Wednesday, September 08, 2010
I hate you
“That’s not very nice”, I hear you cry, “But I’m reading your blog and everything, and no bugger else does. And I was sure I was doing this thing that I’m doing right. And your face is pretty hateful as well”.
You’d probably rather have not known of my hatred for you now, right? To be fair, I wish I hadn’t told you at all. You’re going to make it more difficult for me to take photographs of you now, and I can probably rule out sneaking into your house any more when you’re out and stealing your stuff. If you hadn't known, we could have both carried on with our little lives, me pretending to like you if we meet, etc.
I am going somewhere with this, honest. Here we join Pastor Terry Jones, fresh from his Monty Python Fame (not really), and his latest crusade. He and his church the Dove World Outreach Center have made the news with their plan to burn copies of the the Koran on the anniversary of 9/11, and this has naturally sparked worldwide controversy. Hillary Clinton and several Military Leaders have condemned the action, and a school teacher in Afghanistan has gone on the news telling Pastor Jones “Your actions endanger my life”.
Now the church in question, The Dove World Outreach Center (which is a brilliantly apt name, incidentally – their outreaching clearly only extends to stretching their arms over shop counters to buy delightfully flammable holy texts) has a congregation of 50 people. Just 50 people. 50 fucking idiotic, misguided and bigoted people who need the phrase ‘Love thy neighbour’ tattooed on their stupid faces admittedly, but that’s still just 50.
World Press – You know me, I’m loathe to tell you what to do. And you rarely listen anyhow. But what you should have done in this case is let Pastor Jones burn his copies of the Koran. Without complaint. Let him burn anything he wants – The works of Dan Brown, the complete Harry Potter, anything. But here’s the trick. Don’t report it.
You see the thing is he’s a little unimportant twerp who is the head of a little unimportant church and if we didn’t know about his little happy burny book day, nobody would be offended – because we wouldn’t have known about it. Let Jones and his congregation gleefully stoke up the fires and dance happy lightbulb changing dances of joy as paper ignites, but let’s not give them the satisfaction that they think we care.
Because the instant it makes local news, it’ll make nationwide American news. And then it invariably becomes World News. And when this happens, it becomes a dangerous thing. The actions of a few idiots are suddenly exhibited to the world as representing the opinions of a larger group. An action by some attention seeking idiots could have gone mostly ignored and unnoticed, except for the staff of the local Muslim bookshop that would have noticed a slight increase in sales ("Softback or hardback, sir?" "Errrmm.. which will burn quicker?"). But suddenly the eyes of the world are suddenly watching Pastor Jones and his insignificant little church - and those same flames that turn books into ash will ignite a fire way more powerful, and one that’ll take far longer to put out.
News Networks have a duty to report the news, but I think they also have the duty, or even the responsibility to contemplate whether in some cases they should simply disregard it for the greater good. To continue the pained fire metaphor, without the oxygen of publicity Pastor Jones flames of hate would have been extinguished long ago, but for every interview with him or a member of his loathsome brethren, the flames continue to get fanned.
This subject will undoubtedly get blogged to death by people way more knowledgeable or eloquent than myself, I just thought it worth saying. The next few weeks will be interesting, and not in a nice way.
And on a closing note, I don't really hate you. I think you're ace. I just said that to make a point. Your hair looks really good like that, and that outfit really suits your complexion. In fact, I think I love you.