Top ten stooges, part two

Yesterday we revisited five of our top ten useful stooges of 2016. Here are the other five, who happen to have one thing in common: a readiness to defend Islam, the premier totalitarian force of our time. 

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Ben Norton

He hates Israel, calls the U.S. a “rogue state,” celebrates the legacy of the Black Panthers, and reflexively responds to each new act of terrorism by fretting about anti-Muslim backlash and smearing critics of Islam. He’s boy scribe Ben Norton, who when he’s not writing for Salon – an execrable enough venue – can be found at such vile pro-jihad sites as Electronic Intifada and Middle East Monitor. Instead of condemning the murderers of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in January 2015, Norton slammed the victims as racists. Instead of writing about the massacres in Boston, San Bernardino, and Orlando (media attention to such events, he argues, only boosts bigotry), he penned an entire article about a white lady who’d jumped a hijab-clad woman on a Washington, D.C., sidewalk.

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Laurie Penny

Laurie Penny was born into a prosperous family (both her parents were lawyers), went to a posh English public school, studied at Oxford, and was soon a highly successful journalist and author. But she’s still (as she constantly whines) a victim of sexism, a member of an “oppressed class.” And every man’s an oppressor – except, note well, for those Muslim males who act on the permission their religion gives them to beat, rape, and even kill women with impunity. So it was that when gangs of “refugees” committed mass rape in Cologne last New Year’s Eve, Penny turned her ire not on the rapists, but on the “racists” who responded to this crime by criticizing Islam. 

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Sally Kohn

It sounds like a set-up for a bad joke: a Jewish lesbian defending sharia law. But it’s no joke – it’s Sally Kohn, who after holding a series of jobs as a sleazy political operator and PR flack is now a CNN talking head. Even worse than her utter lack of a decent education is her utter lack of embarrassment about it: when an editor commissioned her to write about Amsterdam, she admitted she didn’t even know what country it was in – but that didn’t keep her from visiting it for a few days and banging out a piece accusing the natives of (what else?) Islamophobia.

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Owen Jones

“Modern capitalism is a sham,” advises British lad Owen Jones, and “democratic socialism is our only hope.” A Guardian columnist, Oxford grad, and son of Trotskyite parents, Jones is a consistent whitewasher of Islam who turns every act of jihadist terror into an excuse to denounce critics of Islam.

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Will Smith

Finally, there’s movie star Will Smith, who this year called for “cleans[ing]” America by eliminating Trump supporters. (He didn’t say how we should do it.) He also condemned America’s “Islamophobia” and extolled Dubai, which, he claimed, “dreams the way I dream.” Never mind that the UAE, where Dubai is located, is a sharia-ruled country where you can get stoned to death for being gay: Smith, a self-styled “student of world religion,” claimed that if Americans have a bad image of the place, it’s entirely the fault of Fox News.

Happy New Year!

Will Smith’s Dubai dreams

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Will Smith

“Dubai dreams the way I dream,” effused actor Will Smith at a recent press conference in the luxe emirate to promote Suicide Squad, his latest horribly reviewed, massively profitable contribution to the art of cinema. “It really flows with who I am….You never know why a city speaks to you… it’s just the energy of progress here.”

As we’ve seen, this is a dude who fancies himself a deep thinker, a moral authority, a preacher of good values and responsible parenting, and an all-around paragon of principle. He plainly thinks he’s worked out an intellectually sophisticated and ethically admirable philosophy of life that he’s obligated to share with us lesser beings. When his daughter, Willow, now 15, tweets that “ANYTHING that I EVER do is geared towards the evolution and vibrational elevation of this planet through the inspiration of individuals,” it’s because she’s been hearing her father and her actress mother, Jada Pinkett Smith, spout this kind of inane New Age rhetoric ever since she was in the cradle.

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Willow Smith

And yet there he was, Will Smith, the fount of all that self-consciously high-minded claptrap, sitting in front of a worshipful media audience at the Mall of the Emirates, rhapsodizing over a country that Freedom House considers “not free” – a sharia-ruled country where public kissing and drinking alcohol are punishable by 80 lashes, where premarital sex is punished by 100 lashes, and where adultery, apostasy, and homosexuality are punished by death. Yes, death. (Usually stoning.)

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Will Smith skydiving in Dubai

It’s a country where critics of the regime are routinely imprisoned, tortured, and “disappeared.” A country where Muslim women, in accordance with sharia law, are at best second-class citizens: they’re prohibited from marrying non-Muslim men (even though Muslim men can wed non-Muslim women); the law recognizes their husbands’ absolute right to rape and beat them at will; and their own rights are thoroughly subordinated to men’s in cases of divorce, child custody, and a range of other matters.

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Marte Dalelv after her release

It’s also a country where a woman who accuses a man of rape is likely to be flogged and imprisoned as punishment for having had extramarital sex. (Three years ago, a Norwegian woman, Marte Dalelv, was sentenced to sixteen months in Dubai after saying she’d been raped; she was released and allowed to return home only after her case sparked international media outrage.) 

Did Will Smith take a stand on the UAE’s barbaric human-rights practices? No. He didn’t say a word.

But hey, this doesn’t meant that he and his wife, Jada, shy away from speaking up about moral outrages. After all, it was just a few months ago that Jada courageously addressed (in the video below) an equally appalling example of man’s inhumanity to man – namely, the fact that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had failed to nominate any persons of color for this year’s acting awards. (Many observers speculated that Jada was irked that Will hadn’t received an Oscar nod for his movie Concussion, even though he’d made the short list at the Golden Globes.)

Unsurprisingly, the UAE media welcomed Smith’s harsh remarks about his own countrymen – the Donald Trump followers he wants to see “cleansed” from society, the “Islamophobia” he views as primitive and misguided. But this slick know-it-all didn’t seem to be remotely aware (or, perhaps, simply didn’t care) that he was savaging his fellow Americans in a nation where any criticism of its own public officials or royals is absolutely verboten. Where, indeed, the very freedom of expression that makes Smith’s entire career possible is severely restricted – along, we might add, with the freedom of religion and of assembly that, back in the U.S.A., allow him to spout his vapid creed before the TV cameras without fear of incarceration, torture, or death.

Will Smith loves Dubai – and Dubai loves him!

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In Dubai in 2014, Will Smith donned Arab garb with his singer pals Tyrese and Maxwell

We’ve been talking about Will Smith‘s recent promotional trip to Dubai. It’s important to note that it wasn’t his first time there. Far from it: as one local news report explained, he “visits Dubai all the time.” He first set foot in Dubai “about 15 years ago.” In 2014, he went there to celebrate the birthday of a singer friend who goes by the name of Tyrese.

He loves the place. At the press conference about his new picture, Suicide Squad, he praisedDubai’s golf courses. He hailed its WiFi. He gushed over its movie theaters and skydiving. 

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Smith at his Dubai presser

He was quick to point out, moreover, that his kids (and fellow superstars) Willow and Jaden share his love for the United Arab Emirates. They performed there last year. And Willow went back “just a couple of months ago.” On that trip, “she FaceTime’d me from out in the desert on a camel.” Will volunteered that he thought “the cross of modern technology and the region’s ancient mode of transportation” exemplified by her using FaceTime while perched atop a dromedary was “beautiful. Really beautiful.”

Smith explained that, in addition to promoting his movie, one reason for his Dubai visit was his disgust over Islamophobia in America. He made it clear that he regards some Americans’ concerns about Islam as ignorant and misinformed. “I’m in Dubai and I’m having fun and I’m tweeting and I’m showing pictures,” he said cheerily. “Hey, doesn’t look like they hate me, does it?”

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Dubai

No, they sure don’t. Not as long as he’s ready, willing, and eager to provide the United Arab Emirates with such stellar PR.

But seriously: the man is so narcissistic, apparently, that his test of a country’s moral compass is how it treats him. Him. Not anyone else. Him. Period. 

One question, though. Is this self-styled “student of world religion” as ignorant as he appears to be about the horrific reality underlying the shining towers of Dubai? Or is it just that he doesn’t give a damn about how Dubai treats others, so long as it treats him like a prince?

dubai2The big news that came out of Smith’s press conference was this: he’s so fond of Dubai that, as one local journalist put it, “he hopes to soon make a movie in the Middle East about the Middle East.” Smith himself said that he “had a couple of ideas” for pictures and admitted that he’d met “a few times” with Dubai’s film commission. “I love it here,” he effused, “and I’d love to be a part of the mining of stories from this region.”

But his main reason for wanting to make a film in Dubai, he emphasized, is not personal but educational. As one Emirates reporter put it, “he wants to help teach his home country more about the region.” Or, to quote Smith’s own words: “The Middle East can’t allow Fox News to be the arbiter of its imagery. Cinema is a huge way to be able to deliver the truth of the soul of a place to a global audience.”

That wasn’t all. He had even more to say about the wonders of Dubai. “Dubai,” he pronounced, “dreams the way I dream.” 

Meaning what? We’ll finish up tomorrow.

Deep thoughts with Will Smith

Yesterday we took a gander at movie star Will Smith, who aside from being a huge movie star is a legend in his own mind – a thinker of deep thoughts, a preacher and teacher who, along with his equally evolved wife Jada Pinkett Smith, seeks to help the rest of us to approach his own sky-high level of enlightenment. (As radio personality Robin Quivers put it: “They have this attitude that they know everything and nobody else knows anything.”)

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With Ellen Degeneres

This is a guy who has spent much of his career telling people like Ellen Degeneres and Charlie Rose about his philosophy of life. Some choice excerpts from these interviews can be viewed on a You Tube video entitled (what else?) “Will Smith’s Philosophy of Life.” Samples:

“Greatness is not this wonderful, esoteric, elusive, godlike feature that only the special among us will ever taste. It’s something that truly exists among all of us.”

“Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity.”

“Our thoughts, our feelings, our dreams, our ideas are physical in the universe. If we dream something, if we picture something, if we commit ourselves to it, that is a physical thrust toward realization that we put into the universe.”

“There’s a flow of the universe that I’ve grown to know just how to go with it.”

As we noted yesterday, Will and Jada have passed their wisdom – and their prophetic calling – onto their children, Willow and Jaden. The result: both kids, still in their teens, are, like their father, eager to do their part to alter human consciousness. In 2013, Time magazine ran a tongue-in-cheek piece, “Is Jaden Smith the World’s Next Great Philosopher?”, in which reporter Ed Dodds analyzed recent Twitter musings by the then 15-year-old (“All The Rules In This World Were Made By Someone No Smarter Than You. So Make Your Own”; “If Newborn Babies Could Speak They Would Be The Most Intelligent Beings On Planet Earth”; “If Everybody In The World Dropped Out Of School We Would Have A Much More Intelligent Society”) in light of the writings of Kant, Locke, and other great thinkers. 

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Jaden and Willow

In 2014, Vice magazine had a similar stratagem, consulting a philosophy professor to help decipher Willow and Jaden’s pronouncements in a recent interview with the New York Times. (Some of their comments, to be sure, didn’t require much interpretation. Jaden: “We don’t think a lot of the music out there is that cool. So we make our own music.” Willow: “There’re no novels that I like to read so I write my own novels, and then I read them again, and it’s the best thing.”)

Last December, a friend of Jaden’s told Us Weekly that “Jaden sees himself as a modern-day prophet and is working on a collection of essays….They’re new takes on string theory and chaos theory, but more mystical….Jaden thinks he has spiritual ties to people in other dimensions and galaxies, and they are helping him write….He hopes to have a spiritual following when he releases these.” (Let us underscore that our intention here isn’t to mock these teenagers; it’s to note the nature of the impact that Will and Jada’s homemade metaphysics has had on their offspring.)

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Will Smith at his Dubai presser

Anyway, as we noted yesterday, Will recently went to the UAE to promote a new movie, Suicide Squad – and to spread his special brand of enlightenment to the people of Dubai. At a press conference, he was asked some questions about America. He proceeded to brutalize Donald Trump and his admirers, whose vocal support for the businessman’s presidential candidacy Smith welcomed as an opportunity to “get to know who people are” so that they can then be “cleanse[d]…out of our country.”

Yes, you read that right: Will Smith – this highly evolved being who presumably views as utterly immoral Trump’s intention to ban foreign Islamic extremists from the U.S. and to curb mass illegal immigration through Mexico – has no problem talking about “cleansing” America of natural-born citizens whose politics differ from his own.

But that was just the beginning of his press conference. More tomorrow.

Mr. Smith Goes to Dubai

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Will Smith

Will Smith, the movie actor, is a man of solid values, profound thoughts, and high principles. If you don’t believe that, just ask him. He’ll tell you himself, over and over again, just how deeply he’s thought about the meaning of human existence, about how to formulate his personal ethics and put them into practice, and about how to instill those values in his son Jaden and daughter Willow, both of whom he pushed into showbiz at age six.

Along with his actress wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, Will has cooked up a whole special language in which to talk about life, goals, and the universe. It’s not just enough, they explained to Oprah Winfrey in a 2010 interview, to marry, have kids, earn a living, and try to make a happy home. No, when “two spirits join together” in wedlock you need a shared “vision” because there is “so much more you have to be dedicated to.”

As Jada put it, she and Will are “two big beings that came together,” and once they saw their kids growing up and becoming “their own beings,” they realized they needed to form a “family business” aimed at scoring cosmic achievements. They needed to encourage their progeny to devote their inborn “excellence” to the high purpose of doing “service to greatness” and of “advanc[ing] and elevat[ing]” humanity.

Just as Will has done in movies like The Pursuit of Happyness [sic] and After Earth – and Willow, in turn, has done in her megahit music video “Whip My Hair.”

But Will and Jada aren’t content with just instilling values in their kids. As Will told Oprah, “I don’t want to be an icon. I want to be an idea….I want to represent possibilities. I want to represent magic, right? That you’re in a universe and two plus two equals four. Two plus two equals four only if you accept that two plus two equals four. Two plus two is going to be whatever I want it to be.” He went on to assert the importance of making choices: “There’s a redemptive power that making a choice has. Rather than feeling like you’re an effect to all things that are happening.” And he asserted his belief “that I can create whatever I want to create….I feel very strongly that we are who we choose to be.”

Okay, some of it doesn’t entirely make sense, some is neither original nor profound, and some is just plain hooey. But what more can you expect from a guy who for years was ranked by Forbes as Hollywood’s most bankable star, and was repeatedly included on its list of the richest Americans under age 40 – and who therefore, one imagines, is surrounded constantly by handlers who won’t stop telling him how brilliant he is?

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Will and Jada

Anyway, the point is that Smith isn’t content to give the world cinematic masterpieces like I, Robot and Hitch. He wants to enlighten us. He thinks he knows stuff. And he especially thinks he knows a lot about religious and spiritual stuff.

The fact that he’s donated a lot of money to Scientology – and that he sounds an awful lot like a Scientologist, and starred in the horrible movie After Earth, which is packed with themes that, according to many critics, seem to have been drawn from Scientology – has sparked rumors that he’s a secret member of that sect. He’s denied it, maintaining instead that he finds ideas worth using in a variety of faiths.

I’m a student of world religion,” he said in a 2007 interview, “so to me it’s hugely important to have knowledge and to understand what people are doing.”

Which brings us to his recent visit to – of all places – Dubai.

Tune in tomorrow.