I'm in a curious place these days. I'm determined to mount a new
website, even if it kills this one (which I hope it doesn't). My
purpose is to help save the Jews in Israel. My chief ally in this wants
me to write a mission statement. So here it is.
It's not about the Jews. It's about us. the vast population of
civilized ones. My vision is of a website that could never be taken for
a variation of the ADL or the JDL. It's about the rest of humankind. We
cannot allow the extermination of Israel to happen. Because when it
does happen, we all die as civilized men and women, and we're all
headed for a dark age our children and grandchildren won't see the end
If you've ever wondered what you'd have done in the 1930s when Hitler
started passing laws against the Jews, today is the day you can start
finding out what you're really made of.
I know some of you think I'm crazy. I'm not. We are all sitting right
here at the brink. In case you didn't know it already, there's no siren
that goes off when the world reaches a moral precipice. As I heard a
prominent conservative explain in a major address, the day after Obama
was elected, his children still went off to school, his wife went to
the supermarket, and he went to work as usual. That's the problem. No
siren. Except for the one that goes off in our heads.
Do you hear it? You should. Because it's all happening again now. All
of it. The boxcars are
being loaded, the Warsaw Ghetto is being emptied, the canisters of
Zyklon B are being released, and the trains are rolling out and out
while the chamber orchestra at Auschwitz plays on.
So what can a website do? A lot if we're smart about it. We can become
a force to be reckoned with. A voice that can't be stilled or
invalidated by political machinations. But here are the
boundaries we must observe as if they were reinforced by razor wire.
No advertising. No political or group affiliations. We must be
civilization's blog, a venue for all who care, a hybrid of news
aggregation and deep moral commentary. What should it look like? Don't
laugh, but it should look like a page from the Talmud. In the center
column, news of the day followed in each case by an assessment of
impact. My colleague laughingly suggested two such commentary
streams: "The Jew" and "The Gentile." Because there are two
different audiences. "The Jew" can address all audiences but only he
can speak to Jews who are still in denial. "The Gentile" can feel for the
Jews but he cannot lecture them. He must confine himself to reasonable
outreach to everybody else. He must beat the world drum. Every day.
There must be, as with most blogs, a righthand and a lefthand column.
The lefthand column is both topical and eternal. It contains links to
historical holocaust sources and contemporary voices, including
Facebook pages of those who are committed to the same purpose.The
righthand column is for access to the friendly organizations --
Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, secular, and plain news.
But friendly is all such
organizations can be. We accept no money from them, no sponsorship, and
we do no political work on their behalf. Our job is reporting the news,
commenting on and questioning the news, and providing the historical
and cultural context in which that news has meaning.
Beyond this, we must seek out exclusive interviews and essays from the
people who are involved in policy and punditry. We must question them
and draw out their knowledge without recourse to any political agenda
apart from the salvation of Israel. Which means, for example, that if I
should get the opportunity to interview Charles Schumer or Anthony
Weiner, I must not use the opportunity to interrogate them about health
care or congressional spending. That's not what this blog is about.
We will succeed if, and only if, we come to be seen as a nonpartisan
advocate of civilization, as opposed to barbarism. Nothing else. No
party, no ideology, no religion rules us. But history and humanity do rule us.
I am open to challenges, revisions, codicils, ordinary comments,
criticism, etc. Remember, though, that our primary goal as a website
that seeks power on this vital issue is traffic. Our secondary and tertiary
goals are traffic. We want to
be the go-to website when something that threatens Israel occurs. Have
Did I mention that the website will be called "It's Happening Again"?
Brizoni needs moral
The kid's up against it. No joke. For some reason (if that's the
right word), he's decided he needs to write a novel in one week. Something about a Nazi in
red shorts. I
helped out to the best of my ability, writing Chapters 1 and 2 for him
last night (uh, not kidding, sad to say), but he still has a long way
to go. And he actually thinks my
contribution needs editing!?
Something about "crap off the top of your head" and "flagrant violation
of my vision" or some such garbage
(the italics are to ensure a French reading of the word). The nerve of
At any rate, we've established a command center somewhere in Alabama
where we're receiving BrizoniAaid: hot towels, cold compresses, cheap
whiskey, unfiltered cigarettes, French coffee (well, boiled sneakers
will do), inspiring blondes with huge breasts and long legs,
anti-carpal tunnel forearm armor, and black plastic lawn bags. Can't
explain what the lawn bags are for, but he insists they're essential.
What we're still trying to arrange is the necessary airlift from
Alabama to the Pacific northwestern state (one of them) Brizoni
actually lives in. Any pilots out there with free time should call the
In the meantime, we're also soliciting donations of a wide variety of
writing tools the poor boy will be needing in his attempt to duplicate
the writing speed of Erle Stanley Gardner with far less, uh,
experience. Check your closets and hard drives, if you please, for all
the superfluous stores you might have of commas, periods,
three-syllable adjectives, prepositions, partially conjugated verbs,
rude interjections, and (sadly) full paragraphs that haven't already
been plagiarized by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Please do NOT send
obscenities. He already has an excess of those. (Lawn bags?)
I'd inspire you with the chapters I've already contributed to this
superhuman effort, but the kid's been mumbling about lawsuits and
machetes since about 10 am. What do lawsuits and machetes have in
common? I don't know. Must be part of the creative thingummy. Or
Where was I? If you want to contribute, please send your Lucky Strikes
and bottom shelf whiskey to this address:
Somewhere in Alabama
Yessir, USA [insert zip code]
That ought to about do it.
Monday, June 07, 2010
66 Years Later
MOREMORIAL. I hope some of you followed our
suggestion to observe "Military
History Week," from Memorial Day last
Monday through the 66th anniversary of D-Day yesterday. We aimed you at
the old TV series Victory at Sea,
which memorably recorded the invasion here, here, and here. Here's the
It's a long long time ago now, isn't it? Maybe that's why the exact
opposite of our suggestion appears to be what has occurred. I looked in
vain through the Turner Classic Movies, American Movie Channel, and
History Channel listings for a repeat of their creditable
performance on Memorial Day. I was unable to find a showing on any channel of Saving Private Ryan, The Longest Day, or a repeat of the
Band of Brothers marathon that
ran a week ago. D-Day has been subsumed into Memorial Day -- with only two
exceptions. The Military Channel devoted the whole day to the Normandy
invasion, and if you rose at 5:00 am like I did yesterday, you got to
see two memorable C-Span telecasts that conformed to the idea behind
"Military History Week."
I hope you'll spare the time to peruse both. First
was a lengthy interview with Sebastian Junger, whose book War (sample text here),
about the months he spent embedded with the most remote and embattled
U.S. units in Afghanistan, represents a timeless narrative of
soldiering that connects us to elemental truths about those who fight
and die for our country. I urge you to take in the whole interview.
Junger is as matter-of-fact as his story is inspiring. The second
C-Span gem was a book-tour talk by Victor Davis Hanson about his recent
work Father of Us All,
challenging modern conventional wisdom about what war is and what it
accomplishes and doesn't -- and why. Buried in the middle is a specific
reference to the outstandingly detailed planning and yet near-fatal
screw-ups of the D-Day invasion that should give pause to all who want
to abandon every military campaign the first time it blunders. (There's
also a terrifying analysis of the current Iran-nuke situation no one
should miss...) See it here.
The value of the larger perspective is twofold. It's about paying our
respects to those who gave everything for our freedom, yes, but it's
also about the critical importance of knowing enough about our own
history to retain perspective on what the role of our politicians and
an engaged citizenry should be.
To use the two examples I've offered, Junger demonstrates that war is always about life and death and
duty and courage and loyalty, regardless of the technology or rules of
engagement adopted. There may be high-tech drones operating via remote
control in Afghanistan, but there are also human troops -- our
brothers, fathers, and sons -- living in the field under conditions as
harsh as any faced by Washington's army at Valley Forge or the 101st
Airborne's in the Battle of the Bulge. Hanson explains that colossal
errors will always occur, and the test of a nation at war is not the
immaculateness of its planning but the ability to respond to the
inevitable unanticipated catastrophes. His exemplary recounting of the
85,000 Allied deaths caused by the failure to foresee the dangers posed
by Normandy's off-beach hedgerows, after an entirely successful
"Mission Accomplished" landing, is directly analogous to the undemolished
fence that crippled Pickett's charge at Gettysburg -- and
indirectly analogous to the "scandal" of unarmored humvees in Iraq.
Throughout history, victors learn from and overcome their mistakes, and
losers fail to understand the costs of quitting because events don't go
their way as predictably as rational critics think they ought.
Vitally, we also need to recognize that "paying our respects" and
"understanding our history" are frequently not complementary but
contradictory needs. Our attempt to honor the personal costs of
military sacrifice tends to focus on grieving older veterans who make
understandable statements in graveyards about the awfulness and
inexcusability of war. All of which are true is some absolutely
reductive human sense. But when we try to empathize with someone who
has been through what we cannot fathom, we are not actually empathizing. We are projecting in the most simplistic
and self-serving of ways. They are lamenting the human condition and
the particular personal costs they have paid. They are not speaking, in
such moments of intense personal emotion, to the equally relevant issue
of why they chose to fight in
the first place. They had their reasons, and we'd best pay as much
attention to those as we do to their grief-stricken platitudes. When we use their grief to claim that all war casualties die in vain, we are the lowest of pimps, whoring heroes for political gain.
FOR EXAMPLE: Watching documentary Discovery Channel footage of
80-year-old Iwo Jima veterans in tears at the memory of the best who
were left behind becomes, in this respect, a kind of voyeurism, almost
lewd in its objectification for political and philosophical purposes, of
their continuing personal agony. Tears about the horrors of war are not
the only important thing about them, not even the most important thing
You see, those Iwo Jima veterans are Marines.
They volunteered. They won despite the appalling physical and
psychological hurts they endured. If, today, they no longer remember or
recite the reasons for their service, it's as much a crime to ignore
the younger selves who won a savage fight to the death as it is to
exploit the piercing sorrows such men feel in their declining years.
What gets overlooked is that they did what they did because first and
foremost -- the initial cause if you will -- is that they loved their
country, families, and way of life enough to (promise in advance
they'd) pay the price they have been paying ever since. Would they
trade it away, even now, at this late date? No. Because that would mean
not having known or been so close to those they continue to mourn and
revere and honor with their tears. They would no longer be themselves,
not coincidentally, we would
no longer be the selves they suffered and
died to give us the freedom to be.
In short, veterans are NOT an argument against war, except for those
who trivialize them and their contributions as waste, misguided fools
who believed some trickery of their betters to a degree the naysayers do not respect but merely pity. These
did not risk so much and lose so much for the purpose of being reduced
to an easy argument
for appeasement and cowardice in the face of nakedly evil threats.
It was F. Scott Fitzgerald who
said, "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two
opposing ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the
ability to function."
What did he mean by that? This. War is awful and inexcusable. It is
also at times necessary and virtuous. It
was necessary and virtuous in 1860. It was necessary and virtuous in
1941. It's been necessary
(etc) several times since. It may be necessary and critically virtuous again soon. We
can deplore and
condemn the need. But we cannot permit ourselves to shrink from meeting
the need when it occurs, and we cannot use feigned respect for
past sacrificises as an excuse for not fighting the virtuous fights on
which our whole moral tradition depends. Rather, we must use memory to
fundamental humanity, as our surviving veterans have, even as we learn
from the mistakes and incomparable courage and resolve of our forebears.
We can see that the Iwo Jima survivors are men of deep character and
moral sensibility. We can also see that in the hour of their testing,
they did not relent in the terrible task of destroying the enemy so
that he could not survive to strike again at the innocent. Their words
in the cemetery may not make the point clearly. But their deeds did.
That's what we must most
fiercely remember. And what it seems we are rapidly forgetting. What is
66 years? Added to the age of a typical soldier, it's just beyond a
normal human lifespan. Is that really all it takes for us to forget a
miraculous example of unselfish courage, sacrifice, character, and
Pity the day.
If you've ever wondered
you as noble as this? Do you dare to be perfect?
everyone else how to be perfect? Kewl.
. At some level, the study of history is a mob exercise in
narcissism. The good guys and bad guys are determined after the fact
and we all get to share in the glow of righteousness that accompanies
the conviction of what side we'd
have been on in the great moral confrontations -- after the textbooks have pronounced
their judgment. We'd have opposed the
Salem witch trials. We'd have stood up for the American Indian tribes
when all the treaties were being broken. We'd have been die-hard
abolitionists and underground-railroaders in the age of American
slavery. We'd have denounced Hitler in the early 1930s and refused to
participate in his 1936 Olympics. We'd have opposed FDR's internment of
the Japanese in World War II. We'd have stood with Rosa Parks at the
front of the bus and died if necessary for Martin Luther King. We'd
have marched against the Vietnam War. And we always knew Bush was wrong
Or some of those things, anyway. And for many, book learning about such
things brings a sense of regret. IF ONLY. If only I had been there instead of in the here and
the now where nothing is that important or clearcut, I could have made
a difference. I could have
shown everyone the exquisite moral clarity of my soul. As opposed to
now, where everything is only shades of gray, and I'm really too busy
just trying to make a fucking living to get involved.
Welcome to the real world. Everyone is always too busy just trying to
make a fucking living to get involved. Except... if you're
interested... the universe is tossing up one of its endless
opportunities... for those who think
they're moral heroes.
If you're interested. I know the term has been overused, but I'll use
it again because it's so apt. We've reached the point of "perfect
storm" for the final annihilation of the Jews.
I mean, if you were looking for the absolutely absolute symptoms of
moral disaster before proving your own moral superiority -- you know,
the proof that it really is
that important to put your own prosperity and life on the line -- the
final pieces have been put into place. If no one acts, Israel will die
and the Jews will become a hunted race with nowhere to go and no one to
defend them. Interested?
Unless, in your heart of hearts, you really do want the Jews to go away
for good. (What happened? A Jew made you look bad in class? You lost a
lawsuit? A doctor was rude or overcharged you? You don't like the way
his wife was dressed or made up at the country club? A Jew made your
kid look bad in class? Etc.)
Yes, I know you love all the black people you've never met, and all the
Palestinians who haven't lobbed missiles into your child's pre-school,
and all the other causes that have nothing to do with the roots of your
whole moral system and educational tradition, but the seeker after
causes has to make some
I'm giving you a tip about the next moral cause that won't be
identified until it's too late.
The Jews in Israel are about to be exterminated. And the time to do
something about it is right now -- not next week, next month, or next
year. For all you moral heroes, let me put it in terms you do understand.
The Salem witch trials are banging the gavel. John Brown is cornered in
his burning barn. Rosa Parks is being kicked foot by foot to the back
of the bus. And Leni Riefenstahl (see video above) has just released
her latest masterpiece of propaganda:
Meanwhile, an alliance of the U.N., Europe, and middle eastern Islamic
states have agreed that it's criminal for Israel to blockade the import
of arms from Hamas to Israel's existential enemies in Gaza. The President
of the United States can't be bothered to support the right of
self-defense for his nation's closest ally and chooses instead to party
with one of the world's most famously respected anti-semites at the
very moment Israel is most under attack. Then there's the so-called
"dean" of the White House Press Corps, whom nobody in any position of
authority can quite bring himself to denounce as... well... what do you
call them these days? Maybe what this what one out-of-power old-time
liberal calls her. Except nobody in power is listening because they
all basically agree.
And did we mention Iran? On the verge of nuclear weapons capability,
with no meaningful attempt at deterrence from same by anyone. With a
brand new declaration to up the ante of provocation by joining
the international attempt to bully Israel out of defending itself
from Hamas missile supply through the "illegally" blockaded
uh. Israel is going to die soon. With the complicity of the United
States. And every other supposedly civilized nation on earth. After this. And the
consensus of all the peace-loving academics in the western academic
world. And all of you who
don't have the guts to stand up and fight back when a genuine
civilizational crisis of morality announces itself in neon letters.
This is your moment, kiddies. Ultimate, anti-authority,
anti-conventional wisdom, anti-immoral establishment moment. Watcha
gonna do, babies?
I know watcha gonna do. What the smugly superior assholes always do.
But this time at least, you won't get away with pretending you'd have
been on the right side if only you knew what that was. The right side
here is obvious. And when your neglect and propaganda kill a million of
your betters, I will never let you forget it.
What won't I let you forget? You'd have helped lynch the witches. You'd
have written editorials endorsing the Dred Scott decision. You'd have
given Leni Riefenstahl an Oscar. Maybe you still will. She was a
talented filmmaker, after all.
Anybody who wants to join the fight, volunteer now. I'm trying to build
a new website. I just have to convince a Jewish colleague that anyone
My friend is on board. We're starting a new website called, "It's
Happening Again." We need bandwidth, we need contributors, and we need
outreach. And money would be huge help too. It cannot be a Jewish Defense League permutation, although we
also need Jewish contributors. It's a website representing all the defenders of civilization.
It's not conservative, liberal, Democrat, or Republican. It's about
staving off catastrophe. My friend wants to focus on current events,
day by day, and I want to leaven that with the historical context
explaining why the death of Israel would be so catastrophic to all of
civilization. (Was it Billy Oblivion who expressed a devotion to "Mila
18," also one of one of my favorite books of all time? Come forward.We
need you.) Unlike this site, its mission is traffic, traffic, traffic.
We need to become an immediate force on the Internet. Any idea that
will promote that is welcome -- petitiions, challenges, interviews,
polls, etc. We need the attention of Alan Dershowitz, Joseph Lieberman,
Charles Schumer, Diane Feinstein, David Horowitz, Bill Kristol, and any
and all Christian advocates of Israel.
We have no idea what we're doing yet. Just that we must become the
Resistance. Give us your best ideas.
. She's smart and fearless and cool. Who else can crush
O'Reilly on his own show and overwhelm Don
Imus on his?
Besides which, there's this clip, which
is supposed to portray her in a negative light but instead confirms
everything I've always known about Fox
News. They might mean well, but they have a bunch of idiots
on staff, people
who can't read, write, edit, or spell worth a damn. Personally, I'm
amazed that Laura doesn't shoot somebody in the midst of so much
He's right for once. This isn't about politics. It's about the country, the economy, and a way of life. Like Laura, I also want Obama to come through for us on this one. I just don't think he knows how to. Which will be a tragedy.
What they are most of all is loyal, forgiving, and loving. My
dad used to say, "fathers are a sorry lot," but what he meant is that
we make mistakes, not that we're to be pitied. Sons are tough to take.
So are daughters. But the daughters want to be loved and accepted more
than they want to fight.
. Okay. I'll go see it. You? But I'm
disappointed at the absence of
Yun-Fat Chow. Oh well.
But it will be fun anyway.
Sad. Pippin Paul had his his heart so set on making this movie. It just
wasn't to be. I think the deal breaker was the discovery that hobbits
are crazy. And that crazy passes from one
generation to the next. Even curly
feet can't save you from the keening tone of voice that lets the whole
world know you're nuts.
The rage of the #flotilla fanatics against Barack Obama makes me think good thoughts about him for the first time since 2004.
7:56 PM Jun 1st via TweetDeck
Uh, we have #flotilla folks on tape chanting about the death of Jews: RT @historyscientis Supporting #flotilla is opposing terrorism.
10:33 PM Jun 1st via Twittelator
Dear anyone: Don't elect genocidal Islamists and then complain to me about collective punishment. This is why you can't have nice things.
10:37 PM Jun 1st via Twittelator
Only been to Israel once, in '04. Met a guy wounded in '73. Bled into the Golan earth. Started a farm where his blood claimed the land.
10:44 PM Jun 1st via Twittelator
Just imagine if the #flotilla fanatics put half their energy into improving basic civil society in the Muslim world. Now imagine unicorns.
8:38 AM Jun 2nd via Twittelator
The problem isn't that Gazans are miserable. The problem would be if they were content. Living under a genocidal regime SHOULD be miserable.
about 24 hours ago via Twittelator
QED: RT @D3sdenova: You're f------ delusional. You're not going to propagandize educated irate people.
about 13 hours ago via TweetDeck
As an American, I am outraged my tax dollars go to Israeli defense! I prefer they go to Israeli offense. #flotilla
about 12 hours ago via TweetDeck
As the Twittering kids say, SMH. Clearly, the conservative blogosphere doesn't realize that peace activists-- real peace activists-- have an illustrious history of violence. Clubbing, lynching, and stun grenades are time-honored tools of passive resistance. We've prepared a little slideshow to bring you troglodytes up to speed.
The Peace Corps has a proud tradition of armed humanitarianism. In this 1988 photo, a volunteer spreads .44 caliber justice across Southeast Asia, giving new meaning to the Obama neologism "corpseman." Oh my twittering tweetifications.
The Rev. Martin Luther King displays his necklace of human teeth at an NAACP keynote in the early 60s. Dr. King was known for falling upon his enemies like a terrible thunder and yanking out their teeth with a pair of rusty pliers he carried in his back pocket. Notable teeth shown here once belonged to Alabama governor George Wallace, convicted segregationist arsonist J. B. Stoner, and Democratic U.S. Senator Robert Byrd. Nothing like the mellifluous eloquence of a Klan wizard.
Stories that Gandhi's home was constructed entirely out of the bones of British loyalists were long belived to be only myth and hagiography, until a fire at the house-turned-Gandhi Memorial Center proved them correct. Environmentalists praised Mahatma's forward-thinking sustainability. And his no-briefs sensuality.
A modern-day Mata Hari, Mother Teresa used a combination of kung-fu, exotic Oriental poisons, and raw sexuality to combat the forces of poverty.
Before his union advocacy gained traction, labor organizer Cesar Chavez would fight for fair wages one employer at a time. Few honchos dared to rise to a Chavez challenge to "throw hands."
The Tolerance of Genocide Fund
After a post on anti-semitism, the world falls silent. That's not an
editorial remark, just a fact. So I went back to an earlier
IP post and discovered a comment that seems curiously relevant
today. Billy Oblivion objected to my provocative assertion that we are
"all bigots." I meant it, of course, in a satrirical sense, but Billy's
reaction and explanation is worth reading again right now.
Oblivion 2009-08-29 05:47:00
To recognize a difference, and to have tastes (as opposed to Taste) is
I don't care for football. In fact almost all professional sports bore
me. Partially this is because I don't care for participating in the
amateur version of them. Partially it is because the lessons they have
to teach I'm either deaf to, or learned long ago. Those who like
Football, or fast cars, or vacation cruises are not "other", they are
merely people with divergent tastes. For that the term is not bigot but
If you wish to call me a snob of sorts, I cannot argue. Drink, Music,
food, I've got my preferences and some I'll defend on philosophical
grounds (after all, aesthetics is a branch of Philosophy, even if we
don't recognize it any more) others are indefensible (there are times I
prefer a mass market blended bourbon to a single cask, or even a good
scotch. I know, but we all have our foibles).
However bigotry has an implication of superiority. I no longer consider
myself superior to others *merely* because they would babble about
baseball or hotrods, while *I* prefer to discourse on the relative
merits of this firearm or that motorcycle. Some prefer fine German
Pilsners, some Red Wine. Others prefer a coca-cola. There's no
accounting for taste. Or budget. There was a time, but it's long gone.
Another implication of bigotry is that it is merely the otherness of
the person that causes the divide. That the skin color or mode of dress
of the Muhammadan, or the name he gives God is the cause of the
I realize this is difficult for those of you on the coasts to realize,
but we DO have rather heterogeneous communities out there in Fly Over
Country. There were Jews and moslems in my town, even in my classes
(though not many of the latter). We had a couple temples, and a
mosque--though being raised a Catholic (rather poorly as this was
post-Vatican II) I never saw the inside of them.
I am not bigoted against Southern Baptists [responding to an earlier
comment], I am ill disposed to *idiot* Southern Baptists. One of my
best friends is an utterly brilliant man who is also a fundamentalist
southern baptist of one sort or another. He is kinder and more open
hearted than almost any man I've ever met.
But he is not an idiot.
If you wish to accuse me of being bigoted towards idiots, then we have
a semantic argument on our hands which may take a while.
As to "knowing Jews". I knew kids of Jewish parents. Most were more
liberal--aka "non-orthodox" jews. One of the people I keep most
constant contact with these days--a good friend of mine, and a
Philadelphian is of Jewish decent, though he does not practice the
faith (this is the case with many Jews I've met).
To say one "knows" Jews is to say one "knows" Christians--which is to
say nothing at all because the faithless son of a west-coast Jewish
Mother, neither of which have been to synagogue in a decade is very
different from knowing the kind of Jew who would shut down is web
E-Commerce site from Friday evening to Saturday evening
Personally I have a HUGE amount of respect for someone who executes
their religious convictions with that level of detail.
Do I know every detail of the various and sundry Jewish tribes? The
difference between orthodox, reform and the rest didn't stick. No, my
mind is more like a hurricane fence than a fine mesh. Lots of stuff
blows through before the detritus builds to a sufficient thickness to
hold details, and consequently much I could have learn is lost like the
c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate.
But the same is true of just about everything I know, think I know,
think I don't know, or don't know I don't know. I'm sort of a
I have my prejudices, I'm not claiming otherwise. I have my
preferences, opinions and causes. But it's not the color of a mans
skin, the tongue of his mother or the name of his god that gives me
pause, it IS the content of his character, his relationship with the
world and it's diverse peoples that matter.
Which brings us to "why NYLs [New York Liberals] now think it's okay to
hate the Jews".
Understand first that I draw the distinction between a Liberal, who
would never hate the Jews, and a Progressive, who has never not [hated
I think to the degree that one can conflate hating Israel as a state
actor with hating Jews the answer is a long propaganda effort by the
progressives. Israel has been put in an impossible position and they
are responding just like the last few fighters in Mila 18 did (did I
mention that I loved that book?) They have their backs to the sea and
are fighting as vicious a fight as their morals will let them. This
bothers modern Liberals who really are good hearted souls who believe
that there ARE essentially no differences between people (which is
So more clearly maybe, I don't think that a NYL *does* hate The Jews. I
think that if you're talking to a self-described Liberal who hates Jews
you ought to ask them which takes primacy, the State or the Individual.
Then you have your answer. For the one thing that the Progressive
CANNOT ABIDE is someone who puts something else ahead of the general
state (they may not put it thus, they may talk of class unity
(communists) or purity of culture (old-school Nazis) or "the community"
(communitards) or whatever, but the idea of an allegiance other than to
some sort of corporate entity (not like a business corporation, but a
group) is bad, but even worse is the allegiance to a group that is NOT
theirs. Jews have been a whipping boy for Western Culture (along with
Gypsies etc.) for a long time, and they're a useful one since unlike
the Gypsies they have CLEARLY uh...damn I hate it when a word won't
come. They've profited and grown over the years, largely through their
OWN industry, thrift and cleverness proving that one DOES NOT need the
state. One CAN take care of oneself, ones family and ones community
members w/out the theiving hand of the state.
Either that, or some people are just assholes.
The Mormons will eventually get the same treatment. But unlike the
orthodox Jews, they wear the funny clothes on the inside.
Bigotry and prejudice are different things. So are preferences.
I don't know the truth. I suspect it, but people who were demonstrably
a LOT smarter than me have argued all sides of various questions, so
while I'm absolutely certain that some things--slavery, child abuse,
wanton cruelty and body paint and foam fingers at professional sports
events are wrong on a deep moral level, other things merely make
running a society difficult.
It is the lack of questioning that stagnates cultures. It is the
questioning of ideas, especially the profane questioning in the areas
of science and philosophy that push our society foward, that have given
us what to our Greek or Roman forefathers would seem to be closer to a
heaven on earth than they could have imagined. We *have* to tolerate
the other because THEY MAY BE RIGHT. We don't know. We think we know,
but as Feynman once observed "Nature doesn't care how smart you are.
You can still be wrong."
Here is the lantern.
2 You are the boy who lighted the lantern.
3 You are the boy who lives in its light. You are the boy who
will die in its light, who will die from its light.
4 Lantern light and lantern fire. It burns and spreads and glows
like flame, consuming illumination.
Candlelight. Huddled interiors at
night, the meek forays of little
people’s little words, darting into dark and back, needing escape and
fearing the blanks on the map.
Torchlight. Pine knots and smoke and
painful flying embers. Sometimes
the bearer catches fire and falls, rolling into blackened ruin.
2 All you see is flicker, red shadows, shapes of your deepest
fears, roaming round you outside the cone of orange protection.
3 Friends erupt and fall, friends fall and disappear into the
field of answers outside the light.
Electric light. Light enough at last
and light too much.
2 A human chain of links electrified, pulsed into a stream of
bits, harsh river of naked white exposure without shadows to hide in.
3 In too much light there is suspicion, fear that the truth is
ugly beyond belief. Are we just this? Pallid pretenders unmasked in our
creeping, crawling scavenger hunt?
4 Light alone is beautiful and mocks whatever dares to share its
stage. Or: We are but reflections of the horrors concealed
within, the dirty folds inside the bright white mantle of creation.
5 Light of knowing, light of doubt, light of shame, it’s all the
same, a bleaching, draining dryness of the mind.
Blue light. Light of movement, the
sadness of falling night.
2 We are shifted, playing with time, and traveling inside the
crystal facets of the beam.
3 Death and birth await us there, our own, grand and belittled,
my blood-stained chain link fence here guards the plains of Troy, where
Achaeans roar and whisper rumors of the Metalkort.
4 There, beyond the blue-lighted Coliseum I saw the one who set
the tale in motion.
5 He was gleaming, sweaty, radiant, bleeding, blessing and
cursing, perfect, shattered, and the armature spun inside his polar
hands, feeding the world with sharp blue current.
6 I caught a spark and lost it, or so I thought, but saw that it
had borne me all along, bit player in the streaming blue that swept
through time to the barren beds of drought in which I’d picked my role.
7 Blue light. Not a shade away from white as I had thought, but
whiter than the eye can see, the blue-white whole of divinity.
2 Why can’t we have the blue, forever and always?
3 Who took it? Who defiled it? Who screened it from our sight?
4 Raging, screaming, warring light. The rampage and the flood.
Destructive creation, like forest fire and eye of hungry vulture.
5 Yes, I am the scavenger. The boy who lighted this cruel cruel
6 Forgive me if you can, if I can I will forgive you, but I am
past forgetting, past hiding from harsh light.
2 I am the boy who came to Gobb’s and sat at the bar, the boy who
played with fire.
3 If you dare explore the blue of night, the night will explore
4 For the heights you steal, the price you pay is loss, and a
pain to equal your pride.
5 I am the boy who took the blue oath of loyalty, to the blue
king who carried a blood red light.
6 And I watched as they doused him, in envy and fear and hate.
7 I laid him in a shroud, a bright white mirror of our shame, and
I rode beside him through the pines to a gray-blue sea, where a ship
was waiting for his other journey.
8 Had I been given the choice, I’d have taken his place, but
instead I lit the fire.
9 His woman wept, for what and who I never knew, except that the
fire soared and singed us all, a cathedral of sorrowing flame, asking
one question and demanding an answer.
10 What price for light is worth the light?
11 I am the boy who presumed. I am the boy who lit the light and
presumed I could pay the price.
12 But the price is paid by everyone,
13 And the current flows,
14 And the lantern glows,
15 And the fire goes on and on,
16 And the mirror shows us why.
This post has a variety of inspirations. Memorial Day is
followed within a week or thereabouts by the anniversary of D-Day,
which always gets its separate acknowledgment, even though they both
share the same taproot, the latter being the epitome of the unselfish
heroism of the former. Isn't there an argument, particularly in a time
of war, for a span of
remembrance about the U.S. military and all who have supported it, from
families to citizenry to civilian partners at risk like the merchant
marine? We promote and endorse Black History Month. Couldn't we also
find a corner in our hearts for Military History Week?
I'd say, too, there's a particular relevance this year, this month,
this week, to the heroism of military discipline and the remembrance of
just causes. I'm appalled to see the so-called civilized world jump
ugly on Israel for allowing its bravest soldiers to defend themselves
against a deliberate, calculated ambush, as if civilian lives -- no
matter how politically conniving and vicious -- always matter more than the lives
of those whose mission is to observe the rules of engagement they've
been given. I cannot describe the nausea I feel at the worldwide
conspiracy to adjudge Israel guilty for defending itself from exactly
the same hatred, from exactly the same quarters (plus the American hard
left), that sought to exterminate Jews in the war even liberal
Americans continue to insist they were proud to fight.
There's also, for me, a blending of the personal and national this year
for multiple reasons, including this.
And I was moved by Brizoni's
in which he describes a kind of coming of age, which caused
me to remember my own, a precipitating event analogous to his viewing
of We Were Soldiers.
I've written before about my personal touchstones to World War II (my dad)
and the Holocaust (my friend Julian).
I grew up in the culture of World War II -- big band music,
(childhood and) manhood,
pride in national icons like the S.S.
United States, etc. But
it wasn't till I got to college that I had the moment Brizoni describes
in his Memorial Day post. My freshman roommate at Harvard (well,
roommate) was another son of a WWII pilot -- bomber, not fighter -- and
he introduced me to a show that was running on a Boston UHF station at
the time: Victory at Sea. It
was old even then, dating back to the year of my birth, but my
roommate, who was several years older, had watched it as a child and
was so delighted at its return that the whole world stopped when it was
So there we were. In the darkest days of our nation's Vietnam retreat
and withdrawal, we watched the actual footage of World War II and the
inspiring music that bound it together in one of the most inimical
environments then extant for its message of patriotism, courage, and
perseverance. He went on to join the Marines immediately after
graduation and served as a lieutenant in Okinawa. I went on to read
every book I could get my hands on about that war. (Best one: Goodbye Darkness.) I thought
joining up, too, (his example was inspiring and tempting) but Vietnam
was done and I was more amped up for war against the radicals who hated
America from inside. When we compared notes later, he was disappointed
in the post-war military (boring), and I was equally disappointed that
had accomplished nothing in the interim (abject failure). I thought he
going to be president someday. He thought I was going to write the
Great American Novel. Something about youth, ideals, and the lessons of
real life. We figured in each other's weddings, but all these years
later we have lost touch. He's a banker as far as I know, and I'm,
well, at fault. I'm the recluse. As the site's resident harpoon would
say, I'm just pondering.
Personally, of course, I hope that what I do here is more than
pondering. No matter what course you choose, as long as you give your
best, you're bound to have your moments of joy and triumph and defeat
and hurt and loss and enlightenment and recompense and atonement and
vindication and shattering heartbreak. I've had all of those, in
spades. Nobody escapes the great grinding wheel of life. I keep
thinking that if I tell you the truth as I see it, you might find it
The truth, as I see it today, is that the best thing you can do today
-- and maybe for the rest of this week, till D-Day -- is catch up on Victory at Sea. And accomplish the
time machine feat of watching it in the context of this,
Feats of imagination are now the province of interconnecting Internet minds. Don't ever
Why Do People Hate the
Dirty little rats...
FRIENDSHIP. I asked my closest Jewish friend to share the
experience of anti-semitism. He usually blows it off. No big deal. But
I said, "No. Really." He said, "Forget it." I said, "No, really." He
said, "Fuck you." And I said, "Please." Here's what he gave me:
It has been said that the history of
Jewish holidays can be summed up this way: "They wanted to kill us; we
won. Let's eat." Why has anti-Semitism been so pervasive in so many
countries, in so many time periods and for so many reasons? (One begins
to wonder. Perhaps there is something wrong with the Jews and Judaism?
After all, there is an old Yiddish saying -- "If one person calls you a
donkey, ignore him; if two people call you a donkey, buy a saddle.")
Between the years 250 BC and 1948 AD - a period of 1,700 years - Jews
experienced more than eighty expulsions from various countries in
Europe - -an average of nearly one expulsion every 21 years. Jews were
thrown out of England, France, Austria, Germany, Lithuania, Spain,
Portugal, Bohemia, Moravia and 71 other countries. Historians
have classified six explanations as to why people hate the Jews:
Economic -- "We hate Jews because they possess too much wealth and
Chosen People -- "We hate Jews because they arrogantly claim that they
are the chosen people."
Scapegoat -- "Jews are a convenient group to single out and blame for
Deicide -- "We hate Jews because they killed Jesus."
Outsiders, -- "We hate Jews because they are different than us." (The
dislike of the unlike.)
Racial Theory -- "We hate Jews because they are an inferior race."
As we examine the explanations, we must ask -- Are they the causes for
anti-Semitism or excuses for Anti-Semitism? The difference? If one
takes away the cause, then anti-Semitism should no longer exist. If one
can show a contradiction to the explanation, it demonstrates that the
"cause" is not a reason, it is just an excuse. Let's look at some
contradictions:Economic -- The Jews of 17th- 20th century Poland and
Russia were dirt poor, had no influence and yet they were hated.
Chosen People -- a) In the late 19th century, the Jews of Germany
denied "Chosenness." And then they worked on assimilation. Yet, the
holocaust started there. b) Christians and Moslems profess to being the
"Chosen people," yet, the world and the anti-Semites tolerate them.
Scapegoat -- Any group must already be hated to be an effective
scapegoat. The Scapegoat Theory does not then cause anti-Semitism.
Rather, anti-Semitism is what makes the Jews a convenient scapegoat
target. Hitler's ranting and ravings would not be taken seriously if he
said, "It's the bicycle riders and the midgets who are destroying our
Deicide -- a) the Christian Bible says the Romans killed Jesus, though
Jews are mentioned as accomplices (claims that Jews killed Jesus came
several hundred years later). How come the accomplices are persecuted
and there isn't an anti-Roman movement through history? b) Jesus
himself said, "Forgive them [i.e., the Jews], for they know not what
they do." The Second Vatican Council in 1963 officially exonerated the
Jews as the killers of Jesus. Neither statement of Christian belief
Outsiders -- With the Enlightenment in the late 18th century, many Jews
rushed to assimilate. Anti-Semitism should have stopped. Instead, for
example, with the Nazis came the cry, in essence: "We hate you, not
because you're different, but because you're trying to become like us!
We cannot allow you to infect the Aryan race with your inferior genes."
Racial Theory -- The overriding problem with this theory is that it is
self-contradictory: Jews are not a race. Anyone can become a Jew -- and
members of every race, creed and color in the world have done so at one
time or another.
Every other hated group is hated for a relatively defined reason. We
Jews, however, are hated in paradoxes: Jews are hated for being a lazy
and inferior race -- but also for dominating the economy and taking
over the world. We are hated for stubbornly maintaining our
separateness -- and, when we do assimilate -- for posing a threat to
racial purity through intermarriages. We are seen as pacifists and as
warmongers; as capitalist exploiters and as revolutionary communists;
possessed of a Chosen-People mentality, as well as of an inferiority
complex. It seems we just can't win. Now we know what are NOT the
reasons for anti-Semitism.
Now it's my turn. Jews aren't loyal to their host nations, except when they consistently are. They're
smarter in class. They go to law school and medical school, and they
still buy Mercedes Benzes.
My problem with them. And my
friend's, too, if he'd admit it. Which he does when I ask in a humble
voice. He's mad, too. He doesn't think Jews should own Mercedes Benzes.
He hates the German motherfuckers who build them. Like I do. Yes, he'll
drive one to impress a client in a business deal, but at heart he feels
like a man reciting Yeats to an Ulsterman.
But he's not comfortable with my idea, either: The Jewish-Celtic Kill the Arabs League.
Dot com. I can't convince him it make sense. Irish and Scots have
nearly as much tribal history as the Jews do. And we've killed nearly a
hundred times as many people in our experience. In fact, there's
nothing we like more than killing people, notably English, Nordic, and
Sigh. Jews continue to be reasonable. Why the world keeps taking
advantage of them. As a Scot, and an American, I can't begin to
understand it. When I'm pissed off, I go for the throat, invariably,
unhesitatingiy, and always effectively. Ask Brizoni.
Here's what I know. If you or your opinions cause the Jews in Israel to
die, I promise I'll kill you. Even if you're a Jew. Don't forget it.
Not because I'm a Jew. Because I'm a bloody fucking asshole
Now my Jewish friend can take credit for what I said. We have a deal.
He makes the profit and I take my cut. Jews are smart. Scots are
Relentless. Remember that. As opposed to him. Who is, uh, final.
I'd never say a good word about him. Or he me. Tribes. The only thing
we have in common other than friendship. They dance around with shawls
while pretending to give us a hard time about skirts.
And if you or anyone else comes for the Jews on behalf of the
Palestinians, I promise I'll kill you all to the last man, woman, and