July 24, 2006

What does Lee Siegel have a blog, exactly?

While other bloggers have been picking on the unapologetic ignorance of cartoonist Chris ("What a Maroon") Muir lately, I've been enjoying the ongoing car-wreck of the Lee Siegel blog at TNR.

Based on his writings, Siegel, like Muir, appears to be fiercely, unapologetically unintelligent when it comes to history and politics. Example A would be his observation that we should retire the term "Muslim street" because there's never been an Arab popular uprising in modern times. I could almost let that go, because you do have to footnote a lot of the obvious counter-examples. For instance, the Turks in 1919 were, of course, not Arabs. The Algerians in the late 1950s were rebelling against a foreign power rather than just their own government, as were, to a lesser extent, the two Palestinian intifadas. But I think you still have to consider the rise of Nasser, Algeria's FIS-led revolt in 1991, and the Kurdish revolts against Hussein in Iraq, among others, as obvious contradictions of Siegel's claim.

But his dismissing of another obvious counter-example is where Siegel's ignorance just shines: "Even the non-Arab, Iranian 'revolution' was a coup on a large scale."

Say what you want about the Khomeinists, but the Iranian Revolution was as much a "coup on a large scale" as the similar-events of 1789 or 1917 were. It's a baffling way to describe the act of a country violently turning itself inside out, in a way that still is shaping world events over 25 years later. I really can't explain how obtuse this would be as a point of view, except to say that, if Iran wasn't a revolution in the traditional political sense, there's never been a revolution.

All this dumbness in defense of an indefensible thesis: that Middle Eastern countries are not at least as frequently riven by internal turmoil and violence as other developing nations. Of course they are. To argue otherwise is just stupid.

Posted by BruceR at 05:38 PM

We get mail

Feedback on the Flit post on Cpl Boneca, below, from reader Ross W.:

"I wanted to give Kudos for your opinion on this matter. I feel exactly the same, although I would place more blame on Mr Decorte himself. I am in the Forces and I was in Afghanistan.

"I guess the sentence about not being able to libel the dead rings true. But for that jackass to dishonour Cpl Boneca like that just to get on National TV was a disgrace to all soldiers who have perished. I have been on 3 tours. Yeah there are times when it sucks being over there and you joke about doing anything to get home, but you suck it up and carry on.

"Cpl Boneca died valiantly in close quarters battle, face to face with the enemy. I guarantee he wasnt thinking about any of that crap Decorte was spewing when he kicked down that door. He had a job do do and he did it willingly.

"I wish YOUR site got the coverage that the big papers get. More people need to see this."

Posted by BruceR at 02:48 PM