Thursday, December 13, 2007

What Is It Like to be an (American) Bat?

Ezra Klein's correspondent, Jason C. writes:

"My impression from talking to people about current events - and I mean reasonably sophisticated, educated people - is that they see the world as divided into a handful of categories:

- Europeans. They are liberal, effete, atheistic, and are constantly having sex and getting drunk. Anything goes in Europe.

- Middle-Easterners, a.k.a. Muslims, a.k.a. Arabs. This includes Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, etc. These people are crazed religious fanatics who do not care about their own lives. They act only to satisfy their unquenchable blood lust. Sometimes they kill each other, but mostly they hate America and Jews.

- Asia. Where communists and very tiny things come from. A continent of industrious gnomes.

- Africa. Where starving people live.

- South & Central America. Where Mexicans come from.

They then interpret events like 9/11 by imposing these categories on them. So when a student says "Why did God let the Iraqs attack us on 9/11?" he's really just saying something like, how come all those crazy Muslims want to kill us? He picks "Iraq" just because it's a prominent example of a Middle Eastern country." (Jason C. in Ezra Klein's blog, "My Commenters is Smarter than I: Broadbrush Edition," Ezra Klein, Dec. 12, 2007).


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