links for 2011-01-15

  • "What’s troubling about this wave of criticism towards Dr. Carlos Gonzales is that it shows how little tolerance there is in some corners for any expression of religion that isn’t Christian or some flavor of ceremonial deism. Even during a memorial that many felt was uniting and uplifting, the wave of scare quotes, snide remarks, and insults against indigenous religions couldn’t be held back. This is the same impulse that led to the disruption of Rajan Zed’s Senante invocation, the ignorance and arrogance that only comes from almost total religious and cultural power and privilege. These hectoring voices darkly reinforce the attitudes that continually place Arizona’s recreation over the sacred land of its indigenous peoples. They are a sour note in what was, on the whole, a moment where our country, in all its diversity, came together."
  • "This was a recent Saturday night at Habibi, a floating monthly dance party of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Arabs in New York. In a city that seems to offer activities for every conceivable gay subculture — one 700-entry directory lists support groups for, among others, gay vegans, pilots and sailing enthusiasts, along with 62 religion-based groups — Habibi is perhaps the only opportunity in New York for gay people of Middle Eastern descent to interact openly in an organized setting."
  • "My only worry is that in all this hubbub, the indexical value of 'blood libel' is being overlooked.  The reason why we need a special phrase like 'blood libel' to denote lies told about what Jews do with the blood of baby Christians is the sheer number of libels which Jews have had to contend over the years."
  • "Yet the justifying of racist violence reminds me of all the times in history in which educated, middle-class people cheered on the violent behaviour of the alienated members of the lower classes, because they felt they could afford to. In today’s Moscow, many white intellectuals wax lyrical on racist violence, because they know that nationalists won’t come after them (yet). These same intellectuals also consider the race riots a kind of “real alternative” to the weak political opposition in Russia – as if opposition must be violent in order to be meaningful.

    "I also feel that Russian theatre, in spite of its periods of stagnation, always has an opportunity to say what needs to be said at times when political and/or religious leaders engage in useless rhetoric. Hearing the Russian equivalent of “I’m not racist, but…” from some of the most interesting participants of the theatre scene today is just a tad disconcerting."