Time magazine has interviewed Martin Amis, one of the world's greatest living writers. It says he's currently in Philadelphia on a book tour. I hope he comes to DC soon, if he hasn't already and I missed him. His book London Fields is one of the best I've ever read, and his latest sounds interesting, a period piece about Soviet and post-Soviet Russia. In talking about it, he comments that if he goes to Russia, he might be poisoned, as has been the standard for perceived enemies in Putin's Russia.
His novel Money was highly critical of the cult of greed that arose in America and England in the 1980s, and in this interview, he wonders why so many Americans can't bring themselves to say that the radical Islamic fundamentalists are wrong. I agree that this violent fundamentalism is dangerous, and those responsible should pay the consequences. But at the same time, the US government should be able to do this without relying on torture and unjustified wars. I'm still waiting for proof of the link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11. As I've said before, it's odd that American evangelicals and radical Islamists hate each other so much, just because they call their gods by a different name. Both factions hate gays, women and sex, and want to make religious law the law of the land. A comment I read on an online forum said that Christian fundamentalists have a "penis envy" of Islam fundamentalists, and this commenter is probably right. These radical terrorists who hate America have beaten radical American Christians at their own prudish and prejudiced game. The Islamists, in many parts of the Arab world, have actually succeeded in making their religious superstitions the law. If more American leaders keep invoking the name of God at every opportunity, give federal funding to "faith-based" charities that discriminate on the basis of religion and let American Taliban groups like the Christian Coalition continue to exert influence over them, we could end up with a Christian theocracy to rival the Islam theocracy of Iran in oppression and fear of God, if we godless liberals (and conservatives, libertarians, etc.) don't fight back. Even now, on the DC Metro, I am faced with posters advertising "A Second Look," an anti-abortion group. That a service used by people all over the city is blatantly advertising this is a frightening sign. To bring it back to Martin Amis, after this tangent, he once said that religion is "the desire for approval from supernatural beings." Outside the indoctrination of faith that many of us have had instilled in us from childhood, having been taught that religious teachings are sacred, the whole idea of religion (magical ghosts in the sky, miracles, angels and demons) is ridiculous.
On the subject of religious nutcases, I heard that Ted Haggard, the evangelical preacher caught soliciting sex from a male prostitute, has just completed a "gay rehab" program. He's no longer gay, according to the evangelical council. If only there was a rehab program to stop him from being a theocratic asshole, but I doubt his church would sponsor that.