I pretty much only know via books, but being persecuted appears to suck. Anne Frank, the dude in Invisible Man, every character in the field of postcolonial studies—the only good thing about these people’s situations is that they are fictional and we sympathize with them. The real lives and diaspora on which they are modeled offered no such comfort, in both cases pretty much by definition. Actual persecution is a drag, but imagined persecution—especially when it’s imagined by members of a comfortable majority—rules. You get none of the actual inconvenience of institutionalized prejudice, plus the benefits of victim status. Today is Friday, and our link section is chockablock with jerks who have convinced themselves that they are crushed under the heels of jerks. Won’t you manufacture a smug self-pity with me?
Let’s start with SS-P central: Fox News, which can barely disguise its admiration as it reports that “more than 1,000 pastors are planning to challenge the IRS next month by deliberately preaching politics ahead of the presidential election despite a federal ban on endorsements from the pulpit.” Props to Ben al-Fowlkes for the link. First of all, can we stop referring to the IRS as if it were not part of the federal government we all voted for and to whose laws we willingly submit? It’s not like we start stories with “a mugger defied the police department by punching an old lady.” Second, the participants in “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” believe that it’s unconstitutional for the government to deny tax-exempt status to churches that espouse political candidates. Obviously, situations where the most popular religion does not get special treatment are instances of religious oppression. “There’s a phenomenon occurring in America,” Pastor Jim Garlow said, “and that’s a loss of religious liberty.” He then excused himself to not pay taxes on anything.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that we can guess whom those pastors will endorse. It’s the same guy whose campaign is informally headquartered at Fox News. I intended to embed the Daily Show’s awesome Chaos on Bullshit Mountain segment about Fox’s coverage of Romney’s 47% remarks, but they have for some reason disabled the code on their homepage. Maybe it’s so they can cram in another advertisement before the video starts. Wade through them and watch. It’s worth it. You can safely skip Pink. If you hate videos, you can still enjoy this fantastic collection of Rom Com parodies—romantic comedies with Mitt Romney as the lead.
You know who really hates videos? Muslims. Our very good ally Pakistan enjoyed a day of state-sanctioned protests against the stupid Innocence of Muslims trailer yesterday, which also involved killing and police beatings. You know you have a cool society when the state sanctions protests and then dispatches police to beat the shit out of everybody anyway. For a region where pretty much everybody agrees re: Mohammed, the Middle East sure puts a lot of stock in demonstrations. Thomas Friedman, who is so humorless that he can speak candidly about anyone, has compiled a handy list of counterexamples to Khaled Ali’s claim that Muslims “never insult any prophet.” I’m sure they’ll back off now.
Meanwhile, satire proves a more efficient indictment. The Onion continues its reign of terror over real life with this fake news story that is also completely true. When was the last time you saw guys in orange robes rioting in the streets because some girl in your yoga class got a Buddha tattoo? Saigon doesn’t count.
Sorry if that freaked you out. That dude should be famous forever, though. How many thousand people would be demonstrating in Pakistan right now if demonstrating meant lighting yourself on fire instead of killing somebody else? If you find this argument unconvincing, I think I can still redeem the YouTube video as a form. Behold:
Props to everyone in America for making me like this song. Isn’t it nice to have a culture that is about more than one thing?