Dear ITT Ideologist: Law, Order and Angry Atheists

Pete Karman

(Illustration by Terry Laban )

Dear ITT Ideologist,

Angry atheism, or being mad at something that isn't there, is a harmless form of mopery.

Naturally, our plan at Law and Order for the forthcoming 9/11 Manhattan terror trial is to rip it from the headlines, melodramatize it, ballyhoo its network premier, and then rerun it on TNT for the next three centuries. We’ve got the prosecution part down, but are having trouble dreaming up a doable defense. I am therefore asking you to act as amicus curiae in the case. 

D. Wolf, New York

Dear Mr. Wolf,

I am happy to be of counsel. Coincidentally, I mastered corpus juris by watching 323 episodes of Law and Order after inadvertently subscribing to a cable operator that carries only TNT. 

I emphasize that I am offering the following argument advocatus diaboli rather than out of personal conviction. 

I suggest a Blackwater-Bush defense. Defense counsel should argue a fortiori that the accused were privately contracted to attack U.S. command and control targets for remuneration (vis Army Air Corps v. Milo Minderbinder). Those actions were taken in accord with the Bush doctrine, which holds that a country may attack any other country that it surmises might do it harm at some future time (vis Bush v. Iraq). The contractor claim of sovereignty for the purpose of invoking the Bush Doctrine is as per stirpes inheritor of the caliphate (vis Mohammed v. Infidels). This is so, whether or not the governor of Alaska was aware of it (vis Gibson v. Palin).

Further, defendants should hold that both the Pentagon and World Trade Center qualify as command and control facilities under prevailing U.S. military doctrine. Civilian casualties resulting from these attacks would therefore be considered collateral damage. Such damage is not unlawful so long as it is not excessive in light of the overall military advantage anticipated from the attack” (USDOD Joint Publication 3-60). Since contractor anticipated that God’s wrath would guide its thunderbolts in achieving the greatest of earthly victories, collateral damage level was acceptable.

Finally, I recommend that you engage Denny Crane from ABC’s Boston Legal as first defense chair. The twinkle in his eye and his colorful cravats would be a plus in humanizing the defendants.

Should you have further questions, do not hesitate to contact me at the Professor Irwin Corey Institute for Inchoate Studies at Hudson University.

Dear ITT Ideologist,

I’ve been hearing a lot about angry atheists lately. Is this something I should get riled about? 

M. Huckabee, Little Rock

Dear Governor Huckabee,

Not to worry. Angry atheism, or being mad at something that isn’t there, is a harmless form of mopery, such as exposing one’s self to a blind person.

Help In These Times Celebrate & Have Your Gift Matched!

In These Times is proud to share that we were recently awarded the 16th Annual Izzy Award from the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College. The Izzy Award goes to an independent outlet, journalist or producer for contributions to culture, politics or journalism created outside traditional corporate structures.

Fellow 2024 Izzy awardees include Trina Reynolds-Tyler and Sarah Conway for their joint investigative series “Missing In Chicago," and journalists Mohammed El-Kurd and Lynzy Billing. The Izzy judges also gave special recognition to Democracy Now! for coverage that documented the destruction wreaked in Gaza and raised Palestinian voices to public awareness.

In These Times is proud to stand alongside our fellow awardees in accepting the 2024 Izzy Award. To help us continue producing award-winning journalism a generous donor has pledged to match any donation, dollar-for-dollar, up to $20,000.

Will you help In These Times celebrate and have your gift matched today? Make a tax-deductible contribution to support independent media.

Pete Karman began working in journalism in 1957 at the awful New York Daily Mirror, where he wrote the first review of Bob Dylan for a New York paper. He lost that job after illegally traveling to Cuba (the rag failed shortly after he got the boot). Karman has reported and edited for various trade and trade union blats and worked as a copywriter. He was happy being a flack for Air France, but not as happy as being an on-and-off In These Times editor and contributor since 1977.
The War on Protest Cover
Get 10 issues for $19.95

Subscribe to the print magazine.