Wednesday, March 17, 2004

the Al Qaeda letter

This letter purportedly from Al Qaeda looks like a fraud to me. I couldn't find the actual text of the letter on-line, but the quotes all sound much more leftist than Islamist. It's the kind of letter I would expect Atrios to write. For example they said they wanted Bush to win because there was no one:
more foolish than you (Bush), who deals with matters by force rather than with wisdom
This could have come straight from a Democrat talking points memo, but it doesn't make sense coming from someone who views the use of force as a holy calling. Then there is this:
Kerry will kill our nation while it sleeps because he and the Democrats have the cunning to embellish blasphemy and present it to the Arab and Muslim nation as civilization.
which sounds to me like an atheist leftist trying to mimic a religious conservative. Finally this
Whose turn is it next? Will it be Japan or America, or Italy, Britain or Oslo or Australia?
sounds like a very Western phrasing. Al Qaeda is more direct, as in "Next week thousands will die horribly by the will of Allah". They don' t go in much for rhetorical questions or other forms of indirect speech.

None of the quotes mentions God or submission to God's will. None of the quotes mentions the destiny of the Arab people or the purpose of Al Qaeda. None of them mentions a historical grudge. If this is really Al Qaeda, they've hired a western PR firm, and not a very good one.

Monday, March 15, 2004

see, this is what I'm talking about

My family finally responds to the fact that I was almost killed in an enormous inferno of death. Not one family member notices it until I send out an email pointing to my blog. Then I call my dad and he is anxious to tell me my little brother in Madrid is OK. My mother emails me to threaten legal action over some really trivial points of scale. My sister writes this in an email
first of all, what in the world is a blog?
My middle brother writes this
...It was with great relief that I heard he was OK, as was his wife and children. Isn't he brave to over there, in another country? Sigh, what an amazing young man.

Anyway, sorry about the fire, glad you weren't hurt, yada yada yada yada.


Your other brother
and my youngest brother, the amazing young man who lives in Madrid where all those horrible things are happening was to preoccupied to worry about a minor fire on the other side of the world where his brother was practically incinerated.

technoweenies is a web site promoting this new concept of a technosexual man. They introduce the site with this
Everyone is talking about him. He is a man of style and tech sophistication: he may be seen at an NBA game one night, then an art gallery opening the next; all navigating through life with the empowerment of technology. From PDA's to mobile phones. A wireless environment. He is the new male ideal: the technosexual® man.
I spent as much time as I could stand (OK, that wasn't much) wandering around the site, trying to find out if they were serious. It looks like they are. No really, I didn't see any sign of irony. I mean it, go look for yourself.

So here, in part, is how they define the new male ideal:
... a straight man who is in touch with his feminine side but has fondness for electronics ...
Hmm. There is already a word for guys who are straight but "in touch with their feminine side". They're called "weenies". If a guy bawls in public, or spends too much time on his hair, or complains too much about discomfort, or talks about clothing, or refuses to do something risky or painful, then some other guy is responsible to tell him to stop being such a weenie. It's a good word. It is an accusation against which there is no defense. If you call someone a weenie and he says "I am not a weenie!", you know you've got a first-class weenie on your hands.

So I'm reading this technoweenie web site and thinking it could be funny if it were just a little more over-the-top. Then I start to realize it's serious, and I think to myself, "Geeze. What a bunch of weenies." First of all, any guy who admires Hollywood-gay fashions is a weenie. Second of all, anybody who was actually taken in by that pathetic "metrosexual" media blitz and thought it would be cool to be a metrosexual is a weenie. And third, anyone who starts a web page to try to convince people that weenies like him are cool is a major, major weenie.

A real man wants to be admired for his brain or brawn, for his ability to provide and defend. A man who wants to be admired for the way he looks or the clothes he wears is a weenie. A real man only puts the bare minimum into his looks and clothing until he attracts a mate, and then he goes back to jeans, worn T-shirts, and twenty-year-old socks. A real man admires gadgets because they look cool and do cool things and they're new. A man who wants to attract attention with his gadgets is a technoweeny.

So, to any man out there who is even remotely thinking of calling himself a technosexual, stop being such a weenie.

Thanks to Gizmodo for the link.

the effects of the Spanish elections

If Al Qaeda interprets the Spanish elections like a lot of other people do, the chances of the US suffering a major terrorist event in early November just went up dramatically. Most Islamist terrorists don't see much cultural difference between the US and Spain, just as most American's don't see much difference between Egypt and Pakistan. The terrorists will have proven to themselves that even if certain leaders do not give in to terrorist extortion, the voters do. They will think they can get their revenge on Bush by massacring thousands of Americans so that the survivors will be too frightened to vote for him. They will be wrong of course. I doubt there is any Bush supporter in the country who would have any reaction to such an act other than more determination to see Bush reelected. The cowards and appeasers have already decided to vote for Kerry. They already are in a panic about what the terrorists will do to us for fighting back. That leaves only those who are not cowards and appeasers yet still don't want to vote for Bush (like me). If these people change their minds after such an attack they will only go towards Bush.

On the other hand, if the terrorists have actually grasped the difference now between the West of Cowboys and the West of Highly Nuanced Post-Historical Narcissists then we may be spared while Europe goes through hell. I wouldn't like to see that either. In a way, I'd almost prefer the terrorists to go after America because I think we have a marginally higher chance of stopping them and a much better chance of killing them (either death by cowboys or death by capital punishment). Many Americans may think a barrage of terrorist attacks would turn Europe into an ally in the War on Terror, but it would not. If Europe does suffer more terrorism, they will continue to appease until they can't do it any more, and then they will overreact with such grotesque racism and violence that America will find itself defending Muslims from Europeans. Europeans have always been brutal at war. Why should it be any different now?

Why did the Europeans believe that America would overreact to 9/11? Why did they believe that we would be bombing and killing and torturing random Muslims? Why are they so sure that civilians were deliberately bombed and prisoners are being tortured at Guantanamo? Because they can't imagine that it would be otherwise. They don't believe there can be temperate motivations for killing, motivations like justice or defense, motivations that cause you to carefully kill just the guilty and the dangerous and then go home. They can only imagine killing from white hot anger, hatred, revenge -- emotions that aren't content with removing the offending party, but wanting to destroy people and kill their families and anyone else that looks like them. That's why they assume that pro-war people are violent, racist monsters: because they imagine themselves killing, and that is what they would be.

We should take them at their word. If they can't imagine anyone going to war without being a monster, we should assume they know what they are talking about, at least for their own part.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

a letter from Madrid

My sister-in-law in Madrid sent out this email this morning
To say that this past week has been intense is an understatement. We are fine and do not know anyone who was killed or wounded in the recent bombings. For that we are very thankful. It is difficult though, as you all understand due to 9/11, to make sense of what happened and to assimilate all the horror and pain. Everyone is affected by this sort of event and sometimes it is hard to know how to react. The morning of the 11th, after we heard about the attacks, I had to go grocery shopping for Angie's birthday party. I also needed to buy a watch because mine broke. But it was strange. I was in shock and must admit that buying food and looking for a watch seemed pointless and stupid. But life goes on and it must - although at a very deep level we are forever changed.

This morning at church we had a great worship time. Although it was somber and intense, it really helped to be with other believers and remember who is truly in control. I am thankful for this healing time.

Thanks so much for those who have written and prayed for us in these days. Please continue to ask God to comfort the families who have lost loved ones and for the community of Madrid. Also ask Him to bring good out of this evil and make people open to spiritual things. May they see their need of a personal relationship with God!

While I write this the votes are being counted in the general elections held today; more intensity at this emotional time. Again, I am comforted by the knowledge that God holds the governments of this world in His and.
Now she reports that the Socialists have won the election. Al Qaeda accomplished their goal. They murdered hundreds of Spaniards and the Spaniards rewarded them by voting for appeasement. I can't possibly say how sad this makes me.

movies and global warming

Jeff Jarvis writes this under the title "Dream On"
In a case of chronic wishful thinking, The Guardian thinks that this summer's disaster flick The Day After Tomorrow -- from the creator of Independence Day and Rupert Murdoch's studio -- will unseat George Bush because it's about global warming and, of course, that is Bush's fault. Yeah, sure.
Jeff dismisses the power of Hollywood too easily. The China Syndrome had a powerful effect on people's views of nuclear power generation in the US. Three Mile Island, which did no actual harm, and Chernobyl, which did harm only in a limited area, would not have given the anti-nukes so much mileage if people had not been primed by the disaster imagery of The China Syndrome. With that priming, activists were able to use the real events to destroy America's chance to become energy independent in the twentieth century.

Up to now, when echo wackos blame unusual weather conditions on global warming, they get laughed at or ignored. People know that weather is unpredictable and sometime dangerous. Once people have seen a convincing disaster movie about global warming things will change. After that, an especially cold winter or a hurricane in an unusual place will suddenly seem fraught with peril. People will panic and demand that their mommies and daddies in Washington do something save them from the boogey man. And the pols will have to find something to do.

glass houses

The following was posted as a comment to this piece by Roger L. Simon. The comment is not directly in response to Roger, but to other comments.
As a Protestant from Northern Ireland I'm wondering where all these anti-terrorist Americans were when the IRA were murdering our people.
Irish-Americans donated heavily to the IRA, and American politicians such as the Kennedys and Charlie Rangle on the Left and Republicans like NY Congressman Peter King made sure that the IRA were well protected from a security crackdown. At a time when the Irish Republic was neutral whilst the UK was a NATO ally and Libya's Khadaffy and hard left European terrorists like ETA and the Red Brigades were all helping out the IRA prominent Americans continued to insist that "British oppression" and "occupation" were the root causes of the IRA's desire to plant bombs in pubs and at memorial day services. Indeed on the St Patrick's Day after September 11 some Irish-Americans including firefighters in a small New York state town happily paraded behind a pro-Sinn Fein banner. I guess some Americans seem to think terrorism only matters when they or Israelis are targets.

He's right, you know. The American response to IRA terrorism was every bit as shameful as the European response to Palestinian terrorism.