Dispatches > The Buzz


Issue: "California's wall of fire," Nov. 8, 2003

Enemies of their enemies

Blogger Andrew Sullivan (andrewsullivan.com) observed the almost vocal support that the hard-left now has for Saddam and other enemies of state: "Here's a prediction: the fledgling links now forged between left-wing anti-war campaigners and Islamo-fascism will get stronger in the years ahead. The anti-globalization far left has nowhere else to go. Fanatical political Islam provides them with an over-arching structure for the loathing of the West. Now that Marxism is dead and post-modernism has shown itself inept as a basis for a real political movement, Islam will fill the void."

Gene of Harry's Place (hurryupharry.bloghouse.net) offered a slightly different take on the same subject: "Sullivan's scenario of the hard left turning to the Koran is merely colorful phrasemongering. It is nihilism which is the real danger. If humanitarian or anti-terrorist interventions in the future are to win the public support they need, then the smug and hopeless oppositionalism we have seen over Iraq is likely to be a growing opponent.... If the left's old internationalism, anti-fascism, and militant defense of democracy is finally defeated by the spread of reactionary nihilism, it will not only be the left who are the losers."

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And what about attacks not on American soldiers but on the headquarters of the International Red Cross? Red Cross spokeswoman Nada Doumani expressed bewilderment: "We don't understand why somebody would attack the Red Cross. It's very hard to understand." Clifford D. May, posting on The Corner (nationalreview .com/thecorner/corner.asp), responded: "No, Ms. Doumani, it's actually quite simple. The Saddamite remnants and their foreign jihadi allies don't want life to get better for ordinary Iraqis. That's why they attack you. That's why they attack American troops repairing water lines and guarding hospitals."

Starting big

It seems too easy to poke fun at Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, and Danny DeVito after they decided to take a trip to the Middle East to try to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, hoping to succeed where 30 years of negotiations have failed. Apparently there is no such thing as too easy to Chris Johnson (mcj.bloghorn.com): "Jen? Brad? Dan? A little friendly advice. Before you kids bite off more than you can chew and jump in the deep end of the pool and get in way over your heads and other clichŽs I can't think of right now, you might want to start a tad smaller. Why not come here to St. Louis and negotiate an end to the grocery strike? Then maybe you could hammer out a new NHL labor agreement and prevent a strike. You know, work your way up."

Another American wishing to travel is Joshua Micah Marshall (talkingpointsmemo.com), who asked readers for contributions so he could go New Hampshire and blog its upcoming primary on site. Mr. Marshall's begging blog-"bleg"-raised $5,000 in 24 hours, and now he will apparently have the opportunity to relay to readers "moment-to-moment reports, running commentary, and a lot of other stuff that doesn't easily fit into the rubrics of conventional journalism."

Sight unseen

Despite Gregg Easterbrook's recent troubles, he maintains his deft way of skewering those who despise faith in God and thus put their faith in other things unseen. Mr. Easterbrook's latest target: scientists willing to put their faith in the unprovable ideas necessary for String Theory, which he (tnr.com/easterbrook .mhtml) doesn't necessarily disagree with. "At Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and other top schools, researchers discuss 10 unobservable dimensions, or an infinite number of imperceptible universes, without batting an eyelid," Mr. Easterbrook wrote. "Yet if at Yale, Princeton, Stanford, or top schools, you proposed that there exists just one unobservable dimension-the plane of the spirit-and that it is real despite our inability to sense it directly, you'd be laughed out of the room. Or conversation would grind to a halt to avoid offending your irrational religious superstitions. To modern thought, one extra spiritual dimension is a preposterous idea, while the notion that there are incredible numbers of extra physical dimensions gives no pause. Yet which idea sounds more implausible-one unseen dimension or billions of them?"


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