Saturday, July 24, 2010

When demagoguery, bigotry, and Philistinism collide: I can see mosques from my house! *

Let's play a little game--we'll call it Spot the Mosque.

Here are three photographs of three different subjects. One is an American university located in a North American city. Another is the building that will in time house an Islamic community center, including a prayer hall--a mosque, if you like--in a different North American city. And the other is a private golf club in yet another North American city.

Which is which? (No peeking at the photos' attributes!)

In no special order, then:




(Answers at the end of this post.)

As you've no doubt heard, right-wing demagogues have been participating in yet another mass tantrum in recent days. The antigen responsible for this epidemic of verbal hives and festering bloggy boils--the uncomfortable new shoes of truth provoking their toddler-like shrieking and spasms? Why yes, it's those damned furriners again, bringing their furriner non-Christianist religions and their admittedly tasty furriner foods and their mysterious furriner buildings to New York City, where, as every good heartlander knows, there are no furriners or furriner buildings, foods, religions, or communities. Just Real Americans™. (For now, at least. Because right-wing demagogues need to call up those painful 9-11 memories in order to rally their base, you see, and 9-11 happened to take place in New York City and Washington DC; at all other times, they'll refer to those places as Havens For People Who Aren't Like Us Real Americans™--the "elites" and, of course, those damned furriners.)

Newt Gingrich (someone remind me why the media still offer him a mic?) spewed thus:
The proposed "Cordoba House" overlooking the World Trade Center site - where a group of jihadists killed over 3000 Americans and destroyed one of our most famous landmarks - is a test of the timidity, passivity and historic ignorance of American elites.
Never mind that the site for the Islamic community center does not overlook the World Trade Center in any way, shape, or form. You'd have to have some serious x-ray vision for that to be true, because the existing buliding slated for renovation is located between two and three blocks** of solid New York concrete, iron, and steel away from the World Trade Center's site, which is also known as Ground Zero. (**Depending your personal definition of 'block'.)

But hey, facts are not your friend when you're a demagogue and a bigot.

Just ask ex-governor Palin, who ordered her ghostwriter to pen a Facebook screed so over-the-top, it triggered Facebook's hate-speech filters and was actually pulled for a while, before someone screamed that the ex-governor's ghostwriter had as much right to be a bigoted demagogue as Newt did. The Facebook note, entitled, amazingly, An Intolerable Mistake on Hallowed Ground, began:
Earlier today, Mayor Bloomberg responded to my comments about the planned mosque at Ground Zero by suggesting that a decision not to allow the building of a mosque at that sacred place would somehow violate American principles of tolerance and openness.

No one is disputing that America stands for – and should stand for – religious tolerance. It is a foundation of our republic. This is not an issue of religious tolerance but of common moral sense. To build a mosque at Ground Zero is a stab in the heart of the families of the innocent victims of those horrific attacks.

Again with the "stab in the heart" reference! Someone clearly has a hunting knife fetish. Seriously, though, hallowed ground? A shuttered discount department store on a busy Tribeca street, two/three blocks north of the WTC site, is now hallowed ground?

And here I was, thinking she only genuflected at the doorway of Neiman Marcus.

You have to give Sarah Palin and her ghostwriters credit, though. The ex-governor always remembers to strap on the chest armor of cognitive dissonance so that her heart remains mercifully un-stabbed when she cashes Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al-Saud's checks.

And then we have Pamela Geller, who also keeps using the phrases "Ground Zero mosque" and even, disgustingly "9-11 mosque"; who seems oblivious to the fact that many Muslims who were working in the towers that morning were killed, too, along with atheists, agnostics, and people of every faith and national origin; and who has now, apparently, retained a legal team that's busily working to prevent the renovation of the building by appealing to the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Yes, Geller et. al. want the shuttered discount store designated as a historical landmark because a piece of landing gear from one of the hijacked planes fell through its roof. Using that logic, all the buildings in the entire southern portion of Manhattan should be designated as historical landmarks, because debris flew everywhere, for many, many blocks. I saw it with my own eyes. I watched the televised, real-time footage of the event as it unfolded, and I actually flew over the still-smoldering ruins in early October 2001. Furthermore, a dear friend of mine lives in SoHo and was walking right there, on that horrible day, several blocks from the WTC buildings. She told me how the airborne debris from the planes and the collapsing buildings landed everywhere.

Oh yeah, logic. Sorry.

To get an idea of the gullible, pig-ignorant, and rabidly proto-revolutionary nature of the target audiences for this ridiculousness--as well as the sheer volume of them that are out there--I'll refer you to a great post by blogger Eye On You, at Stand Up For Our Nation and crossposted at Palingates. The post contains random screenshots of the comments at the ex-governor's ghostwritten Facebook screed wherein you can see the kind of whipping-up of violent emotion that routinely goes on within right-wing circles. (I visited the Facebook note myself and saw enough such comments to sicken--sic-en?--anyone possessed of a modicum of sense, not to mention respect for the English language. Here's hoping these sad, delusional fools are just another pack of craven Internet blowhards, but here's also hoping, just the same, that the Feds are paying attention to them and their ISP's.):

If anyone needs a volunteer to fly a plane into it once its (sic) built...hit me up.

You don't see the U.S.A putting up statues of Busch (sic) in Iraq to replace the Saddam Hussein ones that were torn down

This Is a country founded partly on religious tolerance; the founding fathers wanted everyone to be able to chose (sic) their (sic) own form of Christiamity (sic), not be forced to worship at a state church. The Muslim religion did not enter into the picture. Similarly, Americans should not have to tolerate the religion of another tried and tested, violent culture.

It is time we stop leting (sic) this Antichrist politics go unchecked and stand up for and return to our religious rights, befor (sic) it is to (sic) late to save our children!

Religious tolerance has absolutely nothing to do with Terrorist Organizations wanting to build a trophy mosque at the site of the worst terrorist act commited (sic) on OUR land. The Obama Admisistration (sic) would do well to tell these people: "NO WAY are you going to build a mosque on that site." However, we all know our secret Muslim so-called President will just sit back and let it happen.


So there you have it.

One more thing: traditional Islamic architecture is gorgeous. Wingnuts really ought take in some beauty from time to time and broaden their shriveled little minds.

Now, here are the true identities of the buildings in my little Spot the Mosque game:

Building A is, of course, the former Burlington Coat Factory, located on Park Place in southern Manhattan, New York, which will be renovated into a community center offering various services to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and includes a gym, meeting rooms, and a prayer hall--a mosque.

B is a lovely photo of the University of Tampa, located in Tampa, Florida.

Building C is the Snell Isle Golf Club, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.

[* I can see both B and C from the rooftop terrace of my new house. Really.]

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