Lileks Watch, Day X

So apparently, six Muslim men were removed from a flight and detained for questioning in Minneapolis following a conference. And what is the man from Fuddles, MN pissed about? Is he pissed that six people missed their flight and were humiliated by the cops for no reason? (You know he would be if it had been him.) Is he pissed that American citizens were racially profiled by a busybody passenger who flipped out at the very existence of scary Musselmen? Of course not. He's pissed that the initial version of the story on his local news failed to mention that the men were Arabs, even though wire reports did mention it, and the local story has since been changed.

Adding "police snitch" to his c.v. alongside "pathetic, impotent mother hen", Lileks goes on to report, and I swear that I am not making this up, a friend of his was at a sales meeting, possibly (!) at the same hotel as the Muslim conference, and one of the speakers was praying really loudly! And, to add to the sheer soul-chilling horror of this terrorist enclave, the next speaker had the gall to claim that Muslims suffer persecution in America! Could THIS, wonders the scarediest cat in the Midwest, be the reason that the six imams were so peeved at being dragged off a flight they'd paid for against their will and questioned by the police even though they hadn't done anything wrong? COULD BE! So, of course, he (Lileks) phoned the newspaper, to tell them what his friend had said.

No, really.

"I phoned the info in to the paper, as a good citizen. Wonder if there’s anything to it." He really did this. He called up, I dunno, the city desk, and told them what his friend had said happened at a hotel that was maybe the same as the one where these guys were, maybe. I haven't checked the Strib's website yet, but I'm sure there'll be a banner headline: "LOCAL GUY SAYS FRIEND SAYS MAYBE MUSLIMS BECAME AGITATED DUE TO LOUD PRAYERS AT CONFERENCE". He's a journalist, folks!

However, in the interest of saving him some fact-checking time:

1. "My friend who was maybe at the same hotel as a conference these guys maybe were also at" is not a particularly good source, even as background.

2. Praying loudly is not a crime.

3. Claiming that your group is persecuted, likewise, is not a crime.

4. Therefore, becoming agitated by the claim that your group is persecuted is not a crime, and is likely only going to be reinforced by encountering persecution immediately after hearing that your group is persecuted.

5. Last on our list of things that are not crimes is being pissed at getting hauled off your flight and detained by the police for no reason. If that were a crime, being a pissy middle-aged crank who constantly complains about bad customer service would probably also be a crime, and James Lileks would be in prison.

6. Possibly the only crimes committed were by the airline and the police.

7. Since none of the things done by the speakers or the imams were crimes, reporting extremely nebulous connections between them are not newsworthy. In any way.


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