in the news today: a teapot and faultlines

Two items in the news today. The first is a bit of a teapot tempest. Liberal bloggers are upset that Obama went on Fox News and, worse, didn’t wave around the dueling glove in the hopes of hitting a few faces. It’s a bit silly. On the one hand – the one with the glove – Fox is a one-sided network that deserves the contempt it receives. On the softer, moisturized hand, for people to refuse to appear on the network only ads fuel to the right-wing fire that sees the left as elitist and so on. My view is that talking can’t be a bad thing, especially when done at a respectful conversational volume. For liberal bloggers to dump on Obama – when the media is already gunning for him as it is – for such a trivial thing strikes me as counterproductive given alternatives Clinton and McCain, who are both in need of a serious drubbing.

In the second, far more serious bit of news, the New York Times had this piece on an Arabic school in New York and the troubles faced by its former principal. Just as we thought we were making some progress on the issue of race, along comes the issue of religion – Islam, to be specific – to divide yet again. As an interesting follow up, Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman did an interview with the principal in question, Debbie Almontaser.

This whole sorry affair reminds me a bit of the controversy surrounding the King Fahad mosque here in Culver City a couple of years ago, when the mosque was subjected to a protest involving a mock-hanging of Osama Bin Laden. I covered the protest and wrote one of several op-eds. Click here for the rant, which dates back to September 18, 2006:

The Incredible Spectacle

Of course, the protest is strictly little league in comparison to what’s going on in New York; it’s a veritable cauldron of politics and prejudice. But the suspicions harboured towards Muslims look increasingly like fault lines in the cultural fabric. More than a faultline, perhaps, given the fake controversy of Osama and Islam…

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