Friday, August 26, 2005

How many monkeys does it take to build a pyramid?

Humans On Display at London Zoo

Apparently, as a both a stunt to increase attendance and social commentary about the place humans occupy in the animal kingdom, the London Zoo has opened a special exhibit called 'Humans in their natural habitat', in which eight scantily clad men and women prance around like morons for the viewing enjoyment of confused onlookers.

Now, I'm all for a dumb stunt. And there is certainly nothing wrong with some scantily clad women running around. So if the powers that be at the zoo think that some half-naked people will get more patrons through the gates, then more power to them. This aspect of the project, at least, seems innocent enough.

What I have a very serious problem with, however, is the attitude that seems to permeate this endeavor. It seems to be rather intentionally designed to both lower the value of humanity and elevate the value of the animal kingdom, as per the agenda of the radical environmental left and their footsoldiers at PETA and the ALF.

According to spokesman Patty Wills "Seeing people in a different environment, among other animals ... teaches members of the public that the human is just another primate." I see. Now if we take this logic to it's natural conclusion, then we are left with a moral dilemma of sorts. You see, if humans are 'just another primate', then why do we not bestow the same rights upon, say, chimpanzees that we do upon humans? And more nefariously, if humans are just another primate, why do we not experiment upon or clone humans? Both, coincidentally are goals of the radical left. However, before attaining these goals, the general public must be convinced that they are simply not that special, and that human life is no more special or deserving of protection than, say, a field mouse.

The message, it seems, is not lost upon it's participants, said one Tom Mahoney to the AP:
"A lot of people think humans are above other animals... When they see humans as animals, here, it kind of reminds us that we are not that special."
Not that special indeed. Except for things like, you know, the pyramids. Or the space program. Or the Sistine Chapel. Or indoor plumbing. Or just about everything else that rather obviously separates us from and elevates us above the rest of the animal kingdom. This fallacy is driven home by having the people prance around naked in a bear enclosure, calling it 'humans in their natural habitat', which in fact at this point for humans is about as natural as being underwater. But as long as people go around thinking that human life is special, then the radical animal rights, cloning and abortion agendas that these people are pushing will not win much general support.

The de-humanization of humans to further a leftist agenda is nothing new; they've been at it rather successfully for years in order to make abortion seem less like the brutal abomination that it is, and more like a simple medical procedure, akin to having a hangnail removed. Witness such terms used to describe an unborn infant as 'product of conception', 'fetal mass', etc., and you begin to understand what is at work here; the key to getting people to abandon their previously held values is to first convince them that they are not actually compromising their values at all, but rather that their values are separate and held intact from whatever they are being convinced of at the moment. Remember that not too long ago abortion was viewed with the same abhorration as, say, human cloning is today. However, after a couple of decades of convincing people that, morally speaking, they are not compromising their values (most people don't support killing a baby) by telling them in one way or another that they are not killing anything, then support becomes far easier to attain. A 'product of conception' is a much better target than a baby, despite the fact that they are the same thing.

The second step in this process of de-humanizing humanity is what we are now witnessing at the London Zoo. Most people at the moment do not support human cloning and other such experimentation involving humans, but have little problem overall with the same things involving animals. Nor do they support the granting of civil rights to the animal kingdom. However with a bit more convincing that humans are just another member of the animal kingdom, no more or less special than a cat or sheep despite all evidence to the contrary, than who knows where we'll be in another 10 years. After all, they've managed to convince a good number of people in a very short period of time that aborting an unborn baby on a whim is not much of a moral issue. In Scandinavia they've gone so far recently as to have open and serious discussion into when it is actually legal and ethical to kill a newborn infant (it seems that this is becoming a common, if so far unreported, practice in that part of the world). Unless we begin to fight back in a very real way on these issues involving our humanity, I shudder to think what this world will look like in the near future.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Peter Jennings Dies

The major news outlets are reporting that Peter Jennings, who announced four months ago that he was stricken with lung cancer, has died at his home in NYC at the age of 67.

I'm sure that there will be a lot written about him in the next few days, but I do want to say that he was an excellent anchor, and regardless of politics, this is exremely sad. I always liked him, far more than most of the other MSM personalities. He will surely be missed.

"As you all know, Peter learned only this spring that the health problem he'd been struggling with was lung cancer. With Kayce, he moved straight into an aggressive chemotherapy treatment. He knew that it was an uphill struggle. But he faced it with realism, courage, and a firm hope that he would be one of the fortunate ones. In the end, he was not."

-David Westin, President of ABC News

ABC News

CNN

Fox News

MSNBC News

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Don't Shoot! I Have Rights!

Jonah Goldberg wrote an excellent article in National Review yesterday about how, when one of the London bombers was captured, he proclaimed to the approaching police that he 'had rights'.

Ahh, the irony.

As I've said many times before, the terrorists are not impressed with our cultural sensitivity or our apparent willingness to act out of reason. They see these things as weaknesses to be exploited at every opportunity. I also find it extremely telling that all of the London bombers thus far have been second-generation, middle class Brits, who have likely not had to endure either poverty or oppressive racism in their generation living in liberal London.

Isn't poverty and racism what the liberals keep telling us are the 'root causes' of terrorism? That argument does not seem to be holding up very well. Or has it changed to 'anger' about the Iraq war now? Well, lots of people are 'angry' about the war in Iraq. Or is it 'Palestine'? Why, then, has Dennis Kucinich not strapped a bomb to his chest yet? He seems pretty angry about the war. Or the millions who have turned out in all their decadent glory to protest over the last few years? If 'anger' over the war were truly the key to what turns a middle class western kid into a human bomb, then theoretically, we should be seeing college students go boom at least three times a week (which may not be altogether bad -- I'm kidding).

No, these young men were touched with something a bit more pathological than just 'anger' about some foreign policy. Call it 'Islamic Chic', as they were not, in the strict sense of the word, adherents to pure Sharia (which is the purported goal of Bin Laden). They listened to rap music, wore western clothes, and did not have beards. They dated girls, and they were ostentably doing all of this not as a cover for their true identities, but because that is just what they did. And yet somehow, they thought that it would be truly a good idea to blow themselves and other people up on a crowded London subway; to 'sow terror' as one of the suspects bleated to the free attorney provided to him by the infidel western justice system. They are western by all externally identifiable means, but maintain a deep resentment towards the very nations that provide them with the freedom to live outside of the strict Islamic culture if they so choose (likely the reason their parents moved in the first place). The radical Imams that they listen to during Mosque services sow this sentiment and have become adept at exploiting it, to the point that they manage to get otherwise well off western men to become willing terrorists. They manage to convince that the ills of their homeland are the fault of the west, while simultaneously preaching that the western world must become more like their homeland. It is quite an act of semantic gymnastics, but often successful nonetheless.

The fact is, none of the London bombers would feel particularly comfortable in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan or even Saudi Arabia. They are, like spoiled children, lashing out at those that have offered opportunity and tolerance to them, for reasons of no more substance than 'because we're angry'. These were not people who thought very deeply about much of anything; they seem, in fact, to be idiots. Like the American kid who wears a Che Guevara T-shirt and can recite Marxist theory on request, then goes home to play Xbox for three hours, knowing little about the realities in communist Cuba; these men planned for the destruction of their adopted homes and fellow Brits, but when finally caught, instantly proclaimed their rights as British citizens and demanded legal council.

These are of course only the latest footsoldiers in the larger war against radical Islam. These men may not have really known what it's like to live under Sharia firsthand, but those that helped plan and fund their operations certainly do. The fact that they have such useful idiots among the western population should make us all the more vigilant in this conflict, and serve as a wake-up call to those who would allow such dangerous radicalism to continue on our very soil in the name of 'tolerance'.

Monday, August 01, 2005

'Grand Theft Auto', Hillary, and the downfall of civilization.

In case you're over age 45, or are otherwise totally ignorant of pop culture, 'Grand Theft Auto' is a hyper-popular series of video games that allow you to participate as a violent criminal, walking through expansive digital cities committing crimes and random acts of violence with the ultimate goal of making money and climbing the ladder to the top rungs of the underworld.

I have to tell you that honestly, I am a huge fan of the series, and have spent much time and many brain cells in front of my playstation, hopelessly addicted to these truly well-produced and engrossing games.

Now, with that having been said, you may have heard in the news that the latest installment of the series, called 'San Andreas', has been taking a lot of heat from many people both here and abroad (it's been banned altogether in Australia), and quite frankly, I have no idea why. Sure the game is violent, it uses graphic language, depicts women and minorities in a demeaning manner, and it can probably be argued that it glorifies vice and crime. This is no secret; the game (and the genre) has been around for several years now, and it is rated MA - Mature Audiences (not suitable for children under 17). But this is not where the story ends; it seems that in the latest game, some hackers have unlocked (gasp) some hidden parts of the game which allow the main character to actually have graphic (as graphic as possible on a PS2) sex with his 'girlfriends'.

Now this is not too much of a shocker to fans of the series; in fact it's fairly tame when compared with some of the other scenes in the game, which have involved beating prostitutes to death with a bat, full scale gang warfare with automatic weapons, and killing police officers with a flamethrower or chainsaw (among other things).

Mind you, I don't advocate any of this in the real world, nor do the people at Rockstar Games (the firm that produces the series); no more so than Martin Scorcese and his audience advocate the mafia, or Quentin Tarantino advocates any of the twisted things you see in his films. It is simply a piece of entertainment, no better or worse than a movie. Is it somehow more reprehensible to make a character shoot a gang member in a video game than it is to watch Ray Liotta, Robert Deniro and Joe Pesci chop up a mafioso with meat cleavers in 'Goodfellas'?

Of course not; it cannot be reasonably argued that there is any significant difference between watching a violent movie or playing a violent game. The interactive nature of modern games, though engrossing, simply allows you to view what is in essence a theatrical experience from a different perspective.

Now enter Hillary Clinton and the nanny state who is calling for a federal investigation into this game. Quote:

"There is no doubting the fact that the widespread availability of sexually explicit and graphically violent video games makes the challenge of parenting much harder,"
Well thanks for that, Hillary. Glad to see that you're so concerned about morality and parenting. How about when your husband was having oral sex with an intern in the Oval Office, then lying under oath about it. How about speaking out against that? How much harder did THAT make parenting? But an even more salient point to be made on this issue revolves around the fact that highly explicit, real-world sex and violence permeates the under-18 pop culture so tremendously that it seems extraordinarily disingenuous, and somewhat silly to go after something like this. Hollywood, MTV and the music industry peddle sex and violence so shamelessly that a stupid (and appropriately rated) video game is nearly inconsequential, regardless of how realistic the graphics and storyline may be. All you need do is watch a half-hour of MTV (target age 12-19) and you will be exposed to everything from Gucci-clad gun waving rappers singing about smoking pot and killing people, to scantily-clad teen girls singing lyrics with a degree of sexual innuendo that would make Larry Flynt blush, to R&B and Hip-Hop artists vocally and visually glorifying any and all means of hedonistic gratification. On top-40 radio (also geared towards the young demographic), these same songs are played in heavy rotation, albeit the lyrics are minus the accompanying visuals. Hollywood does a little better, recently discovering that family-friendly fare (like 'Finding Nemo' etc.), can also make big box-office dollars, but still does more than it's fair share of polluting our pop culture with vacuous smut geared towards young people. These are not abstract video game characters, either. These are real-life flesh and blood individuals who exert tremendous influence on the youth culture of this nation. When 50-Cent waves a gun and talks about shooting people in his songs (or an interview), it's quite a different thing then hearing it from the mouth of a video game. When Christina Aguilara writhes around naked singing about how 'dirty' she is on MTV, is really seems to be much more impactful than badly animated sex scenes in a mature-rated video game. The list goes on.

So where is the Clinton outrage about these things? Where are the calls for federal intervention? Why are we not bringing Carson Daily and the Weinstein Brothers before congress?

The answer, of course, is simple. The video game industry is an easy target; sure they are a billion-dollar business, but they don't have nearly the political clout that the rest of the entertainment industry carries. Compound this with the fact that Hollywood acts as Hillary's private cash cow, and we have a set of circumstances that basically guarantee we will never hear such sharp and specific criticism leveled anywhere near the direction of the big Hollywood crowd.

Hillary is, of course, posturing for a 2008 presidential run, so she needs to score a few points with the morality demographic if she has any hope of being competitive, so she figures that bringing down Grand Theft Auto will help make her look like she has something that resembles a set of moral principals. Unfortunately, her track record thus far has not been stellar in that department, and it will take more than a video game to make all of that go away. Her attempt to seem more conservative by censoring an already mature-rated video game while ignoring the child-oriented smutfest that appears on every basic cable package in America will only serve to point out her continued, unabashed hypocrisy and the leignths she's willing to go to fulfill her boundless political ambition.

UPDATE: Irish John at Evil Conservative has written on this subject also; have a look.