Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Morning Alarm...

(Image from Wikipedia)

Having neglected to reset my wake-up alarm, I woke up late and was alarmed instead by a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review report (Robin Acton, "Furor over author Ayaan Hirsi Ali's visit stirs debate on religious freedom," April 22, 2007) on the remark of a certain Fouad ElBayly -- imam of the Islamic Center of Johnstown -- who thinks that the Dutch feminist author Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali refugee and apostate from Islam, should be put to death because:
"She has been identified as one who has defamed the faith. If you come into the faith, you must abide by the laws, and when you decide to defame it deliberately, the sentence is death."
One might point out that Ms. Ali did not "come into the faith"; she was born in the faith and chose to go out of the faith, but such a distinction would likely be lost on Mr. ElBayly.

At least Mr. ElBayly is a moderate on the process by which such a death sentence should be carried out:
Although ElBayly believes a death sentence is warranted for Hirsi Ali, he stressed that America is not the jurisdiction where such a crime should be punished. Instead, Hirsi Ali should be judged in a Muslim country after being given a trial.
In other words, Mr. ElBayly doesn't think that Ms. Ali should be cut down in the street like her friend in Amsterdam, Theo van Gogh, whom Mohammed Bouyeri brutally murdered in 2004, first shooting him eight times in the chest, then cutting his throat so deeply that he was nearly decapitated, and finally impaling him in the torso with two knives, one attaching a note that threatened Ms. Ali. Mr. ElBayly's views are more merciful than that:
"If it is found that a person is mentally unstable, or a child or disabled, there should be no punishment," he said. "It's a very merciful religion if you try to understand it."
I think what Mr. ElBayly meant to say was that "It's a very merciful religion if you submit to it," for by "try to understand it," he clearly doesn't intend to allow any critical, searching questions.

But at least, he's a moderate...



At 4:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Let me introduce myself. I am Harvard man. I hail from Harvard St. I am the Harvard man.

I believe you may harbor a hidden affinity for our indignant Imam. Self-identity -- our most precious possession -- is garnered by referring to our in-group and its peculiar worldview. Our in-group is the gestalt -- a mirror -- that tells us who we are, and the roles we may play. The Imam's attack against dissent( condemning the Somali turn-coat and witch named Ayaan Hirsi Ali), therefore, is not only defense of Islam, but self preservation of the Imam's in-group, worldview, and thus -- his own personal identity.

His fatwa is analogous to your own blog edict condemning the "bringing in of personality" in guest comments by characterizing them as "Ad Hominem": personal attacks.

The intent, however, for your blog fatwa - we suspect -- is less for maintaining integrity of information exchange, and more for self-protection. Yes, "face" is not merely an Asian thang.

I know. You vehemently disagree ... enough to dispense with my cyber-existence by the click of the mouse -- as easy as slitting a throat with a Muslim scimitar.

But, before you do defend your personal Allah consider this: allegedly you earned an advanced degree. We would think you know "Ad Hominem" is an attack of a person's character to avoid discussing an issue.

However, when one's character becomes integral to the matter at hand, then "bringing in personality" is neither Ad Hominem nor irrelevant.

For this reason, I (a type of Ayaan Hirsi Ali) question your "gypsy scholar" worldview and identity. My dissent is not for love of Ad Hominem ... but for scholarly inquiry. I am a fellow scholar who has come to ask what you are doing in the company of gypsies who eat Kimchee, drink Soju, and rip apart American flags. In your curious comradeship with Koreans, I am sure you have learned the traditional kind of learning among them, and how they can do wonders by the power of imagination with their fancy binding that of others; we see you have learned much of their art, and we anticipate the time when you will have compassed their whole secret. We know of your intention to leave their company, and give scholars at home an account of what you have learned.

But, before we can fully understand. We must inquire into the underlying assumptions held by the scholar himself. This will touch occassionally ... on the man himself named Jeffery Hodges: Who is this gypsy scholar who travels far and wide. What gifts from the Orient does he bring. Is he a wondrous charlatan, or a hero who traveled the world to bring home pearls of Oriental wisdom?

Now, the first foundational assumption we need to learn is your soteriology. What is the hope of mankind to you. No, we don't want to be recruited to your faith. So don't worry ... you won't be proselytizing from your blog. We want to know the religious corner stone on which you build your house.

Please, briefly -- in a terse sentence -- sum up the main hope in which you personally rely on for ultimate self-worth. Thank You.

Harvard Man.

At 5:08 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

So, you wish to be known as "Harvard Man." Thank you for taking on an identity. Your previous comments (if those were by you) reminded me of posts by "Silly Sally," who often has very interesting things to say about Korea and Koreans but whose insights are clouded by what comes across as bitterness and anger.

Anyway, Harvard Man, I see a very large difference between forbidding personal attacks on a blog and issuing a fatwa of death for leaving Islam.

As for my connection to Korea, I met a Korean woman in Germany and married her. We have two children.

I know nothing of the powers of imagination and other arts that you say Koreans claim to have. Honestly, I have no idea what you are talking about.

Moreover, I have no pearls of wisdom from the Orient.

And as for my personal religious views, I don't discuss them on this blog in the way that you request.

I don't think that we have much to discuss. If you want to know more about me and my views, then scroll around through the blog. I've occasionally written about myself.

But henceforth, if you want to post comments, keep them on the topic posted in the blog entry.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 6:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am the Harvard Man.

Jeffery, we are completely on topic. There is a global war against dissent as pointed out by your posting. Even the Muslims have a war on infidelity. I suggest the Iman and you share the following in common: both believe any dissenting personality such as Harvard Man and Ayaan Hirsi Ali must be directly or indirectly expunged --- for the betterment of mankind.

Your form of expungement is on a different scale. It's to contain and structure engagement with dangerous personalities ... a form of marginalization: symbolic political execution.

If I tweek your gypsy ego ... you scream terrorist. You don't negotiate with terrorists. Yet, I ... a dissenting voice ... seek dialogue with you through mutual understanding. I seek to know just where you are coming from. I seek the very foundation ... the cornerstone ... of your self- identity.

You write of Christian spiritual realities.. of self-enthralled spirits condemned and defeated by the atoning work of Christ. But, when I ask for your hope. You deny with silence ... just like Peter on that treacherous night. Christ said: "If you deny me before men, I will deny you before the Father."

Why the silence? It's as if you are a member of a secret society ... rather than a bringer of good news. Are you Catholic?

Just as you imply the Iman's religion of mercy is bogus ... we wonder about your silence about Jesus Christ. Are you a Christian gnostic who wants to keep the Christ consciousness all to himself? Don't be greedy.

If you think the Iman and Ayaan Hirsi Ali should seek mutual understanding. Rather than fussing and fighting. Then you should also seek understanding with me.

What's your soteriology in a nutshell. Squeak up! Cat-holic got your tongue?

Harvard Man.

At 6:27 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Sorry, Harvard Man, but I'm not interested. As I said, if you want to know more, you can read my blog.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 7:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you need to disinfect the blog. Harvard man does sound a lot like Silly Sally but is lacking in humor and a kernel of truth.

At 7:37 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Sonagi. If Harvard Man isn't Silly Sally, then he's channeling her, for she's previously used the same punning question: "Cat-holic got your tongue?"

There's also the "Korean Kristian" expression from a previous comment by "Anonymous" on my shame-and-guilt-culture entry. Silly Sally has previously used that expression.

Whoever Silly Sally is, she's entertaining to read and often spot-on about Korean culture. I get a kick out of reading her. But dialogue? Naaahhh...

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 12:46 AM, Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

I remember seeing her interviewed on Glenn Beck. I was very impressed with her strength and fortitude.

At 2:07 AM, Blogger Kate Marie said...

I'm very impressed with her, too, Saurkraut.

At 2:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I last posted that I was not bright enough to add to the debate on your site. Perhaps my self doubt was illusory.

"A global war on dissent"? I think perhaps Harvard Man sits, dictionary in hand; perhaps Silly Sally-like (of whom I acknowledge I'm not familiar). Making pronouncements such as, "Canada provided troops during America's War in Viet Nam". I merely use that statement for illustration.

I will say that I have seen some similarly linguistically dictioned gymnastics for a period of time prior to my beginning to post to this site.

Witholding judgement, which is not mine to make (but which for example: were I to be flagged down travelling in my own car, and be asked by a person pronouncing me 'apostate' to nonetheless provide them a ride) well.

Again witholding judgement, preferring noncombatant status in the "global war on dissent", I'd simply implore.

Huh, could you explain that in hillbilly?


At 4:18 AM, Blogger Hathor said...

You can use Other to comment and use your initials as your identity. That way you would not get confused with any other anonymous. I was, until I had read thru the complete comment.

At 4:20 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Saur and KM, I agree on Ayaan Hirsi Ali's impressiveness, but based mainly on what I've read rather than on what I've seen.

I've seen little.

Living abroad, I miss all the television news and interviews. I could search out videos online, I suppose, but I imagine that such a process would eat up my time omnivorously.

So ... I read instead, which allows me to control my time by skimming past what I'm not interested in.

But I miss out on the personality...

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 4:21 AM, Blogger Hathor said...

I hope that I am not considered out of order, by my previous comment.

At 4:33 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK, perhaps Harvard Man will explain himself "in hillbilly" sometime for the two of us.

Basically -- as you of course recognized -- he was criticizing me for threatening censorship and was comparing my threat to the death threats uttered by Islamists.

I appreciate the seriousness with which he takes my editorial policy, but I'd prefer to call it "editorial control" rather than "censorship" (though I won't quibble about that). Much as a newspaper has no obligation to print everything that a reporter writes -- and certainly not everything that readers write to the editor -- so I have no obligation to publish everything that readers post here.

Harvard Man can disagree, of course, but he can start his own blog and express himself freely there.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 4:37 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Hathor, I always wondered what "Other" meant among the "Choose an identity" choices.

That would certainly resolve any confusion among otherwise anonymous comments.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 5:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Hathor, the last thing I would prefer would to be confused with another. So, "Other" it will be from now on.

You are certainly not out of order.

Jeff, to be clear about the distinction between censorship and editorial control, I actually drive a pickup, likely I'd give the ride but the person would have to ride in the back. Slipping from hillbilly to the more direct: editorial control is the way.

I too saw Ali on Beck as well as on one other show. She is indeed as Sauk and KM describe. Why does it seem to be the one gender, well I guess Rushdie might to some lesser degree qualify, seem to point out what others ponder might be acceptable questioning?


At 6:07 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK, I think that the Islamists do face a huge credibility gap on the woman issue, which is why they go to such trouble to control women.

Today's post (April 25, 2007) on the former Islamist Ed Hussein links to his article at the British newspaper The Sunday Times Online, and from what he reports, the attempt to control women, as is done in Saudi Arabia, would appear to have had dreadful consequences.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 6:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I took the time (as I always do after my "embarrassment post") to read what comes before. I too think I'm going to get that book.

The reason I was posting as anonymous was that when "other" was clicked on, text came up showing "webpage" and "all fields required".

I do not have a webpage that is exclusively mine, and the one that I submit to regularly has editorial policies that do not allow much personal view.

But, I've now found that one does not have to fill that one blank box.


At 7:04 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK, I'll have to click "Other" and see where that leads. I've never investigated before . . . because I worry that I'll end up somewhere that I don't want to be.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 8:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My only concern here is that googling is so prevalent. Moonshine stories are one thing but when other things appear, they place a certain restriction on my professional outcomes.

But no harm done. I'm on a sort of Sabbatical.


At 9:14 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK, it's like that old "America" song:

Ventura Highway in the sunshine
Where the days are longer
The nights are stronger than moonshine
You're gonna go I know

'Cause the free wind is blowin' through your hair
And the days surround your daylight there
Seasons crying no despair
Alligator lizards in the air, in the air

Weird memories of times past ... such as the first time that I actually drove down Ventury Highway in California and realized, "Oh, it exists."

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 6:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am Harvard Man.


Was there any question concerning out-of-order editorial control?

Yes, everyone knows a personal blog is like driving a truck along the highway. If, you see someone who looks like Ted Bundy ... you drive on past... or put them in the back of the truck. Nothing out of order with that. Editorial control was not at issue.

We know most personal blogs are vanity projects. If a guest doesn't stroke the blogger's ego just quite right ... he's history. And ... rightfully so. The blogger is a cyber-Imam with ego-authority to declare his own blogging fatwas.

It's the matter of the editor's character that determines if the sexy girl in tight shorts or a tattoed skin-head is picked up for a chat along the cyber-highway.

It depends on the blogger's character. Jeffery didn't find me sexy. I am not his type.

But, the brief exchange was profitable for all of us. Harvard man asked a simple shibboleth question: Jeffery, as a religious man ... what is your highest hope?

The fact that our spiritual Jeffery didn't burst at the opportunity to declare his love for Christ. Is enough to satisfy my question about the foundations of his religious house. There are only two answers in such matters. Silence is a very telling answer.

We now all walk away a little wiser from my brief flirt with the Gyspy Scholar. I am satisfied. Readers are more informed. Jeffery is too.

I am the Harvard Man.

At 6:44 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Harvard Man is astute, precisely so astute as Silly Sally.

Discretion is thus the better part of valor.

To flirt with Silly Sally, one must be coy but not cowed.

She liked me once, on a far away blog, when I whispered that I do not think all cultures equal.

But she has long forgotten me, flirted with thousands since, and left me to my own vehicular devices.

But I know from experience, never take her up on an offer . . . "'cause she's just a honky-tonk gal":

Breaking hearts to her is just the way of having fun
She thinks every man's a fool and you're another one
She knows all the arts of love she'll give your heart a twirl
Cause she's just a honky tonk girl

Jeffery "Hank Williams" Hodges

* * *

At 6:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I still like you.

At 9:47 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Ah, but once burned, twice shy, Sally Stanford. Too bad you're not my type, my dear Saucy-lito Madam, for you are brilliant if disreputable.

We'll always have San Francisco...

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 1:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harvard Man/Silly Sally's no match for your crooning, Jeffery.

At 3:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harvard Man,

Yes the Blog Moderator moderates. Such is the nature of all who would provide a forum in which others might commune.

To seek the foundations of the Moderators' house however, enlightening as it might be for some seems well, why bother? What ancient need does this satisfy?

A Cajun sage once told of a woman who called the authorities complaining that a neighbor was perverting through his window at her. A man came and looked through her window.
"Mame, I see nothing amiss here."
"Well," say's she, "if you stand on this box here and look through this high corner you'll see what I mean."

Harvard Man, what one places before the greater public is for the public. For kapok anyway, words spoken by a William Pitt guide: ".... the King of England shall not enter here...".


At 4:06 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Sonagi, if nothing else, Sally Stanford certainly inspired me...

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 4:13 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK, Sally Stanford is the Hannibal Lector of the blogging world: charming, intellectually seductive, and capable of great psychological insight, but a cold-blooded manslayer who would devour me.

As with Dracula, don't invite her into your house, certainly not deep into its innermost chambers, into the holy of holies, on pain of losing your soul...

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 5:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, then to quote "Acometer molinos de viento" would be correct?

But you should recall that to gain my doorway requires peculiar knowledge. But really, I just thought a quick rejoinder might be fun. I do so love to laugh. Even if I cannot discern the joke.


At 6:09 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Forsooth, JK, 'tis so.

Shun the great Don's example and run not, nor even tread, where the brave dare not go. Forget those impossible dreams...

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 12:41 PM, Blogger jj mollo said...

The Second Theorem of Incompleteness, as proven by Kurt Gödel, claims that any system which contains a statement concerning its own consistency, is thereby revealed as inconsistent. The implication of this for religious belief is that it is not possible to pursue the internal logic of a dogmatic system of absolute statements without straying into absurdity. Fouad ElBayly appears not to understand this. Living a life around Truth requires that a person accept multiple cross-checks. Dynamic responses to life's challenges are required.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is closer to the Truth than ElBayly will ever be, and he is doomed to ignorance of his own limitations.

On the other hand, complete relativism is another kind of curse. Insufficient axiomatic structure to a system allows nothing to be addressed. Sentences spoken in such a language are meaningless. I am thinking that "Harvard Man" is at home in that world. The predatory wickedness that would liken a killing blade to a harsh word is driven by a whim of seduction rather than any serious purpose, much less scholarship.

It makes me think about the Temptation of Christ. What kind of intellectual illusions would Satan have presented? How intriguing it might have been! Perhaps one of the temptations would be, "Teach me the Love of God, that I may be returned unto Him."

At 5:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Lilith I be to Jeffery. Hovering over his paralyzed soul; staring down with eyes transfixing him like a fatal charm. I was content to fade into the night's gloom... as the seduction festered within his corrupted soul.

But what have we here? Jeffery's friends? Who are these creatures rallying to the rescue ... familiars self-assured of axiomatic soundness imagining their souls guarded by peculiar keys.

It's the Satanic stink of self-enthrallment... hell hardened and reeking with putrid death from private chambers of idolatry ... within the very hollowed-out walls of Christ's temple. I recognize its disbelief clothed in frivolous mockery ... I see vain glorious entities filled with awful treachery. Jeff, they be witches of the most peculiar kind. Run boy! Run for your very soul. Witches in the temple!

Take care.

At 6:43 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JJ, concerning your words:

>>Perhaps one of the temptations would be, "Teach me the Love of God, that I may be returned unto Him."<<

Precisely. I recognize the danger and decline the request.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 6:57 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Ah, Silly Sally, let us not shilly shally.

I am honored by your lithe, Lilith-like presence. Truly, I am.

But to crib from the only man who could make your day, "A man's gotta know his limitations."

I decline each of your invitations, for I know that I am no match for your matchless wit. I do not even try.

You are a trickster like Loki, but of diabolical proportions. You have descended into the depths of the wild abyss, "The Womb of nature and perhaps her Grave," and have returned to strive with God and man.

I concede my weakness and take refuge in the rock of my salvation.

Yet ... you are welcome here, and as does the Russian Orthodox Church, I will pray even for that in which Kate Marie hopes -- the possibly impossible salvation of Satan.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 7:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Since you recognize your limitations, I will forever have to just wonder if your "Rock" is the living Christ in Heaven ... or a temporal religious in-group fortified by a religious mythology ... confident of its own axiomatic verities and esoteric keys to the human soul. In other words, mind control.

Your spooky familiars running to the rescue is cultic in dynamic. Circling the wagons around you -- the moment of my girlish flirtation -- appears more to hem you in, rather than protect you from the outside. It's called perceptual control. They don't want to lose you, just as much as you are afraid to leave.

These gypsies have their ways. They know how to make you love servitude.

In my humble opinion, I smell religious witchcraft. I know you disagree, but that's part of the trap ... your own denial which they skillfully encourage.

The scriptures says to ask for wisdom with a true open heart. If you are brave enough and sincere ... there will be hope.

Beware of witches in the temple.

At 9:49 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thank you, mysterious but brilliant Sally. I shall take your words to heart and see you at play in the fields of the Lord, within the indefinitely bounded universe of discourse.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 1:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This dialog is reminiscent of the lyrics to some inspired Beatles tunes.

At 3:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any references kapok makes toward peculiarity are not meant to imply that these are means of guarding his soul.

Rather a much simpler task. Kapok's recognizes his weakness and inability to protect himself much less another.

Besides, the barometer has turned and it may be time to fish.


At 4:11 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Sonagi and JK (or do you now prefer "Kapok"?), the most important lesson to be learned from this trial is...

Well, I don't actually know . . . but quoting music and taking time to fish can help.

Or one can fish around and quote some scripture, e.g., Luke 4.13:

kai suntelesas panta peirasmon o diabolos apesth ap autou acri kairou.

And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 6:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...



At 6:42 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...



Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 8:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Are you really the same JK battling against the expat forces of evil at the Marmot's?

Pssst, let's not tell anybody else at the Hole about this blog, okay?

At 12:11 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Sonagi, I think that those at the Marmot know about Gypsy Scholar but are generally not interested. Praise be to the praised one...

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 2:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

None shall note from this path. My dictioning here remains of one method.I am unable to engage effectively on but one front sonagi.

I prefer that the site of my friend remain far from view.

I enjoy this civility. Fear not. But at times you might see me take (for sake of argument elsewhere) liberties that I will not allow myself to fall into, here.

I appreciate (aside from the recent) the reception.



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