Kathleen Parker wrote a great commentary about the 2 latest Internet phenomenons- Paul Potts and "Rage Boy, or as she pegs them: "Beauty and the Beast". The Kashmiri rent-a-protester (better known as "Rage Boy") who has been photographed at every protest photo-op in the area, from the Danish Cartoon protests to the recent brouhaha re. Salman Rushdie, was popularized by Christopher Hitchens and snappedshot.com. The latter website has an hilarious series of photos of "Rage Boy", in various locales, all with the same gaping fish mouth look.
On the other hand, an unassuming, nebbish salesman, Paul Potts," took the world by storm when he won "Britain's Got Talent" with his surprisingly lovely operatic voice. Parker likens the two in as much as they are both "...mostly recognizable by their mouths --" but adds that they:
"vividly illustrate the striking cultural difference between East and West. They are beauty and the beast -- one a testament to civilization and hope, the other a monument to primitivism and despair. One is driven by a search for the sublime, the other by ... what? Bitterness? Resentment? Retribution for perceived insults to an ideology, a system of spiritual beliefs? Or is it merely what "they've'' got that Rage Boy thinks should be his. Success. Prosperity. Freedom. In Rage Boy's world, anything or any person perceived to undermine his fragile sense of self is justification for someone to incite a riot, or to wear a bomb to market, or even to fly an airplane into a building. The fact that Rage Boy is obviously an actor sent out to hype outrage at these orchestrated events only confirms the cynicism that underpins jihad's moral bankruptcy. Rage Boy is nihilism unleashed."
These 2 men, on opposite ends of the globe, demonstrate the differences between our 2 worlds. One represents man's potential to rise above his lot when he embraces 'light' as opposed to 'darkness'. The other demonstrates what happens when one cloaks oneself in a blanket of hatred, adhering to a religion that, for the most part, preaches abhorrence of others, and encourages violence. Beauty and the Beast, for sure.
"Meanwhile, over yonder in Merry Olde England, where grand traditions of civility and decency are daily being eroded by resident, hate-spewing Muslim clerics, a plump boy with bad teeth got teased growing up and turned his inner rage toward something outside himself. He sang. Not everyone has the natural talent to sing an aria, obviously, but everyone has the voluntary will to see beyond one's personal wounds and to view narcissistic rage for what it is. One does not have to be an imperialist or a champion of Manifest Destiny to consider that there may be something about Western Civilization -- the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, to mention a few highlights -- that makes Potts a possibility."
"Something about the culture of Islam, as radicalized by embittered malcontents, stoked by governments in need of scapegoats for misery, and sanctified by disciples of self-importance, makes Rage Boys probable. There is a world of difference."
Each one of us has that choice, though: to be either a Paul Potts or a Rage Boy. And, obviously, there are Paul Potts' in the East and Rage Boys in the West. But not enough of the former to make much of a difference in this world.