Monday, August 11, 2008

Another Goddamned Podcast #26:
August 7, 2008

THIS WEEK - Muslims, Publishers, and Free Speech

Original audio source

Islam sucks, OK? And so do some publishing companies. We examine Random House's decision to quash the publication of Sherry Jones's book The Jewel of Medina. Why? The publisher "learned" that the novel might infuriate Muslims. Who's Denise Spellberg, and what was she thinking when she fomented Islamic hysteria? Doesn't the Random House decision just encourage threats of violence? (0:00)

The Herd wonders if there's any book that would deserve banning. It's clear that Random House cancelled publication for one reason only: Can you say "scared shitless," boys and girls? What legal rights does Jones have? We look a little harder at Spellberg and what she had to gain by worrying the editors. Why is it OK to anger other groups, but not Muslims? Philly wants to open up a new front in the so-called "War on Terror." (13:10)

We explore Muslims' responses to Western secular culture — even when they're living in that culture. Evo tells us what Sherry Jones' next move should be. We ask: What might Random House do if it was suddenly besieged by infuriated emails and calls from people who love our freedoms. (That's a hint, listeners.) Or should freethinkers simply threaten violence, just as Muslims would? Question: Is the Bush foreign policy indirectly responsible for the cancelling of Jones's book? (26:18)

Why does Denise Spellberg get us pissed off at liberals? What exactly are our government's Constitutional responsiblities to religion? Then, briefly, it's "Be Kind to Christians" Week. But that doesn't last long! (42:18)

Do we reveal the correct answer to last weeks' puzzle? Dawk! You'll have to finish listening to find out if we're lying or not. A scrupulous puzzle-solver actually turns down his AGP secret decoder ring. And don't you just live for our poll results? Finally, Evo asks: Where the fuck are our science-savvy listeners? (55:29)

Opening Music [00:00]: excerpt from "Another Goddamned Draft"
Bridge Music [11:57]: excerpt from "Crouching Christian Hidden Atheist"
Bridge Music [25:17]: excerpt from "Waltz of the Dead"
Bridge Music [41:02]: excerpt from "Child of the 80s"
Bridge Music [54:12]: excerpt from "Disco is Not Dead"
Closing Music [1:05:46]: excerpt from "As Jazzy as I Get"
(All music: copyright 2008 by Rachel Murie)

This Week's Goddamned Links
Asra Q. Nomani's piece in The Wall Street Journal
Denise Spellberg's Letter in Response
Amazon UK's page on The Jewel of Medina
Wikipedia on Aisha (a wife of Mohammed)
Wikipedia on Denise Spellberg (not a wife of Mohammed)
Denise Spellberg's "Liberal" Quote (scroll to bottom of page)
Contact Random House
Extreme Mohammed (nothing here by Denise Spellberg)

Puzzling Listeners
No correct answers this week, but funny ones by:
David Smith


shudd3r2th1nk said...

Have tried three times downloading this podcast from itunes and Ep 25 is what gets downloaded, not 26

John Evo said...

Paul, I'll have our crack IT Team on it pronto.



The Exterminator said...

My download worked fine a few minutes ago. Sometimes iTunes takes a while to kick in, so try it again. If you still can't get it to work, send OG an email.

By the way, if you look at this week's Puzzling Listeners roll, you'll find a link to your new blog. Welcome to the Atheosphere.

Ordinary Girl said...

Shudder, I missed one of the optional fields on this week's episode, although like Ex I got the correct file. Try it again.

Anonymous said...

Good podcast. Random House behaved crassly. I hope another publisher has the guts to publish the book and rakes in millions for itself and the author.

Religious ideas should not be protected under the law. The rights of the people who adhere to religious ideas should be protected, even if their ideas are batshit crazy, as long as they are not harming people. Protecting the right to believe is an entirely different thing from protecting the beliefs.

Anonymous said...

I remember the furor over The Last Temptation of Christ. My pastor mentioned it in sermons for weeks. Indecent Proposal also created quite an evangelical shit storm. As far as I know, the pastoral admonitions simply resulted in boycotts. I don't recall death threats or violence.

The recent Crackergate episode was intriguing because of the ugly tone of the rhetoric. I don't know if that was an aberration or a signal of a growing Christian militancy.

Anonymous said...

Ex, I never would have pegged you as a Carpenters fan:

Love, look at the two of us
Strangers in many ways
We've got a lifetime to share
So much to say
And as we go
From day to day
I'll feel you close to me
But time alone will tell
Let's take a lifetime to say
"I knew you well"
For only time
Will tell us so
And love may grow
For all we know
Love, look at the two of us
Strangers in many ways
Let's take a lifetime to say
"I knew you well"
For only time
Will tell us so
And love may grow
For all we know

John Evo said...

Chappy - guess which one is the Exterminator.

The Exterminator said...

Did you look those words up, or are they indelibly etched into your brain? Or did you learn them from your old Russian grandfather?

PhillyChief said...

So is the fucking iTunes thing working right now? Holy crap! How will you all manage when the IT team goes on vacation? I shudder to think of it. Good thing OG was around, because I'm busy playing Madden.

There's like what, one other atheist blog who bothered to mention this outrage? Wtf?! Is the atheosphere asleep? Too busy getting caught up in crackers? Man, what's going on out there? I'd blame it on Madden, but it only came out today. This story hit last week. I guess the story of a professor fomenting hostility amongst Muslims to scare a publisher into not publishing a book isn't sexy enough.

John Evo said...

@ Ex - look at you proving that there is an old Jewish guy somewhere who can carry the tune.

@ Chief - look at you flipping out on us. What? You haven't gotten a first down using the Chiefs offense? Two words for you - Trent and Priest.

Venjanz said...

y'all just got served: Check out the latest Jack Chick comic.

yunshui said...

Well, having looked at venjanz's link I now see the error of my ways...

I'm disgusted that I missed this (referring back to the original podcast) - it wasn't in any of the British book trade magazines. Mind you, books do get recalled left, right and centre these days, and publishers always try and keep the reasons very, very quiet. Sometimes it's just a simple factual error, sometimes it's libel, but often it's some shitstorm stemming from religion, and we never get told which!

PhillyChief said...

I love Chick tracts! That's hilarious. This clip I saw recently is pretty funny, too.

You left out the other important two words Evo - offensive line.

shudd3r2th1nk said...

sweet, was able to download the podcast, best thing ever = listening to Another Goddamned Podcast on my birthday, thanks!

The Exterminator said...

If you had let us know, we would have sent Evo to deliver a singing damn-o-gram plus a few of our famous AGP ballons.

PhillyChief said...

Thank you for the compliment shudd3r2th1nk, but I think you need to get out more. :)

Thorum said...

Fucking brilliant episode!!! Keep up the good work!!! Sad topic though. I plan to deluge the U Texas, Denise Spellberg and Random House this week to thank them for one more step towards Dhimmitude and censorship. This episode's topic definitely pissed me of the most yet!!!

Ordinary Girl said...

Shudder, maybe Ex will still write you a Goddamned Poem and Evo will sing it to you.

Glad you were able to download the episode. :)

Anonymous said...

AGP balloons? I never heard anything about any goddamned balloons. Why am I always the last to know these things?

PhillyChief said...

Well there were balloons, but I took them to a party where they had a nitrous tank. ;)

Derek said...

Excellent Goddamned Podcast!

John Evo said...

@ Thorum and Derek - Much thanks! Glad you're having a good time. Makes me so happy, I may have to sing a goddamned ditty. What do think, Philly? You up for that?

John Evo said...

@ Shudder - Happy Fucking Birthday, bro.

Rogier said...

Not that I'm american, but I know Thomas Jefferson's babble (sp?) was the bible with all the supernatural stuff cut out of it.
So if someone talks about Jefferson's Quran I think it's the Quran given the same treatment. I doubt Jefferson read the Quran or said much about it ever.

Greets and keep up the good podcasts!

Rogier 'Konradius' van Vugt

The Exterminator said...

Please let us know, either with a comment here or with an email to one of us, whether you get any responses to your deluge. Thanks for listening, and sorry -- not really! -- that we pissed you off.

Hey, maybe we should change our name to Another Excellent Goddamned Podcast. Thanks for the compliment.

We appreciate your kind words about the podcast. Please do tell us in a comment or email if we ever have a discussion of a purely American issue that you can't follow.

The actual name of the Jefferson bible was The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth. You're correct that he cut out all the supernatural bullshit, and he also snipped out any woo he thought the evangelists had added. Jefferson actually thought that Jesus was a Deist (like him). Here, if you're interested, is Jefferson's own syllabus, with some of his own commentary.

It's likely that Jefferson familiarized himself with the Quran so he could understand his enemies, the Barbary Pirates. They used "teachings" from their "sacred" book to justify their criminality. Jefferson thought that was a load of crap, and acted on his views.

Konradius said...

Cool info Ex, thanks!
The point was though that the Jefferson Quran wouldn't as much be about Jefferson (as was the suggestion I got from the podcast), but it would be about the Quran after it has got the Jefferson treatment. The comparison to the Jefferson Bible wasn't made.
But let's not belabor the point.

The thing that really struck me about this story is the role of Denise Spellberg. This woman caused all uproar this book has generated so far and to me I see a striking similarity to the role our minister president Balkenende played in the whole Fitna story. I'm from the Netherlands.
Remember that the uproar about Fitna was 6 to 8 months before the movie was ever viewed. This was even before any work on the movie was ever done.
This sorry excuse of a politician was the main cause it got so much publicity. He was apologizing about this movie to people who then asked who Wilders was and why would they care about a movie he'd make. Wilders is the author of Fitna and actually nearly as crappy a politician as Balkenende.
And that's something you really have to work at.
Anyway, not sure you guys are really interested in dutch politics.
Give me a shout if you need a European correspondent ;-)

Rogier 'Konradius' van Vugt

(btw, changed my visible name from rogier to konradius)

PhillyChief said...

I actually caught a quick segment on this story on CNN this morning. I even waited through commercials and other bullshit to hear it and it was a total piece of shit. They completely ignored the fact that Spellberg fomented the Muslim agitation. About the only ones focusing on Spellberg are right wingnuts it seems, and really that's where this story is getting attention. That completely floors me.

Oh, but I should be thankful they are at least covering it over in right wingnutland, right? Wrong, because they're focussed on all the wrong things. For them, this is a story about a typical liberal idiot selling out America to appease Muslims. WRONG! This is about an idiot selling out the principle of free speech for the sake of protecting religious sensibilities, AND a major facilitator for free speech failing to step up and champion it when it's the least bit threatened.

John Evo said...

Konradius - for one, I'm very interested in Euro Secularism. If you have any hot, current stories related to secular/atheist/science please send them to me and maybe we'll have a Euro segment. I expect that if another of those Islamic cartoon situations arises, you'll let me know before it becomes an international story. Consider yourself hired, at our regular pay scale.

A New Atheism said...

Sherry Jones could consider self-publishing as well. That way they book gets out there. It sounds like an interesting read!

PhillyChief said...

I think it's still being published in Europe which is kind of surprising, since France seems to be the only nation over there not bending over backwards to accommodate Muslims. The UK sounds just ridiculously silly about that nonsense.

I don't think she has to resort to self publishing. A smart publisher would pick her up if for no other reason to try to capitalize on the moment. Hell, a smart publisher might even foment some Muslim craziness too to further hype the whole thing. ;)

Anonymous said...

my email to random house:

Dear Random House:

Wow, you are pathetic. You canceled Sherry Jones' book about Muhammad's wife Aisha and this article quotes Random House as saying it was out of fear.

No threats were made. Nothing bad occurred. You canceled the book because of a crazy person with a RIVAL book on Aisha who tried to stir up a frenzy in the Muslim community by calling the book soft core pornography. Denise Spellberg is the exact kind of person you should never work with (she has her own deal through Knopf). And you keep her book deal but cancel Sherry Jones' book because Spellberg warned you about violence. This is a threat from a wicked person. And you CAVED!!!!

You are afraid of terrorism or potential uprising. It's pathetic. You even admitted it in the Wall Street Journal!!

Our President speaks of the "War on Terror." THIS IS THE WAR!!!! It's a war against people who try to take away our freedom of press through fear tactics.

I am absolutely serious when I state that I will no longer purchase any book published by Random House again. I have emailed 300 of my colleagues, friends, and messageboards asking them to do the same.

By canceling a book because of fear, you are telling dangerous and extreme people "your fear tactics work. you have power over us and over America's free press."

PLEASE get this email up as high as possible. Americans don't want publishers AFRAID of Islamic fundamentalists. The is the time to stand united for FREEDOM. Thank you.

PhillyChief said...

Well nice effort there. Let's see if they care. Perhaps the MSM needs emails to urge them to report on this story, which they're not.

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

Another great episode and I am only half way through.