Thursday, January 31, 2008

Everyone's Stupid

Regular readers may have noticed that the three contributors to this blog do not have much patience for ridiculous conspiracy theories. By way of example, here's AKS' latest diatribe, here's an excellent post by NB immediately following Benazir's death, and here's a parasitic post by yours truly that followed the aforementioned NB post. What irks us most, if I can immodestly presume to speak for all three of us for the moment, is not the conspiracy theories themselves per se, but the lazy thinking that allows and engenders the conspiracy theories. Such lazy thinking thinly masks the real reason these conspiracy theories are constructed, which is either (a) the inherent desire to evade responsibility for one's flaws and mistakes ("the Jews were responsible for 9/11, how could good old Muslims ever do such a thing?") or (b) the real and strong hatred of the would-be culprit agreed upon by the conspiracy theorists ("Musharraf is an asshole, ergo he must be responsible for BB's death").

The point of this post is not to rehash any of the stuff which has been said before, but merely to point out that in no way do Pakistanis have a monopoly on excessive stupidity. Here's an email doing the rounds here in the U.S. While any google search - or common sense for that matter - will lead you to conclude that every single assertion in this email is demonstrably false, you also have to wonder how many people actually make the effort to do said google search, especially since the email seems to affirm many of the recipients' most deeply held prejudices. Anyway, enough from me, enjoy this email:
Subject: Who is Barack Obama? Probable Democrat presidential candidate, Barack Hussein Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a black MUSLIM from Nyangoma-Kogel, Kenya and Ann Dunham, a white ATHIEST from Wichita, Kansas. Obama's parents met at the University of Hawaii. When Obama was two years old, his parents divorced. His father returned to Kenya. His mother then married Lolo Soetoro, a RADICAL Muslim from Indonesia. When Obama was 6 years old, the family relocated to Indonesia. Obama attended a MUSLIM school in Jakarta. He also spent two years in a Catholic school. Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim. He is quick to point out that, 'He was once a Muslim, but that he also attended Catholic school.' Obama's political handlers are attempting to make it appear that Obama's introduction to Islam came via his father, and that this influence was temporary at best. In reality, the senior Obama returned to Kenya soon after the divorce, and never again had any direct influence over his son's education. Lolo Soetoro, the second husband of Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, introduced his stepson to Islam. Obama was enrolled in a Wahabi school in Jakarta. Wahabism is the RADICAL teaching that is followed by the Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad against the western world. Since it is politically expedient to be a CHRISTIAN when seeking Major public office in the United States, Barack Hussein Obama has joined the United Church of Christ in an attempt to downplay his Muslim background. Let us all remain alert concerning Obama's expected presidential candidacy. The Muslims have said they plan on destroying the US from the inside out, what better way to start than at the highest level - through the President of the United States, one of their own!!!! ALSO, keep in mind that when he was sworn into office - he DID NOT use the Holy Bible, but instead the Kuran (Their equevelancy to our Bible, but very different beliefs) Please forward to everyone you know. Would you want this man leading our country?...... NOT ME!!!

A variant of this email, with the subject line reading "Fwd: Be careful, be very careful" can be read here.


AKS said...

You failed to mention the manner in which Fox News has exploited this bit of news. Bill O' Reilly and the gang make it a point to state his entire name, emphasising on the Hussein. I find it hillarious and lame but as you point there are people eager to give into this crap.

I recently heard someone in Karachi commenting on how they wanted Obama elected. I presumed that they were impressed by his politics, his oratory skills and his evident sincerity. I was wrong, and stupid for presuming this. The person, smart enough guy, didn't know or care about his politics but he'd heard that he was 'Muslim or half-Muslim.'

At my most evil I do sometimes wish that these stupid dumbasses were invaded by other Muslims. I'd love to see their blind moral compass going topsy turvy. Then again they'd probably blame the Hindus and the Jews who control the US government!

Ahsan said...

hindus don't control the US government. neither do the jews, though they *do* control all of the US media (and western media in general). you see, the jews are smart enough to stay in the background and deviously and nefariously rely on underhanded tactics, rather than controlling things directly. this way they have plausible deniability.

as for your last comment, it's not exactly unprecedented, is it? many people in the middle east still believe that the US encouraged saddam to invade kuwait so it could "steal iraq's oil" [though in all seriousness, it does bear mentioning that in a meeting with the US ambassador april glaspie before the kuwait invasion, saddam asked her what the US' reaction would be in a hypothetical conflict with kuwait, and she said "we have no opinion on inter arab conflicts." saddam took that yellow light as a green light, which in hindsight was sort of a mistake. but it was a gamble i think most people, including myself, would have taken, especially given kuwait's antics leading up to the war. god, i need to close these brackets.]

AKS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AKS said...

I know, I know. Its not entirely unprecedented. But I'm so frustrated with living around people who blindingly assume the highest moral ground because they are Muslim.

Perhaps the majority of Americans also assume moral superiority premised on the greatness of the 'American Experience'. Perhaps the majority of Jews consider the Jewish Experience as having made their actions irreproachable. But I don't live in New York or Tel Aviv. I live in Karachi and its mighty pissing off to hear this crap every day. Therefore sometimes I wish that I were able to revel in the unravelling of their beliefs. Pure Evil!

AKS said...

This Obama thing really seems to have caught on. A letter on Dear Prudence in slate states:

"I recently worked for Barack Obama's campaign in Iowa. Since returning home, my grandfather has been sending me anti-Obama e-mails, including several claiming Obama is a Muslim"

"While I can simply delete the e-mails, it is also upsetting because his e-mail list is in the hundreds, and includes my entire extended family and family friends, many of whom now openly question me for supporting Obama and are 100 percent convinced he's a Muslim."


I also came across a blog post through the Pakistani Bloggers titled "Barack Obama’s Muslim Summit" where the author states:

"Barack Obama, who belongs basically to Kenya, and whose father was a Muslim wants to hold a Muslim summit."


"One hopes that this is not a stunt to collect Muslim votes, and Obama really wants that “change” he often promises to US public in his speeches."


FaisalK said...

Even if he is a Muslim, it should not matter since religion is a thing held to be private in democracies like the U.S nahi? or are they all saying, no Muslim can ever be elected to office hmmmm?? is that in the constitution as well? Maybe its under the para where it says people of a non pinkish hue will never hold office?


bubs said...

Does anyone know who has been smearing Obama. Hillary or Republicans? I would imagine the Republicans would at least wait till he was the nominee before starting such a campaign. Or is it just people who are convinced he is Muslim?

Ahsan said...


of course, in an ideal world, it wouldn't matter. but the US polity is far from an ideal place. right now "muslim" is the dirtiest word in US politics, more than "liberal", "communist" or (gasp!) even "european".

it's not an either/or question. hillary actually fired a someone from her campaign who was sending out the email before iowa caucus. i think the hillary crew have *somewhat* backed off (for now anyway). but man, if he's nominated, the republicans are going to be PRIMED with their dog-whistle politics. obama is both their favorite candidate and their worst nightmare, and the mainstream media has so far only picked up on the latter point of that dichotomy. they're in for a rude shock in the summer and fall if he's nominated, let me tell you.

AKS said...

@ Ahsan

I do wonder which Democrat is more 'electable' on the national stage. Obama may appear to be ahead of Hillary at this moment but I'm not sure that answers the question of who is more electable on the national stage? As you pointed out the Republicans will surely unleash their 'charm offensive' against Obama if he's nominated.

Once the Republican machinery kicks in can Obama survive:

Obama v Mcain or Obama v Huckabee

On a side note I wonder what you think of Obama v Huckabee. I feel Huckabee might pose the greatest danger to Obama.

Ahsan said...

aks, that is a question that will take an entire post to deal with. perhaps i write one this weekend on this question now that you've brought it up.

Lao said...

How exactly is the truth a conspiracy?

There are errors in the above, but there also is a lot of truth.

And before the Obama fanbois chime in ... kindly explain why he changed the title of his book in Indonesia...

An American Expat in Southeast Asia

alimate said...

Wow, the biggest dirt found on Obama is that 'god forbid, he's muslim' - oooh! really, this is how far US politics has come since 9/11. i heard it was largely hilary's camp that dug that 'dirt' out.

ahsan, chi-town resident right? did you catch lupe fiasco's internet board posting about his thoughts on it all? about why he doesn't vote, but if he did who'd get his vote? him and rhymefest then had a long ass blogging debate back and forth.
lupe's on point.

Ahsan said...


the story actually got kicked up by (surprise, surprise) fox news more than a few months ago, where they alleged (falsely) that obama attended a madrassa in indonesia. it's spiralled from there, so i wouldn't say it's just the hillary camp (though they did spread the email and played no role in debunking its contents) but a conglomerate of people whose interests match up on obama: hillary, right wing xenophobic citizen groups, and everyone in the GOP aside from mccain and ron paul. strange bedfollows, i know, but thats what politics is about.

i don't know who lupe fiasco is but on your recommendation i'll google it and see what comes up.

alimate said...

definitely google that..
lupe fiasco is what hip hop should sound like in the 21st century.
the only new MC worth listening to, in all aspects of the spirit of hip hop.

Ahsan said...

oh, he's a rapper? well it's no wonder that i have no idea who he is.

alimate said...

does that mean you're not gonna look up his views?

what's frustratingly disturbing is people's/public's comments on the issue