Friday, December 2, 2016

"Vigilant Empathy"

It's what Howard Gordon, co-creator of TV series Homeland, says he's trying to manifest in an effort to not succumb to the "xenophobia" inherent in a TV show that deals with, well, terrorism in our time. In furtherance of that desire, Gordon describes a current plot point--a case of the big, bad government trying to entrap a mouthy but likely harmless lad who is merely trying to exercise his First Amendment right to free speech:
For instance, this year, the beginning of it involves the sort of big business of prosecuting entrapment. It actually tests thethe edges of free speech. How can someone express their discontent with American policy — even a reckless kid who might express his views that may be sympathetic to enemies of America, but still is not, himself, a terrorist, but is being set up to be one by the big business of government?
Yes, that is a thorny question. Here's another: what's the point of having a show about contemporary terrorism if you're not prepared to make the jihad/jihadis the villains?

Isn't that moral relativism taken to absurd--even dangerously suicidal--extremes?

Not according to Gordon. He thinks that acknowledging the reality that jihad/jihadis are bad (my words, not his) is to be avoided at all costs. It's his way, he says, of
being very conscious about not wanting to be a midwife to these base ideas [that some Muslims are terrorists; that Islamic terrorism is something to fear]. We’re all affected, unwittingly, by who we are and how we see the world. It requires creating an environment where people can speak freely about these things.
Oh, you mean like, say, calling a jihadi terrorist attack on an American military base an instance of "workplace violence"?

You see, when it comes to "vigilant empathy," Barack Obama's goes waaaay back.

Another way of looking at it is this: what Gordon sees as exercising "vigilant empathy" is what those who prefer to truck in the truth would call being a "useful idiot" for jihad.

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