Five tails

Recently on Facebook I posted three “rules” for anyone wishing to discuss the “controversy” over the Park51 project, popularly but erroneously known as the World Trade Center Mosque.

The first and most basic rule was “It’s not a mosque.” And it’s not. It’s a community center, both a YMCA, if you will, and an interfaith study center.

The results were gratifying: many people cheered on my bluntness, while my right wing friends tied themselves into knots trying to continue their outrage. Again and again I would reject their “but it’s a controversy!!!!1!” with “It’s not a mosque.” Like moths to the flame, however, they could not stop themselves from arguing from the premise that someone was building a triumphalist mosque on sacred ground. Sorry, it’s not a mosque.

“But why does even the liberal media call it a mosque?” they cried. The short answer is that someone went into the monkey house (Pam Geller, I’m looking at you) and made a face, and now the monkeys are hooting and flinging poo.

However, before I used that metaphor, I referred us all to Lincoln’s little riddle: “How many legs does a dog have if you call its tail a leg?” One of my right wing friends, who is not unread, wittily replied, “Five tails,” knowing that the correct answer is, “Four. Calling a tail a leg does not make it one.”

So now I have a really great shorthand for labeling that crowd’s specious and poo-flinging debate style: the “five tails crowd.” Even when shown the stone cold facts, they will continue to shriek their misinterpretation, and in fact go even further afield in their outrage. “If it’s not a mosque, why is everyone defending their First Amendment rights/???>?”

Honey, please.

5 thoughts on “Five tails

  1. I think I missed your earlier bait, but I’ll rise to this one instead.

    They have every right to build their Islamic [insert most accurate building title here] wherever zoneing legally allows. Many men and women have died over many years to secure that right.

    However, the decision to build anything approaching an a bastion of Islamic faith in the vicinity of the WTC is a display of poor taste and judgement.

    I will also point out that it matters little what their intent for the facility is. I suspect that it will still serve as a beacon that will draw in those that wish to beat their chests in victory. I suppose that if this is the case, it will make it somewhat easier for the various homeland security officers to locate them.

    In any case, I’m happy to defend the rights of any American to private property and free speech, even when their choice of location makes them look like callous fools.

  2. I am reminded of what Gingrich proclaimed as he gathered with his supporters on the eve of the Conservative Revolution: EVERY MAN AN IMAM!

  3. Poor taste and judgment? Men of character would limit themselves to tut-tutting over sherry in the club.

    And that is the limit of what we should have been witnessing, because there is no other possible legal/ethical/moral reason for what’s been going on.

  4. I just saw your response, Dale. Alas, I find myself, frighteningly perhaps, agreeing with you yet again. I suppose I’d prefer gin over sherry, your backyard over a club, and perhaps “callous fools” is a bit more than a “tut tut”, but just the same, my paras above are as angsty as I’ve gotten over this particular brouhaha. It’s definitely not worth all the news coverage its gotten. On the other hand, someone needed to play Demosthenes to your Locke (or is that the other way around? It’s been too long since I read Ender’s Game)

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