Friday, August 24, 2012

How Technology Democratizes and Degrades Writing

Some years back I taught a middle school English class. One of my 13-year-old students stated without embarrassment that she didn’t see the point in learning to spell well, since her laptop spell-checked her writing and her smart phone auto-corrected her texting. The other students generally were of the same mindset.

New technology changes our relationship to the written word and to language itself. William Caxton, who himself introduced the world-transforming printing press to England in the 15th century, complained that “our language now used varyeth ferre from that whiche was used and spoken whan I was borne.” It’s futile trying to preserve a language in amber; the only language that isn’t in flux is a dead one. But the technology accelerated the change, just as today’s technology has exponentially accelerated greater change.

New Video Series Takes Your Questions About Islam

Ask A Muslim” is a new internet video series that “showcases the current face of Black Islam in America today.” With its light, upbeat tone, its soundtrack of soulful grooves, and perpetually smiling faces gleaming with professionally whitened teeth, it’s designed to present an easygoing, non-threatening setting in which Americans can get the reassuring truth about the Religion of Peace.™ Unfortunately, you won’t find straight answers here. Nor will you find, at least thus far in the series, enough of the most pointed questions that Americans who are legitimately alarmed about Islam truly want addressed. What you will find is a lot of obfuscation and condescension.

Produced by the Black Public Media Network, two episodes of the series have been released so far (the first is just under seven minutes, the second just under nine). It uses man-on-the-street-style questions directed to a recurring handful of black Muslim artists, writers, imams, and “cultural observers.” Random (presumably) individuals are filmed asking their questions with the world-famous LOVE sculpture in Philadelphia prominently displayed over the questioner’s shoulder.

Racial Coding and the “Otherization” of Obama

Progressives always deal from a deck full of race cards, and possibly never more outrageously so than last week on Thursday’s edition of MSNBC’s The Cycle. Its panel of pundits was discussing Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney‘s call for President Obama to “take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago.” A black co-host read racial connotations underlying Romney’s phrasing which he claimed signaled the “niggerization” of Romney’s campaign. You read that right.

The co-host, who for some reason goes by the single name Touré (perhaps he fancies himself in the same league as Cher and Madonna), said this of Romney’s speech:

That really bothered me. You notice he said anger twice. He’s really trying to use racial coding and access some really deep stereotypes about the angry black man. This is part of the playbook against Obama, the “otherization,” he’s not like us.

On the “otherization” point, I have to agree with Touré – Obama is definitely not like us, if by “us” he means Americans who love their country, believe in its exceptionalism, and don’t want to see it turned into a socialist, Muslim Brotherhood dystopia. By that characterization, skin color is irrelevant. But of course, to race-mongers like Touré, skin color is the alpha and omega of their political consciousness and identity. They are incapable of perceiving anything except through the lens of race. For them, there can be no other explanation apart from color for Romney and his racist white Republican constituency to oppose the (half-)black Obama. This is a useful perspective to hold when your candidate cannot run on his record alone.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dreams from My Real Father: A Review

Barack Obama the man is more of a mystery to Americans than any president in modern history, thanks to suppressed documents and unexplained gaps in his personal and intellectual life. Now a new documentary seeks to answer the question, “Was the multicultural tale of Obama’s goat-herding Kenyan father only a fairy tale to obscure a Marxist agenda irreconcilable with American values?”

Based on two years of research, interviews, newly unearthed footage and photos, and the writings of Communist Party organizer and propagandist Frank Marshall Davis, Dreams from My Real Father: A Story of Reds and Deception is an alternate theory to Obama's autobiography. The 95-minute video from Highway 61 Entertainment weaves together the facts with re-creations and “reasoned speculation” in an effort to solve the mystery of Obama’s origin. As director/writer/producer Joel Gilbert puts it, the conclusion is that “the ‘Birthers’ have been on a fool’s errand. To understand Obama’s plans for America, the question is not ‘Where’s the birth certificate,’ but ‘Who’s the real father?’”

The film makes the case that Davis is Obama's real father, both biologically and ideologically, and that he indoctrinated Obama during the latter’s formative years with a political grounding in Marxism and an anti-white world view. It asserts, as Gilbert says in an interview, that Obama's election “was the culmination of an American socialist movement that Frank Marshall Davis nurtured in Chicago and Hawaii, and has been quietly infiltrating the US economy, universities, and media for decades.”

90 Reasons to Vote for Obama

A new website designed to light the fire under unenthusiastic Democrats shows just how panicky the left is becoming about their Messiah’s chances in this November’s presidential election.

90 Days, 90 Reasons” is the uninspired name of a site created by overrated novelist Dave Eggars and music manager Jordan Kurland (it is unaffiliated with the Obama campaign). They write on the site that they recently “looked around and saw that many of Obama’s voters and donors from 2008 needed to be reminded of all he has accomplished, and all he will do if given another term.”

It’s quite telling that they sensed that previous Obama voters need reminders of what Obama has “accomplished.” It suggests that those voters are more focused on what he hasn’t done right (his broken promises, e.g., to close Guantanamo, to cut the deficit in half, to round up conservatives into internment camps) and/or what he has done wrong (e.g., the havoc he has wreaked on the economy, his complicity in the rise of Islamic fundamentalism at home and abroad, his exacerbation of the racial divide in this country), which the few remaining independent thinkers on the left are finding difficult to ignore or rationalize.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

"Our Streets Are Islamic": Sharia on the West Bank

The Palestinian newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reported last week that six people have been arrested in the West Bank and one of them sentenced to a month in prison for “desecrating the holiness of the month of Ramadan by eating in public during daytime.” “Our streets are Islamic,” said the chairman of the Palestinian sharia court, and legislation should be enacted to “severely punish” anyone who eats publicly during the Muslim holy month.

Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, and under Islamic law, eating and drinking, smoking, and sexual relations are prohibited from sunrise until sunset during that month. According to the Times of Israel, article 274 of the Palestinian penal code states that citizens who violate Ramadan by eating or smoking in public can be punished by a month in prison or a fine of 15 Jordanian dinars – about 21 U.S. dollars.

In addition to his warning about the gravity of violating Ramadan, Sheikh Ida'is, the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority Supreme Court for Sharia Law, said even non-Muslims and those who cannot fast for health reasons should be prohibited from eating in public. He explained in a Palestinian TV interview:

We have to monitor the streets and severely punish anyone who [eats] in public during Ramadan, and this is the responsibility of the security forces. Our streets are Islamic, praise Allah. Any person caught committing this sin in public during Ramadan has to be imprisoned until the end of Ramadan, as an example to others. I call upon others [non-Muslims] to be considerate of Muslims' feelings.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Matt Damon Brings Equality to the Planet

Actor Matt Damon, whose fee the last time I checked is $10 million a movie, has his finger on the pulse of the American common folk, and he wants you to know he feels your anger about economic inequality.

The American public is angry about financial unfairness, Damon said recently, but neither political party is addressing that in its presidential campaign. “I don't think the Republicans or the Democrats really understand the level of anger at the sense of unfairness that the majority of people in the country feel,” he commented.

Damon, 41, was speaking at Comic-Con in San Diego, where he was promoting his upcoming (March 2013) movie Elysium, a $100 million sci-fi epic with a class warfare message as subtle as an Occupier’s Molotov cocktail. Here’s part of the synopsis:

In the year 2159, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy who live on a pristine manmade space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth… A hardline government official will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve the luxurious lifestyle of the citizens of Elysium.

Anti-immigration politicians, environmental devastation, One Percenters… all this movie needs is a futuristic racist Tea Party congregating in a homophobic chicken restaurant and it will have addressed all the left’s current favorite targets.

Caroline Glick: Israel on the Eve of U.S. Elections

Monday night I attended an insightful presentation entitled “Israel on the Eve of the U.S. Elections,” given by Caroline Glick for the Los Angeles-based organization Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors.

Glick is the Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post and adjunct senior fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the Center for Security Policy in Washington D.C. The author of Shackled Warrior: Israel and the Global Jihad, she served as Assistant Foreign Policy Advisor to Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu in 1997-98, and regularly briefs administration officials and Congress on issues of joint American-Israeli concern. She also recently was appointed as the Director for the Israel Security Project at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

Glick began her presentation with her perspective on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s recent visit to Jerusalem. It was very, very well-received, she said; in fact, he was “a breath of fresh air” – not because he made a candidate’s usual extravagant promises of support for Israel, but because “he lives in the real world,” where we acknowledge that the Middle East is extremely dangerous and the radiant “Arab Spring” is actually a much bleaker Islamic Winter.

Hating Palin

Americans are accustomed now to blatant bias from the left-leaning news media, whose façade of objectivity collapsed during Obama’s campaign and tenure in office. But even by the current dumbed down standards, , CNN took a shameful shot at Palin last weekend.

On CNN Sunday Morning, a segment on Palin was introduced with a snippet from a song called “Stupid Girls” by former pop star Pink. “Stupid girl, stupid girl,” Pink intones, followed by host Randy Kaye announcing, “Sarah Palin is apparently hungry for chicken and controversy,” referring to the embattled Chick Fil-A restaurant chain which Palin was supporting. Subtle.

You may recall that eight months ago, the house band for NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon talk show introduced guest Rep. Michele Bachmann with a song called “Lyin’ Ass Bitch.” NBC ultimately issued a perfunctory apology for the outrageous Bachmann insult, and CNN quickly followed its gaffe this weekend with an apology of sorts as well: “The music selection was a poor choice and was not intended to be linked to any news story. We regret any perception that they were planned together.” A poor choice indeed, and most certainly intentional.

Punishing Bachmann

In a controversy that FrontPage continues to cover closely, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota has raised questions – not accusations, just questions – about the infiltration of the U.S. government by Muslim Brotherhood loyalists. She and a few cohorts have specifically addressed the demonstrable Brotherhood family ties of Huma Abedin, deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. But under the Obama administration, anything but the most fawning treatment of Islam or Muslims is verboten, and so Ms. Bachmann must be punished.

Andrew C. McCarthy, former prosecutor of the 1993 World Trade Center bomb plot, has already detailed the validity of Bachmann’s concerns in his excellent briefing on the topic. Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch has also pointed out the legitimacy of her inquiries. But Bachmann has nonetheless weathered smears and attacks not only from Obama’s people and their media enablers, but sadly, even from invertebrate fellow Republicans like Speaker John Boehner and Senator John McCain as well.