Yesterday I posted how infuriating I find it that all those self-styled experts immediately jumped to conclusions that the horrific terrorist attacks in Norway had an islamist background, especially since it turned out that the killer was a muslim-hating, rightwing, fundamentalist Christian. That sort of jumping to conclusions crap could even be found in the normally sane German news media, which is a far cry from the propagandistic evil of Rupert Murdoch and Fox News. I also posted that I didn’t even dare check out international news sites, because knowing the US and UK media they could only be worse.
Well, here’s some proof: This an an opinion piece from the Washington Post by a conservative commentator named Jennifer Rubin in which she uses the terrorist attacks in Norway as a jumping off point to blather about the importance of the war on terror and why the US needs a ridiculously bloated defence budget. Now I find it problematic that Ms. Rubin uses a horrific terrorist attack that killed almost a hundred people, perhaps more, as an excuse to talk about her political hobby horses. Besides, she definitely jumped to conclusions with regards to a possible islamist background, but then so did lots of journalists and self-styled experts.
Of course, it quickly turned out that everything Ms. Rubin wrote in her column was utterly and completely wrong. So what does she do? She writes a second column that is a classic fauxpology. Oops, I was wrong this time, but islamist terrorism is still a threat and besides there was a bomb explosion near the US embassy in Georgia (which according to the linked article is very likely not due to islamist terrorism either – she should at least read her own paper) and anyway, it’s not as if blonde Norwegians are a big threat to American lives, even though one turned out to be a huge threat to Norwegian lives. Well, a rightwing Christian fundamentalist Norwegian muslim hater is likely not a huge threat to Americans, true. However, the US has plenty of rightwing Christian fundamentalist muslim-haters of its own and these might well become a threat. Never mind that the Oklahoma City bombers were rightwing nutcases very similar to the Norwegian terrorist.
I’m not the only one who was disgusted by the kneejerk muslim blaming of the alleged experts paraded through the media. Charlie Brooker says more or less the same thing in The Guardian. Now I pretty much never agree with Charlie Brooker, since he always trashes the TV shows I enjoy and praises those I hate. Nonetheless, I totally agree with him in this case. Apparently, he is a better political commentator than TV critic.
Nor is it just Europeans who noticed the exceptional cluelessness of the international news media with regard to the attacks in Oslo and Utøya. Here’s Glenn Greenwald saying pretty much the same at Salon. He also adds the disturbing tidbit of information that at least as far as the US news media (and not just Fox News either, but also the normally sane New York Times) is concerned, only muslims can be terrorists these days, while any non-muslim who commits an act of terror with the intent to kill a whole lot of people is nonetheless not a terrorist according to the current US definition of the term. I suspect that the RAF, the IRA and its protestant counterparts, the Oklahoma City bombers, the Unabomber and the Christian fundamentalists who blow up abortion clinics in the US will be very relieved to hear that they are no longer considered terrorists in current US parlance, because they happen to have the wrong religion.
And now enough of political bitching. Have some links:
Proving that the Washington Post actually publishes good articles, here is a nice one on Harry Potter and Mythopoeia.
Think Progress offers another interesting perspective on Harry Potter, when Alyssa Rosenberg discusses the role and suitability of Harry Potter and Katniss Everdeen as figureheads and symbols for revolutionary movements in their respective worlds. Found via Tor.com.
Also at Tor.com, Ryan Britt complains that Star Wars is aimed more and more at children these days and has become a joke.
I’m not quite sure what to make of this. On the one hand, I have never been able to understand the appeal of neither Lego Star Wars nor The Clone Wars. And I have never viewed Star Wars as a story for children (never mind that there are plenty of non-child friendly moments throughout the series), but as a story that appeals to children and adults alike. Nonetheless, all the complaining that Star Wars has become childish reminds me of the many long-time Doctor Who fans who complained that the new series was ridiculous and aimed at children, because it featured farting aliens and references to contemporary pop culture. Never mind that Doctor Who had always included elements that appeal to children and teenagers. Quite often these embittered long time fans strike me as people with fond childhood memories of a franchise, whether Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who are something else, they have grown beyond. As adults, they want their favourite childhood franchise to become something “meaningful” like The Wire or The Sopranos, without realizing that it never was that kind of thing at all.
At Inkpunks, Wendy Wagner discusses the necessary balance between large scale epic and small scale personal storylines, using Dune as an example.
Damien G. Walter does not believe that flash fiction is the future of SFF. I’m not the world’s biggest flash fiction fan or writer, but I’m still glad about all the paying markets for flash fiction opening up. Because more markets for flash fiction means more possibilities to sell the comparatively few flash fiction stories I have written.
Over at the Pegasus Pulp blog, I posted a new round-up and dissection of indie publishing related links.