According to a recent news story, award-winning author Joyce Carol Oates came under intense fire from social media users on Sunday after tweeting that she has only heard “puritanical & punitive” things about the Islamic State and wonders whether there is anything “celebratory & joyous” about the terrorist group.
Even hard-core left-wing Salon magazine couldn’t protect its own, calling Oates’ tweet “beautifully bonkers.”
Of course, using the adjective “beautiful” here is revealing in itself, isn’t it? The writers at hard-core leftist Salon might as well be saying, “You go girl!”
Oates, the story continues, isn’t a stranger to Twitter dust-ups. In June, the author expressed her outrage at big-game hunting by retweeting a photo of a man posing next to a large dead animal, writing: “So barbaric that this should still be allowed… No conservation laws in effect wherever this is?”
Oates considers big-game hunting “barbaric.” Yet she does not feel the same way about ISIS or other Islamic-inspired violence.
Wow. I don’t know about you. But I sure think ramming airplanes into skyscrapers; forcing people to jump from 100 stories high in order to escape the smoke in the burning skyscrapers; shooting up, firebombing or otherwise threatening concerts, embassies and airports; beheading gays; violating the individual rights of women; and terrorizing much of Western civilization as activities devoid of “celebratory & joyous.” And that it’s neither “puritanical” nor “punitive” to say so.
But that’s just me.
To understand how this can be, examine Oates’ underlying premises. Premises are unspoken assumptions, implied by the outrageous or contradictory things one thinks or feels – or in Oates’ case, outright states.
If your underlying premise is that human beings are evil, then it logically follows that you would find romanticism in ISIS and barbarism in hunting.
In fact, given the existence of human beings like those who inhabit ISIS – and the existence of human beings like Joyce Carol Oates, who defends them – it IS kind of tempting to prefer animals over humans.
But the inadequate or even depraved state of many human beings does not tell us all we need to know about human nature, its potential or even its glory when operating at its best. It only tells us how wrong things can go.
A human soul rots from the head or the mind down. Joyce Carol Oates would know.
The same is true of a society, since a society is nothing more than a large number of human beings.
It seems incredible that someone celebrated as an award-winning intellectual would condemn critics of Islam as “puritanical.” Excuse me? The Islamic State is the ultimate manifestation of puritanical values. Women cover their faces and are treated as inhuman; sex is considered evil; gays are tortured and beheaded, as is anyone who parts from the religious party line.
How is any of this not puritanical? And in what universe does it become puritanical, and therefore wrong, to challenge it?
The cultural leftism represented by Joyce Carol Oates’ ideology has gone mad. It’s no longer leftism. It’s a philosophy so caught up in self-loathing and hatred of all things American/Western that it now forgets its own previous “liberalism.” If anyone hates America more than ISIS, it’s the lunatic intellectuals embodied by the attitudes of Joyce Carol Oates. There’s nothing beautiful about it.
Is it any wonder ISIS is gaining ground? They smell the psychological equivalent of blood in the attitudes of people like Joyce Carol Oates. These are the kind of people we elevate to the status of cultural and literary icons. Think of that the next time a city gets blown up.
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