The Pastor Jones Koran burning story has truly been a triumph of idiocy. To put it in Internet-speak, the entire world media has been feeding the troll with astounding recklessness.
The responses of the well meaning have only added to the crushing sense of frustration most people following this story must feel.
Alongside feeding the troll, the good people at free-speech advocacy group International PEN committed the even worse Internet crime of breaking Godwin’s Law, when its president John Ralston Saul declared grandly:
There is only one religion of book burning. Whatever the book-a text from any religion, a novel, a philosophical treatise, a poem-those who cast it into the flames stand arm-in-arm with Goebbels on a square in Berlin worshipping at the altar of hatred.
Jones has now reportedly backed down. The wuss. And to give the world a glimmer of how ridiculous all this is, his place has been taken up by none other than Fred Phelps, a man who, as I have noted before, seems to exist solely for the purpose of being the subject of wry English documentaries about kerazee Americans.
Phelps has burned a Koran before. And no one noticed. So he’s going to give it another go. This man is such an obvious wind-up merchant one wonders whether he even believes in any of this stuff, or is in fact a black-ops agent for the Richard Dawkins Foundation, sent to discredit Christianity.
But while we apply palm to face wearily, and sigh about how silly it all is, this stuff does have repurcussions. In Kabul, 11 people have been injured in protests against Jones. In Faizabad, a protester has reportedly been shot.
And all this on Eid.