A thought for the day: In “A Clarification of Questions,” Iran’s Ayatollah
Ruhollah Khomeini wrote that “if a fly gets into the throat of one who is
fasting, it is not necessary to pull it out.”
A couple of weeks ago, Scott Gilbreath and I attended the Halifax Symposium. Professor John Miller was one of the presenters. His animus towards bloggers, Ezra Levant, Mark Steyn and their so-called minions was evident there, and has continued to unfold since the event.
Currently, Dr. Miller is denying reality, as in the existence of the Ayatollah Khomeini’s Blue Green Book of Shi’ite Ettiquette for All Occasions. This appears to be the final collapse of the modern mind into willful illogic, when it encounters disagreeable or indigestible facts: ‘You only say that because you’re Mark Steyn’, or even ‘You can’t tell ME what to think!’ Season with ‘so there!’ and ‘nyah, nyah!’ to taste.
As Mr. Gilbreath points out, we’ve moved from the realm of opinion into the realm of facts: the widely attested Blue Book by Khomeini either exists or doesn’t: it is a telling but sad sign if Dr. Miller– as an all-powerful journalism prof– imagines he can change facts simply by refusing to believe them. Or that he holds with the ugly little creed that whatever people whom He Really Doesn’t Like may happen to say, it’s automatically untrue, because he doesn’t like them or their so-called facts. He’s wise to the Conspiracy™, dontcha know.
Enjoy the following: I don’t know about you, but if I were a journalism student, I would much rather listen to this disreputable Scott-blogger person as a professor, than anyone with the views of the self-beclowning Dr. Miller. Otherwise, you have the hard slog of backwards-decoding Dr. Miller’s bizarre views into something approximating reality and reasonable opinion. I’d much rather get things straight from the horse’s mouth, rather than from the messy end of said equine.
But of course I only say all this.. because I’m a hateful blogger.
UPDATE: The phrase ‘Blue Book’ hearkens back to the so-called Blue Laws of Sunday observance. Thus, it’s a side issue whether the original Iranian version or subsequent Western editions of Khomeini’s sayings on moral issues were green, blue, or electric yellow. ~ B
by Scott Gilbreath ~ November 13th, 2008
The Blue Book “is a collection of quotes purportedly from him, but without any documentation”.
[N]o one has verified that the Ayatollah ever said: “A man who has had sexual relations with an animal, such as a sheep, may not eat its meat. He would commit sin.”
Mr Steyn says that quotation appeared in Oriana Fallaci’s The Force of Reason. Prof Miller rejects Ms Fallaci’s reliability because she wrote that book after 9/11, when she had morphed from an internationally respected journalist into an unmitigated Islamophobe. Pre-9/11, she was sound; afterwards, unfortunately, she lost all good sense.
“In three books beginning with “The Rage and the Pride” (Rizzoli: 2002) and many interviews (after 9-11), she [Oriana Fallaci] attacked not only Islamic extremists but Islam itself, as well as a West that she said had become too complaisant and tolerant to realistically understand the threat.
Fallaci, unlike you, was charged in Switzerland and Italy for violating laws against vilifying religion, and many regarded her as a racist in her later years. So discount the late Oriana Fallaci as an unimpeachable source.
So, says Miller to Steyn, send me The Blue Book if you want—but it won’t prove a thing.
Like I said, Miller’s position is now unassailable. His mind is made up before he reads the alleged source material.
But note, first of all, that Miller’s slagging of the latter-day “Islamophobe” Oriana Fallaci is a smokescreen. The ayatollah’s book (or what purports to be the ayatollah’s book) was published long before 9/11 and long before Ms Fallaci got interested in it. She is merely the immediate source of Steyn’s quotation. As far as the veracity of the quotation is concerned, she is a non-issue.
Note also that Miller’s approach is completely ad hominem. Personal attacks on Fallaci and Steyn have no bearing on the authenticity of the quotation.
As others have pointed out, the impeccably liberal magazine Harper’s published the quotation at issue in its June 1985 issue. (Not the exact wording, but close enough to be a translation of the same original text.)
The Ayatollah’s book of etiquette
By Ruhollah Khomeini and J. Borujerdi (Trans.)
From “A Clarification of Questions,” by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, published in 1985 by the Westview Press. Khomeini’s treatise sets out his position on 3,000 questions of everyday life. Translated by J. Borujerdi.
2,631. It is loathsome to eat the meat of a horse, a mule, or a donkey if someone has had coitus with the animal.
The URL for that quote is http://www.harpers.org/archive/1985/06/0010032, which appears to me to be a page at Harper’s website. But, I dunno, maybe one of Mark Steyn’s “blog puppets” hacked the site. You just can’t believe everything you read on the internet.
Assuming Harper’s did not fabricate the existence of the book, the question turns to Westview Press. Is this a reputable publishing house with a track record of credibility and integrity?
Well, it bills itself as a “distinguished publisher of academic and college books in the social sciences, humanities, and sciences” and claims to have been selected as Publisher’s Weekly Publisher of the Year for 2007. Sounds pretty respectable—but maybe the Westview Press fact checkers on duty when A Clarification of Questions passed through the review and approval process were all Islamopohobes. Who knows?
Obviously, the accuracy of the ayatollah’s alleged quotation is an empirical question. As such, it must be assessed using criteria that focus on the quotation itself and not on the political and religious views of the messengers who have passed it along. What is the original provenance of the quotation? A good place to start, it seems to me, would be with the 1985 book credited to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and translated by J. Borujerdi.
For some reason, however, “Journalism Doctor” Miller would prefer to avoid such an investigation. His mind is made up.