Thursday, August 24, 2006

B. Jones: Going Off

"Oh, dear," you're thinking, "another basketball rant..."

Well, relax, because today I am not ranting about basketball. No, today I am ranting about sports-related tempests in a teapot.

In case you don't feel like clicking away, the nutshell version is this: Kevan Barlow (overpaid criminal*) was told by his coach Mike Nolan (overpaid criminal) that he wasn't going to be traded. Later that week, he was traded by the front office (a whole lot of overpaid criminals). Fuming over this, Barlow compared Nolan to Adolf Hitler. Cue over-reactions from fans and the media.

Adolf Hitler? This is the big deal? Are you kidding me?

I compared my father to Adolf Hitler all the time! In fact, any authority figure who has behaved vaguely or unjustly authoritarian has been compared to Hitler. And not just by me. People do this all the time, especially teenagers. I can even understand why the extreme left wing compares the chimp in office with Hitler, when they're not calling him King George (talk about overpaid criminals).

How can this be seen as remotely insulting? All due respect to the legacy of hatred and murder created by the Fuhrer, but when there are websites dedicated to the premise that there are cats that look like you, you're pretty much done as a visual icon of evil.

I'm guessing the sports world felt left out of that whole Mel Gibson thing.

Speaking of which, now I'll enter the realm of unasked for commentary...

Jews are funny, plain and simple. Jewish comedians are funny, and there are too many examples to cite here. The word "Jew" by itself is funny. Jew jew jew, jew jewjew jew.

Q: Why did the lesbian choose Pepsi?
A: Jew.

Match Game Style:

Ol' Man McGillicuddy was so crazy. (How crazy was he?) He was so crazy, that when he ate breakfast, he _________.

Tell me that placing "Jewed" there isn't funny. There is something about the word that phonetically tickles my funny bone. The word delights me.

This does not make me an anti-Semite, okay? My boss is Jewish, I've dated Jewish women. I deeply respect the religion itself, and admire its emphasis on women as largely important to its society. I'm as much of an anti-Semite as Woody Allen is (...wait for it...). I love learning new words in Hebrew (I mean, look at all this shpilkes), and I brook no hatred towards anyone who belongs to the religion, just because they practice it.

I'm not defending Gibson, nor am I saying that the Holocaust didn't happen...Simply, the word cracks me up.

I wish I could say the same about the word "Israel," though.

I forget who it was that told me about some jackass in an online community somewhere, who was able to pull off the "if you don't support the Prez, you don't support our troops" bit in regards to Israel. Apparently, if you criticize Israel for any misdeeds carried on in its name, you are an anti-Semite.

Uh...What? This bit of logic is about as asinine as anything coming out of the mouth of Billy Graham (overpaid criminal).

Look, I don't have to hate Jews to believe that the creation of Israel, in that region, was one of the worst things to come out of WWII (the worst? The reality behind the phrase "military industrial complex"). Nor do I have to hate Jews to believe that Israel's geopolitical behavior is akin to a hyper-aggressive schoolyard bully who has big brothers that will back him up if things get too big for it to handle.

Now, come here and let me punch you where you fuck.

...whoah...I feel tons lighter now.

[Edited to say: Jehovah knows that Israel has had no end of provocation from its neighbors, but it is my belief that this does not excuse anything beyond the need for self-defense or retribution against the guilty parties.--TBO]

*Confidential to You Know Who You Are: Considering your familial relationship to a good friend of mine, I assume that you'd be fun to needle. As my friend would verify, it rather easily goes both ways.

34 Comments:

At 5:09 PM, Blogger Stine said...

Dude, the word "jew" is hella funny.

but so is phrase "post-coital stress complex"

I have NO idea...

happyhappyhappyhappyhappyhappyhappy

 
At 6:39 PM, Blogger JJisafool said...

I hereby wave the Devil's Advocate flag as I approach this discussion, because I largely agree with you, TBO. But, y'know, I gotta be me.

Jew is totally a fun and funny word to say, but, at least for me, and I did grow up in some areas with relatively large Jewish populations, it has some spit on it, rings vaguely of slur. Do I think, objectively, that Jew is a slur? No, of course not, it can;t be. Except, it has been used so, so often, that I don't think we can completely separate its accumulated slur-ness from its funny-ness.

My boss is Jewish, I've dated Jewish women.

Yes, this is me sorta baiting you, but sorta not. I'm just gonna quote Chris Rock: "If you know how many n***** been in your house, you're a racist."

No, not exactly what you are doing, but the connection to me seems to be that liking, or screwing, a Jew doesn't preclude one from being an anti-Semite any more than liking a black person precludes you from being a racist.

And, I feel you on Israel, to an extent. One of the lines from the discussion you were referring to is: The establishment of Israel is central to the Jewish belief system. To be against Israel as a Jewish homeland is to also be anti-Semitic, and this is the interpretation of not only most Conservative and (of course) Orthodox Jews, but many reform Jews as well (although these all live on Long Island :) )

That I can dig, whether I agree with it or not. I've studied too much Native American religion, both academically and with folks on the res, not to understand how religion and land can be tied. And, perhaps unlike you, perhaps not (I wasn't quite sure where you'd fall on this), I am not against the establishment of a Jewish homeland in the Middle East. Given their history, I actually rather support it in theory. The problems come in practice, of course.

The tricky thing that (at least some of) the proponents of this anti-Israel is anti-Semite view do is to claim that criticism of Israel's policies is ok, and is not in and of itself enough to label anyone anti-Smeite, but that such criticism is almost always a cover for actual bigotry, and is in fact seen as a "safe" way to be anti-Semitic. Clever hack, that.

And, still, I'll tell ya, in the academic world, support of Palestinians and condemnation of Israel has in fact become knee-jerk as young theory-heads use Edward Said to bridge every post-Colonial struggle, Feminism, Queer Theory, and in fact the notion of oppression indelibly with the Palestinian plight. And YES I have heard at least two of these theory heads claim that it is an affront to the struggle for gender equality to NOT criticize Israel. So, there are seeds for the feeling that produces that kind of definition of anti-Semite.

And, yeah, on the Hitler thing, I think Barlow was pissed and grabbed the first dictator that came to mind, and anyone taking it farther than that is stretching. I mean, what other dictator would spring to the mind of a Kevan Barlow?

Woulda been damn funny if he said something like "Fuckin' Nolan walks around like he's a dictator, like he thinks he's George Bush or something."

 
At 2:01 AM, Blogger the beige one said...

Stine, "post coital stress complex?" Is this real? Has our society created something new to fixate on and create a drug solution for? Gads, what are the symptoms, if it does exist?

JJ, I don't think I have much for you, my friend, because I largely agree with you. We'll see.

but the connection to me seems to be that liking, or screwing, a Jew doesn't preclude one from being an anti-Semite any more than liking a black person precludes you from being a racist.

I don't disagree. Some of the "some of my best friends are _____" vibe you pick up on is intentional.

Come on, even in the depths of hicktown, the chosen people didn't have equivalent epithets? Ever hear any of them say "shvartser?" "Goyim," said with enough invective can be just as hurtful as "potato eating mick."

I have more to say on this, and don't think I'm trying to excuse anything; but, you could've picked that vibe up regardless of what I said after "I find the word 'Jew' funny."

I don't think we can completely separate its accumulated slur-ness from its funny-ness.

This is the grey area that gave Dave Chappelle fits.

Look, if someone had written the "Jew" section above, and replaced the word with "Spic," or "Nigger," it would create the same grey area, yeah?

It's like the one about the Mexican fireman who named his tools Jose and HoseB. You really don't want to know how many times I've heard that joke; but, I've heard it from just about every UStian I've met. Should I be offended by every person who has said this? Should I consider all of them to be racist against latinos?

Give and take becomes necessary at some point, and you have to realize that not everybody is David Duke or Mel Gibson on a bender.

Just like there's a difference between Jose and HoseB and Q: What do you get when you cross a Mexican with an Octopus? A: I don't know, but you should watch that fucker pick oranges.; there's one between Q: Why'd the chicken cross the road? A: Jews. and Not only does it stop on a dime, it picks it up too.

Given their history, I actually rather support it in theory.

In theory, I'm with you. I'm also down with the idea of giving the Americas back to the Native Americans. Is that gonna happen?

That same logic should have been applied in the Middle East. Everything that's happening there right now is due to Western Society's meddling, How Israel Was Established is simply the biggest example in recent history. Israel couldn't have been established without pissing off the Palestinians?

20/20 hindsight, and good intentions, and the wages of Imperialism and all that, yes. None of this allows one country to unilaterally fuck with the nation states surrounding it. It's as applicable to Israel as it is to the US.

 
At 9:00 AM, Anonymous flamingbanjo said...

What I don't understand about the whole Mel Gibson flap is how there's been all this critical response from the Jewish population, but we've yet to hear a peep from the Sugar-Tits population.

 
At 9:17 AM, Blogger JJisafool said...

None of this allows one country to unilaterally fuck with the nation states surrounding it.

Hope you warmed up and did you stretches because you could strain a ligment jerkin' your knee like that.

 
At 10:48 AM, Blogger the beige one said...

but we've yet to hear a peep from the Sugar-Tits population.

Man, have you seen the cop in question? He was just calling them as he sees them.

(People, if I need to include a goddamn winky, there is no hope for you.)

Hope you warmed up and did you stretches because you could strain a ligment jerkin' your knee like that.

Now you're just poking me with a stick. Apparently I've misconstrued everything that has gone on there over the last 15 years.

 
At 11:35 AM, Blogger JJisafool said...

I'm just saying (in my undeniable snarky way) that perhaps a broader view than 15 years is required to judge the situation. It isn't simple or cut-and-dried. At the very least, not so much as "unilaterally fuck with" would imply.

I'm pretty much always of two minds on the Israel/Palestinian question, but you are using language that borders on the knee-jerk criticism that gets itself labelled anti-Semitic.

And, dude, you've got to recognize that the term encompasses a broad possible range, which makes any attempt at "this is but this is not" dicey at best. Like, there is a long way between Fred Phelps hating fags so much he protests US soldier funerals because the US and its military aren't homophobic enough for his taste, and people in my (way) extended family who believe that the gays are just fine, they let them style their hair and they watch Queer Eye, but who believe that same-sex couples shouldn't be able to marry or adopt. Both are cases of homophobia, but in the latter case they'd be all up in arms at having the label applied.

I know, I'm dragging you into a much bigger discussion, but I think doing it halfway is dangerous.

 
At 12:09 PM, Blogger thelyamhound said...

Some observations:

My primary discomfort with the estblishment of a "Jewish homeland" in the Middle-East is the same as my discomfort with the establishment of a "Christian homeland" in the U.S. (or the existence of Islamic states across the M.E.). I can acknowledge the right of such a thing to transpire without thinking it's right. By that same token, I'm not all that hip to the idea of a Palestinian homeland (though, as a potato-eating mick--a term I find utterly inoffensive, as I am a mick who has been known to eat potatoes now and again--I sympathize with them because they, like the Irish, seem to be the tribe no one wants). Taking sides in a war between twin poles of anthropomorphic monotheism leaves a pretty bitter taste in my mouth (although that could be the overly strong pot of coffee I brewed for the office this morning--yikes).

I think there is a knee-jerk tendency amongst liberals in this day and age to side with Palestinians, largely because of the support granted Israel by the most perplexingly dunderheaded politician ever to sit in the oval office; lest we forget, Reagan used to be highly critical of Israel, at which time we on the left (well, WE were all of 8 or 10 when Reagan was elected; assume I mean our liberal forbears) criticized HIM for anti-Semitism). More than that though, I think our narrative, as far as it touches upon the franchised vs. the disenfranchised, sort of requires it, for better or for worse. I'm bothered that Israel uses its greater affluence and military might (largely borrowed from the U.S.) to prosecute its struggle, but I have to admit that I don't know what I would or wouldn't support if civilian targets were attacked on a regular basis by zealots. Yes, Israel has hit civilian targets on the Palestinian side (though I do have to draw a distinction between collateral damage and the deliberate targeting of civilian infidels), and yes, the zealots in question MAY represent a fringe minority of the Palestinian people. But I can't, in good conscience, take a side in that battle. I just can't.

Funny enough, I found myself thinking about all of this while watching Robin Hood in the park the other day. Mostly it got me thinking about tribes. See, the Robin Hood stories all center around conflict between Normans and Saxons; the really funny part is that the "oppressed" Saxons were already, prior to the Norman invasion, "oppressors" of the Celts and Britons. It's interesting how now, when Islam is about the age that Christianity was during the height of the (various) Inquisition(s) and the Crusades, Islamic states want to see the Palestinians get their own state . . . so that none of the Islamic states have to claim them as their own. Seems they're sort of like the Kurds that way (or, as I noted before, the Irish).

Some of my ambivalence on the matter may be a function of my postmodern, urban-dwelling ways. A "homeland", for me, is a place where I can afford the rent, stash porn, entertain guests, and speak the dominant language. My tribe is defined by . . . oh, who knows? On some level, I've always thought about it being a matter of common interests or tastes, but it isn't always. I guess my tribe is whoever's kind enough to flatter me on occasion, but brave enough to call bullshit when that's what they see (you guys, basically). That I'm a potato-munching mick and the Beige is . . . well, beige, is incedental, at best; religious identity is a tough sell for us, given that even those of us practicing the same religion view it in very different terms.

I think Barlow was pissed and grabbed the first dictator that came to mind, and anyone taking it farther than that is stretching. I mean, what other dictator would spring to the mind of a Kevan Barlow?

We need to start a campaign to make Benito Mussolini everyone's favorite fascist. After all, the Italians really invented fascism, and Mussolini used to take his shirt off and strut around on the balcony, flexing for the public. Sweet.

 
At 1:02 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

A Plea To The Average Reader: Yes, the panel of (at least two) blowhards are about to get into it.

Please know that your comments are both welcomed and acknowledged, and often a blast of fresh air. Please don't hesitate to say something.

Really, we're just well-intentioned assholes, that's all.

 
At 1:17 PM, Blogger thelyamhound said...

I'd say that I don't foresee spending a lot of energy defending ambivalence, but we both know that's not necessarily true.

Still, I'm ultimately at least marginally more critical of Israel than Palestine, since my broad knee-jerk position on everything is that I will generally oppose mechanisms of the state where they seem to genuinely interfere with individual liberty. And I also agree that the very existence of Israel smacks of a sort of neocolonialism, though I think that reading could become overly simplistic.

But since the substance of these positions has become our default here on the left, I have to be willing to challenge such presuppositions in my own thinking.

And yes, I AM a well-intentioned asshole (except when I'm an ill-intentioned saint).

 
At 1:36 PM, Blogger thelyamhound said...

Sorry about serial, nearly identical posts (second one deleted); unless there's something special about my computer, which seems to be travelling fine 'twixt all other websites, blogger is having a clusterfuck sort of day.

 
At 1:40 PM, Blogger JJisafool said...

No, it ain't you, blogger is indeed clusterfucking.

Ly, I'm pretty much with you all the way. Because default on the left, and especially in my academic world, is to support Palestinians and criticize Israel, I tend to see the need to push against that, because I hate default thinking. But, overall, the history of the region, and of Jews worldwide and across history, is so complex that all I really do is equivocate.

Perhaps my stance is to pull all not-directly-involved stancers into the middle.

So, you guys wanna go see My Name is Rachel Corrie with me?

 
At 5:17 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

I'm just saying (in my undeniable snarky way) that perhaps a broader view than 15 years is required to judge the situation.

Sure, but how far back do you want to go? The Roman Empire? The Ottoman?

Have the Hebrew peoples experienced horror and atrocities over the millenia? Yes. Have they had the same visited upon them since the formation Israel? Yes. Should they have the ability to strike back in these instances? Again, yes.

My question is, at what point do abuses of power become inexcusable? By subscribing to the Old Testament tennet of "an eye for an eye," their actions have become as monstrous as those they are reacting to.

It isn't simple or cut-and-dried. At the very least, not so much as "unilaterally fuck with" would imply.

Pray tell, how would you describe the recent Israeli action against Lebanon? A reaction against terrorist activities?

Let's say that this is how it's justified. So, the answer to losing your own innocents is to create the deaths of even more innocents on their side.

How does this help, exactly? We've seen in previous examples in the region that what this creates is even more animosity, or the basis for new enemies, within the Muslim world.

Man, people were throwing the phrase World War III about, because Israel's reaction (to destroy Beirut) had caused more deaths amongst innocents than may have been caused against them. Again, I ask, how does this help?

In theory, it's supposed to help create detente. Instead, it's creating more enemies for them in the Middle East, particularly amongst people who'd rather leave Israel alone, and live peacefully.

I'm pretty much always of two minds on the Israel/Palestinian question, but you are using language that borders on the knee-jerk criticism that gets itself labelled anti-Semitic.

oh, am I, now? Well, I hope that what I've written above helps to clear me of that charge. And if it doesn't, let me make it simpler.

Barring genocide, the only thing I hate to see more than anything else, on the geopolitical level, is having the big guy beat up on the little guy. Prime examples: US v. Grenada, US v. Panama, UK v. Argentina @ Falkland Islands. Perverse, debased, steeped in avarice, these ludicrously lopsided affairs exemplify the very worst of Western might.

I understand that, because we fostered the creation of Israel in that region, the West feels morally obligated to support that country, else we wouldn't be having this discussion at all. The other countries in the area would unite simply for the purpose of destroying that nation state, before turning in on themselves.

The thing is that what had initially started out as self-defense has now become an equivalent of those skirmishes from the 80s, simply because of Israel's Western backing. Would Israel be behaving this way if that backing didn't extend so far (assuming they'd made it to this point in time)? Is it fair for them to have carte blanche in their reactions?

I'm not saying the other Middle Eastern countries and the Palestines are blameless in all of this, but neither is Israel; and that goes beyond religion/racism, it goes to nation states and not who is populating them.

If that doesn't cover it, then fuck it, JJ. Point them to me and let them charge.

you've got to recognize that the term encompasses a broad possible range, which makes any attempt at "this is but this is not" dicey at best

Which term is this again? Oh, yeah, Jew.

So, you're saying that we should make a special case for the word "Jew" because its offensive properties are pretty broad. To not behave accordingly would essentially make me an anti-Semite, regardless of whether that actually mirrors my beliefs or not.

Huh. Uhm, no.

I recognize the word's broad range, but beyond that, instances must be taken on a case by case basis; just like it is for the rest of the world.

I know, I'm dragging you into a much bigger discussion, but I think doing it halfway is dangerous.

Oh, is that why you're doing it? I thought it was because you're a fucking douschebag. In fact, I still think it's because you're a fucking douschebag.

Say hey to the Mrs.

 
At 6:35 PM, Blogger JJisafool said...

I don't have time at the moment for more than a "woah, big fella" and this (but I'll be back later):

you've got to recognize that the term encompasses a broad possible range, which makes any attempt at "this is but this is not" dicey at best

Which term is this again? Oh, yeah, Jew.


Uhm, no, the term was anti-Semite, meaning one could encompass a wide range of attitudes and actions and still be so labelled.

But, to clarify, I am most definitely NOT calling you an anti-Semite. I was saying that your choice of language fell into what these other folks label as anti-Semite.

I think you are just lovely and full of good will.

 
At 7:46 PM, Blogger JJisafool said...

It isn't simple or cut-and-dried. At the very least, not so much as "unilaterally fuck with" would imply.

Pray tell, how would you describe the recent Israeli action against Lebanon?


Dude, I'm not by any means offering my unwavering support for Israel's response, but they had more provocation for mounting a military campaign than the US did against Iraq - granted, not exactly the most stringent requirement, that.

I'll cop to the Bob Thompson response of "Not a choice I would have made." But, I wouldn't go so far as calling it a war of aggression, much less unilateral fucking with.

Hexbollah has been using Lebanon as a bigass human shield for years. They share blame.

I'm not nearly as simply pro-Israel as you seem to believe here. I just believe you oversimplify by placing all the blame on Israel.

They are in this odd position of being considered the big boy bully in individual conflicts, while they are one small country amidst many whose official state policy calls for the destruction of Israel. Perhaps to act as less than a bully assures that destruction. I don't know.

But, that is why I usually avoid getting deep into this discussion, because it is such a fucked up situation that I don't want to presume to say what SHOULD be done. I do, however, feel invested in how the discourse is conducted.

Again, I ask, how does this help?

And, again, I don't support all of their actions. But, I believe that resorting to language that still sounds as knee-jerk and oversimplified to me as "unilaterally fuck with" does not help, because it supports the assertions of those that will say criticism of Israel is masked anti-Semitism, regardless of whether I agree with those assertions, which I don't.

Barring genocide, the only thing I hate to see more than anything else, on the geopolitical level, is having the big guy beat up on the little guy.

Me, too, buddy. But, I think it is reductivist to make this big guy vs little guy, given that the one thing that almost brings Arabs with grudges against each other together is hatred of Israel.

Do they have more firepower than Hezbollah? Yes. Or Syria? Yup. But, do they have more firepower than the Arab world? Maybe. Probably. But, they ain't simply big guy in that light.

I'm not saying the other Middle Eastern countries and the Palestines are blameless in all of this, but neither is Israel;

Man, just swap the parties in the above statement, and that's all I'm saying.

Oh, is that why you're doing it? I thought it was because you're a fucking douschebag. In fact, I still think it's because you're a fucking douschebag.

I thought it was douchebag, but whatever. Notwithstanding my douchebagness, I was just reacting honestly to your post. Wasn't trying to disjoint your nose.

Actually think it is kind of funny that I did. But funny like I'm sad.

 
At 4:33 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

Actually think it is kind of funny that I did. But funny like I'm sad.

JJ, for someone as interested in stirring things up as you are, even in the guise of Devil's Advocate, you're pretty sensitive to the effects of said stirring.

From the moment you declared DA status, I assumed you'd be approaching the topic about as stringently as someone who would hold the beliefs you, as DA, would be espousing, and I reacted as such.

With one exception: I took the liberty of calling us blowhards, and well intentioned assholes.

If the war of words above were real, I wouldn't have said that. Nor the douschebag bit. Those things were said to bring it back to the jocular levels of questioning each others' sexuality, randomly insulting each other, that guys have, okay? Do I really think you're a douschebag...okay, bad example. (Do you see? Maybe this is made worse by the fact that I refuse to use smileys in my text.)

I'll put it this way, if I really thought you were a douschebag, I wouldn't have finished my thing with "say hey to the Mrs."

I approach this stuff as sparring.

more to come about the subject of the discussion...

 
At 3:23 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

I just believe you oversimplify by placing all the blame on Israel.

And automatically calling my stance anti-Semitic (by those who would do such a thing) wouldn't be oversimplistic at all, not in the least.

The only thing I blame Israel is in reacting more vehemently than is either necessary or wise. By and by, in my opinion, the Israeli response has grown disproportionate to the threat of the individual acts against them. This leads to:

They are in this odd position of being considered the big boy bully in individual conflicts, while they are one small country amidst many whose official state policy calls for the destruction of Israel. Perhaps to act as less than a bully assures that destruction

Because they respond to individual conflicts as if they were punishing an entire region, they are achieving detente in the short term.

Long term, however, they are making even more fervent enemies against them, a number of whom will take the action of aiming for Israel's innocents, rightly or wrongly, which will, rightly or wrongly, perpetuate the cycle to the point where they won't have to think that everyone around them is against them anymore, because everyone will be. There is no wisdom in these actions.

I believe that resorting to language that still sounds as knee-jerk and oversimplified to me as "unilaterally fuck with" does not help, because it supports the assertions of those that will say criticism of Israel is masked anti-Semitism

Again, isn't that assertion as oversimplified and knee-jerk as what you're pointing out in my language?

I mean, we're still talking about a charge of racism based on criticism leveled against a nation state, and I can't take that sort of accusation seriously. Would their tune change if the country in question were Tunisia? Or the former Czech Republic? And if the answer to this question is yes, they really don't have a leg to stand on.

 
At 6:51 PM, Blogger JJisafool said...

I'm in the awkward position of representing the views of others, but I will try.

I mean, we're still talking about a charge of racism based on criticism leveled against a nation state, and I can't take that sort of accusation seriously. Would their tune change if the country in question were Tunisia? Or the former Czech Republic? And if the answer to this question is yes, they really don't have a leg to stand on.

The other countries that you mention don't wrap up the nation state in their faith, which is the case (according to some Jews and some strains of Judaisim) with Israel. I grok your feelings, but I don't think the comparison you draw here works.

As to whether a nation state SHOULD ever have its existence based upon faith is another question, and one which I would argue individual states have to address.

I believe that resorting to language that still sounds as knee-jerk and oversimplified to me as "unilaterally fuck with" does not help, because it supports the assertions of those that will say criticism of Israel is masked anti-Semitism

Again, isn't that assertion as oversimplified and knee-jerk as what you're pointing out in my language?


Again, I don't agree that criticism of Israel equals anti-Semitism, but I understand where that belief comes from.

And, this being just my opinion, if you know that language feeds a belief you find distasteful (the belief in question being anti-Israel = anti-Semite), then can you disavow the effects of using that language? I don't believe you can, which is why I believe education is the way to fight the root problems - understanding audience and how language functions in a social/political context.

If I don't mean nothing bad by using n*****, but know what effects it has when I use it, am I not responsible for those effects?

 
At 9:32 AM, Blogger JJisafool said...

Was just making the bed and thought of a distinction I am seeing but perhaps not articulating as far asthe whole anti-Semite thing goes.

There are people who believe the existence of Israel to be central to their Jewish faith.

For those people, to deny the right of a free and independent Israel to exist is anti-Semitism, as it attachs a central tenet of the faith.

Generally, such people will say that criticism of Isreali policy is okay, as long as it recognizes Israel's right to exist. However, there are those among the group who say that so much of such criticism by outsiders is merely a cover for bigotry that in essence all criticism by outsiders is tantamount to anti-Semitism.

I disagree with that latter view, but also can see where it comes from.

I imagine that those people in the latter group take such criticism of Israel as "unilaterally fuck with" to reflect a lack of understanding about the conditions of survival for Israel, to reflect a non-nuanced view of the situation that lays the lion's share of the blame on Israel. I imagine that those people point to that language, those observations as evidence of the hidden bias they already believe to be there.

See, I don't believe such bias to already be there from you, as I know you. But, I think the choice of words is unwise, and that perhaps it has become easy for those of us in progressive circles to make Israel our ideological whipping boy. Because, I can't imagine why you would want to rally around Hezbollah - the Lebanese people, yes, but why Iranian-funded pot-stirrers like Hezbollah - and yet unilaterally seems to give them a free pass.

Now, feel free to call me a name, threaten to punch me where I fuck, and attach me for being an imerialist and Zionist.

 
At 3:08 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

I'm in the awkward position of representing the views of others, but I will try.

I'm sorry, JJ, isn't this what a Devil's Advocate does on a regular basis? Who came in here carrying that flag?

The other countries that you mention don't wrap up the nation state in their faith, which is the case (according to some Jews and some strains of Judaisim) with Israel. I grok your feelings, but I don't think the comparison you draw here works.

They could wrap it with tinsel and paper machie, it's still a nation state. If we were to grant special "can't criticize this nation because they wrap up the nation state in their faith" to Israel, we'd have to grant it to others. It could be any nation state, doesn't have to be tied down to my two random examples of Tunisia and the Czechs.

In fact, there are some rather virulent examples right there in Israel's neighborhood, will ya look at that. I didn't name them earlier because I thought it stood to reason...apparently not.

So, would their tune change if we were criticizing Iran, for example? Afghanistan?

Goose/Gander.

if you know that language feeds a belief you find distasteful (the belief in question being anti-Israel = anti-Semite), then can you disavow the effects of using that language?

You can if the belief is faulty, as it is here. Particularly if, as already discussed, language is being used to say "yes, you can critique Israel, but all criticism by outsiders is masking bigotry." That is bullshit, plain and simple. No one rides for free.

understanding audience and how language functions in a social/political context.

I can get behind this, but special emphasis has to be placed in learning not to avoid confrontation. Sometimes harsh criticism is just harsh criticism...

If I don't mean nothing bad by using n*****, but know what effects it has when I use it, am I not responsible for those effects?

I'm of the belief that the words and phrases in question carry more weight if it's avoided. Avoidance helps to hide the surreptitious bigots, and those are more dangerous than the obvious ones.

This should be the topic to a different blowhard session, but I gotta tell you, I'm more offended by namby pamby treatments than not. You don't have to hide the word, I know what it is, you know what it is, and I believe this forum to be open enough to actually use the word. So, if we're engaged in a discussion of the impact of the word "nigger" fucking write it out. "N*****" or even worse "the N-word" is far more insulting to me. If you feel like you need to denote that you, personally, don't apply to the general usage of the word, put it in quotes.

It's in the history and usage of the word that things get problematic, not the word itself. but again, that's a different entry, or a discussion for a later time.

There are people who believe the existence of Israel to be central to their Jewish faith.

For those people, to deny the right of a free and independent Israel to exist is anti-Semitism, as it attachs a central tenet of the faith.

Generally, such people will say that criticism of Isreali policy is okay, as long as it recognizes Israel's right to exist. However, there are those among the group who say that so much of such criticism by outsiders is merely a cover for bigotry that in essence all criticism by outsiders is tantamount to anti-Semitism.


Well, "they" have me up until that last sentence. I don't deny Israel's right to exist, but question the wisdom behind settling down to that particular piece of land. Religiously it makes sense, yeah, but realistically, it's like deciding to move into a wasp's nest. Foolish, in my opinion. But that's neither here nor there.

You point out that it's the language behind the phrase "unilaterally fuck with" that gives pause, that it "seems to give [Hezbollah] a free pass."

Firstly, I'm going to give the word "seems" the same status as the word "should." It's just as dangerous and just as troublesome for our purposes here. Just because it's seems so, doesn't mean it is.

Secondly, maybe "it has become easy for those of us in progressive circles to make Israel our ideological whipping boy," but that doesn't mean that Israel shouldn't be scrutinized in the same fashion we scrutinize their neighbours.

Thirdly, I say "unilaterally fuck with" because I can't imagine any other country doing as much damage as Israel has, even in the name of self defense, without some recrimination from the global scene (not just from Islamic countries). The checks and balances just don't seem to exist here.

I agree that it's nuanced, I agree that Israel has had provocation in its actions, but you can't look at the cost of innocent lives in Lebanon, to use a recent example, and say that the ends justify the means. The fact of Israel's willful uncooperation to come to terms with the Palestinian conundrum says volumes here. (Just as it does for the other side.)

Does Israel deserve the lion's share of the blame? No, but you can't deny that a sizeable portion of the blame belongs to them.

The West's inability or unwillingness to constructively denounce these actions also speak volumes to the civilians of that region; civilians who usually make up the bulk of the extremist groups, who subscribe to the "dish best served cold" maxim...How long will Israel be paying for the innocent lives lost in its last action?

I focus on Israel, because there's plenty heard about the other side of this equation; we all know about the other side of this equation, as a nation we've lived through it, and just as we're finally starting to face up to our actions, we should encourage Israelis to do the same...

Now, feel free to call me a name, threaten to punch me where I fuck, and attach me for being an imerialist and Zionist.

Aww, poor bubbie, you make it sound like you don't get yours by cockblocking, questioning my manhood or the size thereof, and that persistent "I know more than you" permagrin of yours, in person. Someone, I'm sure, will sympathize.

Instead, I'll just make fun of you for misspelling the word "attack."

 
At 3:26 PM, Blogger JJisafool said...

N***** N***** N***** N***** N***** N-word N-word N***** N***** N***** N-word

Dumbass.

I didn't use the little asterick thing for you. Has to do with a decision for me on my part, one which is recent. I'll use the form I damn well please, thank you.

And why do you always wait until I'm three steps from the door before you fucking reply? Not even sure how much of this I'll get to read.

But...

If we were to grant special "can't criticize this nation because they wrap up the nation state in their faith" to Israel, we'd have to grant it to others. It could be any nation state, doesn't have to be tied down to my two random examples of Tunisia and the Czechs.

No, again with the dumbass, I'm making no such suggestion. But, to ignore that Israel is a complex and special case when you are trying to understand it is foolish. It is called a false equivalency - look it up.

Think about it - is one Jewish by blood or by choice, by belief? The answer is perhaps both, perhaps either/or. To treat Judaism as only a belief and not a bloodline, or only a nation (personified in Israel) and not a system of belief, fails to consider the issue wholly.

Alright, numbnuts, I gotta finish the kid's bath and get us out of here and me to work. But this isn't over. Your utter obtuseness has raised my ire, and now I much mock and crush you. Or maybe crush and mock you. We'll see.

 
At 3:53 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

"seems" I touched a nerve...

I'm waiting, chief, for said mocking and crushing, which I'm sure will be formidable.

Personally, I can't wait to see the passages on why Israel must be considered both as a nation and a system of belief, and how the same is not applicable to any of the Muslim states. But I might be being willfully obtuse again here.

 
At 4:58 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

While I wait for the Grand Chastisement, the cause for this statement:

If we were to grant special "can't criticize this nation because they wrap up the nation state in their faith" to Israel, we'd have to grant it to others.

Is brought on by this:

For those people, to deny the right of a free and independent Israel to exist is anti-Semitism, as it attachs a central tenet of the faith.

Generally, such people will say that criticism of Isreali policy is okay, as long as it recognizes Israel's right to exist. However, there are those among the group who say that so much of such criticism by outsiders is merely a cover for bigotry that in essence all criticism by outsiders is tantamount to anti-Semitism.


"Seems" to me that the last is really only a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from "can't criticize this nation because they wrap up the nation state in their faith."

Has it happened? I don't know, but could it? Highly likely. In any scenario, the offending statement is based on extrapolations of philosophies you're quoting...

 
At 7:09 PM, Blogger JJisafool said...

As usual, the discussion has become so fragmented that we both seem to be picking apart sub-arguments without addressing each other's main arguments.

And, it is less that I disagree with you than I am frustrated by the fact you don't SEEM to see that.

Our opinions of Israel's actions only differ by degrees. I believe that they often over-respond, that they are as responsible as all other parties for stalled peace efforts. I alos believe there is sufficient blame to go around, from Ahmedinajed (I'm butchering the spelling) saying state policy is the destruction of Israel to Palestinian suicide bombers to Hezbollah launching rocket attacks at civilians (not collateral, but as targets, though, shit, dead civvies are dead civvies). There is more than enough blame to go around.

You say that Israel isn't the only one to blame, but if you in fact only criticize Israel, it is fair to assume that you assign only them the blame. (This would be in your original post.)

But, that is neither here nor there. We agree that Israel has questionable policies, that you are not an anti-Semite by definitions that you and I happen to adhere to, and that there is a great potential for abusing the idea that Israel's existence is tied up in Jewish religious belief.

But, here are our points of disagreement, and the source of your obtusity:

There is in fact a difference, albeit a highly problematic one, between an Islamis state and this particular Jewish state. National identity and Islamic identity are far from being the same - as Iraq right now clearly shows. Sunni or Shia is a more important question than Saudi or Iranian for a Muslim. But, Jews can't avoid considering Israel's political status in engaging their faith, regardless of where they eventually fall on the question.

This is why I accuse you of false equivalency. The entities in question are in fact essentially different. Does this mean Israel gets a free pass? NO! And if you suggest such again I'll show you a thing or two about punching-where-one-fucks.

What it does mean is you HAVE to take the fact into consideration, just as you should take the specific facts of any nation state into account when judging them. There is no universal rule by which to judge all political situations, and when you try to apply one you do one (or two) of two things: create false equivalencies or project your own beliefs and call them objective.

As to your SEEMS issue, it does exactly what you say. I am using that to indicate that your words can be interpreted in a way, describing what I see the words to read. I do this because I don't want to try and claim I know what you are thinking, just that I interpret what you say in a particular way.

And, yes, dumbass, saying that we in progressive circles tend to knee-jerk towards criticism of Israel doesn't mean we shouldn't be scrutinizing Israel - why would it mean that? BUT, it does mean we should recognize our own tendencies and weaknesses, because self-examination is important. Fuck that, it is VITAL to critical thought.

Israel does recieve criticism from the global scene, but efforts to make them mean anything via the UN are always stymied by the US, and I agree that is way fucked up. But, can you really not think of other countries that have done the same? Really? Are you trying? Because the tiny republics of, oh, I don't know, China and the former USSR spring right to mind.

And this little bit of hubris just makes me laugh right at you:

You can if the belief is faulty, as it is here.

The "can" being "disavow the effects." So, if my bald, white ass spouts racist invective, which supports the belief that I am racist, which is a faulty belief, I can disavow the beating I'll get when I try it back home while walking through downtown Rochester?

Yeah, fuck them, just because I sound like I blame only Israel, which is what I would do if I did in fact hate the Jews, how dare they think that perhaps I hate the Jews?

I say you are obtuse because you think that denying that a nation state SHOULD be wrapped up in religion that we can deny the fact that not only members of the state but also "children" of that state believe it to be true?

You don't have to agree they are right to make their belief a reality that has to be considered.

I mean, dude, look, believe and say what you want, but don't get bent out of shape when you get called out for how your words might be perceived. And, I know you will come back with some kind of "just my opinion" retort, but if you play at sounding objective (read as "thoughtful" or "nuanced" or "critical"), then that is the basis upon which interpretations will be formed. Genre theory in action, bitch.

Big kisses atcha, kiddo.

But, if you are going to respond, at least try and address some substance this time. Maybe read back over the comments and find the questions you've left lying around. Here's a hint - they are the hard ones.

 
At 7:10 PM, Blogger JJisafool said...

BTW, word ver was dikhlr

Couple dicks hollerin', I believe.

 
At 2:38 AM, Blogger the beige one said...

I'm pretty pissed off. I'm livid.

I'm sitting here trying to figure out exactly who the dumbass is in this equation. Is it me, for arguing the same fucking point over and over, or is it JJ, for leading me on possibly the most inane goddamn argument I've ever been privy to? The fact that I'm pissed tells me something.

You got a thing or two to show me about punching where one fucks? I'll give you the definitive answer.

Do you honestly mean to tell me that we've been going on and on and fucking on for twenty-some-odd entries over this shit?

Let's clear something up, douschebag. All this time, I've been arguing against the stance that any criticism against Israel masks anti-Semitism. Not you, but the stance you became the Devil's Advocate over. My argument has never been about you, nor your own personal opinions over the matter. Simply that notion.

Apparently you've been arguing with me over whether the wording in the original entry (entitled "Going Off" for fuck's sake) would mark me as an anti-Semite. You could've just said that at the beginning. But no, I have to acknowledge the special circumstances under which Israel exists, and what they mean to Jews worldwide; circumstances I never negated.

Except in the sense that it should hold any sway in how I judge Israel's actions as a nation state. And while you, personally, agree with this; the stance you've been advocating, while not saying it outright, almost perniciously seems to beg this take. Your words:

The tricky thing that (at least some of) the proponents of this anti-Israel is anti-Semite view do is to claim that criticism of Israel's policies is ok, and is not in and of itself enough to label anyone anti-Smeite, but that such criticism is almost always a cover for actual bigotry, and is in fact seen as a "safe" way to be anti-Semitic.

In this wording of their argument, JJ, the thing that sticks out is the phrase "almost always." One can feel the nudge wink behind it, a lovely little back door in case they can't back up their claims about one person's alleged bigotry.

I digress.

Jews can't avoid considering Israel's political status in engaging their faith...The entities in question are in fact essentially different...it does mean [you] HAVE to take the fact into consideration...

You correctly state that it doesn't give Israel a free pass. I'll cede the point that the considerations make Israel an unique nation state.

That said, so. the. fuck. what? "There is no universal rule by which to judge all political situations?" Yes there is: Abuses of power are abuses of power, injustice is injustice. Can you tell me why any considerations should hold sway over this view, if actions can be seen to overstep a nation's right to defend itself and take retribution? Is that a false equivelancy, if you hold all nations to this steadfast rule? Am I projecting my own beliefs here?

saying that we in progressive circles tend to knee-jerk towards criticism of Israel doesn't mean we shouldn't be scrutinizing Israel - why would it mean that?

Maybe it doesn't mean that to you, or me, or Ly or Stine, or any of the discerning readers who visit this site and somehow put up with the self-pleasing wankery that passes for discourse around here. But in GW's America, there's a large portion of the population that takes it to mean exactly that. That's what I'm ranting against, not you, douschebag.

One last thing on this matter: I say you are obtuse because you think that denying that a nation state SHOULD be wrapped up in religion that we can deny the fact that not only members of the state but also "children" of that state believe it to be true?

Uhm, what? I don't care if a nation state is wrapped up in religion or not, or whether the population of said nation state believe it to be so; a nation state is a nation state, and their actions SHOULD be judged by that standard.

If NS Buddhists managed to claim Japan as their own nation state, and responded to terrorist activity from South Korea by bombing the ever loving hell out of Seoul, I would still see that as an abuse of power from a nation state. My theoretical belief that NS Buddhists should have Japan does not change that equation in the least.

if you in fact only criticize Israel, it is fair to assume that you assign only them the blame.

Right, just as it is fair to assume that because you write out "n*****" you are a closet bigot, with about as much basis in truth.

believe and say what you want, but don't get bent out of shape when you get called out for how your words might be perceived.

Lest we forget we're talking about some non-sequitur jokes, and a rant against a particular stance.

But, you know, fine, I'll edit the post to reflect my true stance on the matter.

There you go, douschebag, and nary a "just my opinion" in the fucking mix. If there are other "issues of substance" I should be addressing, I'm hard pressed to find them, so, if you got any, I suggest you mention it.

But you're right about one thing: I am a dumbass. At least I'm not a douschebag, and a fine distinction that.

 
At 8:29 AM, Blogger JJisafool said...

This is the finest piece of dumbassery you've yet to trot out:

saying that we in progressive circles tend to knee-jerk towards criticism of Israel doesn't mean we shouldn't be scrutinizing Israel - why would it mean that?

Maybe it doesn't mean that to you, or me, or Ly or Stine, or any of the discerning readers who visit this site and somehow put up with the self-pleasing wankery that passes for discourse around here. But in GW's America, there's a large portion of the population that takes it to mean exactly that.


Where exactly is the crossover between progressive circles and GW's America?

You and I are progressive. We are given, meaning progressives are given. to knee-jerk criticism of Israel. So, we should be even more self-critical when we criticize Israel, more careful.

GW's America supports Israel because GW does, and GW does because he thinks Jews in possession of Jerusalem is a condition of the end times.

You get so easily confused sometimes, I worry you may have a bloodclot in your brain.

More later, maybe.

 
At 8:49 AM, Blogger JJisafool said...

Abuses of power are abuses of power, injustice is injustice.

Well, that clears that up.

Oh, wait, except for one thing. How do you know when injustice is injustice and not something else. What if you say it is injustice and I say it isn't? How do we work that out? Under what definition of injustice are we operating?

See, that's the thing right there, that is the reason you have to argue every case as an individual case. The broad examples are easy - like nuking SK. But what about when it is a finer hair to split?

And this is just a poorly executed cheap shot here:

Right, just as it is fair to assume that because you write out "n*****" you are a closet bigot, with about as much basis in truth.

You really blew at analogies on the SAT, didn't you?

Well, that was fun. Keeps me from posting on my blog, but gets the juices flowin' eh?

 
At 9:26 AM, Blogger Stine said...

As usual, the discussion has become so fragmented that we both seem to be picking apart sub-arguments without addressing each other's main arguments.

I've been following this thread - to the best of my ability, and a truer word was never spoken. This whole thread reads like the fight Lyam and I had before I got thrown in jail(a story for another time). Started off about one thing, and then digressed into sub-plots, of sub-plots, of sub-points until all meaning was lost.

Beige, I do think that you and JJ's opinions are more similar than you think. But damn, y'all are both really hair trigger. Looks like I'm not the only one pms'ing.

Carry on...Beige, I think it's your turn.

 
At 10:16 AM, Blogger the beige one said...

I do think that you and JJ's opinions are more similar than you think.

Stine, I know. I. Know. As I said in my last post (and it's there) I am not arguing against JJ, I am arguing the supposed logic of the stance he is playing Devil's Advocate for, a fool's errand, and one I should know to be wary of.

I am more pissed at myself in this equation, but must admit that I've taken a liking to calling JJ a douschebag, feels fitting somehow.

JJ, I am comforted to know that in GW's America that no such thing as a lazy progressive exists. Lord knows they exist at most other times, but it's good to know that our current environment is not conducive to their existence or survival. And it's not a cheap shot, douschebag, there are people out there who will read and think that. Oh, but what would I know?

Any other dumbassery you want to explore? What about these issues of substance, the hard questions I'm ignoring?

Don't talk to me about not being able to work on other blog entries, I basically just tossed this one off last week, without any real thought and in the middle of another entry, and ended up participating in a trench war that could've been avoided if the parties involved had used plainer language.

Oy fucking vey, I feel like Israel now.

 
At 10:21 AM, Blogger JJisafool said...

I am comforted to know that in GW's America that no such thing as a lazy progressive exists.

Of course they exist. They tend to resort to knee-jerk, "party"line analyses of complex situatio... Oh, uh, heh-heh, um, never mind.

 
At 12:00 PM, Blogger JJisafool said...

No, but seriously folks...

TBO, you know that what I go after more than anything else is imprecise or incomplete reasoning by people I agree with, because I actually care about their opinions being heard and not filtered by rhetoric tags.

I admire the fact that you stick your neck out and say what is on your mind about issues that aren't simple or cut and dried. And I believe you have a lot of good insight.

I guess I just fancy myself "that which does not kill you" within type of discourse. I hope it makes your arguments stronger in the end.

And, if it annoys the shit out of you along the way, so much the better.

 
At 4:30 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

But what about when it is a finer hair to split?

Dude, split as many hairs as possible, equivocate about individual history as much as you want, you may even come up with a good and reasonable justification that allows a nation state to explain why an action was taken, I'm not saying that this isn't possible. It's called context.

However, once that is all said and done, if you go back and look at individual actions and the context surrounding those actions, it becomes a lot easier to determine what's an abuse, what's injustice, and what isn't. You know, a sensible approach; but, as I'm a lazy progressive now, I suppose I could just arbitrarily decide this. How freeing.

what I go after more than anything else is imprecise or incomplete reasoning by people I agree with, because I actually care about their opinions being heard and not filtered by rhetoric tags.

I grok and dig, man, but, to be honest, I expect the full frontal assault from folks who actually disagree with me (this is where you say that I haven't seen the full frontal assault). Also, I know how much you want to sleep with John C. McGinley, but Dr. Cox you ain't, neither am I your student...I was about to say that I gave as good as I got, but I know that's not true, so let's say that, instead of Israel, I know what Beirut feels like.

Do I want my arguments to stand up under pressure? Sure, but I'm almost positive that there are other ways to learn.

And, if it annoys the shit out of you along the way, so much the better.

You see? And people think the term "douschebag" is unwarranted. It's almost a pet name in this instance.

 
At 12:06 AM, Blogger JJisafool said...

My desire to mount John C McGinley like a stallion notwithstanding...

We are all students, and we are all teachers.

And, we only sharpen the blades we wish to cut deep.

 

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