Centre Stage

11 03 2011

Charlie Sheen is many things, it seems, and there are very many things that he is not. While the blogs are abuzz with questions regarding his antisemitism (for the record, he is as antisemitic as I am), I recently encountered a rather curious allegation. In addition to all of the various other things that Charlie Sheen is not, he is also, it would seem, not filial. No, not one bit.

The article in question, which appeared in China’s Global Times, stresses some key truths about the nature of the US media. Rather than quietly and sensitively deal with one man’s car crash of a life, what people want the most is to see the individual behind the wheel, front and centre stage, while he drives into a wall. Again, and again, and again. When he should be receiving appropriate treatment for his psychiatric disorder, he is instead allowed free reign to advocate the worst elements of his decrepit lifestyle. I won’t join the bandwagon and get indignant about his mistresses living together, but only because I am jealous. I will, however, suggest that his continued advocacy for drug use (“dyin’s for fools”) is disturbing, and irresponsible on the part of everybody who has helped to give him a microphone.

But while this is all very important, the chief focus of the Chinese article (as its title suggests) is Charlie’s relationship with his distraught father. While the author makes a connection between that and his relationship with his immoral fatherland (this is, after all, a Chinese paper), it is their condemnation of his lack of filial propriety that draws their greatest ire. And so I feel that it is worth mentioning at this point that the article in question either suffered a rather unfortunate lacuna on its way towards publication, or the editor is an idiot.

In the second-to-last paragraph, before declaring (the fact) that “Sheen is a disgrace”, the author – a Mr Hao Leifeng – makes the following claim:

He ignored his own father’s advice to keep quiet, who was once the president of the US.

Is China so starved for information about the outside world that people think The West Wing was a documentary? Did the article originally add something along the lines of “… in an award-winning NBC drama”? Or has it suffered, perhaps, in translation? Am I missing, in English, vital clues to the effect that this piece was supposed to be a lampoon, and that Charlie is only playing the fool, in much the same way as his father played Josiah Bartlet?

I don’t know. What I do know, however, is that if you’re going to complain about somebody standing centre stage while they make a fool of themselves, you should probably not make a fool of yourself when you do.


1 03 2011

Don’t get me wrong: Glenn Beck is an ignorant fool. But nothing irritates me more than the vultures at the Anti-Defamation League, who sit around scratching themselves all day, until somebody uses the word “Jew” in a sentence and gives them something to shriek about. Now that Glenn Beck has made the appalling comparison (gasp!) between Reform Jews and “radicalised Islam”, the heroic ADL has leapt to the rescue of Jews everywhere. Never missing a beat (unless it’s a non-Jew taking the beating), the ADL has released an official statement to the effect that nothing can be more offensive than comparing good, honest people to Muslims.

Well, that’s not exactly what they said, but you can read it for yourself. Comparing Reform Jews to radical Islamists, well… that just hurts our feelings. And because antisemitism is so very frightening, it makes sense that those of us who devote our careers to hunting it down should begin to see it everywhere we look. This is a survival mechanism after all, and if Jews are going to survive in a country with the largest Jewish population, within which there is no history of organised antisemitism, where Jews have the ear of the president, top the nation’s rich list and run the entertainment industry, it’s clearly going to be by complaining as loudly as possible whenever a drunkard, a drug-user or a twit says something about Jews that falls short of adoration.

Who knows? Maybe one day we will rid the world of antisemitism, and our children can look back on our obsession with it and see it for what it was: a pathological disorder, no less rank than antisemitism itself.


24 11 2010

While I’m making fun of the staff at The Jewish Press (“America’s Largest Independent Jewish Weekly”, according to… The Jewish Press), there is a poll at the bottom right of the page that allows online viewers to cast a vote in favour of their opinion. The question is simple enough: “Is the Obama administration’s stand on Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria, creating a rift with Israel that will be difficult to repair?” Ignoring the obscene placement of a rogue comma, the following are the permissable options:

• Yes
• No, Israel has weathered worse storms then Obama
• Yes, but its time for Israel to declare its independance
• Maybe

Well, that’s just dandy. Aside from the fact that they don’t know how to spell “independence”, they’re also not really interested in your opinion. If you are of the mind that Obama is doing the right thing, that Israel needs to stop marching in circles and start listening to international opinion, or that the Israeli government should stop building settlements in the occupied territories then you probably don’t read The Jewish Press anyway, which is for settlers and all manner of other American Jews who like to throw their money into colonialist enterprises and call it religiosity. “Judea and Samaria”? What a joke.

Criticising Israel

14 10 2010

I have surprised a few people, and offended a few others, with my last post. The problem with trumpeting the findings of the UNHRC is that I present myself as being a supporter of the council and as endorsing their conclusions. I very deliberately refrained from adding my own opinion to the post because I did not wish to convey this impression, but the effect is the same one way or another. My intention was to make available an item of historical significance, so that an inability to locate the document in question could not possibly serve as an excuse for those who are interested in the subject but who are not familiar with the council’s report. As I came to discover, several people whom I had previously accounted freethinkers refused to read it anyway, on the grounds that we all know how partisan this council is. Indeed, if I refuse to read opinions contrary to my own, I can continue holding steadfast to my beliefs without any fear of growth or contradiction. How disappointingly prevalent this attitude is in my community.

I considered removing the post once people started complaining to me about it, but I have changed my mind. It is specifically for the people who so hate to see it here that I am keeping it up.

UN Human Rights Council Report on Israel

29 09 2010

The UNHRC report on the ‘flotilla incident’ earlier in the year can be downloaded from this link. The document is 56 pages in length, and covers an extensive report of the events leading up to the boarding of the Mavi Marmara, the ensuing fracas that drew widespread media condemnation, the treatment of detainees in Israel, and proposed resolutions to this particular conflict. It is their unanimous and unambiguous conclusion that Israel operated in flagrant violation of international law, and that they contravened established principles of human rights.

A summary of the Fact-Finding Mission’s report is available here, but I have chosen to make it available here as well:

Fact-Finding Mission on the Israeli attack on the Flotilla carrying humanitarian assistance to Gaza presents report to Human Rights Council

Human Rights Council
AFTERNOON 27 September 2010

The United Nations Fact-Finding Mission to investigate violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, resulting from the Israeli attacks on the flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian assistance this afternoon presented its report to the Human Rights Council after the Council held its general debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.

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