Lit Crit

A New Breed of Breeder

March 28, 2014

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Professor Harris reproduces a quote from Epicurus now widely regarded by proper scholars as being misattributed, supporting a view of the philosopher as an atheist, which he wasn”€™t. He is keen on wild generalizations such as, “€œMost religions endorse…genocide and armed conflict,”€ and he cites Palestine, Sudan, and the Caucasus as examples. Even a man as intellectually dishonest and/or feeble as Professor Harris must have noticed that these three conflict zones involve one very specific religion. (I”€™ll give him a clue. It centers around a fellow called Muhammad.) I”€™m racking my brains to think of a genocide currently “€œendorsed”€ by the Roman Catholic Church, or by those savage and warlike English Methodists, or by the Dalai Lama…but no, I can”€™t think of one.

At the same time, Professor Harris is furious about the way religion tells lies about AIDS”€”this from the man who believes that transmitting the HIV virus is a kind of breeding. Woefully ignorant of the world beyond the USA, he in turn tells many lies about religion, writing for instance that female genital mutilation is confined to African Muslims. Actually it’s widespread in Indonesia and practiced among Egyptian Copts as well. He takes it as read that religion has always suppressed rational thought and opposed science: Has he ever heard of Thomas Aquinas, Roger Bacon, or Gregor Mendel?

And he is a great admirer of Christopher Hitchens’s fashionable and best-selling atheist tract God Is Not Great. My single favorite moment in Hitchens is when he solemnly informs the reader that Orthodox Jews are only allowed to make love to their wives through a hole in the bed sheet. That’s hilariously untrue, as a moment’s research would have told him. But Professor Harris laps it up.

Has W. C. Harris, our barely literate English Professor (Shippensburg University, Pennsylvania) actually read the Bible he so despises? He may be deeply familiar with the work of Hitchens and “€œqueer psychoanalytic theorist”€ Tim Dean, but how is he on the Old Testament? At one point here he tells us how violence is urged against “€œnon-Christians and apostate Christians”€ in Chapters 18 and 82 of Deuteronomy. Well, first, Deuteronomy only has 34 chapters, so there is no chapter 82; and second, there are no Christians or apostate Christians in Deuteronomy. It’s the Old Testament. It’s the Jewish Scriptures. Christians don”€™t come along until the New Testament. Y”€™know, like, Christ?

Such remarks by an American university professor”€”and a literature professor at that”€”hint at such vast oceans of ignorance, such immense treasure houses of stupidity and sheer hoggish bigotry, that it might make you despair of our culture altogether”€”if you didn”€™t already. But never mind”€”all that crappy old Bible-based DWM Judeo-Christian Western gay-bashing thing is going to be replaced by a thrilling new Gaytheist culture of barebacking. Then we”€™ll all be fine.

 

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