May 04, 2010

About 'amour propre' and 'faire référence'

Or: Where Are The Thinking Little Blogger's Role Models

A week or so ago Gudrun Eussner made us aware that Andrew Bostom accuses his erstwhile friend Robert Spencer of plagiarism. Shortly after, Lawrence Auster picked it up at VFR and added a photo to his entry where the three Eternal Pillars of Islam Critique look like what they finally turned out to be, a bunch of trolls. Any doubts we may have had about that so far have been safely removed.

The funny-ha-ha level on which Bostom deals with such a grave accusation is something we might expect at a blog like -- say -- this one, but not at a paragon's of serious Islam critique. When all is said and done, the only concrete accusation boils down to Spencer using a Maimonides-quote without crediting Bostom, who had found and used it first. Some of the other alleged, and rather unspecified, transgressions happened, mind you, in 2008.

All this said, there can't be the slightest doubt that the reason for Bostom's undignified, unsubstantiated and over-the-top attack on a former friend and ally is something totally and utterly unrelated to "Islam critique", and that is where this blog entry could end. "Andy" is certainly not the first and not the last paragon of something who unmasks himself in the end as an assclown. However, Lawrence Auster makes us aware that there are further aspects to this when he chides Spencer of narcissism (the pathological variant, no less!) because the latter stated that what Bostom did to him was akin to "give fuel to the Islamic supremacists and their enablers". Frankly, I fail to see that, and while Spencer is not the epitome of Islam critique, he is for many, and for many little bloggers as well, a figure to look up to as an expert and to go to for reference. Whether that is merited or not is a different question. It just is so and such a vile, basically unfounded and unfair attack might indeed give fuel to jihadists. Auster then goes on to add a hefty dose of Luke 18:9-12 to his criticism, which is a pity.

Si tacuisses, and all that, looking further into the matter, it becomes patently clear that Spencer (Geller isn't even in the picture) is really painfully miscast for this role, at least for a little blogger who does his (or her) homework. Case in point:
This is a common species of wishful thinking and willful blindness. Its proponents imagine that Islam is a Religion of Peace(TM) with no anti-Semitic elements (you know the drill, Islam reveres the "People of the Book," etc.), but it was corrupted by the Nazis. Thus all one needs to do to solve this problem is to eliminate the Nazi elements and call Muslims back to the true teachings of the Qur'an, and the jihad will end. How wonderful! Except it's completely fictional, and based on ignorance or denial of the jihad doctrine, Islamic supremacism, and Qur'anic anti-Semitism.

Note also what my estimable and indefatigable colleague and collaborator Pamela Geller has revealed about the Mufti of Jerusalem's role in the Holocaust, and his own radio broadcasts.
I am not a native English speaker, so my first thought was that is MUST BE my fault. He really wouldn't have said that Pamela Geller revealed something about the Mufti of Jerusalem's role in the Holocaust, and his radio broadcasts. So did he? Lets have a closer look:
Note also what my estimable and indefatigable colleague and collaborator Pamela Geller has revealed about the Mufti of Jerusalem's role in the Holocaust, and his own radio broadcasts
So she didn't publish it, she didn't make it known to a wider public, she didn't introduce the Mufti, his doings and his role in the Holocaust to her readership, no -- she REVEALED it. Merriam Webster informs us about the meaning of the verb "to reveal":
1 : to make known through divine inspiration
2 : to make (something secret or hidden) publicly or generally known
3 : to open up to view : display
Yes he did.

Fact is, this little blogger introduced the Mufti Hadj-Amin El Husseini and his role in the Holocaust to her readership, first on Friday, May 19, 2006 (Child Molesters Comparing Notes) then again on Saturday, May 20, 2006 (A Very Practical and Attractive Religion for Soldiers) and later repeatedly, the last time on December 17, 2009.

I relied on, and quoted, several sources already existing in the Internet, among them Tell The Children The Truth, La bibliothèque proche-orientale or Kosovo and the Holocaust: Falsifying History and ISLAM UNDER THE SWASTIKA: The Grand Mufti and the Nazi Protectorate of Bosnia-Hercegovina, 1941-1945, both by Carl Savich. At the time of my first entries about the Mufti, I advised my readers, too: "... or do a simple Google search, as the sources are too numerous to mention here." Here are the results of a Google search performed today including the parameters "mufti" and "broadcast". "Revealed", eh?

So what did Geller say? The link Spencer provides above leads to one of her usual shrill, PMS-ing and self-serving posts. Her (uncredited) quotes can be traced back, for example, to the website "The Empress' ooops... The Emperor's Clothes", and to the books "The Nazi Connection to Islamic Terrorism: Adolf Hitler and Haj Amin Al-Husseini" by Chuck Morse and "Icon of Evil: Hitler's Mufti and the Rise of Radical Islam" by David Dalin, John Rothmann and Alan Dershowitz.

Right! Pamela Geller "revealed" the truth about Hadj-Amin, invented the wheel and devised the Wonderbra. (Sorry, I couldn't resist!) And what that Robert Spencer makes I better don't say because even this blog has a lower bound to its tone, besides, we don't want to give fuel to jihadists and their enablers (ha ha). Is this "plagiarism"? Of course not. A term like that would lead us in the realms of academia or at least serious journalism. It is plain, simple and unabashed Internet attention whoredom on a par with some pimpled teens' bragging at an Internet social network about their sexual derrings-do. What little bloggers need is not a role model to look up to, but some clay-feet detector and a lot more self-reliance.

Here are some of my earlier Foo Foo (or is it Kermit?) and Miss Piggy posts:
Foo Foo and Miss Piggy Go Islam Critics
'German Patriot' Converts to Islam
Loose Apes with Razors
The Unembarrassables
Innocents Abroad


Lawrence Auster said...

I agree with you that "pathological" narcissism was too strong, but it was not entirely off-base either. For Spencer to react to Bostom's ridiculous plagiarism accusation by calling Bostom an "enabler of Islamic supremacism" was not normal and rational behavior.

The_Editrix said...

No, it was not entirely off-base, Mr. Auster. Without the "pathological" I can basically agree with you. However, I still think that it is not so important how Robert Spencer sees himself, but how others see him and what he makes of that -- namely very little. Or let me put it in a way on which we maybe can agree: He neither lives up to the hopes and expectations others pin on him, nor to his own self-image. And THAT makes it narcissistic.

bruce-church said...

What's up with Bostom throwing spanners and wrenches over such trivialities? Spencer's articles online should not have to be larded with footnotes and links. Otherwise, he could only write half as many articles, and they wouldn't be as timely. Besides that, people can search on the quote and find Bostom's book in Google Book Search:

The_Editrix said...

"What's up with Bostom throwing spanners and wrenches over such trivialities?"

It is indeed so absurd that we don't really want to know the answer to that, do we.

Lawrence Auster said...

As I've said at my site, we're not going to know, and we don't have to know, the precise reason, because it has to do with a private dispute between the two of them. All we know and all we need to know is that there was a private dispute between them, leading to the end of their friendship and professional association, and, as I argue, that dispute explains Bostom's irrational attack. In his hurt feelings he was striking back at Spencer; the absurd plagiarsm charge was simply the way he expressed his anger.

It's common human behavior. Person A is angry at Person B over Grievance X, but Person A for whatever reason doesn't want to state Grievance X aloud, so he expresses his anger by complaining about a ficticious Grievance Y.

The_Editrix said...

"In his hurt feelings he [Bostom] was striking back at Spencer; the absurd plagiarsm charge was simply the way he expressed his anger.

It's common human behavior. Person A is angry at Person B over Grievance X, but Person A for whatever reason doesn't want to state Grievance X aloud, so he expresses his anger by complaining about a ficticious Grievance Y."

Indeed. But don't we visit such ambitious blogs to be informed and educated and not to be turned into captive audience having to watch common (pun intended) human behaviour?

beakerkin said...

I am convinced that there is a prima
dona aspect to blogging.

As for me I stick to my core values of big table Americanism and leave it there. America, Canada, Australia and NZ have a unique history as nations of shared values.

The great question that is never asked is why Muslims seem angrier in the UK and France than the USA up until recently.

1) Economics in the West plays a key role in this. The recent run of
Muslims creating terrorist acts is
highly linked to financial problems. We can do the chicken or egg bit later. Gainfully employed people tend to be too busy working
to be bothered with criminal acts.

The rise in these acts appears linked to the recession especially
in the USA. Most of these jihadis are more Bill Ayers, spoiled rich
brats, that have deep seated mental
problems than the Marxist cliche "oppressed poor". The latter is also a false myth.

2) The exposure and encouragement of Marxist allies. People like Noam Chomsky, Galloway and so forth
enable and nurture the rage by rationalizing every imagined grievance.

An example of this is idiotic politicians in the UK repeating the idiocy about Israelis in Haiti harvesting organs. I work with a large number of Haitians and nobody has ever said any of this at work. Every time one hears this new blood libel it is a Marxist or a fringe far leftist.

3) Failure to discuss the larger regional issues with Islam and other cultures ranging from India, China, Nigeria and so forth. Are all these cultures just intolerant or is there a structural problem within Islam.

4) Failure of Muslims to respect family law and the rights of others
to live differently.

If you live in the USA polyhamy is not an option. Kindly depart and practice this in the many countries it is legal. The face of polygamy in the USA is mostly African including many Christians.
Yet when the media wants to tell this story it is always white Mormons in Utah.

There is a certain intolerance not found in other religions. I have never heard of an Orthodox Jew refusing to sit at a table with a person eating a ham sandwich. I do
not recall Jews making a big deal over antisemitic works in Lit classes. I actually studied them in
a Yeshiva.

The level of entitlement is unheard
of. Asking an airline for Kosher or Halal food is a reasonable accommodation. Asking for foot baths and plumbing fixtures is an imposition.

Driving a car or walking around with a mask or burqua is a public safety issue.

The_Editrix said...

"I am convinced that there is a prima dona aspect to blogging."

Perfectly true, Beak. And there is nothing wrong with that as long as the blog in question is a vanity effort. However, it gets dangerous as soon as the blogger claims to educate and to inform from an intellectually ambitious point of view.

"The great question that is never asked is why Muslims seem angrier in the UK and France than the USA up until recently."

It is never asked because the reply to such a qustion would be too disturbing. No society can live with more than a 3% Muslim minority without suffering damage. As soon as that margin is exceeded, Muslims make themselves felt. In France it's 6% and whereas it's around 3% in the UK (according of contradictory data, the most "recent" official census data being from 2001) there is a particularly high density in the industrial centers of England and many local authorities with a Muslim population greater than 10 and up to over 30%. Something similar applies to Germany with an overall Muslim population of more than 5% and particularly high densities in the industrial centers and cities. In the USA it's around 1%.

This entry gives a good overview of the ideologically blinded manner in which such figures are interpreted and manipulated.

The discussion about the "Times Square bomber" shows that any (ANY!) Muslim, however assimilated, liberal, westernised and "tolerant", may experience a militant religious rebirth at any moment and without any rationally explainable reason.

The burqa is much more than a security issue. It's part of a power play. They are yanking our chain.

fpb said...

First, a point about the British census of 2001: don't, whatever you do, take it seriously. Having worked as a census taker at the time, I can tell you that we were systematically overworked and given insufficient time to follow up difficult or unresponsive families. Of these, of course, immigrants with little or no English were the worst. So the numbers of all immigrant minorities MUST have been systematically undercounted. (All minorities; for instance, I found a number of evidently clandestine Brazilians and French-speaking Africans. But Brazilians and Christian Africans are not the problem, Muslims are. And I feel confident that, for instance, the Bangladeshi woman without a word of English I found in a quite attractive new house in the better part of Hackney, and her family, will not have been counted.)

There is an Italian proverb that "when we have no horses, donkeys must trot." The movement against Islam has no great and morally unchallenged leader; so it must make do with what it has - because the movement itself is necessary. Indeed, it is hard to imagine that there could ever be harmony. The internal squabbles of the various Johnsons, Spencers, Bostums and Gellers are sad affairs, but to be expected. Personally, I regard Pamela Geller as a pestiferous, self-aggrandizing influence, not only on Spencer but on the whole of American conservative bloggerdom; her frequent appearances on American Thinker have further reduced the intellectual level and increased the shrillness of a publication that could little afford such a decrease. But whose-ever the fault may be, these things are to be expected. Every movement - and the resist-islam movement is a popular ground-level movement in the full meaning of the word, with no real fosterers in the political or economic establishment - has its self-appointed leaders, and these leaders have always, historically, squabbled. The history (for instance) of the movement for Italian indepence in the nineteenth century is one long and quite vicious series of squabbles, that lasted even beyond victory; one of the greatest leaders, Carlo Cattaneo, went into exile till he died in Switzerland because he could not stomach an Italy united by the House of Savoy. But Italy was united anyway, against every odd; and, God willing, all the inner squabbles and megalomanias it will happen that the public will awake and take the necessary action. Events in Italy and the Netherlands seem to point in that direction.