Posts from March 2002

Easter: I had a bad

: I had a bad moment at church this morning, Easter morning. I choked for a moment in the middle of singing the Hallelujah Chorus as I thought of the families of the victims of 9.11 at the same time that I was suffering my every-Easter doubts about resurrection and life everlasting and the very foundations of this day and this faith.

I’ve learned to live with these doubts. I measure the gap between doubt and certainty and call that faith. I’m not sure about this mystery, never have been, never will be (until I die). I choose to accept it, on faith.

But today, it hurt again to think about those people who fell and burned and crashed on 9.11 — for my doubts, my failure of faith, meant that I was not sure whether there was any comfort for them and their families in an afterlife, in meaning. I felt as if I failed them.

And as I kept thinking about this and about all the victims in this war — the innocents in the Middle East who have been blown up merely for the sin of living — I realized, as I often do, that if it were not for the resurrection and a belief in the afterlife and a few other fine points of theology, I might as well be Jewish (and this is why I have always wondered why Christianity separated itself so far from Judaism and its traditions; why do we not celebrate Passover together?). 9.11 made me feel closer to them.

Part of me wishes that we could send everyone in the Middle East to their rooms together until they can get along together — and leave us in peace. But, of course, the rest of me, the sane part, realizes that they can no longer be left to their own devices and that the time has come to take action and take sides. I choose to get past history — for it’s hard to decide how far back one has to go to decide who started this fight: to 1948 or to the pharoahs? I choose to judge the players on their actions today. I choose to ally myself with other victims of terrorism against terrorism.

The Passover murders are Easter murders as well. That is a lesson for today.

: David Warren arrives at the same place — namely, Jerusalem — from a different route.

My mind cannot wander to Jerusalem this year, without feeling a deep solidarity with my Jewish brothers and sisters, in Israel, under daily assault from suicide bombers, and in the shadow cast by a horrible war — the backward shadow of a war that is approaching. I pray for the Muslims, too, with all who stand at Heaven’s Gate, who must walk through “the valley of the shadow of death.”

But for the Jews I pray in solidarity, for they are once again under attack, not because there is a war, but because they are Jews.

After the Holocaust we vowed, Never again. Have we already forgotten?

It is time for all Christendom to remember, Never again. That we will not stand by, as Jewish people — as pregnant mothers, children, teenagers, old women and old men — are selected for extermination. That we are not indifferent in this matter, that we are not neutrals as between the victim and the murderer. That as Christians, and in the name of Christ, we stand by our brother and sister Jews.


Jonestown: Jerusalem
: Arafat is looking like a cult leader, pure and simple. He reminds me of Jim Jones in the days before Jonestown, all paranoia and wishful martyrdom. Listen to Arafat on Arab TV:

…we ask Allah to grant us martyrdom, to grant us martyrdom. To Jerusalem we march

Hell is getting crowded: Israel

Hell is getting crowded
: Israel is not the only place being terrorized by suicide bombers of the Islamic stripe. Ten people at a Hindu temple in India were just murdered by a Muslim suicide bomber.

You won’t like what comes next
: Inspired by Victor Davis Hanson‘s line, “There will be no second Holocaust,” Will Warren pens a few right-on lines of his own:

Not concerned with what Allah wants or doesn

Dead letter box: Penthouse’s parent

Dead letter box
: Penthouse‘s parent company is in danger of folding.

Arafat’s Panic Room
: Question: What happens if Israel does kill Arafat? They say they’re not trying to, but they’re attacking his headquarters, as he cowers in one room. A stray bullet or missile or angry soldier could take him out. What then? War tonight?

: Dear Mrs. Arafat, says Tres Producers.

Sorry we blew your husband up. We were trying to “isolate” him from the rest of his terrorist leadership, and we ended up

Cool is dead: Many will

Cool is dead
: Many will have pointed to the NY Times declaration today that the Web, like an old girlfriend, is just no fun anymore.

I welcome this.

The Web became too cool, too cute, too soon.

The Web became useless.

Yes, I do worry that has Internet companies go out of the business and real companies reduce their Internet investments, there will be less on the Internet to engage the audience and the audience could shrink.

But the truth is that people are spending less time on the Web today because they’re wasting less time.

They’re not surfing; we see that in every focus group we do. People know what they want; they get it; they get off.

This is not a problem isolated to the Web. Other media can get useless, too. When I was Sunday editor of the NY Daily News, I started a new section with only one mission: Every story in it had to be useful. No thumbsuckers about city hall. No days with bag ladies. No cries of injustice. Useful. For too many newspapers, I said, had started to become useless.

TV regularly becomes useless and then reforms itself when it discovers that that’s a way to lose money. Ditto movies and books.

The Web was cool when it was new and then cool wasn’t such a bad thing. I started a bunch of sites that were Cool Sites of the Day and I was proud of that… then.

But now the Web is about getting information, about buying things, about communicating (and weblogs do help with two of three of those things).

So I welcome the Web’s new dullness. Let’s hear it for dull!

: A FoxNews anchor asks Binyamin Netanyahu whether he believes Arafat’s offer of a complete ceasefire. Netanyahu seems genuinely surprised at the question and replies: “Are you joking?”

He says Israel must do to Arafat what America did to the Taliban.

This is going to get even uglier.

: To the death…

: You’ve been waiting for the TV trend in reality shows and extreme game shows to go too far, haven’t you? Been wondering when we’d see the first serious injury or death, right? The start:

A contestant on the US version of Dog Eat Dog ended up in hospital after taking part in one of the show’s stunts.

The 26-year-old man had held his breath underwater for two minutes.

He was taken to hospital by paramedics as a precaution after an emergency call was made to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

US TV network NBC identified the man only as a Los Angeles personal trainer.

Scum spam: Osama bin Laden

Scum spam
: Osama bin Laden allegedly sent email to an Arab paper in London.

Abdel Bari Atwan, editor of al-Quds al-Arabi, said last night that the message, headed “A Bin Laden Communique”, denounced Saudi Arabia’s Middle East peace initiative and praised Palestinian suicide attacks….

The message also praised Palestinian suicide attacks on Israelis and urged Muslims to launch jihad, or holy struggle, against the Jewish state.

“The Jews try in vain to flee, finding no refuge and becoming exposed to exploding bodies that make them taste death and chased by horror,” it said. It described suicide bombings in Israel and the September 11 attacks as “the great events” and “the blessed jihad”.

There has been no proven communication from Bin Laden since the height of the Afghan war. It was unclear last night whether the message was genuine, but if so it would be the first evidence that he has survived the bombing.

If anything will bring him out of hiding, it will be his ego.

Uncle Miltie
: Milton Berle died. Of course, I’m sorry to hear that. On his last appearance on Howard Stern’s show, he proved to be a wry and funny and up to any comic challenge.

I know I’ll be accused of being cruel and heartless and nasty for saying this, but I dread the nostalgia that will come from this. People will be wailing about how he represented the “golden age” of TV. But that’s bull. Early television was bad vaudeville; it was tinny, not golden: silly, slapstick, obvious, easy. The truth is that the golden age of TV is now; television today is filled with far greater talent and imagination and artistry. I don’t mean to detract from Miltie’s pioneering in a new medium; can’t take that away from him. But I just have to say that young people should ignore all the nostaglic claptrap they are about to hear; things weren’t always better in the old days; sometimes, things actually get better over time and TV is one of those things.

: Mac Thomason is crueler than I am.

: Big suicide bombing in Israel, killing 19 people and injuring more than 100 (at latest count).

: And we should listen to Arafat… why?

: And we should give a shit about the Palestinians… why?

Sympathy is dying fast. Oops, it just died.

: So now a class-action suit on behalf of all black Americans has been filed against three companies that allegedly profited from slavery well more than a century ago under the doctrine that if the Jews can do it (for genocide in their lifetime) then shy shouldn’t the next guy?

Where the hell does this end, this exploitation of victimhood?

By this logic…

: The Jews should certainly sue Egypt for their time in slavery under the Pharaohs. Let’s get it filed in time for Passover, eh?

: Native Americans should sue England, France, and Spain for taking their land.

: Native Canadians should sue the Hudson’s Bay Company for taking their land and furs (and then PETA should sue them, too).

: Muslims should Christians for the Crusades (hey, it sure would beat murdering us en masse).

Where the hell does it end, this idiocy?

When do people stop being victims? When do people stop being perpetrators? Where does guilt end? Where does entitlement end?

My ancestors were dirt-poor hillbillies in Appalachia who couldn’t afford shoes let alone slaves. Yet this suit would have me pay for the sins of others’ ancestors because, just for instance, I happen to be a customer of Fleet bank, one of the defendants in the suit. So what moral code says I should pay higher checking fees because somebody 200 years ago did something wrong? And what moral code says that the next generation should carry guilt for the sins of not just our fathers but our father’s father’s father’s father’s fathers?

Idiocy. Offensive idiocy.

If the courts do not throw this out immediately, the courts are a jackass.

The cure for blogstipation
: Some folks just disappear from blogdom for awhile (Thomas Nephew, phone home!). Some store up their posts and then eat a good, big bowl of prunes and out it comes. Nick Denton is of the latter variety and he’s posting like mad from PC Forum. Good stuff.

Denton is also assuring himself new nicknames as he tweaks the Sergeants (who just dubbed him a “prissy airheaded blonde”). The other day, another blogger — I apologize for not remembering which one — dubbed Denton a “schoolmarm” and that reputation will only be amplified with Denton’s posts yesterday on proper blog etiquette.

: Update. Daypop is wonderful. I find that Reid Stott created the schoolmarm moniker for Nick.

The dreaded Afghan spring II
: If you’re keeping score for the future, note that the NY Times joins the chorus warning of a rough spring (coming after the rough winter that wasn’t rough) in Afghanistan. The Guardian started the spring quagmire whining on March 21.