Islamophobia Is A Myth


Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

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120 Responses

  1. That’s really disappointing.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      Remember, JM, that you can’t really judge a man until you’ve walked in his shoes.  It might well be that this driver just couldn’t find the bumper sticker that read “Oh My God, I Am A HUUUGE A-Hole!” and had to make due with what he could.Report

  2. Avatar James Hanley says:

    “All I needed to know about ISLAM I learned on 9/11,”

    I think I’m going to put a bumper sticker on my car that reads, “All I need to know about Protestants I learned in Belfast.”Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird says:

    All I needed to know about the Masons I learned from this Jack Chick tract.Report

  4. Avatar James Hanley says:

    All I need to know about white people I learned from the KKK.Report

  5. Avatar sonmi451 says:

    Darn it! You tricked me with the title, I thought this is going to be one of those posts that fill me with rage. Not surprised about the Islamophobic bumper sticker.  I thought the ‘work harder” sticker is kinda lame, though. If they really want to make an impact, why not something like – “No point working too hard, the food stamp President will just steal your money and distribute it to welfare queens and young bucks buying t-bone steaks.”Report

  6. Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

    All I need to know about Americans I learned from Hiroshima.Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

      Nob wins the thread.Report

    • Nob – for some reason I don’t fully understand, this little bit of sarcasm hit home for me in a powerful way.  I chuckled at the other proposed slogans; this one felt like a stomach punch.  Where I had just been disappointed to see what I saw this morning, now I feel profoundly embarrassed and ashamed by it.Report

      • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

        I *told* you he won the thread.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

        I’m not sure what to say….I always find bumper sticker slogans to be troubling.

        I was being mostly pithy, but there’s something about turning it around in this way that I think is different.

        That said, I hope no one took it as a dig against the US.

        I mostly meant it as a way to turn the nationalism stuff on its head.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          There are very few contexts in which I would not find that phrase offensive. This is definitely one of them. In part because the meta-statement you are making relies on you not believing Hiroshima to be an accurate summation of who Americans are.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Yeah, you’d think they’d have learned more from Nagasaki.Report

            • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

              Tokyo, good buddy. I’m an Edokko first and foremost. The pictures of my hometown as cinders is still a haunting thing, as were the stories of my grandparents finding the city gone from one block to the next.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Total War is something that we (and by “we”, I mean “Americans”) have never really had to process.

                I grew up hearing about Hiroshima and Nagasaki being particularly bad (“atomic”) while Tokyo (or Dresden) were shrugged off as the price of doing business.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                Total War is something that we (and by “we”, I mean “Americans”) have never really had to process.

                I think that’s one reason why we still have more enthusiasm for the activity of war, in general, than most other industrialized places.Report

              • This.  In the last 150 years, our experience of war on our own soil, if you want to call it that, is limited to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor and the invasion of the Aleutians, and the direct impact of the latter two on civilian populations was not overly significant.  As horrible as 9/11 was – and it was – it cannot possibly compare to the impact of WWI and WWII on civilian populations in Asia and Europe, nor of the Korean War on Korean civilians, the Vietnam War on Vietnamese civilians, etc., etc.  Not to mention the myriad wars that didn’t directly involve us.

                As much as we always like to say that our troops are out safeguarding our freedom, this is true only in the most abstract of senses.  What we really mean is that they’re out helping other people fight their own wars (sometimes even rightly so!); if we want to put this in the best possible light, we might phrase this as “helping other people protect their freedom,” and there may even be some truth to that.  But it’s been an awfully long time since “war” for Americans meant a possibility of having to “fight to protect our homes and for our very right to exist.”


              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                I grew up hearing about Hiroshima and Nagasaki being particularly bad (“atomic”) while Tokyo (or Dresden) were shrugged off as the price of doing business.

                I co-taught a Nuclear Weapons and Power course last term.  The students were stunned to learn that the firebombings killed as many or more people per city.  But it helped them understand part of why the step up to an atomic bomb wasn’t as big a psychological hurdle as we tend to see it today. In part the decision was purely utilitarian–“We can do just as much damage as we’ve been doing, but with only one plane at risk, and only one bomb? Sounds like a good C/B analysis to us.”Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                The students were stunned to learn that the firebombings killed as many or more people per city. 

                It’s odd to me that this is still true.  It was odd to me when it was true in 1990, too.

                Maybe I’m just too much of a war nerd.Report

              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

                I’m always struck by what McNamara said in Fog of War. Something to the effect of: “If we hadn’t won the war we’d have been tried as war criminals”.

                True, industrial, total warfare is a devastatingly scary thing.Report

              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

                ‘course, that was before the advent of thermonuclear weapons. Once yields moved into the megaton range, the calculus changed entirely.

                Out of curiosity, what was the reading list for that course like?Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:


                It was a bit scattered.  It was an experimental 2 credit course (normal is 4) co-taught by a political scientist and chemist, and we briefly covered the origins of nuclear power, the Manhattan Project and the dropping of the bombs, the post-war arms race, potential for nuclear terrorism, and issues of nuclear power and waste disposal today.  So we used lots of articles for the reading list.  The two books, of which we only used a few chapters in each, were The Manhattan Project, edited by Cynthia Kelly, which has lots of short chapters that are personal recollections, government documents, letters, and contemporary and later analyses (it’s a great “bathroom book”) and Preventing Catastrophe by Thomas Graham and Keith Hansen which is about preventing terrorism (a great book for anyone interested in what the real risks are and how our intelligence services work to prevent them).

                It was a great experience, and I learned a hell of a lot myself since I went into it without great expertise on all the issues we covered.Report

              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

                Interesting choices. Something like Trachtenberg’s “Making Sense of the Nuclear Age”…it does seem a bit of a lot to put into a 2 credit course if the usual is 4.

                Out of curiosity did you try Physics for Future Presidents or the associated nuclear weapons chapters there? I’m curious how those work in teaching the basics of nukes to undergrads.Report

              • Avatar dexter says:

                Two of things that I have heard about Dresden that stick in my mind.  One is that the Allies firebombed the city to break the German’s spirit and all it did was tick them off.  The other was that Churchill wanted the bombing to show the Russians that the West could be vile too.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                Both of those things are eminently plausible.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Thank Lincoln for that. Or curse his name and sherman’s too.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                Innovators, granted, but we would have gotten there anyway.Report

        • I definitely took it as intended.  That’s why it transformed the jingoism, Islamophobia, etc. of the referenced bumper sticker from merely disappointing and frustrating to outright embarrassing and shameful.Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          It is a dig against the us, but a good and well meaning one. Fractured mirrors tell a tale — even if the glass is sharp.

          (btw, are you from Japan?)Report

    • Avatar dexter says:

      All I needed to know about the Japanese I learned from Nanking, Pearl Harbor, Iwo, the Bataan Death March, Tulagi, etc.,etc.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      This is fucking profound. I think this wins “statement of the day” for my cubicle. (yeah, I tend to be gloomy. no i don’t expect people to actually read them.)Report

  7. Avatar Jaybird says:

    All I need to know about Colonial India I learned from Pearl Harbor.Report

  8. Avatar Jaybird says:

    All I need to know about the Civil Rights movement, I learned from watching The Help.Report

  9. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    All I need to know about Italians I learned from watching Jersey Shore.Report

  10. Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

    All I needed to know about democracy I learned on 9 Thermidor.


  11. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    All I need to know about African Americans I learned from Tyler Perry.Report

  12. Avatar James Hanley says:

    All I need to know about the Irish I learned from Blazing Saddles.Report

  13. Avatar BSK says:

    All I need to know about the LoOG I learned from Heidegger.Report

  14. All I needed to learn about Canadians, I learned from Tie Domi.Report

  15. Avatar James Hanley says:

    +1.  You definitely should come down to watch a DIII college hockey game with me.Report

  16. Avatar James Hanley says:

    All I need to know about cops I learned from Abner Louima.Report

  17. Avatar Will Truman says:

    On a more serious note, regarding the title, I really don’t think we’re at the stage where people are saying that Islamophobia doesn’t exist. They might not like the term, but the general meaning (animosity towards and fear of Muslims) isn’t much in doubt. Rather, the issue is that they feel it is justified.

    It’s a sign of progress when people are denying, or trying to deny, that it exists. We haven’t made that progress yet.Report

  18. Avatar Kyle Cupp says:

    All I need to know about hobbits I learned from Sméagol’s birthday trip to the Gladden Fields.Report

  19. Avatar BSK says:


    Did I have an earlier comment deleted?  Or did I just not send it thruogh properly?  I thought I saw it post but now I don’t see it.Report

  20. Avatar MFarmer says:

    “All I need to know about a whole class of people I discerned from a bumpersticker.”Report

  21. Avatar BSK says:

    All I need to know about the LoOG I learned at BalloonJuice.Report

  22. Avatar Mary says:

    I needed a good laugh today, thanks boys. I find the league is good for two things; it either makes me think or laugh my ass of. Sometimes both!Report

  23. Avatar Matty says:

    All I need to know about bumper stickers  I learned from this postReport

  24. Avatar Kolohe says:

    “Work Harder…Millions on Welfare Are Depending on You!”

    I’ve seen that sticker in a government office cubicle.Report

  25. Avatar ecks why says:

    Informed rational freedom loving people have all the reasons in the world to fear islam. The twin fogs of political correctness & ignorance must be dispersed before western society better understands this menace. Even a brief review of islamic theology & history quickly exposes the deadly roots of this evil ideology.

    Mohamhead was a 7th century murdering warlord who rose to power on a river of blood surrounded by thugs and gangsters using intimidation, violence, deception and trickery to expand their criminal empire while mercilessly suppressing and killing their opponents and enriching themselves on stolen booty.

    The evil koran is a collection of sayings and speeches by this diabolical madman claiming divine guidance from some mythical sky-god which has inspired generations of crazed fanatics to abhorrent behavior resulting in historys worst ever crimes against humanity starting 1400 years ago and still continuing even today.

    Islam is just another fascist totalitarian ideology used by power hungry fanatics on yet another quest for worldwide domination and includes all the usual human rights abuses & suppression of freedoms.

    and a snappy graphics version, great for emailing…