Anyhow, Mr. Lee, basically waging a war against Animal Planet, was supposedly influenced by Dan Quinn's 'novel' "Ishmael"? What's that about? Well, here's a Wiki summary:
Ishmael proposes that the story of Genesis was written by the Semites, and later adapted to work within Hebrew and Christian belief structures. Ishmael proposes that Abel and his extinction metaphorically represents the nomadic Semites and their losing conflict with agriculturalists. As they were driven further into the Arabian peninsula, the Semites became isolated from other herding cultures and, according to Ishmael, illustrated their plight through oral history, which was later adopted into the Hebrew book of Genesis.It appears to be a twist on Genesis, where 'the gods' were actually backing Cain and his megalomaniac agricultural aspirations, to the detriment of brother Abel, who represents the 3rd world and/or tribal cultures in today's modern terms. Forget about the Biblical explanation of the result of what happens when men begin to think they are gods (like reinterpreting the story, etc).
Ishmael denies that the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was forbidden of humans simply to test humans' self-control. Instead, Ishmael proposes that the Tree represents the choice to bear the burden of responsibility of deciding which species may live and which should die. This is a necessary decision agricultural peoples must make when deciding which organisms to cultivate, which to displace, and which to kill in protection of the first.
Ishmael explains that the Fall of Adam represents the Semitic belief that once mankind usurps this responsibility - historically decided through natural ecology (i.e. food chains) - that mankind will perish. He cites as fulfillment of this prophecy contemporary environmental crises such as endangered or extinct species, global warming, and modern mental illnesses.
Ishmael, fostered by a Ted Turner grant several decades ago, has the feel of just another environmentalist screed against western civilization cleverly disguised as a novel told by an ape named after the bastard son of Abraham (whose tortured journey later led to the founding of Islam). Mr. Quinn will no doubt be a hot interview in the days to come to explain further (he's on "Nightline" tonight--is that still on?) so perhaps this first guess will prove inaccurate--the book is apparently part of the curriculum at some schools across the nation so how could it be that bad?
It will interesting to see whether Mr. Quinn places Lee as a 'taker' or 'leaver' or if he assigns blame, and on whom. Will he connect his inherited wealth? Meanwhile, there will be those who assign blame to Al Gore or Mr. Quinn due to their study material on the subject just as some have done with the Tea Party or Sarah Palin (telling people to 'reload'). Ultimately people are responsible for their own actions and clearly there are pre-existing conditions with most nuts, but if the ideology they revere cultivates action isn't that at least a part of the problem? Doesn't the left always warn about this with right-wing nuts, especially if they have backgrounds in
Here's the link to Nightline, where they include about a 5 second bit with the author saying he can't imagine Mr. Lee lifting anything out of the book, but that's it. Clearly Lee was a nut and could have listed the Bible or Qu'ran as influences, which would have been dismissed by most media observers (well, except for the Bible part). But clearly too Mr. Quinn surely has an opinion on a guy like Lee and what produced his madness, and why. Would have been interesting to hear.