James Taranto really passed on a lulu of a quote today. It comes from a book review by Michael Browning of the Palm Beach Post, reviewing Stephen O'Shea's book Sea of Faith on medieval clashes between Christianity and Islam:
Instead, for every Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi we can show a Bill O'Reilly, an Ann Coulter, a Rush Limbaugh, a Glenn Beck and a Sean Hannity. Idiocy parades unashamed in the streets on both sides of the war on terror.
One should not make accusatory remarks about idiocy in the same paragraph as a comparison of vicious people who've personally sawed off people's heads to sharp-tongued radio talk-show hosts and editorial writers.
Just for context, consider the pleadings that surround this paragraph. Just before it, Browning pleads for an utter end to a war on terrorism when we need "convivencia" (in Cold War terms, more "peaceful coexistence").
Still, given the fact that millions of Muslims, Christians and Jews ring the Mediterranean today, the constant friction and violence we're seeing now — a future of fire that looms with no end in sight — seems singularly useless and wrongheaded. Convivencia, not conquest, offers more hope.
In the paragraph after the Hannity-is-like-Zarqawi paragraph, Browning wants the good old days of Muslims giving us chess and numerals:
It's impossible to read of these faraway times without a pang of regret. The days when the Muslims gave us the names of the stars, introduced us to chess, passed along Arabic numerals, the works of Aristotle and oranges are long gone. Dusty, rocky, parched battlefields remain.
It should not be surprising that Browning doesn't want to fight a war on terror. After all, he is a nationally published expert on chicken. Okay, now I'm just being a bit silly. Say this for Browning: he is not a fan of "The DaVinci Code." He won't make any dust covers for saying it was "a book so relentlessly stupid it makes owl dung look wise."