Today I called into the Rush Limbaugh radio program and made my talk radio debut to approximately 15 million listeners. The really cool part is that my remark about the film Mars Attacks became the inspiration for Rush’s parody, Mahmoud Attacks in his regular feature, See, I Told You So… (“You can stream the audio of the call segment here)
I am the caller identified as “Arthur from Nevada City.” I used my middle name, in case I totally embarrassed and humiliated myself. I pointed out that, while the press is receiving the letter from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to President Bush as some sort of diplomatic overture of peace, the text of the message actually sounds like a religious authority claim by Ahmadinejad, calling Bush to repentance and the recognition that the Qaim, the messianic figure in Twelver Shi’ism, is at the door. Instead of a friendly appeal to avert a nuclear showdown, this epistle may be akin to the Martian declaration, “We come in peace,” being broadcast while blasting or disintegrating anything and anyone within range! It was comforting to know that Condoleeza Rice sees the letter for what it is, a sermon on “history, philosophy, and religion.” It may be more than that, but only time will tell. Keep your eyes on the horizon for the Black Standard at the head of an army coming out of Khurasan!
Rush took off on the Mars Attacks remark, so I didn’t really get into the details about the letter. I wrote a paper some time ago about the Bab, a nineteenth-century claimant to Mahdihood, and you may glean some insight under the heading Holy War and the Babi Uprising at Shaykh Tabarsi. Also, Juan R. Cole wrote an article about the messianic claims of Baha’u’llah and the letters he sent to world political and religious leaders, calling them to repentance and the recognition of his exalted station. I think you will see what I was getting at. Do I think Ahmadinejad is claiming Mahdihood? Not really. Some other authority claim? Perhaps. Still, it’s funny to watch the sympathetic response to the letter in the Congress and the press — they do not have a clue about what’s going on in this man’s head.
P.S. In the transcript of my call, “Twelver” is the word that was “unintelligible” right before “Muslims.”
|RUSH: You know, that’s not excellent point I must tell you in my highly fatigued state that I had not caught that. I appreciate you catching that. Because not only, not only are they bending over backwards to praise old Mahmoud when he rips Bush, but now here comes Mahmoud mentioning Jesus and God and religion, and these people are not freaking out. They trust Mahmoud. It’s okay when Mahmoud brings it up, but let Bush talk about God or pray — there was just a story the other day, forget where it was, that somebody was mischaracterizing — yeah, it might have been Albright. It was Albright! It was Madam Albright. She was complaining that Bush thinks God talks to him. What do you think Mahmoud thinks? Of course, we can’t criticize Mahmoud. That’s a great catch, John. I appreciate it. Arthur in Nevada city, California. Welcome, sir, nice to have you with us.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, thanks for taking my call.
RUSH: You bet.
| CALLER: I’m going to have a nervous breakdown here, so if you could just help me. But I think Condoleezza Rice is right on the money. She’s nailed it. When this letter first came out I was kind of concerned because this fit the pattern that these (unintelligible) Muslims take when they make an authority claim. They send out a letter calling world leaders to repentance and stuff. And, you know, with these people thinking that this is some kind of diplomatic overture it’s almost like Mars Attacks, you know —
RUSH: (Laughing.) I love that movie, too. I love that —
CALLER: You tell them, “Hey, the final days are about to come, all you world leaders need to repent.” And I think that might be why the clerics are upset, because this smacks of an authority claim, a religious authority claim.
RUSH: Again, it’s not the clerics that are upset, it’s the parliament. The clerics, by clerics, I mean the mullahs.CALLER: Yeah.RUSH: The mullahs, I am sure they’re clued in on this, probably behind it. But you know, it’s an excellent point. I love the comparison to Mars Attacks. Have you seen that movie, Mr. Snerdley? Yeah, these little Martians that show up live in these bubbles and so forth. Jack Nicholson is the president and these Martians are destroying everything in the world, and Nicholson thinks he can talk to them. “Come on, you little people, we all want peace.” And the leader of the Martian bubble people just sits there and smiles and offers his hand, shakes his hand, and then nukes Nicholson when it’s all over, and the American flag ends up being buried in Nicholson’s chest. That’s a great call, too. You callers are up to speed today. This is incredibly good. Thank you, Arthur, appreciate the phone call. Who’s next? See if we can keep this roll going. Stuart in Moraga — yeah, Moraga, California, yeah, hi.