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Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Damn Europeans! I don't mean all of them but by God it seems like a lot of them have come off of their hinges. Today we have Steyn writing in the Irish times about Europeans misconceptions about the US. Over at The Shape of Days we have a required fisking of a Markos Zuniga column in The Guardian. And to end off we have this column by Carol Gould over at Frontpage Magazine. Gould starts off with:
Here is the background scenario: Exactly one month ago today, I was traveling on a London bus when a well-dressed woman boarded with her equally-respectable son in his school uniform. Ahead of her was an elderly American woman, who said, ‘I beg your pardon, I didn’t mean to bang into you.’ This prompted a tirade from the Englishwoman -- let’s call her Lady E -- that resembled a verbal assault by a brownshirt against a hapless Jewish pedestrian in 1933. The American -- call her Mrs. A -- sat down and cowered as the tirade continued: ‘I rejoice every time I hear of another American soldier dying! You people all deserve to die in another 9/11. You are destroying the world.’ Mrs A fought back: ‘I personally am NOT destroying the world.’ This only provoked Lady E more, and as the bus driver and passengers laughed, she screamed into the American’s face ‘I wish every one of you would leave this country and not set foot in it ever again,’ and Mrs A began to wince, crying. ‘Thank you for ruining my day and my trip.’ At this point Lady E lunged at the American and began to shake her. I jumped up and shouted at the top of my voice for the driver to stop and for her to leave the woman alone, prompting Lady E to come over to me and grab me. ‘Another bloody American accent! You come here and think you can strut about, well, you are scum.’ Thankfully, the woman next to me pushed her away. I left the bus as the American woman sat sobbing.There are many days now where I simply can't stand to read what passes for commentary. I used to love the Internet because it allowed me to find thought provoking columns from all viewpoints making me think in ways I never had before.
Did I imagine this? No. Was the Englishwoman a crazy? No.
A few weeks before, I had attended a party at which I was lambasted, intimidated and mocked by a group of people I had known for some twenty-odd years. It reminded me of a comment made to me by an American expatriate shortly after 9/11: ‘Now I know what the Jews felt like in pre-war Germany.’
Frankly, I don’t like what is happening in Britain and am shocked and dismayed at the level to which anti-Americanism has peaked in recent months. Does anyone say ‘George W Bush’ or ‘Donald Rumsfeld’ or Dick Cheney’ when they fly into these tirades? No. In fact, the visceral, hurtful and in-your-face America-hatred goes back long before the days of the Bush 43 regime. When Bill Clinton was in the White House I attended a Human Rights Conference at my local synagogue in St John’s Wood. During the tea break I asked a man at one of the booths for a leaflet. Instead of welcoming me and asking for a donation, he had detected my accent and duly launched into a loud and red-faced screeching session about the evils of the American Empire and of the ‘Naziism’ and ‘Fascism’ promulgated by the United States. A black man came over and began shouting about America having ‘invented slavery’ and soon a delicate elderly lady joined the fray to bellow about the Zionists running America (did she mean Robert Rubin, Dennis Ross, Sandy Berger -- after all, it was the pre-Wolfowitz/Perle time zone) and the ‘genocides’ perpetrated by Americans since the days of William Penn. I remember wondering why I had ventured out on a Sunday to be with like-minded people concerned about human rights issues, only to be reduced to a gibbering jelly as the ugly, strident and deeply uncivil crowd soon grew around me. (Remember what it was like being surrounded in the school playground at recess by all the bullies?) The English are not known for public displays of fury except perhaps at soccer matches, but there is something about an American accent that brings out their pent-up rage.
And yet for the last several months I find that I actually dread my daily search for reading material. I have always tried to find material from both the left and right viewpoints. As you can guess I tend to agree with views from the right but not to long ago there was a time that I could read views from the left and feel better for doing it. I learned a bit and as a minimum I gained an understanding of how the mind of the left works.
And today... I just feel like I can't do it anymore.
As an example let's compare the writings of Glenn Reynolds and Markos Moulitsas being published at The Guardian.
Notice that Glenn doesn't need to use phrases such as 'bastion of rightwing lunacy', 'Rightwing Noise Machine', and 'mindless drones'. He doesn't have to because that doesn't appear to be his intent. His first article tried to explain to his readers 'the American South'. He didn't do it in glowing terms, just a calm and simple discription of how he see's the American electorate. His second article simply tries to correct European views of what an American conservative is. He mentions Hillary Clinton without insulting her. Disagree with him if you wish but you would be hard pressed to find his tone angry, condescending, or rude.
Markos on the other hand writes in a totally different tone. His first article (The Shape of Days fisking here) complains about rightwing control of the American media. Really. Even though every poll of journalists in American shows a astonding amount of support for liberal causes/candidates/positions. Irrelevent I guess. He also goes on to explain how Al Gore was the victim of character assasination by the rightwing media. And I guess G.W. Bush has gotten a total pass? No Bush=Hitler commericals? Irrelevent. He then proceeds to tell us how important his blog is and how it reaches so many people. In fact it gets double the number of hits that FoxNews.com receives. This seems to be totally contradictory to his statements about rightwing control of the public discourse but that either doesn't fit into his equation or it isn't relevent.
His second article (The Shape of Days fisking here) is totally one sided brushing off leftwing actions while condemning rightwing actions. Highjacking conference calls, flooding online polls, and sending preformed letters to newspapers. It's all OK I guess if you are from the proper political persuasion.
His third article (The Shape of Days fisking here) proceeds to tell us how angry G.W. Bush is. Once again, Bush is all bad while Kerry is a steady alternative. None of this is news of course. Markos is just preaching to the choir ensuring they hear what they want to hear.
Markos offers nothing to a European reader that they don't already have. Republicans are evil, stupid, and corrupt. Anger and nothing else. Glen, as far as I'm concerned, tries to provide a window into the American mind.
So what am I to do. I can't read such hateful stuff. Steyn may be rude at times but at least he tries to be funny. The left makes no attempt at humour. They are angry and they want us to know it.
I just can't read it anymore.
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