1:02 PM CDT, September 12, 2012
Yeah, jeez, I just… I can’t. I just do not have the energy for this one.
After spending three days attempting to get my post on the teacher’s strike right, I was planning to write something light-hearted, something easy-going for the last post of the week.
Maybe Glenn Beck was coming back to TV? Haha that would do for a laugh!
Perhaps Amy Poehler and Will Arnett would break up, and for once I would be inexplicably saddened by a celebrity split? Oh the Markleyian irony one could imbue on such a topic!
But then I opened up the internet to discover that the big news of the day was that two attacks had taken place on the embassies in Cairo and Benghazi, killing four people, including the American ambassador to Libya, and that this outbreak of violence was not because the United States had done anything particularly imperialist or “bombing-esque” lately, but because some dipwad with a $1,000 budget made a apparently bigoted movie insulting Islam.
So I resigned myself to reading up and seeking an angle:
Was it fair to point out that the religious fervor behind the attacks could be more readily explained by the fact that Libya and Egypt are not just Islamic countries but Islamic countries with high unemployment, especially among young men? That when you have a lot of young men sitting around during the day with nothing to do it leads to combustible situations no matter the religion of the populace?
What about the filmmaker, who appeared to have made a movie with the explicit intent of pissing off a lot of people who share this faith in a struggling part of the world? That his intention was likely to incite a vitriolic reaction without any acknowledgment of the violence his own faith has perpetrated in the Middle East—the Occupied Territories not exactly being the best example of your religion’s moral superiority?
But of course we live in an open society, so the idea that people can be killed over a movie, over any speech, is so totally absurd it almost calls out for further critique. Egypt’s president wants the filmmaker prosecuted. For what exactly? You do not have a free society or a stable nation until people can criticize the majority religion and not expect lynch mobs to come to their door.
And what of presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s enormous flub, what an old Republican foreign policy hand called his “Lehman moment”? What is it about presidential politics that makes it necessary to use every tragedy as a cudgel in electoral combat? And does the Romney campaign have any other policy ideas other than “Whatever Obama did, it was wrong and hurt America. Freedom. America. Liberty”?
Yet maybe most importantly of all, Libyans actually turned out on the streets with signs of support for Americans and for the murdered diplomat Chris Stevens. The scene was not Muslims burning American flags but holding signs written in red, white, and blue. Perhaps this is the kind of change in the Middle East we were hoping for? The kind that $3 trillion in Iraq could never buy?
Anyway, I found it all just too exhausting to even contemplate, let alone form a coherent thesis and execute that thesis onto laptop screen.
I wonder what Glen Beck thinks of all this? And do you think Amy and Will will stay friends?
Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC