Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Color Club

dean's color club
(Click here for full sized image)

There's been a major storm the past few days over at Dean's World. It started with my friend, blog proprietor Dean Esmay, drawing a line in the sand— or more like nailing his "5 Theses" to the door of Dean's World. A litmus test, an ideological purity test regarding Islam and Islamophobia, to which all DW commenters must henceforth subscribe, or else.

I like Dean. I like him a lot. I've been hanging out at Dean's World daily for a good four and a half years now. It's the first place I go after checking my own blog, when I sit down at my computer with a cup of coffee after breakfast every morning. I first discovered the blogosphere through Dean's World, which nowadays deservedly ranks up in the Top 30 Blogs on the Internet.

Nonetheless. As any of us who know and love Dean can attest, these, ummmm, storms break out on Dean's World every few months, and they are not entirely unrelated to the personality of the proprietor. The present tempest has raged more violently than most, and has left more wreckage in its wake than any DW storm I can remember. Two of Dean's co-bloggers have resigned. Dean's wife Rosemary has publicly posted her disagreement with him, in the strongest possible terms. And many, many of Dean's frequent and/or longtime commenters have bidden him farewell, stating that they will not be commenting at DW in the future. A lot of it has to do with the disinclination of many people to subscribe to a loyalty oath, an ideological purity test, even if they largely or wholly agree with its content— especially on a blog which has always stood stalwartly for "defending the liberal tradition."

I dunno. I'm not even a liberal like Dean, I'm a conservative, and I don't much care for loyalty oaths or litmus tests. Chalk it up to the softcore grassroots anarchist in me. Not that I'm about to hand in my DW commenter's account, though anyone who's known me over the years at DW has doubtless noticed that this past year and a half, I no longer comment there as often, or at as much length, as I used to back in the days when I was an active, nigh-daily DW commenter. There are reasons for this, which Dean knows, and which I also discuss over at IndustrialBlog where IB Bill explains why he's handing in his keys to DW after all these years. We love you, Dean, but as the old saying goes, "The spirit is willing, but the flesh can only take so much."

On the issue at hand— Islam and Islamophobia... my attitudes regarding Islam (and other world religions) were formed 30 years ago and more. Before the War on Terror. Before 9/11. Back even before the Ayatollah Khomeini. Back in the days when Vietnam was a recent memory, and a friend of mine in Air Force linguistics who was learning Arabic sent me a copy of the Qur'ān. My attitude regarding Islam and other world religions— which hasn't changed all that much in the intervening 30 years— is similar to C.S. Lewis's. Which is to say, among the Church Fathers, closer to Justin Martyr than to Tertullian. Thus it's hard for me even to find a seat at the table in today's blogospheric discussions, where it seems only two polar-opposite attitudes on Islam are recognized: (1) "Thou shalt not take the name of Islam in vain"; and (2) "Delenda est Carthago!"

When I was a youngster, there was a kid in our neighborhood who was often something of a stormy petrel in his relationships with others. At one point he invited all the neighbor kids to join his "Apollo Club" (this was back in the days of the Apollo moon missions). Many of them soon ended up alienated and disaffected from his Apollo Club, for the usual reasons. So after letting the dust settle, he came back to us all with a new offer: "Hey! Come on, I've got a new club! It's called the Color Club. Now you can come back and join my Color Club!"

We love you, Dean. Stand firm against Islamophobia! (Though I don't know about the idea of a litmus test.) And I don't know what I'd do over my first cup of coffee in the morning, without Dean's World. But please, please, please, beware the Color Club. Beware the route that leads to the Color Club!

(graphics courtesy of my brother Steven, who is a longtime DW lurker)


Anonymous Lucy said...

That is by far the scariest-almost-passed-out-laughing-graphic ever!

Friday, March 02, 2007 11:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Richmond said...

Wow. And I would have missed all of this if not for your post. (I haven't been a regular reader of DW in quite some time...)


Friday, March 02, 2007 3:57:00 PM  

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