October 30, 2015

QotD: Maybe the Minnesota Vikings should also change their name

Filed under: Football, History, Humour, Quotations — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

After the fiancée-punching scandal the NFL suffered this fall, the league is working on an anti-domestic-violence campaign; a new public-service announcement featuring about two dozen pro footballers debuted this Thursday during the Chargers–Broncos game. But the question persists: How can the NFL paint itself as progressive while it permits one of its franchises to use a patently offensive team name? Calling a team “the Vikings” is grotesquely insensitive to everyone concerned about domestic abuse. Minnesota might as well call its team “the Pillagers” or “the Rapists.”

Of course, the public’s attitude toward Vikings has changed over the years. According to a piece in The Spectator by Melanie McDonagh, “the Vikings-as-peaceful-traders approach has now been academic orthodoxy for two generations.” But according to an Aberdeen University historian named David Dumville, whom the piece quotes, “We’re being invited to forget vast amounts.” Dumville “puts the fashion for cuddly Vikings squarely down to ‘Swedish war guilt about not participating in the [second world] war and American political correctness.’” In fact, McDonagh writes, “the Vikings’ cruelty and joy in battle put them in a class of their own.” Per the article’s title, “the Vikings really were that bad.” And according to the Huffington Post, new research done at the University of Oslo suggests that Vikings’ slaves and sex slaves would be beheaded and buried with their deceased masters. Is the NFL promoting rape culture?

Josh Gelernter, “Cleaning up the NFL”, National Review, 2014-10-25.

July 28, 2011

Is Breivik sane enough to prosecute?

Filed under: Europe, Law, Media — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 12:20

Douglas Murray points out that Breivik’s actions even before the attacks would have marked him as insane:

Anders Behring Breivik believed himself a Knight Templar and awarded himself various military ranks accordingly. He also believed that he and other self-described Islamophobic racists had common cause with jihadis and that the USA has a Jewish problem. So even before he planted a car bomb in a civilian area and gunned down scores of young people, it would have been clear to anyone who bothered to question him that Breivik was insane.

Of course, no discussion of the Oslo massacre is complete without considering the media reaction:

But in the coverage since his atrocities first broke on to the world, two troubling tendencies have converged. The first is the search for reason in a mind that was clearly a stranger to it. The second is the tendency — particularly strong on the left — to use any horrific act as a megaphone for existing prejudices. In the aftermath of the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford in January, the left-wing media and politicians hunted for the right-wingers who they claimed had inspired the attack. That the gunman was not only a loner but a psychotic maniac was largely ignored as they rushed off excitedly to attack their ideological enemies. And so it is with Breivik.

For the past decade and more, every time an Islamist has blown something up, a chorus of voices — mainly from the left — has rightly said that ‘we shouldn’t jump to any conclusions’. But this time it was different. The Labour MP Tom Harris observed, with great frankness, that a ‘palpable relief that swept through the left when the identity of the terrorist was made known… Here, thank God, was a terrorist we can all hate without equivocation: white, Christian and far right-wing. Phew.’ So never mind not jumping to conclusions. When it seemed to emerge that, among many other things, the killer also claimed to be opposed to immigration and was fearful of Islam, that jump became a great leap towards group blame.

July 25, 2011

Mark Steyn responds to accusations that he “inspired” the attack in Oslo

Filed under: Europe, Media, Politics — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 20:30

Mark Steyn is quoted in Norwegian terrorist Breivik’s “manifesto”, and this is being used to paint him and others as “inspiration” for the attacks. He responds:

I have been away from the Internet for the weekend, and return to find myself being fitted out for a supporting role in Friday’s evil slaughter in Norway. The mass murderer Breivik published a 1,500-page “manifesto.” It quotes me, as well as several friends of NR — Theodore Dalrymple, Daniel Pipes, Roger Scruton, Melanie Phillips, Daniel Hannan (plus various pieces from NR by Rod Dreher and others) — and many other people, including Churchill, Gandhi, Orwell, Jefferson, John Locke, Edmund Burke, Bernard Shaw, Mark Twain, not to mention the U.S. Declaration of Independence.* Those new “hate speech” codes the Left is already clamoring for might find it easier just to list the authors Europeans will still be allowed to read.

It is unclear how seriously this “manifesto” should be taken. Parts of it simply cut and paste chunks of the last big killer “manifesto” by Ted Kaczynski, with the occasional [insert-your-cause-here] word substitute replacing the Unabomber’s obsessions with Breivik’s. This would seem an odd technique to use for a sincerely meant political statement. The entire document is strangely anglocentric — in among the citations of NR and The Washington Times, there’s not a lot about Norway.

[. . .]

Any of us who write are obliged to weigh our words, and accept the consequences of them. But, when a Norwegian man is citing Locke and Burke as a prelude to gunning down dozens of Norwegian teenagers, he is lost in his own psychoses. Free societies can survive the occasional Breivik. If Norway responds to this as the Left appears to wish, by shriveling even further the bounds of public discourse, freedom will have a tougher time.

Reaction to the attacks in Norway

Filed under: Europe, Media, Politics — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 10:37

Brendan O’Neill looks at the media reaction to the Oslo and Utoya terror attacks:

When it was reported on Friday that there had been an explosion and an horrific mass shooting in Norway, many observers assumed that al-Qaeda or some other radical Islamist group had struck at the heart of peaceful Scandinavia. ‘Norway’s 9/11’, said the front page of the Sun on Saturday, with the subheading: ‘“Al-Qaeda” massacre.’ Yet when it was revealed that the alleged bomber and shooter is a Norway-born, blonde-haired, farm-owning Aryan, observers quickly bought into the idea that we were faced with something very different from an al-Qaeda attack. This wasn’t ‘Norway’s 9/11’ after all, but something more akin to Columbine-on-steroids, a right-wing madman letting off steam in a most barbaric fashion. As one Norwegian police official put it: this was ‘probably more Norway’s Oklahoma than its World Trade Centre’.

Yet this simplistic categorisation of contemporary terror assaults — where violent outbursts get slotted into files marked ‘Radical Islamist Fury’ or ‘Right-Wing Anger’ — makes too fine a distinction between acts that are actually very similar. Just because something like 7/7 in London was executed by men with dark hair and brown skin who claimed to be fighting on behalf of the Muslim ummah, while the bombing of Oslo and massacre on Utoya were carried out by a white guy who claimed to be protecting European Christian culture, that doesn’t mean these are diametrically different actions. What they have in common is far more important than what separates them. And, stripped of their pseudo-political garb, what unites today’s various terror tantrums, what makes these kind of people possible in the first place, is a very powerful culture of estrangement in modern society.

In much of the media, particularly amongst the respectable broadsheet press, there was a palpable sense of relief when it was revealed that the alleged killer is white with far-right tendencies. This means he is the kind of person we can unambiguously hate. Where Islamist terror attacks, from 9/11 to 7/7, induce in some liberal observers torn and tortured feelings, where they want to condemn the violence but also feel the need to explain it as a natural reaction to evil Western foreign policy, Anders Behring Breivik is someone they can despise in an uncomplicated way. This means that while the attacks may not be ‘Norway’s 9/11’, they could well be the cultural elite’s 9/11 — in the sense that this is an act which the influential liberal classes may seek to politicise in an opportunistic fashion, to make moral mileage out of, in the same way that the right did after 11 September 2001.

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