Kathy Shaidle

Is the Ground Zero Mosque of magazines? (Part 1)

Posted on January 24 2011 2:00 pm
Kathy Shaidle blogs at FiveFeetOfFury, now entering its 11th year online. Her latest book is Acoustic Ladylandkathy shaidle, which Mark Steyn calls "a must-read."

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“It’s come to this: is the paper of record.”

Almost every longtime blogger seems to coin a catchphrase. Instapundit gave birth to “Heh.” My fellow Canadian blogger Kate McMillan regularly dubs chronically toxic historical figures “not dead enough.”

I started calling Cracked “the paper of record” in 2007, when I rediscovered the poor man’s MAD Magazine after it transitioned to an exclusively online presence.

I was startled by the high quality of the writing I found there. A non-fan described the evolution of Cracked as going “from MAD to Mental Floss” – and meant that as an insult. That sounds to me like an admirable trajectory.

Not only did make me laugh out loud (and that’s hard to do), but occasionally their pieces were thoughtful and even wise.

“David Wong,” a.k.a. Senior Editor Jason Pargin, penned an essay called “7 Reasons the 21st Century is Making You Miserable” that – along with “5 Things You Think Will Make You Happy, But Won’t” and “The 10 Most Important Things They Didn’t Teach You In High School” – should have earned him a chubby book contract.

Being less blatantly biased than the average hip, pop culture site, Cracked mops up the misinformation spilled by the Right and the Left — no, J. Edgar Hoover was NOT a transvestite, and the Tea Party isn’t the second coming of the Klan. Cracked’s “Magic Negro-gate: How Liberals Confused Obama with Kazaam” should have gained far more traction.

So I was deeply disappointed in late December, when Cracked published “5 Ridiculous Things You Probably Believe About Islam.”

Where to start?

Jacopo della Quercia’s exercise in apologetics singles out that famous phrase in the Treaty of Tripoli:

“The government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian Religion, as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Mussulmen [Moslems].”

But he neglects to mention why America needed a Treaty of Tripoli in the first place, i.e. ruthless, unprincipled Muslim pirates were the newborn United States’ first enemies, after the British. (Hence the line in the “Marine’s Hymn”…)

Quercia approvingly quotes Jefferson a lot, but leaves out something the President wrote with John Adams:

…that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman (Muslim) who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.

The rest of Quercia’s essay has more strawmen than Oz; no one thinks “ALL Muslim women wear veils,” for instance.

Thence begins the obligatory “Golden Age of Islam” nonsense (which is made to stretch tenuously over two segments, so the author can achieve a respectable grand total of “5 Ridiculous Things…”).

That “Golden Age” nonsense is no longer the debate-slayer it once was, and not only because anyone can find scholarly evidence of its non-existence in a matter of mere moments.

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