Happy anniversary, Charles!

December 18, 2009

Charles Krauthammer is one of my favorite writers: sharp, incisive thinking with an intellectual clarity that does not suffer foolishness – and is quite happy to point out who the fools are. I’ve long wished there were some way to get him into the US Senate in place of any of the many careerist mediocrities warming the seats there, these days.

Today, Charles tells us that this is his 25th anniversary as a columnist. In his honor, The Weekly Standard has put together a recommended list of articles he’s written for them. A “Best of Krauthammer,” as it were. Go and have a look; it will be well-worth your time.

My favorite? It’s hard to say, but one I turn to again and again when discussing the Jihadi War* is The Truth About Torture.

*(My name for the current conflict with radicalized Muslims. I think it’s more accurate and honest than “War on Terror.”)


Testing :)

August 10, 2009

Test 1, 2, 3 …


Pot, meet kettle

November 10, 2008

The other night I attended an event in Hollywood that featured the screening of a popular TV show, followed by a Q&A with the creator. I went with a friend because we’re working together on a spec script for that same show, and we figured it would be useful.

What I didn’t figure on was how annoying it would be.

We all know that Hollywood is dominated by left-liberals and Lefties, so, as this was the night after the election, some crowing over Obama’s win was to be expected. Fine. I’ve no problem with that.

What I wasn’t ready for was the level of knee-jerk bigotry exhibited by the moderators, audience, and the creator. They just couldn’t resist taking vicious, ignorant shots at Bush, McCain, Palin, and conservatives and Republicans in general. And their cluelessness about the nature of the enemy we’re fighting in this Jihadi War was appalling.  Not only was it completely off-topic for the evening’s program, but I’m certain it never occurred to them that they were doing those same intolerant things they accuse conservatives of, or that there might have been people in the audience who didn’t share in the group-think.

I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or get angry, so I quietly did both.

As screenwriter Roger L. Simon at Pajamas Media has often pointed our, the most closed-minded people and biggest reactionaries are so-called Progressives.

Meanwhile, I have to wonder if I fit in such a world. It certainly was an eye-opener.

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Frustrating television

November 22, 2006

I just finished watching an episode of Criminal Minds that centered around foiling an al-Qaeda terrorist attack in the US. I’ll give them credit: they did their research and got quite a bit right about political, militant Islam and jihadi terrorism. But there were moments of politically correct malarkey –including one outright falsehood– that had me groaning. What were they? Here are the two biggest:

1) During the initial briefing, when someone mentions “holy war,” Dr. Reid says those are two words that never appear together in the Koran. He may be literally right, but the Koran repeatedly talks about jihad –war- “in the cause of Allah.” Call it what you like, that is holy war, and this was an attempt to distance the religion from the acts of its followers, when the truth is much, much murkier.

2) During the interrogation of the prisoner at Guantanamo, reference is made to “the Verse of the Sword.” In a jaw-dropping moment, one of the characters says that it is “just a hadith, not part of the Koran.” This is false on several levels. First, the Verse of the Sword is verse 5 of the ninth chapter of the Koran:

Fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them: seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war).

It is most assuredly not a hadith (“stories of the prophet”). This falsehood looks like another attempt to separate the practitioners of violent jihad from the religion by implying they’re overemphasizing a lesser element, distorting the faith. Far from it: many medieval and modern scholars of mainstream Islamic jurisprudence consider the violent verses of the ninth sura, including the Verse of the Sword, to have abrogated the earlier, more peaceful verses written before Muhammad fled Mecca.

My guess is that some of these changes were required by the network censors (or whatever they call them these days) to take some of the “edge” off the episode. Too bad, because what was a good episode could have become great with some intellectual honesty and courage, representing both sides accurately.

As a writer, I’d find it very frustrating to have carefully researched and documented work bowdlerized just to avoid offending someone. Of course, others may simply be sloppy research. Ah well. With L&I: Criminal Intent going into a tailspin (without D’Onofrio’s character in half the episodes, the show really loses something), Criminal Minds is still the most interesting cop show on TV. For me, anyway.

LINK: More on the Verse of the Sword and it’s place in the modern Islamic world here. For a discussion of the Verse of the Sword arguing that the criticism has been much too facile, go here.