Sunday, August 28, 2011

Real Jerks

For no reason other than masochism I decided to roll over to one of the big Islamophobe sites. I can read Daniel Pipes in respectable news outlets if I want to, but that's so easy for me to dismiss. The polished, the media-friendly... That shit is obviously spectacle. Talk radio and blogs (and I know there's really no equivalence to draw between the two in terms of popularity and access) are silly and rough, but they are marginally more popular, their absurdity harder for me to accept. And this blog always sticks in my mind because it's part of the history of some of my people, too. It's nice to remember that, for a thousand years, my ancestors were the Bad Guy. Luther called Turks the "people of the wrath of God," and that doesn't go away too easily. And with the Armenians and the Kurds, we even get on the anarcho/liberal/leftist Rolodex of Horrible People to Invoke When Discussing Atrocities*, doing double duty as an example of both The Evil of the State and The Necessity of Liberal Intervention to Defend Defenseless Minorities.

* This is the cultural historical equivalent to the LGBTQQIABBQWTFLOL incantation. The longer you can go on naming, say, genocides or massacres or persecuted peoples, and the harder to pronounce their names are, and the more obscure, the more points you collect. Try it, but I warn you: bringing up the Albigensian Crusade always gets you blank stares because the Cathars aren't well represented in the indie metal scene.

Anyway, all this post is for is to say that I have my disagreements with people. I get angry at people, really fucking mad. Sometimes it helps me, then, to look at senators and presidents who kill thousands with a shrug and a signature. It helps me to look at little fevered something-phobes writing under the name of mass murderers like Vlad Tepes, hungry to re-enact the age of real, live, not-merely-rhetorical Crusade and Jihad. Because while I run the risk of demonizing those people--and I don't want to, because they're human, too, trying to make sense of a crazy world--those people are fucking crazy, miles away from the crazy of the people I know and with whom I really can get along with some effort. There are millions of people in this world to whom I really can't build a meaningful connection. Our languages are too different. The games we're trying to play are too much at odds. There can be no conversion. There can be no effective translation.

So that's the good I'm going to try to take from raising my blood pressure. I represent and belong to no faiths. I am proud to come from many tribes and several nations. But by virtue of being a half breed, by virtue of seeing the split not between Muslim and Jew or Christian and unbeliever, by feeling some romantic appreciation for both church bells and the muezzin, I know I can never live in the world those people would make, in the world they have interpreted around them. I need to remind myself that the splits that occur in my life and on its minute social stage seem vast--and indeed may be to me--but that they are nothing compared to the rifts that divide us from the great tyrants of our world, and even from fellow subjects who nevertheless belong to and support philosophies under which we do not or cannot exist.


  1. Perhaps this might be mistaken for irony, but the world could use some more bogomils and cathars.

    Have you read O'Shea's popular history, Cuneyt?

  2. Oh, I wouldn't mistake it as such.

    And no, I haven't, but reading some reviews, it looks neat. I've long thought that the Cathars were the last true Christians. Maybe the Quakers fit. Probably the Shakers. And maybe Jains, but they're probably just tapping into the same thing Christianity did. Anyway.