Monday, December 31, 2007

Rant: Intolerance, Prejudice, Hatred and Stupidity

I live in a small southern rural town in Mississippi. Our town has about 10 restaurants (not counting fast food), but about 40 Baptist Churches. We are the buckle of the Bible Belt.

So no one will be surprised when I tell you about the backlash against the movie The Golden Compass. In our town there is a reactionary prejudice against the movie falling just inches short of an organized boycott.

It will come as no surprise for you to hear that reactionary conservative Christians tell me they won't allow their children to see the movie, let alone read the books. Of course they haven't ever read the books themselves, or seen the movie. They just know that theaters shouldn't "show that trash."

I'm betting that not one of my regular liberal leaning or progressive readers is the slightest bit surprised at the ignorant, intolerant, closed minded, prejudiced, and stupid attitude of the right wing fundamentalist conservatives.

Meanwhile back in the civilized, multi-cultural, blue state metropolitan world, progressives and so-called liberals are inflamed with a level of outrage, hatred, intolerance, prejudice and closed minded stupidity over the hiring of neo-conservative Bill Kristol as a weekly op-ed columnist writer for The New York Times.

Boycotts of the Times are actually in the works. Letters to the editor are flying. Threats abound.

Kathleen Reardon, blogging over at Huffington has
published a letter she recommends all Times readers use as a template for similar letters to the editor of the Times:

"....if you hire William Kristol, it will be the final cut. You will have betrayed everything I have ever admired in the Times. I am serious about this.

I will terminate my email and any premium subscription. I will no longer purchase the Times or the Herald Tribune at newsstands. My interest in the success of your publication will cease, and I will get all my news from elsewhere. Any regrets I may have will be assuaged by my knowledge that your hiring of that arrogant, blockheaded, smirking, war-mongering scumbag proves you have finally lost your way."

I am sickened and disgusted that people I want to respect are behaving exactly like right wing zealots. They refuse to allow "the liberal newspaper of record" as one blogger put it, to be sullied by a real and genuine exchange of ideas.

Kathleen, what I've always admired about the Times is their willingness to present diverse opinions, even highly unpopular ones. The Times could be counted on to discuss in their op-ed section homosexuality, racism, genocide and the environment when those ideas were unpopular or radical.

Why would anyone think the well water of liberalism would be poisoned by ideas? Don't they realize that the well water, indeed our very soul, is replenished by the spring water of fresh ideas, divergent opinions and civilized debate and discussion.

These so called progressive anti-Kristol zealots are identical in every prejudiced, closed mined, intolerant, hate filled, fearful way to the fundamentalists who fear the ideas of an atheist writer who wrote a fantasy book now turned into a movie.

The Golden Compass will not ruin small town southern life, and Bill Kristol will not ruin the New York Times.


On a related note, New York Times editorial page editor Andy Rosenthal both
confirmed and defended the decision:

Times' editorial page editor Andy Rosenthal defended the move. Rosenthal told shortly after the official announcement Saturday that he fails to understand “this weird fear of opposing views....We have views on
our op-ed page that are as hawkish or more so than Bill....

“The idea that The New York Times is giving voice to a guy who is a serious, respected conservative intellectual — and somehow that’s a bad thing,”

Rosenthal added. “How intolerant is that?”


1 comment:

Vigilante said...

Billy Kristol is an established, genial, charming, good-looking, well-dressed dispenser of Kool-Aide. What the New York Times sees in this compromised pundit is beyond me, but be assured it's of no concern to me.