Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Life After Death

If BB can post, so can I. I find myself in the uncomfortable position of agreeing with Michael Ezra of Harry's Place.

It is somewhat presumptuous of me to comment on a book that I have not read, but for this purpose I am going to assume that Chas Newkey-Burden has not taken the following sentence from Melanie Phillips’ new book, The World Turned Upside Down: The Global Battle Over God, Truth, and Power (Encounter Books, 2010), out of context:

It is not an exaggeration to say that the position an individual takes on the conflict between Israel and the Arabs is a near-infallible guide to their general view of the world.




Presumptuous? I can think of a blogger who would disagree with that:

Bizarre view among some Indie readers that you need to read a book before dismissing it. I don't. http://tinyurl.com/3amjrut


Chas Newkey-Burden's review seems highly unsatisfactory to me. For instance:

So powerfully and closely argued are these chapters that they are worth the entrance money alone. Having examined these specific issues and others she then convincingly finds the common threads that underpin the loss of reason when it comes to public debate of them.


Yet, despite concluding his review with "I strongly urge you to read and circulate her book" he doesn't summarise these powerful arguments at all or even hint at her methods.

As she argues, “Antisemitism has simply mutated from prejudice against Jews as people to prejudice against Jews as a people. First, theological antisemitism wanted the Jewish religion to disappear; then racial antisemitism wanted the Jews themselves to disappear; now the latest mutation wants the Jewish state to disappear.”


These are assertions, not arguments. I like this picture.

Usual comment deletion policy when Israel is the subject. Points (but no prizes) to anyone who convince me whether 'Jill' in CN-B's comments is a troll or not.

17 Comments:

Blogger ejh said...

One might wonder whether those who have opposed the creation of a Palestinian state are, therefore....

...but that way madness lies. Or trying to argue with madness.

6/30/2010 10:14:00 PM  
Anonymous cian said...

Hey, I used to live two blocks away from where that picture was taken...

Um, Melanie Phillips. It is not an exaggeration to say that anyone who talks in absolutes is an idiot, and so should be ignored. That's all I can really be bothered to say about the woman.

6/30/2010 10:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Al said...

Surely White Man's Burden ought to be ghosting a Big Brother contestant's biography.

word verification - petiveur, which is close enough to petty voyeur to be amusing to me.

Al

6/30/2010 11:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Al said...

Never mind the Jill comment, this one from Chas breaks the rule of using exclamation marks by someone who wants to be taken seriously.


"Thanks! Glad you bought it, there’s a fascinating section about Christian Zionism which is bound to be of interest to you. Let me know what you think of it!"

I'm pretty sure it was Danny Baker who said exclamation marks are the sure sign of a childishly written piece.

6/30/2010 11:30:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

It is not an exaggeration to say that the position an individual takes on the conflict between Israel and the Arabs is a near-infallible guide to their general view of the world.

I'm not sure she's right generally in this, but she seems to be right about herself, in seeing it as a confliect with 'the Arabs' per se...

also Chas is just the gift that keeps on giving:

In the wake of the reaction to the flotilla incident I’ve felt an unprecedented sense of despair that when it comes to these sorts of issues the world is abandoning reason.

his comments on the flotilla?

A gang of murderous savages hid behind a humanitarian mission statement

the videos of what those commandos went through were so painfully, horribly upsetting to watch

etc etc. I do find this approach to 'reason' pretty odd. Unpeak in excelsis.

7/02/2010 08:11:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Via hitchens watch, looks like Hitchens junior is fond of the libel laws, even when he's not being libelled...

http://tinyurl.com/39j8yy3

Private Eye piece forthcoming, I assume.

7/02/2010 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

the videos of what those commandos went through were so painfully, horribly upsetting to watch

I think if people are going to come out with stuff like that, they should not be obstructed or discouraged in any way.

7/02/2010 09:12:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

my new LRB just came in the post, there is a long and i think very good piece about thr RCP lot in it.

bonus points for this:

Nick Cohen, the Observer columnist and author of What’s Left: How the Left Lost Its Way (2007), has called them ‘a vicious movement’ and ‘the smallest and nastiest of the Trotskyist sects’ (the latter in a piece from 2002 that prophetically notes how ‘former lefties can make a good living in the media by attacking their ex-comrades – I’d do it myself if the price was right.’)

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v32/n13/jenny-turner/who-are-they

7/02/2010 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger frunobulax said...

From the LRB article:

The July 1992 edition had Serbia on the cover, described as the ‘WHITE NIGGERS’ of the New World Order.

Wouldn't put it quite like that, but the media portrayal has certainly had a lasting effect.

Setting: first introduction, handshake imminent.

Other: "Oh, is *** a Polish name?"
Me: "No, Serbian."

More often then not, detect visible shudder in 'Other' as hands are clasped.

Ho hum.

7/02/2010 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger FlyingRodent said...

Yeah, everybody has hassles. My worries, I could fill a short and pretty boring book.

7/03/2010 12:11:00 AM  
Anonymous KB Player said...

Organic - thanks for the link to that very interesting article about the RCP and how party discipline continues, even unto the saloon bar. When I read Spiked I do wonder if there is a kind of Spiked-style software that each article is run through before being published. It's not just that everyone has the same and predictable opinions, they all write in exactly the same way, rather contradicting their individualist ethos. None of them are good writers as, say, David Aaronovitch is. However, I like their absolutist stance on free speech.

7/03/2010 12:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again, thanks for the LRB link and especially for this:

Usually, I’d be cheering her on, but by now I am fed up with listening to confident people showing off about their no-nonsense chattering-class opinions.

These days, I think of IoI as a self-sustaining network for media professionals and ambitious PHDs who are competing for fewer jobs. It's not really sinister, but tired and moving in circles. Being unable to produce a great prose stylist to spread the word,as KB Player notes, they have to slog through the wine and cheese reception circuit in the hope that something will turn up. Their initiative of talking shops (or 'salons') in selected university towns tends in practice to provide identikit seminars on libertarian topics that are chasing straw men. The hauteur and disingenuous quality does irk however, especially if you remember them from the 1980s when they did not exactly campaign for free speech at the Polytechnic of North London

Sorge

7/04/2010 06:27:00 AM  
Anonymous dd said...

More often then not, detect visible shudder in 'Other' as hands are clasped.

this is true and it's really unfortunate. I have a mate who has basically found that the only way he has been able to deal with this perception is to play up to it and accept his role in the pub culture as "dangerous Serbian tough guy man" despite the fact that a) he's a well-educated lawyer who b) specifically left Serbia, early after independence, precisely because he couldn't stand the kind of posturing prick who was taking over.

7/04/2010 12:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

To be fair, Serbians aren't alone in having a scary national reputation precede them. I remember having a very similar reaction 20-odd years ago when a coworker explained that his name was Croatian - and I had it all over again when he proceeded almost immediately to explain that Croatia's reputation for collaboration in the war was totally unjustified, right, because what his Dad said, right, was (details mercifully erased by faulty memory).

After that initial shudder we got to be quite good friends - he was a lovely bloke and had great taste in music. But you didn't want to get him started on the relative merits of Serbia & Croatia during the war, or in any other context for that matter.

7/04/2010 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

specifically left Serbia, early after independence

??

7/04/2010 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7/04/2010 05:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Dr Paul said...

KB Player: 'When I read Spiked I do wonder if there is a kind of Spiked-style software that each article is run through before being published. It's not just that everyone has the same and predictable opinions, they all write in exactly the same way, rather contradicting their individualist ethos.'

Very nicely put. I was only just saying to a pal this afternoon that whatever subject Spiked takes up, it rams it into one of its patent templates -- culture of low expectations, teenage angst, élite effeteness, downgrading of humanity -- to come up with a predictable answer.

As we started this thread talking of Mad Mel, it's interesting that Spiked's 'contrarian' stand has led it to attack today's critics of Zionism as bowing to anti-Semites. Just goes to show that one man's contrarian ideas is another man's orthodoxy.

7/04/2010 10:25:00 PM  

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