He Wasn’t Arresting for Crapping on the Queen’s Pillow

I liked Charlie Brooker‘s take on the “Ground Zero Mosque” that really isn’t either of those things:

To get to the Cordoba Centre from Ground Zero, you’d have to walk in the opposite direction for two blocks, before turning a corner and walking a bit more. The journey should take roughly two minutes, or possibly slightly longer if you’re heading an angry mob who can’t hear your directions over the sound of their own enraged bellowing.

Perhaps spatial reality functions differently on the other side of the Atlantic, but here in London, something that is “two minutes’ walk and round a corner” from something else isn’t actually “in” the same place at all. I once had a poo in a pub about two minutes’ walk from Buckingham Palace. I was not subsequently arrested and charged with crapping directly onto the Queen’s pillow. That’s how “distance” works in Britain. It’s also how distance works in America, of course, but some people are currently pretending it doesn’t, for daft political ends.

The more I read about the community center, the less concerned I am about it and the more freaked out I get about the people who oppose it.

  • ManaCostly

    My thoughts exactly.

    Also, first!

  • RavynSkyes

    Too funny. He makes a good point. :)

  • L.Long

    He makes a good point in a very cute way that really makes the controversy as stupid as it is.
    Your point is also right on as we have a bunch of hate full asshole bigots complaining about a bunch of people they don’t know but suspect they have hate full, bigot beliefs. This is nothing more then McCarthyism again and it is very troubling.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com WMDKitty

    This is why I love Brits. Well, this, and the lovely accent.

  • http://ottodestruct.com Otto

    Hey, I oppose it. I also oppose building a church there. Or a religious building of any sort.

    Actually I oppose building those *anywhere*.

    So yes, down with religious structures!

  • Aj

    I read Brooker’s column, I’m surprised Americans can appreciate the deep cynicism, you impress me Americans.

  • Gauldar

    @Aj

    Are your people still making generalized comments that Americans all think alike? :D

  • Reginald Selkirk

    This is why I love Brits. Well, this, and the lovely accent.

    The Brit accent is OK, but I think the (East) Indians do it better.

  • http://spaninquis.wordpress.com Spanish Inquisitor

    The more I read about the community center, the less concerned I am about it and the more freaked out I get about the people who oppose it.

    Same here.

  • Aj

    Gauldar,

    Are your people still making generalized comments that Americans all think alike?

    No, we certainly would never do such a thing. Have a nice day! :)

  • Claudia

    @AJ lol, you liar! I’ve been in the UK all summer and the US is to the UK what Kansas (or Texas) is to the rest of the US, the butt of a lot of unflattering jokes. Still perfectly polite to actual “Yanks” though.

    The mosque thing has been very disheartening. Not because it’s a ready-made booga-booga be afraid and angry artificial story. I expect that from certain quarters. It’s been hard because I find a lot of people I respect greatly, especially Sam Harris, getting this so horribly wrong. I can get not feeling comfortable with it, a visceral emotional reaction is forgivable, but to then try to rationalize it by assigning collective blame to all Muslims for 9/11 (the only way opposing any mosque near the site is rational) is below a lot of the people I’ve seen doing it.

  • TychaBrahe

    I wonder, do you think Catholic parents should blindly entrust their children to have solo contact with priests, or have all of the accounts of pedophilia convinced you that parents should supervise their children around the clergy? After all, not every priest has molested children. In fact, its probably the majority that have not. Still, there has been a pervasive culture in the Catholic Church to cover up child molestation and protect the predators, and until there is total transparency, parents should be careful.

    And granted, not every Muslim, in fact the majority of Muslims do not hate the US and do not seek the downfall of Western Christian capitalism. But the fact is, there are Muslims who feel this way, and there is a real and present threat from these people.

    And until mainstream Islam is willing to stand up and denounce these people, we are blind as to who is with us and who is against us. And it is folly not to be aware when your enemy builds large structures at your gates.

    What do you say to the fact that Imam Rauf tells people in the US that he will seek funding only from American Muslims, but tells an Arab-language newspaper in the UK that he is not opposed to taking funding from Saudi Arabia or Iran? What do you say to his statements that the US is responsible for 9/11?

    Sixty-some percent of New Yorkers oppose the building of the mosque. They can’t all be Tea-Party nutjobs. Have you tried actually asking someone who opposes the mosque why they feel that way?

  • http://infophilia.blogspot.com infophile

    I wonder, do you think Catholic parents should blindly entrust their children to have solo contact with priests, or have all of the accounts of pedophilia convinced you that parents should supervise their children around the clergy? After all, not every priest has molested children. In fact, its probably the majority that have not. Still, there has been a pervasive culture in the Catholic Church to cover up child molestation and protect the predators, and until there is total transparency, parents should be careful.

    Even if there is a problem with the way the church has handled this controversy, the fact still remains that it’s a small minority of priests that are actually child molesters. Parents shouldn’t blindly trust priest, but neither should they consider every priest to be a molester-in-waiting. The best solution would be for the parents to teach their children the warning signs of molesters and to let adults abuse their authority or make them afraid to report them if they do.

    And until mainstream Islam is willing to stand up and denounce these people, we are blind as to who is with us and who is against us. And it is folly not to be aware when your enemy builds large structures at your gates.

    You want to know the real irony here? The Cordoba Center is being built by just such Muslims. The people building it aren’t the enemy. They’re trying to reach out a hand in peace while the actual enemy is using this outcry as evidence that Islam can’t coexist with America so they can recruit more followers. If you want to decrease terrorism in the world, the best solution here is to welcome these peaceful Muslims with open arms.

    What do you say to the fact that Imam Rauf tells people in the US that he will seek funding only from American Muslims, but tells an Arab-language newspaper in the UK that he is not opposed to taking funding from Saudi Arabia or Iran?

    I’d say that, before anything else, I’d prefer to see some links to his exact wording. And then I’d say that I’d prefer to know Arabic before commenting on that so I could read the piece in question. I’d also want to check the dates on those statements. People are allowed to change their minds, you know.

    What do you say to his statements that the US is responsible for 9/11?

    I’d say that he has a damn good point. (But I’d like to see the exact wording, again.) The US has done a lot in the Middle East that pissed off a lot of the inhabitants there, and in the 9 months prior to 9/11, the government gave up on pursuing Bin Laden for whatever unknown reason. They bear a share of the responsibility for the attack, but hardly all of it from where I stand. A small minority of it, even. Which is why I’d like to see Rauf’s exact words on this matter.

    Sixty-some percent of New Yorkers oppose the building of the mosque. They can’t all be Tea-Party nutjobs. Have you tried actually asking someone who opposes the mosque why they feel that way?

    Do you have a link to the original poll that says this? From the polls I’ve seen, it seems quite likely that you’re lumping multiple categories together to come up with that conclusion.

    And alright, I’ll ask: Why do oppose the building of this mosque? And further, how do you oppose it? Do you believe that it shouldn’t be allowed to be built, and if so, what’s the legal justification for this? Or do you believe that it should be allowed to be built, but you don’t wish for it to be built?

  • Claudia

    @TychaBrahe, you oppose the building of a mosque two blocks from ground zero. Presumably you would also advocate the closing of the mosque inside the Pentagon in operation since 9/11, though no one seems to ever mention that. A few questions for you:

    Would you oppose the building of an evangelical church two blocks away from an abortion clinic?

    Would you oppose the building of a Catholic seminary two blocks away from a treatment center for abused children?

    If you oppose both of these things in addition to the mosque, then at least you’re being consistent. If not, I would love to hear from you why these cases are magically different.

  • gribblethemunchkin

    Good old Charlie Brooker.

    As for all Brits treating Americans as if they think the same, its a side effect of our distance + media. The only time we hear about stuff in the states is when its good news or bad news and has interest to the public. Since bad news is always interesting, we get to hear all the bad shit that goes on state side without the positive benefit of living in the States and seeing the upside.

    Also, we had 8 years of being dragged around the middle east by Bush thanks to that rat Tony Blair, we’ve built up quite a resentment. Of course when we actually meet yanks, British politeness kicks in and then after a few minutes your brain tells you that of course this nice yank isn’t responsible for any of that rubbish, its those OTHER yanks that we haven’t yet met.

    Its not a rational thing.

    As for loving the Brit accent, which one?
    We have the following highly different accents:
    Cornish, Scouse, Mancunian, Yorkshire, Woolback, Geordie, Cockney, Welsh (Multiple varieties), Scottish (multiple varieties), Northern Irish (multiple Varieties), Norfolk Broads, Southern, Brummie, and so on and so forth.

    Some of these accents will literally be indecipherable at speed to an american who hasn’t heard them before, particularly geordies.

    On the plus side, some of these accents are great, see if you can find some on youtube.

  • Lost Left Coaster

    @TychaBrahe: Lucky for all of us, the First Amendment’s protection of the freedom of religion in the USA is not contingent upon popular support for that religion. I say lucky because a lot of people may just be forgetting that us atheists aren’t all that popular either. What if it was an atheist center that was being opposed by 60% of New Yorkers?

  • stogoe

    As for loving the Brit accent, which one?

    I’m partial to Eve Myles’ Welsh lilt on Torchwood, and Irish and Scottish are faves. Then again, I enjoy the West-Coast Dude-Bro, Bahsten, and Jersey accents, too. About the only English accent I’m sour on is Wiscaaaahnsen’s. It also seeps into Minnesoohtah and Chicaaahgoh, for better or worse.

  • muggle

    Right on. Same thing in NYC. That short distance brings you to another world, where ground zero isn’t visible blocked by skyscrapers. That’s NYC. Turn a couple of corners and you’re in an entirely different neighborhood.

    Check out Sam Sedar’s “That’s Bullshit” where he walks the difference for a great visual of it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPPxBrtrH1c

  • gribblethemunchkin

    I’m partial to Eve Myles’ Welsh lilt on Torchwood

    I concur. Hot.


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