Author Topic: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis  (Read 11119 times)

Howj Begg

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Borboski

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Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2007, 07:35:36 PM »
Oh dear me.  Isn't he doing a show about terrorists?  It's going to be total shit, isn't it?

I dunno, I'd hoped he might eloquently out-Amis Amis.


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Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2007, 07:39:32 PM »
Thurston Lowe would've been quicker on his feet.

Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2007, 08:08:16 PM »
Why doesn't Morris do some comedy ffs..

Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2007, 08:13:01 PM »
any other reports about this?

Famous Mortimer

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Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2007, 09:41:54 PM »
That Martin Amis is a rum 'un, isn't he? I'm pleased Morris is doing what he believes in, but I do wish he'd get his finger out and do some comedy, or a book about this subject, or something.

Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2007, 09:57:37 PM »

Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2007, 10:22:32 PM »
I think I'll wait for someone else's summary, I tend to cringe with embarrassment at public outburts and signs point to less-than-optimal impact on Morris's part.

Does he even have a job anymore?

Notlob

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Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2007, 10:48:31 PM »
This is great. I wish I went to that. Though the encounter is reminiscent of the clip of him on the Today show, no?

Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2007, 10:51:59 PM »
Hmm irritating the file ends as they proceed to take questions from the audience. Interesting listen though.

biggytitbo

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Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2007, 10:09:07 AM »
I'm still struggling to see the obsession with Islamification from nutters like this. I can't help feeling that they're getting a bit worked up over nothing and I'd like to know what's really behind it. There is no Islamification of Europe and radical Islam in this country has a minuscule influence. When Muslims are in top positions in politics, the civil service, the police, the armed forces, law, business, banking and the media then maybe its time to be concerned but they aren't and are never going to be. The reality is that Muslims are largely a working class, powerless minority, a minority of which are pissed off with our actions in the Middle East. So what - all colonialist countries have and always have had this problem, it's an inevitable and predictable side effect of what they do.  The increasingly hysterical rhetoric you hear from people who really should know better is starting to sound like some of the sinister bullshit we heard in Germany in the 20s and 30s about jews. I think we need to get a grip on ourselves quickly before this stuff gets out of hand because it only ends one way - badly.

Of course the irony of all this is whilst there is no evidence for the Islamification of the West, the West have spent the last 5 years or so conducting a Westernisation of the Islamic world with bombs.

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Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2007, 10:29:06 AM »
I could be completely wrong - not having listened to the audio file, but I don't hear anyone making the case you suggest, and I doubt Amis did.

The risk isn't the Islamification of the West, it's the miniscule influence radical Islam exerts becoming acute (as it has done in the past).  The Muslim Brotherhood appears to be a shitty organisation, one that anyone faintly leftwing would be very suspicious.

Nice little comparison to Nazi Germany and use of the thin end of the wedge/slippery slope fallacy, eh?   Can you see how quickly you turn away from any critique of Islamist organisations and ideology and immediately begin talking about your "clash of civilisations".  Like I said before, you'd probably be surprised to realised that the language you use suggests that clash.

This Padraig chap is a very sound chap, if he's the guy I'm thinking who presents the Little Atoms podcast.

Famous Mortimer

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Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2007, 11:31:11 AM »
Yawn at Borboski, again. In terms of imminent danger to a reasonable, normal sort of democracy, I (can't speak for biggytitbo) feel the people with the trillions of dollars and all the weapons are slightly more dangerous than the people who are so powerless they think blowing themselves up is a worthwhile idea. It's not a matter of not criticising the Muslim Brotherhood (who I'm sure aren't very nice people) and actually criticising the US and UK ruling class who seem insistent on getting us into yet another war (who I'm absolutely certain aren't nice people).

Why is there no criticism of you for the illegal warmongers of Washington and London, Borboski?

Amis, apparently, although he's now retracted it, said we should make it more difficult for Muslims to commit these acts by further curtailing their civil liberties. It's all in the links from that original article. I think that attitude deserves firm criticism.

Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2007, 03:06:20 PM »
Quote
"Well we supported Saddam Hussein."

Yuck.

Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2007, 05:45:05 PM »
Does he even have a job anymore?

Innit???? Washed-out cunt, I bet you he's on benefits and all.

Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2007, 06:04:30 PM »
Thanks for the links but I can't get either to work just now.  What was CM actually arguing? 

Yes, Amis has said some utterly repulsive things.  Quote from an article by Terry Eagleton: http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=30&ItemID=14017

Quote
In an essay entitled The Age of Horrorism published in September 2006, the novelist Martin Amis advocated a deliberate programme of harassing the Muslim community in Britain. "The Muslim community," he wrote, "will have to suffer until it gets its house in order. What sort of suffering? Not letting them travel. Deportation -- further down the road. Curtailing of freedoms. Strip-searching people who look like they're from the Middle East or from Pakistan ... Discriminatory stuff, until it hurts the whole community and they start getting tough with their children..."

EDIT:  Oh, sorry, that quote was actually in the first article, just got it to work. 
« Last Edit: October 13, 2007, 06:25:56 PM by Sparrow »

bennyprofane

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Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2007, 06:57:54 PM »
That Eagleton piece is a fairly standard piece of Eagleton, ie wilfully misleading, decontextualising and badly sourced.  I don't think Amis has retracted anything, merely done what plenty of people have had to do regarding Terry Eagleton before and publish the full excerpt of their original text in context as an addendum to an essay in which he's extrapolated it for whatever his own purposes are.  Amis originally made those comments in the form of 'when you see these things on the news, you have this second of thinking <COMMENTS> but then...'  Writing 'Amis said <COMMENTS>' is plainly intellectually dishonest, and Salman Rushdie and others have successfully sued Eagleton for that kind of thing in the past.

As for biggytitbo and Famous Mortimer's comments,
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I'm still struggling to see the obsession with Islamification from nutters like this. I can't help feeling that they're getting a bit worked up over nothing and I'd like to know what's really behind it. There is no Islamification of Europe and radical Islam in this country has a minuscule influence.
and
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In terms of imminent danger to a reasonable, normal sort of democracy, I (can't speak for biggytitbo) feel the people with the trillions of dollars and all the weapons are slightly more dangerous than the people who are so powerless they think blowing themselves up is a worthwhile idea. It's not a matter of not criticising the Muslim Brotherhood (who I'm sure aren't very nice people) and actually criticising the US and UK ruling class who seem insistent on getting us into yet another war (who I'm absolutely certain aren't nice people).
- it's quite obvious that neither has actually listened to the 'debate' (it's not much of one really) since they mention A) something that is not mentioned once in the entire debate, and B) something which is addressed in the debate, without giving any kind of response to the opinions put forward there.  Saying 'yawn' to Borboski for correctly pointing this out is not a particularly high standard of debate in itself; it's got nothing to do with the topic and just makes it likely that the topic will lose its specificty/topicality and turn into a standard issue 2-sided kneejerk about The Man vs The Terrorist.  There are quite a few of those on the internet already, if you look really hard. 

And Morris' contributions, on paper, look absolutely woeful.  I mean this...
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"And you're saying they're all murderers," he jabbed.

"I think Islamists subscribe to a murderous ideology," parried Amis.

"So you mean they're all murderers?"

"No, but I believe the ideology they subscribe to is murderous."

Is just embarassing.  Is he honestly claiming not to know the difference between mruderous and mrder, or an ideology and a person?  The one positive thing is that it is almost an identical tactic to 'And would you beat them off?  All of them?'
Anyway, if his big finale was 'we backed Saddam,' he presumably failed to notice that Amis explicitly made this point in his discussion.  Like FM and BTB, if the opposition to a percieved right-wing just takes the form of ranting about things they haven't said, or blithely ranting about the subjects they've covered without engaging with the ideas they've put forward on those subjects, then that opposition is no good, and 'debates' like the one between Amis and Anthony about the problems with dissent and the Western left are a fairly relevant thing. 


All the most interesting things in the debate are actually about this issue of how the Western kneejerk is self-examination but it's not really self-examinatory, it's more just a simple 'we must be to blame.'  This is where I disagree most with Amis (I don't know much about Anthony, but he comes across as a bit of a zero here), in his insistence that the ACTIONS of Islamists are essentially separate from the actions of the West (although he does criticise the decision to go to Iraq, esp Baghdad, as being especially inflammatory.).  But when he's talking about the essential escaltory virulence at the heart of the Al-Quaeda/MB philosophy I think he's absolutely right.  The real issue isn't the islamification of Europe but the Al-Quadification of Islam in Europe, should that ever happen (i don't think it has yet, to an unstoppable level, and it's not really covered in the debate). 

Anyway, there's some really interesting stuff in this about the nature of martyrdom vs suicide-bombs, about public reaction to My Lai and Abu Ghraib, and about 'pious paralysis.'  It's not a talk about 'was the war right and, but who is the REAL war criminal, is it Osama Bin Laden... or IS It The Businessman!' but it's about the way liberal people respond to Islamic terrorism.  And both Amis and Anthony come across a lot more Capital-L Liberal than half the posters in this thread, if you actually listen to them.

Actually, it'd be interesting to see what people here would have responded to Amis' question to the audience; do you feel morally superior to the Taliban?
Me, probably, as an individual, but I'd feel very uneasy about claiming that superiority on behalf of my entire culture, which is what Amis seemed to be getting at more.

Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2007, 08:12:10 PM »
This is great. I wish I went to that. Though the encounter is reminiscent of the clip of him on the Today show, no?
Whatwasallthisthen?

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Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2007, 08:31:35 PM »
I really hate the term "Islamist". If it has any literal meaning, it would mean any follower of the Islamic religion, yet it is actually used to mean "bad Muslim".

The even more objectionable term is "Islamofascist" which is entirely meaningless and made-up, and - unlike "Nazi" or "communist" - isn't used AT ALL by the people it is applied to, who would quite rightly point out that "fascism" is a failed Western political movement that has nothing to do with them. If there has ever been an "Islamofascist" movement it would be Saddam Hussein's Ba-athist regime, which had a fascist political structure but used appeals to Islam for tactical reasons (despite being officially secular, and opposed by actual Islamic fundamentalists). Oh, and also Libya and Syria, which use the same formula.

Apparently the term "Islamofascist" was coined because Bush was going to make a speech equating the 21st century threat of Al-Qaida with the 20th century threats of fascism and communism, but President Putin objected to the reminder that the Soviet Union had ever been a threat to anyone, so the equation could only be officially made with fascism, and the new term was invented and inserted into discourse.

And I don't know why anyone would give a toss for Martin Amis' opinions on anything. Morris&Iannucci nailed him in their Observer 9/11 parody years back.

Notlob

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Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2007, 08:55:40 PM »
Whatwasallthisthen?

Whoops, that was meant to say 'The Time, The Place'.
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Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2007, 09:57:17 PM »
Say what you want about the Taleban but they made the trains run on time.

Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #21 on: October 13, 2007, 10:20:30 PM »
Yes, fair point about the context of the quote, bennyprofane, I just used to Eagleton article because I  couldn't find the original article at the time.  To be honest though, I did think Amis' context made the remarks all the more cowardly.  It basically just allowed him to express absurdly bigoted views, put the ideas in people's heads, and then give himself a get out clause.

kngen

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Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #22 on: October 14, 2007, 10:07:01 AM »
I really hate the term "Islamist". If it has any literal meaning, it would mean any follower of the Islamic religion, yet it is actually used to mean "bad Muslim".

The even more objectionable term is "Islamofascist" which is entirely meaningless and made-up, and - unlike "Nazi" or "communist" - isn't used AT ALL by the people it is applied to, who would quite rightly point out that "fascism" is a failed Western political movement that has nothing to do with them. If there has ever been an "Islamofascist" movement it would be Saddam Hussein's Ba-athist regime, which had a fascist political structure but used appeals to Islam for tactical reasons (despite being officially secular, and opposed by actual Islamic fundamentalists). Oh, and also Libya and Syria, which use the same formula.

Apparently the term "Islamofascist" was coined because Bush was going to make a speech equating the 21st century threat of Al-Qaida with the 20th century threats of fascism and communism, but President Putin objected to the reminder that the Soviet Union had ever been a threat to anyone, so the equation could only be officially made with fascism, and the new term was invented and inserted into discourse.


agreed - both silly and misleading terms. The Guardian house style is now apparently 'Jihadist', but that's another term fraught with innaccuracies and open to misinterpretation. While 'jihad' can mean an eternal battle to bring about a muslim world, it can also mean a personal spiritual journey. It's about as accurate as calling christian nutters who firebomb abortion clinics 'faithists'. But I suppose 'Islamic fundamentalists', which is what they were in old money, doesn't easily fit in banner headlines ...

Anyway, if that piece is indeed an accurate reflection of what CM said to Amis and co, then it's awfully depressing. He seems to have the debating skills of an 18-year-old Socialist Worker newspaper seller.

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Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #23 on: October 14, 2007, 12:04:40 PM »
The one advantage in using the term "Islamofascist" is that it is easier to lump in the Saddam regime with Al-Qaida, and thus justify the invasion as part of "the war on Terror" (rather than being a diversion from it, which is what it originally was, until Al-Qaida set up their own front in liberated Iraq, having been previously unable to operate there due to Saddam repressing fundamentalist groups).

Ever since the 60s Western left-wingers have used the term "fascist" with purely emotive meaning to signify "baddie", rather than any distinct model of government. And now the American Right have learnt to play the same word game.

As far as it ever meant anything to start with, "fascism" means a centralised, non-democratic state with a planned economy and nationalistic foreign policy, though not necessarily any racial policy (Mussolini only brought in anti-semitic laws in 1938 to get closer to Hitler). But it's always been hard to distinguish that from Leninism or Stalinism given that the latter were very happy to use patriotic, nationalist slogans to drum up the war effort when needed, and conversely Mussolini said thoughtful things about how awfully nice the world would be if a few big men like himself could sort it out in a meeting room, which is a sort of idealistic internationalism.

In conclusion: when Rik or Neil sneered at someone as a "fascist" in The Young Ones, they were taking the word about as far as it can go as a tool of serious political discussion.

Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #24 on: October 14, 2007, 12:46:19 PM »
Quote from: kngen
Anyway, if that piece is indeed an accurate reflection of what CM said to Amis and co, then it's awfully depressing. He seems to have the debating skills of an 18-year-old Socialist Worker newspaper seller.

Maybe he was playing that very role, tongue-in-cheek like?

Famous Mortimer

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Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #25 on: October 14, 2007, 06:21:08 PM »
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- it's quite obvious that neither has actually listened to the 'debate'
Or it’s that I have listened to the debate, and my opinion of it is different to yours. Notice I haven’t claimed the views of people who disagree with me are just “not listening to the debate”?

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Like FM and BTB, if the opposition to a percieved right-wing just takes the form of ranting about things they haven't said, or blithely ranting about the subjects they've covered without engaging with the ideas they've put forward on those subjects
Perhaps you’d like to point out where I “ranted”, or where I didn’t engage with the ideas. Please disagree with me, but try doing it by actually disagreeing with the things I said rather than my perceived weakness in debate.

The comment mentioned regarding Amis “ in an interview last year, in what he now claims was merely a mind experiment,” which is for such a supposedly clever man a terribly poor way of weaseling out of a point which has quite rightly annoyed a lot of people.  I’ve read all the linked articles and at no point does Amis defend what he said in the way you describe – perhaps as you’re so insistent we only engage within the strict terms of this debate you could do the same thing?

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"I think Islamists subscribe to a murderous ideology," parried Amis
What does this actually mean? A murderous ideology? If he’s going to use empty phrases like this he deserves to get pulled up on them.

My point remains valid – there’s no context to this debate, as if Muslims have been terrorists and suicide bombers since the very beginning of the religion, and in terms of danger to our current way of life, Muslims are a vastly lesser threat than the country with the largest army in the world and the willingness to use it.

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And both Amis and Anthony come across a lot more Capital-L Liberal than half the posters in this thread, if you actually listen to them.
I have, and they don’t. It’s really tiring to have someone, rather than disagreeing and stating why they disagree, go to the tired old “you didn’t listen properly to the debate”.

Quote
Actually, it'd be interesting to see what people here would have responded to Amis' question to the audience; do you feel morally superior to the Taliban?
No, and it’s a stupid question to ask. Whose morals? If this debate is being dragged down to the level of who’s better morally then it really is pointless.

Borboski

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Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #26 on: October 14, 2007, 06:25:45 PM »
Increasingly, I really don't think you have anything to say about Islamist groups or ideologies, all you seem to want to do is point in the other direction.  I wonder if there is any way of approaching and criticising these groups that you think is legimate?

The quoting of Amis was very shoddy, it shouldn't need to be said that academics should have much higher standards.

A murderous idealogy is, presumably, an ideology which condones or often results in murder. 
« Last Edit: October 14, 2007, 06:49:16 PM by Borboski »

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Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #27 on: October 14, 2007, 06:52:14 PM »
Actually, it'd be interesting to see what people here would have responded to Amis' question to the audience; do you feel morally superior to the Taliban?

Even with my fairly low self esteem and occasional dubious conduct I find it fairlyeasy to say that I feel morally superior to the Taliban. I also beleive that Western liberalism is far superior to the Taliban's idealogy.  I find it hard to understand how many on the left seem to balk at making such distinctions. I find the 'we musn't judge' mantra one often hears about such issues really frustrating.

 

bennyprofane

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Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #28 on: October 14, 2007, 07:51:52 PM »
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Perhaps you’d like to point out where I “ranted”, or where I didn’t engage with the ideas. Please disagree with me, but try doing it by actually disagreeing with the things I said rather than my perceived weakness in debate.

specifically i was referring to you saying
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I (can't speak for biggytitbo) feel the people with the trillions of dollars and all the weapons are slightly more dangerous than the people who are so powerless they think blowing themselves up is a worthwhile idea
.  Firstly Amis talks about this idea of 'powerlessness' motivating suicide bombers and explains why he thinks it's a fallacy, probably about a third of the way through the discussion.  It seemed odd to me that someone who had listened to the discussion would use this trope when discussing it, without giving any attention to the way that the trope had been discussed.  Just ignoring the parts of the thing you're criticising that disagree with your own axioms isn't a good way of disproving it.

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What does this actually mean? A murderous ideology? If he’s going to use empty phrases like this he deserves to get pulled up on them.

It's a fairly waffly phrase, but I guess you could define it as an ideology whose end-point is the lessening/taking of human life.  I think Amis' very patchy 'Horrorism' essay is basically his explication of the shorthand 'a murderous ideology.'  He wasn't going to recapitulate the whole essay at that point on stage, so he used a shorthand version of his conclusions.  A bit irresponsible really, but it was in a response to a very tendentious question.  I agree you can pull people up on sloganeering like that, but Morris really didn't 'pull him up'/take him to task in any way, shape or form, he just wilfully misinterpreted him in the manner of a Sun journalist.  is there any procedural difference between 'a murderous ideology/they're all murderers' and 'immigrant says britain is tough place to settle/ immigrant says I hate Britain'?  It's a horrific standard of debate, I was astonished to see Morris sinking that low.

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My point remains valid – there’s no context to this debate, as if Muslims have been terrorists and suicide bombers since the very beginning of the religion, and in terms of danger to our current way of life, Muslims are a vastly lesser threat than the country with the largest army in the world and the willingness to use it.

Your point is fairly valid, but it's not especially pertinent; it doesn't have anything to do with Morris' particular criticisms of the speakers, it doesn't directly address any of the points that the speakers made (the one that seems most relevant here is Amis' comparison between public reaction to My Lai and to Abu Ghraib, which like his stuff on the 'powerlessness; of suicide bombers you've not addressed at all, while criticising him for things he hasn't said) and it doesn't even fall under the blanket heading of the discussion, which was about writing post 9/11 and the problems faced by critics of militant islam in a predominantly liberal culture.

I think that this excerpt from the original report is pretty relevant
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This was the signal for everyone else to bail in, raining shibboleths down with great fury: Israel, they cried. What about Israel? Won't somebody think of the Palestinians! This, of course, despite the fact that I don't ever remember Amis or Anthony saying anything anti-Palestinian. Remember - this is the liberal world, where disagreeing with Islamism is the same as hating Palestinians. Because, in this world, Palestinians aren't people - they're a rhetorical device. You'll score points in every argument as soon as you mention them.


Me personally, I think that the Israeli government's  attitude to Palestine over the last 20 or so years is only matched in grotesque, vulgar amorality by America's attitude to Israel's transgressions, particularly in stifling action over them by international bodies.  BUT, I also think that Amis is basically right about the nature of Islamic extremism, though he sees it as more fundamental to the modern theology and I see it as more maintained by a political elite.  But the number of people I talk to who don't think it's possible to hold the two views side by side in the same head is astonishing, and this tendency, as evinced by both you and biggytitbo in this thread, to ignore the actual terms and arguments of the dissent and instead revert to familiar timeworn internet arguments that anyone who has been on a messageborad in their life can recite by heart, is just depressing. 
I mainly lurk here, but it's interesting to read most of the time.  I only posted because what could have been an interesting thread looked set to swamp down into Boborski vs the liberal world, where everyone gets to feel like an iconoclast.  Free self-validation.  It happens in every 'Islam' thread on here within the first few pages, it's monotonous.

This is what I mean about capital-L Liberalism, it's primarily, in philosophy at least, a tradition of question, devil's advocacy and dissent from consensus.  Someone like Anthony who has gone from one set of beliefs to the other as a result of questioning the stance of himself and his society would seem to reflect this quite well.  It's notable for me that in all the audience questions I've seen transcribed and all the discussion I've seen of this on various forums, it's only Amis' stuff about My Lai/A-G that I hadn't really heard discussed before.  That's a good thing, although I think he didn't mention some things about the comparison that explain it better than the genuine social progress he was trying to sketch. But new information, new parallels, new frameworks; those are the things that seem liberal to me.  Mayeb I'm coming at this from too much of an academic standpoint, but social liberalism and intellectual liberality have always seemed to me to be combined in the same people, but almost always stemmming from the latter.  And you only have to look at how miserably cliquey and jargon-infested all the 'liberalising' and 'democratising' academic movements (be it quasi-scientific like structuralism or formalism, or primarily social, like feminism or post-colonialism)of the last century have become in such a short space of time to see how social liberalism is as vulnerable as any other ideology to intellectual regimentation, nepotism and stultefication.

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Whose morals? If this debate is being dragged down to the level of who’s better morally then it really is pointless.
.

Well to be honest I think you're absolutely wrong on that.  The debate in question, rather than your (and others') interminable one with Borboski about America and the rights and wrongs of the war, was about what options writers have for dissent in a culture that subscribes very heavily to the idea of cultural relativism (a big issue for Terry Eagleton, who can never remember how much of a cultural relativist he is, from essay to essay) the most important part of which is almost always moral relativism.  If you disagree that any moral judgements can be made across cultures, you can say that you don't feel superior to the Taliban. (although this has a certain inherent level of 'my reticence and belief in relativism is superior to your condemnatoy, judgemental stance.  In which case you might feel superior to the Taliban for being less dogmatic.) But saying so is hardly 'pointless,' it's absolutely fundamental to the orginal debate. Personally, academic post-modernism bores me, and I think it's going beyond that to the point of being very pernicious; I think there have to be certain things that you can say are better ways to conduct yourself than others, and I think if you don't believe that then you resign a huge amount of the intellectual volition that's a gift of being human.  You don't have to ACT on it, but you should be making some kind of judgement on everything you encounter.  The Taliban's attitude to women encapsulates murder as a punishment for being accused of adultery.  The Taliban's attitude to works of art that don't celebrate their religion is that they should be destroyed, their attitude to history is also exclusive/destructive.    Unless you believe that your own personal morality is superior to that of any institution's, be it the Taliban or the government of the USA, how can you offer judgements either way on any event, phenomenon or ideology?  Their morality is much more strongly defined and much more actively punitive than mine.  It's more moral, really, by a lot of definitions, but I'd say morally worse.

I find the difference between that kind of thing a lot more interesting to read about than standard issue East/West debate.  It's about the actual axioms of that kind of debate.  Jutl is always interesting to read on stuff like this.  But really, I'd just for once like to log on here and read about the specifics of an argument, rather than have the argument used as a springboard for very familiar tracts.
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Why is there no criticism of you for the illegal warmongers of Washington and London,
  About a tenth of the world's population have, odd grammar aside, already typed that sentence on the internet.  Notably less than have discussed Martin Amis' attitude to cultural relativism in any depth.

My main issue with your original post, FM, was opening with 'yawn at Borboski again.'  Exactly what part of what he said do you genuinely disagree with?  He pointed out quite rightly that biggytitbo had used a load of internet cliches, and had not addressed anything in the original debate before doing so.  Your yawn seemed to be suggesting that he'd trotted out his standard pro-Blair schtick, but this time he hadn't.  Seemed like you'd taken his disagreeing with someone's un-pertinent remarks as being an active endorsement of Martin Amis' retracted comments.  That, combined with the dismissive tone of it,  seemed if anything to be actually below Chris Morris' level of contribution on the matter.

Emergency Lalla Ward Ten

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Re: Chris Morris debating islamism with Martin Amis
« Reply #29 on: October 15, 2007, 02:56:37 AM »
That article's painful, like it's been written by some internet dick circa 1998 who has to endlessly explain why Morris is da fackin' man. 'Satirical southpaw' indeed.

Amis used to be one of my heroes too (I fondly recall the summer when I was 17, curling up with The Rachel Papers and Dead Babies), but he's just unreadable now.