It was a relaxing morning. I was reading this story, linked by Drudgereport, in which John Dickerson, an Arizona pastor, reviewed “Zealot” by Reza Aslan. Dickerson wrote that, “in reality, it [the book] is a religious person’s opinion about Jesus—from an adherent to the religion that has been in violent opposition to Christ for 1,400 years.” So it was from this point of view that Lauren Green of Foxnews interviewed Reza Aslan. It was why she asked,”[as a muslim], why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?”
While I was reading this story, my wife was watching a video of the Foxnews-Aslan interview which had been linked on Facebook. The video had been posted by a person who has made anti-Christian statements. The poster, and other commenters, were clearly critical of the interview. I believe their criticisms were motivated only by their violent opposition to Christians like Dickerson who do not mince words about their faith. Furthermore, I believe that Reza’s credibility is in question since he has misrepresented his scholarly credentials. Not surprisingly, those who don’t like the lineup of conservative talk show hosts on Foxnews have used this episode to excoriate Foxnews for their anti-Muslim bias.
The above story rubs me the wrong way as a Christian and as a Conservative. But it is also funny for the predictability of the reactions from different communities. Maybe I would feel differently if I actually read the book.
The continuing national media attention to the George Zimmerman trial is an example of America’s obsession with race. In addition, we found out today that the Justice Department’s “Peacemakers” were deployed to Florida to “quell racial tensions” whatever that means. Perhaps the most insightful thing I’ve heard came from Rose Tennent, guest host of the Sean Hannity show. She said that the entire matter – the shooting through the trial – would be at most a local headline if not for the particular racial circumstances: that George Zimmerman is light-skinned and Trayvon Martin was black.
However, there is one thing I still don’t understand. What did Obama mean when he said, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”? I think the President’s son would look more like Carlton.
I saw this post of a fried chicken restaurant in Thailand. The picture actually made the rounds on the internet a couple of years ago. Apparently, Hitler-chic is popular in Thailand, while other Southeast Asian countries like India and Indonesia are fascinated by the infamous dictator.
In the United States, we are fascinated by Che Guevara, second in command to Fidel Castro during and after the Cuban revolution, and Mao Zedong, former dictator of China. The Beatles sing about Chairman Mao, but Che has his own line of clothing. I even know a cat named Che! I suppose the fascination arises from the fact that these men were revolutionaries who threw off the chains of colonialism and capitalism. Hitler was a revolutionary, too. He revolted against the Western powers who had contrived to punish Germany through the Treaty of Versailles, but he also revolted against the liberal and elitist culture that pervaded Germany during the Weimar Republic. All three men were also strongly Nationalistic.
So why no Hitler-chic in the United States? People seem to have a visceral reaction to Hitler. I think perhaps this is because Hitler reminds us of the United States’ own struggle with racial bigotry. Also, perhaps popular perceptions lead people in the United States to believe that Hitler’s actions were much worse than those of the other two men. The 45 million killed during Mao’s reign were victims only of wrongheaded government policies, those killed by Che were traitors to the cause of freedom, while the 10-15 million killed during Hitler’s reign were victims of racial bigotry and genocide. That any of these people are lionized in popular culture, as Stalin was lionized in the 1930’s by America’s Elites, is beyond me.