May 31, 2006
May 31, 2006
Imagine you were put in a position to exert permanent influence on mankind. What your message be?
What does 'influence' really mean, anyway? Is 'influence' determined by the quality of content, or is 'influence' measured by how many people hear and absorb the message?
Do ideas become great only after they are accepted by masses of people?
Genesis 18:32 "For the sake of those ten," He replied, "I will not destroy it."
The verse is referring to the exchange between Abraham and God, as Abraham pleads with God to spare Sodom and Gomorroh. God agrees to spare those cities if ten good men are found.
Sometimes, masses of people are what it takes to make a difference. Other times, only a handful of decent people can make a difference.
In fact, real influence isn't determined by the numbers. Real influence is determined by the quality of the message. Often, there are deliberate attempts to impose influence and ideas. That is best exemplified by Nazi, socialist, communist and even radical Islamic ideologies. In the end however, great and influential ideas, like great and influential art, survive the test of time. Citizen Kane and Gone with the Wind remain great cinematic art- Terms of Endearment and The Sting, Academy award winners each, will not fare as well. Read the rest of this entry »
May 31, 2006
From Neo-neocon, a look into an escalating crisis.
And now–quelle horreur!–I read that petite clothing sizes may be in jeopardy. Yes, three stores–Neiman-Marcus, Saks, and Bloomingdale's–have suddenly and simultaneously eliminated their petite departments.
That's right- there are changes at the department stores taking place in the dead of night, right under our noses- and Neo is calling for all petite women to stand together, in solidarity (you can take May Day away from the girl but you can't take the girl away from May Day).
In the interests of full disclosure, SC&A must admit that the gravity of the tragedy that has befallen Neo, escapes us. That said, we are sensitive enough to realize her pain is real- notwithstanding our own obtuseness.
So that we may better 'share' with Neo her 'feelings,' we are attempting to equate the crisis she is experiencing with a past crisis of our own.
To that end, we can say we can relate. SC&A have been in mourning Samuel Adams refused to make their White Ale a part of their year round offerings.
May 31, 2006
Yesterday, we discussed the various kinds of reform that are emanating from the Arab and Islamic worlds. In Relative Reform Or The Race To Reform, we noted that reform in the Arab and Islamic world comes in one of two flavors: There are those that want to modernize and update particular ideologies and political systems, and thus make them more 'tolerable' to western democracies, and there are those for whom reform means 'examining established and long held beliefs and values, so as to further refine them and make those values meaningful and relevant in today's world.'
Today, we want to discuss one of the more volatile issues facing Arab and Islamic reform- anti semitism, defined as the hatred of Jews and the hatred directed at Israel.
Arab and Muslim anti semitism is not the same as the garden variety racism and bigotry of the west. It is very different because virtually all Arab and Muslim anti semitism is condoned, promoted and endorsed by state funded and controlled media, education systems and religious authorities. As we pointed out yesterday,
Cultures, religions and societies are measured by what they build and what they contribute. They are not measured by what they destroy or by who they threaten or by who they hate. In the comparison of cultures, moral equality is not drawn by measuring the lowest of shared failures or values, but rather, moral equality is drawn by the how much of the highest values are shared.
It is absurd for much of the Arab and Muslim world to say that because America tolerated slavery for a period of time, for example, Americans are in no position to lecture the Arab and Islamic world about anti semitism. America has chosen to wage war on hatred and intolerance and continues to do so. If the Arab and Islamic world wants respect and moral equality from the west, they must exhibit the the highest standards of civilized behavior and not the lowest. State funded and promoted anti semitism is not acceptable civilized behavior.
Many will argue that Israel and not Jews, are the 'problem.' There are those that need to believe that, because that is the 'out,' the excuse and the justification for behavior and arguments that are specious, at best.
Arab and Muslim anti semitism predated the establishment of the State of Israel. What Israel faces today in the continuation of a time honored tradition: excoriate and demonize the Jews. To be clear, this is not unique to the Arab and Islamic world. In fact, the persecution of Jews reached an art form in countries that were 'Christian.' The Arab and Islamic worlds were never as proficient anti Semites as were the Europeans. That said, that only makes current Arab and Islamic world anti semitism worse, because the Arab and the Islamic world have had the benefits of looking back and seeing the evil for themselves. They had the opportunity to point an accusatory finger at Europe and Christendom and say, "This evil and shameful thing was your handiwork, not ours!" Instead, they have chosen to embrace the evil, teach it in schools and preach it from the pulpits. 'We will finish the job Hitler started,' they say in one breath and then deny the Holocaust with another. They do not shout 'Slaughter the Zionists!' from the pulpits and they are careful to refer to Israel as the Jewish state as often as they can. They refer to the Jewish lobby instead of an Israel lobby. Read the rest of this entry »