Archive for the 'Social Observations' Category

04
Aug
12

Vidal gored

Gore Vidal, the novelist and essayist who died this week, famously remarked “I’m exactly as I appear. There is no warm, lovable person inside. Beneath my cold exterior, once you break the ice, you find cold water.” Equally (if not more) famously, he engaged in a hissing match with the late conservative icon William F. Buckley, Jr., infuriating the latter by calling him a “crypto-Nazi.” Buckley, ordinarily a civilized and skilled verbal pugilist, responded with ferocity best captured by the YouTube clip here: “Now listen, you queer,” he said, “stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in your goddamn face and you’ll stay plastered.” What is less well known is Vidal’s resentment fueled hatred of the Jews. In this vintage piece by Norman Podhoretz, the long-time Commentary editor dissects this pathological strain of Vidal’s pathological personality. Along the way, he treats us to entertaining and instructive tales of squabbles among the literary lions and pretenders of the second half of the twentieth century. Read “The Hate That Dare Not Speak Its Name.”

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05
Jun
12

The Strange Case of Jewish anti-Semitism

Professor Steve Plaut tells a sobering tale of Jewish anti-Semitism, offering punchy profiles of some of the most egregious players on this ever fashionable scene. In this oldie-but-goody piece published back in November 2010, he assembles an impressive rogues’ gallery of intellectual miscreants, whose each succeeding thumbnail bio is more bizarre than the last. Plaut explores the evident psychopathology of such academic stars as linguist Noam Chomsky and Tel Aviv University professor Shlomo Sand, who actually doubts the provenance of the modern day Jewish people: “Sand last year published a ‘book’ … that claims that most Jews today are frauds, converts from the Khazar Turkic tribe, impersonators of Jews.”

Plaut rejects the appellation “self-hating Jew” as simplistic and just plain wrong: “they are masters of narcissism. They hate other Jews…” He offers his gut take on what makes these people tick: “I personally believe it is a sort of infantile rage by disturbed people, resentful towards their parents for forcing them to become toilet trained. I am serious.”

Lest the reader think that JAS is a marginal intellectual fad, Plaut rams home its pervasiveness, asserting that it is “experiencing an explosion…, a virtual plague,” citing examples all over the political map (this writer rejects “spectrum,” but that’s another post) and a reference to it dating to the 1947 Gregory Peck flick “Gentleman’s Agreement.”

Read more here.