Sunday, May 10, 2015

How Orwellian : "Event organizer offers no apology after thwarted attack in Texas"

The headline at the Washington Post reads :
Event organizer offers no apology after thwarted attack in Texas

One who just skims the headlines might be led to believe that the event organizer had organized the attack. Not so.

The line of thinking is similar to Garry Trudeau's suggestion that Charlie Hebdo staff "incited" their own murders. The notion is that Pamela Geller organizing an event caused people to attack it. Would they ever claim a broad group of adults lacked moral agency?

It seems only if they encounter a contradiction between what "everyone knows" / "things you can't say" and reality. The solution seems to be to rephrase reality so that "everyone knows" factoid can stay standing.

Like the previous post suggesting that media outlets that ostensibly show a Mohammed cartoon but censor it are signaling compliance, there is another signaling going on : to signal "I'm not one of 'those' people."

It says "*I* follow the social rules." If you can't say "some muslims refuse to accept the American level of freedom of expression" then the source of agency must be elsewhere. 

It seems to be a social set of rules. Trudeau's punching up/punching down distinction stands out because Trudeau appoints himself as the person determining which way is up.

People with guns executing unarmed people in a magazine office? Ah, well the people with guns are members of a minority group (note that this can override the circumstances of a specific individual). They can keep adding criteria to analyze until they reach the destination they want.

from Ace of Spades :
1. To speak of Islamist violence, or to suggest there is a problem in Islam, is racist, and hateful, and irrational, and "islamophobic."
2. It is so predictable that Islamists will kill you if you say something "anti-Islamic" that victims of murder attempts can be said to have brought their attacks on themselves.
It depends on who says it. These are social rules with the consistency of High School cliques. 

Immediately after the Boston Marathon Bombing, Esquire's Charles P. Pierce (who, by the way, is an idiot) wrote :
Obviously, nobody knows anything yet, but I would caution folks jumping to conclusions about foreign terrorism to remember that this is the official Patriots Day holiday in Massachusetts, celebrating the Battles at Lexington and Concord, and that the actual date (April 19) was of some significance to, among other people, Tim McVeigh, because he fancied himself a waterer of the tree of liberty and the like.

Don't jump to conclusions is a fine sentiment, but he does so want to disparage someone. Don't jump to conclusions about foreigners when you can jump to conclusions about your fellow citizens. There are socially unacceptable targets of venom and there are socially acceptable targets of venom.

from the NYTimes editorial by the NYT Editorial Board titled "Free Speech vs. Hate Speech" :
There is also no question that however offensive the images, they do not justify murder, and that it is incumbent on leaders of all religious faiths to make this clear to their followers.
But it is equally clear that the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest in Garland, Tex., was not really about free speech. It was an exercise in bigotry and hatred posing as a blow for freedom.
(As an aside, note that the New York Times Editorial Board views religions as hierarchal with followers and leaders and nary a mention of books or ideas.)

In the editorial, the Times draws a distinction between free speech vs hate speech depending on who is speaking. What is being said is pushed off to near irrelevance so the exact same thing can be said by two different people and one can be noble Free Speech while the other is odious Hate Speech.  More importantly, the New York Times appoints itself as the arbitrator of who is or who is not an acceptable speaker.
Charlie Hebdo is a publication whose stock in trade has always been graphic satires of politicians and religions, whether Catholic, Jewish or Muslim. By contrast, Pamela Geller, the anti-Islam campaigner behind the Texas event, has a long history of declarations and actions motivated purely by hatred for Muslims.
The NYTimes defense of Charlie Hebdo as free speech, in contrast to Geller's hate speech, is that they have a broader range of targets. That is to say, Charlie Hebdo is not as offensive as Geller because they are more offensive to more people.

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