Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cat Stevens Totally Belonged At That Rally

As I understand it, the "Rally to Restore Fear/Sanity" was (at least the Colbert half) intended to be a parody of real right-wing rallies freaking out over gays or immigrants or other boogeymen, right? In light of that, it makes perfect sense for Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam to have been a guest of honor. I was a teenager when Ayatollah Khomeini called for a murderous fatwa against Salman Rushdie for writing The Satanic Verses; I also remember when Cat Stevens said the fatwa was justified because Rushdie did indeed disrespect Islam, and anyone who does that deserves to die. One of the local rock stations responded with a "Put the Cat Out" campaign, refusing to play any more Cat Stevens records (or pay Cat Stevens royalties).

Cat Stevens made the perfect guest because he's a right-wing propagandist's wet dream: "See, Islam's such a scary-toxic religion, it turns even a peaceful hippie musician into a murderously intolerant psycho who'd promote the death of anyone who offends him!"

Then Ann Coulter could run on stage brandishing a crucifix and screeching "I'll fix your clock! I'll kill your leaders and force you to convert to Christianity!" and Cat Stevens could respond "Morning has broken and so's your nose, bitch," and the two of them start going at it until suddenly their passionate hatred for each other morphs into regular passion and they rip off their clothes and choke on each other in flagrante soixante-neuf and the world is richer for having lost them.

In an alternate reality where the Islamic world went through a period of enlightenment and secularization, while Christendom remained the realm of theocracies, the United States of America has a predominantly Muslim population -- though its Founding Fathers did not intend it to be an officially "Muslim nation," no matter what right-wingers like to claim -- and the USA went completely, disproportionately and inappropriately bugshit in its response after a small band of Christian terrorists committed an atrocious attack nine years ago.

Now, in an attempt to get the country back on track, moderate secularized Muslim comic Stephen al-Colbert and moderate secularized Jewish comic Jon Stewart held their "Rally to Restore Fear/Sanity," and part of their message was "Seriously, not all Christians are crazy bigoted fanatics; most are just plain folks like you and me." To demonstrate this they introduced the rally's guest of honor, internationally famous Christian movie star Mel Gibson.


Blogger Dave-o-ramA said...

The Gibson line was the payoff.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I wonder which verse in "Peace Train" includes the lyric, "Then tie Salman Rushdie to the tracks and smash him for blaspheming the Prophet (PBUH, but not unto anyone who dares offend him).

8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the problem that followers of the religion of peace have. They may be moderates who would never harm another person but they cannot help themselves from secretly approving of those who do as long as it is in the name of the religion of peace. They may have disapproved of 9/11 but they couldn't bring themselves to outrage. Until they see themselves as fellow members of the human race first and followers of Islam second they will be part of the problem.

8:53 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Not all Muslims are like that, Anonymous, just the bigoted fucksticks (including Cat Stevens). You can't blame all of Islam for Stevens, anymore than you can blame all of Christianity for Mel Gibson or Ann Coulter. Those three people would be loathsome bigots no matter what religion they leaned on to excuse their bigotry.

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are bending over backwards to be politically correct. OK whatever floats your boat. Sooner or later you will understand that the religion of peace requires your fidelity and punishes your infidelity. They are not free to criticize what other muslims do in the name of the religion of peace. And THAT is the difference between the religion of peace and other religions or non-religions. They are authorized and even obligated to lie to you because you are an infidel and to destroy you when they get the opportunity. I know of no religion or non-religion other then the religion of peace that demands that. I suggest you search for some videos of stoning or executions by cutting off their heads or slitting their throats because of "minor" religious differences or transgressions. You will no doubt reply that such things happened in history in other religions and I would congratulate you on finally understanding that indeed the problem is that the religion of peace is still in the 12th century. These problems go very deep in the relgion of peace and as long as we continue to give them a pass "because 500 years ago someone else did something bad too" then we will continue to be ignorant of what is going on. Do the research, today in at least two dozen countries around the world the religion of peace is killing non-muslims on a daily basis. In countries where immigrant muslims have reached substantial numbers members of the religion of peace roam the streets looking for women to rape.
When the stupid drunken Mel Gibson made his stupid drunken statements people were lining up to disagree and disown his stupidty. When the religion of peace kills, rapes, cuts off heads, enslaves, child molests I don't see anyone from the religion of peace objecting. Mel Gibson is prone to getting drunk and saying embarrassing things; get back to us when he stones someone to death or cuts of their heads or flys a jet into the WTC. There is no comparison.

10:07 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

You are bending over backwards to be politically correct. OK whatever floats your boat

No, I'm demonstrating my understanding of a concept you seem to dismiss: the problem is not Islam or Christianity, but any theocratic proponents within. People who want to merge church and state scare the hell out of me, and people who want to merge mosque and state scare the hell out of me too.

Mel Gibson never killed anybody, but he'd likely support a theocracy that did so long as the theocracy were a fundamentalist Catholic one. Still, I've known plenty of Catholics and they were decent people, none of whom share Gibson's stated belief "Jews start all the world's wars." Parts of the Old Testament taken literally are as vile as the most misogynistic rants of the Taliban, but most Jews and Christians ignore those bits -- I've never known or even heard of a Jewish or Christian household whose female members were banished when they had their periods and for seven days afterwards, and it would be dishonest to point to those anti-menstruation parts of the Bible as evidence of what contemporary Judaism and Christianity are about.

I have Muslim friends, who are devout and follow a halal diet and fast during Ramadan -- and wear Western clothes and mingle freely between the sexes and think it's cool that I'm an ex-stripper who kick-started her journalism career by working on a phone sex line. (One such friend -- male -- is the photographer who took my headshot photo for the Guardian.)

No, I'm not going to worry that my Muslim friend and his Muslim family are suddenly going to go bugshit and start oppressing me or anyone else, anymore than I worry my Christian and Jewish friends will try to replace the US Constitution with the laws in Leviticus.

That said, getting back to my original point, Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam IS an example of that type of religionist who is vile and authoritarian. Since he never recanted nor apologized for his statements, he should be shunned by decent civilized society as the barbarian he is. I'd rather have seen Colbert and Stewart give a place of honor to a Muslim like Salman Rushdie.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous NoStar said...

Christian nutjobs have plenty of sane and vocal christian opponents especially in christian populations.
It's not that there aren't sane moslems, but at least in moslem dominated cultures, they are rightfully afraid to speak up. The radical nutjob form of Islam becomes, by default, the norm.

All that it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.

1:20 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Christian nutjobs have plenty of sane and vocal christian opponents especially in christian populations. It's not that there aren't sane moslems, but at least in moslem dominated cultures, they are rightfully afraid to speak up. The radical nutjob form of Islam becomes, by default, the norm.

That's because the Christian nutjobs aren't the ones who have actual political power. And again, the problem isn't "Muslim-dominated cultures," but Muslim THEOCRACIES. Few Christians spoke out against the horrors of the witch burnings or the Inquisitions because they were rightfully afraid to speak up. So shall we assume there's something about Christianity that makes people violent bigoted nutjobs? Only when the Christians live in a theocracy, or actively try to bring one about.

Here in America, when I consider the possible threat of a theocracy, Christianity is a million times more of a threat than Islam.

2:01 PM  
Anonymous NoStar said...

Your point is well taken about theocracy. I agree it is always an evil form of government.

1:45 PM  
Blogger Charles Pergiel said...

Hey, hey, hey! Way to stir the pot!

From anonymous "the problem is that the religion of peace is still in the 12th century."

I think he/she hit the nail, though not exactly on the head. There are many places in the world, and muslims all over the world, who are like that. It's not the religion, it's the particular people that practice it.

Our problem is that we want to treat them as though they were living in the same century as we are. If we really wanted to deal with them, we would be dealing with them on their terms, that is, we would be using 12th Century methods. That would clear up the problem right quick. But we are too civilized to use those methods, so the problem continues.

4:27 PM  
Blogger rhhardin said...

I always liked CS's "Into White."

Which the Dixie Chicks' "Cowboy Take Me Away" resembles, as to feeling, in the respective violin parts.

I don't expect intellectual from musicians.

8:14 PM  

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