I get a lot of spam on Spiritual Politics (still waiting for that captcha program), and mostly it has to do with product promotions–replica rolodexes, male sex products–and fulsome but sadly unspecific tributes to the blog’s high quality. Over the past couple of days, however, there has been a slew of messages relating to the “Ground Zero mosque”–for the most part a spume of hostility the worst example of which (so far) is the following:
It’s an aberration that the President of the United States endorses a mosque so close to the biggest and most atrocious terrorist act in the history of the World! It’s a spit in the face of the people that died there in horror; their families, and the rest of us Americans. It is unacceptable! We should wait until the mosque is finished, and then it up while all the Muslims are in there praying!!! See how they feel about that.
I have, of course, no idea where this is coming from, or whether it represents someone’s actual opinion or just the usual spamming imperative to get noticed by the blogger and maybe even make it into the blog’s comment section. I’d guess the latter. The spammer has, for the moment, simply decided to piggyback on the road rage du jour that has become the new norm of self-expression in the electronic public square.
But its significance is not so easy to determine either. On an actual road, you’re likely to be in close proximity to hundreds or thousands of other vehicles before you encounter one lunatic bent on inflicting whatever ails him on the rest of the driving community. You don’t conclude that all drivers have gone nuts. In the journalistic blogosphere, however, you can’t see all those other drivers who take a peek at what you’ve written and go on with the rest of their lives without leaving more than the record of another page view or site visit. So it seems as though the entire world’s gone mad.
But maybe it hasn’t. Maybe the amount of real outrage at the proposed Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan is small–compared to the spam and the politically motivated pseudo-outrage and the, dare I say it, actual support for religious liberty and its right to prevail over the ill will, suspicions, and sense of injury of some other Americans.