Thursday, April 19, 2018

J.K. Rowling is giving a master class in identifying anti-Semitism

J.K. Rowling is giving a master class in identifying anti-Semitism  (H/T to Elisa Triffleman)

This reminds of a conversation:

Moss Hart was working on the screen play for  "Gentlemen's Agreement", he asked George Kaufman if Kaufman had read the book.

"I don't need to spend $1.50 to know what it's like to be a damned Jew", he snarled back.

'Segregation's Constant Gardeners': How White Women Kept Jim Crow Alive - Pacific Standard |

'Segregation's Constant Gardeners': How White Women Kept Jim Crow Alive

Let that sink in for a moment.

My typical 'Jonathan Edwards' comment is that I find this re-assuring: black/white, men/women, gay/straight, we are all 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God'.

But there is a bit more to the issue than that. The issues are power and status of a group, and is hardly unique to these white women.

Before feeling morally superior, just think of asking house slave (all the way back to Marcus Tullius Tiro),  remember the last paragraph of Nineteen Eighty-Four, or read Darkness at Noon.  Or consider a bit of John Donne.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

From the Forward: Christian Passover Seders Are On The Rise

From the Forward: Christian Passover Seders Are On The Rise

The article's sub-title on Facebook was "Cultural Appropriation or Cultural Appreciation." 

I cannot say I feel appreciated by this.

For the record, the Last Supper could not have been a Seder.

Seders did not exist until after the Temple fell.

There is of course a Christian influence in the Seder itself; it is not as positive as the Roman and Greek influences.

The influence can be found in the practice of opening the door for Elijah and reciting Sh'foch Chamatcha (Psalm 79:6-7, Psalm 69:25, Lamentations 3:66).

Would a Christian Seder want appropriate/appreciate that memory of the times we two peoples shared.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Are we all Captain Renault?

Are we all Captain Renault?

Simple rule of thumb: If someone gives you a 'product' for free, you are the product.

So, I'm sorry, but I can't get too upset about what Facebook did/allowed to happen.  I always assumed they were doing this sort of thing.

That they just gave a master class in how not to handle a PR problem, should be an education to people in the business world. 

But it won't be.  But I expect a rush on NDAs.

That they showed the true meaning of their transparency policies (e.g. transparent as in you can't see it), just shows that they function like all businesses want to.
Back in the day of free over the air TV (and futzing with the horizontal control), I remember getting instruction from my father why it was free:  The networks are selling you to advertisers. You get back at them by knowing that all ads are lies.

A good principal with Facebook et al.  We know they are selling us. 

So, by all means, improve your  Facebook privacy setting (see How Change Your Facebook Settings to Opt-out of platform API sharing), but remember you should not be Shocked, schocked...

Sunday, January 28, 2018

From an Old Bear to a Young One

 Thoughts on the Parash Va'eira, 13 January 2018, 6 Tevet 5777.

Well, I looked, but there is not mention of soccer in the Bible.

The only mention of sports I could find in the bible is in the start of Genesis...and that's baseball.  So we won't go there.

<Oh no, in the Big Inning>

Now there are very few mentions of bears in the Bible either.

The most famous one is in Kings II, where she-bears devour wicked children who were mocking the bald head of the prophet Elisha.

That might please some please some of your relatives, but we won't go there either.

So I took a leaf out of your book, and looked at your Torah (Exodus 7:8-9:35) and Haftarah ( Ezekiel 28:25–29:21) to see if I could talk to you about anything there.

 And, what struck me is that they are both at some level about exiles. Ezekiel is in exile writing back home.

And as it often the case with exiles, writing back home.

As is often the case with exiles, he has perhaps more clarity than the folks back home.

He is in forced exile, hoping to prevent that from happening to the rest of his people.

He doesn't prevent that from happening.

Moses just returned from an exile.

He has returned to an Egypt where we're told no one knows him anymore.

So, it was a sort of an exile of both time and place.

And he is about to go out on exile again, and take his people out on an exile.

And be there for 40 years, and Moses will die in exile.

Exile is part of the heritage of the Jew; maybe it is one of the defining inheritances.

It's also part of life, from the very moment of birth.

Which is why, I think, newborns look so grumpy.

Exile is not a happy thing.

While it comes in many flavors, it generally is uncomfortable: an adversity.

Sweet are the uses of adversity
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And you thought you'd get through this without me quoting Shakespeare.

<No, I didn't>

So, you will go through life, and have already gone through, exiles.

The point of them is for us is how we deal with them going forward.

This will define an awful lot of about us.

I'd like to be there to help you with all your exiles, so would your mother.

But, by the very definition of exiles, I am not sure that we can be.

It reminds of a poem, actually a song that Claudia Schmidt used to sing beautifully.

It goes:
Farewell, my friends,
I’m bound for Canaan,
I’m trav’ling through the wilderness;
Your company has been delightful,
You do not leave my mind distressed.
I go away, behind to leave you,
Perhaps never to meet again,
But if we never have the pleasure,
I hope we’ll meet on Canaan’s land.

I hope that all your exiles are going forward.

I hope that they are as good for you as they can be.

And, as always:

That you should Grow and Be Strong and Do Justly.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Who would vote against one's own interest.

There is a small industry on the soft left -- from Bill Maher to former classmates to NPR -- whose mantra seems to be
 "How can Trump’s supporters stick with him when his proposals hurt them the most?".
They might want to read this Washington Post article) The media fundamentally misunderstands conservatives on health care).

The article and analysis is hardly brilliant, but then to state the obvious doesn't require that.

The ending is worth quoting:
...Trump’s supporters...are more dedicated to the principle of freedom from government mandates than...worried about the loss of government subsidies...

Until Democrats can figure that out, their efforts to pry Trump’s supporters away from him — on health care or any other subject — an endless source of frustration.
Acting politically against one's self-interest (as perceived by others) is not necessary illogical or stupid.

If you want proof on that, consider that the author of this post is a member of a group that has reliably voted against its own self interest for the last 80 years.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

We have been here before

The organizers of the Chicago Dyke March asked two women carrying Jewish rainbow pride flags (having a Star of David over the rainbow) to leave the Saturday afternoon march and rally.

I particularly like the justification of the organizers of the march that: "anti-Zionist Jewish volunteers and supporters are welcome."

Ah, only good Jews are welcome. After all, it has been vouch safe that feminists should not be Zionists.

If you are interested, there are some links below (I like article by Bari Weiss best).

When Jews groups often march under signs saying "We have been here before", at Trump Resistance rallies for instance, I like also to remember part of that 'before' was how much support we received from 'progressive allies'. 

Why, it almost makes one want to be a Zionist.

Tensions Flare After Chicago Dyke March Demands Star Of David Pride Flag Carriers Leave Rally

I’m Glad the Dyke March Banned Jewish Stars

Pro-Israel And Queer? Why It’s Getting Hard To Be Both.