Thursday, August 19, 2010

Leftist writer gets under Vox Day’s skin; hilarity ensues

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China Miéville
China Miéville
[source: Wikimedia Commons]

China Miéville is a renown English author of numerous science-fiction novels and short stories and so on (at least, according to my quick skimming of his Wikipedia page, he is), and he also possesses some strong liberal views. (So you can probably guess where this is going by now.) In a blog post touching on the ridiculous “Ground Zero Mosque” manufactroversy about the proposed Islamic cultural center named Park51 (after its address, and previously named Cordoba House) where he writes about the insanity going around on the matter:

A concomitant request

  • To designers across the world: there’s a hot need for someone(s) to design & disseminate a symbol & slogan to unify & express, on t-shirts, websites, blogs, badges & buttons, support for the right of Muslims to gather in lower Manhattan, & indeed anythefuckwhere else. & with it to proclaim disgust at & condemnation of this scary hatemongering horseshit.

Racism out of Manhattan.

Strong-worded and -minded. I like it. Vox Day did not. Oh, not one bit:

Tell you what, you silly English twit. Limit your historically ignorant, politically correct, socialist sensitivity concerns to Londonistan and the rest of your island. I was under the impression that the English already have all the mosques in their backyard that they want, but if you, China Mieville, happen to desire a congregations of Muslims at the University of Warwick, then by all means feel free to build them a mosque there. You see, it's not my business what you want in your backyard.

Of course, what sort of buildings and what sort of people Americans happen to want in their backyards IS NOT YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS AND IT HASN'T BEEN SINCE 1776!

Come on, I can’t be the only one who broke out laughing when I read that.

Apparently, our dear Vox conflates one foreigner giving his opinion with some dictator vying to impose his rule. Or something. Add that to the fact that Vox also apparently fails to distinguish the clear point Miéville was making – that a prominent (if not dominant) faction of all the hysterical hubbub over Park51 most certainly is from sheer racism (unless you mean to tell me that the permeating “us vs. them” mentality isn’t borne of racial/religious intolerance?) – and it’s hard not to laugh at the idea of Vox furiously hammering at his keyboard, face red and beady eyes bloodshot.

Perhaps after taking a few moments to decrease his saturation, he then explains a little further (but only a little):

Although it pains me to have to point this out, I will restate the obvious for the benefit of clueless science fiction writers and anyone else whose ignorance of religion is near complete. A religion is not a race and opposition to the symbolism of the 9/11 Mosque has nothing to do with racism[1]. For crying out loud, even the name of the group that wants to build it is a provocation that refers to the Muslim conquest of Spain![2] This is a not a freedom-of-religion test, but rather a semiotic test and Mieville has failed it badly[3].

Three little points, here:

  • 1) First, discrimination against ethnicity and religious beliefs are practically the same in the sense that both are usually attached to a concomitant people and/or culture. Which means that whilst there’s probably some more specific term for religious intolerance (though Google failed to find it for me and I doubt “religionism” fits the bill adequately), discrimination against both do fit under the label of “racism”. And, as is bloody apparent to anyone who actually pays any sort of attention to this “Ground Zero Mosque” debacle (and who isn’t a racist, him/herself), much of the outcry and opposition to the Islamic center, and to the Muslims themselves, is racist. Very much so, even.

  • 2) This absurd falsehood again? Thought it had died along with Newt Gingrich’s credibility on the issue (not that he had much to begin with, admittedly). The planned center that was previously named the Cordoba House took its name from the Cordoba Initiative (which has existed, under that name, for over a decade – ie. since before 9/11), which itself was named after the Spanish city of Córdoba, intending to refer to the period of great peace and prosperity between Christians, Muslims and Jews between the 8th and 11th centuries. It has nothing to do with the Great Mosque of Córdoba, which, though it was created from a previous Christian church following the Islamic conquest by the Visigoths in the 8th century, was then reverted back into a Christian church in the 13th century. So the Christians won in the long run. Hardly a sign of Islamic domination.

  • 3) Yes, we’re supposed to take claims from a website just a few steps short of the WorldNetDaily seriously. Especially when such claims come from some Islamic institution that says that it’s “convinced” of a “Zionist conspiracy”. You can’t be serious.

Vox Day starts off his post by saying that intelligent, educated, and talented writers can most definitely be idiots. I think mirrors need to grow intelligence and legs so that they can hide from this guy for their own good.