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k-punk
12-02-2005, 08:40 AM
First it was the 'flying pigs' poster (which was NOT as it first appeared to a naive audience, a reference to the 'pigs might fly' verbal commonplace but a subliminal attempt to induce anti-semitism). Then the Michael Howard hypnotist post, which was NOT a reference to Little Britain but an anti-semitic attempt to present him as a 'sinister Faginesque figure.' Now the Evening Standard castigates Ken Livingstone for accusing a pushy Evening Standard reporter of being like 'a German war criminal.' This was NOT a reference to the idea that Nazi camp guards were 'just following orders' - a reference so familiar as to amount to a cliche* - but a 'racist attack'.

A bizarre re-definition of racism is being smuggled in here.

It is legitimate, so it seems, to interpret ANY attack or satire on a person of a certain racial group as 'racist' even if the attack makes no reference to their ethnic group. The fact that they are in such a group AND are under attack is sufficient to guarantee the charge of racism.

*Cliche it might have been but its import was lost on the poor Evening Standard journalist who pathetically bleated, 'I'm just doing my job.'

Diggedy Derek
12-02-2005, 08:49 AM
Indeed. The newsboard of the Standard got me well pissed off- "Mayor's Racist Outburst". Surely any self-respecting journalist should put Racist in quotes there.

k-punk
12-02-2005, 10:09 AM
I'm finding this trend infuriating - in the context of an election campaign that is the most despicably racist since the 1970s, in which immigrants and their descendants are forced to endure endless comment about 'Britain being full' (which really, honestly, is NOT racist, really, it's just 'factual' - even though it is completely fantasmatic and bears no relation to any economic reality), in which policies that will have concrete oppressive effects on hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people and which will do untold damage to the confidence of more or less anyone perceived as an ethnic minority here, racism is being re-defined as any comment that 'offends' powerful and privileged people who belong to an ethnic group that was once oppressed.

mms
12-02-2005, 11:04 AM
i think ken, although it was a drunken foolish outburst, was really ineptedly trying to pull associated press up on it's rather dodgy associations with the the british fascists and oswald mosley whom it supported thro it's newspapers, also the founders public courting of adolf hitler. the news played the whole clip the night before and it seemed that way.
only the evening standard deemed it newsworthy really.

Jesse D Serrins
12-02-2005, 04:20 PM
racism is being re-defined as any comment that 'offends' powerful and privileged people who belong to an ethnic group that was once oppressed.

I'm not British and not up to speed on what you're talking about, must admit- but perhaps you could clarify- is it specifically Jewish claims of anti-semitism that you're lamenting, or is there a larger trend that you perceive? (Maybe this is a foolish question, but you're statement was generalized, so I'm not sure). And are you pointing to this trend as contained within Britain, or no? I'm not trying to bait you into saying something that could then get you called 'racist' at all, I'm just not entirely clear on what you're saying.

mms
12-02-2005, 09:04 PM
the adverts were anti semitic surely? designed by Campbell to appeal to white trash - basically said: do you want your country run by jews again?

hmm interesting, not keen on the white trash vibe tho, that's just rubbish
i was stuck outside a painter and decorator suppliers whilst the owner told me that the labour government was a conspiracy of homosexuals and jews, and drug addicts last year, all i was waiting for was a fucking cab with my bumpy white tiles..

luka
12-02-2005, 10:59 PM
it's mostly tradesmen moaning about immigrants working for less, which is true, try hiring. minimum wage doesn't apply here because we're talking abut pricing jobs. i'm not against people berating mark but he happens to be right in this case.

k-punk
13-02-2005, 09:40 AM
I was with a number of fellow lecturers when I first encountered the Flying Pigs story. We were all bemused: anti-semitism... what? It was the LAST thing we would have thought --- but maybe it is aimed at more sophisticated minds than ours --- minds of 'white trash' (lovely term that, btw) who are able to pick up on these nuances ----

It seems to me that what racism there is exists in the minds of the interpreters. ... But the logic goes like this:

1. A person who is a Jew is being attacked (but not for anything connected with their Jewishness)

2. Any attack on a Jewish person must be racist.

3. Therefore racism has occurred.

This is self-evidently ludicrous, trivializing nonsense at a time when real racism is happily being stoked up by the two 'major' political parties.

k-punk
13-02-2005, 09:41 AM
I wouldn't listen to anything Mexican says, btw, he's a troll. Yawn.

k-punk
13-02-2005, 09:44 AM
As for the 'trend':

Yes, very recent, very British (as far as I know). Atm seems to be used only in relation to Jewishness.

Wrong
13-02-2005, 01:05 PM
the adverts were anti semitic surely? designed by Campbell to appeal to white trash - basically said: do you want your country run by jews again?

Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems bizarre that the Labour party would take that track. Is there really enough widespread anti-semitism to make it worth their while?

mms
13-02-2005, 01:26 PM
Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems bizarre that the Labour party would take that track. Is there really enough widespread anti-semitism to make it worth their while?

it's not an intentionally anti semitic advert, that would just be ludicrous, it is however rather pathetic at any rate and it cost money.
dirty tricks breed dirty tricks and if the conservative party want to use some reverse pc unpicking on a rather grim set of adverts then this is what happens.

I didn't actually know or care that Howard was Jewish in any case. Don't think anyone would have given it much attention was it not for the accusations. just something new to ignore.

Randy Watson
14-02-2005, 08:16 AM
I wouldn't listen to anything Mexican says, btw, he's a troll. Yawn.

Seen.

henrymiller
14-02-2005, 09:18 AM
okay, obviously the 'flying pigs' thing is stupid and the claims of anti-semitism are groundless. but you've misrepresented livingstone.


It is legitimate, so it seems, to interpret ANY attack or satire on a person of a certain racial group as 'racist' even if the attack makes no reference to their ethnic group. The fact that they are in such a group AND are under attack is sufficient to guarantee the charge of racism.

well, what happened was that on being told the journalist was jewish, livingstone said he was like a concentration camp guard. this may be cliched banter in k-punk circles, but given livingstone's well-publicised friendliness with anti-semites, i don't see why we should be so sanguine about it. as it happens i think comparing anyone with concentration camp guards is a bit messed up.

luka
14-02-2005, 09:55 AM
no that's not what happened. the remark preceded the reporter telling livingstone he was jewish. why would the subject even arise without the remark? the standard printed the transcript of the encounter. it was not remotely racist in any way shape or form and the standard should be closed down for their headline. (and for being shit in all sorts of ways)

henrymiller
14-02-2005, 10:00 AM
the transcript i read in the guardian ran:

'The row began when newsroom journalist Oliver Finegold asked him for a comment after the event.

After Finegold had announced himself as a Standard journalist, Mr Livingstone said: "How awful for you. Have you thought of having treatment?"

Mr Livingstone repeated his question and then asked: "What did you do? Were you a German war criminal?"

Finegold told the mayor that he was Jewish and therefore found the remark offensive, before asking again how the event had gone.

Mr Livingstone replied: "Arr right, well you might be [Jewish], but actually you are just like a concentration camp guard, you are just doing it because you are paid to, aren't you?"'

how is that not gross? i realize that the standard is a bad newspaper, but saying people who write for it are like concentration camp guards is a bit much.

luka
14-02-2005, 10:01 AM
sure, i'm not saying it was clever and witty, it was stupid. i'm just saying it didn't justify a headline reading
kens racist abuse
or whatever the headline was. becasue it wasn't racist.

jenks
14-02-2005, 11:44 AM
i think that what Ken is guilty of is mainly stupidity - stupid to be baited by someone who was quite clearly out there to rile him and stupid to use the analogy of concentration camp guards with someone only following orders - it is stupid and it is offensive to do so. whether he is intentionally racist i doubt but he has given people ammunition to attack him. there is some suggestion in the papers that Ken might have been a bit pissed but still no excuse
what is a particular shame is that the reason Ken was out that night was for chris smith's bash - an event that should have received positive coverage even in the standard.
as to the flying pigs advert, i told a mate in the pub about it and he didn't even realise that the two guys were jewish - if anything i think it is a bad poster cos it doesn't work, the graphics are poor and the message requires to be too carefully considered - it is not immediate enough. doesn't make etwin a nice man - remember he told a paper he wouldn't send his kids to the local comp if you paid him. and howard - don't forget the whole handcuffs for prisoners giving birth story amongst amny others.

k-punk
14-02-2005, 03:28 PM
No, what's 'offensive' - and why 'offence' is held to be the WORST THING ANYONE COULD SUFFER is worth a whole thread in itself - is that the journalist did indeed use precisely the same excuse that Nazi guards laid claim to in the postwar period. What's 'offensive' is trivializing racism to a matter of 'he called me a name': especially when the one insulted deserved it. If Livingstone's guilty of anything, it is hyperbole, but in a sense that's all the worse for the journalist, since no-one is coercing him into doing that badgering job, he won't be shot if he gets another one. What is being said? That someone who is Jewish couldn't be guilty of cowardice (in the Sartrean sense), i.e. couldn't go along with the status quo for the sake of a quiet life? That's just preposterous.

john eden
14-02-2005, 03:56 PM
Much as I hate his guts, this is quality, isn't it?


Asked if he would apologise to Finegold, Mr Livingstone said: " Absolutely not. If he isn't happy he shouldn't be working for a paper like that. You can't expect to work for the Daily Mail group and have the rest of society treat you with respect as a useful member of society, because you are not."

Jesse D Serrins
14-02-2005, 05:56 PM
No, what's 'offensive' - and why 'offence' is held to be the WORST THING ANYONE COULD SUFFER is worth a whole thread in itself - is that the journalist did indeed use precisely the same excuse that Nazi guards laid claim to in the postwar period. What's 'offensive' is trivializing racism to a matter of 'he called me a name': especially when the one insulted deserved it. If Livingstone's guilty of anything, it is hyperbole, but in a sense that's all the worse for the journalist, since no-one is coercing him into doing that badgering job, he won't be shot if he gets another one. What is being said? That someone who is Jewish couldn't be guilty of cowardice (in the Sartrean sense), i.e. couldn't go along with the status quo for the sake of a quiet life? That's just preposterous.

K-Punk- I understand what you're saying, and I almost agree with you, but I do believe there's something you're not saying behind this, I mean, it's a pretty loaded subject. Or, if I'm not quite on the mark, nevertheless: if the dude's name is Finegold, and the Guardian transcript is accurate, then the bottom line is, comparing someone who's Jewish to a concentration camp guard is intensely inflammatory, not just for the individual but for a community of people. In my book, the same goes for all ethnic/religious groups, etc. It's interesting that you said that you think this is a uniquely British situation, 'cause the anti-semitism thing is fairly out and about on a global scale. Now what I agree with is the sense that there are much, much bigger deals going on in terms of immigration laws and such, i.e., policies that hurt much more than just feelings and can be and often are covertly (or not so covertly) extremely racist. And indeed, the anti-semitism watchdogs can be absurdly reactionary- this troubles me all the time. That doesn't mean anyone needs to sit back and just take it, or more so, that anyone deserves it. There are plenty of other analogies that can be made, why the Nazi one? I guess I'm just saying: correct me if I'm wrong, but there's a bigger reason you threw immigration law and overreactionary claims of anti-semitism together in the start of this thread.

k-punk
14-02-2005, 07:26 PM
The fact that people are offended is meaningless. So what? Offensiveness has nothing to do with racism, and the fact that all discussion of racism is now reduced to bourgeois parlour room politesse is part of the reason why this is so obnoxious. Being 'intensely inflammatory' is not a crime, even though the English Master Class would like to make it one. Besides, surely Livingstone's 'crime' consists in not RETRACTING the analogy AFTER he had learned that Finegold is Jewish. But that would have been hypocritical - either the analogy stands REGARDLESS of who it is aimed at or it doesn't. The problem, as I said, is exaggeration and cliche. The accusation of 'just following orders' is a rhetorical device many ppl reach for when faced with those who refuse to take responsibility for their actions or who appeal to some Necessity as a means of avoiding responsibility.

Look, the logical structure is the same as this:

A: You're behaving like a witch hunter.

B: My great grandmother was burned as a witch, I find that very offensive.

Now, what should A respond here? Oh, I'm sorry Mr B that I offended you? Surely not. Surely B's conduct is MUCH MUCH WORSE precisely because his family were themselves the victims of just this sort of behaviour, meaning that he ought to be well aware of its consequences and should NEVER use the excuse that his ancestors' oppressors appealed to.

As to a wider agenda? Not really. I don't believe that the state of Israel is equivalent to Nazi Germany, much as I deplore its existence (IN THE SAME WAY that I deplore any State organized on ethnic-sectarian principles). But I WOULD want some evidence of how either Howard, Letwin or Finegold have been disadvantaged on account of their Jewishness before I will grant that they are the victims of racism. Otherwise, my original point stands: this is a case of the EMC trivializing racism in order to protect their own power and privilege. And also, an appalling distraction from the most racist election campaign in a generation.

Jesse D Serrins
14-02-2005, 07:46 PM
Yes, most definitely, all around (BUT I really should add that I would NEVER say that I deplore the existence of the state of Israel), and thanks for the patient clarification, except:
now I've gotta look into what's going on specifically 'cause I know almost nothing about the British political situation and you've piqued my interest greatly.

LRJP!
14-02-2005, 08:22 PM
As to a wider agenda? Not really. I don't believe that the state of Israel is equivalent to Nazi Germany, much as I deplore its existence (IN THE SAME WAY that I deplore any State organized on ethnic-sectarian principles). But I WOULD want some evidence of how either Howard, Letwin or Finegold have been disadvantaged on account of their Jewishness before I will grant that they are the victims of racism. Otherwise, my original point stands: this is a case of the EMC trivializing racism in order to protect their own power and privilege. And also, an appalling distraction from the most racist election campaign in a generation.

For what it's worth I know of one lifelong Conservative voter (who isn't Anne Widicombe[sp?]) who won't vote for Howard because of “his blood” (!) Creepy beyond belief. I guess that’s a disadvantage for him.

I agree that the values of the campaign/current debate are sickening - bewailing the hidden and all pervasive
Racism while simultaneously stoking up hatred of Asylum Seekers and Immigrants… unrelentingly bleak.

k-punk
14-02-2005, 08:39 PM
Did people watch that profile of Howard on the BBC on Sat night? Incredible how the ground has shifted: all those images of him as a vampire (in the wake of Ann Widdecombe's 'something of the night' remark) were perfectly acceptable, it seemed, despite the fact that one of the most persistent caricatures of Jews depicts them as vampires.

redcrescent
14-02-2005, 09:58 PM
CNN.com: London mayor in Nazi insult storm (http://edition.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/europe/02/14/britain.livingstone.reut/index.html)

Rambler
15-02-2005, 09:19 AM
one of the most persistent caricatures of Jews depicts them as vampires.

Don't forget that his family was Romanian too - which makes him doubly susceptible to the protean depiction as vampire/baby-stealing gypsy/thieving East European, or however you want to paint it.

Under current sensitivities Howard probably has a right to take offence at that sort of depiction - to his credit he doesn't*. Even more offensive though is the fact that a Labour MP of non-white male West European Christian stock would probably only make party leader as part of some quota system....

(*Although this is where my sympathies with him most definitely stop.)

henrymiller
15-02-2005, 09:29 AM
No, what's 'offensive' - and why 'offence' is held to be the WORST THING ANYONE COULD SUFFER is worth a whole thread in itself - is that the journalist did indeed use precisely the same excuse that Nazi guards laid claim to in the postwar period.

I haven't read all the press on this. But who exactly has said that offense is 'the worst thing anyone could suffer'? No-one. In fact the journalist didn't need to be Jewish for the comment to be offensive(ly stupid). Writing for the Standard (as of course Livingstone has done in the past) is not a 'crime' that justifies this kind of gratuitous insult. Now obviously: big deal, a journalist was offended, so what? But I'm absolutely entitled to think Livingstone is a fool with all the debating skills of a student debating society also-ran.


The fact that people are offended is meaningless.

If you like. I wonder how often K-Punk gets offended to be so flip? Is it only racism/homophobia/sexism if you suffer in obvious physical/material ways.

johneffay
15-02-2005, 09:44 AM
I think Howard probably has a right to take offence at all that sort of depiction - to his credit he doesn't*.

He can't afford to. He has to play down his background in order to appeal to some of the parochial scumbags his party has voting for them. That is why his speech at the last party conference was such a surprise.

The conspiracy theorists are claiming that the pig poster was deliberately engineered by Campbell and the gang to highlight the fact that Howard and Letwin are Jewish by means of the (deliberately engineered) media 'outrage' that it caused. This is undoubtedly bollocks, but entertaining nevertheless.

Rambler
15-02-2005, 09:54 AM
He can't afford to. He has to play down his background in order to appeal to some of the parochial scumbags his party has voting for them.

Which is a shame, because if you put the parochial scumbag minority to one side the traditional Conservative voter block has no inherent difficulty with race, gender or sexuality. There are plenty of gay Tory MPs, a Jewish immigrant leader, and they elected the only female prime minister we've had (and look to have for some years yet) etc. etc. The values of traditional Conservatives are that if you're good enough you will rise to the top on merit (that's the philosophy, even if it works less in practice than it should) - actually, I think that's why he plays it down. For him, it's not an issue. If he was Labour, it probably would be,

henrymiller
15-02-2005, 10:02 AM
And didn't the Labour chairman compare Letwin with Fagin? Rambler is right in that the Conservatives are at least conflicted on this count. On the one hand they are the party of Disraeli; and it was, of course, the 'left' which developed an anti-semitic interpretation of (conservative-unionist) imperialism in South Africa. On the other hand the Tory party grandees are generally completely intolerant. But they have never gone in for conspiracy theories the way Labour sometimes does.

jenks
15-02-2005, 10:08 AM
kpunk, whilst disagreeing with you about the 'offensiveness' issue i do agree with regard to the racist nature of the election. however it's not just hapening here, my mate in australia who covered their recent election bemaoned the fact that that both major parties got into 'i'm more racist than you' slanging match in their bid to appeal to the electorate. his dutch wife has now refused to apply for citizenship because of this!
and i am sure that the nazi demonstrations in dresden represent a much larger rise of european racism at work

Rachel Verinder
15-02-2005, 12:34 PM
Yusuf al-Qaradawi to thread.

stelfox
15-02-2005, 01:25 PM
i honestly don't think anti-semitism was the thrust of the posters at all. so i'm agreeing with mark on this (wahey! first time i've had the chance to write that in about 6 months).
however, more worrying is that i really would be incredibly surprised if more than 5% of the electorate knew of howard and letwin's judaism before this and very few would have cared - now they do it may well become an issue, though.
also the likes of melanie phillips lecturing *anyone* but the most hardline bnp nutbag on prejudice just baffles me.
in the effort to throw accusations of anti-semitism where they won't really stick, the media is actually talking up this kind of bigotry's ascendance and it worries me.
those posters were daft, ill-advised, lowest-common-denominator propaganda, but what else do you expect from new labour, anyway...

mms
15-02-2005, 05:35 PM
He can't afford to. He has to play down his background in order to appeal to some of the parochial scumbags his party has voting for them. That is why his speech at the last party conference was such a surprise..

hmm he's played it up with the argument against asylum in a sense , 'i was an immigrant so i can sympathise but these asylum seekers but....'
deserving and non deserving

k-punk
15-02-2005, 08:46 PM
A caller on Radio London this morning.:

"Claiming what Ken said was a racist is the same as me treating my workers really badly until someone says to me 'You're behaving like a slavemaster' and me protesting, 'That's racist, because I'm black.' That's ridiculous."

Quite.

henrymiller
16-02-2005, 08:15 AM
"Claiming what Ken said was a racist is the same as me treating my workers really badly until someone says to me 'You're behaving like a slavemaster' and me protesting, 'That's racist, because I'm black.' That's ridiculous."

While there are similarities between treating 'my' workers really badly (interesting use of the possessive) and being a slavemaster, there's no strong link between writing for the Standard and participating in genocide. So calling someone who treated their workers badly a 'slavemaster' would be more or less sensible, but calling someone who works for a newspaper a 'concentration camp guard' (and it doesn't matter if they're Jewish or not) is ridiculous.

stelfox
16-02-2005, 10:53 AM
i don't think anyone is claiming it wasn't a *stupid* thing to say.

k-punk
16-02-2005, 10:56 AM
While there are similarities between treating 'my' workers really badly (interesting use of the possessive) and being a slavemaster, there's no strong link between writing for the Standard and participating in genocide. So calling someone who treated their workers badly a 'slavemaster' would be more or less sensible, but calling someone who works for a newspaper a 'concentration camp guard' (and it doesn't matter if they're Jewish or not) is ridiculous.

No. You've missed the point. The link between Finegold and Nazi camp guards Livingstone was trying to establish concerned both disclaiming responsibility for their actions by blaming them on objective necessity. 'I'm just following orders.' 'I'm just doing my job.' Classic bad faith, in the Sartrean sense.

But the most important link that the slavemaster analogy establishes is that concerning fatuous outrage. It is no less ridiculous for Finegold to say 'I'm Jewish, I'm offended, I couldn't possibly be guilty of acting in bad faith' than it would be for the black boss to say 'I'm black, I'm offended, I couldn't possibly be guilty of exploiting workers.'

k-punk
16-02-2005, 10:59 AM
Dave, it's exaggerated, it's not stupid. Let's not forget: that type of journalist IS evil, contributing to cultural stupidity and all manner of reactionary nonsense. It's time people stood up to them and - more importantly - to the idiot PR culture (the big Other in person) that they represent.

henrymiller
16-02-2005, 11:08 AM
Finegold wasn't offended by being told he was acting in bad faith, though (from an expert in bad faith such as Livingstone, sometime Labour rebel and former Standard writer, this might be ironic). He was offended because someone said that what he was doing (writing for a newspaper) was in any sense 'like' being a concentration camp guard. It's not just that Livingstone refused to 'play the game' of politician and journalist (he has every right to do this), but how he did it.
He isn't defendeing his actions with any reference to bad faith; he is concentrating on the justice of his remarks: to him, Mail journalists are like concentration camp guards not in just terms of bad faith but in terms of their actions: in itself, writing for a right-wing paper makes you a Nazi, is his argument.

stelfox
16-02-2005, 11:42 AM
Dave, it's exaggerated, it's not stupid. Let's not forget: that type of journalist IS evil, contributing to cultural stupidity and all manner of reactionary nonsense. It's time people stood up to them and - more importantly - to the idiot PR culture (the big Other in person) that they represent.


Valid points mark, but i do think that making working for a rightist newspaper analogous to working is a concentration camp, especially when you're a public figure likely to come under this sort of scrutiny, is a bit daft. i mean, we've all said shit like this when we've been faced with jobsworth "i don't make the rules" types or "little hitlers". they're more figures of speech than anti-semitic jibes. not sensible, but not loaded in the way ken's *stupid* (i'm standing by it) statement has been portrayed. sometimes people don't think fully before they open their mouths - doesn't mean they have an underhand agenda of rank bigotry.

jenks
16-02-2005, 01:25 PM
stelfox, i agree, i called it stupid a couple of days ago and still stand by it. agree with rest of your post too.

k-punk
16-02-2005, 01:47 PM
Finegold wasn't offended by being told he was acting in bad faith, though (from an expert in bad faith such as Livingstone, sometime Labour rebel and former Standard writer, this might be ironic). He was offended because someone said that what he was doing (writing for a newspaper) was in any sense 'like' being a concentration camp guard.

You're missing the point, perhaps deliberately. The sense in which writing for a newspaper (i.e. shoring up the existing order; abusing and harassing people as 'part of your job'; spreading scare stories etc) is like being a concentration camp guard is precisely that BOTH INVOLVE BEING IN BAD FAITH.


It's not just that Livingstone refused to 'play the game' of politician and journalist (he has every right to do this), but how he did it.
He isn't defendeing his actions with any reference to bad faith; he is concentrating on the justice of his remarks: to him, Mail journalists are like concentration camp guards not in just terms of bad faith but in terms of their actions: in itself, writing for a right-wing paper makes you a Nazi, is his argument.

That's part of it, and, at worst then, Ken might be guilty of exaggeration. But this is illustrative of a more general point about making the Holocaust a singular ahistorical example of sublime evil to which we must all piously genuflect, rather than a specific historical event which had a number of concrete causes, one of which was people's willingness to go along, in bad faith, with what the architects of mass murder required. Surely the most pressing issue is not our attitude to the past per se, but how what we have learned from the past - i.e. that saying 'I was just following orders' is not an acceptable get-out for participating in evil.

stelfox
16-02-2005, 02:04 PM
totally fine points mark, but....
i actually said "that's what they said at belsen" to a rail replacement bus driver the other day, who went past my front door and refused to let me out until he'd taken me all the way to liverpool street, saying said "no i can't let you out here. i don't make the rules - i just follow them".
it was a fucking stupid thing for *me* to say and as far as i know he wasn't jewish, linked to a large-circulation newspaper and i don't hold political office, so for ken it's especially daft.

henrymiller
16-02-2005, 02:08 PM
... a specific historical event which had a number of concrete causes, one of which was people's willingness to go along, in bad faith, with what the architects of mass murder required. Surely the most pressing issue is not our attitude to the past per se, but how what we have learned from the past - i.e. that saying 'I was just following orders' is not an acceptable get-out for participating in evil.

amen to that -- not terribly structuralist/cold-rationalist, but wtf, right?

stelfox
16-02-2005, 02:12 PM
nor was his refusal to let me off the bus exactly "evil"

Randy Watson
16-02-2005, 03:00 PM
nor was his refusal to let me off the bus exactly "evil"

No, probably not ;) Those three words - Rail Replacement Service - suck the joy from my life.

I've met people who work for Mail Group and they all say they disagree with the political/social/cultural ethos of the papers but it's a good job for them, good pay, improves prospects, etc. I think this is moral cowardice.

I hope Livingstone does not apologise to appease reactionary criticism from right-wing media who have an alternative agenda. Any PR driven politician would have said "sorry for any offence I caused" and implicitly refused to apologise for what they actually said. Livingstone says you are wrong to take offence because the accusation is one of moral cowardice, it is not related to your religion and if you don't like it then that's your problem.

Of course, reading the transcript it sounds like he was a bit pissed. I bet he's a nightmare down the pub.

stelfox
16-02-2005, 03:08 PM
ahem... apparently he's much more of a nightmare when he gets home after having been down the pub

johneffay
16-02-2005, 03:33 PM
Surely the whole point about this is that Livingstone made a bit of a twat of himself and the papers decided to make political capital out of it. End of story. Does anybody really believe that Livingstone was making a deliberate antisemitic attack or that the reporter was really that offended?

infinite thought
16-02-2005, 05:33 PM
Effay is quite right. The weirdest thing about the way this story is being run today is that Livingstone's outburst has somehow jeopardised the Olympic bid! So when we rightly lose it to Paris or whoever, all the press can go 'well, y'know, if Ken hadn't made that twattish comment while drunk about ten months ago, we would have been in with a chance'. Very cheap.

mms
16-02-2005, 06:16 PM
According to the latest standard headline Blair has asked ken to apologise, i can't see how that will help things at all, it'll just lead to accusations of hypocracy and conspiracy, especially in the light of the pig and fagin images. Ken has explained himself on the telly etc but a swathe of strong headlines are more powerful than explantions and considered argument from the guy who is actually being accused in the first place.
the only good thing about this is that it's so woeful that just maybe it will put people off the daily mail, evening standard, labour, conservatives and ken livingstone. but most of all hopefully michael howard cos he is mr downer 2005, an utter nasty cynic, not a bit of good about him.

Rambler
17-02-2005, 10:50 AM
So when we rightly lose it to Paris or whoever, all the press can go 'well, y'know, if Ken hadn't made that twattish comment while drunk about ten months ago, we would have been in with a chance'. Very cheap.

Which is secretly what I reckon the Standard want anyway - they love being down on the city they're supposed to represent. Nothing would make them happier than a 40-page supplement on 'Why we lost the Olympic bid'.

jenks
17-02-2005, 11:38 AM
Which is secretly what I reckon the Standard want anyway - they love being down on the city they're supposed to represent. Nothing would make them happier than a 40-page supplement on 'Why we lost the Olympic bid'.
totally agree

Rambler
17-02-2005, 12:37 PM
There's a pretty good leader in the New Statesman at the moment that covers a lot of what's been mentioned on this thread:

http://www.newstatesman.com/nsleader.htm

I particularly like these paragraphs:
Freedom includes the freedom to speak offensive rubbish; indeed, that is the most important freedom of all, and it should not be qualified by demands to apologise for exercising it. Why should Mr Livingstone feign a contrition that he does not feel? Sincerity is what we supposedly want in our politicians. The Prime Minister, who seems to wish to turn apologising into a cottage industry, predictably supports those who want the mayor to retract. Yet he will not apologise for misleading the country over the threat from Saddam Hussein; on the contrary, he promoted the intelligence chief apparently responsible for the flawed information.

It is because our rulers have become so difficult to hold to account on the larger issues - ruinous wars, disastrous public-private partnerships, gridlocked transport - that the media try to nail them on what seem smaller, simpler questions. There is no easy way of putting Iraq right; but Mr Livingstone can be fixed if he will utter a few, well-chosen words, preferably on prime-time television. Again, it is because the political parties lack firm boundaries of principle that so much attention focuses on how politicians express themselves. Just as they are required to tidy their hair and clothes before they go out, so politicians have to tidy their language. The slick surface is all: the substance beneath is nothing.

k-punk
17-02-2005, 01:18 PM
Don't ask us say the critics and the hacks, the pen-pushers and the quacks, we jus' come to get the facts...


Henrymiller: is discussion of Evil not a suitable topic for rationalists? Of course not (http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/5/alainbadiou.php) . On the contrary, in fact. As this also establishes (http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/5/alenkazupancic.php) . it is very much a part of the rationalist project.

Yes, the NS piece is spot on. Everyone involved in the shameful witch-hunt of Ken should ask themselves: is it really the case that Ken should apologise for insulting a hack-lackey of the existing order and that Joker Hysterical Face should not apologise for Iraq? Is deceiving and duping parliament and the country into a war less serious than offending bourgeois politesse? So it would appear.

Make no mistake: this is a matter of the higest principle, and it is imperative that Livingstone does not buckle. The power of the tabloid media in this country to enforce stupidity and conformity should not be underestimated.

If you want to know what Lacan and Zizek mean by the big Other, ask who it is who was actually really upset by Ken's comments and ask who he must apologize to. It is not Finegold, a no-mark opportunist and lapdog who had no hesitation in running to his masters with a story to make his own name and stitch up Livingstone. The ES lap it up so they can keep all their paymasters in Kensingston and Chelsea happy by making sure they don't have to pay the congestion charge on their trophy wives' 4 by 4s. No, it is not any actual individual, it is the symbolic structure itself to which Ken must submit. And the current name for the big Other is the Olympic bid, as I.T. says. 'This might lead us to losing the Olympic bid' (if the big Other finds out).

be.jazz
17-02-2005, 07:39 PM
nor was his refusal to let me off the bus exactly "evil"
Unless you were the only person on the bus, I would even call it "right."

Watching BBC's evening news a couple of days ago, the Livingstone and immigration affairs were covered in parallel, and I could only think of how correct K-Punk's points early in this thread were.

I think it was Michael Howard who stated "We have a National Health Service, not a Global Health Service." This reminded me of comments heard in France 10 or more years ago: "France cannot host all the misery of the world." I thought we'd gotten past that, apparently not.

We also apparently have not gotten past using shoddy science as a flimsy cloak for racism: my soon-to-be-doctor girlfriend debunked the utility of TB tests in protecting the general population in about 10 seconds.

Again, we are also not past failing to see immigration as a *positive* employment factor (cf. Labour's "we'll only let in useful, qualified immigrants."). I find it hard to believe that no studies have been carried out on the economic roles filled by immigrants (e.g. Italian miners in Belgium in the 60s, North Africans in France for a whole variety of things, and so on), so I must believe that these kinds of pronouncements are as shoddy as the TB one. Further, UN reports have recommended major increases in immigration quotas as a means to combat the problems looming due to ageing populations. I don't remember the exact figures, but for France, the recommendation was about 10 times the current quota.

And yet, we are "flooded" with immigrants and their misery and their NHS-sucking deviousness. Seems to me the best gig is to become Finance minister and get the people to pay your 14,000 euro/month rent (a scandal that has just forced the French minister to give up his appartment and the Prime Minister to change the legislation on official residences).

k-punk
18-02-2005, 11:00 AM
We also apparently have not gotten past using shoddy science as a flimsy cloak for racism: my soon-to-be-doctor girlfriend debunked the utility of TB tests in protecting the general population in about 10 seconds.
.

Yes, Howard looked at his most slimily unconvincing when he was trying to sell this crock of shit on TV the other night. 'It's just practical, it's just about protecting our public health and seeing that our health service is not put under any more pressure.' So why are people not coming to Britain for a year to be checked? Don't such people have HIV or TB, or can they be trusted not to spread it if they are only here for under a year? Why only people outside the EU? As someone asked on Question Time last night, does this mean that Americans will be checked?

This is appalling, shocking... but no, it's far MORE important that Ken is made to kneel to the big O...

kooky
18-02-2005, 11:17 PM
You'd have to be naive, or even stupid, to think that to highlight the jewish background of key tory cabinet members wasn't significant. Campbell knew exactly what he was doing. Come on, Howard as Shylock! As far as Ken is concerned, all power to him. He's the main reason London works at all.

k-punk
19-02-2005, 12:27 AM
You'd have to be naive, or even stupid, to think that to highlight the jewish background of key tory cabinet members wasn't significant. Campbell knew exactly what he was doing. Come on, Howard as Shylock! .

But who is 'highlighting' this - only the people protesting about anti-semitism surely? Maybe Dave is right and Campbell wanted to provoke this response as a means of foregrounding the Jewish background of Letwin and Howard. I certainly wasn't aware of Letwin being Jewish before this, had forgotten about Howard - not that I could have cared less naturally.

But surely the 'Howard as Shylock' accusation reveals more about the ppl making it than about Campbell or New Labour - i.e. since it quite plainly is not making any reference to Shylock at all (errr, need it be pointed out that Shylock was a moneylender, he precisely did not trick anyone, he wasn't a hypnotist or confidence trickster, he was in fact the very opposite, someone who stuck rigidly to the deal as agreed), the association must be being made in those who are protesting about it (image of a Jewish person --- sinister --- must equal Shylock).

Can I reiterate that this moral panic is purely random, and really quite desperate. The current logic seems to insist that ANY accusations or satire levelled at Jewish people (Finegold, Howard) are in danger of being accused of racism. At the same time, though, other images which DO have a loaded ethnic history - Howard as Dracula - are seemingly perfectly acceptable. Like I say, random.

As for 'Campbell knowing what he was doing', I doubt that on two counts:

1. I'm very sceptical about Campbell being involved at all in the Pigs poster. My suspicion is that Campbell has been wheeled out in that old New Labour trick of making HIM the story, as a means of distraction.

2. He's hardly showing expert judgement atm, if Thursday's Channel 5 public relations disaster is anything to go by.

k-punk
19-02-2005, 11:16 AM
Some great stuff on Radio London today.

One caller ludidly dismantling the logic of the witch-hunters.... saying Ken was only pointing to the dangers of disclaiming responsibility for yr actions... and that she, as a daughter of a Holocaust survivor, had been told by her mother about how journalists lying about Jews had been crucial in paving the way towards the genocide... AND that the current journalistic discourse surrounding refugees is disturbingly similar to that surrounding Jews in Germany in the 30s.... AND that it is shameful of FINEGOLD for exploiting the Holocaust to make a name for himself....

Another saying a hack is a hack is a hack.. that the idea that Finegold was really shaken and had to have his nose wiped after Ken's 'jibe' is plainly laughable... Finegold is a hack, and a hack's job is to stir people up to get a reaction out of them... which he did... so come on, far from being offended, Finegold, with his hack heart of stone, must have been DELIGHTED by Ken's 'outburst'....

Rambler
19-02-2005, 12:19 PM
Of course he was delighted - got him a front page after all.

luka
19-02-2005, 01:50 PM
if you read the transcript it features finegold going
'great, i've got that on tape, thanks ken'
or something along those lines

k-punk
19-02-2005, 01:54 PM
Quite. That's obvious. So given that he wasn't offended what is all this about then?

Aahh, the big Other might not like it... I see...

(Notice btw that the ES now talks about 'perceived anti-semitism' - perceived by whom?

well, the big O of course...

be.jazz
19-02-2005, 03:20 PM
The French parallel at the moment is Dieudonné, a black comedian. A year or so ago he did this really weird (and, IMO, unoffensive but also unfunny) sketch on live TV, aimed at Djamel, a very popular young comedian of North African descent. It involved a weird mixture of (neo-)Nazism, anti-Israelism and maybe some other things. Since then, he's been embroiled in court cases and controversy, but since he's both a big black guy who doesn't give a fuck and an opportunist, he's been playing with the situation and inviting more "outrage."

Just a couple of days ago at a press conference he cited an Israeli writer who called the Shoah "memorial pornography." I still haven't been able to get more context than that, since articles so far about it have been "Dieudonné said this" and then several paragraphs about the outraged parties. I don't even know what "memorial pornography" means. He did also claim that an French Jewish organisation the Prime Minister recently attended a dinner for was scheming and plotting against the Republic, an unfortunate thing to say, I think.

k-punk
21-02-2005, 06:39 PM
Well, seems like Ken is to be investigated by some ombudsman. Let's hope they shop at the same whitewash store as Lord Hutton.

Not that there is anything to cover up in Ken's case. Unlike in Toneeeeeee's....

kooky
21-02-2005, 09:19 PM
it was the Jews that highlighted the racist reference to the Jews. I've got it now K Punk - I can see where you're coming from. You're so cool.

k-punk
22-02-2005, 09:44 AM
Keep on reading the Daily Mail and having your views programmed by their witch-hunting stupidity, Kooky.

As for anyone with intelligence, I'm sure you'll all join in me in applauding the stance Ken took against journalistic hyenadom today.

henrymiller
22-02-2005, 10:22 AM
no dice, i'm intelligent and ken is still a dick. you're right that finegold and the mail are exploiting this and that they're being hypocritical and all that stuff. BUT even without turning the holocaust into a one-off event ect ect, saying that 'working as a cub reporter on a right-wing paper currently owned by the daily mail (northcliffe also once owned the mirror, so retrospectively... the mirror is fascist!!) is like being a concentration camp guard is dickish. this is all out of proportion and OBVIOUSLY the clarke enabling act is more significant.

but ken is a member of labour. and labour is campaigning on an anti-asylum ticket. and locking up people without trial (indeed on the say-so of mi5 and charles clarke, not even a judge, let alone a jury). so he can dismount from his high anti-fascist horse.

kooky
22-02-2005, 04:40 PM
I wasn't accusing Ken of anti semitism, I was accusing you of anti semitism K Punk. I was talking about your defence of the campbell adverts.

mms
22-02-2005, 04:51 PM
I wasn't accusing Ken of anti semitism, I was accusing you of anti semitism K Punk. I was talking about your defence of the campbell adverts.

i don't think he's defended them just said they aren't anti semetic. Which is plausable in the same way that 1 plus one does not make three, even if one has good pr.

k-punk
22-02-2005, 06:47 PM
I wasn't accusing Ken of anti semitism, I was accusing you of anti semitism K Punk. I was talking about your defence of the campbell adverts.

Right, well, if you write in smug one-liners, you can hardly complain if people are confused about what are you saying.

Perhaps now you could offer a reason for your claim, fascinating though it is to hear about your interior states.

In any case, what I was saying about the Daily Mail agenda applies equally in the case of those adverts too, since that 'story' was cooked up by the Standard as well.

All I can do is reiterate what I've said above: if people really think that a few posters (which MIGHT at a stretch be regarded as CONCEIVABLY giving offence to some members of an ethnic group) are the most pressing concerns when it comes to racism in this country, I really do give up. If you can't see that it is a smokescreen put up to distract attention from a climate in which the most appalling things can be promised and promised ('health screening for all immigrants outside EU' etc), from, that is to say, the most openly racist (pre)election campaign in a quarter of a century, then please, carry on being outraged.

Jesse D Serrins
22-02-2005, 10:30 PM
no dice, i'm intelligent and ken is still a dick.

I think this is really more to the point. I read some article by some ex-high level US Army dude (intelligence, maybe? really sorry for my lack of specifics, it was a while ago) and the dude was making an argument for aligning with Saddam against the US and rampant capitalism. Um, sorry, but there's no way I'm gonna play that hand.

Ness Rowlah
23-02-2005, 01:04 PM
a few things:

a) when the story broke there was nothing as far as i I recall on what Ken actually
said on the front page of the ES. You had to look for the transcript on page three or
four. Many will just read the headline (in "war type")+main piece and leave it at that.
As I was reading the piece I was looking for the "what did he actually say" all the way through.

b) Giles Coren summed it up in The Times in Saturday



Leaving aside the fact that the guy was Jewish, which is irrelevant to the case (because the last thing Jews need is
people suggesting they should be talked to differently from other people), all Mr Livingstone did was use a random
hyperbolic comparison to define a specific evil. As we all do, every day.

We do it when we describe traffic as “murderous”, or a computer breakdown as a “nightmare” or a three-year-old
boy as a “little devil”. We don’t mean he has horns and a tail and spends his days immolating sinners in brimstone,
anymore than a parking attendant needs a small moustache and a swastika for us to call him “a little Hitler”. It is
hyperbole. It is a rhetorical device.

That the Editor of the Evening Standard should use the power of the media to exploit Jewish sensitivities in an
attempt to kill off a man with whose politics she disagrees makes her, if you will pardon the obvious hyperbole,
a worthy inheritor of the tradition of Josef Goebbels.


c) The ES last night had some daft research going on showing how Ken might lose the election in London
if Ken stays in charge. I doubt it - not because I know the complete demographics of London, but just
because Londoners in general is quite a cynical lot and hopefully able to see through the ES's smear
campaign ( not the first time - remember that "falling down the stairs" story the ES ran
with for ages on Ken http://archives.tcm.ie/businesspost/2002/06/30/story692483628.asp)

d) there was some online vote (not that you can trust them anyway) in the Guardian yesterday (probably
still there). 75% or so of the responders voted for Ken to NOT apologise.

e) I don't have the language skills or the time for an article on it - but there's a massive trend now
(think the siamese twins Clarke/Blunkett, art, Gay, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, abortion "issues") where you can't say
_anything_ or being slightly controversial without being accused of being offensive to someone.

Big-Ron's comments were racist, Ken's were not. The whole story is a non-issue. It's all about abuse
of power. Last time it was Campbell/Blair slinging mud against the BBC, this time it's the ES (AP)
using square meters of coverage on "Ken's nazi-jibe".

ES also has Andrew Gilligan on their payroll
(possibly as a freelance, the journalist who went live on the Beeb with the "sex-upped" claims on WMOD)
- I have been looking for a piece by him on this whole mess in the ES (or elsewhere).
That could be an interesting read.

Rambler
23-02-2005, 01:29 PM
I spotted (over somone's shoulder, natch - I don't pay for the damn rag) that Ken was now saying that he'd have said the same thing if the reporter had been gay... so naturally cue Peter Tatchell jumping on the PC bandwagon to claim that Ken has offended all Jews, gays and the disabled*. I mean, when does this stop? Big Ron obviously was wrong in his Desailly remark, but he apologised unreservedly, and quit his job immediately. Good. But that should have been the end of it - but in some quarters he was condemned as a persistent racist because he knew what the word 'nigger' meant! (So, one has to ask, how do those doing the condemning know that it was wrong...) Now, when that sort of argument (and the nonsense surrounding Livingstone) is the level of debate on race and racism in this country we have reached a very sorry place.

*Of course, it would be just cynical to suggest that Tatchell has left two of the major ethnic groups murdered by the Nazis - Romanys and East European Slavs - because they're not trendy enough as causes...

Rambler
23-02-2005, 01:30 PM
Oh, and that Giles Coren piece was spot on.

henrymiller
23-02-2005, 01:38 PM
god, this will have to be the last thing i post, since it's been two weeks here of me saying 'comparing people with concentration camp guards is out of line'.
if people don't want to think that, fine: well done ken to standing up to the mail... and sucking up to the express. i'm glad we all have such high standards for our politicians. good thread.

k-punk
23-02-2005, 08:10 PM
Ness has said it all --- great post. Nothing could be clearer now than that PC, the 'politics of difference', respect for the Other etc. are the values the master class uses to maintain its dominance.

I'm also with everything the Rambler says --- there's a contemporary pathology of pious offended outrage of which Tatchell is the grim, pinched face.

The irony of all this is that, if Ken's original comments to that despicable hack were hyperbolic, it certainly isn't hyperbolic now to describe the Standard's character assasination as a witch hunt, a vicious campaign of defamation which makes no appeal to facts and which depends upon lies, innuendo and flagrant exaggeration far in excess of any of which Livingstone was guilty.

Does that remind anyone of any other historical period, I wonder?

Omaar
23-02-2005, 10:39 PM
Has anyone been following the Warch Churchill story thats been playing in the US? The parallels just struck me as I read this thread. Holocaust, Bad faith, Prison Guard excuse, Media outrage ...

quote from Ward churchill's essay:

" [911 'victims'] .... formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America's global financial empire – the "mighty engine of profit" to which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved – and they did so both willingly and knowingly. If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I'd really be interested in hearing about it. "

It was that 'little eichmann" reference that the media picked up on.

Nazi, 9/11 victim comparison causes outrage (http://edition.cnn.com/2005/EDUCATION/02/08/speaker.protest.ap/)

("Adolf Eichmann was the Nazi who organized plans to exterminate European Jews.")

Original Essay Transcript (http://cryptome.org/ward-churchill.htm)

9/11 is America's Holocaust, the moment of Absolute Evil, and if you say anything about it, like - well they had it coming, you're shot down.

The other interesting issue that comes out here is the question of Ward's ethnicity - the question of whether or not he is 1/16 Native American.

such as this (http://www.hawaiireporter.com/story.aspx?3fd40b2f-25af-4f55-b7fb-f0a91ec95e39)

btw is it ok to call people nazi prison guards if you are jewish?

Just found this article on Ward Churchill And Dancehall (http://www.counterpunch.org/collins02082005.html) ?! sounds interesting so had better post it, though I haven't read it yet.

johneffay
24-02-2005, 09:06 AM
On a related note, where is all the outrage from the media, etc. about the Pope likening abortion to the Holocaust? (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4288103.stm) Surely that's a lot more offensive by anybody's standards.

henrymiller
24-02-2005, 10:05 AM
how could you be so pious? the pope was just being hyperbolic.

Jesse D Serrins
24-02-2005, 05:33 PM
Yeah, that's actually really disgusting. In fact, it's sinking in as I type, and it makes me really sad.

(referring to what the pope said, that is)

be.jazz
26-02-2005, 07:02 PM
Apparently, current UK immigration thought is spreading. Since it's increasingly obvious that the EU needs massive immigration to retain a large enough active population, negotiations are starting to figure out EU-level policies. Some of the topics under discussion are whether these work-approved, qualified immigrants should be able to move between EU countries or change employer. Seems like even "good immigrants" are second-class people.

k-punk
28-02-2005, 06:25 PM
I wonder if everyone who finds the Pope's comments 'offensive' still objects to my supposedly 'over the top' attacks on Catholicism? Because all the Pope is doing is following through the logic of the RCC's long-stated Pro-Creationist, Pro-Life philosophy. That such a logic has and must inevitably lead to misery, poverty, disease and atrocity on a mass scale was part of my reason for arguing that Catholicism is innately evil.

The Pope is precisely NOT being hyperbolic. If we accept the first principles of the RCC sacred life cult, i.e. that foetuses are equivalent to persons, then comparing abortion to the Jewish Holocaust is quite clearly a massive understatement.

Who is the comment offensive to any way? Holocaust victims or women who have had aboritions?

Jesse D Serrins
28-02-2005, 06:54 PM
I wonder if everyone who finds the Pope's comments 'offensive' still objects to my supposedly 'over the top' attacks on Catholicism? Because all the Pope is doing is following through the logic of the RCC's long-stated Pro-Creationist, Pro-Life philosophy. That such a logic has and must inevitably lead to misery, poverty, disease and atrocity on a mass scale was part of my reason for arguing that Catholicism is innately evil.

The Pope is precisely NOT being hyperbolic. If we accept the first principles of the RCC sacred life cult, i.e. that foetuses are equivalent to persons, then comparing abortion to the Jewish Holocaust is quite clearly a massive understatement.

Who is the comment offensive to any way? Holocaust victims or women who have had aboritions?

Um, well, speaking only for myself: I'm not offended, I'm saddened. And that's what it is, saddening. But really mine was a totally offhand comment- of course there's nothing surprising in the parallels the pope draws. I'm not quite sure how you figure it's a "massive understatement" (that seems hyperbolic, but I'm not trying to get into an endless back and forth). But for my part I've never read what you've written about Catholocism, so while I'm not going to ascribe to it blindly, I wouldn't be surprised to find I agree with some of what you say at least based on the little bit quoted above. I have the urge (have had since the start of this thread) to try to extend this out into something a bit more general, but I don't have the time, and my own views (or whatever) are not that systematic at this point, I'm sloppy, I'll admit it. It seems to me your thinking is deliberatly cold, though, and while I find that intriguing I wonder if you recognize that people will be calling you over the top as long as that coldness is your aim.

Man, am I just setting myself up here? :o

mms
28-02-2005, 07:06 PM
more conservative reprogramming of political correctness.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/tv_and_radio/4300919.stm

k-punk
28-02-2005, 08:11 PM
Jesse, that certainly wasn't aimed at anyone in particular, certainly not you... and i obv expect ppl to disagree with what i write, that doesn't bother me at all, but i'm sometimes bemused about the inconsistencies in ppl's objections...

Seems to me that the 'offence' thing reveals the real power of politesse: it's OK to have views contary to liberal consensus so long as you don't have the poor taste to express them in public. :) All the Pope was doing was expressing the clear, stated position of the Catholic church. The reason it is not hyperbolic is that, once you have accepted that foetuses are people, then the amount of 'murder' that has happened in abortion clinics dwarfs the killings of the holocaust.

johneffay
28-02-2005, 09:27 PM
Seems to me that the 'offence' thing reveals the real power of politesse: it's OK to have views contary to liberal consensus so long as you don't have the poor taste to express them in public. :) All the Pope was doing was expressing the clear, stated position of the Catholic church. The reason it is not hyperbolic is that, once you have accepted that foetuses are people, then the amount of 'murder' that has happened in abortion clinics dwarfs the killings of the holocaust.

Well, his argument was slightly more sophisticated than that (but only slightly). I agree with you about the logic of his position, I just found the deafening silence coming from certain sections of the media amusing given their horror at Ken's faux pas.

Jesse D Serrins
28-02-2005, 09:57 PM
Jesse, that certainly wasn't aimed at anyone in particular, certainly not you... and i obv expect ppl to disagree with what i write, that doesn't bother me at all, but i'm sometimes bemused about the inconsistencies in ppl's objections...

Seems to me that the 'offence' thing reveals the real power of politesse: it's OK to have views contary to liberal consensus so long as you don't have the poor taste to express them in public. :) All the Pope was doing was expressing the clear, stated position of the Catholic church. The reason it is not hyperbolic is that, once you have accepted that foetuses are people, then the amount of 'murder' that has happened in abortion clinics dwarfs the killings of the holocaust.

And I wasn't in any way *ahem* offended by your remarks, K-Punk. Frankly, I'm just a bit new to posting publicly like this, and I guess I'm a little timid like one day I'll probably take a bruising. But hey...

Anyway, yeah, I mean I'm doing my best right now to focus my thinking, there's a lot I haven't read, etc. (*concerns about not being 'up to speed'), but I mean isn't the thing about liberalism in general that it falls short in this way- concerns about, as was discussed earlier, PC-ness and such subsuming the whole thing, and it just becomes more rhetorical wash over a capitalist reality that pays no mind to real social justice or whatever? And so John, with your comments it really does come back around to how the whole thing started- flailing arms and hurt feelings when it's somehow politically expedient (in however oblique a manner) but when it comes to real nitty-gritty, well, that's just not actually on the agenda.

For me- and I don't wanna make this too personal or anything- I'm just trying to get my head around certain things that are extremely contrary to popular belief if you will. Chomsky, Finklestein and the like can be very hard for me to swallow, but this is something they talk about a lot, no? I'm sure I'm leaving a bunch out here, but I guess that's basically what I wanted to say.

k-punk
03-03-2005, 09:55 PM
Of course, if you want to see REAL racism, you only had to watch the documentary on the treatment of asylum seekers last night. 'Tweaking the irons', groping female asylum seekers, advising fellow officers to do their beatings in places out of reach of CCTV, forcing mentally ill, traumatized people out of bed, taping up the skirt of a woman who was being 'sent back' because she was soiling herself out of sheer terror, referring to people who, at worst have left situations of extreme poverty to seek a better life in the UK but who are in fact more likely to be fleeing oppression and persecution, as 'scumbags'...

Yes, will that sort of behaviour lead to a two week witch hunt in the tabloids?

No, it will mean that you get 're-assigned duties.'

That's right. These characters have not even been sacked, just 'taken off the front-line'. Has the CEO of the laughably named Global Solutions offered to resign? No, of course not. Has the government immediately cancelled their contract? No. No. No.

This is the reality of Britain now: you can be castigated by all and sundry for saying words that a privileged journalist can pretend to be offended by, but you'll face only a mild rebuke if you exploit and abuse the most vulnerable people on earth.

What a country.

Woebot
04-03-2005, 07:54 AM
"just following orders" has become the street gag du jour.

k-punk
11-03-2005, 03:58 PM
The latest twist to this is the bizarre cooked-up controversy concerning John Reid and Paxman. For those who haven't followed this, in a preamble to an interview Paxman described Reid as 'Labour's attack dog'. Reid thereupon refused to answer any questions until Paxman took back this 'insult'. Reid's reasoning? Paxman was only so describing him because of his 'Glasgow accent'.

I can't help but think that this whole thing has been cynically stage-managed by Labour to show that they too have members of a 'victim' group on their front bench.

More Westminster trivia, while the Sun adds gipsies to the list of viciously scapegoated ethnic minorities in this ugly, ugly pre-election campaign.

mms
11-03-2005, 04:47 PM
The latest twist to this is the bizarre cooked-up controversy concerning John Reid and Paxman. For those who haven't followed this, in a preamble to an interview Paxman described Reid as 'Labour's attack dog'. Reid thereupon refused to answer any questions until Paxman took back this 'insult'. Reid's reasoning? Paxman was only so describing him because of his 'Glasgow accent'.

I can't help but think that this whole thing has been cynically stage-managed by Labour to show that they too have members of a 'victim' group on their front bench.

More Westminster trivia, while the Sun adds gipsies to the list of viciously scapegoated ethnic minorities in this ugly, ugly pre-election campaign.


i saw this, i would have told reid to fuck off personally.
the sun thing is horrific, where did it come from?

Diggedy Derek
11-03-2005, 05:11 PM
Glasgow? Yeah right. That's just bizarre.

mms
11-03-2005, 05:32 PM
Glasgow? Yeah right. That's just bizarre.


it was argued in such a smug way. that guy is labour's attack dog, always there ready to cover all bases when every other mp is having dinner or with the kids, he just knew at that moment he could get away with it is how it seemed to me. it was weak as fuck.

jenks
11-03-2005, 06:14 PM
it's like suggesting john prescott is a socialist because he's got a working class accent.
reid is a bruiser, he is perfectly prepared to fight dirty and attempting to put the squeeze on the bbc is i am sure some none too subtle plan to make it easier to get away with further unpleasant comments during the election.
i don't think we are even close to the lows this election may reach