From nearly two weeks ago — oops! I am a bit behind on stuff. Here is the article, and here is a podcast which features my radio interview with Andrew Lawton concerning the article.
There aren’t many, particularly when it comes to battling jihadis/Islamism (why we miss Hitchens and Norm Geras and why we appreciate Paul Berman), but Hilary Benn has revealed himself to be one such rare bird. This speech is extraordinary — the moral clarity, the integrity, the intelligence. Would any Canadian NDP or Liberal politician speak this way? No. Mediocrity is certainly the default position of both of those parties.
The really fun part of watching this clip is, of course, Jeremy Corbyn’s expression. He’s all like, damn, but I love Islamists! And the West is bad! We’re bad, bad, bad...blah blah blah. What a major loon.
From the speech – stand-out quote (among many):
We are here faced by fascists. Not just their calculated brutality but their belief they are superior to every single one of us in this Chamber tonight and all of the people that we represent. They hold us in contempt. They hold our values in contempt, they hold our belief in tolerance and decency in contempt, they hold our democracy — the means by which we will make our decision tonight — in contempt. But what we know about fascists is that they need to be defeated. And it is why, as we have heard tonight, socialists and trade unionists and others joined the international brigade in the 1930s to fight against Franco; it is why this entire house stood up against Hitler and Mussolini; it is why our party has always stood up against the denial of human rights and for justice. And my view, Mr. Speaker, is that we must now confront this evil.
Now watch and marvel.
Andre Glucksmann died recently — his comments about the attacks in Paris would have been most welcome. Paul Berman eulogizes him here. One great thinker writing about another — you cannot go wrong.
First of all, must vent. I created this huge, long, magnificent post about this great article, full of quotes and clever observations and links to modern media (in all its pitiful lack of glory) and then, I don’t know what happened, but I lost the page. Lost it! And it was not saved as a draft. Dagnabbit! Stupid WordPress.
I am too lazy to try it again so I will simply tell you to click here and read the whole damn thing and then weep. Weep because so little has changed and weep because even more people now have a stupid worldview and no understanding of history than when this article was written and weep because there are no more writers and astute thinkers of Martha Gellhorn’s caliber. (Seriously, we should just recycle great journalists of the past and avoid many of today’s clowns and their willful blindness.)
“The Arabs of Palestine” was written by the brilliant, glorious Gellhorn in 1961. Remember that when you are reading it. 1961. You will think, at times, she is talking about 2015, but for the changes that have taken place in regards Egypt’s relationship to Israel and but for the references to the Cold War.
Weep! And read. And take away some new expressions. I like her references to “Mad Hatter conversations”. I have had many of those in my time, but one of the few good things about getting older is learning to avoid the Mad Hatter types. Of course this means I avoid many people I used to greet (including some family members).
I am very happy about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage. That said, had the decision gone the other way, it would only have been a matter of time before marriage equality became the reality in all 50 states. This is the way the free world goes as well it should. (And I remind you that I have been for gay marriage since ye olden tymes.) What I am not happy about is people acting as though the biggest threat out there were people in free countries who don’t support gay marriage. And I was disgusted yesterday at so many people mocking Justice Scalia’s and Justice Thomas’s dissenting opinions on the matter, rather than being grateful for a civilized, democratic process.
The real enemies to all of us are the people who carried out the attacks in France, Tunisia and Kuwait yesterday (and in so many other places on other days) and their supporters/apologists. And yesterday, I heard almost nothing about the attacks on North American news. Italian TV was a bit better, thankfully. But people in Toronto and Los Angeles and all parts between should have been making those attacks their top news story, Twitter post and Facebook item for discussion.
A column in the Wall Street Journal — from a supporter of marriage equality — sums it up better than I ever could. Here’s a small section of it:
On my other computer screen, I looked at a photograph of five men in orange jumpsuits, their legs bound. They were trapped like dogs inside a metal cage and hanging above a pool of water. They were drawing their final breaths before their Islamic State captors lowered the cage into the pool and they drowned together.
What was that about human dignity?
The barbarians are at our gates. But inside our offices, schools, churches, synagogues and homes, we are posting photos of rainbows on Twitter. It’s easier to Photoshop images of Justice Scalia as Voldemort than it is to stare evil in the face.
You can’t get married if you’re dead.
Here is a link to the whole thing.
So far, the only sane columns on the matter of the Truth and Reconciliation recommendations (at least that I have seen, and I have been looking) have come from Conrad Black. This should not surprise anyone.
Kitty Foyle is one of my favourite schlocky movies from days of yore: it’s sort of an early rom-com, though short on comedy, more of a romance novel (and it actually was a novel) turned vehicle for Ginger Rogers (who was terrific in the role). One has to take it, though, as being “of its time,” so to speak. There is, for example, one particularly cringe-worthy moment where Kitty says that she is “free, white and 21.” Oy.
I watched it recently on Turner Classic, and I realized that for me, it represents a connection to both of my parents. My dad told me once that in his youth, he had a big crush on Ginger Rogers, though he got over it when he discovered that she was, in his words, “a fascist.” Now, I did some reading on Rogers, and she was not a fascist. She was a Republican and not a fan of the New Deal or FDR. That said, when the war started, she abandoned the Republican isolationism of the era and became a full-on supporter of the war effort – she owned a ranch that donated milk to soldiers and she performed in numerous USO tours.
It connects to my mom, at least in my mind, because of her love of the word “pill” to describe a certain type of man. What type of man? Well, just watch Kitty Foyle and you’ll see that she is torn between two pills. In the end — spoiler alert — she chooses the pill who wants to marry her, rather than the pill who just wants her as a mistress. It’s a smart choice, I suppose, though one senses Kitty preferred the latter pill.
Here is the original trailer of the movie, in which you can see both pills, and Ginger rocking the role of a white-collar gal. (By the way, I like to think of myself as a “sassy mick,” just like Kitty!)
One of the things many people outside Israel don’t understand about it is that none of the mainstream political parties are going to be anything but tough on matters pertaining to Israel’s security (thankfully). While Likud members might have different ideas about the economy or social issues than more left-of-centre parties, that is pretty much where significant differences end. It was, after all, Ariel Sharon — hardliner of all hardliners — who made the decision to have Israel disengage from Gaza. In other words, labels like “right” and “left” can be inadequate. As long as the party the Israelis elect protects Israel, I’ll be happy. That said, it would be fun to see Netanyahu win again for one reason: it would make Obama’s head explode.
On that note, enjoy this Likud campaign ad, which I find very fun. It could actually be adapted to Canada — I would trust Harper with my kids, but I would never leave them with Justin. And while I think Mulcair would probably be a responsible babysitter, I also think he would frighten the children.