martyr with you?
The ingenue of
Tom Wolfe's new novel, I Am Charlotte Simmons,
by rights should have been a martyr
to debauched university life. By sparing
his protagonist from martyrdom, Wolfe,
rather than holding up the mirror of tragedy to
his public, ultimately gives us a smiley-face -
and thereby comes close to the literary ideal of
US neo-conservatives. (Jan 24, '05)
cheers for hypocrisy
blue-state metrosexuals ridicule as "hypocrites"
church-going folk who re-elected US President
George W Bush. Yet apart from the saintly, only
the unashamedly wicked are guiltless of hypocrisy.
The rest of us give lip-service to standards we
cannot or will not live up to. It is what makes
life, which is by definition a failure, livable.
For whom the chopper
For the aborigines of the Sentinel
Islands, the last stone-age people to resist
contact with the world, an Indian Coast Guard
helicopter landing on their shores seemed a direr
threat than the tsunami: it appeared as an
exterminating angel. The Sentinelese, for the time
being, have kept the chopper at bay. Others are
not so fortunate.
Is 'Americanism' a
neo-conservatives concur in calling "Americanism"
a religion, for entirely different reasons. And
they are both entirely wrong, for both confound
American religion with the Bush administration's
strategic agenda. (Jan
Clausewitz, a minor Chinese god
Claus, were Christianity to disappear, would live on in China as a minor
prosperity god. The Chinese love to shop, so do Americans, exemplified by the
Santa symbol of Yuletide acquisitiveness. The US contribution to Chinese
prosperity and success goes beyond symbols, however. The result will be
Sino-American global duopoly. (Dec 20, '04)
Europeans hate and fear the United States, but Americans barely can summon the
energy to ignore Europe, which they have written off as a decadent and
soon-to-disappear civilization. Indeed, Western civilization, as the heritage
of great Europeans of the past, may be harder to preserve than America's
pension system, or the "Hooah!" of the US Marine Corps.
(Dec 6, '04)
the US a Christian nation
Few people doubt that the United States is a Christian nation.
But discontinuity makes American Christianity a baffling quantity to outsiders;
only a small minority of American Protestants can point to a direct link to
spiritual ancestors a century ago. Yet is the very nature of America that
allows Christianity repeatedly to re-create itself there.(Nov
Muslim anguish and Western hypocrisy
Smugness oozes from European politicians who
demand that Muslims repudiate violence as a precondition for residence in the
West. To repudiate the death sentence for blasphemy, as meted out to Dutch
filmmaker Theo van Gogh, would be the same as abandoning the Islamic order.
(Nov 22, '04)
The assassin's master sermon
Horrified though they may be by the thought, Westerners have
something to learn from the letter that Mohammed B pinned with a knife to Theo
van Gogh's corpse after he murdered the Dutch filmmaker this month. The
message: antagonistic modes of faith underlie the conflict between the West and
the Islamic world. (Nov 15, '04)
and the evangelical womb
What we have observed in the
demographic shift in the US in favor of "red" (Republican) versus "blue"
(Democrat) is only the thin end of an enormous wedge. Religious ("red")
Americans will continue to have children, and secular ("blue") Americans will
continue to extinguish themselves. "Red" America, characterized first of all by
evangelical Christianity, is thriving. (Nov 8, '04)
the culture, stupid'
Liberal commentators blame the high voter turnout of
evangelicals - whose numbers plausibly were the factor that won George W Bush
re-election - on bigotry. On the contrary, parents become evangelicals, and
evangelicals become political, precisely in order to draw a line between their
families and the forces of moral decay. (Nov 4, '04)
Osama might have told America
Everyone is talking about rejuvenated Osama bin
Laden's videotape, but television channels aired only four minutes of it. What
was in the remaining 14 minutes of it? Plenty. By the time an American child
reaches the age of 18, he will have seen on television 40,000 murders and
200,000 other acts of violence. And plenty of sex. This is why Islam will
prevail. (Nov 1, '04)
In praise of premature war
Rarely has the West suffered by
going to war too soon. On the contrary: among the wars of Western history, the
bloodiest were those that started too late. The West, therefore, should be
thankful that it has in US President George W Bush a warrior who shoots first
and tells the CIA to ask questions later.
(Oct 18, '04)
you forget why you hanged yourself
Frits Bolkestein is the newly notorious member of the European Commission who
warned that Europe would implode like the Austro-Hungarian Empire if Turkey
were admitted into the EU. But he, like many Europeans, forgets why
Austro-Hungary choked on the poisons of its own culture, and so cannot see why
Europe is doing the same today. (Oct 5, '04)
men and suicide bombers
strategy of the US Department of Homeland Security has criminalized not only
terrorists, but also their ideological sympathizers. What this means is that
individual Muslims will suffer. Remember, either you are with us ...
(Sep 27, '04)
Marshal Foch and Iran
situation in Iraq might look hopeless for the US. In fact, as Marshal Foch
famously said, "Situation excellent. I shall attack." The target will be Iran,
and Iraq will no longer be a problem as it will cease to exist.
(Sep 20, '04)
can see clearly that Democrats are cleverer, better dressed and better looking
than those currently running the White House. But it is just the sort of
Americans who know they are neither clever nor good-looking who will vote for
President George W Bush in November, and that is why he will win.(Sep
fertility and American dominance
The Empty Cradle by Phillip Longman
This American journalist is not the first person to be horrified by declining
birthrates among "modern" civilizations, and to extrapolate that
anti-modernists such as evangelical Christians will eventually breed themselves
into a position of global dominance. In this book, he hatches schemes such as
tax incentives to encourage bigger families and save modernity from itself.
(Sep 7, '04)
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