|Spiked - the web-journal for contrarians on the EDL, Islam and on almost everything else.|
Running through Spiked, although I like it, I still have a big problem with it.
I think I can see what Spiked is doing. Spiked is contrarian. It’s ‘neither left-wing nor right-wing’. (Actually, it doesn’t appear to be ‘center’ either.) There are a few problems with this pose. It can often be highly artificial or affected. That is, a non-right and non-left position is adopted on any – or every! - subject just for the sake of it, as it were.
In addition, can’t people be right-wing in some respects, but not in others? The same goes with being left-wing. Indeed it’s even possible to be ‘far-right’ (depending on definitions) at the same time as not being far-right on some - or on many - other issues.
If Spiked, or its journalists, plan each article in terms of attacking the right-wing position on X, and then the left-wing position on X, then that can become a little tedious. This is reminiscent of the LibDems, or the old Liberal Party, saying, ‘We are neither Conservative nor Labour.’
All this is especially true when Spiked covers the EDL and Islam. It has covered the EDL on a few occasions. The writers basically adopt the contrarian (not-left-not-right) approach they adopt on most issues. But they do so especially in the EDL case.
Spiked on the EDL & Islam
First they slag off and criticise the Trotskyist/Communist/leftist position on the EDL as being too simplistic and often just plainly wrong. But then, of course, they slag off the EDL and its positions too. Remember - Spiked is a contrarian web-journal. That’s far enough. But there is a big problem with the Spiked critique of the EDL.
Spiked makes the same mistake that the left, the right and the center make – not just on the EDL, but on Islam itself. Despite all the riots, the bombs, the honour-killings, the mass-slaughter of the southern Sudanese, the persecution of Christians in Pakistan, Egypt, Nigeria, and elsewhere – despite all that, Spiked still argues, along with everyone else, that all these gruesome happenings and deaths are a result of “the perversion of Islam” or even of the “misinterpretations of its doctrines”. Really? Really fuck! Clearly, Spiked (just like all the other Islamophiles and the true-understanders-of-Islam who simply assume that a religion – especially a monotheistic one – can’t be intrinsically bad; almost by definition) simply hasn’t read the Koran in detail, or studied the life of the Prophet Muhammad (as it’s offered up to us by non-Muslims) and they haven’t read any of the hadiths either - never mind any part of the Sunnah. In other words, Spiked is being contrarian on the EDL and Islam just as it is contrarian on most other issues.
This neutral, if ‘experimental’, position seems to have also resulted in each regular contributor adopting the same prose-style too. Neither ‘ranting’ nor academic. Neither journalistic nor dour. Still, that’s the editor’s prerogative.
Despite all that - Spiked remains one of the best (free) political websites on the Internet.
*) From Wikipedia: Contrarian – “A contrarian is a person who takes up a position opposed to that of the majority, regardless of how unpopular it may be. Contrarian styles of argument and disagreement have historically been associated with radicalism and dissent.”
*) Note: … just around four days ago, the editor of SPIKED, Brendan O'Neill, wrote a piece on Israel.
The first half has a go at all the critics of Israel. The second half has a go at all the defenders of Israel.
But there is a problem here too. The editor, O’Neill, has a go at, of all people, Alan Dershowitz. Now Dershowitz is one of the most liberal, level-headed and non-nasty defenders of Israel there is. (I think he’s far too tolerant of Muslim crimes and vices.) Yet the editor castigates him for claiming that “Israel is a bastion of democracy”, free speech, etc. in the Middle East. Does that mean that O’Neill doesn’t think this? Does that mean that there are certain Middle Eastern states which are superior to Israel or even equal to it on these matters? Really? Which states are they, then?
There comes a time when even a professional contrarian has to rise above his contrarianism and take sides. The case of Israel is precisely such a time. But this contrarian prefers his contrarian niche to taking the side of a state that is indeed a bastion of democracy (imperfect, of course) in the Middle East.