Sunday, May 06, 2007
You may read about the details in http://www.thenation.com/doc/20070521/wiener from which we excerpt:
"Of course Finkelstein's work--like that of all of us--is 'flawed,'" Novick wrote. The question, he said, is "whether, on balance, the positive contribution of the totality of his scholarly work outweighs its faults." His own published criticisms of Finkelstein's The Holocaust Industry "reflect my values, my sensibility, who I am...but I don't confuse those criticisms with holy writ." Novick then appealed for "pluralism" in the academy: "There are those who relish the adversarial role, who delight in combat, whose greatest joy is in advancing a cause... such people are often inclined to stretch evidence to the breaking point, and occasionally beyond.... Professor Finkelstein seems to be of that number, as does Professor Dershowitz." That was not his own style, Novick said. While it would be "disastrous," he wrote, "to have a university composed exclusively of people like Finkelstein and Dershowitz," it would be "equally undesirable to have a university composed exclusively of people like me."
At this juncture, you may wonder what this all means. Well, in case you haven't noticed, there is a great debate about the Holocaust. This debate is overt and covert, explicit and implicit. I wrote about it once in my posting http://fatherdaughtertalk.blogspot.com/2006/12/speechless-in-gaza.html
In Ha'aretz we read that the name of Daniel Pearl has been added to a wall whereon are engraved the names of those killed in the Holocaust. There is a bit of controversy. In short, there is a tendency away from the strict theological interpretation of the Holocaust as an event divine and wordly, to a more worldy view, with the divine extended back to the past and forward to the future, but in exactly the same way the divine does for all things. You might think this is not too very interesting, but I believe it to be emblematic of a number of trends within the world. I believe it to be one of the first skirmishes of the great battles of the 21st century. Before we can get into this, I have some things to attend to, one of which is to actually write first drafts of these posts and redact in an effort to be a bit clearer. This topic will be called Future Ideologies, even though they exist right now. They are in chrysalis, as it were, and not yet fully formed. In our hearts we feel their lineaments and shudder.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
I was jumped over my tasteless History of the Future post about Georgei DzhuBushvili. As if he were anything at all like Josef Dzhugashvili, or Stalin as he is commonly know. Can you imagine anyone writing a book like Animal Farm about George Bush? Hmmm. Come to think of it...all Muslims are alike, only some are more...Muslimy than others! That seems to fit in with the perceptions of the "base" to which the proponents of constant war make their appeals. So, with Levine ineffectually trying to maintain the peace, old man Steuben and I whipped ourselves into a pointless fury of political debate, consisting essentially of my profoundly deep observation that Baghdad was Bush's Stalingrad, and Steuben's snorting into his beer stein. I should mention at this point that this particular tete-a-tete, or vis-a-vis, or kitfu kitfu ( shoulder-to-shoulder for you non-Arabists out there) was held at the German-American Shooting Club, or the Deutsche-Amerikanische something something Freischutz Verein something. (I told you I lived in the midst of a variety of peoples.) The discussion became so heated that Otto the bartender removed the august head of Fritz the deer from the bar. Fritz was sort of a mascot for the Verein. A dead mascot, to be sure, and well preserved by the taxidermist's art. Fritz was the holder of stakes and the arbiter of fortunes...there was a type of deer-omancy (cervomancy?) practiced that had the decisions made by tossing rings at Fritz, and the rings that landed on his antlers and stayed there indicated the winning side. (Hey...there is drinking going on here! If you want behavior of a more cultured type, go to Dresden and visit the Zwinger and look at Kunst!) Anyhow.......... Baghdad Bush Stalingrad! No it ain't! Yes it is! That sums it up. Steuben sez "Ha! Yer so schmart! Stalin won at Stalingrad! So you mean Bush will WIN at Baghdad! Ha!" "No way", sez I. "Historic parallels are not so exact...and they follow non-euclidean geometry...parallels intersect and switch packets of DNA...and then bacteria becomes resistant to drugs and the lions will lay down with the lambs." Suddenly a shot rang out !! Well, it is a shooting club.