Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Reza Aslan Goes Ballistic on Twitter

I struggle to find an accurate description of Reza Aslan when writing about him. Is he a "personality", scholar, academic, or just plain comedian? Last I heard, he was still on the books as a professor at UC Riverside. He briefly had a gig on CNN before that infamous episode where he was seen on video joining a tribe of something or others in the hinterlands of India feasting on human brains. (Yum.)

That meal must have cost him more than just a rise in cholesterol because the curious Mr Aslan periodically goes off against those who don't share his "worldview", be it in eating human brain matter or whatever. Aslan's latest meltdown is directed at Trump supporters, whom he apparently holds responsible (both Trump and his supporters) for the massacres in El Paso and Dayton. (See above). He has also lashed out at Trump spokesperson Kellyanne Conway in a similar manner.

The only problem with Aslan's reasoning is that in the case of the Dayton shooter, one would have to substitute Trump's name with that of Elizabeth Warren since she was the preferred candidate of Connor Betts. How would this sound?

"After today, there is no longer any room for nuance. Senator Warren is a white nationalist terror leader. Her supporters-ALL OF THEM- are by definition white nationalist terror supporters. And this evil, racist scourge must be eradicated from society."

As much as I disagree with Warren's beliefs and her rhetoric, I do not assign blame to her for what the Dayton shooter did. Nor do I blame Trump for the actions of the shooter in El Paso. Trump is divisive and speaks his mind, but that's a far call from inciting murder. If Aslan truly is an academic and a scholar, he should know that.

Which brings to mind the second time I saw him speak. He was speaking on the topic of Islamophobia at UC Riverside in 2015, and I was on hand to videotape it and ask him a question during q and a. I asked him how he would define Islamophobia and if he would also apply the term to victims of Islamic violence, for example, Coptic Christians in Egypt. His definition was fine, but he had no sympathy for those "Islamophobes" who had been victims of violence or intolerance at the hands of Muslims. You can watch the whole thing here.

Reza Aslan goes to great lengths to get himself in the news. (You simply MUST watch that Indian brain-eating episode. It was CNN's finest hour until Michael Avenatti came along.) To most of us, he simply embarrasses himself with his shenanigans, outbursts, and bizarre academic "scholarship".

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