Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Mosque near Ground Zero & D. H. Lawrence

http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2010/aug/03/letter-mosque-near-ground-zero-is-islamist-of/

The above is just one of the articles describing the proposed erection of 13-story mosque just blocks from Ground Zero in New York. Opinions differ as to what ought to be done (if anything) about it. As one might expect, Billy Blogblather and I also disagree:

Billy Blogblather: How is it possible to stop any religious organization from buying property and building a center dedicated to the interests of that religion anywhere unless all other religions are similarly forbidden to do so within that area as well?  Zoning laws make sense to me, but only if they're applied equally to all, else welcome to injustice.  Islamism did not commit the crimes of 9/11 -- radical individuals did and though they were Islamists, they are not representative of Islamism -- only its right-wing extreme.  Many of the contemporary crimes of Christians and Jews are no less heinous.  Unless NYC is prepared to outlaw all religious institutions from operating within Ground Zero, I see no just or Constitutional way to prohibit the Islamists from doing so.


Lawrence: I'm reminded of D. H. Lawrence who wrote "The minority of whites intellectualize the Red Man and laud him to the skies. But this minority of whites is mostly a high-brow minority with a big grouch against its own whiteness."

He also wrote, "There'll never be any life in America till you pull the pin out and admit natural inequality. Natural superiority, natural inferiority. Till such time, Americans just buzz around like various sorts of propellers, pinned down by their freedom and equality."

And at one point in his discussion of Fenimore Cooper's leatherstocking novels, Lawrence wrote, ". . . the Natty and Chingachgook myth must remain a myth. It is wish-fulfillment, an evasion of actuality. As we have said before, the folds of the Great Serpent would have been heavy, very heavy, too heavy, on any white man. Unless the white man were a true renegade, hating himself and his own race-spirit, as sometimes happens."

He wrote those things between 1917 and 1923. Since then the minority he refers to has grown. Self-hatred is the in-thing of the "high-brow minority wit

Therefore let's erase our American distinctiveness so that we can prevent our enemy's intrusion. Let us become nothing; so we can make him nothing as well.

D. H. Lawrence would have had quite a chuckle over discussions like this one.

Billy Blogblather, [Lawrence wrote] "I'm reminded of D. H. Lawrence who wrote "The minority of whites intellectualize the Red Man and laud him to the skies. But this minority of whites is mostly a high-brow minority with a big grouch against its own whiteness."

Lawrence and Lawrence apparently believe that white people are superior people. I think we've heard all this before at the cost of tens of millions of lives. No thanks, Lawrence.

I'm not sure what I'm supposed to take away from Lawrence's post on Lawrence. What does "race spirit" mean? Why does he say: "Self-hatred is the in-thing of the "high-brow minority "? Who is the "high brow minority with a big grouch against its own whiteness"? Is it he?

Lawrence: I posted that knowing in advance all the cheap shots you could take, all the possible ways you could force D. H. Lawrence's words into something he didn't mean. I even referred to him as D.H. in my initial draft of the note so you wouldn't take the obvious cheap shot of Lawrence talking about Lawrence, but then I changed it back. Surely, I thought, that cheap shot was beneath you.

So the Scorpion told the frog, take me across the river. And the frog said "no, you'll sting me." Then the scorpion said, "no, I won't sting you because then we both would die in the river." "Okay," the Frog said and took the scorpion out in the river. Half way across, the scorpion stung the frog." Before the frog died, he asked "why?"

We all know the answer to that. The scorpion couldn't help it. It was his nature. Well, it's also tough being a frog.

Further by Lawrence:

This will be a little like explaining a poem. I don't like to do it. But since D. H. used the word "race" your ears are stopped and your mind frozen, so I suppose I must.

Have you never read Fenimore Cooper? How about D. H. Lawrence's "Studies in Classic American Literature"? If you had read one or the other you would know what D.H. meant. In fact if you had read Jean Jacques Rousseau you would know what he meant. He meant that Cooper had idealized "the red man." He made the Indian into a myth. He helped make him into "the noble savage." Hector St. John de Crevecoeur did that before him, and Rousseau before him. You might hear in this that the Indian was being mistreated, but you are not hearing that from Rousseau, Crevecoeur, or Cooper, for those three idealized the Indian -- something a far cry from mistreating him.

D. H. Lawrence had no patience with that sort of thing. He wanted realism, not idealism. There was a difference between the "red man" and the "white man." Forget the Leftist clich├ęs. There was a difference! Maybe you feel better saying they were "equal" but they weren't equal. Why say they were equal when they weren't? If you say they are when they aren't then you destroy any chance the Red Man has of improving his lot. How can it be improved when he is already equal?

Now in regard to the inroads Islamists have made into the West and saying that we should restrict our traditions in order to be able to restrict these inroads, this is the very sort of American-thing that D.H. ridiculed. "You dumb Americans; you need to realize that you were not created equal. Some of you are smart, some are not. Some are tall and some are not. Wake up? That is one thing D.H. was saying. He valued European "freedom" over American "equality."

He also believed that we had no sense of ourselves. We didn't believe in our identity the way Europeans believed in theirs. Of course if he were alive today he'd have to revise his opinion of the Europeans. They are now as bad as the Americans. The fact that some of us are willing to deny the building of churches (part of our American tradition) in order to deny Islamists (who have sworn to destroy our tradition) the right to build mosques is just the sort of absurdity that D. H. Lawrence delighted in ranting about.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Robert again.

'He also believed that we had no sense of ourselves. We didn't believe in our identity the way Europeans believed in theirs. Of course if he were alive today he'd have to revise his opinion of the Europeans. They are now as bad as the Americans. The fact that some of us are willing to deny the building of churches (part of our American tradition) in order to deny Islamists (who have sworn to destroy our tradition) the right to build mosques is just the sort of absurdity that D. H. Lawrence delighted in ranting about.'

Same concerns + 1.

What is 'part of our American tradition'? The building of churches? It's no more part of our American tradition than building baseball fields or trailer parks. What you seem to mean, but won't say, is that Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Arkansas snake handlers, and so on, have a constitutional right to worship as they please and a civil right to build, zoning laws permitting, places of worship—but Moslems don't. That's it. Say what you mean and don't wrap yourself in the shallow and bigoted thought of a man who died in 1930.

You keep repeating that those behind the building of this 'mosque' are Islamists. This seems false, but perhaps you have some private knowledge which you prefer not to share. Your notion that Mayor Bloomberg, who favors allowing this project to go through, is thereby furthering the cause of those behind the 9/11 attacks strikes me as sheer fantasy.

The +1. You accuse Mike of raising frivolous and irrelevant points, the stuff one might expect from a wild-eyed Islam-loving-leftist-liberal, things that need no reply. This strikes me as sheer evasion on your part. Mike has asked what Lawrence meant by some of his remarks. I'd like to know the same thing, for what he says is by no means transparent or obviously relevant to the topic at hand.

Robert (posing as anon)