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Maybe if they were all named "Jesus"

Earlier this week at America’s Shittiest Website, there was a hullaballoo – from the poison pen of John “Fat Tits” Derbyshire – over the ‘news’ that Muhammad is now the most popular boy’s name in London.

The whole post is a perfect storm of scared-white-guy shitheaddery. Allow me to explain:

First, it’s not true. The Derb’s source is the right-wing Daily Telegraph, and Britain’s Office of National Statistics denies it.

Second, even if it were true, which it isn’t, it’s deceptive. In Muslim culture, it has become the default to name male children Muhammad (with the identifying variable being their second name); in Christian culture, the given name is far more likely to contain a wide range of difference. In other words, let’s say there were 100,000 boy babies born in London every year. The Telegraph’s alarmist scenario makes it seem like there are 75,000 Muslim boys, all named Muhammad, and that London is therefore on the very precipice of becoming a Muslim-majority city; far more likely is that there are 10,000 Muslim boys, most of whom are named Muhammad, and then 9,000 Christian boys named David, 8,000 named Daniel, 7,000 named Michael, 6,000 named Edward, and so on, yielding an overall Christian majority (as the actual demographics clearly indicate).

Third, even if it were both true and accurate – which it is neither – who cares? What’s the problem? Being Muslim isn’t a crime. Is Derbyshire suggesting Muslim women stop having children? Or that they start naming them “Steve”? What’s the endgame of this argument? The only reason to worry that you’re soon going to be outnumbered by Muslims (which, again, isn’t happening) is if you’ve been treating them like shit for a couple of centuries and you’re worried about payback, in which case it would seem like the solution isn’t to fume about something you can’t stop short of a program combining eugenics and mass deportation, but rather to start treating your minorities better.

But these assholes aren’t interested in truth, or accuracy, or ethics. They’re interested in fearmongering, because it’s the only idea they’ve had in the last 200 years.


Sep. 17th, 2009 02:49 pm (UTC)
If they were all named Jesus, you know he'd just switch to claiming that he was being invaded by Mexicans!
Sep. 17th, 2009 08:13 pm (UTC)
More likely Puerto Ricans, in fact. But he'd CALL them Mexicans, because he wouldn't know the difference.
Sep. 18th, 2009 01:23 am (UTC)
Some such notion had crossed my mind, yes. ^___^
Sep. 17th, 2009 03:01 pm (UTC)
well, no wonder, given all the white kids named things like Brooklyn and Apple over there.
Sep. 17th, 2009 03:35 pm (UTC)
Levon called his child Jesus, you know.

In seriousness, yes. I do agree with everything you have written here. As a man who used to make his living parsing arguments, it shocks me that most right-wingers gain traction by picking and choosing data and facts, and then presenting same in such a way as to make their totally irrelevant, erroneous, and brain-twisting points. What shocks me further is that scads of people buy this brand of reasoning hook, line, and sinker.
Sep. 17th, 2009 03:40 pm (UTC)
I heard the same story on NPR this morning. I'm still addicted to the dulcet tones of all the announcers, but this ain't no liberal media source. Not by a longshot. My righter-wing lawyerfriend who crashed at my place last night (in town for some lawyer conference) heard NPR report on the OMGZ ACORN LIKES PIMPS story and we had a long discussion about how NPR is far more centrist than liberal these days. He would not concede.
Sep. 17th, 2009 04:24 pm (UTC)
I can hardly listen to NPR anymore, and I bought my first membership when I was 15. BTW, there's an LJ feed called NPRCHEK that regularly exposes the corporate/right wing bias, you might enjoy it.
Sep. 17th, 2009 03:41 pm (UTC)
I have a hard time taking my friends seriously when they make the "demography is destiny" argument (by which India should be whipping Singapore into the ground right now). And these are friends I take seriously on lots of other subjects.
Sep. 17th, 2009 04:23 pm (UTC)
Have you seen that the LGFers have decided that the teabaggers are just too doggone crazy for them anymore? They've even come up with their own little pet names for the real loonies, like 'Nirthers'.
Sep. 17th, 2009 04:32 pm (UTC)
The Daily Telegraph is the paper of choice for gin-soaked retired colonels who still think we have an Empire. Not, perhaps, as outwardly pernicious as the Mail or the Sun but still influential among palaeoconservative types here.


flavored with age
Gun-totin', Chronic-smokin' Hearse Initiator
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Leonard Pierce is a freelance writer wandering around Texas with no sleep or sense of direction. If you give him money he will write something for you. If you are nice to him he may come to your house and get drunk.

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