And Just In Case…

…anybody sees my post over at Whatever on the so-called Ground Zero Mosque, and decides to come over here and start something… a simple admonition:

Don’t.

ETA: And because somebody decided to be hard-headed, just an FYI: I’ve put the blog on moderation until further notice. If you’ve commented here before and been approved, you should be able to comment freely; if you’re a newbie you’ll have to wait ’til I get around to approving it. Sorry, but this is why I said “don’t.”

31 Responses »

  1. What I wanted to write about your comments on the Whatever?

    Thank you. Thank you so much for saying it. Because, like you, otherwise I struggle with breaking into profanities and outrageously angry statements at the stupidity and bigotry involved by those using this as a means to whip up anti-Islamic sentiment.

    Post 9/11, I had the time and the motivation to go on Muslim newsgroups on Usenet and talk to the Muslims there to learn more about Islam. I came away with a great respect for the majority of Muslims out there, and an understanding that attributing 9/11 strictly to Islam was a big mistake.

    Thank you so much for saying what needed to be said.

  2. Can I break out my pompons and cheer for your words? ‘Cos that’s something. I’m just sayin’.

    I’m lucky to live up here in the Great White North so it’s not quite as much an issue with the hausfraus with whom I work, but it’s still bothersome to me (what with reading more than TMZ and all). It’s easier for people to vilify a stereotype and “them versus us”, so the fact that not everyone who died or lost someone on 9/11 was WASP is lost, and the fact that “Islamic extremists” are not all of Islam is entirely lost.

    I thank you for a well-thought-out piece on the subject. I also love “womanfully”.

  3. Thanks, buddy. I think you know I’m in pretty bad psychic shape right now over this. Your little light ray, like China M’s, though, helps a wee bit. So thanks.

  4. I hadn’t read it over there yet until you posted this, but I have now. I think it’s a great post, and thank you for writing it.

  5. Just wanted to drop by and thank you for that post on Whatever. The part that really makes the opponents look foolish is the two mosques already in lower Manhattan, with the closest one to GZ actually predating the WTC complex.

    Another point that you didn’t touch on but bears mentioning: Park 51 isn’t really a mosque. The fact that it has space dedicated to prayer services doesn’t make it a mosque — we don’t call the YMCA a church, yet most of them have space set aside for prayer services. It’s a community center.

    Now I’m getting my dander up too, so I’ll stop. But again, thank you for what you said…

  6. “…anybody sees my post over at Whatever on the so-called Ground Zero Mosque, and decides to come over here and start something… a simple admonition:

    Don’t.”

    No, no, I entirely understand what you’re saying. I came to empathize.

  7. Standing-f’ing-O. China’s words, Whatever post, John H.’s contribution, all of it. Beyond awesome. I hope y’all throw racism so far out of Manhattan it lands on Jupiter. You might just do it, by sheer force of awesome.

  8. Does a general sense of agreement with your comments on Whatever count as starting something?

    (Although, in my case, though I’m angry about the lies perpetrated by certain far-right demogogues and the media, ultimately I’m just confused and saddened that so many people have lost all perspective on the importance and preemininence of freedom of religion.)

  9. Katchan,

    Well, I meant “something” as a euphemism for “bullshit”, so non-bullshit is still welcome. :)

  10. Saladin,

    Actually, I saw China’s thing in your Facebook feed; thanks for linking it.

    Just focus on the two new little light rays in your household. I bet they’ll help lots more. :)

  11. John H.,

    Yeah, I only saw Keith Olbermann’s special comment on the matter after I wrote the Whatever post, or I would’ve linked to it. But yeah, not at Ground Zero, and not a mosque. So much shit stirred up over nothing.

  12. Stephen,

    Nah, agreement’s OK. =P Disagreement’s OK, under ordinary circumstances; it’s just that on this issue, disagreement requires acceptance of some of the bigoted crap I’m railing against, and that’s what I won’t tolerate. Now or ever.

    Unfortunately, it’s not just the far right that’s perpetuating the lies. If it was just them, I wouldn’t be so mad.

  13. While I’ll concur that some on the so-called “left” have been repackaging and reselling these lies, wholesale, I don’t fully blame them. They’re operating in a political climate in which the vast majority of Americans have been hoodwinked so thoroughly by the right-wing propoganda machine that every poll suggests that 60-70% of them are “against the Ground Zero Mosque” (never mind the fact that that phrase is meaningless, since there’s no such thing as the GZM).

    In this climate, standing “for” what the media is calling the “GZM” is a politically untennable position – and with elections in two-and-a-half months, they’re acting in the way that’s most likely to keep themselves and their fellow compatriots in a job come November.

    So, while I lament their caving in to the propoganda machine and their spineless inability to stand up for what’s right and clear the fog of deceit with the warm light of truth, I at least understand why they’re acting like cowards and feeding the beast. Frankly, in situations like this, I find it hard to know what the people involved actually believe because how they’re acting is so weasely.

    On the other hand, I don’t understand why left-leaning intellectuals have so thoroughly ceded the framing-game to right-wing pundits. The right-wingers are doing it so well (see “death panels” and “socialization of health care” and other hyperbolic sound bites)… you wouldn’t think it would be hard for left-wingers to come up with some decent zingers of their own that also happen to align with reality as well as sounding catchy.

    In the mean time… I guess it’s up to the people at the bottom (i.e. ordinary folks well-connected with reality) to do the sunshine spreading… because the people at the top don’t have the courage to take a principled stand.

  14. Oh, I totally get that the perpetrators on the left are trying to survive in a right-leaning political landscape. But why is that landscape right-leaning? Because the people on the left keep dancing around issues like this, rather than taking a principled stand.

    And let’s be blunt here — their failure to pull the reins of the debate away from the right is killing people. The more they let this kind of racist rhetoric become mainstream — normalized — the more people will feel like it’s OK to spew, and act on, their hate. There’s a slippery slope here, and they’re waaaaay down it.

  15. Sigh. I was going to just blog about it, but I’ll try here first.

    Sorry, Nora, you’re wrong. Calling all dissenting opinions ‘bullshit’ — heck, as a guest blogger on John’s blog, it’s inappropriate to go troll and then turn off comments.

    I disagree with you. I’m not a bigot. The world’s not that black and white, I’m afraid.

    First off, racism usually is about skin color, isn’t it? I think you’re looking for ‘intolerance’, aren’t you?

    The sort of intolerance ALL religions have for EVERYONE. I base that statement on the fact my gay and lesbian friends don’t tend to blow up buildings, OR abortion clinics. (Or, for that matter, molest children; catholic priests aren’t gay — they’re Christian.)

    Back on point, though, YOU are helping to kill people, just as much as the idiots on both ends of the ‘left’ and ‘right’. You’re far more dangerous, though, than Sarah Palin. With the enlightened view of conservatives, there’s no danger of anyone actually listening to her; folks wanted to vote for McCain because Palin was ‘hawt’.

    You, on the other hand, are an author. I don’t expect all authors to care about society like Asimov and Bradbury, but, geez. PLEASE consider your position: You’re apologizing for Islam.

    Islam’s bad. Christianity’s bad. ORGANIZED RELIGION is bad. Period. Bottom line. Or, specifically, the followers of said cults are bad. I have militant vegetarian friends; I know it’s not just the religious who want to control people’s lives. However, they ARE the ones that kill people. I’m not ‘just’ talking about the hijackers on 9/11 when it comes to Islam; please take a look at the Koran. The only difference between it, and the Bible, is by some miracle we’ve managed to deal with the rougher edges of the latter, and gotten most the crazies to stop burning people at the stake because they look different.

    At least, in America. They still kill people for being witches in Africa, thanks to us shoving missionaries down their throats. Oh, and that little AIDS epidemic is directly related to their distate of using condoms, again, thanks to religion, and specifically, the Catholic church.

    I consider it hateful that it’s okay to mutilate children (circumcision) for religion; presumably, you don’t. Look on the bright side, though, we only do it to boys in America; women have the pleasure in Muslim countries.

    The same countries that stone women who are raped — as well as children, who are raped. (if they’re too young to be killed, they’re put in prisons until they’re old enough…)

    This is what you’re defending; I’m at a loss as to why, and hope it’s my utter lack of understanding … it must be, considering the other people in this comment thread, cheering you on.

    To me, you’re saying, “Hey, I’ve got friends in NAMBLA, and while I don’t know what they’re about, they seem like nice people, and should get to build their little office next to the school.”

    Or, perhaps, like a Baptist church going up where some Baptists blew up an abortion clinic.

    Let’s be tolerant, right?

    For the record: I couldn’t care less what someone builds on private property. I don’t live in NYC, I didn’t lose any loved ones on 9/11, and I think it’s the absolute most disgusting thing to tell someone what they can do with their person, or their property, so long as it’s not harming someone else.

    Could building a mosque be taken as ‘them’ giving ‘us’ the finger? Sure, if you have that mentality. Maybe it even is the intent; you’ve got to question the motives of anyone doing something so unpopular in their community. If that’s not the case — if the people who actually LIVE near there don’t care, no one else should, especially if there are other churches already there.

    I’m more angry that you, as a writer, have so little regard for the words and opinions of others; as long as so many people would rather stifle the thoughts and opinions of others, how can we as a society possibly have any real dialog?

    Then again, maybe I completely missed your point: maybe you simply meant religious people shouldn’t be restricted from following their religion.

    After all, you wouldn’t mind living next door to the Westboro Baptist Church, right?

    Or how about a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan?

    There are bad people in the world. When there are groups of bad people, it’s one’s moral responsibility to stand up and say, “Hey, that thing you all believe? It’s bad. Please take it elsewhere.” That’s how we change society for the better.

    Funny, though, how we get so riled up about how horrid 9/11 was, but no one talks about the Sandy Creek Massacre any more. Personally, if I were going to get pissed about someone building something, it’d be Mt. Rushmore. Nothing like slaughtering a whole bunch of people, and then, as a final ‘fuck you’, desecrating their burial grounds with a huge monument immortalizing their conquest.

    Gotta hand it to you, though, at least you only invade someone else’s blog and prevent its readers from commenting on your trolling; if you were an ex-president, you’d simply go and kill everyone who disagreed with you. Thank God/Allah/He_Who_Demands_The_Blood_Of_People_Who_Are_Different/etc for the Internet!

  16. Grey:

    “heck, as a guest blogger on John’s blog, it’s inappropriate to go troll and then turn off comments.”

    Grey, the next time you decide you want to tell other people what’s appropriate to do on my site, here what’s you do:

    1. Ask yourself “did I wake up today as John Scalzi?”
    2. If the answer is “no,” refrain.

    Or put to it another way, when I want your opinion about how I run my site (or what I allow the guest bloggers I host on my site to do), I’ll be sure to ask you. Until and unless, please don’t presume to tell people how to act on my site. You don’t get a vote.

    Beyond this, inasmuch as Ms. Jemisin has my leave to write whatever she chooses on my site, by my invitation, thus making your suggestion that she “invade[d] someone else’s blog” absolute risible nonsense, AND you are specifically going against her wishes in making your comment here — well, someone’s certainly trolling today, and it’s not Ms. Jemisin.

    I don’t suspect your comment will survive moderation, nor should it, so soon this comment will either be moderated out of existence as well, or will at least lack some context. But until that point, you should know Ms. Jemisin has my full support to write as she pleases on Whatever, and to choose whether or not to entertain comments on what she writes there. I afford myself those choices, and I find it appropriate, to use a word, to afford her those same privileges. And in that regard, my opinion on what’s appropriate is the only one that counts.

  17. I apologize. My point was that it was somewhat interesting to obliterate freedom of speech against freedom of religion. Bleh. If only I could wake up as John Scalzi. Again, my apologies.

  18. Sorry — I forgot to set moderation on this post this morning. But I think I’ll leave this whole conversation in place so future prospective trolls will see it. Thanks, John.

    And Grey, fortunately John actually read and responded to your comment, so all your typing was not in vain. Because I wouldn’t have even bothered with that much. I read the first paragraph, went “tl;dr”, and headed straight for the ban tool. You might even have had a good point. But the fact that you didn’t bother to respect my rules suggests that nah, you probably didn’t.

  19. Hi! You don’t know me, but I thought I’d pop by and say thank you, anyway. I think it helps, at least in a small way, to have some voices of reason out there countering the fear-mongering bigots. You make our species look good.

  20. Since the original post was a call to designers to come up with a slogan about NYC, I was inspired to do this one.
    http://ghostofmifune.tumblr.com/post/975116413/inspired-by-china-mievilles-post-here

    What I find most infuriating about this debate is that these troglodyte tea-partiers elsewhere in the county pretend to know what’s best for new york. They have no idea what the fabric of this city is about. One city block in NYC has more going on then 10 city block in their backwaters – 2 city blocks? Forget it!

    For many of us, the willingness to rebuild and welcome the rest of the world is exactly what makes NYC hallowed ground.

  21. Niiiiice. I like it! Though I don’t think I’ve seen the “Marley Supply” sign — I don’t drive much.

  22. Ha!
    Yeah – I seem to be the only one who knows that sign – you can see one side of it here: http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&q=Marly+Building+Supply&fb=1&gl=us&hq=Marly+Building+Supply&hnear=New+York,+NY&cid=0,0,3915807758355524497&ei=EiRtTOLbHML98AbOwojoDA&ved=0CBwQnwIwAQ&ll=40.725623,-73.935032&spn=0.012277,0.037143&z=16&layer=c&cbll=40.725692,-73.935108&panoid=oPIKMKt-wmFupI2FOjt4sA&cbp=12,232.63,,0,5.2

    The other side has the same horse plus a big’ol’ crane. I don’t know why, but I love that sign – maybe because I always see it when coming back from lga in a cab – it reads “home”.

  23. I want to thank you for your principled stance on this issue, and to add my voice to the choir of people supporting such a stance. I find it befuddling in the extreme that this is a “liberal” issue. This is freedom of religion, this is state’s rights. Why aren’t the republicans as angry about this as the democrats?

    Oh right, because they knock their platform over whenever they jerk their knee. They really aught to have that looked at.

  24. Grey, the problem with your opinion is the same as the problem with the all the hatred for the Ground Zero Mosque. You’re make a crass overgeneralization that evils of some followers of some religions automatically accrete to all followers of all relgions. It’s a logical nonsequitor. That’s virtually the same thing today as saying that all Germans are evil because the Nazis were evil. Nobody disputes the latter point, and nobody disputes that some religionists have done evil things in the names of their religion. But the equation does not follow.

    Plus, it’s not an attack on Free Speech to call falsehoods what they are: lies.

  25. Jemisin: Can’t disagree with you there. I don’t like it, but I don’t know how to fix it. It’s kind of a chicken-or-egg problem. If they take a principled stand, they get voted out of office… but if no one takes a principled stand, then the facts never get aired out in a public forum, and the public only has the false-facts of one set of demagogues to judge their own opinions on, and the climate can never change.

    So I’m not sure how you make a real change to that climate.

  26. Stephen,

    Just a note — I’ve placed Grey on moderation, so he won’t be able to respond to you. And frankly, I’d rather not encourage the troll, so this is for anyone who feels the urge to respond to him — please don’t. I’m leaving his comment in place as an example of what not to do, but please don’t consider him an active participant in the conversation.

  27. Stephen,

    (Wow, I think I’m going to have to get rid of the comment threading. I prefer threaded convos to linear, but given the limitations of this template, it’s just not working.)

    Responding to your comment about politicians being caught in a bind between getting reelected and doing what’s principled — I tend to lean in the direction of “nothing’s worth achieving if you have to kill people to achieve it.” Using racism, homophobia, etc., as a tool to advance one’s political interests means putting a whole bunch of people’s lives at risk, and indeed risking the whole country — that kind of crap led to Nazi Germany. There’s just never going to be any time when I think that’s okay.

  28. Point taken, sorry for feeding the troll.

  29. (You’re right, the threading really wasn’t working there… though I too prefer threading, generally. In the theme I use, the threading is only shown three deep, so everything after the third comment is shown inline… do you have that flexibility?)

    Again, granted, I think you’re right. My beliefs about leadership, in general, are that responsibility is, well, the responsibility of the leader – and abdicating that responsiblity because of the potential unpopularity of a position is ethically in the wrong direction. This is definitely a situation where people who have power also have the responsiblity to be truthful about issues and to stand up for correct principles (anti-bigotry being one of those correct principles). So the abdication of responsibility at the top is definitely a worrying trend.

    I, too, would draw the line as you do (or maybe just a little before people start getting physically attacked, to give us a safe buffer zone?)

    And you’re absolutely also right that this kind of unmitigated and intellectually dishonest hatred is the kind of crap that lead to Nazi Germany. My point, I guess, was just that: I agree it’s a problem, a big problem. But how do we fix it? I don’t know… just voting out Democrats who are misaligned with the principles of anti-bigotry doesn’t seem like a viable path, because the alternatives are politicians from a party selling bigotry as a party platform. The current political groundswell looks to make changing this even more problematic, at least in the near term. It’s worrisome…

    Well, not sure if I have much more to say on the subject… except to say I should follow your good example and publicly state my support for tolerance.

  30. I don’t mind waiting for moderation. Your post on Whatever was beautiful; both in the prose and in the sentiment. Long ago I realized that prejudice is endemic. Dad always said ignorance breeds prejudice while knowledge breeds understanding. I think I would modify that to say that fear (which is the most prevalent byproduct of ignorance) breeds prejudice.

    A Sufi mosque in a town that dearly needs some salve on the wounds; it sounds like a good thing to me. Two blocks or two feet from where such a horrific event took place – it doesn’t matter. We need to stop living in fear of the monster under the bed. Like all such creatures, it grows in stature the more we decide to feed it with that emotion. It is only when we look at it in the bright light of knowledge that it shrinks into the proper proportion. All Muslims are not terrorists; all Christians are not saints; zealots of any stripe are the problem.

  31. I’m a Jew.
    My wife is a Muslim.
    We’re educated, native-born, patriotic US citizens.
    We have friends who have been attacked by armed men in American cities simply because they’re Muslim.

    There’s a huge propaganda machine whipping up pure hate against anyone who isn’t White and Christian. Anti-Black race-baiting has been THE Republican strategy since 1968. The anti-Latino bigotry is staggering. And now Muslims are all considered traitors, terrorists and not followers of a “real” religion; the demagogues scream that they have no rights which we should respect.

    OK, Jews aren’t getting it badly right now, but the same groups don’t love the yidden. And if you look at Dominionist and Dispensationalist ideology our fate is going to be pretty damned grim.

    All of this is at a time when people have to be distracted from the worst economic conditions in almost eighty years. The formerly “conservative” GOP is turning into the Nine Miles of Burning Crazy Teabaggers. And the Democrats keep “triangulating” to whatever the Republicans stand for. What passes for a Left these days is pretty much identical to a moderate Republican of forty years ago.

    I wish to God I didn’t recognize what we’re becoming. If we’re very, very lucky we may be post-Soviet Russia. I fear we are one charismatic flag-wrapped Beck or Palin from Pinochet and Agosti.