Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Robert Spencer: Insight and Insult

Remember Bowe Bergdahl, the naive young man who took a hike away from his U.S. army base while serving in Afghanistan? He was grabbed by the Taliban, held captive for some years, and tormented with ridiculous questions. Beckie Strum, of the New York Post (December 24, 2015), reports Bowe Bergdahl as saying: "Taliban asked me if Obama is gay,"
"They ask you, is Obama gay and sleeps with men?"
They ask you this over and over and over and over again. Sounds worse than waterboarding! More seriously, Robert Spencer steps in to offer some plausible analysis as to why the Taliban posed this question:
If Bergdahl is telling the truth, it is unlikely in the land of bacha bazi that these Taliban members were objecting to sleeping with men. They were asking if Obama was gay, i.e., did he sleep only with men - which exclusivity they would equate with weakness. Beyond lurid curiosity, they were most likely asking Bergdahl if the President was truly as weak as he appeared to be.
Spencer is an intelligent, educated fellow with a lot of serious insight - especially insight into Islam - so he may well be right on this point, but he then diminishes his gravity with this crude sight gag:

Spencer detests President Obama so much that he can't resist an opportunity to ridicule him even at the cost of making himself look bad. This is not a unique instance, either. Spencer always chooses the least flattering photo of Obama.

I'll keep reading Spencer for his important insights, and generally ignore his insults - not insults of me, of course, for he certainly doesn't know me - but I couldn't let this one pass, it was just too crude not to call him on it.



At 11:28 AM, Blogger Kevin Kim said...

My take is simply that Herr Spencer is blessed or cursed with a naughty sense of humor. Hell, I had a chuckle.

At 11:50 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

If his site were a humor site, I'd not complain, but he wants to be taken seriously not only on the right but also on the left, and his humor has grown tedious for me, but he can do what he wants with his own website.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 3:50 AM, Blogger N.E. Brigand said...

I chuckled at the photo; I can even imagine a liberal blog post on the same story using the image to kid the ridiculousness of the Taliban questions. On the other hand, many of the responses to Spencer's remarks in his comments section (most of which ignore the photo) are atrocious.

At 9:46 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Yeah, I don't even read the comments anymore. Maybe I should demand that Spencer make his comment threads a safe place . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recall reading somewhere that the Taliban had banned "bacha bazi", and that one of the reasons for their popularity during their rise to power in the 90s was their puritanism and tough stand on practices like this.

At 11:37 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Yes, I recall that, too. Mullah Omar was opposed to it.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is that wiener halal?

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

Halal? Probably, but even if haram, it can still be halal if it furthers the interests of Islam.

Jeffery Hodges

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