Newspapers have what they call the advanced obituary; prepared obits for the aging or ill figure of repute ready to go, once the subject does. This of course risks the embarrassment of a hoax or mistake causing a premature obituary, but remains a necessity. The practice has long been taken as comically ghoulish, but I see it as the ultimate in respect. I wish there was an obituary (glowing preferably, but not necessarily) out there waiting for me! Alas.I believe I've identified another, similar need--for the advanced backlash report. As Mark Steyn noted (so many terrorist attack/anticipated backlash cycles ago it's making me nostalgic):
Shortly after the London Tube bombings in 2005, a reader of Tim Blair, the Sydney Daily Telegraph’s columnar wag, sent him a note-perfect parody of a typical newspaper headline: “British Muslims Fear Repercussions Over Tomorrow’s Train Bombing.”Until Islamic terror becomes a thing of the past there will be a need for documenting the fears of anticipated backlash. What socially responsible journalist wants to find himself tasked with producing hundreds, or thousands, of words of plausible paranoia ahead of a treacherously short deadline? I am here to help. I believe the advanced backlash story could lend itself well to a simple template form requiring little more than the addition of names and dates. The form might go something like this:
As [Western city] mourned today, Muslims fear backlash and increased Islamophobia as result of yesterday's attack on [Western target*] which killed ___ and injured ___.
"These attacks have nothing to do with Islam," [Muslim spokesman] of [Muslim advocacy organization not yet revealed to be funding terrorists], speaking in Urdu, said today. "Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. These men are not true Muslims."
Far right fringe groups immediately seized on the attacks for political opportunity. "This should bring home to us the necessity of addressing the problem of Islamic terrorism," [fascist poopy-head] of [sinister right-wing organization/political party] said today.
Muslims have long faced discrimination and poverty in [country under assault]. "This should wake us to the problems of discrimination and marginalization in [country under assault]," said [sociologist with either Muslim or hyphenated last name] of [university/Soros-funded organization]. "We have ignored the reality of Islamophobia for far too long. People must not blame all Muslims for this attack. It’s important to note some of the strongest condemnations of the violence have come from Muslim leaders themselves."
*form not valid for attacks on non-Western targets