An artist, with an interest in politics, who discovered NewAge through a terrible set of circumstances - discovered it's an ugly world-wide phenomena - and decided I ain't gonna shut up about it.
I seriously don't know if I'm up to the challenge of the topic I'm considering, even as I write this, but it has to be said, I guess by me, so here goes (probably) nothing.
And pardon me if I wind my way around to it, but I seriously don't know how to do it otherwise. I gotta touch on a lot of shit, so that's what I'm going to do, but without a lot of links or my usual mix of photos because (with the time limitations on me) I'd never get this up, otherwise. O.K., that's all the lead-in I've got. Ready? Set. Go:
At the bottom of each of my posts is a banner that says, "TMR: Make A Donation", which I wish y'all would consider doing. It was inspired by the man who started the anti-NewAge blog, Mystic Bourgeoisie; one of my anti-NewAge heroes, Chris Locke AKA "Rageboy" AKA "Dr. X" AKA "Kat Herding", put a similar banner under his posts, asking his readers to buy him books so he could continue his studies.
Chris is sick now, and can use some donations, so I made one and implore you to do the same. In my opinion, out of all the anti-NewAge bloggers I know of, he's the best, even if his influence isn't as great as what it should be, or that of many others.
Chris and I have had our disagreements - he's a liberal - but unlike with other anti-NewAge bloggers (and scientists and lawyers and, almost, everyone else I engage with online) we've never gotten into stupid screaming matches, because we're both adults who know enough (and have been through enough to know) not to resort to rationalizations and other silly strategies for trying to cover our (public) asses. We're Men, carving out (or parsing) the truth, willing to let the cards fall where they may in debate.
Unlike the others, Chris has been willing to talk to me on the phone, and when I once said I might stop by his place, he didn't freak out (though I'd guess he probably felt like he should) but put on the brave face anyway. It never happened, though, so I'll probably never know if I'm right about that.
I've asked others I engage with online to meet me, talk to me on the celly - whatever - and they always, always, chicken out. It's like they don't want to risk discovering I'm a normal person with a tough-talking blog - even after I tell them that's the case. It's much better, and easier, to hate The Crack Emcee from afar than to relate in person with a human being.
I'm currently in an offline antagonistic "thing" with another of those anti-NewAge bloggers. A guy I used to like a lot - admired him, really - until he joined The Cult of Obama and started talking crazy talk, going back on many of the positions he had espoused since I started reading him.
I don't have to tell anyone who regularly reads this blog I don't like hypocrisy, do I?
Anyway, this particular anti-NewAge blogger recently asked me to change something about TMR, saying "Come on, Crack. Do the right thing" and - even though I don't particularly like the guy anymore, or trust him, or think he plays by the standard rules of engagement - I did it. Because, to me, doing the right thing is what this is all about. You want me to change something? State your case, say, "Come on, Crack. Do the right thing", and, if your argument has merit - voila! - I'll probably do what you ask. No excuses. No rationalizations. No (major) argument. And no childish behavior afterward. Hell, if it's important enough, I'll probably thank you for straightening me out.
Do I have to point out that's not exactly how the rest of y'all function?
That's the crux of my current beef with Glenn Reynolds AKA Instapundit. Forgetting about TMR for the moment (because - before he ever gave me a link - it was the fact I felt this way about his blog that first led him to engage with me) I don't think he plays fair. I don't think the phrase "do the right thing" is forefront in his mind as he does his thing.
He even said so once, admitting that law professors (which is what he is) don't worry about right or wrong when they throw their ideas out there because nobody holds their feet to the fire.
This bothers me, because Reynolds has his hands in a lot of stuff - politics, science, medicine, etc. - and, while he (as an individual) may not have true political power, he most definitely has influence - and even his seemingly-benign influence, uncoupled from a sense of right and wrong, is corrosive. Just like with the mainstream media, I read him, and notice not only what he says but what he leaves out. And neither one makes me particularly happy. And, I don't know, but it seems to bother him, as it does others, that I'd have the temerity to not only notice these things but speak openly about them. He'll punish free speech - even if it's true, the big baby.
Sorry but I don't worship anybody. I think it's a terrible habit and point to the sticky mess we're in today - with "The One" - as Exhibit "A".
There's just no way Oprah fucking Winfrey should've been able to label this clown with that title and anybody went along. Not here. Not in America. Not in "The New World". That shit reeks of Europe's Medieval thinking - at it's worst - and we all, as a country, should be ashamed.
Which brings me to the topic of this post - yea, buckle your seat belts: we're going down - my thoughts on Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Or rather, as a TMR reader asked of me, my thoughts on Mark Steyn's piece, in Macleans, on her.
First, let me say I have the utmost respect for Steyn, as a thinker and a writer. But, like so many opinion makers I enjoy (which includes Glenn Reynolds) he doesn't seem, in this article, to see the obvious. Part of that is because he's so in love with his subject, but the other part is actually two separate things:
One that wants, desperately, to be seen - Islam - and another that, desperately, does not - my old friend, NewAge.
Since both of these "spiritual beliefs" represent backwards thinking (in NewAge lingo, "Ancient Teachings") I'm going to re-engineer the thought process Steyn is grappling with by starting with two statements near the end of his article:
"In Europe and elsewhere, liberal secularism is not the solution to the problem but the vacuum in which a resurgent globalized Islam has incubated. The post-Christian, post-modern multicultural society is too vapid to have any purchase on large numbers of the citizenry. So they look elsewhere. The Times of London recently interviewed a few of Britain’s many female converts to Islam, such as Catherine Huntley, 21, of Bournemouth ('I’ve always been quite a spiritual person') and Sukina Douglas, 28, of London ('Islam didn’t oppress women; people did').And indeed we will. But where Steyn is mistaken is in thinking this alliance is Islamo-leftist instead of Islamo-NewAge.
At a superficial level, the Islamo-leftist alliance makes no sense: gay feminist secular hedonists making common cause with homophobic misogynist proscriptive theocrats. From Islam’s point of view, it’s an alliance of convenience. But I would bet that more than a few lefties will wind up embracing Islam to one degree or another before we’re done."
Think about it:
Steyn's paradigm (spiritual/political) doesn't work, while mine (spiritual/spiritual - with the second preaching we're all "One") is perfect. NewAge is a rejection of Christianity - just as Islamofascism is. And the NewAge tendency to treat all spiritual callings - including Islam - as a smorgasbord to feast from ("I’ve always been quite a spiritual person") fits as well. Also, there is nothing - nothing - in the phrase "gay feminist secular hedonists" that the term NewAge leaves out. All that's missing here is recognition of what NewAge is. A recognition NewAgers are trying to keep hidden and I am trying to expose.
In my travels, I have seen the so-called liberal secularism of Europe, and, to this conservative atheist, despite it's reputation, there's nothing even a little atheistic about it. Religion in Europe has been replaced by NewAge "thinking" (just as is happening, more slowly, in America). All one has to do is notice the explosion of Homeopathy AKA "energy medicine" throughout Britain to get a taste of what's going on. France - the birthplace of Tarot - is obsessed with it, and so infested with NewAge cults they openly entertain astrology as a serious practice, without a peep from the public.
I know, this is all anecdotal, but what about NewAge isn't? Even one of the most (only?) respectable NewAgers, Camille Paglia, in her paper "Cults and Cosmic Consciousness: Religious Vision in the American 1960s", started her first section (tellingly titled "Eclipse by Politics") by mentioning the mixture of politics and mysticism:
"Political expression on the Left in the American sixties was split. Radical activists such as Students for a Democratic Society (1960-68) drew their ideology from Marxism, with its explicit atheism. But demonstrations with a large hippie contingent often mixed politics with occultism-magic and witchcraft along with costumes and symbolism drawn from Native American religion, Hinduism, and Buddhism. For example, at the mammoth antiwar protest near Washington, DC, in October 1967, Yippies performed a mock-exorcism to levitate the Pentagon and cast out its demons. Not since early nineteenth-century Romanticism had there been such a strange mix of revolutionary politics with ecstatic nature-worship and sex-charged self-transformation. It is precisely this phantasmagoric religious vision that distinguishes the New Left of the American 1960s from the Old Left of the American 1930s and from France's failed leftist insurgency of 1968, both of which were conventionally Marxist in their indifference or antagonism to religion."And ended it with this:
"The source material in this area is voluminous but uneven in quality, partly because sixties chronicles at their most colorful often rely on anecdote and hearsay. Hence, much of the present essay is provisional. My aim is to trace lines of influence and to suggest historical parallels - an overview that might aid teachers in the U.S. and abroad who are interested in developing interdisciplinary courses about the sixties."Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, we are no longer going down the rabbit hole - we're living in it - and, if we ever hope to get out, one way, I think, is to deal with the issue of Alice. I mean, Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
"I should probably recap why I started writing Mystic Bourgeoisie. Stop me if you've heard this before. My inspiration, if you could call it that, was the painful death of an important relationship. She always protested that she was not New Age. You've heard that one before, for sure. 'Who me? Oh, I'm not New Age!" We've all heard it. Only terminal cases ever admit to the proclivity. Maybe the last gasp of those people who recently died in James Arthur Ray's Sedona sweat lodge was "Oh fuck, I guess I am New Age!" But of course, we'll never know if, even then, the denial was finally overcome. When you get right down to it, nobody wants to be seen as New Age because nobody wants to be seen as irreparably stupid."--Chris Locke
You see, I, too, no longer buy Ayaan Hirsi Ali, fully, for what she sells herself to be. Like her former home, Europe, she is not an atheist but a NewAger - the working title of her new book, Nomad, was "Shortcuts to Enlightenment" (which is, clearly, NewAge vernacular) - and her behavior, like almost all NewAgers, is defined by, more than anything else, her betrayals. Like America's most well-known NewAger next to Oprah, Rielle Hunter, she's even taken up a relationship with a married man. Does this sound like one of our so-called "New Atheists"? A member of the tiny tribe that says we don't need God to "do the right thing"? Someone engaged in an adulterous affair certainly doesn't seem like it to me. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a hypocrite, but no one wants to call her on it because of the route to which she came to be known.
Sorry, but I - a conservative atheist - have to.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a narcissist and a fraud. Whether we're discussing her brand of hostility to the major religions, her particular brand of feminism, or her particular brand of politics, she is a NewAger, through and through. Like a NewAger, teaching Yoga or "Reiki" in the Catholic church basement, she is attempting to use and subvert atheism for her own, ultimately hedonistic, ends.
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Ayaan Hirsi Ali|
As anyone who reads this blog knows, I don't see NewAge or NewAgers as benign. They kill without regard, lie without conscience, and spin with abandon. To most people, NewAge can't be pinned down because - being "spiritual" - it's followers don't want to be pinned down. They only want to keep going, to keep doing whatever pointless and/or destructive thing it is they want to do.
Here, putting the beginning at the end, Mark Steyn's opening bit:
"Despite being a bit of an old showbiz queen, I’m not much for the huggy-kissy photo wall of me sharing a joke with various luvvies. I make an exception on the bureau behind my desk for a shot of yours truly and a beautiful woman, Somali by birth, Dutch by citizenship, at a beachfront bar in Malibu at sunset. I like the picture because, while I look rather bleary with a few too many chins, my companion is bright-eyed with a huge smile on her face and having a grand old time—grand, that is, because of its very normality: a crappy bar, drinks with cocktail umbrellas, a roomful of blithely ignorant California hedonists who’ll all be going back home at the end of the evening to Dancing With the Stars or Conan O’Brien or some other amusement.If you ask me, it sure sounds like she's working on it, but she'll be the only atheist I know of who is.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali can’t lead that life."
The rest of us aspire to something more.
UPDATE: I'm not happy with this post, so I'll try to flesh it out when I get home tonight. But in the meantime, today Reynolds has a post saying Ayaan Hirsi Ali thinks Christians should be converting Muslims. In light of that, I ask again: this woman is an atheist? Sure, sure.
She's sounding more like Richard Dawkins every day.