Sunday, November 27, 2005

Webb's own little fantasy world

In yet another From Our Own Correspondent entry, Justin Webb reveals just how deep is his obsession with religion and religious Americans. How deep? Well, it seems that being a Bush supporter and - even worse, one imagines - a sunday school teacher is enough to set Webb to secretly questioning one's children to make sure one is mentally suitable to qualify for Webb's friendship.

I'm not making this up. As a lead in to his tediously typical portrayal of the American right as religiously ensconced ignoramuses, Webb relates a personal anecdote about going to dinner at the house of the parents of one of his own child's classmates. He felt compelled to test the classmate, Meade, on the origins of the dinosaurs in order to satsify himself that the parents are not religious loons. As Webb himself tells us, the answer to his question will tell him "something about Meade's parents which will affect our relationship." Happily, after a pause which Webb finds to be "agonising", Meade manages to provide a satisfactory answer, much to Webb's immense relief.
I could have hugged him and his parents; we are, after all, inhabiting the same mental planet.
Sharing Webb's "mental planet"? Poor Meade.

But, of course, Webb's purpose is not to fill us in on his interesting social life. It is, instead, to demonize Republicans, and his lengthy anecdote culminates with his relief about "inhabiting the same mental planet" simply in order to provide a suitable segue into his real topic:

But many modern members of the Republican party, including some in positions
of great power, do not seem
to be living on that planet.

Conveniently, Webb doesn't actually name any of these people in "positions of great power", so the insinuation is allowed to linger without the nuisance of actually having to provide any substantiating evidence. Indeed, the only actual person directly associated by Webb with these thoughts from another planet is Pat Robertson, who has no position of power within the US government whatsoever. But, Webb informs us, Robertson "is an important man" because "his views are sought on Supreme Court candidates and foreign affairs." Sought by who? Again, Webb doesn't say.

Even when Webb is on solid ground, he stretches his analysis to the breaking point. Not content with simply pointing out that creationists are at odds with science, he tries to expand the realm of evangelical heresy to science by claiming that even their thoughts on homosexuality and abortion "place odds with science campaigning." I was always under the impression that whether or not homosexuality and abortion were sins was a religious rather than a scientific matter. Webb knows differently, I guess.

The most laughable part of Webb's piece, however, is his justification for it. Displaying the journalistic acuity that regular Webb-watchers have come to expect of him, he tells us:
As the nation recovers this weekend from the worldly pleasures of the wonderfully inclusive festival of Thanksgiving, a festival which can appeal equally to atheist and Bible-basher, it seems to me that the central political question facing everyone here, far more important than any to do with Iraq or the deficit or Guantanamo Bay, is whether or not the Republican party, after decades of flirting, has finally got into bed with an irrational sect.
The central political question? Facing everyone in the US? Far more important than any question to do with Iraq? Coming only sentences after having suggested that creationists inhabit a fantasy world, the irony is palpable.


Anonymous bc10 said...

Am I the only person that's a little creeped out by Webb isolating Meade from his parents in order to determine his views on Creationism? Isn't that a little over the top?

12:57 AM  
Anonymous Natalie said...

Oh my!

I am a career business woman who does go to church but also is very well read! I am appalled at how this person portrays American citizens who go to church and believe in faith. I live in NJ, work in the financial capital called NYC and this man portrays me as some kind of wacko. To quiz a child at Thanksgiving dinner is beyond the pale. I am so happy that Mr. Callahan continues to point this needless bigotry against the judeo-christian US mentality. Thank you Scott. We appreciate all you do on this side of the pond.

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving dinner, I understand you may have had to work.


4:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Justin Webb has already stated that he is wishing for socialism to be the norm in America when his daughter grows up. For someone with such a world view, he is obviously in the wrong country.

He should be sent to North Korea, where the "socialist paradise" is already at hand.

Oh, and Webb can starve there while he is being monitored by Kim Jong Il's thugocracy.

6:47 AM  
Anonymous avaroo said...

Webb nicely illustrates once again why Brits felt they had to come to the US for religious freedom in the 1600's. Some things never change.

8:11 AM  
Blogger JohnM said...

And he's still recycling the long debunked God told me to invade Iraq: He famously told an interviewer that when deciding to go to war in Iraq he listened to the authority not of his dad but of a Higher Father.

11:25 AM  
Anonymous avaroo said...

Would this kind of kiddie inquisition be socially acceptable in Britain?

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is really disgusting. He comes as an invited guest to a home under the guise of friendship, butis really there to dig up "dirt" on an American family in order to perpetuate his ridiculous stereotypes of the US.

What a deplorable human being Webb seems to be. I would rather live in a neighborhood with Christians truly living their faith than in one with a single Justin Webb.


12:36 PM  
Blogger JohnM said...

avaroo asked Would this kind of kiddie inquisition be socially acceptable in Britain?

Not about evolution. However, my kids are schooled in "fair trade" and "environmentalism", and they are certainly questioned by adults who would be shocked if they came up with the "wrong" answer.

1:56 PM  
Blogger chip said...

Appeal equally to athiest and bible basher?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but atheist and bible basher are essentially the same thing, not opposite ends of the spectrum as Webb implies.

The silly man not only doesn't understand the country he covers, but the words he uses to describe it.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Scott Callahan said...


You are wrong.

Bible-basher generally refers to a pious, highly religious person. A similar term is "bible-thumper", which I presume is derived from the old populist preachers who used to preach with the bible in hand, waving it about and "thumping" it on the lectern to help make their points.


4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems to me that Justin Webb is obsessed with religious Americans in the same way his forebears were when they chased them across the Atlantic. This isn't a great enough distance anymore so Justin feels the need to continue the persecution. I would say he is possessed with a religious fervor.

He kneels at the alter of the Politically Correct and thinks this puts him above religious Americans but it doesn't. It's the same thing, just a different flavor. You can swap "Multiculturalism" for "The Golden Rule", Ecology for The Fall, (why is everyone obsessed with getting back to the perfect garden/forest?), Scientists for priests. It's basically all the same.

Blasphemy, speaking ideas contrary to the Bible, replaced with PC speech. If you don't believe me try saying "The N-Word in a public setting. No one is permitted to say "The "N word", not even when trying to have a conversation about "the N word". Uttering it in any context is unacceptable, blasphemy indeed.

As he reports "Thanksgiving, [is] a festival which can appeal equally to atheist and Bible-basher". Clearly Justin's "mental planet" is not this inclusive. There is no room for the religious on "Planet Justin Webb". This is pretty ironic, as I am sure he thinks of himself as the more generous.

Smug, self righteous, pious, Mr. Webb's views and politics are tied to his faith. It is Webb that has that old time religion in him. (By the way... Sneaking around behind the parents backs and going after the children to search out unacceptable ideas, Ideology aside, he's a pretty creepy guy. This is how he treats his friends?!)

6:24 PM  
Blogger David said...

Do his friends still speak to him after he has shown that they have to achieve certain targets with respect to the way they have brought up their kids?

Creepy very creepy

8:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It strikes me, that with his current article; the erudite Mr Webb is straying on to precarious ground.
He seems to forget that we have more than our share of nutters on this side of the pond. Has he overlooked the reputation our own Prime Minister’s wife has acquired for her apparent beliefs in crystals and pyramidology, not to forget the Native South-American re-birthing ceremonies? Then there’s her self proclaimed devout Roman Catholicism a central tenet of whose faith is the belief that wine of a dubious vintage and dry biscuits are miraculously transformed into the blood and flesh of a long dead executed criminal. (And then she swallows them.)
You don’t have to get too involved with supporters of the Labour Party to realise that you’re also entering the world of the Far Side. It won’t be long before you meet your first Tantric Healer and there’s more Reflexologists than you can shake a stick at. Stop for a pint at the Labour Club bar and as likely as not you’ll be drinking with a UFO enthusiast who’s convinced that Area 51’s just a great big US Government cover up. These are the people to who Terry Pratchett was referring when he said that they’d read Karl Marx but didn’t get the joke.

11:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Scientists for priests. It's basically all the same."

They are very far from the same thing. A preist basis his/her pronouncements on divine revelation. One has to just take their word for it (or some old book's word for it). A scientist deals with data and inferences. His or her conculsions are available for scutiny to anyone who cares to learn enough about the subject. Likening science to religion is a very popular, but very wrong headed thing to do.

1:58 PM  
Blogger chip said...

Thnks, Scotttt.

I'd rwriiite mor leggiblly but I cant quite see thru all the eggg on mi face.

3:32 AM  

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