Monday, November 14, 2005

Revolting French again: Jason and Mel

In yesterday's Observer, Jason Burke deals with the Melanie Phillips article I mentioned here. Mel, in turn, responds here. I'm more inclined to agree with Jason Burke: I don't buy this 'French intifada' stuff and Mel hasn't dealt with Burke's point that apart from throwing stones, what's going on in France doesn't bear much relation to what's going on in Palestine. Nevertheless, neither journalist comes off particularly well from this exchange; they're behaving like a couple of bloggers for goodness sake - which is to say in this case, rather more heat than light is being generated.

In Burke's case, I'd have to say, if he's going to accuse others of making simplistic and stereotypical characterisations of religious and/or ethnic groups, surely it behooves him not to do likewise? And doing likewise is exactly what he does:
"In the USA, religious fundamentalists who strive for a return to the 1950s and a society where everyone - women, blacks, whites, children - knew their place now wield unprecedented influence."
I've a high regard for Mr. Burke so I'm rather disappointed with this remark. Is he suggesting that American evangelicals all long for a return to segregation? Looks like it - and this is, I'm afraid, rather typical of what passes for the 'debate' these days: it seems the understanding that a religious group should not be understood as a homogeneous block with uniformly reactionary views is not to be extended to Christians.

Analyst - analyse yourself: not all 'religious fundamentalists' in the US are white and surely it should be understood at the very least that they aren't longing for a return to segregation?

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