back stating "what gives your religion the right?" but that is not the point of discussion. This is an external critique of Islam and the basis for this discussion really isn't about this topic in particular but about whether Islam really is true and whether this is God's decree. To debate the specifics is just useless. The Muslim sees this decree to be internally consistent and submits to God's law that states that action x results in a divorce.

One might shout out to the Christian as well, "What gives your Bible the right to declare a woman an adulteress if she happened to marry a man who divorced her by not following the proper procedures (Matthew 5:2)?" The Christian really has nothing to say except the fact that he believes that this is God's decree and submits to it. He believes that God has the power and right to determine how divorce should take place (e.g. what conditions are valid for divorce) and submits to them. Well, the Muslim says the same thing in this regard.

These are the sorts of lessons that the kuffar must learn about Islam.  Not the Five Pillars of Islam, but whether Islam permits Muslim men to rape their slave girls, or whether Islam demands that Believers force all non-believers to submit to Allah, or whether Islam permits marriage of 6 year-old girls to men in their 50's.  We must hear Muslims speaking about Islam, explaining it as clearly as they can.  This is important.

Posted on 07/27/2010 8:53 AM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
"Value-Added" Catherine Ashton

I heard Catherine Ashton only once -- a few months ago, on NPR. When I listen to someone for the first time, I am attending to their own attentiveness to the use of language, and forming an impression, and making a judgment, based in part on that.

She must have used the expression "value added" -- from VAT or Value-Added Tax -- about a dozen times. It never had anything to do with actual taxes, of course. The phrase was used like this: "We in the E.U. really have to provide value added" or it is only "with value added that we can justify..." and on and on.

She was not the master of words, but their slave, and among her current masters was this phrase "value added."

I thought she would turn out badly.

And she has.

Posted on 07/27/2010 11:15 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
Do Not Vote For My Dad!
As Tip O'Neil used to say, "All politics is local." One can't get much more local than this.
An Oklahoma judicial candidate is fending off a political attack from his daughter, who has taken out a local newspaper ad urging voters: "Do not vote for my dad!"
Posted on 07/27/2010 11:57 AM by DL Adams
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
Long gone

By Tarke El-Tablawy and Sinan Salaheddin for AP:

BAGHDAD – The U.S. Defense Department is unable to properly account for over 95 percent of $9.1 billion in Iraqi oil money tapped by the U.S. for rebuilding the war ravaged nation, according to an audit released Tuesday.

The report by the U.S. Special Investigator for Iraq Reconstruction offers a compelling look at continued laxness in how such funds were being spent in a country where people complain basic services like electricity and clean water are sharply lacking seven years after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

The audit found that shoddy record keeping by the Defense Department left the Pentagon unable to fully account for $8.7 billion it withdrew between 2004 and 2007 from a special fund set up by the U.N. Security Council. Of that amount, Pentagon "could not provide documentation to substantiate how it spent $2.6 billion."

The funds are separate from the $53 billion allocated by Congress for rebuilding Iraq.

Here is a quote from Wikipedia:

"In 2009, NASA held a symposium on project costs which presented an estimate of the Apollo program costs in 2005 dollars as roughly $170 billion. This included all Research and development (R&D) costs; the procurement of 15 Saturn V rockets, 16 Command/Service Modules, 12 Lunar Modules, plus program support and management costs; construction expenses for facilities and their upgrading, and costs for flight operations."

The $53 billion allocated for rebuilding Iraq, plus the missing $9.1 billion, are nowhere near the total cost of the Iraqi and Afghan wars, which is now into the trillions of dollars.

The entire Apollo space program cost a pittance in comparison, and for that money, U.S. citizens got the Cold-War prestige of getting to the moon before the Soviets, much scientific knowledge about the origin of our solar system, and most importantly, many technological innovations that have improved our lives.

What have U.S.citizens gotten from their investment in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Posted on 07/27/2010 1:03 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
Catherine Ashton, or why we need the monarchy

Rod Liddle:

I became a monarchist in the late afternoon of 19 November 2009.....on 19 November last year, Catherine Ashton, Baroness Ashton of Upholland, was appointed High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and suddenly my whole ideology was snuffed out with an audible phffwt, the sound of a cigarette being extinguished in a cup of coffee. Because it became absolutely clear to me, on that cold and frowsy afternoon, that Baroness Ashton is exactly who we would have imposed upon us if we were ever to abolish the monarchy.

It wouldn’t be an entertaining self-publicising political maverick from the left or the right, or a famous clever person, or even someone with no sentient opinions but who you might conceivably want to shag. It would instead be a person who had moved ineluctably through agitprop bollocks to quango after quango, from CND to the, Christ help us, Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work and then on to the Employers Forum on Disability, building up the PC brownie points with every new position, never having said anything of interest to anyone, someone perfectly attuned to the requirements of the deathless civil political appointment, someone whose name was writ, badly, in water. Someone like Baroness Ashton, with a face like a bag of spanners and utterly unsuited to the task at hand, a creature — even more than the Queen — of anti-democracy.

So it was on 19 November that I finally fell in love with the royal family — and especially Prince Philip. (I ought to admit that even when I was a republican I rather liked Phil, especially when he offended foreigners. I liked him still more recently when he took the mickey out of some deaf people and made jokes about them not being able to hear anything, which is about as un-PC as it is possible to be. I’m not sure why he picked on the deaf, maybe his stock of foreigner jokes was running a bit low.)

The most interesting thing about Catherine Ashton is that she comes from Upholland, which is near Wigan, where I spent my early childhood. And Upholland is a strange sort of name:

The name Upholland differentiates it from another place locally called Downholland, 10 miles to the west (on the other side of Ormskirk). Both derive their names from the manor of Holland, a possession of the de Holland family until 1534.

A bit  like Lower and Upper Ramsbottom, also in Lancashire, where I once found a bun penny. Neither Upholland nor Downholland should be confused with Holland, which is neither up nor down.

Posted on 07/27/2010 1:08 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
EDL members and the Mosques of Bournemouth

This is a very strange and sinister incident. From the Bournemouth Echo and the BBC. For readers outside the UK Bournmouth is a very pleasant (or it was the last time I was there) seaside resort on the south coast, popular as a retirement haven. I believe it is suffering, like all English towns, with the ills of the early 21st century.

ARMED police opened fire during an operation to arrest members of the controversial far-right English Defence League, who were feared to be masterminding an attack at a Bournemouth mosque.

Marksmen shot the tyres out on a van belonging to John Broomfield, who describes himself as Dorset EDL head, as he drove alone through Corfe Castle. (An exceptionally picturesque ancient town)

In a statement to the Daily Echo, Mr Broomfield said: “While travelling home from work I was stopped and arrested by armed police. I was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause an explosion at a Bournemouth mosque. (How many Mosques are there in Bournmouth for heavens sake?) Five other members of the EDL were also arrested and held for 24 hours for questioning while searches of their homes took place. Then all of us were released without charge. There has been no conspiracy. There has never been any conspiracy. The EDL is not a terrorist organisation.”

A spokesman for Dorset Police said: “Dorset Police can confirm that as part of an investigation surrounding threats to a Bournemouth mosque a total of seven people were arrested for conspiracy to cause an explosion. Following an investigation police can now confirm these people have been released without charge. We’ve been working very closely with the Muslim community since last Thursday and our local safer neighbourhood teams have been providing advice and reassurance throughout. At this stage there is no indication whatsoever that any of the mosques in Dorset are under threat of attack.”

So if there was no threat and the people arrested were released without charge what was going on other that a desire to 'reassure the Muslim community?"  Comment on the EDL forum suggested that a humourous aside on a facebook page may have given rise to misinterpretation, but I don't know what remark they are thinking of, if it is still there. It is however a warning to be very sensible and plain when posting anything.

I think it shows that the passion of the EDL and the support it is attracting is rattling that which threatens us which is them leading to act in a hasty and precipitous fashion. This also gives the press a chance for headlines screaming 'EDL' and 'plot to bomb mosque' all in the same sentence.  

Posted on 07/27/2010 1:15 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
The Perfect Game

David Bentley Hart writes:

In his later philosophy, Heidegger liked to indulge in eccentric etymologies because he was certain that there are truths deeply hidden in language. It is one of the more beguilingly magical aspects of his thought and therefore—to my mind—one of the more convincing. Consider, for instance, the wonderful ambiguity one finds in the word invention when one considers its derivation. The Latin invenire means principally “to find,” “to encounter,” or (literally) “to come upon.” Only secondarily does it mean “to create” or “to originate.” Even in English, where the secondary sense has now entirely displaced the primary, the word retained this dual connotation right through the seventeenth century. This pleases me for two reasons. The first is that, as an instinctive Platonist, I naturally believe that every genuine act of human creativity is simultaneously an innovation and a discovery, a marriage of poetic craft and contemplative vision that captures traces of eternity’s radiance in fugitive splendors here below by translating our tacit knowledge of the eternal forms into finite objects of reflection, at once strange and strangely familiar. The second is that the word’s ambiguity helps me to formulate my intuitions regarding the ultimate importance of baseball.

What, after all, will the final tally of America’s contribution to civilization be, once the nation has passed away (as, of course, it must)? Which of our inventions will truly endure? We have made substantial contributions to political philosophy, technology, literature, music, the plastic and performing arts, cuisine, and so on. But how much of these can we claim as our native inventions, rather than merely our peculiar variations on older traditions? And how many will persist in a pure form, rather than being subsumed into future developments? Jazz, perhaps, but will it continue on as a living tradition in its own right or simply be remembered as a particular period or phase in the history of Western music, like the Baroque or Romantic?

My hope, when all is said and done, is that we will be remembered chiefly as the people who invented—who devised and thereby also, for the first time, discovered—the perfect game, the very Platonic ideal of organized sport, the “moving image of eternity” in athleticis. I think that would be a grand posterity.

I know there are those who will accuse me of exaggeration when I say this, but, until baseball appeared, humans were a sad and benighted lot, lost in the labyrinth of matter, dimly and achingly aware of something incandescently beautiful and unattainable, something infinitely desirable shining up above in the empyrean of the ideas; but, throughout most of the history of the race, no culture was able to produce more than a shadowy sketch of whatever glorious mystery prompted those nameless longings.

Continue reading at First Things.

Posted on 07/27/2010 2:33 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
A Musical Interlude: You're The Cream In My Coffee (Ben Selvin Orch., voc. Jack Palmer)

Listen here.

Posted on 07/27/2010 2:55 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
A Bonne-Bouche For The Quellen-Und-Forschungen Boys

Listen, taking note of the title and putting two and the customary two together, here.

Posted on 07/27/2010 3:11 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
Country Music Interlude: Miller & Price

"Invitation to the Blues" was written by Roger Miller and was a hit for Ray Price. Here they are performing it together.

Posted on 07/27/2010 3:41 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
This is just silly

Islam allows Muslim men to commit what we would call rape, and they do it on a massive scale, mostly in the name of marriage. But lying one's way into a woman's bed is not rape. Rod Liddle, for the second time this evening:

An Arab man in Israel has been convicted of rape. The court accepted that Sabbar Kashur had enjoyed entirely consensual sex, but he was done for having told his Jewish female lover that his name was “Daniel”. Eighteen months. This is a real worry.

In the past I have told prospective sexual partners that my name is Piers if I’ve suspected they’re right-wing, or — my favourite this — Delroy Rusbridger if they’re left-wing. I have pretended to be a poet; a novitiate; a footballer with Leeds United; a German post-Marxist intellectual called Jurgen who is working on a thesis about sociolinguistics; and, with one really strange girl, the deputy director of the Institute for Public Policy Research, called Julian. I even told a very right-wing girl I was Hitler’s forgotten godson. Have to say the Julian thing was a hard one to pull off. Some of these ruses worked, some didn’t. Thank the Lord none of this happened in Tel Aviv.

Cue for an old joke:

A man walks onto an airplane* and takes his seat. He looks up and notices the most beautiful woman he has ever seen boarding the plane. He is nervous, and soon realizes that she is walking down the aisle toward him. When she takes the seat right next to him, he is anxious to begin a conversation. He asks, "Where are you flying to today?"

She responds, "To the Annual Nymphomaniac Convention in Chicago." His mind reeling, he asks, "And what do you do at this meeting?"

"Well," she says, "We try to dissolve some of the popular myths about sexuality."

"And what myths are those?" he continues, choking back his excitement.

She explains, "Well, one popular myth is that African American men are the most well endowed, when in fact, it is the Native American man who owns this trait. Also, it is widely believed that the Frenchman is the best lover, when actually it is men of Jewish decent who make the best lovers."

"Very interesting..." the man responds.

Suddenly, the woman becomes very embarrassed and blushes. "I'm sorry," she says, "I just feel so awkward discussing this with you when I don't even know you! What is your name?"

The man extends his hand and replies, "Tonto........Tonto Goldstein."

*American for aeroplane.

Posted on 07/27/2010 3:29 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
Who Cares If Oliver Stone Apologizes?

Watch, if you want, here.

Apologies about things like this, and under circumstances like this, always  mean nothing.  It's obvious what he thinksand what he understands. He already told it to the world. End of story. 

Posted on 07/27/2010 3:47 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
There's the rubb

Islamic jouissance in today's Hadith:

The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) said, "The reward of every (good) deed of a person is multiplied from ten to seven hundred times. Allah (S.W.T) says: `The reward of observing Saum is different from the reward of other good deeds; Saum is for Me, and I Alone will give its reward. The person observing Saum abstains from food and drink only for My sake.' The fasting person has two joyous occasions, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time of meeting his Rubb. Surely, the breath of one observing Saum is better smelling to Allah than the fragrance of musk.'

Posted on 07/27/2010 3:56 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
Pseudsay Tuesday

David Horowitz - he of the David Horowitz Freedom Centre - recalls a moment where he, David Horowitz, felt humbled:

In that very moment a previously unthinkable possibility . . . entered my head: The Marxist idea, to which I had devoted my entire intellectual life and work was false. . . . For the first time in my conscious life I was looking at myself in my human nakedness, without the support of revolutionary hopes, without the faith in a revolutionary future — without the sense of self-importance conferred by the role I would play in remaking the world. For the first time in my life I confronted myself as I really was in the endless march of human coming and going. I was nothing.

Don't worry, old chap - your amour propre is holding up pretty well.

Posted on 07/27/2010 9:21 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
Melanie Phillips On David Cameron

Melanie Phillips in The Spectator: 

Weep for Britain: 1940 this is not

Tuesday, 27th July 2010

When David Cameron became Britain’s Prime Minister, I warned that he would turn out to be even worse than Labour on the related issues of Israel and the global threat from Islamism to Britain and the west. This was because Cameron had no knowledge of or interest in foreign affairs, and so was always likely merely to reflect the most politically expedient views he encountered – which, given the current poisonous attitude within the British establishment and intelligentsia, were likely to push him into appeasing Britain’s mortal enemies in the Islamic world and dumping on Israel, Britain’s strategic ally in that great struggle.

But even I did not foresee just how cynical Cameron would turn out to be -- and how dangerous therefore to the British national interest. Today’s truly shocking and quite astoundingly stupid speech in Turkey has now laid bare the fathomless shallowness and frightening ignorance and idiocy of Britain’s new Prime Minister.

Declaring himself a fervent supporter of Turkey’s bid to join the EU, Cameron declared that those who opposed this bid fell into one of three categories: protectionists; those who believed wrongly in a ‘clash of civilisations’ between east and west, whereas in fact

Turkey can be a great unifier, because instead of choosing between East and West, Turkey has chosen both;


those who wilfully misunderstand Islam

because they

... see no difference between real Islam and the distorted version peddled by the extremists.

Astonishingly, Cameron thus totally ignored the fact that Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Erdogan, is no secular Ataturk but an Islamic extremist; and as a result Turkey is changing from a secular state and strategic ally of the west into an Islamist tyranny and a new strategic enemy of the west. Here is what Turkish political economy professor Dani Rodrik wrote recently in the Wall Street Journal (£):

I no longer recognize Turkey, the country where I was raised and spend most of my time when I am not teaching in the U.S. It wasn't so long ago that the country seemed to be taking significant strides in the direction of human rights and democracy... But more recently, the same government has been responsible for a politics of deception, dirty tricks, fear, and intimidation... It's clear now that Turkey is no longer the liberalizing, emerging democracy under the AKP that it was only a few years ago. It's time the U.S. and Europe stopped treating it as such—both for their own sakes, and for the sake of the Turkish people.

Into which category of prejudice would Cameron place the horrified Professor Rodrik – Turkish protectionist, Turkish culture warrior or Turkish Islamophobe?

Or what about the alliances Erdogan has been forging with Islamic terror regimes such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran – and not forgetting his warm overtures to Russia? Is this what Cameron regards as evidence that Turkey is playing the role of ‘great unifier’ between east and west?

Indeed, Cameron does not see Turkey’s recent meeting with Iran and Brazil as a sinister development.  Instead he thinks it furnishes evidence that

It is Turkey that can help us to stop Iran from getting the bomb

and that

We hope that the meeting held in Istanbul between the Turkish, Brazilian and Iranian Foreign Ministers will see Iran move in the right direction.

Please will someone tell me that this is merely the Foreign and Commonwealth Office indulging its sardonic sense of humour?

Alas, clearly not. For on Cameron ploughed into the familiar terrain of Planet Appeasement. Out it came again, the British government line that Islam is a Religion of Peace and that those who are, er, trying to destroy the west are guilty of a

distorted version

of Islam.

So maybe Cameron can enlighten us whether his hero Erdogan -- ally of Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran, and who has himself vowed that

Kurdish rebels who seek autonomy from Turkey will ‘drown in their own blood’

-- represents the ‘distorted’ version of Islam, or the ’religion of peace’?

Or perhaps he can tell us whether the Muslim Brotherhood, committed to taking over the non-Islamic and not-Islamic-enough domains through both mass murder and cultural conquest, and whose jurists and scholars are the pre-eminent religious authorities throughout the Islamic world, are propounding a ‘distorted’ version of Islam or the Religion of Peace?

It is of course Cameron himself who is distorting the reality of Islam. For he said:

Third, let me turn to the prejudiced – those who don’t differentiate between real Islam and the extremist version. They don’t understand the values that Islam shares with other religions like Christianity and Judaism that all of these are inherently peaceful religions.

This is just grotesque. Despite the fact that many ordinary Muslims want only to live in peace and prosperity, Islam is a religion of conquest. Its history – with some exceptions -- is overwhelmingly one of violent expansionism, a characteristic suppressed only by colonialism. For Cameron to ignore and even sanitise the persecution by Islam today of Christians, with the burning of churches, ethnic cleansing and killing or forced conversion of Christians across the developing world, is really quite obscene. Does Cameron really think that all these Muslims are peddling a ‘distorted’ version of their religion? (A propos, Christianity too has a history of violence since like Islam it is inherently committed to the conversion of unbelievers. Of the three religions, it is only Judaism which has never sought to convert anyone else and thus never posed a threat to other religious -- or anti-religious -- believers.)

But then, Cameron doesn’t even appear to understand the basis of the civilisation he is supposedly in office to help defend. For he said:

I will always argue that the values of real Islam are not incompatible with the values of Europe, that Europe is defined not by religion, but by values.

Does he really think that Europe's ‘values’ emerged in an act of spontaneous cultural generation? Does he really not grasp that core European ‘values’ – individual freedom, commitment to truth, duty to others, equality of all human beings and so forth – derived from the Bible, the cultural foundation-stone of western society?  

Having run up the white flag to the jihad, Cameron then proceeded to deliver a viciously unjust kicking to Israel. It was against Israel -- the front line of the defence of the west against the Islamic onslaught – that Cameron suddenly ratcheted up the aggression:

Let me be clear: the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla was completely unacceptable. And I have told Prime Minister Netanyahu we will expect the Israeli inquiry to be swift, transparent and rigorous. Let me also be clear that the situation in Gaza has to change. Humanitarian goods and people must flow in both directions. Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp.

Cameron did not condemn the flotilla, whose lead ship the Mavi Marmara was run by Turkish-backed terrorists who set out -- according to the evidence from their own mouths -- to commit an act of jihadi terrorist aggression against Israel.

He did not condemn those Turkish-backed terrorists on the Mavi Marmara who attempted to lynch and kidnap the Israeli commandos who boarded the boat and who employed no violence at all until they themselves were set upon.

He did not condemn the Turkish-backed terrorists on the Mavi Marmara who, I am reliably informed, slit open the stomach of one of those Israeli commandos and pulled out his guts before throwing him into the sea.

Instead he condemned the Israelis for defending themselves against this barbaric savagery. He backed this up by misrepresenting this self-defence as an attack -- even though the Israelis boarded the Mavi Marmara, as they did the rest of the flotilla with no untoward incident occurring, merely in order to escort it to an Israeli port to search its cargo for weapons.

Cameron then high-handedly declared that

... we will expect the Israeli inquiry to be swift, transparent and rigorous.

Just who does he think he is? Mighty Mouse, or what?

And then Cameron attacked Israel over Gaza, which he called a ‘prison camp’. This is vile rhetoric, of the kind associated with those attempting to bring Israel down through a process of delegitimisation.

Why did Cameron ignore the evidence of the markets full of produce in Gaza, the restaurants, the Olympic-size swimming pool? Was this ignorance or malice? Why did he ignore the fact that Israel allows hundreds of tons of supplies across its border with Gaza every week?

Has Cameron even looked at a map? Does he not know that Egypt has a border with Gaza which it keeps far more tightly sealed than does Israel? If Gaza is a prison camp, why did he not condemn Egypt for making it so but singled out only Israel?

Why didn’t he condemn the severe travel restrictions on Palestinians imposed by Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon? Why didn’t he condemn Lebanon for denying Palestinians living there the right to own property, qualify for health care, or work in a large number of jobs? And while we’re asking, what about Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority, who reportedly begged Obama not to lift the Gaza blockade? Why didn’t Cameron condemn him too for seeking to maintain Gaza as a ‘prison camp’?

Why did Cameron utter no word of condemnation of Hamas for its exterminatory rocket and human bomb attacks on Israelis? Or does he think that to condemn Hamas is also to show prejudice towards the Religion of Peace? Why, if he really thinks Gaza is a prison camp, did he make no condemnation of the Hamas for throwing Gazans off the tops of buildings, using Gazan civilians as human shields and burning their children’s holiday camps down to the ground?

I have said it before: Israel is the litmus test of decency in political discourse. Those who attack Israel are invariably on the wrong side of the global fight to defend civilisation against its destroyers. Not just because of Israel’s place on the geopolitical map. It is because the animus against Israel is based on a wholesale repudiation of reason and the embrace instead of irrationality, bigotry, lies and moral inversion. Defence becomes attack, victim becomes victimiser, right becomes wrong; and vice versa. It is the deranged discourse of Islamic fanaticism and of the Israel-bashing left that marches beneath its black banners. And now it is Cameron’s discourse too.

It is astounding to hear a Conservative Prime Minister mouth such infantile leftism. If it weren’t for Obama’s example, it would be unbelievable that any serious politician could spout such drivel. But here surely is the key to all this. Recently, Cameron declared that Britain was

the junior partner [to America] in 1940 when we were fighting the Nazis.

In 1940, of course, America had not yet even entered the war and Britain alone held fascism at bay. So how could Cameron have said something so unbelievably ignorant? Can he really be that stupid?

Hardly, with his Etonian schooling and Oxford First. This was surely not stupidity but cynical callowness of the most extreme and disturbing kind. He wanted to suck up to Obama – and he was prepared even to traduce his own country to do so, by misrepresenting its most iconic and heroic moment of modern times.

I would guess that something similar was at work in his Turkish speech. He doesn’t care about upholding truth over lies, justice over injustice, right over wrong; he will play to any populist gallery. And the appeasement of Islamic aggression and the corresponding demonisation and delegitimisation of Israel play to the ugly mood of bigotry and ignorance now rampant in Britain. As the UK Titanic steadily goes down, Cameron is now on the bridge choosing to conduct the orchestra of hate.

For let’s get this clear: Britain’s Conservative Prime Minister has lauded a Turkish Islamist regime which sponsored an act of terrorism which came close to a declaration of war, while he condemned its victims for defending themselves against the attack. And this from the leader of a country which itself is the Islamists’ principal target and recruiting ground in the west. Far from defending Britain and the west, Cameron is on his knees to their enemies while unleashing the furies upon their strategic ally.

And those furies are raging at home too. As I have previously observed, there is now in Britain a pre-pogrom atmosphere against Israel. Never mind the Guardian -- just look at the comments on Conservative Home to see the hideous face of British bigotry, a hysteria that Cameron’s inflammatory remarks will have done much to stoke even further.

1940 this most definitely is not. Weep for Britain. It has just become even more unsafe – and British politics a lot more disgusting.



Posted on 07/27/2010 10:00 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
Inside, It Was 1934

Look, and listen, here.

Posted on 07/27/2010 10:42 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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