November 15, 2015

"Greeley, Colorado, circa 1950 was the last place one might think to look for signs of American decadence."

"Its wide streets were dotted with churches, and there wasn’t a bar in the whole temperate town. But the courtly Qutb (COO-tub) saw things that others did not. He seethed at the brutishness of the people around him: the way they salted their watermelon and drank their tea unsweetened and watered their lawns. He found the muscular football players appalling and despaired of finding a barber who could give a proper haircut. As for the music: 'The American’s enjoyment of jazz does not fully begin until he couples it with singing like crude screaming,' Qutb wrote when he returned to Egypt. 'It is this music that the savage bushmen created to satisfy their primitive desires.'"

From "A Lesson In Hate/How an Egyptian student came to study 1950s America and left determined to wage holy war," a 2006 article in Smithsonian, which I'm reading this morning as a result of the conversation we were having about "You Hate Leaf Blowers, Your Neighbor Uses Them: How One Town Seeks Middle Ground." I won't bother you with the logical links that connected these subjects.

65 comments:

Gahrie said...

Yet in his home country people were living in abject poverty in mud huts dying of malnutrition and disease.

He can kiss my ass.

Michael K said...

This is an important story for the west to understand. The Muslims are opposed to modern life. They will never be able to create a just and peaceful society. They will just destroy ours if we let them.

Skeptical Voter said...

Well the gentleman went home to Egypt; got himself thrown in prison for being some sort of rabble rouser; and eventually became the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the ideological fountainhead of much of what became Al Qaeda and ISIS. He certainly inspired Osama Bin Laden.

Gahrie's sentiments may be correct "he can kiss my ass", but this man's ideological descendants may well come to our country (as they have to France) and "kick some ass."

Gahrie said...

but this man's ideological descendants may well come to our country (as they have to France) and "kick some ass."

They're certainly going to try.

I intend to spend as much as my time in places with lax gun laws as I can. Unfortunately, I live in California, but I fully intend to arm myself as much as possible.

This is a clash of civilizations.

Ann Althouse said...

It got me thinking about the Americans who get bent out of shape about lawns and football.

chickelit said...

"Go Western, Young Man"

Horace Greeley (1865)

David Begley said...

Terrorist Anwar al-Alwaki was born in Las Cruces and lived in Lincoln, Nebraska for many years as a child. He also lived in San Deigo where he was arrested for soliciting prostitutes.

Anonymous said...

He came to this country with hate in his heart. All he needed was something to direct it at. It would have been the same outcome if he had gone to Stalingrad or Peking.

SMGalbraith said...

"The Looming Tower", the book by Lawrence Wright about AQ and 9/11 published back in 2006 outlined the influence that Qatb's ideas had on the Muslim Brotherhood and AQ.

One of Qatb's brothers greatly influenced - directly - AQ leader Ayman Zawahiri.

This, in part, is the Islamic influence on the terrorist worldview; an influence that Obama and the Democrats running for president won't acknowledge. I think they're lying; they know about the role but for political reasons they don't want to acknowledge it.

Sebastian said...

Also good on the subject is Paul Berman, one of the few honest leftists left.

Just for the hell of it, a GOP candidate should read a few choice bits for Qutb's work during a debate.

After all these years of the "War on Terror," or the "War on Whatever," most Americans still have no earthly idea.

If the enemy cannot be named, perhaps he can at least be read.

Kirby Olson said...

I see the logical link. A lot of people continue to hate America because of 1950. That group at the U of Missouri also calls itself something like 1950. In 1850, I could understand their resentment as Missouri was a slave state. Today, it's not perhaps one of the more progressive states, but then you probably would have to dig pretty hard to find evidence of true evil. The blogger the Marquette Warrior did a research project on the so-called racial bias that supposedly infested the campus and caused the outburst which led to the resignation of the president:

Marquette Warrior says the racist incidents that triggered the protests at U of Missouri are all fabricated.

The First N-Word Incident. On September 12, student government president Payton Head alleged that a red pickup truck of young white people slowed and began screaming the n-word at him. Head posted the story on social media along with a litany of supposed slurs experienced by various groups of Americans (“Many of you are so privileged that you’ll never know what it feels like to be a hijab-wearing Muslim woman…You don’t have to think about being transgender and worrying about finding a restroom…”). He then told the press, “this story is not just something that happens here. It’s not a Mizzou issue. It’s a societal issue.” He added, “This happened to me, but it happens all the time, not only here, but everywhere.” According to the campus police, the incident happened near campus, not on it, and the Columbia Police Department did not receive a report on the incident from Head. In other words, other than Head’s social media post, there’s no evidence the incident occurred.

The Second N-Word Incident. On October 5, members of the Legion of Black Collegians were confronted by a drunk white man who called them the n-word. The group issued a public statement: “At about 12:45 AM, we noticed an obviously intoxicated white male staggering down Conley Ave. on the sidewalk…while still on the phone he says ‘These n*****s are getting aggressive with me.’” Members of the campus administration and the police received reports, and the young man in question is reportedly living off-campus and is under investigation. The administration responded with mandatory diversity training on October 8.

The Car Bump. On October 10, Concerned Student 1950 protesters blocked the homecoming parade, and attempted to confront Wolfe by surrounding his car. Graduated student Jonathan Butler said, “We disrupted the parade specifically in front of Tim Wolfe because we need him to get our message.” Butler then alleged that the car had hit one of the students (tape shows no such thing) and went on a hunger strike. Wolfe apologized for asking the police to remove the protesters.

The Feces Swastika. On October 24, officials supposedly found a swastika drawn in poop on the floor and wall in the bathroom. Resident Halls Association president Bill Donley said, “After this event, it has become clear to me that the inclusivity of our residence halls has been threatened.” But according to Sean Davis at The Federalist, “No evidence of the alleged incident…has ever been made publicly available.” Donley refused to respond to requests, and other RHA staffers said they hadn’t seen the poop swastika. There are no public photographs of the swastika. The University of Missouri has now been hit with a public records request by The Federalist.

Drago said...

The left cant acknowledge the actual history of this 1400 "disagreement" because its too important to them to pretend that its all the fault of the eest, GWBush, the tea party, NRA, you get the idea.

Drago said...

1400 year "disagreement"

sostander said...

Lawrence Wright's "The Looming Tower" history of Al Qaeda begins in Greeley. Great book!!!

robother said...

Couldn't help hearing echoes of David Brooks' disgust with his "lower upper class" fellow travelers. What is it about white middle class culture that inspires such extreme loathing by blacks, Muslims, and the so-called intelligentsia?

Michael K said...

A photo of the "poop swastika" has been shown but it means nothing about who did it.

"Looming Tower" is essential reading for anyone who wants to know about the present Muslim terrorism. WANTS TO KNOW.

Speaking of brothers of Qtab, the brother of one of the suicide bombers is still on the run.

He may be the bomb maker.

French police are looking for two men on the run in connection with the Paris attacks after discovering an abandoned car, it was claimed today.
Detectives are also searching for a bombmaker, with intelligence chiefs revealing that the suicide vests used by the attackers were made by a highly skilled professional who could still be at large.


It's not over by any means.

Hugh Hewitt asks every new interviewee whereto they have read Looming Tower and whether they believe Hiss was a communist, just to assess their ideology and information. One reporter for a major media source hung up on him.

YoungHegelian said...

Qutb wrote when he returned to Egypt. “It is this music that the savage bushmen created to satisfy their primitive desires.”

Almost these exact words could have (& did) come out of the mouth of a Nazi Minister of Culture. Considering the sympathy among the Arabs for National Socialism & Fascism, there's a good chance that's where Qutb got them.

The author of the Smithsonian, when he discusses Qutb's disgust with American sexual ways, misses what Qutb found so disgusting about church dances in Greeley was that it was the churches themselves who were sponsoring these immoral & sexually licentious gender-mixes.

And let's not forget, in coming to our fair shores & finding the Americans to be loutish, uncultured boors, Qutb followed in a long & hallowed history of European writers. Alexis de Tocqueville was the exception in liking us, not the rule. Hell, folks like the noted naturalist le Comte de Buffon had our numbers & knew just how worthless we all were without even bothering to come visit.

Henry said...

He might have met Jack Kerouac. Kerouac passed through Greeley on his way to visit Ed Wall's ranch in Sterling.

Reminded of Kerouac, I searched and found this entertaining map.

Sal Paradise's trips across America.

Char Char Binks said...

I generally dislike jazz, but I haven't called for the death of jazzbos -- yet.

BDNYC said...

Salted watermelon and unsweetened tea? I prefer unsweetened tea, don't get me wrong, but I am surprised that part of his critique of Americans is that the food is not sweet enough. America was different back then, I guess.

A more common critique is about how Americans spoon sugar or fruits into their yogurt, whereas foreigners eat yogurt plain or with salt or mint or something along those lines.

traditionalguy said...

The level to which EVERY Muslim deeply despises us can be an eye opener. That "Jesus is the Son of God the Father" Trinity thing is kryptonite to their pride based cult.

BDNYC said...

Do I detect anti-black racism in his critique of jazz?

Fernandinande said...

Michael K said...
A photo of the "poop swastika" has been shown but it means nothing about who did it.


That pic showed up about a year early. There is a police report - produced after a FOIA - about this triviality.

But the courtly[sic] Qutb saw things that others did not.

No he didn't. He just reacted irrationally.

He seethed at the brutishness of the people around him: the way they salted their watermelon and drank their tea unsweetened and watered their lawns.

A seething baby cries more than a teething baby.

traditionalguy said...

Also, when a Muslim guy sees you he sees a mongrel slave to be killed or enslaved, which is the same way the Black Lives Matter Political movement guy sees us WASPs too.

robinintn said...

"(COO-tub)": Because we wouldn't want to disrespect the insane death cultist by mispronouncing his name. His followers might be offended and come after us.

John Henry said...

I don't see leaf blowers as being worse than lawnmowers or string trimmers.

How would the town feel if I just left the leaves pile up in my yard, year after year. I could tell them it is natural composting.

I suspect that I might get fined for a messy yard.

These people sound rich enough, let them pay $15/hr plus taxes and benefits to people to rake their leaves.

John Henry

Unknown said...

The logical link to leaf blowers was Qutb's condemnation of Americans' devotion to their lawns, I would imagine.

chickelit said...

I can see how lawn-hatred resonates with both Muslim crazies and East Coast urban hipsters. The former because they come from the land of parched ideology and the latter because deep down they detest Clint Eastwood's character in "Gran Torino"

Get Off My Lawn! smacks of flyover entitlement.

Ask Titus. Does he have a lawn? He probably hates lawns.

Unknown said...

Wasn't Qutb's disdain for the American preoccupation with lawns because it was frivolous? People should be devoted to God, not lawn care.

Michael K said...

"East Coast urban hipsters"

They only have lawns at their Connecticut second home. With the present price of apartments in NYC, I doubt any but the hedge fund types have second homes anymore.

DeBlasio is working on the real estate prices of NYC. Soon they will be back to the 1970s.

Roughcoat said...

As Mark Steyn said a few days ago, I'm all Islam'd out. I've had it. Let's rumble.

buwaya puti said...

Qutb's writings are well known, among people who have been following Islamic radicalism. IIRC there were earlier articles back in 2001 regarding the roots of Al Quaeda and its ideology, one by Bernard Lewis I think. On the Muslim brotherhood and its roots - Qutb was NOT a founder of that movement, it predates him by decades.
The comment above about him being predisposed to hate isn't quite right. Being predisposed to reject is more likely, because the objection was to westernization as a model, using his experience as a justification. He wrote all this as a polemic meant for his Muslim Egyptian audience, as an aesthetic reason to reject the inarguable material promise of western culture.
Aesthetic complaints are common, even typical, and uncontroversial outside Christendom, as are race, class, birth and social status.

buwaya puti said...

Muslims don't hate lawns. On the whole they love gardens, and from what I have seen they prefer the more artificially tended aesthetic. Of course, it is also not OK for people of some social status to tend gardens. This work is for servants.

Michael K said...

A good book on the radicalization of Muslims and Arabs was The Dream Palace of the Arabs" by the late Fouad Ajami. He knew Lebanon well and some of the major figures of that history and of the Baath Party.

James Pawlak said...

I noticed that he left Colorado before attempting an act of Jihand---And, being shot to the ground by some well armed and good citizen of that State.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

He missed the most obvious sign of decadence, which is clearly not an exclusive choice of Western civilization: elective abortion.

At what point is human life so debased that it becomes tolerable, even humane, to kill and cannibalize wholly innocent human lives?

Then there is not merely tolerance but normalization and pride in transgender orientations and behaviors (e.g. progressive morality). There could not be an objectively more frivolous trifecta of cultural progress than transgenderism, abortion, and cannibalism.

The 1950s in contrast represents the height of personal restraint and moderation by today's liberal or open standards.

rcocean said...

I see nothing objectionable in the Egyptian's comments. He didn't like America and left. If only more our sainted "Immigrants" had done the same. Instead, they stayed here for $$$, while hating and trying to change the country.

Birkel said...

The name would be more comical if it were Q-tub. Like Q-tip, but for removing infidels from the world's ears.

Sebastian said...

""Greeley, Colorado, circa 1950 was the last place one might think to look for signs of American decadence.""

By the way, that is a particularly ethnocentric view of Muslims and of Qutb in particular. For Muslims, any place outside Dar al-Islam will do. Greeley demonstrated the essence of American decadence quite well, precisely in the way it mixed a supposed morality with rot. Paris is decadent too, of course, but the Greeleys of the world may be more dangerous, embodying a genuine, alternative, and obviously appealing faith (traditional and civil religion both) in which women can freely show their hair and legs.

Quaestor said...

I've never salted my watermelon. I like mine just as it is. However, now that I know salted watermelon offends Muslims, my next slice will be eaten savory.

chickelit said...

Ann Althouse said...
It got me thinking about the Americans who get bent out of shape about lawns and football.

I once met an uppity German who had travelled America as a student and who was convinced that it was decadent. He railed against Las Vegas where, among other things, he had observed people gambling wearing shorts.

Michael K said...

"Instead, they stayed here for $$$, while hating and trying to change the country."

The 1950s are before the welfare state. Why do you think the Muslims are invading Europe and specifically heading for Britain and Germany ? Why did they go to Sweden and ignore Norway ?

Welfare state draws Muslims like shit draws flies.

rcocean said...

"The 1950s are before the welfare state. Why do you think the Muslims are invading Europe and specifically heading for Britain and Germany ? Why did they go to Sweden and ignore Norway ?"

I'm not talking about Muslims or the Welfare state.

sane_voter said...

Would Jeb Bush kill the baby Qutb?

Michael K said...

"I'm not talking about Muslims or the Welfare state."

You were talking about Qutb and " He didn't like America and left. "

That's why. No welfare state.

David said...

Lawn hating is a progressive thing. They don't much like football either. Too man oriented.

I'm not saying that progressives hate America. They just hate the parts of America they don't agree with.

chickelit said...

rcocean said...
"The 1950s are before the welfare state. Why do you think the Muslims are invading Europe and specifically heading for Britain and Germany ? Why did they go to Sweden and ignore Norway ?"

Because there are more blondes to rape in Sweden?

And how come we never hear about the little countries like Holland and Denmark?

narciso said...

greeley was a Baptist town in a dry county, that Qutb could find fault with it, speaks to something about him, yes race also played into in, but I'm sure they showed little respect to the Nubians,

Phil 3:14 said...

Good thing he didn't go to Mizzou!

richard mcenroe said...

PLainly, we must beg poor Qutb to forgive our imperialist haircuts.

Derp said...

Something needed to be done, they both decided

"We need to stop other people from doing stuff we don't like!" - Every liberal everywhere!

Let's use the government with their monopoly on violence to make other people act the way we want them too!

Tarrou said...

Another prime example of the "high-low" convergence of knowledge.

Morons think the muslims hate us for our freedoms.

Intelligent, learned people know that it is really our fault for a long history of cultural imperialism. And they don't hate us, they just have occasional accidents with gunpowder.

Experts know that really, they just hate us for our freedoms.

For more examples, see: Causes of the Civil War, Results of Communism etc.

Michael K said...

"our fault for a long history of cultural imperialism."

Not sure what this means. WE are better than they are and they don't like it ?

Ipso Fatso said...

'but this man's ideological descendants may well come to our country (as they have to France) and "kick some ass."'

They already have, it's called 9-11.

Jeff Teal said...

Pretty much shows how inane and shallow Qutb's complaints are doesn't it?Salted watermelon and unsweetened tea.Sheeesh.

Jeff Teal said...

Of course the last time i was in the country he became Assistant Minister of Education to exhibited open sewers,feces in the street,flies everywhere, and widespread bilharizia.But his culture is superior.

Kirk Parker said...

Second the recommendation of Paul Berman. Terror and Liberalism and The Flight of the Intellectuals are both excellent.

Quaestor said...

...our fault for a long history of cultural imperialism.

Cultural imperialism? Isn't that the essence of Islam?

AprilApple said...

Qutb’s America was bursting with raw energy and appetite, but utterly without higher virtues.


mmmhmmm. Like the higher virtues of hated. The higher virtue of desire to kill all who do not follow Islam?

AprilApple said...

There are parts of wealthy Islamic ME where the men party all night and drive luxury cars and gamble, drink and pursue females for sex.

AprilApple said...

None of that made any difference to Qutb, who saw only what he already believed, and wrote not facts, but his own truth, in his 1951 essay, “The America I Have Seen.”


Qutb and his living cult hate us for our haircuts. Meaningless hate sells to the weak minded.

Char Char Binks said...

They had nobody who knew how to cut Arab hair.

thor47 said...

. . . and pursue females for sex.

Instead of Scrabble? And we are infidels?

JackOfClubs said...

I object to the town being called "temperate" when there was not a single bar. That is not temperate, it is intemperate teetotalism. Not the main point, I realize, but it is this sort of inhuman piety that gives religion a bad name. (Islam is, of course, also intemperately teetotalitarian!)

I prefer the biblical approach. Once a year the Jews were commanded to go out and eat and drink:

Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice. [Deuteronomy 14:26 NIV]

When you've got that to look forward to, the thrill of blowing yourself up in a crowded soccer stadium just doesn't seem as attractive.