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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Stretching an analogy

Some of you might have noticed that I occasionally (cough, cough) over-use analogies.

Based on an IM chat I had with a fellow blogger shortly after the whole Pope/Islam brouhaha began, I'm willing to admit that I may have a problem in this area:

Me: "Don't you see that Islam's relationship with the world is basically an abusive one?"

Fellow Blogger: "I have no idea where you're going with this... but OK, give me an example."

Me: "No, seriously... on paper Islam and the rest of the world should be getting along like any old married couple after so many centuries of coexistence.  Y'know, avoiding the relationship land-mines and just sort of getting along based on the stuff that works.  But instead, the rest of the world has to constantly be hyper-sensitive to Islam's needs... walking on eggshells in fear of the next outburst... while Islam starts throwing stuff and smacking us around the moment he doesn't like something we've said."

Fellow Blogger: "He?  Oh, OK... I see where this is going... so Islam is the abusive husband.  That would make the rest of us the battered wives, right?"

Me: "Well, sort of.  I mean think about it for a sec... Islam can go around saying and doing anything it wants.  He goes anywhere he wants... calls us names... berates us and even smacks us around when the mood strikes him.  And when we wake up in the morning with black eyes and broken bones, we end up trying to rationalize what we did wrong to get Islam so darn mad... and how we can change our behavior to make things better again."

Fellow Blogger: "But what about when someone knocks Islam around a little bit?  That sort of blows your whole abused wife scenario."

Me:  "No, not really.  When that happens it is analogous of an abused wife finally reaching her limit and either cutting something essential off her husband while he sleeps... or going completely postal on him with the family revolver.  In either case, the wife still goes to jail because the rules of society are equipped (albeit poorly) to deal with relationship problems stemming from disproportionate use/abuse of power... but are completely useless when it comes to the inevitable (and probably justified) disproportionate mega-reaction that comes after years of abuse."

Fellow Blogger:  "I'm not sure whether I'm more bothered by the fact that you're starting to make sense... or the fact that you've thought this through so thoroughly".

Yeah... I need to lay off the analogies for a while.

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Posted by David Bogner on September 26, 2006 | Permalink

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Treppenwitz compares Islam to an abusive husband: on paper Islam and the rest of the world should be getting along like any old married couple after so many centuries of coexistence. Y'know, avoiding the relationship land-mines and just sort of getting... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 27, 2006 6:31:26 AM

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BTW, my friend Wanderer came up with the perfect name for the recent Muslim rioting: Popifada!

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Sep 26, 2006 4:20:35 PM

So I see that IM conversations are now taking the place of actually writing a post?!!!
Not sure if that's the saddest part or that you don't just post the political stuff, but have actual conversations during the rest of your days!
I think you'd sleep better if your focus was lightened up a bit and in other directions?

Posted by: val | Sep 26, 2006 5:52:41 PM

Your actual point left aside, Deutsche Oper Berlin is now discussing the cancelation of Mozart's 'Idomeneo', because the production includes the display of a (fake) beheaded prophet M. (besides a Moses, a Jesus, and a Buddha -note that I chose an article...) Officials are worried that proceeding might trigger a series of wrath and hate. Towards Germans (and those going to see the play etc.etc.etc.). [Deutsche Welle reports]

Posted by: Account Deleted | Sep 26, 2006 6:50:57 PM

Of course the popifada was preceded by the cartoonifada, and now as we see in the previous comment - the soon to come fatlady-fada. What next?!?!

Posted by: wanderer | Sep 26, 2006 7:08:27 PM

I've just had an epiphany - analogies are (for lack of a better word) ... analogous. To say that someting is like something else, is to say it's not identical.

I like your Islamo-marital analogy, as far as it goes.

Posted by: Bob | Sep 26, 2006 7:09:55 PM

I just read your post from last Friday (regarding Rosh Hashannah). Having the Jewish holy days off from work is "like a city kid seeing a meadow for the first time," you say?

Maybe you're right -- it's probably time to lay off the analogies.

Posted by: Bob | Sep 26, 2006 7:54:54 PM

Your analogy is an apt one in regards to Islam. Extremists in Islam keep saying that we have to do this and do that all the while using physical acts of terrorism in order to intimidate. And that's what it boils down to: just as an abusive husband uses whatever means necessary to intimidate his wife, so too Islam uses terror to intimidate the world. Then, as with the case of an abusive husband, Islam tries to blame it's intimidation tactics on the part of those being intimidated. In other words, don't blame the abuser: it's all the fault of the person being abused.

Posted by: seawitch | Sep 26, 2006 8:40:02 PM

Well, it's a fetching analogy and has several points of contact but where the rubber hits the road is in historical/other facts which separate the Islamic/other countries relationship from any analogy:
1)Islam is a political religion which has its source in Arab enclaves
2)conquering, converting, killing, enslaving and/or subjugating through taxation, intimidation etc is part of its explicit game plan via written religious texts since shortly after the religion began
3)Islam has a history of bloody conquest wars in East and West starting in the 7th century
4)Islam was only stopped (halted from further inroads)in the West by heroic suicidal war action
5)The essential ugliness and backwardness of Islamic life (displays by rulers and pockets of advanced thinking notwithstanding)was recognized by most Westerners until the "underdog third world" propaganda of liberal thinkers became a credo perhaps 70-80 years ago
6)A society/religious group/ set of countries that constantly lies, does not uphold agreements, sabotages, and uses murder/mutilation of noncombatants in undeclared war situations is asking to be destroyed. Ref Bereishit 16:12 "And he shall be a wild-ass of a man: his hand against everyone, and everyone's hand against him...."

Tribalhorn

Posted by: tribalhorn | Sep 26, 2006 8:44:31 PM

@ mademoiselle a.

Correct me if I'm wrong. But I think there was no head of Moses. I wonder why. :p

And BTW: the head of Darwin is missing, too. For the Humanists.

Posted by: Chris | Sep 26, 2006 9:11:05 PM

Right. No Moses, it was Poseidon. Call it a Freudian slip of mind. Really was; while posting this, I was discussing the fact of choice with my husband....

Posted by: a. | Sep 26, 2006 9:16:00 PM

Can I have an edit button?

As unspectacular as it may seem, there is no Moses, because that would not correspond to the opera's tenor. Moses, contrary to Jesus, Buddha and Mohammad, probably isn't considered founder of faith. Agree?

Posted by: a. | Sep 26, 2006 9:21:42 PM

Well, Poseidon... Moses... Where is the difference? Both have a beard, both can walk through the sea... ;)

To stay with the analogy: Tomorrow the "husband" and his second "wife" - the German one - are having a group-therapy here at Schloß Charlottenburg - trying to find out how they can rescue the marriage. I think I know the husband's answer already. Something like: "Why. Just do as I say. And we'll be happy."
Maybe I should be more optimistic.

Is it just my browser or have the Good readin' links disappeared?

Posted by: Chris | Sep 26, 2006 9:36:38 PM

I ain't nobody's bi*ch. I prefer the crazy old psycho kept locked up in the attic analogy: .... gets out and commits suicide by cop.

Posted by: Scott | Sep 26, 2006 10:29:28 PM

Well, I've been called Queen of the Metaphor, so I have little to no room to talk. I like your analogies. I think they make the situation much easier to understand.

The walking on eggshells idea is an apt one.

Posted by: Tracey | Sep 26, 2006 11:07:06 PM

When I was in Yeshiva last year, late at night like 2 in the morning after a couple of beers, there would always be discussions like this. It's good to know they don't stop when real life catches up with you.

Nice Post Mr. Trep

Posted by: Ed | Sep 27, 2006 2:13:51 AM

Hmm... so... when was the last time, Islam, as a religion, was knocked around by the wife, tired of the abuse? When was the last time we saw massive demonstrations of Westerners calling for reform within the religion? Perhaps in individual conversations and on blogs that may be true, but not en masse, at least not yet.

Posted by: Irina | Sep 27, 2006 2:55:22 AM

i am so tired of palestine pity...their whole problem is that they don't have a sense of humour...and the poor Pope! oy who ever thought i would put those two words together?!?...stay safe

Posted by: marallyn | Sep 27, 2006 5:25:47 AM

I love it when you use analogies. You know How and When to use them. Please don't stop.

Posted by: Dina | Sep 27, 2006 8:31:42 AM

Doctor Bean... I prefer the more versatile 'fada-de jour'

Val... I'm thinking of changing my email tag line from 'Laying the groundwork for an insanity defense since 1961' to 'Disappointing older siblings since 1961'. What do you think?

Mademoiselle a. ... I'm surprised the Muslim world hasn't risen as one to try to ban Shakespeare's 'Othello' since it portrays Othello (a Moor) married to an infidel, cuckolded (at least theoretically) by his wife, leading an infidel army (the Venetians) against his Muslim brothers (the Turks)... and then finally committing suicide. Oy, the shame! :-)

Wanderer... Rather than 'fatladyfada' I was thinking maybe 'Intermezzofada'. More elegant, no?

Bob... No question... I need to cut way back... maybe even quit cold turkey!

Seawitch... That was exactly the thinking that led to the line of thought. I just wish that little wrinkles like the Crusades could be fitted in comfortably to the analogy.

tribalhorn... While I loved your information-packed comment, I have to insist that Scott be the only scripture-quoting commenter on this blog. Otherwise I'm worried it will end up sounding like a tent revival meeting. :-)

Chris... Very cute. Oh, and the good readin' links are still there (although they now are served via blogrolling) so it must be your browser. Which one are you using?

Scott... "crazy old psycho kept locked up in the attic..." You're really making this too easy. :-)

Tracey... The reason I chose the title I did is because the analogy I used was hopelessly flawed (as any analogy is when applied to an entire people across all of history). It just feels good to frame discussions in familiar terminology/imagery sometimes... so we all fall into the trap.

Ed... Did you ever, like, really look at your hand? Just kidding. Seriously, although I had to laugh at the holes in my analogy, I can't seem to stop using them to simplify my worldview.

Irina... I'd say the current actions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon count as strong reactions to long-term abuse.

Marallyn... 'Palestine pity'... I'm going to have to remember that one. Thanks. :-)

Dina... Even when they are full of holes? :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Sep 27, 2006 10:30:19 AM

Oh, I see. Usually I don't surf with Javascript enabled and then they remain invisible. I use Firefox and Opera. Both work fine so far.

Just FYI: The pictures with the "red ninja" and the "sweets on the sweet" don't match with their thumbnails.

Your children have a smile that even makes the sun shine a little brighter. Really. They will make you proud. :)

Posted by: Chris | Sep 27, 2006 1:31:57 PM

Wow. I have often made that analogy..it's cool that someone else sees it that way. That's why we are going to be so long in Iraq...how long does it take an abused person to realize they have the power? How long is it going to take a NATION of abused people???

Posted by: Kelly | Sep 27, 2006 3:19:12 PM

Chris... I figured it was something like that. Thanks for the tip on the mismatch of thumbnails. Unfortunately this is an ongoing problem with typepad photo albums so it probably won't be fixed any time soon.

Kelly... When you figure that one out please let me know. :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Sep 27, 2006 6:06:23 PM

The real problem with the analogy is that the muslim world sees themselves as the abused party. From their viewpoint this is very true. Their society is unable to compete or share in the modern world. Their religion stifles any and all development. It renders them psychopathic in nearly every sense of the word including reacting violently to situations and events which would cause a mature westerner to merely wrinkle his nose.

There is no cure for the problem. Mohammedism is a deadly infection that has reached critical mass on this planet. It must now kill or convert the world .... or implode.

The whole 'religion of peace' stupidity is simply western denial. If you pretend a psychotic is something else ... or that they are not really in your face ... they will amp up the behaviour untill you are forced to deal with them.

Posted by: Scott | Sep 27, 2006 6:44:26 PM

I've written about this myself here,

http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/2006/09/crossing-lines-on-road-to-freedom.html

"We have learned to accept as normal a state of affairs in which offending Muslims results in violence and murder. Like every battered housewife and abused child, we as a society must unlearn that view. We must be taught again to stop blaming ourselves, to stop apologizing and to stop treating abuse as normal. Multi-culturalism paints Islam as noble, therefore we come to believe that when it is not, it is really we who are ignoble. Political correctness repeatedly tells us Islam is non-violent, therefore when it is violent we decide in the classic pattern of the abused spouse, that we must have done something truly horrible to provoke violence from such 'good people.'

Muslims have created artificial lines we dare not cross and we've accepted those lines. From the moment we accepted them, the lines began to shrink tightening further and further around us. Freedom begins with breaking those lines."

Posted by: sultan knish | Sep 27, 2006 8:45:05 PM

Scott, abusers always see themselves as the abused party. This typically justifies their violence. It's a common characteristic.

Posted by: sultan knish | Sep 27, 2006 8:46:11 PM

I agree Sultan. I agree with most everything you write. I read your blog. There is another added dimension here however. Or perhaps a depth to their psychosis. Psychotics are supreme self-justifiers. I've had a couple in my life over the years. It's very upsetting as a sane person tries to grasp what is going on in an insane mind. Its a useless pursuit. They must either be heavily drugged, locked away, both or they must be killed if violent.

Now, however we have a whole culture that has embraced a truly psychotic mindset. Madness on an incomprehensible level. We could understand Hitler's racism/xenophobia. It was evil but didn't seem completely mad. The Islamic faithful (note I do not call them extremists) though functionally sane within their own culture ... are utterly insane by western standards. Only a madman could murder for 'god'. Kill an enemy? Sure if one has to. But murder to spread a religion/culture? They must be stamped out like a disease!

Posted by: Scott | Sep 28, 2006 1:13:25 AM

Yes people like that live in their own self-sustaining world of which they are the center, they're always being persecuted, always misunderstood and always martyred no matter how many horrible things they've actually done to other people.

Their insanity is their means of perpetuating their own self-importance because they would rather be dead than live in a world in which they don't matter.

Posted by: sultan knish | Sep 28, 2006 3:09:09 AM

Treppenwitz would not be what it is without the analogies. It would be like Joanie without Chachi, the Roadrunner without Wile E. Coyote, Gilligan without the three hour tour...

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