12 July 2007

Clash of Civilizations Trotted Out Again

Photo: AM, on way to DVD Market near Bagrationovskaya Station

“Our country is special. We have cultural values.”
“There’s a great summer feel to the place… You could say we’re preparing for battle.”

Two quotes from Russian youth who were patrolling a Moscow neighborhood known for gay cruising, from yesterday’s New York Times. I'm struck by the continued use of “the clash of civilizations” (here, substitute “culture”) rhetoric, both by right-wing activists and by the New York Times reporters in framing the issues. Apparently all political differences are now a clash of civilizations, despite all the work done over the past five or ten years to debunk Samuel Huntington’s fanciful interpretation of world politics. (Though in his defense, I don’t think that Huntington would call these events a clash of civilizations.)

I guess Kris Kristofferson was right: “If you waste your time a-talking to the people who don’t listen to the things that you are saying who do you think’s going to hear?”

Three unrelated things I read today: