I like the Drudge Report. A days worth of browsing condensed into a 20 seconds. One headline linked to a "right wing entertainment network". Kelsey Grammar is the face in front. I don't know what "right wing entertainment" is. Rocky? Rambo? John Wayne Movies? Anything rejected from Lifetime Channel? I dunno.
My favorite quote in the ABC news article about this channel came from an Ithica College journalism professor and "liberal activist". "Comedy requires irony. It can't be frothing with hate or fear. Drama requires complexity. It can't all be black or white".
Apparently, he means to infer that if you are a right winger, then you must be frothing with hate and fear and see the world in black and white. Right? I am glad I don't live in that paradigm, where I neatly categorize folks into bigots and idiots based on their political beliefs. My life is much richer by having friends that I can argue with that righteously (or lefteously) believe in things that I don't necessarily hold to be self-evident.
On a more entertaining note, the debate over the Mosque at Ground Zero and the Florida Evangelical Church wanting to burn a copy of the Koran has a lot more life to it than I would have thought.
I find it insensitive to build a Mosque at ground zero. I wouldn't do it. Likewise, I find it insensitive to burn a Koran. I wouldn't do it. I think here, in the US, everyone is within their rights to be insensitive assholes. That seems to be the point of the lessons. Point made. Thus sayeth the Lord.
A few fun facts about the Koran. It is comprised of tracts given to Mohammed straight from God. It is ordered non-chronologically, but rather from generally longer tracts to shorter tracts known as "suras". It was ordered to be compiled from an oral tradition after the death of Mohammed by Caliph Abu Bakir. Umar, the second Caliph and Uthmar, the third, carried on the archiving until Uthmar saw that several dialectics were being presented in various versions. He compared the various versions to the one that was held by Hafsa, Mohammed's widow and Umar's daughter. He transcribed it and burned all other copies in a sort of Nicene Convention without the pesky committees. It is considered perfect by Moslems. When it contradicts itself, as perfect literature is wont to do, the later tract is considered to be the last word. In other words, the shorter tract wins out. Salman Rushdie's book "The Satanic Verses", the one that got him a death sentence, and got several of his publishers or translators attacked or killed, concerns a tract where Mohammed, in an effort to appease his wife's tribe, allows prayers to Allah to be passed via three pagan Goddesses as intercessionaries before realizing that by doing so, he had undermined his perfect religion, and then stated that THAT particular conversation was not with God, but Satan who tricked him into thinking he was God.
In any case, it is considered to be extrinsically comprehensible only in Arabic, and to contain up to seven layers of sublime interpretation, called Ta'wil, which may help us understand why so much controversy exists over what, exactly, the Koran says. The Sunni tradition says that only God understands what is truly revealed within, whereas the Shia tradition says that Imams can be trained enough and of clean enough soul to glean the meaning and to recite it to others. However, this is problematic because many Imams are not on the same page, so to speak, so this might suggest a win for Sunniism.
Most of the suras begin with the Basmala, which alludes to a kind and most merciful God, but the ninth does not. The 9th sura is a dark and stormy story that isn't at all kind or merciful to those that don't acknowledge Mohammed and Allah as their brand of liturgical sustenance. It is this sura that drives much of the more aggressive posturing in the name of the book.
Given that I am not an Arab speaker, much is lost to me anyhow. I wonder what version the Branch Floridians intend to burn? If it is only really the word of God in its original Arabic, does burning an english language version comprise only a pesky impertinence rather than a truly egregious and blasphemous mocking of God's Voice? Burning the Cliff's Notes version of Garp isn't exactly like burning Garp, is it? I'll leave that question to the Imams, but only those fluent in Arabic AND English, since they would be the only ones in the position to judge.
In any case, my favorite solution to the whole mess is to build a gay bar next to the newly planned Mosque. Who could possibly complain at this point?