By Kam Zarrabi,
By Kam Zarrabi, Intellectual Discourse
I listen to Dennis Prager's morning talk show radio programs almost daily on my way to work. Of all the conservative AM radio talk show hosts, Dennis interests me the most. I got tired of Rush Windbag Limbaugh, even though I used to find his irritatingly arrogant comments too often disturbingly close to the mark.
The great spinmeister, Bill O'Reilly, sounds and looks a lot better on his prime-time TV show, where his good looks compensate for his inability to appear as a "fair and balanced" or even a downright honest journalist. His slew of sycophantic "experts", from a tin-horn retired colonel to some Senior Fellows at the American Enterprise Institute, are carefully chosen to simply parrot Bill's mostly presumptuous nonsense.
Sean Hannity, who follows O'Reilly on the radio, is just too obnoxiously verbose to deserve comments. Likewise, Michael Medved, is simply too damned "nothing" to worry about. Then there is one Michael Savage, formerly Weiner, or could it be Whiner, who is perhaps the most entertaining to lighten up your day on the drive home in the evening. Tune him in some afternoon and see how a clinical psychopath can make you laugh until tears come to your eyes. Ironically, this fellow is perhaps the most educated, as well as the most sincere in his presentations, than the rest; he acts out his assumed name, Savage, quite convincingly!
On the liberal front we have the comedian Al
Franken and his sidekicks. Randi Rhodes, who hosts the program on Air
So, I listen to Dennis Prager, partially as a substitute for my morning coffee, which I have been advised to avoid by my doctor. An excerpt from an article I wrote in July, 2004, The Fox Network of Talking Heads, for payvand web site, might be of help here:
"Our renaissance man, Dennis Prager, whose philosophy can best be described as a shallow Zen-Judaism, opens his show by humming along with a hair-raising soundtrack from some heroic motion picture like the Gladiator. Unlike Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage and some others, Prager does make some sense when addressing current cultural or social issues, albeit from a very conservative perspective, and only when he can toot his own horn, and he doesn't miss any opportunity to do just that. As to be expected, renaissance men must endeavor constantly to prove, mostly to themselves, that they are indeed renaissance men. And, as is the case without fail, their eclecticism is spread so wide and so thin that their limited expertise stretches to the point of rupture. Underneath the veneer of pseudo-sophistication one can easily see the giant ego, the bigger than life I, that drives our renaissance men's thought engine.
Well, this wundermensch, Dennis Prager, stands a handsome six foot four (he's proud to let you know), quotes from Isaiah Berlin, conducts symphony orchestras (he so claims), has written THE book on happiness, knows about the Greek legend of Sisyphus, writes and lectures on Jewish history and tradition, and appears on like-minded TV shows. In short, Dennis sounds like he's got the world by the tail, hence his base-baritone Zero Mostel vibrato that often accompanies his orgasmic opening bars to the 'Dennis Prager Show.'
Dennis is a
staunch defender of
Mr. Prager does his homework methodically: First, he monitors the other God's gift to humanity, Bill O'Reilly, and follows up on the more famous guru's daily propaganda by highlighting the same current events issues. He then voices his reverence for Christianity and Christian values, right after announcing that he is a devout Jew. This accomplishes two tasks simultaneously: while pandering to the largest possible audiences, the Christian Americana, he feigns his objectivity by being a non Christian himself, as he levels his daily routine of criticizing, ridiculing and insulting everything Islamic - his pet agenda.
But wait, as he insists every once in a while, Dennis is not anti-Islam, only anti-militant Islam - there is a big difference, he says. Well, how nice of Dennis; but if you listen to this pompous bigot long enough you will find that to him most if not all Moslems are militant!
His view of
summarize, Dennis is a passionate man; he is truly in awe with himself, and he
So, there you have it folks, as Dennis would say."
So, when I noticed his Op-Ed article on Los Angeles Times, Sunday November 13, and heard him talk about it the following Monday, I was quite intrigued. Below is the text of his Op-Ed piece:
Five questions non-Muslims would like answered
Dennis Prager's nationally syndicated radio show is heard daily in
November 13, 2005
THE RIOTING IN
Here are five of them:
(1) Why are you so quiet?
Since the first Israelis were targeted for death by Muslim terrorists blowing themselves up in the name of your religion and Palestinian nationalism, I have been praying to see Muslim demonstrations against these atrocities. Last week's protests in
There are a billion Muslims in the world. How is it possible that essentially none have demonstrated against evils perpetrated by Muslims in the name of Islam? This is true even of the millions of Muslims living in free Western societies. What are non-Muslims of goodwill supposed to conclude? When the Israeli government did not stop a Lebanese massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Chatilla refugee camps in
(2) Why are none of the Palestinian terrorists Christian?
If Israeli occupation is the reason for Muslim terror in
(3) Why is only one of the 47 Muslim-majority countries a free country?
According to Freedom House, a Washington-based group that promotes democracy, of the world's 47 Muslim countries, only
(4) Why are so many atrocities committed and threatened by Muslims in the name of Islam?
Young girls in
(5) Why do countries governed by religious Muslims persecute other religions?
No church or synagogue is allowed in
Instead of confronting these problems, too many of you deny them. Muslims call my radio show to tell me that even speaking of Muslim or Islamic terrorists is wrong. After all, they argue, Timothy McVeigh is never labeled a "Christian terrorist." As if McVeigh committed his terror as a churchgoing Christian and in the name of Christ, and as if there were Christian-based terror groups around the world.
As a member of the media for nearly 25 years, I have a long record of reaching out to Muslims. Muslim leaders have invited me to speak at major mosques. In addition, I have studied Arabic and Islam, have visited most Arab and many other Muslim countries and conducted interfaith dialogues with Muslims in the United Arab Emirates as well as in the U.S. Politically, I have supported creation of a Palestinian state and supported (mistakenly, I now believe) the Oslo accords.
Hundreds of millions of non-Muslims want honest answers to these questions, even if the only answer you offer is, "Yes, we have real problems in Islam." Such an acknowledgment is infinitely better - for you and for the world - than dismissing us as anti-Muslim.
We await your response.
before I had a chance to convulse over this bigot's remarks, I found a detailed
response in Juan Cole's web site. Professor Cole teaches history at the
Clearly, Professor Cole does not know anything about our genius renaissance man, Dennis Prager. He saw the Op-Ed article and simply had to respond. You can find the full text of Juan Cole's article on his web site; it is certainly worth reading in full. Here are short excerpts from his response:
"Somebody named Dennis Prager wrote a frankly bigoted op-ed for the LA Times asking "Muslims" 5 questions. The questions are fairly easy to answer in themselves, but the stupidity of the whole framework is what is objectionable.
"Prager is not only stereotyping an ethnic group, he is profoundly ignorant.
"In Prager's weird world, everything Muslims do is in the name of
"The questions are symptomatic of prejudice and sloppy thinking."
sorry to say that Professor Cole is wrong on several points: Dennis Prager is
neither stupid, ignorant, nor a sloppy thinker. Being stupid or ignorant
absolves one of the more serious charges of malicious intent. This, for the want
of more appropriate words, self-promoting intellectually shallow man, follows a
clear agenda. Blinded by his
insatiable narcissism, he is not aware how transparent his real motives really
are. He has successfully convinced himself of his own greatness. He has been
making good money and does have a following; there are enough pseudo
intellectuals to stroke his ego and keep him on the air. And, finally and most
importantly, his admitted passion for everything Israeli and anything Jewish,
allows his distorted mind to go to any length in order to promote his warped
To Dennis Prager, one and a quarter billion Moslems are the source of all evil. He cloaks this view in a politically more palatable way by claiming that not all Moslems are evil, only the militant ones. The problem is, he believes, Islam itself is prone to breed militancy; ergo, Islam must be evil!
Professor Cole; this charlatan didn't really deserve the time and effort it must
have taken for you to write your response to his "Five Questions" Op-Ed in LA
Times. You did not know who this character was, but I have been following his
talk show programs for several years now. I am not a Moslem, a Jew, or a
Christian, but I do have a life-long knowledge and personal experience of
sociopolitical developments in the
learned about Mr. Prager during one of my lectures a few years ago. A gentleman
in the audience, a physician, who supposedly knew Dennis Prager personally,
suggested that an open debate between us in an academic setting might prove
productive. I told the gentleman that I would welcome such a debate, with one
caveat: we each come equipped only with our respective opinions; no need to be
armed sophomorically with so called
facts and statistics that are usually doctored up and no more than opinions,
anyway. Any campus in the
... Payvand News - 11/18/05 ... --