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Speaking Truth to Power: The Intercept is Defending Boehmermann’s Freedom with Full Consistency

Speaking Truth to Power: The Intercept is Defending Boehmermann’s Freedom with Full Consistency

In the past, I have been heavily critical of The Intercept, and of Glenn Greenwald’s stance on the Charlie Hebdo martyrs. However, I have noticed a pattern developing recently.

First of all, upon the renewal of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie (essentially a glorified hitman contract from God!), The Intercept did not blame Rushdie for ‘provoking’ his critics. I have searched and searched; and as far as I can tell, there is no victim-blaming towards Rushdie in that publication.

This doesn’t appear to be a one-off, either. More recently, The Intercept has not only taken the consistent anti-censorship stance which it, and certainly Glenn Greenwald in particular, are renowned for supporting.

No, indeed! Rather, The Intercept’ has gone further: in its recent reporting on the Boehmermann affair, the stance of The Intercept is discernibly pro-speech, and not merely anti-censorship. (When I say ‘pro-speech,’ I mean something over and above anti-censorship per se, something transcending a merely legalistic approach. For example, ‘I’m all for freedom of speech, but…’ would be a classic example of anti-censorship which is not consistently pro-speech).

Yes: consider these three excellent, pro-liberty articles from The Intercept:

https://theintercept.com/2016/04/01/german-television-pulls-satire-mocking-turkeys-erdogan/

https://theintercept.com/2016/04/15/germany-repeal-dumb-law-first-using-prosecute-comic-insulting-erdogan/

https://theintercept.com/2016/04/12/germany-charge-comic-insulting-turkeys-president/

I once assumed that The Intercept and its writers, would never manage to get much further than mere anti-censorship.

I was wrong. They are doing the right thing, and they deserve credit; including the editor, Glenn Greenwald.

There is nothing in this world that could bring me to change my own stance on Charlie Hebdo, and to be onesidedly critical of the magazine (short of a severe moral deterioration in the magazine itself!) But I am certainly warming to The Intercept right now, albeit to a very limited degree; I am not willing to be let down my guard, nor to lavish unqualified praise upon them (nor upon any media outlet). However that may be, isn’t it fairly clear to see that they are taking a strongly anti-censorship and pro-speech stance at this current time?

I will be interested to see whether, in future, The Intercept maintains this strongly pro-speech stance, or will slip back into mere anti-censorship. Let’s hope it all goes well!

 

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Better to be a Coppersmith in Purgatory than to Reign in Hell

Better to be a Coppersmith in Purgatory than to Reign in Hell

Liberal secular parliamentary democracy is an absolute necessity for the UK and USA.

And I wholeheartedly condemn, without qualification, the kind of arrogant and hubristic critique that strays from criticizing how the political systems of these countries operate in terms of their results, and ends up criticizing the legitimacy of liberal secular parliamentary democracy itself.

Hence my critique at the time of the London Riots: Continue Reading

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Posted in Politics, Serious Commentary0 Comments

9/12/2001 – The Days After Cheney Became President – Part 21

9/12/2001 – The Days After Cheney Became President – Part 21

9/12/2001
THE DAYS AFTER CHENEY BECAME PRESIDENT
The Rumsfeld Synopsis
Part
(A serial book excerpt)

Previous installments – After Flight 93 crashes into the White House on 9/11/2001 killing President Bush as was originally planned, Dick Cheney, the Vice President, is made the leader of the country. He begins immediately to make changes.

– – – – – – – – –

Rumsfeld took the news surprisingly well. His dismissal had been engineered so carefully that it came as no insult, although it was a bit embarrassing to the old man. But he knew that it was getting to be time to go out to pasture. He had worked hard enough in his life that he could now enjoy the fruits of his labor. He knew that with all the sudden changes in the world that a younger man was perhaps needed to take care of things. He guessed that Bolton had been chosen to push through any agenda Cheney wanted, something that Rumsfeld himself was getting too old to do. Continue Reading

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Charlie Hebdo Anniversary Tribute (V): The Gilded Birdcage of Spoilt Gods

Charlie Hebdo Anniversary Tribute (V): The Gilded Birdcage of Spoilt Gods

Quite frankly, if someone believes that children must be deprived of blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses), or of all medical care (Christian Scientists), or that women are the property of men, or that gay people are sodomites who are all going to eternal hellfire, or that disabled people are suffering the results of our evil and atrocious deeds in the past…

Then that concerns me very deeply.

But on the other hand, if someone personally believes that Jesus literally turned the water into wine, that Muhammad made the moon split in two, or that Sri Krishna performed many wondrous miracles, then in all seriousness, that does not trouble me in the least. There are more important things in life to worry about.

But even so, concerning ‘limits’ to satire, I will affirm that I do reserve the inalienable right to treat religion as not pristine, as not above theoretical critique, or above satirizing, or above ‘blasphemy.’

And I have little to no respect for anyone who makes religion exceptional, in terms of the inalienable right and sovereign prerogative to criticize and satirize; an entitlement and a ‘privilege’ that can and must be shared be all like, without neither cavil nor complaint.

‘Shame on me,’ indeed! Continue Reading

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Posted in Human Interest, Serious Commentary2 Comments

Charlie Hebdo Anniversary Tribute (IV): Are Critics of Religion ‘Hateful Extremists?’

Charlie Hebdo Anniversary Tribute (IV): Are Critics of Religion ‘Hateful Extremists?’

But what, then, are my own limits for religious satire?
I will not provide an exhaustive discussion here.

I will, however, say that I do not believe that religion is either a ‘force for good’ or a ‘force for evil’ in some one-sided sense.

For, superstition and dogmatism are great evils, but I do not think that the history of religion is merely or even primarily a catalogue of backward, primitive errors, as so many of the ‘New Atheists’ seem to imply.

Of course, if it is not the intention of any New Atheists, to imply such, then perhaps there is something very faulty with their rhetorical and communicative strategies. This would not perhaps be so surprising, given that much New Atheist rhetoric is deeply problematic.

For example, I consider the late humanitarian interventionist and former Luxemburgist radical, Christopher Hitchens, to be an intellectual suicide bomber who destroyed himself and the consciences of anyone who stood by and approved of his disingenuous, militaristic sophistries. Continue Reading

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Posted in Human Interest, Serious Commentary2 Comments

Charlie Hebdo Anniversary Tribute (III): Moralists are Killing Satire

Charlie Hebdo Anniversary Tribute (III): Moralists are Killing Satire

So let no-one think that by appeasing jihadists or by appeasing unaccountable figures in the countries that Orientalizing intellectuals opportunistically market as ‘the (sole and exclusively) Free World’ that they will avert their malice or their wrath.

For, none of the promises either of political Islamists and jihadists or of humanitarian interventionist intellectuals and counter-jihadists can be trusted or valued.

Indeed. Realpolitik is realpolitik, which is as much as to say that from ‘high-minded idealism,’ nothing better can be expected than high-minded idealism. And there is nothing that savors more of Realpolitik than high-minded idealism, as the terms are merely two superficially different names for the same thing. Continue Reading

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Posted in Human Interest, Serious Commentary4 Comments

Charlie Hebdo Anniversary Tribute (II): Freedom of Speech is Not Idealism

Charlie Hebdo Anniversary Tribute (II): Freedom of Speech is Not Idealism

So who decides what is blasphemous or hateful?

Whoever has the power to do so.

But of course, this does not mean that all opinions are equal.

For, it is perfectly true to say that women should treated in light of an intrinsic value identical to men, that gay people are not twisted deviants, and that eugenics and eugenicists are an abomination. These ideas are non-negotiable.

However, moral panics about ‘blasphemy’ and ‘hatred’ in the context of satire serve the interests of reactionaries of every stripe.

Hence, curiously enough, freedom of speech is not the ‘idealist’ or ‘fundamentalist’ position.

Rather, it is precisely because idealistic, abstract and fundamentalist models of reality are unworkable in practice, that freedom of speech is required in the first place! Continue Reading

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Posted in Human Interest, Serious Commentary2 Comments

Charlie Hebdo Anniversary Tribute (I): Every Truth is Blasphemy

Charlie Hebdo Anniversary Tribute (I): Every Truth is Blasphemy

Note: This is a serialization of the essay from the new, expanded edition of my satire ebook, I Shouldn’t Do God. Updates on www.wallacerunnymede.com

Dedicated to the unforgettable and shining martyrs of Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher.

I am still Charlie.

To start off a series of fake news satire anthologies with a volume on religion seems very appropriate, given the vicious massacre of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, and the other vicious murders which were committed on the same day at Hyper Cacher.

Some of these murders have already been conveniently ‘forgotten.’

But despite my allusion to these vile assassinations, I am not unaware of the mobilization of the massacre by cynical opportunists.

In the second edition of this essay, which you now see before you, I must also mention the November massacres in Paris. Continue Reading

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Posted in Human Interest, Serious Commentary2 Comments

Announcing Charlie Tribute Hebdo Tribute Serialization

Announcing Charlie Tribute Hebdo Tribute Serialization

Prefatory note by Voltaire:

Eh bien! The following piece, it is all rather ornate-sounding. The artificial style and flamboyance of a pseudo-Parisian, or even a tinpot Hitchens knock-off.

Ah, Mesdames et Messieurs, please do not worry… the essay itself that the Monsieur Wallace is announcing, it will be much less artsy-fartsy. I believe he has drunk of the Anglo-Yuletide sherry, and so you should be so pleased as to not take the contrived style to heart! Next time, he will be more sober, but no less swiftly, eh bien, Swiftly truthful!

I am running my serialization of Why Shouldn’t I Do God from 3-7 January: on Glossy News

This essay appeared in the original edition of the first volume of Wallace Runnymede Satire Catastrophes. The second edition comes out at the end of January 2016. The latter ebook was entitled I Shouldn’t Do God…

Thanks Alistair! The latter Notable-Public-Publicist being ever a source of wanton inspiration and flamboyantly articulate delight, as some will no doubt already be aware…

Here and here.  ;)

More soberly, though (and no less seriously), the essay Why Should I Do God may be of considerable interest to those who are not at all too slick and bien-pensant (de droite et de gauche!) to utter the immortal words:

#JeSuisCharlie Continue Reading

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Posted in Opinon/Editorial, Serious Commentary0 Comments

9/12/2001 – The  Days After Cheney Became President – Part 19

9/12/2001 – The Days After Cheney Became President – Part 19

9/12/2001
THE DAYS AFTER CHENEY BECAME PRESIDENT
The Green Zone
Part 19

(A serial book excerpt)

Previous installments – After Flight 93 crashes into the White House on 9/11/2001 killing President Bush as was originally planned, Dick Cheney, the Vice President, is made the leader of the country. He begins immediately to make changes.

– – – – – – – – –

The bunker was hardly the Ritz. Lavish though, especially for a bunker. No view. Being underground one doesn’t really need windows. That didn’t matter, Cheney preferred the security it offered over any view it might have of this forbidding land. “Why does God always put oil in the most difficult of places?” he thought to himself. Continue Reading

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Posted in Books, Newspapers & Misc, Serious Commentary0 Comments

Even Without All The Facts In Yet, It Is Easy To Figure Out The Shoot-out At Planned Parenthood.

Even Without All The Facts In Yet, It Is Easy To Figure Out The Shoot-out At Planned Parenthood.

It is actually easy to figure out why he did it.

You don’t even have to know the yet-to-be-revealed facts of the case or those tidbits of information still being sought by the police.

Robert Dear gunned down three people at the Planned Parenthood office in Colorado Springs, Colorado. That alone tells you something. Continue Reading

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9/12/2001 –  The Days After The Unthinkable Happened – Iraq Part 18

9/12/2001 – The Days After The Unthinkable Happened – Iraq Part 18

9/12/2001
THE DAYS AFTER THE UNTHINKABLE HAPPENED
Iraq
Part 18

(A serial book excerpt)

Previous installments – After Flight 93 crashes into the White House on 9/11/2001 killing President Bush as was originally planned, Dick Cheney, the Vice President, is made the leader of the country. He begins immediately to make changes.

– – – – – – – – – – –

SECTION 3

It was a glorious morning to be out in the marshes. There was still a leftover crispness in the air that the mounting sun was slowly disintegrating. Canadian geese could be heard honking as they flapped overhead. The only sounds not of Nature itself were the muted sounds of autos making their way up the highway miles away. Continue Reading

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Posted in Serious Commentary, War Zone0 Comments

Accepting Refugees: Don’t Judge Eastern Europe too Harshly…? (2/2)

Accepting Refugees: Don’t Judge Eastern Europe too Harshly…? (2/2)

From last time:

Do you think that Greece can welcome and integrate as many refugees as Germany?

Let’s not forget, at the risk of sounding patronising, that many countries in Eastern Europe are not as prosperous as some of the more fortunate Western European countries.

So, if you have a sturdy lifeboat that can accommodate 30 people, and a rickety one that can accommodate 15, and Libya is currently a sinking ship, wouldn’t you want to take the differences between the vessels of safety into consideration? Continue Reading

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Posted in Serious Commentary, Top Stories0 Comments

Accepting Refugees: Don’t Judge Eastern Europe too Harshly…? (1/2)

Accepting Refugees: Don’t Judge Eastern Europe too Harshly…? (1/2)

The topic of accepting and welcoming refugees into Europe is deeply contentious. And the recent massacres in Paris and the stories of a Syrian passport have not helped matters.

But whatever one feels about this issue, it’s surely important to remember that ‘Europe’ is not a monolithic power bloc. Human minds are inclined to think in abstractions like ‘Europe.’ To a degree, this is unavoidable…

But do all Europeans bear an equal responsibility for accepting refugees? Continue Reading

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Posted in Serious Commentary, Top Stories0 Comments

9/12/2001  – THE DAYS AFTER THE UNTHINKABLE HAPPENED  – The New New World Order – Part 17

9/12/2001 – THE DAYS AFTER THE UNTHINKABLE HAPPENED – The New New World Order – Part 17

9/12/2001
THE DAYS AFTER THE UNTHINKABLE HAPPENED
The New New World Order
Part 17
(A serial book excerpt)

Previous installments – After Flight 93 crashes into the White House on 9/11/2001 killing President Bush as was originally planned, Dick Cheney, the Vice President, is made the leader of the country. He begins immediately to make changes.

– – – – – – – – – – –

The day was not beginning well for government employee Stan Bues. He regarded the document in his hand seriously. He reread it several times. The second time was to overcome the shock that had paralyzed his whole being from the first reading. The third was to try to read it with a rational steady mind. The fourth was to confirm that the darkness therein was real. It was. Continue Reading

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Posted in Politics, Serious Commentary0 Comments

9/12/2001 THE DAYS AFTER THE UNTHINKABLE HAPPENED A Visit To Kazakhstan Part 16

9/12/2001 THE DAYS AFTER THE UNTHINKABLE HAPPENED A Visit To Kazakhstan Part 16

9/12/2001
THE DAYS AFTER THE UNTHINKABLE HAPPENED
A Visit To Kazakhstan
Part 16
(A serial book excerpt)

Previous installments – After Flight 93 crashes into the White House on 9/11/2001 killing President Bush as was originally planned, Dick Cheney, the Vice President, is made the leader of the country. He begins immediately to make changes.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The Presidential plane flew high as it began its circling before landing. Although the plane had, of course, precedence over any others landing at the midsized field, this was done as a tactic to ward off enemies who might have successfully hid themselves in the terrain with anti-aircraft weaponry. The high altitude would induce them to shoot, but they would be beyond their range. Satisfied, the plane began its long coast downward. Continue Reading

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Posted in Politics, Serious Commentary0 Comments

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