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Total number of comments: 7 (since 2013-11-28 16:50:55)


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  • Top 5 Ways Obama is Behind Leaks, Protests against Trump
    • Juan,
      That WH staffer twitter account seems too good to be true. Also, when the person says s/he spent ten minutes alone with Melania, would that not then automatically give it away? Do you have reason to think this is real? It is indeed juicy.

  • Why the White Working Class Rebelled: Neoliberalism is Killing Them (Literally)
  • Gaza War Devastates Israeli Tourism Revenue, Points to Fragile Apartheid Future
    • It may also reflect the resurgence of Orthodoxy, particularly one that looks abroad, in Russia. The pilgrims at the Holy Sepulcher and other Christian sites in Jerusalem are heavily Russian these days.

  • Pot and Partying: Top Ten Signs the Tsarnaev Brothers Weren't Pious Muslims
    • Juan, I think your commentary recently on the young men in Boston has lacked a nuanced engagement with religion. You have repeatedly followed a normative line suggesting that because their actions do not fit with certain Muslim norms we should not see those actions as somehow related to Islam. I appreciate your intent but you are essentially repeating the George Bush "Islam is a religion of peace" line, which ignores the complexity both of religious traditions and of how those traditions are mediated and subjects are formed within them. From a heuristic perspective any act done by someone identifying as a Muslim (or Jew or from any other religious identity group) can be labeled as belonging to that group. Yes, there are norms, but your approach seems to be to impose a definition and then exclude. That works in normative terms, but it is in fact intellectually limiting in that it does not help us understand the complex etiology of their actions. I like your analogy to the Aurora shootings: I think we can understand the Boston event as an instance of a mediated notion of jihad being put on in a kind of ethical performance that stands outside of politics and utility (like the mentally ill person thinking he can become the Joker from Batman). Take for example, the discussion in Faisal Devji's Landscapes of Jihad. I think his work is not applicable to most "Islamic terrorism" (e.g. Islamically oriented nationalists in Palestine), but with the more bizarre al Qaida types and the Boston bombers it may clarify things.

  • Dear Rightwing Catholic Islamophobes: Pope Francis just washed the feet of a Poor Muslim
    • Adam H. Becker 03/30/2013 at 7:37 pm


      As always, thanks for your excellent blog. However, I question your reading of Francis's act. I don't know much about Francis himself, but washing of the feet, like other forms of ritual reversal, could just as easily function to re-enforce certain normativities: Christianity historically elevated the weak and marginalized performatively but this often functioned as an assertion of ecclesial and episcopal power. God emptied himself and took on the flesh and died that we might live, but he (and I emphasize the gendered aspect in this as well) is still God and we are still human beings. Ritual condescension such as the washing of feet can have little bearing on real social relations and policies, and in fact washing the feet of Muslims could be understood as simply demonstrating how much he is willing to humiliate himself ("ewww! Muslim feet!") and therefore be just as much a form of self-aggrandizement.


  • Is Obama more Klingon or more Vulcan? & Michael Dorn Pitches "Captain Worf"
    • Adam H. Becker 09/04/2012 at 4:51 pm

      If you want to make the neocon analogy it is with the new Star Trek movie from 2009. Most of the utopianism of the Star Trek franchise was chucked for a cold and dangerous universe where buddies have to stick together against all those terrible aliens out there who want to hurt us. I enjoyed the film and have my own problems with the imperial universalism of Star Trek, but it was saddening to see how the new movie seemed to drop so much of the implicit politics of the past for a kind of "Band of Brothers" in space approach.

  • Police Crackdowns on OWS Coordinated among Mayors, FBI, DHS
    • Juan,

      With regard to your parenthetic statement: "the only routine technique missing is that of putting saboteurs among the protesters who cause destruction and create an image of them as violent," this seems also to have been done. There have been various provocateurs at Zuccotti. Some may be just be politically independent people who want to cause a problem, but the police have clearly infiltrated and there have been occasions where it certainly seems like these are government, whether local or otherwise, provocateurs (for example, pushing for more agression). Of course, it is hard to tell. Furthermore, with regard to Homeland security: the NYPD has been using their counter-terrorism units. This is a fact and I can send you a photo. I don't know the precise details, but assuming that these units receive some of their funding from DHS then we can say that DHS is at least financially behind this in a verifiable way. As alwasy, thank you for your blog, which I have read daily for many years now.

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