Monday, April 26, 2010
Mark Your Calendars
Via Jason Stotts (who hosted last week's Objectivist Round-up), May 20 will be "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day."
Speaking of Jason Stotts, I managed to leave out the address of his blog, Erosophia, during a recent blogroll update. That's been fixed.
Also, the link to Paul Hsieh's GeekPress now reflects its recent migration to a new domain.
Returning to Mohammed for a moment, I see that Ann Althouse wonders, based on the case of Zachary Adam Chesser (aka Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee), whether radical Islam is "the new Goth."
I think she has a good point, except at the end of her post, when she chides the boy because what he did "is a much greater mockery of Islam than a drawing of Muhammad". I see where she's trying to go, but the idea of mocking Islam is akin to the idea of gilding a lily -- particularly after the first set of cartoon riots.
In addition, it's not the whole story. Around the sixties, Ayn Rand noted that the hippies were not really rebelling against their upbringings: Neither is Chesser rebelling against his. Raised in an intellectual climate that preaches the unlimited value of not "offending" minority groups -- at the expense of stifling free expression of the smallest minority -- Chesser's festishization of a perceptual image is far easier than understanding and embracing an abstract principle like the right to free expression. It is also the very embodiment of the poisonous, anti-mind animus of multiculturalism, as well as the undercurrent of racism it supposedly repudiates.
So yes, Chesser/Al-Amrikee is a Goth of sorts, but he's wearing black and affecting an attitude just like all the other Goths. Just don't mistake this for a substantive rebellion.
Another Precautionary Disaster
AOL News features an interesting piece by Michael Fumento on whether the World Health Organization (WHO) intentionally sewed panic before the advent of the swine flu last year.
So given the mild course swine flu was taking, how could the WHO justify declaring a pandemic? Easy. It rewrote the definition! The new one, viewable here and published last July, simply eliminates severity as a factor. This renders the definition meaningless, since flu always causes "simultaneous epidemics worldwide." Instead, it closely matched the new definition to swine flu by requiring that the strain contain either animal or mixed-human animal genetic material.Elsewhere, Fumento notes that the lower bound of the number of deaths predicted by the WHO was 2 million (the actual number of deaths was "over 17853" as of April 23, far lower than the normal flu toll).
Nine Bins of Something
Tales like this and this would be much funnier were they not also examples of where the momentum of the current culture would take us.