Monday, February 21, 2011

photo: Matt Marble

The Meanest of Them Sparkled

How to View the Judge the Koran Day through the Words of Flannery O’Connor


How Jihadists Cannot Avoid Doing the Christian God’s Will

"The meanest of them sparkled" in Flannery O'Connor's fictive world. Next month a special edition of Poignant Conservatives Power Rankings will explore how that phrase and many others from O'Connor's fiction and prose can offer provocative insights into how to view the controversial "Judge the Koran Day" of Rev. Terry Jones. The poignarbiter will attend the proceedings in Gainesville, Florida on March 20 and offer blog postings immediately before and after the event. This website will provide a link to watch the event unfold live on streaming video.

It would be easy to dismiss Rev. Terry Jones, who gained global notoriety last September by threatening to burn copies of the Koran, as an O’Connor-like grotesque. What with his backwoods Fu Manchu, his defamed past and his intolerance toward Muslims, Rev. Jones seems to incarnate elements of multiple O’Connor characters. It would not be difficult to imagine O’Connor’s description of the preacher father of Hazel Motes in Wise Blood, who had “Jesus hidden in his head like a stinger,” assigned to Rev. Jones.

O’Connor said that a writer “may not consider his characters any more freakish than ordinary fallen man,” but readers will demand to know “why he has chosen to bring such maimed souls alive.”

Why would this blog, particularly when incivility is so rampant, call attention to a two-bit, self-promoting, Islam-baiting, England-banned, universally-condemned “maimed soul” like Rev. Terry Jones? Can his “Judge the Koran Day” offer anything positive? Can a disrespectful huckster peddling extreme religious fervor contribute even a moment of divine favor? If we consider the words of Flannery O’Connor in responding to these questions, the answers are weighty and far from easy. If we’re going to find grace and piety, some sort of equilibrium in the world, it’s going to hurt.

“Grace must wound before it can heal,” O’Connor said. “It must be dark and divisive before it can be warm and binding.”

“This notion that grace is healing,” she wrote, “omits the fact that before it heals, it cuts with the sword Christ said he came to bring.”

“In my stories,” O’Connor wrote, “a reader will find that the devil accomplishes a good deal of the groundwork that seems to be necessary before grace is effective.”

Flannery O’Connor concurred with Teilhard de Chardin’s assertion in the Divine Milieu that “God must, in some way or other, make room for Himself, hollowing us out and emptying us, if He is finally to penetrate into us.” We must be reamed out, royally, before redemption.

Flannery O’Connor wrote that the “devil’s greatest wile, Baudelaire has said, is to convince us that he does not exist.” These days even the South is less “Christ-haunted” than when O’Connor lived. The devil seems to have finally convinced us that neither he nor God exists.

In 1957 Flannery O’Connor said “writers who see by the light of their Christian faith will have, in these times, the sharpest eyes for the grotesque, for the perverse, and for the unacceptable.” Today, her feeling would only be intensified. She said, “you have to make your vision apparent by shock-to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost blind you draw large and startling figures.”

“Judge the Koran Day” will bring some chaos. We’ll see a widely discredited preacher who severed his ties to a German church that he founded after a variety of accusations and who was fined by the German government for using the title of an honorary doctorate degree. We’ll also hear indictments of Islam. As the bloggers at Bare Naked Islam would say, it’s not really xenophobia if the foreigners or strangers are trying to kill you. And we’ll hear about how peaceful Islam has been abrogated by the Verse of the Sword.

The poignarbiter has found only a single reference to Islam in Flannery O’Connor’s prose. Yet it seems telling. She wrote about Muhammad Ali, who in 1964 she called Cassius Clay, and his avoidance of hate. O’Connor said, “Cassius is too good for the Moslems.” By implication, what does that say about Islam and hate?

Next month’s blog, The Meanest of them Sparkled, will demonstrate how the words of Flannery O’Connor can suggest that Muslim martyrs are the punch line of a cruel cosmic joke. The bitter irony is that jihadists, spiritual wanderers like O’Connor’s havoc-wreaking characters, are unable to avoid doing O’Connor’s Christian God’s will.

It is akin to the terrorists of September 11 finding that the 72 virgins that await them in paradise all look like Helen Thomas.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Guess what? Obama has a fever and the only prescription is...more electric cars!

Here is the poignarbiter's favorite commentary on tonight's SOTU:

1. Ace of Spades at Ace of Spades HQ: "Death Toll for Paul Ryan's Hateful Incitement Stands at Zero, But is Expected to Climb."

2. Allahpundit at Hot Air: "The SOTU is the political equivalent of the Pro Bowl: No one cares and practically no one watches."

3. Michelle Malkin at Michelle Obama: “If you want to make a difference, become a teacher.” Malkin: "And if you want to be strangled with red tape and insane health care law regulations, become a doctor."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Climate of Hate UPDATES:

This week a correspondent at CNN unwittingly uttered the word "crosshairs" on air, John King apologized profusely and 45 people were murdered in America. However, in just another example of anti-Palin morbidity, Byron York of the Washington Examiner reported, that "crosshairs" has been used incessantly on CNN, "including on Tuesday, the day of John King's statement, when one brief discussion of Palin used the word 'crosshairs' five times."

Chicago Boyz has some interesting reporting about a recent assassination that received no national media attention. The intended target was Republican Gov. Jay Nixon of Missouri, the attacker was a dope-smoking, Che Guevara-quoting G 20 summit-protesting leftist and the assassin murdered the wrong person. Michael Kennedy at Chicago Boyz said "even Keith Olbermann would have had a hard time turning Brezik (the assassin) into a tea partier."

Monday, January 17, 2011

From tragedy can come poignancy.

1. Glenn Reynolds was seemingly the first to use the term "blood libel" in connection with the recent Tucson shooting in his outstanding The Arizona Tragedy and the Politics of Blood Libel for the Wall Street Journal. When Sarah Palin used it, the left was quick to impugn with familiar anti-Palin morbidity. Alan Dershowitz and other Jewish leaders dispelled the idea that she had misused it. But the appropriate use of "blood libel" in the Palin statement was further evidence of the left's engaging, like the Arizona shooter, in "lucid dreaming." Left-wingers somehow created a "climate of hate" alternate reality. Only in an induced dreaming state could a dope-smoking, anti-religious, 9/11-truthing Anti-flag listener be linked to conservatives and "blood libel" be deemed incorrect. Reynolds decried those "who would seize on any pretext, however flimsy, to call their political opponents accomplices to murder." The Washington Post's 44 blog, at 1:48 pm ET, no more than ninety eight minutes after the Arizona shooter squeezed off his first rounds, seized upon the notion that Rep. Giffords and others "were the subject of harassment over their support of the national health care overhaul," as if it had something to do with the shooting. As Glenn Reynolds suggested, the media was rather more circumspect when Maj. Nadal began firing at Fort Hood.

2. Roger L. Simon pointed out The Sixties Were Violent, Not Today on Pajamas Media. In the Sixties, Simon said, radical leftists were guilty of "hurling Molotov cocktails, setting off fatal bombs, and shooting police." Today, however, "there hasn't been any real right-wing violence...It's all a charade." Forty plus years later, how many of the radical leftists of the Sixties, from the SDS and its more violent Weather Underground faction, are now associates of the President and the Democrat party? A bunch. Obama's disgraced communist former green jobs czar Van Jones connects, superficially, Obama to most of the former SDS. Check out the excellent work of Stanley Kurtz at National Review and Trevor Loudon at his New Zeal blog. But others are more closely co-mingled. We know about Weathermen Bill Ayers and his wife Bernadine Dohrn, implicated in bombings of a New York police headquarters, the U. S. Capitol and the Pentagon. There's Jeff Jones (Weather Underground) who co-founded the Apollo Alliance, credited by Sen. Harry Reid in "helping us develop" the stimulus bill. Carl Pope (SDS) is on the Board of Directors of the Apollo Alliance. Heather Booth (SDS) was the Training Director for the Democrat National Committee. Her husband, Paul Booth (SDS) is assistant to the President of AFSCME, a politically influential public employees union. Andy Stern (SDS) is the former head of SEIU and frequent White House visitor. Wade Rathke (SDS) founded Obama's ACORN cohorts. Don't forget Obama supporter Tom Hayden (SDS), former Democrat Senator from California. And then there's the radical professor Frances Fox Piven. Certainly some of these Sixties radicals have repudiated their activism and violent pasts, but most have not. After all, you can put lip gloss on an underarm-unshaven, ho ho ho chi minh off the pig-chanting, braless radical, but she's still a...well, you know.

3. Van Helsing at Moonbattery reprised Jonathon Seidel's post at The Blaze with his Overheated Rhetoric? Try Frances Fox Piven. It would be easy to dismiss Piven, an unabashed Socialist, as a warmed-over relic of the Sixties. Back then, Piven and her husband Richard Cloward proposed a strategy to sabotage the welfare system in order to create a political and financial crisis. But this woman was instrumental in getting the Motor Voter Act passed. She was present when President Clinton signed the bill in 1993 and she received one of the signing pens. Just weeks ago, in her virulent "Mobilizing the Jobless" editorial for The Nation, she questioned "where are the angry crowds, the demonstrations, sit-ins and unruly mobs?" Van Helsing said "too bad no one ever let go with this kind of ranting onstage at a tea party" event.

4. Shannon Love at Chicago Boyz posted The Hypocritical Civility of Power. According to Love, "the leftist leaders of today were the vitriolic outsiders of the '70's." Now, however, "leftists are the establishment." Now, 'progressives' fight for the past and established policies while 'conservatives' fight for the future and innovation." Without the "unashamedly passionate" discourse that Love described, the poignarbiter believes we'll awake one day to find we reside in Capitulationistan, the exploited dhimmi of the left.

5. Frank J. Fleming at IMAO offered Time for the Left to Admit They Have a Problem with Free Speech. He claimed that with the left, "it soon becomes apparent that anything against them" becomes "heated rhetoric" and should be curtailed. As demonstrated by NPR's firing of Juan Williams, the left cannot even abide another leftist who has suffered the contagion of Fox News. By the way, when the term "liberal" became a pejorative in the early 1990's, liberals resurrected the term "progressive" which had been disgraced in the 1948 election. In 1948, Al Wallace was the presidential candidate of the Progressive Party and was endorsed by the Communist Party. Although his party was rife with communists, Wallace failed to exclude them from his campaign and "progressive" subsequently fell into disfavor. Apparently, enough time had elapsed since the Cold War that liberals in Congress were able to apply the moniker again. But that was during the heady days B. G. B. (before Glenn Beck). The poignarbiter considered using "illiberal" after the Juan Williams incident. But now, "Dupnik" seems more appropriate, in honor of the Pima County Democrat sheriff who ignored the facts of his very visible case in order to make a political statement.

6. Ace of Spades at Ace of Spades HQ provided a list of perpetrators whom the left had hoped, before they were identified, would be right-wingers in his Hillary Clinton: "Loughner Is An Extremist;" Blames Shootings on "Crazy Voices" That "Get on TV" post. These included the DC snipers, the IRS plane-bomber, the Discovery Channel shooter, the Times Square bomber, the census worker found hanged with the word "FED" written on him, the Fort Hood shooter and Loughner. To the left's profound dismay, none panned out.

7. Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch demonstrated a "Leftist/Islamic supremacist convergence" in consecutive Hamas-linked CAIR, which has publicized fake anti-Muslim hate crimes, blames Giffords shooting on "inflammatory political rhetoric" and Islamic sermons motivated killer of politician who opposed Pakistani blasphemy law posts. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) joined the Dupnik parade even while Pakistanis celebrated the accused murderer of a politician who sought to reform blasphemy laws.

8. Diana West, on her blog, highlighted how a "Danish prosecutor is attempting to enforce Islamic blasphemy laws, which outlaw all criticism of Islam," in a The Lights Are Going Out in Denmark post. In Denmark, Lars Hedegaard has been arrested "for discussing the high incidence of family rape within Islamic cultures, which the prosecutor is attempting to outlaw as 'racism'." As West put it, "where mandarins of the left and mullahs of sharia so conspire, we risk a kind of double-dhimmification in acquiescence."

9. Andrew G. Bostom also posted about the plight of Lars Hedegaard in his Will Conservative Media Elites Defend Lars Hedegaard? for Pajamas Media. Bostom said to conservative talkers and editorial boards: "your continued silence is craven and hypocritical." Bostom said, "Islamic religio-political doctrine does not recognize individual liberties...Is it now Denmark's standard as well?" The left's own religio-political doctrine, which the poignarbiter will call Dupnikism, seems as much a religion as Islam. Dupnikism has its own sharia and blasphemy laws in the form of political correctness and "climate of hate" rhetoric. The tactics of Islam and the left are remarkably similar, to use identical charges of "racism" and "hate speech" to silence blasphemers.

10. Spengler has, in the past, advocated asymmetric warfare in the Middle East, including "promotion of competing Islamic heresies" to "sow discord." This month he exposed widespread Pashtun homosexuality in his Sodomy and Sufism in Afgaynistan for Asia Times. Spengler said that the accounts by social scientists in Afghanistan were "striking, but they place too much emphasis on the weirdness of Pashtun tradition and give too little attention to the broader role of homosexuality in Islamic (and especially Sufi) culture." Although Islam prohibits homosexuality, Spengler made a strong case that "the prevalence of homosexual pedophilia in classical Islamic poetry, Persian as well as Pashto, suggests" a religious dimension. The peculiar Afghan strain of don't ask, don't tell Allah can be very complicated.

Next month a special edition of Poignant Conservatives Power Rankings will preview the "International Judge the Quran Day" which will be held in March in Gainesville, Florida by Rev. Terry Jones. The poignarbiter has called Rev. Jones "a character who could have sprung from the pages of Flannery O'Connor." Next month's installment will analyze the pros and cons of the event through the words of O'Connor. Until then, the poignarbiter will not avoid military parlance and will attempt to stay frosty.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Poignant Conservatives Power Rankings is now on Facebook. Join us there and stay frosty.

Monday, September 27, 2010

1. Spengler The formerly anonymous Asia Times Online blogger offered a wonderful Terry Jones: asymmetrical warrior post. Spengler is the pseudonym of David P. Goldman, an economist, Bank of America executive, ex-Lyndon LaRouche devotee, former Reagan supporter and a fascinating blogger. Spengler reasoned that "a madman carrying a match and a copy of the Koran could do more damage to the Muslim world than a busload of suicide bombers," because Islam was particularly "vulnerable to theological war." Spengler gave evidence how and why “theological weapons” may prove to be effective against a “fractious” Islam. Terry Jones, of course, is a character who could have sprung from the pages of Flannery O'Connor. Part huckster, part con man, part religious zealot, Jones has "wise blood" (O’Connor’s words about one of her actual characters) and cannot escape his realization that Islam is theologically fallible.
2. Zombie This anonymous blogger had numerous excellent posts recently. In the days B.G.B. (before Glenn Beck) few knew the names Cloward and Piven, two Columbia University sociologists who, in the Sixties, intended to “destroy the economy as a necessary precursor to a more drastic redistributionist/socialist makeover of society,” by overloading government social programs. In his The Obama-Piven Strategy post, Zombie described Obama’s “muddled combination of Democratic Strategy and the Cloward-Pivan” destructiveness. His is an administration whose Science czar John Holdren speaks aloud about the “de-development” of the country. The Obama administration pushes cap and trade legislation that would eliminate millions of jobs and force energy prices to “necessarily skyrocket” (Obama’s words). How is it his administration seems to mirror the audacious hope of Sixties radicals bent on economic destruction?
3. Thomas Sowell In his Time to be Serious About National Security post on Real Clear Politics, Sowell said that “those who were thrilled” by the prospect of change that Obama peddled during his election campaign likely never realized “that it is a change for the worse-runaway government spending, under the banners of ‘stimulus’ and ‘jobs.’” Yet the most devastating changes that Obama has made, according to Sowell, are “alienating our long-time allies, … reneging on our commitments to putting up a missile shield in Eastern Europe and…doing nothing meaningful to stop the leading terror-sponsoring nation in the world, Iran, from getting nuclear weapons.” Change for the worse: you better believe it.
4. Shannon Love The Chicago Boyz blogger contributed a splendid Palin and the Left’s Status-Anxiety post. Chicago Boyz is an intelligent blog dedicated, not to the Chicago crew that currently holds the White House, but a group associated with the University of Chicago and the city, including F. A. Hayek, actually worthy of veneration. Love argued that leftists “restrict status not by merit but by conformity to their own life pattern.” Sarah Palin does not conform. But shouldn’t the President-to-be enjoy some measure of esteem for the office?
5. Victor Davis Hanson In his ‘Like a Dog’: The Origins of Barack Obama’s Petulance on Pajamas Media, Hanson described how Obama has been “singularly exempt from the usual requirements” and has been accorded “deference not warranted by actual achievement” in gaining educational opportunities, political office and even the Nobel Peace Prize. It’s discernible how one who has been gushed over so much for so little would be perturbed when the petting ceased.
6. Ace of Spades The oft-quoted, oft-cited and oft-obscene Ace of Spades and his co-bloggers were hilarious all month with posts such as Wisconsin Senate Race Moves From “Likely Republican” to “Likely Skullfuck, Face the Racists: Obama’s Town Hall 50% less Changey, 80% Less Hopey Than Expected and Obamacare Worse Than Imagined. Ace wrote that “everything they said (about Obamacare) was a lie.” Okay, we know Obama’s not a Muslim. But we also know that Obama’s father was a Muslim, his stepfather was a Muslim and he attended public school in Muslim Indonesia. How much of the teaching rubbed off on him? For instance, does Obama accept the concept of takiyya, that deception is all right as long as one deceives to promote Islam, in other words, to promote a supposedly righteous agenda? Would takiyya make it acceptable for a non-Muslim who is understandably Muslim-impressed to claim that he was bending the health care cost curve downward when, in fact, he was bending it up?
7. Frank J. Fleming Frank J. and the folks at IMAO (In My Arrogant Opinion) took a massive load of pleasure at the expense of Obama (lolbama) and the Democrats’ new logo (loldemocratlogo). Gosh, that Saul Alinsky fellow had the right idea. Ridicule can be powerful fun. Derision is a delight. Goad your opponent into doing something stupid.
8. Allahpundit As a reformed Unitarian, the poignarbiter has little use for atheists. After all, didn’t Saint Thomas Aquinas settle the dispute about the existence of God, once and for all, back in the thirteenth century? However, the atheistic and prolific Allahpundit was all over Hot Air all month, almost omnipresent or something.
9. Johnny Rotten With typical Sex Pistols aplomb, as reported at Weekly Standard, Rotten said to the Independent newspaper “If Elvis-f-ing-Costello wants to pull out of a gig in Israel because he’s suddenly got this compassion for Palestinians, then good on him…Until I see an Arab country, a Muslim country, with a democracy, I won’t understand how anyone can have a problem with how they’re treated.” God save the Queen and God save Johnny Rotten.
10. Vodkapundit Stephen Green, in his Change That Matters post on Pajamas Media, questioned the ebbing sanity of the nation. “We’re governed by Democrats,” he wrote. “That can do things to a country.” A bracing dose of Vodkapundit every once and again, helps us to stay frosty.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Has there ever been a time in this country more erosive of inalienable rights? King George would be impressed. The new installment of poignant conservatives power rankings turns to the blogosphere for its distinctions because nowadays the expectation of the poignarbiter to exit the autobahn to serfdom, to paraphrase F. A. Hayek, seems to rely upon participatory journalists. The blogosphere is a potent source of conservative poignancy. These blogs are must-reads.