Friday, May 28, 2010

Quote of the Day


"Putting a mosque at Ground Zero is like building a Benihana at Pearl Harbor."

-- Comedian Jim Norton, on a New York City community board's near unanimous decision to allow for the construction of a mosque within spitting distance (in more ways than one) of the former site of the World Trade Center

The New York Times: Near Ground Zero, the Sacred and the Profane/5.27.10

For the record, I see both sides of this issue and -- as much of a cop-out as this may seem -- I'm very much on the fence about it. Having been in New York City, at the World Trade Center site and with the families of the missing and dead, right after 9/11, I completely understand the outrage of many of them -- and think that it's more than justified. Putting a mosque at the exact place where the towers once stood feels grotesquely insensitive, given the undeniable link between the warped ideology adhered to by the attackers and the supposed "religion of peace" that is Islam. That said, I also get that the creation of a shrine to the very belief system the attackers midguidedly saw themselves as the defenders of would be a fun little of "fuck you" to their memories -- and to the extremists who still consider America the Great Satan. The thing is, I don't think the gesture would matter one bit to those in the Muslim world who despise us.

28 comments:

Alanna said...

I was hoping for something more...majestic. I don't really care if its a mosque, truly (although I completely understand the outrage) but could it be a 150-story mosque? I just want my skyline back.

Bill Orvis White said...

I take too much heat on this back here in MS, Chez. I'm always getting hash browns thrown at me during Prayer Breakfast when I tell them that there are good oil-producing Muslims who are friends with the Honorable George HW and George W Bush. Those people are the good guys who we need to fight for in countries that have a lot of jihadists who want to kill us. With that said, there is no way that a mosque should be where the jihadists attacked. If that mayor over there lets that happen, then y'all need to find a way to get rid of him.

Capn said...

Isn't the gaping hole at the WTC site a bigger dishonor to those who died that day?

Santini Stadium said...

I have no problem with them putting a mosque where they want. My issue is the display of insensitivity to the victims/victims families that probably harbor some negative (see hateful) feelings towards the Muslim religion.

If we're going to be insensitive with this, then why are we so sensitive with other religious issues. Why are we bending over backwards for Muslims (see South Park's recent Mohammad episode). I say if we're allowing this mosque to be built, we should have no problem with letting kids wear American Flag shirts on Cinco de Mayo. Hell, while we're at it, let's build a 1939-1945 German history museum next to B&H in NYC.

Cajunpdx said...

Poor Metaphor. There probably is a Benihana at Pearl Harbor considering the huge number of Japanese that live in Hawaii.

9/11 was not about Muslims, it was about power and terror.

Tabi said...

I was hoping for a fist shaped building complex with a 200 story middle finger. It would be fitting in so many ways.

Anonymous said...

so no mosques near Ground Zero... a mile? two miles? 50 miles? what's good for the goose is good for the gander... so no churches near the site of George Tiller's (former) clinic. i'd say a good 50 miles radius (and i'd except his own church... make it a shrine).

Jester said...

As a matter of fact, there IS a Benihana about eight miles from Pearl Harbor, right on the edge of Fort DeRussy (and about five miles from Hickam AFB).

For those not familiar with Honolulu, Fort DeRussy is the site of the U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii. The site covers a great deal about the Army's (often overlooked) involvement in the WW2 Pacific Theater.

So... yeah. This comedian is full of shit, and so is this whole argument.

The entire Muslim religion did not attack New York City. And even if it did, so what? There are Christian churches in Jerusalem, British pubs in Boston, German restaurants in Paris and Warsaw, and... (according to Google) two Buddhist temples in Pearl City, both of them overlooking Pearl Harbor's East Loch and Ford Island.

B8ovin said...

Really? A mosque on land owned by the people who want to build it is controversial? There are Christian churches on the same block. And equating the building of the mosque to the terrorists assumes the same misguided argument that Islam IS terrorism, and all Muslims are terrorists. The only controversy I see here is bigotry. There is already a mosque on the site, TWO blocks away from "Ground Zero" (if you can spit two New York blocks contact Ripley's).
The only thing more ridiculous than complaining about this would be if some nut accused the new Muslim Miss America of being a Hezbollah spy. Oh wait...

Chez said...

Cajun & Jester -- thanks, Captain Literal.

Jester said...

You're welcome. Doesn't change the basic point that people who are up in arms about this are full of shit.

It's bigotry and religious persecution at its finest.

Chez said...

No, they're not. The worst you can say about them is that they're broadstroaking -- but that's somewhat understandable. But by all mean, continue being pious.

Cajunpdx said...

It's not about being literal, or pious. It is rhetoric, pure and simple.

If you are going to make an argument, make a good one.

Chez said...

Like I said, I don't feel strongly enough either way to argue. But then I thought I made that clear.

Nathan said...

Putting a mosque at the exact place where the towers once stood feels grotesquely insensitive...

Not to split hairs, but the site in question is two blocks north of the WTC site on Park Place. It's also in the middle of the block, so even with world champion spitting prowess, you'd have to walk to the corner to have a direct line.

The only way I could see turning them down for building there is if the U.S. officially declared war on all of Islam. I've heard enough blowhards who might think that's a good idea, but...

Ref said...

This is nothing but majoritarian bullshit.

Alanna said...

What the fuck happened to all the discussion and architects bidding for developing that land? There were at least 9-12 plans for that site the last time I checked.

Vermillion said...

Cajun & Jester -- thanks, Captain Literal.

Well, you kinda opened the door for it, by using the joke as a jumping off point for a serious discussion. If anything, that information just makes the joke more ironic.

The thing is, I don't think the gesture would matter one bit to those in the Muslim world who despise us.

Exactly. Which makes the current argument against the mosque kida stupid. If anything, having such a knee-jerk reaction would only ENCOURAGE them, convincing them further that America hates them while proving their cowardly attack did its real damage.

As far as any "disrespect to the families and memories" argument, plenty of non-Muslim Americans did a fine job of that over the years afterwards without needing some mosque to do it. It is hard for me to condemn these people for doing something that isn't really offensive except in a particular context, while Giuliani got to do things to the memory of 9/11 that...well, he probably outlawed being done to humans for a sawbuck in a Times Square alley.

But, since we are going for jokes that fall apart under closer scrutiny, wouldn't the logical plan be to build the mosque, so the terrorists WON'T want to attack THEMSELVES?

Then again, they do have suicide bombers that demonstrate all the survival instinct of a marshmallow Peep...

Sheriff Bart said...

Your(our) crazy dipshit extremist fuckhole outsiders knock our(your) buildings down? Kill our(your) people? This whole fucking thing is crazy. Build whatever you want. It's called tolerance. It's called forgiveness. It's what we do. It's who we are.
Call me a pussy, but I'd rather shake your hand than put a bullet in your head.

Sheriff Bart said...

Also, I heart Alanna.

Alanna said...

I heart you too, Sheriff Bart ;)

Peach said...

Whatever. I have the expectation that one day, in the great city of Baghdad there will rise from the ashes a McDonalds, a Starbucks, and an AIG Brokerage firm.

In all seriousness, it's silly and dismissive to act as though 9/11 didn't hurt the thousands of perfectly patriotic and normal Muslims living and working in the towers and NYC in general. Their pain is as acute, if not worse, than yours. As they don't just have to deal with loss, but also a mass shame.

Plus it's their land, right?
I don't think they'd be allowed to tell you what you could do with your own plot. So why is it appropriate for others to tell them what they can do with theirs? A bit contradictory to that whole freedom thing, no?

Chez said...

Once again, I'm mostly saying that I understand the anger. After 9/11, I went out of my way to be really nice to anyone I ran into who happened to be Muslim -- mostly because I knew that they were facing an ugly backlash and that 99.9% of the Muslims in this country are just hard-working schmoes trying to make a decent life in America for themselves and their families. That said, I do appreciate the argument of those who say that more Muslims should speak up when the extremist nutjobs within their ranks kill people in the name of the religion that binds all of them together.

Cajunpdx said...

Chez, most people are not as enlightened as you are (see: W's election...)

A good many people are not as attuned to irony as a lot of the readers of your blog. So, when someone makes that kind of comment, it can be seen as irresponsible - for every Chez who sees the humor and the irony in that statement, there is also a tea-bagger who firmly believes it.

brite said...

OK...what would be really apt is a bronze statue 3x lifesize of GW Bush in his faux military garb announcing the end of the Iraq war (or Gulf War II, for those of you that are counting). You know...a beginning...and an end. hahahahahahahahaha

Sheriff Bart said...

I've got nothing against God. I just can't stand his fucking fan club.

Sheriff Bart said...

Also, Jim Norton can bite me. His act was old when Don Rickles was doing it.

Anonymous said...

Why not being the wise and smart for once and hit the terrorists where it hurts ... the anti-american-big-satan goldmine of kamikazes ...
Imagine how many lives would be saved by taking the image of anti-muslim that USA has in the world (with israel sponsoring and basically attacking every single arab country in the middle east) ... really hard to recruit suicide bombers when the enemy built a mosq in the center of manhattan :-/