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tigtog now posts at the new and improved Hoyden About Town. She also blogs at Larvatus Prodeo and Finally A Feminism 101 Blog. If the new Hoydenspace is down you should find updates below.

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2006-07-31

Malkin loves the coy

The repellent hate-screeder Michelle Malkin, who doesn't allow comments to her blog posts (thus it's not really a blog, IMO, just a brave-brave-Sir-Robin website) has a habit of putting up posts with ambivalent titles, popping in a few blockquotes or pictures, and disingenuously asking "now what could be going on here then?".

This allows her to always claim that she didn't really mean what the legions of wingnuts who link to her and run with her stories straight into bigot violent-fantasy land say, oh no! She can't be held at all responsible for the incitements to violence of a pack of rabid dogs she just happens to have been feeding hate-fodder.

She is of course right that there is unlikely to ever be found a provable link between what she writes and any act of violence against the people she writes against, but that doesn't make it any the less immoral or rapacious, seeing that spouting bile has given her a high media profile generating lucrative speaking engagements and high-figure book-sales.

Her latest is a post tweely entitled "A Random Gallery of "lone" gunmen". Surprise, surprise, to any of those who read her even semi-regularly - all the gunmen she pictures are Muslims ( to pad out the numbers she adds the two Beltway snipers - Michelle, what does "lone" mean again?) and she ends by linking approvingly to another writer who says:
"No one will ever consider whether such behavior is encouraged by the texts and atmospherics of Islam, and if so, what can be done about it."
Now, I am in no way defending the violence committed by any of the 9 men Malkin pictures, who killed many defenceless people in various incidents since 1994. I deplore the murder of anyone, and wish all murderers appropriately tried, sentenced and incarcerated.

Still, she's stretching on this one and I'm sure she knows it, but she simply doesn't care. Four of her Muslim gunmen do seem to have specific religious motives for their shootings, attacking specifically Jews or carrying notes about Israel, but not the rest. Some of these men appear to have just "snapped" in the same way certain non-Muslim mass murderers have done, with no obvious motivation at all. The Beltway snipers are different in that they are by definition serial-killers rather than mass-murderers, but there is still no basis for ascribing their shootings to a particularly religious motive.

So, Malkin appears to be correct in her implication that four of the men on her list are Islamist terrorists, but the others are merely murderous criminals who happen to be Muslim. The only reason she implies otherwise is anti-Muslim bigotry.

When the Timothy McVeighs and Eric Rudolphs commit mass murder for reasons which are obviously based on extreme interpretations of Bible verses, anybody who asks
whether such behavior is encouraged by the texts and atmospherics of Christianity
is howled down by Malkin et al. Oh no, they're just mad bastards who happen to have been raised Christian, there's nothing about Christianity per se that makes them that way! And they're not real Christians if they commit murder! is the cry.

And you know what? They're probably right (not right about judging whether their faith is real, but right about whether their faith "made them do it").

People don't choose what the faith of their parents is after all, which is most likely to be the faith they also profess. Most 'holy books' have sections wherein horrifically violent wars are presented as divinely justified, as part of the bloodier history of ancient times, and most religious authorities say such stories shouldn't be taken as more than an allegorical recommendations for behaviour in modern times.

Unfortunately, some people just have the particular brain chemistry that switches easily to zealot mode, and a smaller subset just have the particular brain chemistry that switches further to murderous fanatic mode. It's the way some brains are, in every culture all over the world.

But you can't have it both ways, and say that when people who read the Bible become murderous fanatics it's not the fault of the religion, and then say that when people who read the Koran become murderous fanatics it is the fault of the religion.

Be honest: be consistent.

8 comments:

Notgruntled said...

The Beltway snipers are different in that they are by definition serial-killers rather than mass-murderers, but there is still no basis for ascribing their shootings to a particularly religious motive.


Technically, they're spree killers, not serial killers. Serial killers typically have a ritualistic signature to their killings and a cooling-off period in between, and are careful not to be caught, so they can continue for years. Spree killers typically go on a fast, short-term rampage until they are caught or killed.

Be honest: be consistent.

Are you serious? If the voices of the bleating right followed that rule, Michelle Malkin would be working the cash register between Ann Coulter's and Rush Limbaugh's.

tigtog said...

Thanks for the technical correction in homicidal labels, notgruntled - in principle I'm always glad to learn more distinctions, but that seems crass with respect to multiple murderers.

I'm rather enjoying the vision of wingnut pundits as checkout jockeys.

Notgruntled said...

Thanks for the technical correction in homicidal labels, notgruntled - in principle I'm always glad to learn more distinctions, but that seems crass with respect to multiple murderers.

Sorry to be pedantic about that point. My dad's in corrections, so I grew up with a tighter-than-usual focus on these things. It's not an entirely semantic distinction. It's relevant to how you identify them, find them, catch them, convict them, and make damned sure they can't and won't do it again. It wasn't really relevant to your point.

It's kind of like how anthropologists (my mom's field) and primatologists get prickly if you call a chimp a "monkey" when it's obviously an ape.

I'm rather enjoying the vision of wingnut pundits as checkout jockeys.

I would so incredibly make Limbaugh carry my bags to the car. I've never done that, but for him I'd make an exception.

Notgruntled said...

Let me clarify. My father works in corrections, as a counselor and administrator, and is not, in fact, an inmate. My mother studied anthropology and was, in fact, a Homo sapiens sapiens and not any other type of ape. I realized after I posted the above that it could be a bit ambiguous.

tigtog said...

Let me also clarify that I really do appreciate the pedantry (you know me, as if I wouldn't). It just struck me as weird knowing that sort of stuff about murderers.

That's mainly because I've been thinking a bit lately about those books so popular in the 90s (and still? I dunno) where the author detailed, in loving, lascivious minutiae, the methodology of serial sexual predators from their POV as they hunt and kill women. At one time it seemed half the male writers of the Western world were trying to outdo Brett Easton Ellis and Thomas Harris in finding horrific ways for female objects (one could hardly call them characters) to die alone in horror and agony. And these books were amazingly popular, even with women.

I somehow imagine, though, that if I wrote a novel containing lots of chapters written from the POV of fanatically obsessed women hunting down unconvicted rapists (you know, the most of them) so that they could castrate them, make them watch their genitals eaten by Alsatians, and then gouge their eyes out to leave them alive as a terrible warning (I believe red hot pokers to cauterise bleeding are required if they're not going to die), that I would be decried as a terrible, terrible manhater. Or never get published.

Mind you, if I wrote it about a father or husband hunting down "his" woman's rapist, it would probably do OK. A woman is only allowed to get angry enough to demand that a man act on her behalf, apparently. But that's just fiction, right?

tigtog said...

Rereading that, I am totally bagsing the crone rape posse, the hungry Alsations and the eye-gouging as trademark plot details. Mineminemine. Do not steal that plot.

Dr Horace Worblehat, B.Thau, DM said...

It's kind of like how anthropologists (my mom's field) and primatologists get prickly if you call a chimp a "monkey" when it's obviously an ape.

Ook?

tigtog said...

Sorry to disturb you, Dr Worblehat. He was speaking hypothetically. Please tell the Librarian to go back to sleep.