In addition to working as a paid technical consultant to the Bavarian Illuminati, Ben serves as webmaster to The Oberlin Review, which sits at the very heart of the liberal media.
Hate site comes out on top in Jewish Blog Awards5:58PM EST Tuesday, 2/15/2005[link to this item]
[This article is followed by an update, added February 18th.]
I'm not much of a fan of online contests, but today I took a few seconds out to check the results of the Jewish & Israeli Blog Awards, hoping to see the always-entertaining JewSchool on top in a category or so. What I found instead, to my disgust, was Little Green Footballs in first place for two awards.
Now, in case this sounds petty, let me be the first to say that I hold no illusions about the importance of blogs in the general scheme of things. Most people don't read them (this one particularly). Most people don't even have internet access. But (as rightwing bloggers love to point out) a certain elite, including some policymakers, is among those relative few who do care for reading the latest news and opinion--whether it be on Jeff Gannon or Eason Jordan or whatever--presented in the form of dated entries sorted reverse-chronologically. And, unless I'm misreading the award results, it seems that many of those comprising this elite are almost mind-blowingly stupid.
Charles Johnson, who runs LGF, is no stranger to silly little blog awards, having won the Washington Post's "Best International" title in their 2004 awards, and a runners-up for "Most Original". He has thousands of regular visitors who proudly call themselves "Lizards", and now an audience likely composed for the most part of my fellow Jews--who I thought knew better--has voted itself onto Reptile Island. Were it not for these facts, it would probably be appropriate for reasonable-minded people to just ignore Johnson's ramblings, as they would those of a washed-up neo-Nazi or Klansman. But in light of these things it is probably not a waste of time to read between the lines of Charles' site, and to hope that others do the same. In a substantial number of LGF postings, no such between-the-line reading is necessary in order to emerge with a portrait of overt hatred and racism. Some of these more vile postings are excerpted below.
Jackie Mason calls Islam a ‘murderous’ religion, and CAIR’s seethe-o-meter goes to eleven. And as usual, the Islamist hate group delights in calling a Jew a “Nazi,” moans about “Islamophobia,” and tries to ignore the substance of Mason’s remarks.
If you're having trouble finding the "substance" of Mason's remarks, what Charles apparently found substantive was what he quoted: an equivocation of Islam with hate and murder. Asking CAIR to defend itself against charges that the religion practiced by its members teaches them to kill and terrorize is like asking a Jew (that would be me, not you, Charles) to defend him or herself against the blood libel--it is something that you do if you are a hateful person, and do not do if you are not a hateful person.
I should hope that this kind of defense of hate--and the use of quotes whenever the term Islamophobia is referenced--would tell readers, particularly Jews (who have every reason to be sensitive about this kind of thing), something about the nature of LGF. Rather than the free speech advocate proponents often spin him to be, Charles reveals himself in the above post and others to be just as much a producer of hate as a passive relayer of it. While usually he finds it profitable to hide behind a sparsity of language--often just posting a suggestive title with a sentence of his own comments followed by a long excerpt (see AP Reveals: Arabs Hate America, Israel, Religion of Peace Kills 10, Wounds 130, etc.), here he has slipped up and made his view known in an even more overt fashion. He does so similarly here, criticizing an article for failing to selectively quote from the vast range of Muslim opinion:
There is no attempt here to address the many sections of the Koran that do, in very explicit terms, advocate and promote violence against infidels and apostates. There is no attempt to address the simple fact that Islam’s main prophet, Mohammed, was a warrior, who waged many battles and explicitly ordered the deaths of many men, women, and children. There is no attempt to explain why, if Islam is so inherently peaceful, the highest Muslim clerics in places like Mecca and Medina, and al-Azhar University in Cairo, openly praise suicide bombers and call for jihad against the West.
Here we see him supporting the positions of Craig Winn in Prophet of Doom, (as he does more overtly here) about which Amazon has this to say:
...Winn selectively quotes from the Qur'an, various Islamic texts, and the biography of Muhammad, to make his case that that Islam is the "world's largest and most violent organization" and "rotten to the core." Rather than educate readers about the Islamic faith, the book's sole purpose seems to be to shock and inflame readers---and in that regard it succeeds.
When I was going through an anti-religious stage at the age of 16 (OK, two years ago), I might have been inclined to give the Old Testament/Torah a similar treatment. Perhaps I would have pointed to Genesis 17:14, which states that "Any uncircumcised male who has not been circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin will be cut off from his people". Women are to be subservient to men and to experience great pain as a result of Eve's transgression (3:16). I could echo Johnson perfectly by pointing to Exodus 15:3: "The Lord is a man of war". That's the same thing as "warrior", Charlie, and earlier on in the story, you'll recall, this warrior kills all the firstborn Egyptian males.
I could go on, but you get the idea. My point is, Winn and Johnson do not have the excuse of being 16. I know, as they should, that most Christians and Jews do not go around perfectly echoing the teachings of their holy books; most of them are, in fact, quite nice. Only extremist Jews interpet the Old Testament on its own, divorced from millenia of accumulated rabbinic teachings; the same is true of Muslims. If this were not so, I think that the world would have a problem entirely opposite to overpopulation to deal with.
Johnson has uttered many more a racist or Islamophobic statement than was noted here --
(Sarcasm: "But remember; it’s just a small minority of fanatic extremists who have hijacked a tolerant, peaceful religion..." Not: "In U.S., 44 Percent [Polled] Say Restrict Muslim[ Civil Liberties]...So the results show that more informed people are concerned about Islamic radicalism in the United States. But Professor Shanahan refuses to draw the obvious conclusion—that maybe they’re right.")
-- but it's getting late so I'll have to leave that to other bloggers or a later post.
The other major point worth making about LGF is that its commenters are a virulently racist bunch. Before looking at some comments on the site, remember that although "Arab" describes all of those who speak Arabic as a first language, we can take it as a given that the LGF use of the word refers to a race. So here we go:
Harvesting those comments took only a minute or two, given their abundance. Now, you may say that the actual volume of racist comments is no fault of Charles; after all, as a self-styled free speech proponent, Johnson states that "Comments are open and unmoderated, although obscene or abusive remarks may be deleted.". Yet someone who registered to comment under the name "Abdulhalim" is now blocked from the site. His user page states that he made a total of 3 comments; the comments, as pointed out by LGFWatch, hit just a bit south of the "abusive" water mark: "elBarto, I come to USA many time and I wish to have more like U as friend. You say true."
It seems a bit strange to me that Charles has the time to ban someone, probably an Arab, for saying that "Arabs have good and arabs have bad", but not any of those who made the hateful comments. If you look here you will see over 100 comments made by one of those (definitely not blocked) users over the past month, many equally as violence-inciting and Islamophobic.
In an earlier-cited post, Charles refers to CAIR as a "hate group"; I would like to think that I am making far more appropriate use of this very powerful language when applying it to LGF. Just as superfluous use of any word cheapens its meaning, so too does that of "hate", as in "hate site" or "hate group", but in the case of LGF its application seems more than warranted. I fail to see how so many, including those in the "liberal" media, can miss the obvious in this site's case- (The Wall Street Journal: Calling LGF racist "is an outrageous smear"), and unfortunately Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism seem to be shaping up to remain the choice "un-PC" fad for some time. The rightwing chambers are nearly full to the point of not echoing anymore with predictions of Muslims taking over the planet and forcing us all into subservience, a hater cliche we Jews are all too familiar with.
Update:I erred in this article in one regard, and that was my failure to verify the reason behind Johnson's ban of "Abdulahim". Johnson says he blocked this user for being a troll who had registered multiple accounts, an entirely plausible explanation. An explanation, of course, that fails to explain why Charles does not ban his site's users who regularly engage in hate speech and why he himself makes blanket accusations against a religion and its people. Are these LGFers just getting their rocks off, responding to the latest outrages in the Muslim world with sentiments they do not genuinely believe in? This is possible, but does not answer the question of why the Washington Post or any reasonable Jewish person would feel comfortable linking to a forum for such adolescent hatred.
My final point on this matter: Hopefully Charles will grow up some day soon, decide to follow theteachingsofZappa, and begin to question assholes on both sides of this and other political conflicts.
Some ideas: We can counter these outrages by making our voices heard prior to events such as the Jewish Blog Awards (something which I feel ashamed not to have done), or, more importantly, through real-world means, such as by contacting the Daniel Pipes' and Charles Johnsons of the world and telling them that they do not represent us, or, better yet, writing letters to the editor stating the same thing. Supporting organizations seeking a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict also helps, of course.
Some technical notes (made use of in writing this post): If you agree that LGF is a hate site and are a blogger, be sure to only link to them with tags like this: <A HREF="http://www.littlegreenfootballs.com" rel="nofollow"> - the "nofollow" property preventing LGF's Google rank from being raised by your linking to it. If you've got Firefox with a copy of the Adblock extension and want to monitor hate sites without supporting them by viewing their ads and increasing their counters, be sure to add and , to the blocklist before visiting.