So that make two this year, for France. As with the last incident, the violence itself is bad enough, but the discursive aftermath is just intolerable. Today I ended up on the Mother Jones’ website where, I kid you not, the most sensible thing that was said by anyone was said by ANN COULTER. (Is this where you want to be, American Left? Because I think you should be doing better.)
I have a special message for each and every one of you.
Gun nuts: no, fewer restrictions on gun ownership would NOT have prevented this tragedy. And for that subset of you that says stuff about the victims like “when you think about they committed suicide, these people” can fuck the fuck off. Do you even have any human parts?
It’s extra important to keep guns out of the hands of people like you. You are the reason for gun control.
You are the reason for birth control.
Pray for Paris (and also the fucking pope): A person who posts this as a response to religiously motivated violence has not, at some basic level, even understood what has happened. Think it through. This is an offensive thing to say.
And how is it supposed to work, anyway? Is your imaginary friend going to beat up their imaginary friend? Because if so, he might have chosen to do that, oh, say, YESTERDAY.1 Or are you choosing this moment to make an implicit claim that your imaginary friend is so much better than their imaginary friend? Because dude, SO NOT THE MOMENT.2
Also, as usual, this is a campaign and a hash tag in English. God3 forbid that you LISTEN to the French about who they are and how they feel and what they want and what they need in this moment and then, like, provide that. You know, the way support works. No, no, it’s more important that you establish yourself as a caring person in front of all your social media pseudo-friends. If people had done this kind of cultural imperialism to, say, Syria, we would all be hearing about racism and american exceptionalism and noam fucking chomsky. But it’s fine to do it to the French. They may be different from americans, but any differences are, rest assured, actually just deficiencies.
We’re a secular state, and we want to stay that way. We’re willing to stick up for it even in the face of maniacs with machine guns. Please take your bullshit prayers somewhere else.
And a special note for the pope: you are part of the problem. A BIG part. Don’t EVEN think you can ride this one. Who the fuck do you even think you are?
Racist FN nutjobs: Ugh.
Where to even start with this? I guess, hi, you know those people fleeing their countries on cardboard rafts for Europe? THIS IS WHAT THEY ARE RUNNING AWAY FROM. The people committing these acts? As far as we know, they’re FRENCH. You know, like you are.
Actually, you guys have a lot in common. You should hang out.
The american “left”: you piss me off the most. You say, this has nothing to do with religion, and I say, have you been dropped on your head? I say, this is why no one takes you seriously. I say, if you abandon the sensible discourse about what to do to the racist FN nutjobs (see above), then they will decide what to do, and this, for a change, will actually be ALL YOUR FAULT.
The people who did this are muslims. Read their statement. They have imams, they have a caliph, they cite the koran. They SAY they are muslims. You cannot, in the face of this, be like, oh, but they’re not REAL muslims, partly because it simply defies logic and common sense but also partly because of three other reasons that I do not think you are really thinking through, because thinking is apparently no longer a part of what we do on the american left.
Reason the first: who decides who’s a real muslim, having his faith “stolen” from him, and who is a fake muslim, not doing it right? You? Are you seriously going to sort muslims now into real and not-real, even though you yourself have NO TIES TO ISLAM? Now who’s a big cultural imperialist? It’s just their culture, but I decide who gets a culture and who doesn’t? You are absolutely full of shit on this, and you are not on the right side of racism with it, either, despite what you say.
You are saying, when you engage in this bullshit, that white, middle-class, american university professors are allowed to enjoy the privilege of knowing their own minds and being taken at their word, while third world muslim “children” are undertheorized and too stupid to know what they are doing or why they are doing it. You are saying that they cannot be trusted, even about their own mistakes. You are saying that, like children or the profoundly retarded or the mentally ill, these people are not responsible for their own actions. This is not the case, and what’s more it’s gone so far around the politically correct bend that it’s back 180 degrees at racist. You don’t get to tell people whom you have never met and know nothing about, in the absence of any and all evidence, indeed, in the presence of powerful and convincing counter-evidence, that they do not mean what they say, think what they think, or believe what they believe because of their religious or ethnic identity.
Why not? BECAUSE IT’S RACIST. Hi. This is me, calling you out. How do you like me now, you motherfucking hypocrite?
Reason the second: not everything is about you, america. I know that you THINK you believe this, but you don’t.4 ISIS is not a CIA funded organization. The assassinations in Paris two days ago are not a psyops operation to impose the power of a dictatorial state with security theater. The passport was not planted. Or, your softer version which says, because we’ve systematically fucked up in the middle east, everything must be all out fault. Hey, everything is probably actually deserved. We EARNED this shit. Here’s news: you may be the world’s worst citizen, but that doesn’t mean that your overinflated claims of self-importance and world domination are actually true to the letter, and that no one else has any agency at all. Things are complicated, if nothing else.
And as for those of you who think this is deserved, that the victims ASKED FOR IT, that they HAD IT COMING, I invite you to take a gander up at the tail end of the message for the gun nut people.5
Reason the third: once you say that there is a real way to be a religion and a not-real way, instead of accepting that a religion is the sum of its existence and actions in the world, you have ceded the war. You have now conceded that there is a magic book, that it tells people how to live, that this is an okay state of affairs, and that tribal in-fighting that sorts people into proper muslims and not proper muslims6 is not only perfectly okay, it’s actually a desirable state of affairs. You are pretending that a mass delusion that lives inside people’s heads is a verifiable fact about the external world that can be evaluated using evidence. Even atheists do this, and it boggles my mind. Islam is a religion of whatever its members do and believe. Period. If some of them blow people up, and others get on with their lives, then it’s a religion both of blowing people up and of living peacefully with one’s neighbors, because any other yardstick is either racist or relies on access to someone’s imaginary friend. Progressive people shouldn’t be doing either of these things.
The american “left” again: Let’s also discuss the whole — you should feel terrible about being upset about Paris when people are dying in Keyna and you didn’t care, now did you, you racist scumsucker — reaction. I’ll for the moment assume that this is a legitimate question and not yet another way to suggest that dead people in France count for shit. Why do we care more about Paris than Kenya?
Well, for me, personally, two reasons. First, because the country I lived in was attacked, and strange as it may seem, that does make a difference. Are you seriously going to get on my dick about that? SERIOUSLY? Especially since I never see a peep out of you about Kenya. If this were this person’s genuine passion, okay. But it’s not; it’s another reason why everything you do is wrong, and why you shouldn’t feel bad about France, because France had it coming.
But secondly, because online finger-wagging scolds like these people are the same ones who tell me when I post links to incidents like this one that I am being racist and islamophobic. Remember the stories about Boko Haram? Remembe bring back our girls? Because I do, and it went like this: where are the positive stories about Africa, about the Middle East, about Islam? Why must I cherry pick the bad things? Not all muslims and don’t I know that Islam is a religion of peace and that everyone in it, including the imams who oppress and torture people, including millions of other muslims, is completely powerless (the power to behead and imprison being, apparently, fake)? There were also those posts about a guy in saudi arabia who got a thousand lashes for writing a blog which suggested that the clergy were wrong about astrophysics, which were met with the chirping of a thousand virtual crickets.
So which is it, shame guy?
It’s like the new puritanism. You’re a bad person, you’ll never be not racist enough, you’ll always fail to be good, and you should feel horrible. If you need a quick refresher in how far the racism ruler extends, take a look at some of the scarier subreddits and then get back to me about scolding people for feeling horrible about a mass murder. It’s one thing to stand up to racism. It’s another to systematically shame people who mean no harm, who have questions, or who are trying their best to be good and polite and respectful and make what you deem an error of etiquette, even though last week it was the recommended strategy. It’s exhausting keeping up with the new PC, and it really shouldn’t be, because people on the whole (muslim and otherwise) are simply NOT THAT BAD. Telling them that there is no difference between lynching someone and using the wrong pronoun is not only unhelpful, it’s also straight up mean. And often, it’s also an illegitimate exercise of power. This is not how you win hearts and minds.
If you care about Kenya, then care about Kenya. But don’t use their pain to make yourself look good on facebook. Because fuck you.
Now go forth, the lot of you, and STOP PISSING ME OFF.7
1Or, you know, like 2000 years ago.
2Actually, it’s never the moment for this, but especially not now. Gross. Do you really think your weird ass belief without evidence trumps actual dead people? SERIOUSLY?
3Or ceiling cat forbid. It’s hard wired into our damned language.
4Oh hey, see what I did there? Yeah. Except that unlike you, I have evidence, in the form of your actions. Cf. Aristotle on the difference between what people say and what they actually do. I know, so very passé, so very dead white male. Look it up anyway, it’s relevant.
5Also, what the fuck is it with you people and France? Suddenly we’re responsible for your foreign wars of aggression? We have it coming because you invaded Iraq? Does not a one of you remember freedom fries? If you think this is deserved, go shoot your own citizens. We’re not your scapegoat, and we’re not your bitch.
6Just start calling them apostates, and you can join ISIS.
7Not only do we not want your prayers, we also don’t want your fucking buttcoin. Why do americans always think the answer to everything is more money? If you lost a loved one to a terrorist shooting, would a 30 cent changetip seriously make you feel better? Bite me, loser.