Harry’s Place and the Red Mist of Rage

I’ve been reading Harry’s Place off and on for a while now. Harry’s is a strange and surreal place where their internet campaign against terrorism and anti-semitism sadly provides cover for much islamophobia, and the Euston Manifesto is a rallying call for right-thinking people rather than a justification for wars of aggression.

Their slogan is: “Liberty, if it means anything, is the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear.”

Which, frankly, is asking for trouble, since people are bound to say things to *them* that they don’t want to hear.

Things like: most of the bloggers and commenters seem to imagine themselves to be left wing in some sense and there is certainly significant support for New Labour on the site. But given how often they slag off left wingers many of them would probably admit to being on the right wing of the Labour Party and probably feel comfortable with that – and even if they don’t it’s still true. But here’s the thing: Labour isn’t a left wing party any more, it’s a centreist party. And if you are to the right of a centreist party, then you are just, well, plain old right wing. Sorry. Harry’s Place is a right wing site that supports Gordon Brown. Suck on it.

Or things like: the expressed RAGE against militant Islamists, some of whom admittedly hold highly offensive views, seems so constant that they barely have a moment to draw breath before again descending into the Red Mist of rage against those bad people. And there’s nothing wrong with getting angry at bad people, but there are many bad people and many bad things in the world, many of them worth getting angry at. And there comes a time when we must calm down, take a deep breath, and assess the situation a little more rationally. The Red Mist at Harry’s Place is all about one thing and one thing only, and it is so omnipresent that there is never a moment of taking stock, of calm thought in which to think about  the discourses they are part of.

As for their never-ending posting of extremist Islamist views (acting as a justification for the relentless pursuit of terrorists by invading countries with nothing to do with terrorism and bombing shepherds) it amounts to Islamophobia for one reason that should be quite clear to many of the contributors. I could grab a bunch of quotes from Jewish religious extremists and violent settlers in Hebron, post them up on a webpage and talk constantly about backward Jewish extremism and how it is an evil force that must be resisted. It would certainly play well to a certain crowd on the internet who would flock to hear how evil and sinister those Jews are. I don’t do that, because it wouldn’t be honest, and I know who I would attract.

If the main bloggers at HPs manage to succeed in distinguishing between extremist Islamism and Islam (something I am in doubt about, but let’s say they do) they only need to read their own comments section to see that many in the gallery they are playing to do not.

But apparently the real slogan of Harry’s Place is: “Liberty, if it means anything, is the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear, and also what they do want to hear, very selectively, with certain biases behind it that play to the prejudices of the audience.”

But it’s not as catchy I suppose, and might blunt the purity and simplicity of life in the Red Mist.


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