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More Cold Compresses, Except This Time I May Have To Take A Pill

with 6 comments

I once posted to this blog–and I’ve posted to various Internet forums over the years–a rule of thumb for supporting and acclaiming nations and their political systems around the world:  if the place has to pass laws to keep its people from leaving, you don’t want any part of it.

Today, I’m ready to offer another:  if supporting whatever cause it is you think is a good idea this morning requires you to rail on and on about the Jews, you’re on the wrong side, and you need to quit.

No, I’m not talking about the Rick Sanchez mess, although that was mildly interesting for about half a minute.

I’m reading Alan Dershowitz’s The Case Against Israel’s Enemies, and having my mind boggled on a regular basis by–well, by all of it. 

I also have to congratulate Dershowitz on doing what I’d thought to be impossible.  I now have even less respect for President Jimmy Carter than I did before. 

There is one thing, though, that I’d never encountered in a clear enough way to have brought home to me.  Everybody else has probably figured all this out already.  Bear with me.

A remarkable number of the people who excoriate “the Jews” in this book do so by describing them in terms that sound like…well, that sound like what anti-American ranters use to explain what they think is so awful about America.

Materialistic.  Bourgeois values.  That kind of thing.

Of course, there’s all that “they rule the world” thing, and being perceived to rule the world will get you resented, whether or not it’s actually true.

But as far as I can tell, Jews were being verbally beat up for being materialistic, crass, grubby, money-loving, middle class dolts long before anybody could even imagine that they ruled anything–right down to the Middle Ages, certainly.

It’s an interesting point, on some level, although I’m not too sure what level yet.

I do think that the specific items in the list that makes a group of people anathema matters–that it matters if you’re being beaten up for being middle class instead of for being religiously fanatic, for instance.

And I wonder why this particular set of attributes–the prosaic dedication to the business of life, really–has, in all times and all places (and not just the West) caused such a visceral, hyperbolic reaction from so many people.

But I don’t actually have answers to any of this, and it’s about time I started the day, for real.

Georgia Xenakis lives.

Written by janeh

October 6th, 2010 at 5:39 am

Posted in Uncategorized

6 Responses to 'More Cold Compresses, Except This Time I May Have To Take A Pill'

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  1. I don’t particularly want to start my day – well, I do, I like mornings, but not with the stuff I have to work on yet again – but I have to, too.

    Should I know who Georgia Xenakis is? The former cosmetologist?

    People often attribute to and attack in others the same attributes they despise in themselves. Maybe the people who attack Jews for being middle class despise middle class people and suspect that they themselves are middle class instead of being interestingly oppressed minorities or heroic leaders of the struggle.

    People – no matter how small and homogeneous the group – do seem to have some kind of innate tendency to want to have some still smaller section of the group to look down on for some reason, real or imagined. Sometimes I think any excuse will do.

    Cheryl

    6 Oct 10 at 6:29 am

  2. I’ve got insomnia and am reading this at 12:30AM. I was raised Jewish and can accept “Materialistic. Bourgeois values” as a fair description of my parents and my sister. But they were all liberal Democrats and I doubt if they ever voted Republican!

    jd

    6 Oct 10 at 9:39 am

  3. THE THEORY OF THE LEISURE CLASS continues to be pertinent–and helpful. The world abounds with people–“activists” anyway–who think it’s acceptable to TAKE wealth, whether by taxes or plunder, but not really the thing to MAKE it through manufacturing or trade. For such people, the United States and many Jews are natural, not arbitrary, enemies.

    As an American, I get much more amusement out of our being called militarists by the Germans and cultural imperialists by the French. Any day now, the Russians will start calling us drunks, and the Han Chinese will denounce our treatment of ethnic minorities.

    The Internet has failed me. Georgia Xenakis?

    robert_piepenbrink

    6 Oct 10 at 3:45 pm

  4. While we are discussing this, could someone define ” Bourgeois values”?

    jd

    6 Oct 10 at 5:33 pm

  5. Isn’t this just a facet of the hatred of the middleman/broker/landlord? They don’t seem to produce anything tangible, they take my money for nothing, and they are the on-the-ground visible face of the big boss/owner, who is so far above me I can’t even imagine hating him….

    Cathy

    CAFiorello

    6 Oct 10 at 10:56 pm

  6. I have opinions about people who use the expression “bourgeois values” as if it means something that decent people ought to have nothing to do with. My very working class, indeed servant class, grandmother had what is now called bourgeois values, and they were exactly the ones that everyone in society aimed to teach their children. Basically it meant what most people called good manners.

    Mique

    7 Oct 10 at 1:04 am

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