Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Cujo Meme

Gazan "journalists," news media, and random individuals handy with cell phones are so proficient at taking pictures of the victims of Israeli "aggression" that they ought to be hired by Hollywood. At the drop of a drone, they're there to pass off heartstring-pulling photos of dead Gazan children, who were not yet old enough to throw rocks at Israeli civilian cars, or don suicide vests, or kidnap Israeli soldiers or teenagers, or sneak into Israeli settlements to slaughter whole families with razors and butchers knives, or riot in the West Bank.

Many of the photos they send West and which are gobbled up by the news media also show weeping fathers cradling dead sons in their arms, either in the street or in a doctor's office, or a bunch of guys carrying a flag-draped casket purportedly holding the body of a dead child, surrounded by an angry and fist-shaking weeping mob.  

These on-the-spot recorders of Israeli "atrocities" are the Muslim paparazzi of pity, Islam's ambulance-chasing ghouls. The pictures they take are either staged, filched or recycled from other theaters of Mideast conflicts, or too outrageously phony to be believed – except by Western "journalists" and news editors, such as the one of a boy leaping over the body bags of children supposedly and recently killed in the Syrian Houla massacre by bombs or rubber bands, except that the bags contain the bones of people found in a desert near Bagdad.  Broadcast by the BBC in 2012, the photo dates to 2003.

The Telegraph story of May 27th, 2012, "Syria massacre in Houla condemned as outrage grows," quoted the photographer, Marco di Lauro for Getty Images, who took the picture in 2003:

"One of my pictures from Iraq was used by the BBC web site as a front page illustration claiming that those were the bodies of yesterday's massacre in Syria and that the picture was sent by an activist.  Instead the picture was taken by me and it's on my web site, on the feature section regarding a story I did In Iraq during the war called Iraq, the aftermath of Saddam.

“What I am really astonished by is that a news organization like the BBC doesn't check the sources and it's willing to publish any picture sent it by anyone: activist, citizen journalist or whatever. That's all. "

Well, he shouldn't be so astonished. The BBC, which has maintained an anti-Israel grudge for a long time, wouldn't really be concerned about the strength of any attribution.  When it comes to pushing propaganda, it has never been too fastidious in checking sources. Fantasy and bias overrule facts. We want this to be evidence of Israeli brutality. The BBC isn't the only news outlet that's in a hurry to condemn or indict Israel or dictators its editors don’t at the moment happen to like. There is our own CPB or PBS – and MSNBC, and CNN, and ABC and CBS, and NBC itself.  Anything that will help convey the idea that Muslims are always the victims of someone's policies or Israeli cruelty.

Hamas, Al Queda, Fatah, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other blameless, "peace-loving" Islamic outfits must also retain the services of Photoshopping experts to doctor pictures for special propaganda purposes. Given half a chance, and if they thought they could get away with it, their "unverified sources" for photographs taken by Muslim "journalists," they would probably stoop to passing off doctored pictures of the D-Day landings as waves of Muslims wade ashore, attacking Israel from the Mediterranean, appropriately garbed with keffiyahs and carrying Palestinian flags.

Muslims, and especially Gazans, after all, are a peace-loving people more put upon than guilty or complicit in the atrocities they commit on Jews and infidels. Aren't they?

Speaking of doctored images, Muslims also claim to be victims of how they're portrayed in Western movies.

Even before 9/11, they were muttering to themselves about the depiction of Muslims as grungy conspirators of mayhem in the West and even in Islamic countries. They resented the standard portrayal of dehumanized stereotypes.  The Middle East Quarterly carried a lengthy article by Daniel Mandel in the Spring 2001 issue, "Muslims on the Silver Screen."

Does Hollywood dehumanize Muslims and Arabs? Many writers and organizations think so. They assert that racial and ethnic stereotyping that has been otherwise abandoned by the cinema continues to apply to these groups. Columnist Jay Stone, for instance, observes that it "appears we're down to one group, the Arabs….Hala Maksoud, president of the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee, in a complaint to NBC regarding an episode of the television series, The West Wing, asserts that "Arabs remain fair game for the entertainment industry in this country."

The result has been vigorous lobbying and public criticism to sensitize moviemakers to these distortions, then stop them. Faced with a barrage of criticism, the powers that be in Hollywood—who do not consider themselves qualified to test the validity of these complaints—usually concede to their critics. For example, The Sum of All Fears, a thriller by Tom Clancy, has as its villains a group of Muslim terrorists who conspire to detonate a nuclear device at the Super Bowl in Denver.

However, following objections from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the director of the movie derived from the book, Phil Alden Robinson, substituted European neo-Nazis for Muslims. Robinson explained in a letter addressed to CAIR that he had "no intention of promoting negative images of Muslims or Arabs" and went on the wish the group his "best" in its efforts to combat discrimination. Evidently, the lobbying works.

The main complaints cited by Mandel in the article are that Islamist violence is distorted, that Islamist terrorism is invented, and that Muslims and Arabs never appear in sympathetic roles.

One question Mandel doesn't ask is: What else are Muslims known for? It certainly isn't for winning Nobel Prizes in physics or medicine. When was the last time a Muslim-authored novel hit the New York Times bestseller list – aside from Salman Rushdie's? Where is the Muslim counterpart of, say, Jerry Seinfeld or Dean Martin? How many Muslim women have won the Miss World, Miss America, or Miss Universe beauty contest?

About the only time one hears about Muslims is when they've blown themselves up somewhere, or blew up a lot of people, or when they're attacking Israel, or when CAIR or some other Muslim advocacy group whines about the derogatory, "profiling" image of Muslims in films, and just general, noisy demonstrations against Israel or the U.S.  If one walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, and looks like a duck, where's the distortion? If you behave like a yahoo, then you must be a yahoo. Ergo, stereotyping is eminently justified.

The claim that Islamic terrorism carried out by Muslims is "invented" is fantastically delusional and patently false, not when the tally of Islamic terrorism since just 9/11 has reached 19,200. That tally doesn’t include the thousands of acts of terrorism committed by Muslims before 9/11 (plane hijackings, bombs on planes, massacres of foreigners such as the one Luxor in 1997, and so on).

What sympathies do Muslims elicit from non-believers? I can't think of anything, except for a vague disgust with them and their "religion," which is totalitarian in character, nihilist in its essentials, and pathetic in practice, from the prayer rituals to the dietary restrictions to the traditional garb.

Mandel also itemizes and discusses what CAIR and other Muslim "advocacy" groups claim are the possible motives behind Hollywood's negative portrayal of Muslims and Arabs: that Hollywood is in sync with U.S. government policies; and that Hollywood furthers Zionist policies. The first claim is also fantastic; the U.S. government has been pro-Islam for decades, and Obama's blatant patronization of Islam is only the latest manifestation of that policy. The second claim is linked to the first; the U.S has for decades pressured Israel to surrender to Palestinian demands to negotiate, negotiate, negotiate itself into Islam-managed oblivion.

Mandel discusses several movies that CAIR and other Islamic complainants have focused on over the years: True Lies, Executive Decision, The Siege, Three Kings, and Rules of Engagement, and The Delta Force, and drills holes in each complaint about those movies. He ends his essay with:

Other…criticisms do not hold water. The depiction of Muslims and Arabs is variable and not necessarily insensitive or untruthful. Action films depicting Arab and Islamist terrorists reflect observed reality that accords with the knowledge and experience of the viewing public and are not to be condemned on that account. Accusations of a hidden government orchestration of popular sentiment lack any proof and stem from a conspiracist agenda. To accept these criticisms would be to demonize the U.S. government and Jews while valorizing Islamism and terrorists. Such an agenda is deeply hostile to civilized values.

That's putting it mildly. Such criticisms are inimical to civilized values, and intended to obviate those values.

Moving up the calendar, Slate, for once, in May 2002, ran an interesting article by Reihan Salam, "The Sum of All PC: Hollywood's reverse racial profiling." It more or less contradicts the claim that Hollywood goes out of its way to demonize Muslims and Islam.

The threat of al-Qaida terrorist attacks is currently scaring America stiff. But you'd be hard-pressed to find Muslim terrorists in any of today's blockbuster action movies, which instead offer such uncontroversial bad guys as killer aliens and abusive husbands. Why is Hollywood shying away from al-Qaida-like villains?

Movies have always relied on politically relevant villains, from Russian spies to South African apartheidniks to Serbian ethnic cleansers. Tom Clancy's much-loved Jack Ryan series is the gold standard….

But in the about-to-be-released film version of The Sum of All Fears, based loosely on Clancy's 1991 novel of the same name, Paramount pulled a switcheroo. Clancy's original baddies were a motley crew of unreconstructed German Communists, a Sioux convict, and—the stumbling block—Hamas-like Palestinian terrorists opposed to the peace process. Long before Sept. 11, these were replaced with slickly dressed, easy-to-hate European neo-Nazis.

Though a staple of political thrillers since the days of the Ayatollah Khomeini, Muslim terrorists on-screen have been dwindling in numbers since the mid-1990s. Since then, groups like the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the Council on American-Islamic Relations  have condemned movies like 1994's True Lies and 2000's Rules of Engagement, both of which featured violent, fanatical Muslims….

Salam reports that CAIR was demanding that the producers excise villainous Muslims from the script of The Sum of All Fears even before the script had been completed, and substitute more acceptable villains. Which the director, Phil Alden Robinson, did, settling on – wait for it – neo-Nazis! Robinson bowed and scraped and displayed his best face of dhimmitude in a letter to CAIR:

"I hope you will be reassured that I have no intention of promoting negative images of Muslims or Arabs, and I wish you the best in your continuing efforts to combat discrimination." Ben Affleck, the new Jack Ryan, has applauded the decision, arguing that "the Arab terrorist thing has been done a million times in the movies." (As opposed to the neo-Nazi thing?)

And remember, Nazis are never brown, black, or yellow. There are always white. Except, perhaps, for President Barack Obama. If Bill Clinton was the "first Negro president," then Obama is a fascist – and a racist – looking for a devoted, no-questions-asked-or-permitted following.

Salam ends his short piece with a flip-floppy advisory:

But Americans have demonstrated that they can separate a small, violent minority from the vast majority of peace-loving Arabs and Muslims, and a little realism in the movies wouldn't change that….

Salam misses the point that Muslims aren’t necessarily Arabs (or he doesn’t stress it enough), and that Islam can't be divorced from being a Muslim. Sooner or later, Muslims must all wage violent jihad, or adopt a stealth policy of getting directors like Robinson to help sabotage our "miserable house" with our own hands. Even if they're just blocking traffic while they pray or demand halal meals for their kids in school or in prison.

Further on in time is a Guardian article of January 25th, 2007, "From Aladdin to Lost Ark, Muslims get angry at 'bad guy' film images; Crude and exaggerated stereotypes are fuelling Islamophobia, says study."

Popular films ranging from Hollywood blockbusters to children's cartoons are depicting "crude and exaggerated" stereotypes of Muslims and perpetuating Islamophobia, according to a study published today. A report by the Islamic Human Rights Commission argues that films as diverse as The Siege, a portrayal of a terrorist attack on New York starring Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis, the Disney film Aladdin and the British comedy East is East have helped demonize Muslims as violent, dangerous and threatening, and reinforce prejudices.

The study, titled The British media and Muslim representation: the ideology of demonization, argues that Hollywood has a crucial role in influencing how the public views Muslims.

A survey conducted as part of the research revealed that Muslims in Britain felt negative images of their faith on the big and small screen had consequences in their daily lives. Those interviewed "found a direct correlation between media portrayal and their social experiences of exclusion, hatred, discrimination and violence".

Apparently all the efforts of Hollywood to present sympathetic and undistorted and un-invented aspects of Muslim existence since the Middle East Quarterly article in 2001, have been for naught. Muslims are still dissatisfied.

As well as deep unease with big screen portrayals, the research also found a perception of "unashamed bias" in the media against Muslims, with 62% believing the media to be Islamophobic and 16% describing it as racist. Only 4% considered its representation "fair". The authors call for more power for cinema censors to be able to curtail or even decline certification of "objectionable material", as well as more effective media watchdogs and increased responsibility in coverage of issues involving Muslims on the part of newspapers and television. The report, part of a series produced by the commission - a research and campaigning body - with the backing of the Joseph Rowntree charitable trust, is significant in that it seeks to provide a direct voice for the Muslim community in Britain.

Well, if you ask a Muslim if he's unhappy with how he's treated and perceived in a country he wants to adopt Sharia law, in which all non-Muslims must defer to Muslim law and "sensibilities," and to sanction all the brutal, primitive "traditions" of Islam, he's likely to join the majority and answer, Yes, British (or American) culture is Islamophobic and I'm demonized.

The Guardian article also discusses Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Siege, East is East (a British television series), Executive Decision, and House of Sand and Fog. One film that exercised Muslims' sensitivities in Britain and in the U.S. over negative portrayals of Muslims was Disney's Aladdin.

The cartoon Aladdin faced protests on release in 1993 because its opening song referred to a place where "they cut off your ear if they don't like your face", forcing Disney executives to edit out the lines. Today's report says: "Rather than portray the Arab culture and Islamic religion in a positive or neutral light, the producers associate it with harsh punishments and oppressive practices.

The report queries why a children's cartoon describes Aladdin's homeland as "barbaric", and notes that "good Arabs" including Aladdin are given American accents while the rest of the cast have "exaggerated and ridiculous Arab accents".

Not barbaric? Nothing is cut off one's face if it isn't liked in an Islamic culture? Why, that's so Islamophobic, it's a tissue of lies! Really? Here's evidence to the contrary – and this is aside from the countless instances of whipping, sentences of death for adultery, female genital mutilation, and being treated like chattel, in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and even in Britain and the U.S.  Don’t judge: It's not your culture. But Western culture is evil, and must be destroyed, or made to submit to Islam. Only we Muslims (and other Third Worlders) have a right to judge.

Finally, in the Daily Mail report, there is this odd statement that goes against everything we know about British and American Muslims:

There was widespread agreement among more than 1,100 Muslims questioned by researchers that media reports involving Muslims in Britain are "selective, biased, stereotypical and inaccurate", with Muslims generally considered as "others" and outsiders.

But that's the way they want it. They want to be "separate from but equal to" the host country – until they completely vanquish it and call it a part of the global caliphate. This is the general Muslim attitude in Britain, Europe, and the U.S.

We come to the most recent article about Hollywood and Islam, Oliver Williams's Gatestone piece of July 10th, "Hollywood, Islam, and Political Correctness."

Williams discusses many of the same movies as Mandel and Salam. One deserves special attention, Roland Emmerich's 2112, another disaster film.

Similarly, during production of the film 2012 the director Roland Emmerich had considered demolishing the Grand Mosque in Mecca on screen but was persuaded not to. In the film, which depicted a global apocalypse, the obliteration of the Sistine chapel and St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican and the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro is vividly rendered while Middle Eastern landmarks are spared. Emmerich stated, "We have to all, in the western world, think about this. You can actually let Christian symbols fall apart, but if you would do this with [an] Arab symbol, you would have ... a fatwa... so I kind of left it out."

Emmerich, the newly inducted dhimmi, slinks away, afraid to face Islam.

Emmerich went on to direct White House Down. The New Republic was accurate in saying it resembled 24 re-written by Noam Chomsky. Jamie Foxx played a souped-up action-man Obama about to bring peace to the world by pulling American troops out of the Middle East. Evil American patriots violently take over the White House in order to launch a nuclear strike against Iran.

Well, who else but "evil American patriots" would commit such a dastardly crime? Muslims? Nawh! Besides, that would be "racial profiling," even though Islam is not a "race." But it's de rigueur to profile whites, as racists, as gun-clingers, as Tea Party patriots. For the Left, whites are the default perpetrators.

And here is the Cujo Meme:  It is a cinematic analogy of how our State Department and Hollywood perceive Islam and Muslims, perceptions mirrored in their treatment of Muslims and Islam (and also of illegal immigrants), in film and at the negotiation tables.  

Muslims are just like friendly, docile St. Bernard dogs. But, bitten by the rabid bats of Islamophobic distortions, persecution, isolation, lies, discrimination, and attitudes of moral superiority by Westerners, the lovable dog goes mad and occasionally goes on a rampage against its tormentors.   

It's a tragedy that some people lose their lives in such incidents, but, who can blame the killers? They have legitimate grievances that have not been addressed with any sincere understanding or compassion. The hegemony of Western "civilization" must be challenged and dissolved if there is to be "peace." If there's violence, it's all our fault, not that of those going on rampages. Can one really morally judge dogs infected with rabies?

But Islam is basically a good dog. See? It's that simple. This has been the contextual premise of our foreign policy for a long time, and Hollywood's, as well. Muslims and Islam are not to be toyed with or bothered. The Cujo Meme won’t be challenged by those infected by it. They're Lost Boys (and Girls). The only reward for engaging these people in argumentation is the venomous spittle of their replies splattering in one's face.

The Cujo Meme carries the death-guarantors of multiculturalism, subjectivism, political correctness, and critical theory boiled down to an operative ideology designed to combat independent minds and individualism and reason. The Cujo Meme is based on altruism: Surrender your values in the name of peace; if you refuse, you are a heartless warmonger. Or a racist.  Man bites dog, gets infected. Or, dog bites man, infecting the man.

If anyone in the State Department had any movie-making skills, they'd produce movies that would be in sync with what Hollywood's put out for years.

And if anyone in Hollywood had diplomatic skills (not that the actual practitioners have many), our foreign policy is exactly what we see today.

Gazan "photo journalists" are adept at faking reality, just as Hollywood is when it comes to politics, and just as our foreign policy is when dealing with reality. After all, as they say in Hollywood and Foggy Bottom, mind creates reality, and if there's to be "peace" in the world, our minds must be in sync.

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