Monday, December 04, 2006

I Came So Close To Respect. But No. Not Today.

He tried to make sense. He really did.

You know, I just can’t get behind all this religious posturing. It ruins a potentially decent message. It’s utter shit to me, but a message as simple as “killing doesn’t seem to be solving any problems” just gets all kinds of RUINED when it’s mummified in the used toilet-paper of religion.

Ahmadinejad’s open letter to Americans is a fine, fine example of what’s wrong with allowing religious rhetoric to lay waste to sound concepts. Here’s a guy, who, best of intentions, simply wants the American people to know that he and his country are not just some gaggle of miscreant sand-dwellers, shooting dogs for sport and spending their every waking hour plotting to destroy the next Freedom Tower. I guess there are idiots, probably in my own neighborhood, who still labor under the delusion that the entire middle east operates that way. But they probably also think Destro and Cobra Commander are real too, as active but silent members of the Al Qaida network. So it's likely that his intended audience isn't into "reading long stuff that sounds all complicated". Like fire extinguisher instructions.

Regardless, dude’s letter is well intended. And for the record, I wanted to hate what he had to say. I intended to be fully biased, and have all my pre-notions of how small-minded a man had to be in order for his eyes to be so small and close together. Like two ear studs inserted a centimeter apart on a full-sized potato.

But for the most part, his sentiment is decent and appears to be an honest appeal to the good nature of the average tax-paying American Joe. But then he had to go fuck it all up with a slew of god talk. Man, what a shame.

My issues, with this specific letter of text, in the order in which they grated on my goddamn nerves:

1. Continually claiming that one’s audience should be “God-fearing, truth loving, and justice seeking” is blatantly disingenuous. Either one IS, or they ARE NOT “God-fearing”. Placing repeated reminders in the letter is little more than obnoxious prodding. He might as well have said “remember kids, God will fucking lightening your ass if you don’t side with me, a fellow God-fearer!” He was only talking to others of religious motivation. Not science. Not logic. Not fact-based reasoning. According to Ahmadinejad, only those of faith are capable of solving/not-starting issues such as modern day imperialism and wanton murder.

Ehhhh... What? That's some double-fucking-speak if I've ever encountered it.

It’s quite possibly the stupidest stretch of vacant common sense I’ve ever had to endure, but, okay then, I’ll pretend it makes sense for the sake of making fun of it. You know, since he went to the effort of writing it all down or whatever.

So… what about those of us who don’t “fear” whatever “God” is being tossed around so irreverently? Are we the problem? The non-fearers? Are we what’s wrong here? Are we the reason why everything is (pretty much always) all fucked up? Well, last time I checked, the only “Godless” leaders of ANY known nation, or any other set of murderous humans, incorporated or otherwise, for that matter, were Communists. The EXTREMELY RATIONAL reasoning behind removing religion from that socio-political structure, while wholly impractical and extremely oppressive, was to ensure that there would be no MURDER along religious lines (which is a guarantee as long as religions are allowed to practice competitively). But, as is human nature, if any communist did indeed shed their religion, then they simply picked up bureaucracy instead. But for the most part, they were all religious as hell anyway. Secretly. They simply played the part of non-theologians to keep from having their heads lopped-off by competing closet-theologians.

Now that the Soviet Union is gone, everyone is super-religious again. Shocker. And the Chinese are split between a return to their respective Eastern Philosophic routes and the coastal worship of an exploding Market Economy. And of course, violence along lines of delineation is beginning.

N. Korea is black hole of who-knows, so I'm not sticking anything in it here.

I don’t think it unfair, or a stretch to state that the injection of religion into a political text of any kind will be IMMEDIATELY POLARIZING. Until every living human being honestly and truly believes the exact same thing about everything (perhaps as programmed robots, made by programmed robots, which could only have come from some imagined universe somewhere far beyond current human comprehension?) any disputing of this polarization FACT, ironically, simply proves that it’s true.

Let’s face it, if a Muslim even says the word “Jew”, people get upset, regardless of the context. Like “don’t talk about my people! You aren’t allowed!” or “dude, I don’t think it’s appropriate that you be mentioning them. Ever.” It doesn't matter what they said about "the other" group. Just mentioning names ruffles feathers.

And don’t get me started on how atheists feel when they’re even MENTIONED by ANY other religious group. If the pope were to say “there’s nothing wrong with being an atheist,” which he would never say, but if he did, there’d be a large coalition of atheists who would react with “DON’T PATRONIZE ME YOU OPPRESSOR OF THE MIND AND FREE THOUGHT. I WILL PAY NO TITHE TO THE SPAGHETTI MONSTER! Ever.”

Fools get upset over beliefs. Even without provocation or reason. Maybe it’s the caffeine. I don’t really know. Regardless, the polarization occurs.

2. I’m tired of the over-misuse of the term “immoral” between cultures. Any staunch follower of Islam stating that a non-follower of Islam was acting “immorally” is ridiculous. They’re “immoral” because their “morals” are different than yours. Stop acting like morals are finite and carved in stone. They aren’t. They’re liquid, and can be VASTLY different from one population, group, gang, prison block to another.

You might as well be trying to tell a sea otter that it’s activities are “immoral”. It's ridiculous.

This will always bother me. The semantic arguments that surround morality. It’s the newest lazy-man’s approach to making any random-ass point into a touchstone argument. Telling someone who is far outside your culture that they should believe something because it is “moral” is just as ridiculous as someone from Mozambique telling Alaskans that drinking tap water in Anchorage will definitely result in African dysentery.

Morality is contextual. Locally and culturally so. There’s no definitive.

You realize that in some cultures, what we deam as "innappropriate" homosexuality between boys and older, married men is PART OF THEIR MORAL CODE? As fucked up as that sounds to me, they honestly believe knowledge surrounding what it means to “be a man” can only be passed on this way. So they have these rituals surrounding it. To an outsider, it’s all kinds of crazy pedophile-sounding. But to them, they’re like “whatever man. This is how we roll.” They might consider our preference to just let boys figure shit out on their own as “immoral” and “irresponsible” in terms of youth education. And based on their moral code, hey, guess what? They’d be right.

To be clear, I AM NOT ADVOCATING THIS. I’m just sayin’ it exists, and according to their own compasses, passes for “moral”.

So, Ahmadinejad’s tossing around of any “morality” related words is meaningless in the given context. Probability says that he’s not talking about the same “morals” as those held by his audience (but by pure coincidence, he could be, one never knows! Aha. Ha.).

Again, with religious folk, who are likely under the erroneous impression that only one set of morals exists, all one has to say is “doing ______ is immoral. Do you do ______?” and motherfuckers will be falling all over themselves to say “oh good lord no! NEVER! I’m a god-fearing moral person, I am!”

Touchstone arguments. Lazy shit.

3. Then, of course, there’s the ever-popular “justice and truth” claims. Wow. I figured by now, no politician, regardless of their revolutionary roots, would be so asinine as to claim this as an aim. Governments cannot guarantee this. You know why? Because statistically speaking, it would likely involve the removal of that same government which is supposed to be providing the guarantee. A government hand over authority/power? Oh, right. And understandably, that has never happened. Nor will it. How would a self-serving government honestly know when it was stepping beyond the bounds of "justice and truth"? I don’t think it’s a stretch to state that all governments, over their entire course of existence end up making sacrifices and compromises which amount to injustice and manipulation of SOMEONE/thing. It might be a stated “goal” in the bylaws, constitution, or whatever. But it’s the first lofty pipe-dream to get shelved as soon as real governing starts happening.

I won’t delve further into that one. It’s just so stupid it makes me want to cry.


EcamirG said...

i don't know; i couldn't get past the snarky little intro.

"He is silent on the nuclear buildup near Tehran. 'We all condemn terrorism,' he writes, but there's no discussion of Iran's support for Hezbollah. Maybe he'll take up those topics next year."

as though anyone else has room to talk on this issue. every government supports some form of terrorism. because, like morality, "terrorism" is fluid and subjective... what you call an act of war, i can call terrorism. what i call justice, you can call terrorism.

and neither of us is wrong; neither of us is right.

it's good for giving the knuckle-draggers something to pound their chests over, but my god. must we continually resort to these half-hearted attempts at discourse... in fucking slate, of all places??

Truecraig said...

Yes. Slate. Usually a bastion of considerable consideration.

Ahmadinejad's letter was interesting though. I guess that was all Slate wanted to say on the matter.

Debbie said...

Destro and Cobra Commander aren't real?

Wait a minute. I've been lied to!