Thursday, September 13, 2007

Amis Blather

Martin Amis has a typically obtuse article in the Times. The first half is devoted to a bunch of tone-deaf idiocy about the American penchant for abbreviations and the exciting use of dates represented as numbers (a la "9/11"). Then the real nonsense begins. There's the obligatory reference to the invasion of Afghanistan and how "the 'genocide' eagerly predicted by Noam Chomsky and others" did not materialize there (Amis seems incapable of mentioning Chomsky without completely misrepresenting him, in the liberal fashion). His bored rehearsal of the "ascertainable truths" supporting what he disdainfully calls "the argument for moral equivalence". Of course, he doesn't actually understand the argument he disdains, as is made evident by everything else he says, including his paranoid blather about Islamists' "mad quest for world domination" and a "restored Caliphate. . . .presiding over a planetary empire cleansed of all infidels". He doesn't actually understand the history he attempts to rehearse, which is made painfully clear as he moves his critical eye onto Israel and what the Palestinians call al-nakba, or "the catastrophe". This section is as inept about history as the rest of the piece and is ably demolished by Ellis Sharp, so I'll send you there for that, and quote his conclusion here:
Amis perverts the meaning of ‘the catastrophe’. It is so-called not because it involved the defeat of Islam by Judaism (a ludicrous and bogus proposition) but because an entire nation was dispossessed. It was a catastrophe for ordinary human beings who were forced from their homes, their land and their businesses.
As Aaronovitch Watch observes: "Apparently there is literally nothing the man can write, no matter how idiotic, that is not publishable in a national newspaper."

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