21 August 2010


EXTREMISM. Continuing the fractured, sometimes demented, and occasionally inspired discussion of the so-called Ground Zero Mosque (see "There is no Ground Zero mosque" commentary by Keith Olbermann) -- comedian Jon Stewart introduces a number of glaring inconsistencies in the reasoning of the Muslim center's opponents, including a brilliant counter-argument modeled after statements by Charlton Heston, who used adherence to the US Constitution as his rationale for passionately inisisting on holding the NRA's national convention in Denver, near the site of the Columbine massacre. Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander.

I find it disturbing that savage anti-Muslim rhetoric is spreading across the country -- rhetoric which distorts Islam beyond recognition. I question not only the motives but also the intelligence of Anyone who insists that "all (insert name of group) are (insert derogatory descriptor)." Sweeping generalizations like "all Muslims are terrorists," or "all Mexicans are lazy," or "all blacks are shiftless," or "all Jews are greedy," or "all women are bitches," or "all men are pigs," only reflect the lazy, irresponsible and bigoted thinking of the speaker.

The rising tide of Muslim-bashing in this country reminds me of the anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany, the genocidal thinking among Croats and Serbs in the former Yugoslavia, or the simple-minded racism directed against Asians in this country during World War II. It is a discredit to our humanity, and a betrayal of the founding principles of this democratic republic, to indulge in such ugliness. I'm thankful that a few well-known individuals like Olbermann and Stewart are not afraid to take a stand against paranoia and ignorance. With a little less mindless venom, and a little more compassionate tolerance, the world's real problems would be much more easily solved.

TAPE ART. You might want to place a hand beneath your jaw, so that it doesn't hit the floor when you scroll through these creative and original depictions of famous people using an unusual medium. You'll see what I mean. Enjoy.

META-SCIENCE. Well, more like meta-websites which direct the user to an array of blogs and news websites devoted to science. Here are two -- Science Blogging Aggregate and Alltop. Browsing through either is like being a kid in a candy store. Again, enjoy.

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