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February 10, 2013

Someone Should Tell Muslims They Weren't Raging

By: John Caruso

Newsweek prompted a wave of indignation and mockery from the left a few months back when it published a cover with the caption MUSLIM RAGE in the wake of riots over the YouTube-posted trailer for "The Innocence of Muslims".  The responses I saw offered no specifics, apparently considering the offensive absurdity of the notion of "Muslim rage" so self-evident that it required no explanation, but as far as I could tell the core of the complaint was that not every Muslim on the planet was outraged—so this overly-generalized caption was clear evidence of Newsweek's anti-Muslim bias* (just as the use of the blanket phrase "Los Angeles Riots" back in 1992, despite the relative peace in areas like Echo Park and Brentwood, established once and for all the media's anti-Angelenoism).

In any case, someone really needs to get the word out to the Egyptian court that just handed down this ruling:

An Egyptian court ordered YouTube to be blocked for a month after the website disseminated video footage deemed offensive to Islam and the Prophet Mohammed, the state-run Middle East News Agency reported, citing Administrative Court Judge Hassouna Tawfik. [...] YouTube, “did not respect the belief of the millions in Egypt and it overlooked the state of rage that prevailed amongst Muslims,” it said, citing court documents.

Maybe a bad translation?

YouTube had "insisted on broadcasting the film insulting Islam and the Prophet, disrespecting the beliefs of millions of Egyptians and disregarding the anger of all Muslims" the court said, according to MENA.

Huh.  Well, once the Egyptian judiciary is informed about how ridiculous this whole "Muslim rage" notion is I'm sure they'll not only retract their offensively Islamaphobic sentiments, but will also overturn the death sentences they've imposed on seven Egyptians involved in the production of the film.  One of the capital crimes for which those people were convicted, by the way: "Using religion to promote extremist ideas."

ADDING: The Egyptian court also transgressed against the permissible narrative when it suggested any meaningful connection between the film trailer and the so-called "rage"; the mere suggestion that these outbursts of violence and anger are caused by seemingly obvious triggers like Koran-burning or crappy-film-trailer-distributing provokes scorn from many on the left, who blithely ignore statements like the one(s) above, Muslims who say outright that "We cannot accept any insult to our's a red line" or "We did the protest to show to the infidels that we are unhappy about their action in burning our holy Koran in America," etc.  In ideology as in theology, reality is rarely an impediment to belief.


* Newsweek wasn't alone in this ugly bias, though; the well-known Muslim bashers at the Daily Times of Pakistan ran a story titled "New blasphemous caricatures fuel Muslim anger."

— John Caruso

Posted at February 10, 2013 11:13 PM

the mere suggestion that these outbursts of violence and anger are caused by seemingly obvious triggers like Koran-burning or crappy-film-trailer-distributing provokes scorn from many on the left

True. I myself am guilty of this; though on the whole, the bias in America is certainly the other way -- Muslim rage is supposed to be entirely due to their fanatical faith and inherent irrationality, and not at all due to their political subjugation.

Posted by: Cloud at February 11, 2013 11:22 AM

"Muslim rage" is bad writing: the final dog whistle of a dying magazine.

First, the word "rage" shares a root with rabies, so Muslim rage draws a parallel between Muslims and rabid dogs. As it happens, Westerners love to think of Muslims as hysterical fanatics, so the parallel is unlikely to be missed by your average Newsweek reader.

Second, "Muslim X" does not mean "X of Muslims." "Jewish humor" is not the same as "the kind of humor associated with Jews." The former adds the notion of a constitutive difference. Muslim rage implies that, when implanted in a Muslim body, the rage is different -- different in a Muslim kind of way.

I take your larger point that Muslims are entitled to their anger. But language matters. For centuries, women's legitimate frustrations were called "hysteria." Today it's all about "Muslim rage." How innocent is bad writing?

Posted by: bobs at February 11, 2013 12:12 PM

Cloud: AGREED. Perhaps the drones or soldiers killing their children/citizens, covert actions on THEIR land by OUR military, invasions, stealing resources, etc., are more of an impetus to riot than movies&cartoons. Of course the quality of Hollywood product has fallen off a bit these last few decades so these riots could simply be bad reviews, I suppose. Critics---gotta love 'em.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at February 11, 2013 12:18 PM

I don't know, I don't think I could co-sign this. It's a constant for powerful groups to say less powerful groups are filled with some unusual, irrational and illegitimate amount of a problematic emotion, and there are good reasons to mock this. (As bobs said, women were hysterical. Etc.) And what's always going on is the less powerful group has exactly the amount of that emotion any group of people would have under their circumstances. And some fraction of them attach that emotion to ridiculous things.

An Egyptian court talking about "the anger of all Muslims" is actually also in line with this. Conservative elements in different groups often will make similar claims for their own different reasons. So the U.S. right might say Americans are united against the Islamic threat, and Osama bin Laden would say the same.

Posted by: Jon Schwarz at February 11, 2013 01:18 PM

how about: "muslim rage" in addressing imperialism and disrespect good, "muslim rage" as propaganda dog whistle bad

Posted by: frankenduf at February 11, 2013 02:01 PM

John, you're typically so on-point, but I think you're missing it on this one. That the Egyptian court does not speak for the whole of Muslims any more than Newsweek does is only a small part of the point. The fact that there are more than 2 billion Muslims worldwide, the vast majority of whom hardly exist in a state of rage is also only part of the point. The more important point is that highlighting the rage of a tiny subset of Muslims who are offended by so-called blasphemy, while blanketly ignoring all of the very real reason that Muslims *should* be enraged, many of them related to U.S. imperialism, feeds a narrative of "oh, those Muslims are just crazed, free-speech-hating, religious zealots, there's no reasoning with them, they deserve chaos"; a narrative that you are oddly reinforcing here. Many so-called Muslims are like many so-called Christians: they don't care at all about the burning of a book, or about a youtube video, they just go about their lives. If Newsweek were to write a cover story about drone strikes with the caption "Muslim Rage," they would be capturing a valuable slice of an actually important story-- but that story, in that form, will never be on Newsweek's cover. Also, your L.A. riot analogy is false: if the stories on the L.A. riots were titled "Black Rage," you might be onto something. The Newsweek issue is about the powerful (the power-serving American press) marginalizing (and totalizing) a group that the U.S. establishment has identified as an enemy (Muslims generally) not *only* by associating the whole group with the crazy behavior of a tiny slice of extremists-- but also by doing so while ignoring or minimizing the crazy American behavior (invasion, bombing, propping up dictatorships, sanctions) that should actually, justifiably feed some return craziness. You're way off, as Jon Schwarz correctly points out in the comments.

Posted by: kabosht at February 11, 2013 02:17 PM

It wasn't "Muslim rage" it was "MUSLIM RAGE" over a picture of a group of men screaming with their fists in the air. Infantilizing.

Posted by: Joe A at February 11, 2013 02:31 PM

I must agree with Mr. Schwarz and I do not agree with Mr. Caruso. It's like saying all the years of meddling by the West does not bother the Arab World. It's easier to kill people if you think they are all crazy, no?

Posted by: Rob Payne at February 11, 2013 04:02 PM

John explained his point more clearly (for me anyway) in the comments at his own blog. Quoting--

" that's one of the reasons why there's resistance to admitting that in cases like this the anger really is irrational: because doing so feels like opening a door to the many people out there who want to use the irrational anger of raving fundamentalists to dismiss the genuine grievances of the entire populations of Muslim countries who have a very rational desire not to be bombed and occupied. But it's a mistake to meet black and white thinking with black and white thinking."

That's a fair point, though when it comes to Westerners burning Korans I think it's hard for people to separate their legitimate grievances from their irrational lizard brain reactions. And those are occurring on both sides. Burning Korans is usually meant to be a slap in the face--it's Westerners telling their cultural inferiors what they think of them. It's a lizard brain method of demonstrating that one is rational and superior. No doubt if there was no history of Western imperialism there would still be some idiots angry if the Koran were burned, but there would probably fewer of them. And I also suspect that in that alternate reality there would probably be fewer Koran-burners.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at February 11, 2013 06:36 PM

There's no such thing as rational anger, or rational religion, but I might get pissed if someone started burning Talmuds. Probably not though. I tend only to get mad about personal attacks. I'm kind of solipsistic that way. Other day I saw a large white man with road rage walk up to a car in a parking lot and launch into an anti-Chinese rant at the top of his lungs for five minutes. Didn't make me mad. I just laughed, twirled my finger next to my head, and shouted, "You're crazy" at him in Chinese, which probably wasn't the most rational way of improving the situation, if I'd thought about it, but it made me feel good.

Posted by: godoggo at February 11, 2013 07:59 PM

Everything ended peacefully, by the way, leastwise then and there.

Posted by: godoggo at February 11, 2013 08:07 PM

Now I'm feeling all guilty.

Posted by: godoggo at February 11, 2013 08:41 PM

But American anger is always rational.

Burning an American Flag provokes rational anger.

Burning a Koran provokes irrational anger.

Any true American could see that.

(Disclaimer - the above is sarcasm)

"No doubt if there was no history of Western imperialism there would still be some idiots angry if the Koran were burned"

- Donald Johnson at February 11, 2013 06:36 PM

But there would be history of somebodies imperialism. Some oppressed group would have something burned and that would enrage members of the oppressed group allowing the imperialist group to conflate the more irrational anger with the more rational anger.

Posted by: Benjamin Arthur Schwab at February 11, 2013 08:45 PM

Apparently Muslims also used to get all irrational and ragey about having to bite pig-fat.

Posted by: Weaver at February 11, 2013 09:44 PM

a picture of CHRISTIAN RAGE would just be soldier standing next to a few bodies, a house, and a smoking crater.

Posted by: hapa at February 11, 2013 09:50 PM

Weaver: Excellent link, THANX!

Posted by: Mike Meyer at February 12, 2013 01:07 AM

hapa: Now YOU'VE got me wondering what AMERICAN RAGE looks like. I mean EVERYBODY in this country is pissed about SOMETHING but its never the same thing, no two are alike. I look at OUR foreign policy as a Blind Frankenstein Monster with arms outstretched filled with Hollywood Pity just wandering&killing and not much of a vehicle of rage. What IS American Rage?

Posted by: Mike Meyer at February 12, 2013 02:55 PM

in case you missed it: 'SOTU, the Emetic'...

POTUS: And, I propose to you tonight, my beloved fellow Americans...

SHEEPLE: Yes! We ARE that: YOUR fellow Americans! Yippee...!

POTUS: ...that this administration will amend the current dismal wage level by EXECUTIVE ORDER!

SHEEPLE: Yay! Our Hero! You really are there for us, the little people! So, whadda we gonna get--in small words?

POTUS: ...and, to that end, I can SOLEMNLY assure you that you can fully expect 'Relief You Can Believe In!'--and, NO dilly dally, either--I can guarantee you that! My WORD is BOND!

SHEEPLE: Hoorah! Hooray!

POTUS: that, by the year 2019, a munificent 32 cents--backed by the full faith and credit of the US government--will accrue to your hourly wages! How's that gang! Do you love me, or do you love me!

SHEEPLE: [projectile vomiting, general wretching, etc...]

POTUS: Now, now, no need to thank me--please be convinced that it was Lloyd Blankfein's idea--HE gets the credit for this Socialist endowment...

SHEEPLE: bleeeeeeerrrrrrrggggghhhh!

Posted by: Dean Taylor at February 12, 2013 10:58 PM

Again, I'm aware that the above is ultimately my fault, and I apologize.

Posted by: godoggo at February 13, 2013 03:16 PM

Not referring to criticism of Obama. That's fine.

Posted by: godoggo at February 13, 2013 03:22 PM

The State of the Union Amidst the Ashes of Extrajudicial Death
The Execution of Christopher Dorner

"If the murder of Oscar Grant on an Oakland transit platform marked the dawn of the Obama era, the cold-blooded murder of former Naval reservist and Los Angeles Police officer Christopher Dorner might just mark the end of whatever optimistic hope people can muster in his administration."


Posted by: Dean Taylor at February 13, 2013 06:11 PM

I'm tired.

Posted by: godoggo at February 13, 2013 06:31 PM

"The LAPD Got their Man How They Wanted Him: Dead"
by: Dave Lindorff

"Burn that fuckin' house down...Burn motherfucker down!"

[--Voice overheard on police radio at the scene of the cabin where Chris Dorner was trapped and burned to death...]

It was clear from the outset when fired LAPD cop Chris Dorner began wreaking his campaign of vengeance and terror against his former employer that the California law enforcement establishment, led by the LAPD itself, had no interest in Dorner surviving to face trial, where he could continue to rat out the racist and corrupt underbelly of the one of the country’s biggest police departments [This Can't Be Happening].


Posted by: Dean Taylor at February 13, 2013 06:32 PM

Was there ever ANY doubt that the LAPD was bent on killing this man? They were wildly shooting up the neighborhood before they found him.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at February 13, 2013 07:30 PM

There's a much bigger context you're missing. And I think it goes along with Jon's claim. From the start of the Arab Spring the headlines were about popular emotion, and it was always implied that democracy is a kind of rash you get when the elites don't feed the public the right bullshit. The job of the elites is to explain to us that democracy doesn't work, and why we have to think about accepting Gadaffi and Mubarak and so on.
This is textbook domination. I can get you sources, but this showed up during American liberalisms trouble with McCarthy, and during the founding of the country, so I assume this is so widespread it should just fall into your lap. If you were watching closely, Obama timed his speeches on the Arab Spring with swings in the market. I suspect this is the real use of popular emotion to elites, and it's why democracy and market access are so closely tied together in the elite's mind. They know one depends on the other.

And I also suspect that's the difference between the US system and all other forms of fascism, which Mussolini seemed to see as a kind of spiritual shepherding of the masses by powerful interests. Mussolini hated liberalism, he thought it was a fraud. We are much more dishonest. We actually use liberal values to prevent them from coming into place. I think as a part of our legacy of slavery. According to Frederick Douglass, once a year the slaves were allowed to eat molasses, wrestle, and drink, and become so disgusted with themselves that they accepted whatever Master told them to do. The goal was for the slave to not see freedom for what it is, and to be so hypnotized with the insight/power/reason of the elites he went back to the cotton field. Today, we are the field. The peacocks will pout and karate chop the air with proud menacing words, while we choke up and quote their words on Facebook and vote for them every 2 to 4 years, cross-breeding the ideas back into the markets. It would all come to a screeching halt as soon as we move past the one truth we all agree on: We know the present sucks. We all accept this as normal. We say: things are fucked up. Man things are fucked up... ... I wish people followed the guru I follow. Then things would be better! Wait, you follow the wrong guru! Die, motherfucker!

The real issue is not security. Violence is the most predictable thing in the world. The issue is a lack of a serious discussion about why so few people own control the world. Which your liberals and you both are pleading for in different ways, even Newsweek's Islamaphobia is tapping into this fear of a mass of gray boring drones with no self-control (the caricature of Muslims). Whatever is the most serious error in liberal's judgement, the end result is a public babyling on so many levels that we agree to hate people who point out we are both being taken by the same group, which you are not allowed to say.

Some of that meaning behind the rage is actually just "you are killing us with millions in advanced weaponry and we have no water, nutritious food or medicine, yes, we are mad." It's why the Arab Spring isn't just Arab. If you want to get that heard, you have to actually curse, call him an uncle tom or a rapist or a secret Muslim. (Or a secret Jew, if you live in Egypt). These are the scripts we are allowed to talk about, because they are the molasses keeping us sick of freedom and critical thought.

That this bullshit is scripted by the parties and big business is known, and accepted. But to doubt Master's benevolence is to promote a conspiracy theory, and you lose your Liberal land citizenship. Maybe that was the trouble with the Nazis. They said you can't trust Marx and you can't trust Rothchild, and at that point, the Party had no side to pretend to be anymore. They had nobody to pose as. Propaganda rule #1: Big Brother is not ungood.

Posted by: Lewis at February 14, 2013 07:59 AM

please sign and disseminate:

appoint an independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate the Los Angeles Police Department...
We, the People, petition this administration to appoint an independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate the Los Angeles Police Department re: longstanding charges of abiding, inherent racism, corruption, and policies and protocols manifest as police brutality against the citizens it is enjoined to serve and protect. That the LAPD is incapable of launching its own credible investigation into these charges is manifestly clear, as allegations and charges of gross misconduct and corruption are--as a matter of routine--dismissed, overruled, or suppressed. Indeed, far from these charges bringing about an amelioration of behavior, the mismanagement of the LAPD by its own administrators has, in fact, deteriorated. In sum: the LAPD has run rampant for far too long and is derelict of its duties.

Posted by: Dean Taylor at February 14, 2013 02:19 PM

Here is an interesting article connecting Racism and Rage ( that leads to violence of extreme kind ).........

"Exterminating Angels"
Mike Davis 11 February 2013


Posted by: rupa shah at February 14, 2013 04:10 PM

A CENSUS EVERY FIVE YEARS, call Boehner @1-202-225-0600. Lets CHANGE the legal description of a WHOLE PERSON to include ALL HUMAN BEINGS.

This country was FOUNDED on racism. Prejudice against The Native Americans(savages that are considered worth NOTHING), against the Black Man(slavery), against the poor(indentured servitude)and AS ALWAYS, Women(they are not men---women, no other reason needed)
REPRESENTATION IS DIMINISHED for these groups.(3/5 of a RICH WHITE MAN'S representation. In REPRESENTATIVE form of governance, A REPUBLIC, 'tiz the most insidious and long term form of repression possible.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at February 14, 2013 06:23 PM

Despite the context, I might actually sign that petition.

Posted by: godoggo at February 14, 2013 06:42 PM

i.e. I might go to that webpage and type in my name.

Posted by: godoggo at February 14, 2013 07:43 PM

Dean Taylor: EXCELLENT PETITION & I don't mind signing it in the least. Sez it all, pretty much.

The Right Of Redress Of Grievances extends only to Congress and not POTUS. I doubt he'll listen BUT ITS WELL WORTH SAYING.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at February 14, 2013 10:05 PM

Indeed, how dare those traitors criticize the Reichspress for rightfully admonishing the enemy on their villainous behavior? Now I am the first to agree that the Reichspress may not always be perfect, but this is no excuse for ignoring the irrational rage of those resistance thugs and bandits over something as academic as a new phrenological theory, which merely points out scientific facts. It is almost as if they believe we intend to antagonize them with irrefutable proof of our superiority, which is clearly beyond our modest control. This trifling matter deserves no further attention, as I hear the Führer is about to announce an even more humane precision-guided mini-V1 to cleanse criminal elements from the lebensraum.

Posted by: Reign of Caligula at February 15, 2013 12:35 AM

Normally I don't learn post on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very forced me to take a look at and do it! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thanks, quite nice post.

Posted by: Teressa Luttrull at February 15, 2013 03:36 AM

Mini Junkers 88s, BUT soon to be bigger.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at February 15, 2013 12:52 PM

Caligula: well, you've got me. I got nothing positive to say about that one.

I believe you're still pitching...

Posted by: godoggo at February 15, 2013 08:50 PM

I'm truly sorry for the problems I've caused with my temper tantrums. I value this blog, but I think it would be better if I just read it.

Posted by: godoggo at February 15, 2013 09:25 PM

Unless I change my mind. But no rants.

Posted by: godoggo at February 16, 2013 05:19 PM

Mike: Or mini-exploding threaded armored vehicles for the hard to reach places, but it seems they actually had those. ( I wonder how many lives they saved.

Godoggo: No matter where you go, I will forever be watching from the shadows, scheming my schemes, pitching... Whatever you think I'm pitching.

Posted by: Reign of Caligula at February 17, 2013 03:11 AM