America vs. Global Terrorism: What Happens When Ahab’s Pursuit of the White Whale Takes Place in Real Time?

Robert Wright, in the New York Times this weekend, articulated clearly his view of how the viral terrorism meme spreads, in an age of global communication, to psychologically susceptible people (like Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan): 

One reason killing terrorists can spread terrorism is that various technologies — notably the Internet and increasingly pervasive video — help emotionally powerful messages reach receptive audiences. When American wars kill lots of Muslims, inevitably including some civilians, incendiary images magically find their way to the people who will be most inflamed by them. This calls into question our nearly obsessive focus on Al Qaeda — the deployment of whole armies to uproot the organization and to finally harpoon America’s white whale, Osama bin Laden. If you’re a Muslim teetering toward radicalism and you have a modem, it doesn’t take Mr. bin Laden to push you over the edge. All it takes is selected battlefield footage and a little ad hoc encouragement: a jihadist chat group here, a radical imam there — whether in your local mosque or on a Web site in your local computer.

By this very selfsame logic, doesn’t it follow that Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck, by stoking Barack Obama hatred and demonization, are spreading an Obama assassination meme?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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1 Response to America vs. Global Terrorism: What Happens When Ahab’s Pursuit of the White Whale Takes Place in Real Time?

  1. Pingback: Adventures in New Atheistland: Jerry Coyne Calls Out Robert Wright for Being a “Blame America First” Muddle-Head in the War on Terror! « Prometheus Unbound

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