Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Rage Boy

Ok. I am not a huge fan of Christopher Hitchens. Especially Christopher Hitchens when he starts gibbering (and that's the word) about theism and religion in general.

But this piece in Slate (hat tip to Mac for sending it to the inbox)? When he nails it, he nails it.

Also see this interesting site dedicated to the many appearances of Rage Boy.

[I tend to be with the Hitchens/secularist band on the whole issue of "religious offense." Yes, there is such a thing. But, for those of us who are religious, can we stop whining? Please? And for those who are wont to criticize religion -- a little more equal opportunity please. Don't just turn your critical (though they tend to be uncritically critical) guns on the easy target of Catholicism. Go across the board. And, be rational.

Oh, I suppose Hitchens would be surprised to think that reason has any role to play in religion. That's where he (and Rage Boy and his ilk. And not just his.) are wrong.]


St. Elizabeth of Cayce said...

Hitchens writes:

...is there some special factory in Karachi that churns out the flags of democratic countries for occasions like this?...

Thank you for noticing. I think there must also be a similar flag factory in the Gaza; how else to get so many flags there when travel & trade are so restricted ...

Or, aren't these demonstrations as spontaneous as I would be led to believe? :-\

Thanks for the great links, G.

Mac said...

The footer of the Slate.com links to an article dealing with that very question. When I was in high school and university during the Nixon Administration and our American friends would locate their ICBMs just over the border so as to attract Soviet attacks in Canada rather than in the USA -- and many of our teachers were former Americans who had taken refugee status in Canada escaping from the Vietnam draft -- we protested vigorously but we were never quite so vigorous as to burn flags. President Johnson had earlier seized Prime Minister Pearson by the lapels, hoisted him aloft and, a propos of his rather mild querying at Fulton College in Missouri of the bombing of Hanoi, delicately suggested, "Don't you come into my living room and piss on my carpet." (Canadian coolness regarding American adventures stems considerably from the carnage of both world wars, in which Canadians died in disproportionately vast numbers vis-a-vis the Americans: the cost of war was possibly better appreciated north of the border, pace the cuteness on "The West Wing" at various times -- "Does Canada even have an army?") Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's later equally mild suggestions that perhaps some of President Nixon's policies might perhaps merit sober second thought earned him the Nixonian sobriquet "that asshole Trudeau." (Trudeau's response: "I've been called worse things by better men.") One wonders just how foreign commentators with an interest in these things can credibly be heard. Tony Blair suggested that he hoed in on Iraq by way of having standing to be heard as a voice of moderation in Washington, and look where that got him. Flag-burners obviously do go over the top and their vehemence perhaps rightly gets them labeled lunatic-fringe. But even measured dissent seems to provoke contempt, and the example of poor Tony Blair would indicate that measure affirmation isn't really the way to go either.