Friday, October 26, 2007

Hate week

Apparently, it's Islamo-Fascism Week, an event organised by the NeoCon dead-enders to "rally American students to defend their country" and educate them about the evils of Islam. Orwell's 1984 had a similar event, the two minute hate:

In its second minute the Hate rose to a frenzy. People were leaping up and down in their places and shouting at the tops of their voices in an effort to drown the maddening bleating voice that came from the screen. The little sandy-haired woman had turned bright pink, and her mouth was opening and shutting like that of a landed fish. Even O'Brien's heavy face was flushed. He was sitting very straight in his chair, his powerful chest swelling and quivering as though he were standing up to the assault of a wave. The dark-haired girl behind Winston had begun crying out ‘Swine! Swine! Swine!’ and suddenly she picked up a heavy Newspeak dictionary and flung it at the screen. It struck Goldstein's nose and bounced off; the voice continued inexorably. In a lucid moment Winston found that he was shouting with the others and kicking his heel violently against the rung of his chair. The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but, on the contrary, that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge-hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one's will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic.
The purpose of this daily ritual was to whip the people of Oceania into a frenzy of hatred against their perpetual enemies (whichever one of them they happened to be fighting that week), so ensuring support for perpetual war. And the purpose of "Islamo-fascism week" doesn't seem to be much different. Also in tune with 1984 is the level of hypocrisy on display. As Crooked Timber's Kieran Healy wittily points out, the "Islamo-fascists" and the Christian fascists running this campaign are in perfect agreement in their hatred of women, gays, and modernity. But that hasn't stopped them from denouncing the other's bigotry, which they'll no doubt return to echoing at the end of the week.