I think Jonah Goldberg is making excellent sense with his assessment of the ‘All-American Muslim’ controversy we discussed yesterday: Pop culture is designed, basically, to create an impression of what is and isn’t mainstream. So we’ve seen gay culture more and more presented as basically normal in pop culture and that’s shifted the popular impression of what it means to be gay in America and pushed opinion polls in a generally positive direction.
So when a show like ‘All-American Muslim’ hits television screens, the idea is basically to normalize and mainstream moderate Islam – a brand of Islam that the previous president talked about quite a bit, actually, when urging Americans to be tolerant of Muslim Americans and convincing us that the moderates in the Middle East would prevail if only we helped tipped the scales a bit.
So yes, it’s weird to boycott a show that tries to push the mainstreaming of a moderate vision of Islam. But bigoted opinions are rarely, if ever, rooted in logic. Attempting to approach them from a position of reason is a bit like blowing against the wind.
The only way I can imagine myself joining a boycott of ‘All-American Muslim’ is if it were tied to a larger boycott of reality television. Then again, I don’t watch reality television, so me boycotting it would be an exercise in false valor. False valor can make us feel better about ourselves, but it’s calorie-free and short on nutrients.