In Defense (Sort of) of the Moderate Muslims

Listen, the whole thing is stupid. It’s scary precisely because it’s stupid. People can’t hold whole nations hostage because they don’t like some editorial cartoon. Well, they can, but they can’t expect people to be very sympathetic.

But, I’m going to tell you who I do feel a little bad for–the moderate Muslims.

Everywhere you look, people are complaining “Why don’t moderate Muslims speak out against these crazy psychos who are violent and kill people and who apparently can’t be reasoned with?”

Hmm. This is a big mystery. Why don’t non-crazy people who have families and have to live in communities with these crazy psychos who are violent and kill people and apparently can’t be reasoned with speak out against them?

Listen, I’m not making an argument for any type of organized religion and lord knows I think we’d all be better off having very disorganized sets of religious beliefs that can’t be co-opted and used against us, but it seems to me that we should, in the face of madness, not succumb to madness ourselves.

How many Muslim terrorists do you think there are in the world right now? Actual men and women plotting to do violence? They say a cell is roughly 25 people. How many cells? A thousand? Ten thousand?

Let’s give ourselves over to paranoia a little bit–let’s say there are ten thousand cells of approximately 25 people. That’s 250,000 terrorists, a quarter of a million people actively planning to carry out attacks against us. And let’s say that for every person actively planning on carrying out an attack against us, there are three people providing some kind of support to him.

So, that gives us a million radical Muslims hell-bent on destroying us and actively taking steps to insure that happens. One million.

That sounds like quite a lot. If I were a moderate Muslim, I’d be cautious, to put it mildly, about bringing down the wrath of a million crazy psychos who are violent and don’t mind killing people.

But here’s the thing we would do go to remember, as we’re running around shouting about how violent “they” all are and how no one should have to live near “them”–there are roughly a billion Muslims on the planet.

Which means that, using math (and we all know how that goes), even if there are a million crazy murderous Muslims, that’s one one-thousandth of all Muslims.

Is this the standard now, that we’re going to hold every religious group responsible for the actions of one one-thousandths of its membership?

If so, then fuck you, United Methodists, for not speaking out against what a dumb idea it was for me to make out in the Sunday School room with that kid who looked like a very large mole, because, as Methodists at the time, and, since the incident happened in a Methodist church, you are responsible for not keeping me from doing something very stupid.

Anyway, I’ve got no great love for Islam, or Christianity, or even Judaism for that matter. But I’ve grown kind of fond of all our talk about individuals accountable only to themselves, and so I wanted to argue for it in this case.

Oh Yes, Wait A Minute

Sometimes I feel like it’s my whole purpose in life to publicly enjoy the things that young men enjoy so as to ruin their ability to enjoy it. I mean, seriously, you think when Mrs. Wigglebottom and I cruise up West End Avenue with the windows down and the rap music blaring that it doesn’t make all the teenage boys who are trying to scare the old folks cringe just a little?

Lately, I have been totally digging on Juelz Santana’s song “Oh Yes.” I even found the video so that you can watch it, because I’m just that kind of nice.

This song works for one reason… well, okay, one and a half reasons. The half a reason is that the little bit at the end is very catchy.

The one reason is that Santana has picked a good, instantly recognizable song “Mr. Postman” to sample from and he uses that sample well. Usually, when rappers use samples, they either just find a hook they like and let it loop in the background (see Sean Combs’ using “Kashmir” on “Come With Me”) or they fully integrate it into the song (and, fuck me, now that I have “Come With Me” stuck in my head, I can’t think of any examples of the other kind. Damn you Sean Combs!!!!!! Or, I guess, you could just cite any Combs song with or about Biggie Smalls).

Santana, though, manages to accomplish both. The sample is catchy and hooks you in and then, just as you think you can stop paying attention to it and leave it in the background, he’s all like “I don’t (wait). I won’t (wait).” pulling in the “wait” from the sample.

It’s a nice touch.

The video cracks me up, too, because I’m pretty sure that he only had enough footage for a third of a video and just repeated it as needed, to fill up the time. How else to explain how often we have to watch him fucking with his bandana?

If Kleinheider Ever Left His House, I would Buy Him a Beer

Y’all, Kleinheider remains my favorite scary conservative blogger. As any long-time reader knows, I love to disagree with him (and sing little songs about him on my way to the bathroom while I’m at work: “Ooo Kleinheider your corners are mitered and all of the folks want to know if you’re real. Are you a loner who hides in a corner or are you a military-grade trained seal?” Obviously, it’s not a very good song, but I defy you to find something that rhymes with ‘Kleinheider.’ Not so easy, is it, smartasses?)

Anyway, Kleinheider. Today he weighs in on my “examination/fascination/flirtation with libertarianism.”* And he cuts right to the heart of the matter in a way I had not quite been able to put together**.

Most people are weak. They need freedom, yes, but they also need things like authority and faith to make them whole.

Libertarians are attractive because, quite often, they are exceptions to this general rule. They are highly intelligent capable people able to tackle the obstacles of life mostly on their own without the benefits of the aforementioned institutions.

He identifies libertarians as utopians, which I hadn’t put together, but seems exactly right. I’m all the time telling Sarcastro that most people want to be bossed around and Sarcastro rolls his eyes and ignores me, but I’m right.

We’re pack animals. Nationality is a large pack we belong to. Most of us expect that pack to set some standards for behavior.

I don’t know that I would call that “weakness.” It’s just how it is. But why quibble on one of the rare occasions when I agree with Kleinheider?

Now, back to my song***. You can join in if you like.

Ooo, Kleinheider your corners are mitered…

*Y’all! Can I just say that I love the idea of flirting with a whole political ideology? “Oh, libertarianism, you’re so strong and you never presume to know what’s best for me. Mmm. I like that in a political philosophy. Buy a girl a drink?”
**Because, as you may have guessed, I’m still stuck on what happens to any dependent in a libertarian society when faced with crappy parents. If no one can be compelled to take care of the kid, doesn’t that violate his “natural rights”? Are the “natural rights” of adults more important than the natural rights of children? What about of old people?
***Yeah, I guess if the singing and the silliness have returned to Tiny Cat Pants you can rest assured that my Sunday drive did me good.

My Parents and the Supernatural

When I was little, I would often accompany my dad on his hospital visits. Aside from the part where I actually had to visit sick and dying people, I loved doing this, because it meant that my dad and I would ride around in the car, talking.

Usually, we talked theology.

Sometimes we talked about other stuff that was of vital importance to me, like ghosts (we were for them) and ESP (I was for it, my dad claimed to be against it, though he also claimed to have voted for Reagan in 1980 and I think we all know that’s a pack of lies meant to cause me pain.).

So, one day we’re driving home from the hospital and my dad says, “You know, I can teach you how to read any person’s mind. Ask me when you’re older.”

And I, being the nerdy do-gooder that I am, waited. And waited. And waited.

And one summer he let me go into the city by myself and I thought, “Today, I am a woman. Now, I can know the secrets of reading anyone’s mind.”

And so I asked him, “Dad, how do you read someone’s mind?”

And he says, “You can’t read anyone’s mind. There’s no such thing.”

“Argh, but you told me to ask when I was older and you would tell me how to do it.”

“Are you sure that was me and not your uncle B.?”

“Can Uncle B. read minds?”

“Not that I know of.”

But still, he knows I love supernatural stuff and especially spooky things, so last night, he mentioned that my mom has a ghost at her school.

Then, like clockwork, the minute I hang up the phone with him, there’s my mom calling* to tell me about the ghost**.

Y’all think my life is sad, this poor ghost that haunts her school is well-known for shuffling paper and moving the vacuum cleaner around.

I don’t know why this surprises me. Of course people are boring in real life. Why should they be any less boring in the after-life?

But still, the last thing I’m doing when I’m dead is vacuuming.

*I forget if I told you about this. My mom has an apartment up near where she works, so five days a week, she lives up there, and comes home on the weekends. This arrangement is tedious now, but probably saved their marriage during the whole “our son and his pregnant crack-whore wife will live with us” episode.
**Hey, maybe my mom is the mind-reader. I should think to ask her.