Archive for December 5th, 2005

Ferns

Like I was saying, ‘God’ is making a comeback of sorts.

Some of his Irish representatives are the subject of Colm Tóibín’s piece on The Ferns Report in the current London Review of Books.

(PS If you haven’t read The Master yet, you really ought to think about it.)

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He’s Back

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that God, or rather ‘God’, is making a comeback, perhaps to coincide with Christmas and the release of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

Kingdom of Heaven didn’t perform so well at the box office, perhaps due to the contentious subject matter, and also because it was crap, so ‘He’ is pinning his hopes on the tale (tail?) of the Christ-like figure of Aslan (no, not Christy Dignam) to spread his word.

Polly Toynbee flagellates the film, and its promoters, in a rather OTT piece today. She takes particular issue with Aslan’s reappearance, which mimics that of the Christian resurrection, and snarls:

Of all the elements of Christianity, the most repugnant is the notion of the Christ who took our sins upon himself and sacrificed his body in agony to save our souls. Did we ask him to?

Cripes. Baby Jesus must be shedding a tear reading that.

Semantic Traps

Zbigniew Brzezinski, who could hardly be classed as a dyed-in-the-wool commie rat Islamofascist sympathiser, examines George W. Bush’s resort to rhetoric equating communist totalitarianism and Islamic extremism.

The analogy to communism may have some short-term political benefit, for it can rekindle the fears of the past while casting the president in the mold of the historic victors of the Cold War, from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan. But the propagation of fear also has a major downside: It can produce a nation driven by fear, lacking in self-confidence and thus less likely to inspire trust among America’s allies, including Muslim ones, whose support is needed for an effective and intelligent response to the terrorist phenomenon.

He continues:

America would be better served if Bush avoided semantic traps that create uncertainty about our true motives or fuel the worst suspicions regarding U.S. strategy in the Middle East. Neither Islamophobic terminology nor evocations of the victorious struggle with communism help generate a better public understanding of what policies are needed in order to pacify the Middle East and to speed the fading away of terrorism, whose origins lie mostly in that region of the world. Americans need to hear more of what Bush was saying not long ago to the United Nations and less of what he has been propagating lately in the United States.


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