Oh dear! I still have opinions

Posted on May 8th, 2011 @ 19:56 in Uncategorized

I am neglecting this thing terribly, I know. I do wish I had more to talk about. Remember when I used to have a category “Opinionated” on my old MovableType blog? (link goes to all categories, didn’t have separate pages for them apparently.) It’s not that I don’t have opinions anymore, but I do feel less strongly about them, and I am more aware that they are not original and someone, somewhere, will probably have said it better. Ah, I do miss my youthful self-assurance when I wrote stuff like [paraphrased] “if you pretend to be sad about the tsunami victims you’re a hypocrite.”

A lot of my “opinion” entries seemed to boil down to “most people are stupid”. Funnily enough, I definitely still think that. I had an interesting realisation this morning tho when I read the Economist obit for OBL, in that I thought of Osama as an intelligent man. Misguided, certainly, but probably not stupid. And that’s unusual, cuz I generally have a hard time thinking of religious people as anything but stupid. That is, I can think of them detached from their beliefs, and then I can appreciate them on whatever other merits they have. But as soon as they start talking about their beliefs, as soon as they turn them into a thing that I have to add to their personality, so to speak, I can’t help but condescend.

This is of course worst with Christians (and worst of all with Catholics) – not because I think this is inherently the most despicable, or least sense-making religion of all, but more likely because it is the one I am most familiar with, and therefore it is more obvious (and I am aware in more detail) how ridiculous those beliefs are. And I’m more aware of the revisionism and convenient adaptation that has been done across the centuries to keep the construct alive. [btw may I draw my esteemed readers’ attention to my 2003 Atheism essay?]. But, that said, I’m not too fond of Islam either. I remember thinking post-9/11 that what pissed me off most about suicide terrorists was that they did in fact die convinced they were right, and that heaven was awaiting them. And there wouldn’t be an “oh shit” moment for them, because they’d be dead and that would be that.

I felt the same frustration when watching Louis Theroux’ 2nd documentary about the Westboro Baptist Church. They have a really quite carefully constructed world view which is almost impenetrable. The more people rile against them, the more it plays into their hands, because it all fits into what they think will happen. This frustrates me greatly, tho generally I have come to accept the idea that there isn’t always that much benefit in proving someone wrong. But considering how harmful and vicious the WBC are, it really would be great if they could snap out of their insanity.

Anyway. Interestingly, when I heard of Bin Laden’s demise, I didn’t feel the same way. I must admit I was surprised by the importance people – the US above all, but the rest of the Western world too – still ascribed to him. For me, it was more of a “oh, he was still alive?” thing, and tho I understand he was The Symbol of Evil Jihadist Islam after 9/11, I had kind of expected the world had moved on, and realised that he wasn’t actually that important, and that there is enough hate for the West elsewhere. And OBL’s death won’t change a thing. For those advocating that the US now leave Afghanistan – really? You think the reason they haven’t done so yet, despite debating it over and over, was actually Bin Laden? Right.

One thing it has got me thinking of again was the actual WTC attacks tho, partly because I read something about his pride about it. And I remember thinking, then, just after it happened, that really, as terrorist attacks go, it was fucking brilliant! The logistics of it, the symbolism, ah, just having the idea – it was genius! You can just about imagine someone coming up with it at first – “let’s fly two planes into those massive towers”, and the first reactions would be “haha no way, that will never work!” But they went through with it, and succeeded beyond their wildest dreams (I don’t think they, or anyone else, expected the towers to collapse completely). So regardless of their questionable motives, and of course the thousands of innocent victims, I was pretty impressed then, and still kind of am now. It was elegant, almost beautiful.

And on that objectionable opinion I think I shall end this blag entry. I have an episode of Doctor Who to watch!

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