Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Islamophobia Incorporated - Pt. 1

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Dateline: Gainsville, Florida, where Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Church is wiping egg off his face after threatening, then calling off, then calling on, and finally missing the deadline for a 9/11 Koran barbeque.

The on-again, off-again Protest was cheered by few and condemned by many, many of whom had a great deal of Governmental clout. Apparently stunned by the official attention, Pastor Jones seesawed back and forth on whether he was going to do it or not, with the final straw supposedly being a phone conversation with Robert Gates, and a promise – communicated from one Imam to another – that the controversial Park51 project (the “Ground Zero Mosque”) would be moved from its proposed location.

Of course, the “promise” was never made in the first place. Pastor Jones is claiming he was lied to, which is, in Islamophobic circles, the ultimate defense. After all, Muslims are supposedly allowed, nay mandated, to lie to non-believers by the Koran, in order to better disguise their true motives. So even if no such promise was ever made, and the Imams protest the contrary until they’re blue in the face, Jones’ amen corner will most likely back his story, in spite of recent, increasingly-suspicious revelations about his past in Germany.

So Jones called off the protest, claiming that he would not, and never would, burn the Koran. He went to New York for a meeting with the Imam of Park51 that never happened, and a spot on the Today show that did. And he is “enjoying” the sort of negative media attention usually reserved for racist celebrities and people who steal the mike from VMA winners.

(Except that Mel Gibson and Kanye West never got people killed in violent anti-American protests in places that are notorious for having them. Yet.)

On the surface, this looks like yet another case of someone biting off waaaay more than they can chew, and falling all over themselves to get the hell out of the spotlights. That could explain the almost comic, Schrödinger's nature of the protest, the rapid movement of the goal posts, what was most likely an outright and outrageous lie about the “promise” from Park51, the claims that they proved the point they set out to make, etc. etc. etc.

But what if this was the plan all along? What if, instead of the boy crying “wolf,” we have an anti-Islamic zealot, or, worse, cynical huckster, crying “buy my book?”

As was reported on Op Ed News, not long ago, Terry Jones’s book – a model of even-handed interfaith dialogue deftly entitled “Islam is of the Devil” – has since sold out on Amazon. In fact, the book was put into print on August 3rd – less than a month after Pastor Jones announced his plan to light up the Muslim holy book.

What interesting timing.

And now, now that the book’s sold out, now that his name is a household word for all the wrong reasons, Jones is slowly slipping back into the poisoned and anonymous ground from whence he came. Maybe he'll be content to going back to calling Gainville's Mayor a "homo" and leave it at that?

At least until he’s got another book to sell, doubtless about what he “learned” from this whole experience.

Or when he wants to put himself on the ever-lucrative talk circuit, or get a potentially-lucrative talk show.

Or write a column for someone’s web site column, or a website of his own where he can hawk his own products to his readers.

Or join a “think tank” or “advocacy group,” or even start one by his lonesome, which not only gives opportunities for the preceding media venues, but also comes with a steady paycheck, bankrolled by moneyed dupes or super-rich sugardaddies.

No, I’m not jerking your chain. This is how the game works. You call attention to yourself, get enough people good and mad at you that the media inflates your story into something far larger than is deserved, and get just enough people on your side to subscribe to your fine, informative newsletter. Then come the offers to join this, that, or the other thing, or speak at our rally, or what have you.

Then it’s easy money, at least as long as the horse you’re riding has legs underneath it. And the “class of civilizations” horse, given several burrs under its saddle since 9/11, has a lot of legs. In fact that particular ride looks like someone crossed Mr. Ed with a nasty, giant centipede – the kind you see eating small children in the zoo – jacked it up on rabid hate, believable lies, and bad speed, and told it the million dollar finish line was over that-away, just to the left of Armageddon.

And. It. Didn’t. Care.

Who else doesn’t care? What blighted and cancerous stars is Pastor Jones setting his course by? We’ll get into that next time. Expect familiar faces you’d rather weren’t so familiar.

In the meantime, it’s Tuesday, so I will leave you with some musical musings by the Dead Kennedys, off the unfortunately-infamous "Frankenchrist" album – A Growing Boy Needs his Lunch.


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