There is a new media meme rearing its ugly head in the many discussions of the Ground Zero Mosque. A number of journalists seem to be suggesting that if critics oppose the construction of the Mosque, they should also be incensed by the presence of strip clubs, bars, and an off-track betting location in the area.
"Just How 'Hallowed' is the Ground Near Ground Zero?" asks Time Magazine's Madison Gray. "New York Doll's Gentleman's Club, and the Pussycat Lounge are two strip clubs that sit within a block of Ground Zero, but are not seen as a threat to the land's hallowed nature," Gray added. "So it seems to some, freedom of religion might be a problem, but a $10 lap dance is not."
Gee, could it have anything to do with the fact that pole dancers didn't fly planes into the twin towers? For some, the right to build a mosque and the move's moral implications are two distinct issues, and $10 lap dances have exactly nothing to do with either.
Gray goes on:
Then there's Off Track Betting, where visitors to the sacred neighborhood are able to place bets on the horses without even breaking their solemn focus on the dump trucks and cranes that sit where the Twin Towers once stood. Think about it: where else can you show your reverence while at the same time putting all your faith in Fat Chance Cinnamon or Poco's Black Charger?
Let's not forget Thunder Lingerie and More, where you can pay your respects to the 9/11 tragedy, then take in a peep show, or pick up a few naughty items for that trip back to the hotel.
And most noticeable of anything you could see around this untouchable area are the dozens of street vendors who sit a stone's throw away from Ground Zero capitalizing on the fact that it is one of New York's most visited tourist attractions. Possibly millions of dollars change hands every weekend all in the name of capitalist gain and certainly not any reverence for the 2,700 who died in the space right behind them.
So deciding exactly how "hallowed" the area near Ground Zero is might be up to the individual visitor. But one thing's true: those who have already deemed it as such don't seem to mind the seedy stuff nearby as much as they do a quiet, private house of worship.
Surely Gray forgot to add that this particular "private house of worship" is devoted to the same religion in whose name those 2,700 Americans were killed, built where landing gear from one of the planes that hit the towers fell, scheduled to be opened on September 11 of next year, and named after the Islamic Caliphate who conquered much of Medieval (Christian) Spain.
I say he must have forgotten to add those details since they would accurately frame the argument against the Ground Zero mosque, and surely he was not trying to intentionally distort that argument.
Of course if he were, he would also have to explain why strip clubs have any bearing whatsoever on the sanctity of an historic or prestigious location. There are three strip clubs within a few blocks of the White House. Is Gray suggesting that the White House is not a sacred location?
Gray cited a blogger at History Eraser Button, who posted photos of the various locations, and wrote,
Look at the photos. This neighborhood is not hallowed. The people who live and work here are not obsessed with 9/11. The blocks around Ground Zero are like every other hard-working neighborhood in New York, where Muslims are just another thread of the city fabric.
The Daily Caller's Jim Treacher handily dismantles that line of argument:
Which will come as a shock to the millions of Americans who assumed lower Manhattan was now an open pasture, populated solely by a handful of tonsured monks wandering around solemnly whispering, "Remember... Remember..."
This stunning insight into the nature of modern American cities has impressed everyone from Charles Johnson to Roger Ebert. Don't you see? People are selling stuff. People are buying stuff. People are taking their clothes off for money. Dude, that building they're turning into a mosque? (Or not-a-mosque, depending on which one helps your argument.) That place was a Burlington Coat Factory! Sure, it shut down for good on the morning of September 11, 2001, when it was hit by wreckage from a plane flown into the World Trade Center, but up until then it was a Burlington Coat Factory.
"Hallowed ground"? Ha!
Humor aside, even given the astounding irrelevance of establishments at Ground Zero that don't bear ideological similarity to perhaps the most infamous mass murderers in American history, journalists continue to peddle this nonsense.
As Scott Whitlock reported yesterday, ABC's Dan Harris parroted the line on "Good Morning America," noting that "Defenders [of the Mosque] point out that also close to Ground Zero are two strip clubs, an adult/lingerie store and an off-track betting parlor."
And as Doug Powers succinctly put it, "This would be a logical rebuttal to Ground Zero mosque critics, provided the Twin Towers had been taken down by nine poll dancers, seven pairs of edible underwear and three bookies." As it is, the line of argument has no bearing on the moral validity of the project.
"It may be sacred ground," writes Erin Einhorn for the New York Daily News, "but the streets surrounding Ground Zero are also a place where New Yorkers work, eat and buy shampoo."
Stop the presses. New Yorkers buy shampoo near Ground Zero? Amazing. Not that they buy shampoo in the general vicinity of where they live. Amazing that for much of the media, apparently this can actually pass for a valid argument in favor of the Mosque, or at least in opposition to its critics.