“SNOBBISH, RACIST, AND PLAYING A DANGEROUS GAME OF DOUBLE STANDARDS:” Ian Buruma takes on the world’s reaction to the Miss World riots. Well, the non-Blogospheric world’s reaction, anyway:

Staging the contest in Nigeria might not have been wise, and the journalist may have been courting danger. But some of the reactions in London suggest that the killers may have had a point. There is an odd convergence between fashionable political correctitude and religious bigotry, as though people who have the bad taste to enjoy beauty parades are criminally culpable. Rod Liddle, for example, found it difficult to disagree with the Muslim lynch mob, “from a theoretical point of view”, that Miss World represents everything that is horrible about “western culture”. . . .

Besides snobbery, there is a worse reason for being more outraged by western vulgarity than non-western murderousness. It might be called moral obtuseness, or even moral racism. The assumption appears to be that Africans or Asians can’t be held to our own elevated standards. They are more like wild animals, whose savagery should not be provoked by our foolishness. When we do provoke them, the consequences are entirely our fault. It would be as misplaced to apply our moral standards to their behaviour, as it would be to expect tigers to talk. The murder of Nigerians or Indian Muslims, or Iraqi Kurds, is par for the course, unless we did it, or Americans, or Israelis.