Friday, June 5, 2009

The problem with screaming

The problem with screaming is that when everyone is screaming, you can't hear yourself.

Rush Limbaugh yesterday "observed" that Muslims had won far fewer Nobel Prizes than Jews. This was of course the same Limbaugh who decried the Nobel board for being decidedly anti-American and leftist when it gave Paul Krugman the Nobel Prize in economics. No matter, clearly (to Rush and only for now) they are a wizened group since he can "find evidence" of Muslim cultural inferiority in the ratio of awards. Apparently this leftist group was good enough for Rush when he wanted to use it - and apparently drawing cultural and religious stereotypes from data which certainly has to be looked at far more deeply than simple numbers, is totally OK not only with Rush, but with his fawning, unquestioning and "ready to lap up anti-Muslim slurs" listeners.

I'd direct Rush back a few centuries to look at the comparative development of the Ottoman Empire vs. Western Europe in say 1200-1500 A.D. - and then ask him to consider what he thought the effect of the Black Death had on both cultural development lines around religion and technology - as well as the relative stifling effect of a lack of raw resources with which to build industry might have had on the middle east. No matter, clearly Muslims are inferior based on Nobel Prize numbers. I suppose by the same measure, since the Chinese and Russians haven't earned as many prizes, nor have the Indians, they are inferior too. Clearly it's only us Christians and Jews who are on the top of the intellectual pile.

Two days ago a Conservative Republican (Hispanic) said that Hispanics were "like normal people, think like everyone else. They aren't like blacks." I don't think I need to expound upon the profound offensiveness of that comment.

With this sort of screed coming from the right, is it really any wonder why we don't take fatuous claims of racism about Sonja Sotomayor seriously?

Is it also any wonder why we (non-Republicans) STILL see the party as hateful and using racism as a tool?

The problem with screaming racism is that you often show only yourself to be racist.


  1. I was selected to give the best man's speech at a friend's wedding several years ago. I told the audience that the groom wasn't so much a leader as a superb follower, and this was because he wasn't so much a talker as a quiet, analytical listener.

    This is to suggest that, due to the fact that he actually listens closely more than he talks, he always seems to associate with sensible people. This also means that he avoids the trade-marked trendy or culturally-motivated or self-righteous people who are likely to look silly a few years from now, but who are at present so myopically attached to their short-sighted viewpoints that they fail to foresee this.

    In this way, he's actually not just a great follower, but a follower after whom others can model themselves, if they wish to take a less-than-exciting but certainly smart "long-view" look on life.

    So he isn't just a discerning follower, which would be more than good enough. He's also a quiet leader, at least to those who are also discerning.

    (What I've just written, it seems to me, is the antithesis of Mr. Limbaugh, who is undeniably clever, but also quite superficial, disingenuous, and embarrassingly culturally-motivated.)

  2. Mr. Lindbaugh should read his history. While the west still was persecuting scholars, Moslem scholars had discovered algebra, had worked out complex astronomical calculations, and were decades if not a century ahead of the west in medicine. Many of the "western discoveries" were in fact, borrowed from Islamic scholars with whom the west had regular contact in countries like Spain. While its true that the Spanish drove the Moorish invaders out of the Iberian peninsula, they were bright enough to read the scholarly texts which were often left behind.

    The fact is, all Mr. Limbaugh does whenever he opens his mouth is expose his own bias and stupidity.