“In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes.”. (Andy Warhol, 1968)
I’m always conflicted when I write about some A-hole, in this case Florida pastor Terry Jones, who is receiving a ton of misdirected mainstream media attention. Part of me thinks that I’m just adding to the publicity, but the bigger part of me just can’t resist weighing in. Jones, of course, is the moron-of-the-moment who is planning a Koran burning jamboree in Gainesville on the afternoon of September 11. When I first heard of this stunt a week or so ago, it ranked merely an eyebrow raise by Keith Olbermann during a collage of stories related to the “mosque” controversy in NYC. Since then, the oafish Jones has become even a bigger story than the ground zero flap, with everyone from Hillary Clinton and General David Patraeus publicly urging Jones to relent and reconsider his dumb-ass plans.
Seriously. That the Secretary of State and the Supreme Allied Commander (along with Attorney General Eric Holder, among others) have taken even a second to respond to some backwoods bible-thumper tells you all you need to know about Warhols premonition of 40 years ago. In a sane world, that someone of the stature of Clinton or Patraeus would even be aware of Jones would be impossible, but this is not a sane world and lunatics like Jones are plastered all over television, radio, and the internet for weeks on end.
But what I find excruciating about this sorry saga is the latest, little twist provided by Patraeus: that the Koran burning will “endanger” American troops serving in Afghanistan. This twist is what has propelled the story into hyper-drive in the past couple of days, earning Jones face time on every notable interview show in the land. Not since the reverend Fred Phelps reared his ugly, incestuous head with his “God hates fags” campaign several years ago has a small-minded hate monger garnered such attention.
So it all comes down to jeopardizing the “mission” in Afghanistan. Not that burning Korans in public is just plain wrong, stupid, misguided, hateful, bigoted, and freakishly stupid, it’s that it will rile up our Muslim brothers whose hearts and minds we’re trying to win over while blowing up and then subsequently occupying their country. I don’t doubt that their is some truth in Patraeus’ admonition as Jones has already been burned in effigy in Kabul (see video below) and I’m sure some murderous fatwah is sure to follow. And all of this proves one simple point: that religious fanatics world wide, irrespective of their particular brand of “faith”, are at their core insane dick-heads whose response to something or somebody different and foreign is to burn, hang, stone or destroy it, making sure first that the television cameras are on hand first to record the whole, silly mess. This is an old-fashion geek carnival played out, not in some filthy back alley, but on the grand, national stage, courtesy of our beloved boob tube.
Allow me to amend Warhol’s statement: “In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes, and for all the wrong reasons.”