Lil Wayne and Islamofascism

I’m torn between writing about Lil Wayne and the term “Islamofascism.”

I keep teasing Mack that it’d be nice if there were a 6 inch version of him I could just carry around with me like Pinocchio has Jiminey Cricket to act as his conscience.  Well, I swear to god, it would not surprise me to find out that Lil Wayne really were only 6 inches tall and that they shoot all his videos with the camera kind of below him, shooting up to make him look taller, and all the other rappers actually standing like fifty yards back so that they all appear roughly his size in the frame.  And his lyrics are, I swear, like he just randomly throws some shit together that is somehow tangentially related.  You can tell how he writes.  He comes up with a decent hook, that sounds vaguely like something my grandpa would have said, but without the “niggas” and then gets as stoned as he can and plays word association for the verses.

It irritates the shit out of me and yet I watch his god damned videos like I’ve been hypnotized to do so.

But I swear, I could write a Lil Wayne rap.

First, we need a catchy hook that sounds vaguely badass and vaguely like something my grandpa would say, had he been a cusser.   My grandpa would say things like, “She had freckles on her but(t) she was nice” or “What’s all that noise?  Stop your hollering.  Come over here and I’ll give you a reason to cry.”  I think we can work with the second one.

So, okay, the hook will be

I ain’t bragging, no I’m a nice guy

But you come to close and I’ll give you reason to cry.

Now, the verse writing will be more fun.  Inhale.  Hold.  Hold. Hold.  Slowly, exhale.  Eat some Cheetos.  Wait.  Puff, puff, pass.  Really, pass that shit.  Even when writing Lil Wayne songs, it’s not cool to bogart the inspiration.

Ready?

Sitting on my ‘puter watching Righties lie

A bunch of little babies; big girls don’t cry

But you got my carpet wet water falling from the sky

Yeah, the sky is big, not as big as my dick

When I whip it out, your girls all over my shit

Ooh, it stinks.  Light a match

and remember back in the day watching Ron Santo catch

Oh, third base, not as sexy as first

Mmm.  Mark Grace…

Like Apollo on the field

Mmm.  Mark Grace…

I remember it like it was yesterday.  I was thirteen.  He was twenty three.  He jogged out onto my television like a promise from Heaven.  “Just wait, B.” Heaven whispered.  “If you put up with all the inept smooches of your youth, someday, you can smooch a man like Mark Grace.”

Heaven, it seems, is a liar, liar of the pants on fire variety.

Where were we?

Oh, yes, “Islamofascism.”   A term as much at home in a Lil Wayne song as it is in the right-wing blogosphere (don’t lie.  You thought there was no way I could tie those two things together and look at how smoothly I pulled it off.  Go ahead, admire how well that went and how it seemed to make sense and be on purpose.  It must be hard, every day, to read someone as talented as me.  Lord knows I can barely move under the weight of my awesomeness.).

Bill Hobbs was talking about it last week and you really should read his post, because Hobbs is the king of eloquently missing the point and this is, I dare say, his masterpiece.

I don’t have a whole lot of time to waste on Hobbs (I’d rather talk about Hitchens and he lingers in the background of this post like a Girl Scout waiting for you to find enough change to pay for your cookies), but I do want to point out that, when he says

Islamofascism, likewise, exists, and has declared its intent – and begun making moves – to establish a global 13th-Century-style Islamic caliphate based on sharia law.

I truly hope that Sarcastro and I are not the only people laughing.

Let me let you in on the joke.  Part one: As you recall, when you say XXth Century, it’s actually XX-1 years.  So, this year is 2007 (literally twenty oh seven), but we’re in the twenty-first century. So, when you say “a global 13th-century-style Islamic caliphate based on sharia law,” it’s the same thing as saying “a global 1200s-style Islamic caliphate based on sharia law.”

If one were going to claim such a thing, you’d think that the 1200s must have been a great time for Islam and the caliphate, right?  I mean, we’re trying to monger fear here by insinuating that our enemies are looking back on a time when Islam was just dominating the shit out of the world.  So, 1200s.  What’s happening in Islam?

Oh, just a tiny little incident in which some guy whose name has practically been lost to history–Temüjin–and his sons overran much of the world and conquered the territory held by the Islamic caliphate.

So, Hobbs is saying that the “Islamofascists” are trying to recreate a time in which Islamic power was in decline and in which Muslims were subject to Ghenghis Khan and his offspring?  Clearly not.  That would make no sense.  Why would “Islamofascists” want to recreate a time period in which the caliphate had little to no power?

Maybe Hobbs means 12th century Islam–a time that might be called the height of Islam’s golden age.  But let’s look at why it was called Islam’s golden age: because Muslims seem to have invented capitalism and the idea of a free market; they had wide-spread industrial growth; women had unprecedented freedoms and the right to work; they invented the scientific method, algebra, and made great strides in astronomy, chemistry, and physics.  This is the height of Islamic architecture, literature, philosophy, and art.  There’s wide-spread religious tolerance and amazing creative growth.

Which is just about the opposite of what the folks who are called “Islamofascists” seem to want.

So, where is this golden time when Islam really sucked, but also dominated the whole world?  Well, much like the imaginary conservative 1950s, when everyone got along just fine and all was right in the world, it never existed.

Which brings me to Hitchens, just as I’ve run out of time.  I disagree with the term “Islamofascism,” just because I don’t think this is a fascist movement.  I think of fascism having to do with the rise of a powerful nation-state fueled by an industrial machine that seems unstoppable.  These folks have no nation-state and are, seemingly, against industrialization.

But I do think that Hitchens has one good point–fascism and this “whatever-ism” carry in it the seeds of its own destruction.  They are both movements that thrive on death–the death of others and the deaths of their own.  As bright as that might burn, it’s not sustainable.

36 thoughts on “Lil Wayne and Islamofascism

  1. Not to mention that the caliphate itself was a purely symbolic institution even by the beginning of the 13th century; the Seljuk Turks, who controlled much of its former territories, were too pious to kill the caliph (as the Mongols did once they captured the last one), but they didn’t mind conquering a quarter of his empire. Nor did the Mameluks, nor, indeed did a series of dynasties mind setting themselves up in the Iberian Peninsula and present-day Morocco and Tunisia (though the 13th century was http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~rs143/reconque.jpg“>pretty lousy for them as well.

    Possibly Hobbs meant the 13th century by the Islamic calendar? That would be from around 1785 to 1885 according to the calendar we use. The (territorially) largest state of the Islamic world at that time was the Ottoman Empire (Sultanate), known as “the sick man of Europe” for its inability to control its subjectsaccording to any version of law whatsoever. Of course, it is also the period in which the reactionary version of Islam followed by the Bin Ladins of the world got started, so I guess that’s his point?

  2. B, dear, I have a comment that’s awaiting moderation because I put links in it. Would you mind rescuing it, pretty please?

  3. NM, your wish is my command. if Hobbs meant the 13th century by the Islamic calendar, I will put on my most beautiful dress and stand in his front yard with a sign that says “I’m sorry, Bill Hobbs” so all the right wingers can come by and take pictures.

  4. So, where is this golden time when Islam really sucked, but also dominated the whole world?

    if i had to take an amateurish stab… the early to mid 700’s probably wasn’t a good time to be standing in the Caliphate’s way. whether it “really sucked” likely depends on your tolerance for suckitude, but i don’t think i would have liked it much.

    granted, i probably wouldn’t have liked life as a Frank under Charles Martell much, either, but i’m a spoiled brat.

    very much seconded on the criticism of “islamofascism” as a term, though. “fascism” has been diluted far too much already, using it to smear things which — although ever so bad in their own right — simply have nothing to do with fascism is counterproductive. islamic religious extremism is a serious enough threat to the world at large that we need to see it clearly and discuss it using honest words, not make-believe boogeymen.

    (hm, i should be more specific just so i’m not pigeonholed wrong. islamic extremism is no real threat to the industrialized, western world at all. i’m worried it might sink the middle east and environs into repressive tyrannies, thereby stunting the development of the region and making peace in that area a practical impossibility for a number of generations. that’d be a nuisance to us, but a living hell for hundreds of millions of middle eastern and central asian locals.)

  5. The (territorially) largest state of the Islamic world at that time was the Ottoman Empire (Sultanate), known as “the sick man of Europe” for its inability to control its subjectsaccording to any version of law whatsoever

    And in another example of creepy Jungian collective unconsciousness…as you were writing this comment about the Ottoman Empire I was writing a post at MCB about the Armenian Genocide.

    Why, out of the blue, would two people be talking about the Ottoman Empire if not for the scariness of Jung?!?

    f Hobbs meant the 13th century by the Islamic calendar, I will put on my most beautiful dress and stand in his front yard with a sign that says “I’m sorry, Bill Hobbs” so all the right wingers can come by and take pictures.

    If Hobbs meant 13th century by the Islamic calendar then I’ll…I don’t know what. Something.

    I think what Hobbs “meant” was exactly 12th Century Islam, because he seems to hail from the school that doesn’t cotton to the idea of non-Christian people being in ascendency in politcal and economic capital.

    You see the spectre of 12th Century Islam raised alongside many of the “You White People Aren’t Having Enough Christian Babies” thing.

    It’s all part of that worldview.

  6. Why, out of the blue, would two people be talking about the Ottoman Empire if not for the scariness of Jung?!?

    I’m only mentioning it as a way to thumb my nose at folks who use the term Islamofascism and who also have no very accurate sense of history, so I’m not sure that it counts. Although I’m with you on the scariness of Jung, since I have Freudian dreams but my husband has Jungian dreams and I consider them wierd.

    And the truth is, I’d be shocked to learn that Hobbs is aware that Islam has its own calendar with a starting date and everything, but it’s more fun to pretned that he might.

    I think what Hobbs “meant” was exactly 12th Century Islam, because he seems to hail from the school that doesn’t cotton to the idea of non-Christian people being in ascendency in politcal and economic capital.

    If that’s what scares him he really should have meant the 11th century, since by the 12th century Christian political and economic capital were a lot more significant vis-a-vis Islamic than they had been for 450 years or so (not that Islamic power had decreased or become impoverished, but Christian wealth and population were expanding rapidly, and Christian states were taking significant territory from Islamic states). But since I don’t think he’s got the least clue about any of those centuries, probably even including the 7th and 8th, this is nothing but the merest pickiness on my part. Plus a disinclination to pay attention to work.

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  8. it’s not cool to bogart the inspiration.

    Quite possibly the funniest thing you have ever written.

    So, what word would you use to replace Islamofascism
    There doesn’t appear to be a need for a word here. Until they do something criminal in their quest for a worldwide Islamic State, we have no need to invent a label for them.. Afterwards, we can call them criminals.

  9. Mack,

    Blowing up buildings, cars, ships, embassies, discos, bakeries, themselves etc… isn’t just a wee bit criminal?

  10. Jay, that would be the “afterwards” part. Yes, at that point they become criminals. I will always believe that we blew an opportunity to launch a world-wide manhunt for the leaders of Al Queda, with pretty close to world-wide cooperation. Instead, we chose to invade and occupy Iraq, a country that anyone who can read will agree had zero to do with 9/11. I’ll never understand the justification for dropping bombs on civilian neighborhoods, then expecting to be greeted as anything other than criminals ourselves.

  11. Jay, I don’t understand why we can’t just call them Muslim terrorists. See, here’s my other problem with “Islamofascists.” It takes a bunch of disparate groups and people who really have nothing more in common than that they’re terrorists and unites them under a banner that makes them seem all like a unified group with unified goals.

    That’s not them.

    If they had a political goal in common, you could use a political term like “Islamofascism,” but since what they have in common is a tactic–terrorism–I think that’s what you have to call them–terrorists.

    And folks who have a name they call themselves–like al Quiada–should be called that.

  12. Ya know, Jay, I think that the search for short, snappy labels is part of a problem — ours and folks like Bin Ladin’s both. When you look for a way to reduce The Other to a set, loaded phrase you are saying, in effect, “don’t bother me with the complexities of the situation.” Which can lead to some pretty bad decisions. I’d rather think of Bin Ladin and those like him as violent proponents of Qutbism.

  13. And, as B, pointed out, not everyone lumped into the “Islamofascist” category is a violent proponent of Qutbism.

  14. Nope, no problem. I actually think that brings up an interesting point–how little the folks who coin terms like “Islamofascism” actually know about what Muslims are worried about. See? We make up a phrase because we don’t know that there’s already this intense, high-stakes debate about Qutbism, a phrase which would work nicely for what those folks are talking about, except that it also serves their purposes to promote an attitude that Muslims don’t have as much insight into what their problems are as we outsiders do.

  15. It seems to me, though, that more than Qutbism is getting lumped into the “Islamofascism” category. Most of the violence in Iraq right now, for instance, is not being carried out by promoters of those ideas. You’ll note that that fact has Bin Ladin sufficiently worried that he’s circulating a video calling for unity among the “mujahidin”/”insurgents” — because there isn’t any, either ideologically or strategically. So I don’t see any gain in talking or thinking about a single category of actual or potential terrorists. Other than promoting good intelligence about all of them, of course.

    Of course, using the specific term “Islamofascism” is problematic also because it suggests that Qutbism = Islam, instead of understanding the role that the movement plays in relation to what mainstream Islam really is.

  16. Well, exactly. That goes back to my earlier point(s). First, that there are a lot of disparate elements that have nothing in common except a certain strategy being lumped together. The other is that it’s very difficult to have a movement whose goal is basically “death and destruction to whatever strikes my fancy today” with any kind of organization.

    It’s wrong, but I kind of snickered when Bin Ladin was basically all “can’t we just get along?”

    As witches are prone to say, “As above, so below.” You have chaos as a goal, you’re going to have chaos as a system.

  17. As witches are prone to say, “As above, so below.” You have chaos as a goal, you’re going to have chaos as a system.

    There’s actually a useful tool for combatting chaos in there somewhere. I can’t quite get to it, but I’m pretty sure it exists.

  18. When policy analysts trained in thinking like a nation-state look for chaos (which is what they assume they will see when they peer over at non-state and trans-state political organizations, mixing their presumptions about innate inferiority of other sorts of political systems with their unacknowledged racism), they will always find it.

  19. Bridgett, yeah, but there’s a reciprocal piece that isn’t being addressed. When followers of Qutbism look at much of the modern world, they perceive chaos where we, living within it, perceive order. And that chaos is what they are trying to combat with their own absolutist solutions.

  20. I see your point, AuntB, but if we promise to stop calling Jihadists “Islamofascists” will y’all promise to stop calling Conservatives “fascists”?

    And Mack, unfortunately, a significant portion of the world doesn’t view Al Qaeda as criminals, and another significant portion of the world thinks that doing things like defending Israel’s right to exist deserves a little terrorism.

    Lastly, I’m a little skeptical that the Muslim world was on the cutting edge of treating women equally in its heyday. I will have to read up on that, but that is certainly not what UBL has in mind. He has in mind a Caliphate without the feminism, wouldn’t you agree?

  21. . . . after hitting enter, I realized that I should have said, “If we promise to stop calling Jihadists ‘Islamofascists’ will y’all promise to write extended posts lambasting Liberals who call Conservatives ‘fascists'”?

  22. Yes, but Jay, as I said in the post, he’s clearly being an idiot. Which, bless his heart, is no surprise.

    Ned, if y’all stop acting like you want to set up a military-industrial-governmental-oppressive nightmare, we’ll stop calling you names. Ha. I tease.

    Second, Muslims were notorious for treating women well back in the day (again, we’re talking in comparison to how Christians treated women back in the 12th century), but no one is saying that women were equal to men.

    Third, yes, exactly, that’s my point. OBL doesn’t want women to have freedom. He doesn’t want scientific advancement. He doesn’t want anything resembling Islam during its Golden Age.

    I highly doubt that OBL wants to set up a Caliphate. I think this is just bullshit spun by folks because coming out and saying “Well, really, we don’t have any goals other than to just kill the shit out of everyone who disagrees with us” makes recruiting people to your side very difficult.

  23. Well, it seems to me that OBL can long for a return to Islam’s super-regional (hemispheric?) rule and still think it could use some “tweaking.” Besides, returning women to 12th-century status would be progress in OBL’s eyes, wouldn’t it?

    And isn’t pre-9/11 Afghanistan a pretty good idea of what OBL wants? His objectives certainly seem more ambitious than just killing ideological opponents to me.

  24. Ned, I’m going to stop telling people you have a beautiful penis if you don’t make some effort to keep up with the conversation here.

    Returning women to 12th century status would not be progress in OBL’s eyes because 12th century Muslim women had a lot more freedoms than women have, in say, Afghanistan.

    The following is just my opinion, but it’s my opinion based on years of being a human being. I don’t believe that OBL is primarily motivated by religious beliefs. I believe he understands how easy it is to motivate and control people using their religious beliefs.

    But OBL comes from a wealthy and powerful family. It’s clear that he expected to be wealthy and powerful himself. I suspect that he imagined himself the leader of some vast organized crime syndicate something like the Mafia (a syndicate that shares a common religion and occassionally works towards goals shared by the larger community so that the larger community is willing to turn its back on the criminal enterprises and reluctant to speak against them) and, if he could use religion as a way of recruiting and controlling followers, great. And if promising them a “return” to fundimentalist Islam works as a recruiting tool, great.

    But what evidence do we see that Bin Laden himself is particularly religious? Who, for instance, is he backing for caliphate? Certainly there must be someone alive right now who would make a good caliph or what’s the point?

    Of course, if there was a caliph, Bin Laden would, by definition, have to follow him.

    Do you really think Bin Laden wants that?

  25. Well, B, there’s plenty of evidence that Bin Ladin is personally religious, FWIW. See The Looming Tower for a good overview of what’s known about his life and the development of his thought. OTOH, Ned might want to take a look at something like Women in the Medieval Islamic World, edited by Gavin Hambly, if he wants not to seem uninformed when talking about women in the medieval Islamic world.

  26. Well, NM, yes, good point. But I still think he’s “Mafia” religious, in that his religious beliefs don’t seem to preclude him from killing people or attempting to amass great personal power. Again, if he’s so hell-bent on establishing a Caliphate, who’s he proposing for Caliph?

    Oh, god, not himself?

  27. I’m not sure he has a detailed plan in mind. But such as it is, I’m sure (from everything we’ve seen so far) that a literal caliphate isn’t part of it. I mean, it’s folks around here who fantasize that “Islamofascists” fantasize about a caliphate. There are other ways, even for ultra-fundamentalist Muslims, of achieving a properly regulated society.

  28. you guys are fucking retards lil wayne is the best rapper alive you prickjobs how do you go from weezy f to some arabs in one web page, thats why the goddamn arabs dont like us cuz you think youre so much better than everyone else well fuck off and buy the carter 3 and see whats you been missin he put out like 5 or 6 cds in the past 6 months. fuckin reatards

  29. Lil wayne isnt a muslims u idiot islamophobic pieces of trash, he is a christian check his new song My life Game.
    He is a christans he said that a few days ago oh then he si not a terrorist anymore? right?

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