Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A splash of color for Doomsday





Photos of some flowers I came across on the way to work, because I don't feel much like talking about the Middle East right now -- even though I may not get another chance, since today's Doomsday, apparently.

Gee, thanks, guys. I'd have appreciated a bit more of a warning.

Oh, what's that you say? This is just the media pandering to the apocalyptic fundie rabble again? Shocking!

To be fair, the day's not over yet. I suppose the unthinkable could still happen sometime between now and midnight. But I'd be inclined to bet against that, based on the apocalypse junkies' prior track record.

More on the 8-22 kerfuffle here. As that article mentions, one of the big promoters of the Doomsday notion is Bernard Lewis, who's allegedly one of the nation's foremost Mideast scholars. Which just shows the sorry, pig-ignorant state of Mideast studies in this country. If a clown like this is our leading scholar, what are the other scholars like? How did it get to be that hysterical blowhards are considered serious, responsible statesmen, and actual serious, responsible thinkers are dismissed out of hand? These people wet their pants at the first sight of a beard, or a turban, or merely dark skin; or the sound of a foreign language; or the scent of unfamiliar food; or the first opinion that doesn't precisely match their own. These people are not our betters, and they don't deserve our attention, much less our respect.

While Lewis may sincerely believe the silliness he's spouting, and the WSJ may genuinely find his arguments convincing, it would be naive to think this is anything but a precisely calculated act. The same people who got us into the Iraq fiasco would really love to have a shiny new fiasco in Iran, and I expect this is their latest ploy to try to sell it to the public. Or at least to certain gullible segments of the public, people who live for this apocalypse nonsense. It's important to keep the fundies on board -- it's their kids who disproportionately end up as cannon fodder in all the wars we keep getting ourselves into, and they have no idea they're being used. I almost feel sorry for them, in a way. Almost.

While we're at it, during the recent war in Lebanon the fundies were having a field day with a certain passage in the Book of Psalms, which they insisted spelled doom for Israel. They'll no doubt be disappointed to learn that the book doesn't really say what they think it says. Just another of those pesky King James mistranslations, apparently. Somehow I doubt they'll find that very convincing, though. Maybe the translation errors are "divinely inspired" too, or something. I'm not sure how that's supposed to work, but hey, what do I know? I'm just another of those hellbound secular humanists.

Updated: I've already gotten a piece of spam to this article, from someone in Omaha, Nebraska who did a Google blog search for the words "apocalyptic" and "iran". The post linked to several FOX News stories about how big and scary and inhuman Iran is these days, and how they'll happily kill us all if they can, basically the FOX party line when they aren't too busy with a missing-white-female case.

The post was just a collection of links, and wasn't abusive at all, so I figured a calm and reasonable reply was in order. Then I happened to check out a few of the other hits for the same Google search, and the identical comment had been posted at all of the sites I looked at which allowed user comments. In my book that counts as spam, and I'm not a huge spam afficionado, so I deleted the comment. If you'd like to see the original, right now it's attached to posts at Covert History, Simply Ernest, and Knickers Down, and no doubt there are many, many others.

Now here's the twist. The poster seems to be associated with a site called TerrorFreeOil.org, which as it turns out is all about alternative fuels and energy independence:

Terror-Free Oil Initiative is dedicated to encouraging Americans to buy gasoline that originated from countries that do not export or finance terrorism.

We educate the public by promoting those companies that acquire their crude oil supply from nations outside the Middle East and by exposing those companies that do not.

We are also looking into creating a healthy debate concerning alternate methods of fuel production and consumption.

According to our preliminary research there are very few oil companies that do not use Middle Eastern Oil. We are working very hard to expand that list and you can help us do that.

Now, I'm not one for gloating, but a lot of us on the other end of the political spectrum have been saying much the same thing for decades now: We shouldn't be buying oil from nasty Mideastern despots, and really we shouldn't be relying on oil at all, since it's bound to run out sooner or later anyway. We've been saying that for a long, long time now, and until just recently everyone called us hippies and made jokes about us and absolutely refused to listen. But I have to wonder, what would the world be like today if people had paid attention back in 1973, for example, and we hadn't spent the last 33 years shipping our money overseas? Like I said, I'm not one for gloating. I don't even demand credit where it's obviously due. I just smile and say "Hi, welcome to the club."

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