Wednesday, January 26, 2005


It's always nice to get a link from Andrew Sullivan, as I did on my post on Daniel Lapin's article on how his fellow Jews and affect Western Culture. Thanks Andrew. Because of the link, I got a lot more traffic and mail. Here are some of the comments I received:

1) One point about the “Our Worst Enemy” piece… You write:

But he then uses that pose as a jumping off point to engage in some of the grossest ethnic stereotyping himself: He essentially accuses his fellow Jews of conspiring to subvert society with their filth.

He accuses secularist Jews of this, not observant Jews: it’s not ethnic stereotyping, it’s ideological (or perhaps spiritual). Secularist Jews that denigrate or profane sacred Judaica, as was done in the Fockers film, are engaging in anti-Semitism.

2) The problem with your piece on Lapin is that you assume that because Hitler and others had an extreme anti-Jewish paranoia, that Jews, as a definable (and self-defined) group should therefore be beyond criticism until the end of time. This is silly. Groups cannot benefit from their group identity but then cry foul when a massive over-representation is noticed.

3) I think it would help to see the movie. I only saw the first installment of "Meet the Parents," and I couldn't stand it. The sequel, from what I've heard, sounds even worse. I'll wait for it to appear on TV.

What Lapin is doing is something that, speaking VERY broadly, distinguishes the Right from the Left. The Right tries to maintain standards, decency, and is more than willing to criticize one of its own. The Left is somewhat more lax. Look at the difference between how Republicans treated Nixon and the Democrats Clinton, or Trent Lott's comments about race and Robert Byrd's.

One of the great problems in American discourse today is that if you criticize someone for behaving badly, the criticized person frequently shouts "[Insert racism or sexism or homophobia here]." Thus, it takes someone Jewish to criticise Jews behaving badly, or someone gay to criticize tacky behavior amongst gays. Or, for a more specific example, it took Bill Cosby to criticize Blacks in roughly the same terms as white Harvard researchers Abigail and Stephen Thernstrom.

Lapin brings up the sordid history of antisemitism because it would be very hard for a gentile to do so without bringing up the familiar charges. Lapin notes that Jews are playing into the terrible stereotypes developed over centuries, and asks why they're doing so and if they feel any shame. It's not a pleasant task, but I think it's one that needs to be done.

4) That [this piece] was written by a Jewish Rabbi makes it all the more interesting––and valid. It is in fact a great deal like Bernard Goldberg breaking ranks with the media moguls and exposing their prejudices and dishonest manipulations in his books Bias and Arrogance. Les Moonves and Dan Rather and the others may want to see Bernie Goldberg as a traitorous son-of-a-bitch and try to brand him as some sort of verminous species of pond scum, but I regard him as having performed a valuable public service. Like anything else, it all depends on your point of view.

[Lapin's citation of Hitler] sounds terrible––and we KNOW where it led––but has anyone ever bothered to find out EXACTLY what Hitler was talking about?

What WAS it that provided the RATIONALE for anything so hideous as the Holocaust? This should NOT be a taboo subject. Taboos have a long history of attracting lots of unwelcome attention to themselves––the lure of forbidden fruit.

Wy he didn't mention Norman Lear in there while he was at it I can't imagine. If you disagree that most of these influences have in fact coarsened our culture, I can't help you. I have already stated that I am a Streisand fan and have a lot of respect for Hoffman's great skill as an actor. That does not enhance my respect for Streisand's politics, however, or excuse the enthusiasm for socially destructive leftist, anti-American, anti-Capitalist causes these people advocate.

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