That’s one of my favorite Simpsons lines, rapidly muttered soto voce by an announcer during their parody of America’s Most Wanted.
Arid Uka, who shot and killed two American servicemen at Frankfurt Airport on Wednesday, has told German police that he was motivated in part by a video that he saw showing American soldiers “plundering a house and raping a girl” in Afghanistan. According to Germany’s deputy Attorney General Rainer Griesbaum, Uka is supposed to have viewed the video on YouTube. (…)
The same footage can also be seen on YouTube under the English-language title “Footage of Abeer Qassim.” The description specifies “rape footage of Abeer Qassim.” Unlike the German-language YouTube page, however, the English-language page indicates that the footage comes from the Brian De Palma film Redacted.
The post looks into the frequent use of re-enactments of crimes on German television. Certainly, media watchers have wondered for decades what kind of impact these re-enactments would have on viewers.
Now, I’ve never heard of even the dumbest Westerner being prompted by a re-enactment to commit a crime, but I’m prepared to be corrected.
The trouble here seems to be that a) the clip was filmed Blair Witch/Cloverfield style, to make it look more “authentic,” and b) it was ripped out of context, and was missing its disclaimer.
The other trouble is that, despite having apparently grown up in a country where these sorts of re-enactments are commonplace, the Muslim in question clearly didn’t discern the “tropes” that usually give these “shaky/night vision” fake sequences away.
I knew one smart, creative young man who’d seen hundreds of movies, and who thought Blair Witch was real, until his brother gently explained that it wasn’t. (This was years ago, and the kid didn’t have regular internet access.) After BW, as imitations followed, most Western media consumers became adept at, if not being able to immediately tell real “shaky cam” footage from faked, quickly assuming that almost everything filmed like that is fake. (That default position has its own implications for society of course.)
The trouble with the Muslim mind, and its fatal attraction to conspiracy theories, is that it automatically assumes the fake is the real. (This is a phenomenon that also leads a very particular sort of Christian to pass along urban legends without checking Snopes first, a problem that thankfully doesn’t seem as commonplace as it used to be.)
This naturally explains why Muslims embrace a patently false religion as well. However, for our purposes, what matters is that social coherence in an increasingly fragmented world requires that we all “be on the same page” as much as possible, and “get” things more or less together.
As I’ve been called “racist” for saying: it does my 86-year-old old-stock Canadian mother in law no good if her “free” health care is being provided by a 30-year old Filipino or Jamaican “nurse” whose accent is too hard for her to understand even if she weren’t hard of hearing, and who doesn’t understand her anachronistic colloquialisms about symptoms and body parts. We already have enough problems with stupid born-here Canadians without adding possibly-smart-but-culturally-different foreigners to the brew.
Importing thousands or millions of people whose baseline worldview, mindset and default assumptions are the exact opposite of our own, who can’t keep up with the every shifting requirements for basic cultural and media literacy, inevitably leads to chaos and in this case, violence.
Speaking of “exact opposite” reactions, I’ll leave it to others to explain why not one single American Muslim was murdered as revenge for 9/11, but a Muslim can so easily be prompted to kill by watching a fake, far away crime.