Ludicrous racism charges

k-punk

Spectres of Mark
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

Stray Dog
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

Spectres of Mark
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

sometimes
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

Well-known member
k-punk said:
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

sometimes
troll said:
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..
 
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luka

Well-known member
Staff member
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

Spectres of Mark
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

Spectres of Mark
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

Well-known member
mexican said:
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

sometimes
Wrong said:
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.
 

henrymiller

Well-known member
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

Well-known member
Staff member
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

Well-known member
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

Well-known member
Staff member
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

thread death
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

Spectres of Mark
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

male pale and stale
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."
 
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