Bloggers play around on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's new blog. They also rebuke Günter Grass for waiting so long to disclose his Nazi past, and wish Al Gore would put his money where his mulch is.
Mahmoud's MySpace: Iran's president has got a new blog. It's available in Farsi, Arabic, French, and English (click on the respective flags in the upper right-hand corner). So far, Ahmadinejad has rapped about growing up the pious son of a hardworking blacksmith and distinguishing himself as a scholar by practically acing his "university admission test-conquer." Next up: favorite postpunk bands and Flickr photos from "my totally insane uranium enrichment weekend in Natanz."
At Editor: Myself, Hossein Derakhshan, a Tehranian now living in Toronto, has mixed feelings about how Ahmadinejad has entered cyberspace: "As 'the blogfather of the Iranian blogs,' I have to confess, I'm quite happy that the movement I started in November 2001 has become so mainstream that even someone like Ahmadinejad has embraced it. Even though I think he's been a disaster for Iran and I count the minutes until he leaves the office he's occupied … [He] is not going to crack down on Internet as a whole. Blogs are localised now and they've also localised Internet in Iran and safeguarded it."
Muslim reformist AliEteraz writes: "What is most fascinating about it is how … he appeals to his poor background, and links it to the poverty endemic in Iran. Obviously the attempt is to paint the West as responsible for that poverty. It is the same trick that the Muslim Marxists of the past employed to sow loyalty and allegiance amongst the Muslim masses during their hey-day in the 60's and 70's. That, to me, is further proof of the theory that today's Political Islam is yesterday's Marxism in different clothing."
Don Radlauer at Guns and Butter Blog hopes the president's new hobby distracts from some of his more ominous ones: "It's a cheerful thought, isn't it? An Iranian President busy blogging would hardly have time or energy to send nuclear-armed missiles our way, rearm Hezbollah, or otherwise destroy the Western world that provides the bulk of his readership, would he?"
Allah Pundit at conservative Hot Air isn't sure Mahmoud is the man behind the keyboard. One of his readers ran a "whois" on the URL and found that Ahmadinejad is "using a Gmail address, which seems somehow unlikely, and that Iranians typically translate his name from Farsi to English as 'Ahmadi-Nezad' with a 'z' … I don't know what to make of the fact that whoever owns the domain has been squatting on it since November 2004, either."
Read more about Ahmadinejad's blog.
Grass roots: Nobel Prize-winning novelist Günter Grass told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine that he is a former member of the Nazi Waffen-SS, one of the most elite military units of the Third Reich. Grass, who had previously claimed minimal enlistment as a German soldier in WWII, is best known as the premier chronicler of postwar German identity—and guilt. His outspoken leftist politics have longtime opponents insisting that his moralism is now mud.
"His name will be associated for ever with hypocrisy," concludes David Pryce-Jones at David Calling, his blog at the righty National Review. "Everyone must tell the truth, that is [Grass's] message, and Germans especially must tell the truth because for ever their country will be associated with Auschwitz. Truth-telling for him meant criticizing the United States at every opportunity, defending the Soviet Union as far as possible, and pointing an accusing finger at fellow Germans for covering up their Hitlerite past."
Conservative literary critic Stefan Beck at the New Criterion's Armavirumque duly awaits the million little repudiations: "I wonder whether this … will capture the public's interest and outrage as the Frey debacle did. Oprah Winfrey, where art thou?"
Can a lifetime of historical reckoning atone for youthful participation in the personal army of Heinrich Himmler? Reporter Shaun D. Mullen at Kiko's House thinks so: "While I was disappointed to read of Grass's relevation, it does not diminish his power as a storyteller and his message remains just as potent. Unhappily, it doesn't seem like a lot of younger Germans want to hear it."
Read more on Grass' Nazi past.
Think globally, act selfishly: In a column for USA Today, Peter Schweizer of the conservative Hoover Institution claimed that Al Gore's wattage-sucking habits—which include flying on a private jet to promote his global-warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth and investing in big oil companies—don't conform to his public environmentalism.
Grrand Wazoo at grab-bag site Sma' Talk Wi' T clucks: "Here's a tip AL, skip the jet and try using Amtrak next time or maybe stop your zinc mine from polluting the Cumberland river. Clean up your own doorstep before you set out to change the world and maybe you will earn some credibility. Just as with an echo, your message gets weaker with each sounding."
Odiyya at lefty-green The Conscious Earth defends Gore: "What he is doing is advocating explicit action to curb and control carbon emissions, and he is living his life 100% consistently with this aim by going carbon neutral. This is the entire point behind Kyoto and other efforts, not to prescribe what we should and should not do or consume."
At nonpartisan In the Middle of America, ex-Marine "G" upbraids the ex-veep for owning a "10,000 (8 bathrooms!) sq. ft. home in Nashville, a 4,000 sq. ft. home in Arlington Va, and another in Carthage TN … But wait, there's more: In his Arlington VA home and Nashville home the local power companies offer a program where, for a $.02 increase per KW, you can have your home powered via wind energy. But guess who's not on that program … for either home. That's a lot of light bulbs and air conditioning running off of a non-renewable power source."
Read more on Schweizer's op-ed.