UPDATE: I’ve been informed that Dan Arel, at his website “Danthropology,” has an even longer list of Twi**er exemplars as well as his analysis.
Reader Barry sent me a couple of bizarre tw**ts emitted yesterday by Reza Aslan, and when I went over to verify them, I saw this:
Blocked! Aslan is, as far as I know (and I don’t know very far), the first person to block me on Twi**er, even though I don’t read tweets and don’t follow anybody. I’ve never directed a tw**t at the man, or anyone else for that matter, though I have posted about him, and those posts automatically go to my Tw**er feed.
Fortunately, Aslan’s tw**ts were retweeted by Sam Harris, so I can verify their authenticity. What I find bizarre is this: I am a very small fish compared to Sam, and my skirmishes with Aslan have been minor compared to Sam’s. So why am I blocked and not Sam? Well, never mind: it’s not that I care if I’m blocked, for, as everyone knows (so I’m told), you can see tw**ts from someone who’s blocked you by simply signing out of Twi**er.
Anyway, here are Aslan’s tw**ts; he is responding to Harris’s podcast about the Chapel Hill murders, in which Harris accuses Aslan not only of intellectual dishonesty (I agree), but also of making life more dangerous for people who criticize Islam (I agree with that, too).
This is no way to have a rational, much less intellectual, discussion, but I’ve come to expect this from Aslan. Like Chopra (who, by the way, has not blocked me), Aslan is afflicted with Chronic Maru’s Syndrome (inability to not enter any box he sees), and responds to disagreement with childish and ad hominem insults. This is not exactly what I’d call a response to what Sam said. Further, who is obsessed with whom? Aslan takes every opportunity he can to go after Sam and also Richard Dawkins, for he knows that he can dine out on attacking the New Atheists. And the stuff about not giving Harris a second thought is simply a lie: Aslan talks about him constantly.
Here is Harris’s response:
Well, this is all internet drama, but there’s also a larger purpose here: I see Aslan as a dangerous man, one who tries to pretend that Islam has no fangs and, by minimizing the very real dangers that some of its adherents pose to the West, makes people less aware of those dangers. Now we see that he’s not only wrongheaded, but narcissistic and immature as well. That makes him even more of what they call a “useful idiot” for religious appeasers.
But of course we know how to deal with people who have Maru’s Syndrome. . .