This is a long piece but it does have underage sex
and bestiality in it. So enjoy! — Mark Steyn
The other day I had an e-mail from M J Murphy, who blogs as Big City Lib,
saying only this:
I think you owe Dr. Miller an apology.
There followed a link to a post called
Steyn Gets Punked By 28-Year Old Literary Hoax:
Remember the kerfuffle between Mark Steyn and journalism professor Dr. John Miller
from a few weeks back? Dr. Miller accused Steyn of taking material for “America Alone”
from illegitimate sources like the infamous Little Green Book:
Sayings of the Ayatollah Khomeini.*
[*UPDATE: M J Murphy has quietly revised this paragraph,
and so the airbrushing begins]
Actually, I don’t think Dr Miller has accused me of any such thing, though
I admit, given his shifting accusations, that I’m no longer quite sure what
he’s accusing me of. Just to recap, said “kerfuffle” arises from this passage
in a review I wrote for Maclean’s of Oriana Fallaci’s final book The Force Of Reason:
Signora Fallaci then moves on to the livelier examples of contemporary Islam —
for example, Ayatollah Khomeini’s “Blue Book” and its helpful advice on
romantic matters: “If a man marries a minor who has reached the age of nine
and if during the defloration he immediately breaks the hymen, he cannot enjoy
her any longer.” I’ll say. I know it always ruins my evening. Also: “A man who has
had sexual relations with an animal, such as a sheep, may not eat its meat.
He would commit sin.” Indeed. A quiet cigarette afterwards as you listen to your
favourite Johnny Mathis LP and then a promise to call her next week and swing
by the pasture is by far the best way. It may also be a sin to roast your nine-year-old
wife, but the Ayatollah’s not clear on that.
A cheap joke en passant. Indeed, insofar as I dwelt on the ovine fornication,
it was to suggest to La Fallaci that, even for us flagrant Islamophobes, it was
not perhaps the most useful avenue of attack:
I enjoy the don’t-eat-your-sexual-partner stuff as much as the next infidel,
but the challenge presented by Islam is not that the cities of the Western
world will be filling up with sheep-shaggers. If I had to choose, I’d rather
Mohammed Atta was downriver in Egypt hitting on the livestock than flying
through the windows of Manhattan skyscrapers. But he’s not.
And that’s it. That’s all I said. And no one would remember had not El Mo’s
sock puppets included the sheep-shagging line in the dossier they submitted
to the Canadian “Human Rights” Commission. Whereupon Dr Miller …actually,
I’m not sure he is a doctor: He calls himself “The Journalism Doctor”, but the
title seems to be entirely self-conferred. Anyway, at this point, Doc Miller, Prof Miller,
Herr Baron von Miller or whatever he is got interested in the case and asked the British
Columbia “Human Rights” Tribunal if he could intervene. Silly ol’ me assumed that he
wished to intervene to argue the cause of free speech. But no: he wanted to intervene
to argue that I was not a “responsible journalist”, and so it was entirely appropriate for
the state to censor me.
As Rory Leishman notes, since this thought-police racket got going, “Most journalists have
either condoned censorship or cowered in silence.” Canadians who still value liberty should
know that, if they rely on anemic PC flunkeys like Professor Miller, they’ll lose their country.
At any rate, the BCHRT gave him the bum’s rush, so Prof Miller surfaced a few weeks ago and
kept returning to the subject of the sheep-shaggers line. His complaint is in an apparently endless
process of evolution. But let’s go through the story so far:
1) First, insofar as I understand his initial argument, he advanced the curious line
that the ruling from the Ayatollah was not widely cited, and therefore it was improper of me to use it.
After it was pointed out that in fact Khomeini’s views on the post-bestiality buffet,
child sex and other arcane points of Islamic law are known to many (especially those
on the receiving end), a couple of weeks later he revised his line of attack:
2) Now his argument was that I’d concocted it out of whole cloth. The J-Doc declared
boldly that Steyn “gave no citation for the quote, and I suspect it was made up.”
In fact, as anyone who reads the passage above can see, I attributed it to Oriana
Fallaci’s book. The disinterested observer might conclude that Professor Ethics-Bore
had never so much as glanced at the offending article but had simply taken the Sock
Puppets’ word for it. So the E-Bore was obliged to revise his argument yet again – and
decided to accuse me of what he appeared to have done himself:
3) Now my sin was that I “clearly accepted someone else’s word for it”.
Evidently, it wasn’t all that “clear” when he was accusing me of making it up,
but a drowning ethics prof can be forgiven for clutching at straw men.
At any rate, that makes three different complaints. As I wrote:
That’s the great thing about the self-appointed “Journalism Doctor”:
When he diagnoses you, he provides his own second opinion.
Now, on Prof Miller’s behalf, M J Murphy has revised my crime yet again:
Dr. Miller accused Steyn of taking material for “America Alone” from illegitimate
sources like the infamous Little Green Book: Sayings of the Ayatollah Khomeini.
As I said, the sheep-shagging passage is from a review of La Fallaci’s book in Maclean’s.
It’s nothing to do with America Alone. There is no mention of sheep shagging in
America Alone. There is no mention of any Little Green Book in America Alone.
There is, indeed, no mention of Ayatollah Khomeini in America Alone. Prof Miller
and Mr Murphy and their enthusiastic chorus boys at Law Is Cool are welcome to
check for themselves.
But, leaving that aside and forgiving M J Murphy for confusing America Alone with a
book review in Maclean’s, if you return to the passage up above, you’ll see that neither
Oriana nor I refer to any Little Green Book.
We cite a “Blue Book” – or “Libro Azzurro”, in La Fallaci’s original Italian. That’s the
color we’re nailing to our mast. We’re singing the blues, and it’s you fellers who are
smelling the green. Indeed, the guy who brought up the Little Green Book is Prof Miller
in his response to me. I never mentioned any green book. Like I said, I’d rather be blue.
So, if M J Murphy and the excitable schoolgirls at Law R Cool have proved The Little Green Book
is a “hoax”, the person who’s been “punked” is Professor Miller.
Incidentally, I wouldn’t describe The Little Green Book as a “hoax”. It would be truer
to say that it is a somewhat lurid and condensed version of the Ayatollah Khomeini’s work.
Nevertheless, if you read M J Murphy’s post, you’ll find that Marvin Zonis
of the University of Chicago declined to provide an introduction for it. Professor Zonis
is evidently regarded by M J Murphy as a greater authority in these matters than I am,
so please keep his name in mind.
However, as it happens, I didn’t take “someone else’s word” for anything,
whether it was the word of Oriana Fallaci or the compiler of The Little Green Book.
When it comes to the Ayatollah Khomeini’s views on sheep shagging, my gu
ide for many years has been a book called Resaleh Towzih al-Masael. The author is
a chap called …Ayatollah Khomeini. Let’s go back to the original offending quotation
from my Maclean’s book review:
Signora Fallaci then moves on to the livelier examples of contemporary Islam —
for example, Ayatollah Khomeini’s “Blue Book” and its helpful advice on romantic matters.
Well, here’s a clue:
Hmm. Here’s another clue:
But how can that be? We all know: “There is no Blue Book.”
The Lord High Checker of Facts has pronounced.
As it happens, Resaleh Towzih al-Masael has been published in Iran in several editions.
But the most popular was the paperback edition published by Nashr I Sharia’t of Tehran.
It sold for 120 rials. It had some 350 pages, approx 5×7 inches, with a blue cover,
featuring a picture of its ever more famous author. A souvenir hardback edition marketed
as the perfect New Year gift was subsequently published by Rashidi with a plain blue cover…
almost every year this book is published in a different color. But many versions of the “Blue Book”
are still out there:
In the relevant passage in her book, Oriana recalls first seeing excerpts from the
“Blue Book” in 1979. That’s what it was back then: A blue book. The blue book
in revolutionary Iran. It certainly wasn’t a “little green book” as that wasn’t published till 1980.
So when she and I refer to the Ayatollah’s “Blue Book” we’re referring to that Nashr I Sharia’t
edition of the Resaleh. It was translated into English, unabridged, by J Borujerdi and published
in 1984 by Westview in London and Boulder, Colorado under the title A Clarification Of Questions.
I was given it a couple of decades ago by the Iranian gal I was then dating.
She had a copy of the pocket paperback with the Ayatollah on the cover, and once,
when she read out a bit to me, I expressed skepticism that it could really be that wacky.
So a few weeks later she presented me with the English edition. As she explained, these
were not just some personal musings from the Ayatollah but a kind of moral compass for
the Islamic state. So I didn’t need to “accept someone else’s word for it” on having sex with
nine-year-old girls, because, like anyone else who’s taken even a cursory interest in the
subject, I’ve known for a long time that, in the Islamic Republic of Iran, girls could be legally
married at the age of nine. Article 1041 of the Civil Code states:
Marriage before puberty by the permission of the Guardian and on condition of taking
into interest the ward’s interest is proper.
“Puberty” is defined as “nine full lunar years” – although, in practice, girls as young
as seven can be married on the say-so of a doctor. The justification for all this is in the
highly elaborate rules of Islamic life. They may sound unlikely to M J Murphy or Prof Miller
but the Ayatollah’s “clarification of questions” doesn’t strike most devout Iranian Shi’ites
that way. Mr Borujerdi, the English translator, was an Iranian émigré living in Cleveland,
and he gave an interview about the book to David Remnick (now the editor of The New Yorker)
in The Washington Post in 1985. It’s not available online but M J Murphy and Prof Miller
and the Law R Cool nellies are welcome to go to their local reference library and check it out.
It’s the Aug 21 issue, page B1:
“I did the translation because it gives a very close understanding of the Shiite
view of the world,” he said. “The Bantam Press published a very slight version five
years ago called The Little Green Book’-just 6 percent of the original-but that was really
a joke book, to poke fun at Khomeini and debunk Islam at the beginning of the hostage
crisis. In Iran, this book is mandatory for every literate person, a kind of guide to living.”
So this is the real deal, not the sensationalist précis but a serious, scholarly
“unabridged translation” designed to provide “a unique picture of the belief structure of Shi’ism“.
Mr Borujerdi had no difficulty finding eminent academics to provide an introduction – namely,
Professors Mehdi Abedi and Michael Fischer of Rice University in Houston. But he also consulted
on the translation and interpretation with many other scholars, among them Professor
Wilfred Madelung of the Oriental Institute at Oxford University, Professor Wheeler
Thackston of Harvard’s Near Eastern Languages department, Professor William
Darrow of Williams College, Professor Vincent McHale of Case Western,
Professor Merlin Swartz of Boston University …oh, and Professor Marvin
Zonis of the University of Chicago. That would be the same Prof Zonis
who was unhappy with The Little Green Book, and thus made M J Murphy
unhappy, too. But Prof Zonis is cool with A Clarification Of Questions, so
presumably M J Murphy will also be satisfied?
Resaleh Towzih al-Masael/A Clarification Of Questions consists of almost 3,000
“problems” for which Ayatollah Khomeini provides answers, plus a few follow-ups
he dealt with in subsequent editions.
So, just to bring the deplorably unicultural Prof Miller up to speed,
the easiest way to get a flavor of the Ayatollah’s book is simply to
sample the contents pages:
1&2. Urine and stool
6&7. Dog and pig
11. Sweat of an unlawful ejaculation
12. The sweat of a camel that eats uncleans
Hey, Multiculti Man, that would be you at big hit sound number 8: “Infidel” –
right behind “Dog and pig” but, if it’s any consolation, ahead of “Sweat of an
unlawful ejaculation”. But hang on: ejaculate-wise, the Ayatollah’s just getting
PRECEPTS OF EJACULATION
Things that are unlawful for an ejaculator
Things that are loathesome for an ejaculator
The bath of ejaculation…
So just to reprise:
Did I cite Oriana Fallaci accurately? Yes.
Did she cite Ayatollah Khomeini accurately? Yes.
Is there a volume by the Ayatollah commonly known as the “Blue Book”? Yes
Does it include rulings on sex with nine-year olds and what to do with a shagged sheep? Yes.
Did either of us mention a Little Green Book? No. In fact, the translation Oriana cites
pre-dates The Little Green Book by a year.
I think Professor Waggy-Finger is doing what they call “projecting”. He’s accusing me of
everything he’s been doing himself. I took “somebody else’s word for it”. Er, no. That
would be you, taking the Sock Puppets’ word for it on my book review. I didn’t check the
“primary source”. Er, no. That would be you, cavalierly announcing there’s no such thing as a
“Blue Book”. To be more charitable to you than you deserve, you assume that Oriana Fallaci
and I so want to think the worst of Islam that we’ll fall for any old hooey. Actually not. On the
other hand, you so want to think the worst of us blowhard provocateurs that you assume we’re
as ignorant of Islam as you evidently are.
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