“Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.” –Aristotle
I don’t have a lot to say this week…or I have too much to say and I’m having trouble figuring out how to say it all…or I don’t have much to say. At any rate, this will be short. I’m really not in the mood to say anything important. It has not been a good week for communication. Maybe it has been two weeks now. But two very talented writers whom I admire have been victims of America’s new favorite past-time, celebrated by conservatives and liberals alike: Faux-Outrage. Faux-Outrage is a side-effect caused by watching news programs where-in puffy white-turned-red faced men yell the things about which you should be concerned at you.
My first example is Rolling Stone contributor Janet Reitman’s compelling and articulate piece about the Boston Bomber which was chosen for the cover story of Rolling Stone Magazine (allegedly after a last minute cancellation by Kanye West–Yeezus H. West, who was originally set to grace the cover) which caught the ire of the lead-singer of a band named Disturbed (a man with a similarly forgettable name). Then all hell broke loose. There were many angry people…people who claimed that Rolling Stone was trying to glorify this kid turned “terrorist”…people who clearly hadn’t read the article. When people did finally get around to reading the article, the outrage was hastily aimed at the photo…a photo that was used in the bombing coverage by the New York Times within days of the bombings. Lastly came the claim that Rolling Stone lacked the journalistic integrity needed to print pictures like the one in question on the cover of their publication without incurring the wrath of roided-out Nu-Metal heads, pundit peddlers of vapidity, and doughy cake-filled bloggers alike. By then everyone had gotten so bent out of shape they were all ready for a collective rage-baby nap, and this final claim petered out. Life is hard in America…always having to invent things about which to be angry…thanks a lot, clean water and small-pox vaccinations!
The other example, one I’ve been reading a lot about the last couple of days, is the book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth written by Reza Aslan. It is a book written by a scholar in which he discusses his educated view on the historical Jesus. Perfectly reasonable, right? Not according to Right-Wing Evangelicals who have taken the time out of their busy days to sleuth out this factoid for our shared safety: Reza Aslan is a Muslim…gasp…(says C.S. Lewis: “What a delightful name.”). How dare an educated Muslim write an historical piece about an historical figure…where does this guy think he lives, America?!? This book has upset a lot of people. If you are aware of this book and are wondering why so many people are so angered by it, join the club. I’ve been scouring the internets and World Webs to find a reasonable opinion or coherent argument against this book…so far, no luck. If you are aware of this book and you do not wonder why so many people are so angry about it, I suspect you’ve already joined a club…here’s a short video to illustrate the ridiculous dogmatic din…
In other news I went to a barbeque at my full-time friend, and sometime-guest-editor of this blog, Matt’s house and we came up with a book idea that’ll make us rich…or if not rich at least a little more infamous, which is worth its weight in gold if you ask Matt and I…but I wouldn’t if I were you. We are going to write the cliff-notes for every book about Hitler ever written. They will be short books; the main contents of which being the simple line, and I really shouldn’t be telling you this before we get our book deal, “Hitler was a dick.”