Life must be tough in the conservative shtetl

by David Safier

Let's face it, it's not easy being a Jew in old Eastern Europe a conservative in 21st century America. You have to put up with Blood Libels, not to mention pogroms.

Yes, add "pogrom" to the offensive obsurdities from the right. The Washington Times believes Palin's Blood Libel reference makes perfect sense. After all:

This is simply the latest round of an ongoing pogrom against conservative thinkers.

For anyone not familiar with the term, "pogrom" refers to the organized mob attacks against Jews, mainly in Eastern Europe. (I haven't heard anyone use the word "shtetl," which I put in the headline. It refers to the small villlages where Jews lived in Eastern Europe.)

I'm going to ask a question, then give a possible answer.

Why Blood Libel? Why pogrom? Why comparisons to some of the worst forms of European anti-semitism?

My answer is, it works perfectly with the notion that Obama wants to round up conservatives and throw them in concentration camps. Carefully chosen language in poetry, advertising and politics should resonate forward, backward and sideways. To the extent that these were careful choices, "Blood Libel" and "pogrom" are perfect examples.

0 responses to “Life must be tough in the conservative shtetl

  1. Effective words if your objective is to frame an issue or perspectives in such a way to that serves your interests. But not effective if you are defending an intellectual position, if you are engaged in a debate that requires substantive ideas to be supported.

    Let me ask a question: Since the conservatives are in the majority, since they have the power, why are they marketing themselves, or framing the issue so people are connecting words that represent a persecuted and abused minority to themselves? Is this really a backwards world we are living in?

    The analytical answer is obvious. In a debate, in an argument, in public discourse, when do people resort to ad hominem attacks? That is what this is, after all, isn’t it? The word choice is making a clear statement: we’re a persecuted minority being abused by an ugly and abusive faction that should now be seen as wrong.

    We all know you attack the person when you don’t have what it takes to attack the ideas, when you are not strong enough to stand up and defend your ideas in an honest and intellectually coherent way. When your ideas are not strong enough to stand scrutiny, then you resort to name calling or resort to distraction.

    It’s emotional manipulation. It’s Iago whispering in Desdemona’s ear. It’s ugly nastiness masquerading as something else. The rest of us need to stand up and shout like Desdemona, “Oh, heavy ignorance! Thou praisest the worst best.”

    If we don’t, we’ll all suffer the same sorts of fate she and everybody else did in Othello. We cannot let Iago be the strongest voice in our ears. And those who cannot defend their ideas, like high schoolers who didn’t really read the book, we cannot allow them to derail and distract us from the real issues at hand.