The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Friday, October 17, 2003

The Easterbrook Kill Bill apology - what for, exactly?

The apology is here.

What's puzzling me is
  • what exactly he's apologising for: and

  • why should he be apologising at all.

He quotes the offending graf, and says
I'm ready to defend all the thoughts in that paragraph. But how could I have done such a poor job of expressing them?...When I reread my own words and beheld how I'd written things that could be misunderstood, I felt awful.

And later:
It was terrible that I implied that the Jewishness of studio executives has anything whatsoever to do with awful movies like Kill Bill.

No - as I understand it, he was saying in the review that Christians and atheists as well as Jews were responsible for making violent movies in Hollywood, but, given the Nazi exterminations, he thought Jews of all people would have second thoughts about doing so.

Further on:
Where I failed most is in the two sentences about adoration of money. I noted that many Christian executives adore money above all else, and in the 20-minute reality of blog composition, that seemed to me, writing it, fairness and fair spreading of blame. But accusing a Christian of adoring money above all else does not engage any history of ugly stereotypes. Accuse a Jewish person of this and you invoke a thousand years of stereotypes about that which Jews have specific historical reasons to fear. What I wrote here was simply wrong, and for being wrong, I apologize.

So, just to clarify, he stands by the accusation (clearly that graf has to be read with the earlier ready to When, in this graf, he says, wrong, he means not that he thinks that the accusation is false - but, rather, that, even though he thinks it true, he shouldn't have made it.

And what of the New Republic. Accusing a Jew of avarice henceforth verboten on the site? The New York Times piece (October 17) on the apology has this:
Peter Beinart, the editor of The New Republic, said: "Gregg made a mistake. He recognizes that. He's a very valuable member of the staff. And I don't think he's the least bit prejudiced."

Oh dear: looks like the grovel was very much an authorised one. Perhaps, even one demanded by TNR management.

Where does that leave us?

For example, it just conceivable that the next President of the United States will be a Jew. Presidents - even the present incumbent - tend to get criticised in the media: is there stuff which (however well-founded) would - in the TNR or elsewhere - be off-limits with a President Lieberman? If so, can they at least be written rules...

One might have hoped that thinking American Jewry would be horrified by the Easterbrook kow-tow as providing evidence to support stereotypical notions of Jewish conspiracy and control.

Every time someone like Easterbrook acts as if he's being worked by someone's foot, the least conspiracy-addicted of us are led to ask, by whose?

(Those who are really conspiracy-minded would be thinking of questions like, whether the extensive interests of the Walt Disney Company place much advertising with TNR [1]...)

  1. A quick glance at the media kit page suggests not.

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