Author Topic: In the New Yorker...  (Read 490055 times)

Offline Jeff Wrangler

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 27,123
  • "He somebody you cowboy'd with?"
Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #340 on: August 09, 2011, 01:03:32 pm »
I am currently reading the article in the August 8 issue about the mission to take out Osama bin Laden. All American taxpayers should be pleased to learn that the White House orders sandwich platters from Costco instead of from some place more expensive.  ;D

On a much, MUCH more serious note, it troubles me to read the quotations indicating that the bin Laden raid was carried out "for God and Country." For "Country" by all means, but, to keep this short, the "God" part troubles me because I think every reference to the Almighty lends credence to claims by radical Islamic fundamentalists that the West is on some sort of "crusade" against Islam.

I simply won't go into what I as a Christian feel about that reference to God, but I will assure you that I'm not in favor of it.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline serious crayons

  • BetterMost Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 18,440
Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #341 on: August 09, 2011, 11:48:39 pm »
I am currently reading the article in the August 8 issue about the mission to take out Osama bin Laden.

I've heard this is a really good piece. Looking forward to it.

Quote
All American taxpayers should be pleased to learn that the White House orders sandwich platters from Costco instead of from some place more expensive.  ;D

Yes, and thank goodness that meanwhile the Tea Party is preserving the right of the wealthy-American community to order their sandwiches from [insert name of restaurant so swanky that I've never even heard of it because I won't be able to afford to eat there in my lifetime].

Quote
On a much, MUCH more serious note, it troubles me to read the quotations indicating that the bin Laden raid was carried out "for God and Country." For "Country" by all means, but, to keep this short, the "God" part troubles me because I think every reference to the Almighty lends credence to claims by radical Islamic fundamentalists that the West is on some sort of "crusade" against Islam.

I simply won't go into what I as a Christian feel about that reference to God, but I will assure you that I'm not in favor of it.

Excellent point. That's troubling to read as a non-Christian, too. For the reason you mention, but also because people holding the notion that there is a God who takes sides in the ridiculous wars on Earth have always disgusted me. Even when, from my POV, my own side seems clearly morally superior (the North in the Civil War; the Allies in WWII) it is disgusting to assume that God would be monitoring things from on high and have an opinion on the preferred outcome (in which case, why wouldn't God intervene on behalf of the "good" side and avoid the war entirely?).

And it's particularly repulsive in this case, because when Americans hear Islamic terrorists say they're fighting on behalf of Allah or because they expect to get 72 virgins in Heaven or whatever, Americans typically find it ridiculous. But -- and here's the repulsive part -- not because it's ridiculous for anyone to think that God's on their side exclusively, but because they think it's ridiculous to think that God is on THEIR (Islam's) side, when clearly (they think) God is on their own side. And they might not have 72 virgins in Heaven, but gosh darn it they'll have wings and a harp.



Offline Jeff Wrangler

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 27,123
  • "He somebody you cowboy'd with?"
Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #342 on: August 10, 2011, 08:43:20 am »
I've heard this is a really good piece. Looking forward to it.

It really is very good.

Quote
And it's particularly repulsive in this case, because when Americans hear Islamic terrorists say they're fighting on behalf of Allah or because they expect to get 72 virgins in Heaven or whatever, Americans typically find it ridiculous. But -- and here's the repulsive part -- not because it's ridiculous for anyone to think that God's on their side exclusively, but because they think it's ridiculous to think that God is on THEIR (Islam's) side, when clearly (they think) God is on their own side. And they might not have 72 virgins in Heaven, but gosh darn it they'll have wings and a harp.

When "they" try to turn their fight, not to say their episodes of mass murder and atrocity, into whatever is the Islamic equivalent of a "crusade" on behalf of Allah, it can be very, VERY difficult not to respond in kind.  :(
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline serious crayons

  • BetterMost Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 18,440
Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #343 on: August 10, 2011, 09:19:13 am »
When "they" try to turn their fight, not to say their episodes of mass murder and atrocity, into whatever is the Islamic equivalent of a "crusade" on behalf of Allah, it can be very, VERY difficult not to respond in kind.  :(

Perhaps. But of course the mature response is to note the flaw in the idea itself, not to indulge in it equally.


Offline Jeff Wrangler

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 27,123
  • "He somebody you cowboy'd with?"
Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #344 on: August 10, 2011, 10:31:59 am »
Perhaps. But of course the mature response is to note the flaw in the idea itself, not to indulge in it equally.

Of course. My point is really the struggle against the knee-jerk, gut-level urge to respond likewise, to respond, in effect, "OK, you want a Holy War? We'll give you a Holy War!"

Heh. Even without indulging in the rhetoric of Holy War and Crusade, after the events of last weekend I think there is a visceral desire to bomb Afghanistan back into the Stone Age--and to wonder whether anybody other than the Afghanis, and maybe the Pakistanis, would really care?  :(
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Front-Ranger

  • BetterMost Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 25,373
  • Brokeback got us good.
Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #345 on: August 10, 2011, 03:27:34 pm »
I am currently reading the article in the August 8 issue about the mission to take out Osama bin Laden. All American taxpayers should be pleased to learn that the White House orders sandwich platters from Costco instead of from some place more expensive.  ;D

On a much, MUCH more serious note, it troubles me to read the quotations indicating that the bin Laden raid was carried out "for God and Country." For "Country" by all means, but, to keep this short, the "God" part troubles me because I think every reference to the Almighty lends credence to claims by radical Islamic fundamentalists that the West is on some sort of "crusade" against Islam.

I simply won't go into what I as a Christian feel about that reference to God, but I will assure you that I'm not in favor of it.

That phrase was regrettable. The person who said it, who had just killed "Geronimo" was probably not thinking about the full ramifications of what he was saying. Perhaps he just meant that what was done was for moral as well as political reasons.

The article was one of those that you just can't put down!!
Too much to do. . .I don't have time to get old!

Offline Jeff Wrangler

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 27,123
  • "He somebody you cowboy'd with?"
Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #346 on: August 10, 2011, 03:48:59 pm »
The article was one of those that you just can't put down!!

You can say that twice and mean it!
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Front-Ranger

  • BetterMost Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 25,373
  • Brokeback got us good.
Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #347 on: August 10, 2011, 05:04:11 pm »
Too much to do. . .I don't have time to get old!

Offline serious crayons

  • BetterMost Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 18,440
Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #348 on: August 13, 2011, 03:25:17 am »
I actually really liked the article immediately after that, the one by Adam Gopnik about how dogs became dogs (it's thought that wolves started hanging around human settlements to scavenge food; the more friendly ones got fed and rewarded and eventually taken in and, through inadvertent selective breeding of the friendlier ones, become more and more pet-like). I read a National Geographic article a few weeks ago that indicates scientists are now deliberately doing the same thing with foxes. You can't usually take a wild animal in and train it to behave like a pet, but in some cases apparently you can breed it to become a pet after several generations. So they've created foxes that act like friendly dogs.

An interesting but unmentioned sidenote to that piece: At one point, Gopnik mentions that some people tend to describe dog thinking in really mechanical terms (e.g., they act loving to their owners because they get rewarded with food, etc.), and notes that at one time we thought babies didn't have much in the way of nuanced thoughts and feelings, either. But now scientists have discovered that babies actually do complex inner lives (though, like dogs, they aren't based on language). What he doesn't say is that his sister, Alison Gopnik, is a nationally renowned researcher in this very field. She co-wrote "The Scientist in the Crib." I interviewed her a couple of times.


Offline Jeff Wrangler

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 27,123
  • "He somebody you cowboy'd with?"
Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #349 on: August 13, 2011, 05:17:26 pm »
I actually really liked the article immediately after that, the one by Adam Gopnik about how dogs became dogs.

I liked that article, too. I rather like the notion that perhaps humans didn't choose dogs, that instead dogs chose us.  ;D
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.