Dispiriting to read the apologists for Mary Beard on her blog. Her article was offensive because she had the arrogance to trot out a blasé personal theory putting 9/11 in a ‘context’ just three days after the atrocity - the vanity bred by a lifetime in the unreal world of academia meant that she thought she was qualified and worth listening to, when at that stage all that was required of anyone was acknowledgement that it was an atrocity. That she repeats her lame theory today is less morally offensive from that point of view but, given what we now know about Al Qaeda, is more intellectually insulting.
Despite the tireless haranguing from the likes of Nick Cohen, the arse of the Left has never been able to grasp that Al Qaeda is a death cult which hates everything it sees as blocking the worldwide imposition of an arcane interpretation of Islam. Appeasement, trying to understand their demands, the finer points of diplomacy, cheap-shot Nobel Peace prizes for Obama for not being Bush – these are all irrelevant to suicide bombers. Al Qaeda would just as happily see Mary Beard and her family dead as a Bush-voter and his family. Indeed, what could be more provocative to Al Qaeda than a bolshy female academic permitted by the liberal society to boast of her affairs with married men, and then mouth off about any topic she likes? Everything that permits Mary Beard to be Mary Beard is the enemy of Al Qaeda. This isn’t just the feeling that, however tactfully you dress it up, she has it coming...
The explanation for this blind spot is that the Indecent Left has never forgiven America for proving them wrong about communism. They have seen American capitalism as their number one enemy for so long that they can’t come to grips with the idea that they and America could share a mutual foe. For them it has always been a zero sum game – what’s bad for America is good for the world; they can't stomach the idea that jihad is bad for everyone, putting them in this case on the same side as, for example, Sarah Palin.
What is the excuse for this kind of thinking these days? Goodness knows we live in a fallen, flawed world in which nothing is black and white and the US and Britain have their fair share of mistakes and moral failures to reckon with, but when it comes down to it, since the early 20th Century there’s been a line with the Anglosphere on one side and the disastrous, murderous ideas engendered in Europe on the other, ie. the Nazis and the Commies (and not much better are the corrupted Old Europeans, collaborators and appeasers, dishing out prizes to Harold Pinter, drafting statements of condolence to the Haiti victims while America sorts out the rescue operation, inventing relative poverty, dithering over resolutions they’re unwilling to enforce, growing fat welfare states because the US gave them half a century of free defence against the Soviets et cetera et cetera); anyway, the point is that even in this fuzzy world there is a line, and if you consistently find yourself on the wrong side of that line, as a reflex, like a tic, over and over, drinking Coke and wearing jeans while you casually denounce the Hegemony of the Great Satan, then surely the time really has come to pull your head out of your backside and grow up. But what can you do? Why are there so many Mary Beards? The world is on its head and nothing makes sense and who of us so complexly entangled in our common human blah blah blah can plumb the innermost recesses of another’s and so forth and so on?