Tuesday, February 22, 2005

 

Individuals, or a generalization?

630 KHOW - Denver's Talk Station has a sound-clip of one of Churchill's lectures (scroll down to "Portions of a lecture") wherein he laughs at the Cantor Fitzgerald victims waving their shirts out of the World Trade Center windows. In this same snippet, he tells his listeners that they have a "homework assignment" to help make sure that more things like 9-11 happen. That isn't only free speech--that's incitement to violence. I'm only glad none of his audience took him up on it. And it isn't a generalization--he mentions the Cantor Fitzgerald firm by name, while he laughs...

As for whether Churchill was merely generalizing, you have to wonder whether he might have found a better way of expressing it than by penning this vitriolic little paragraph, the paragraph the brother of an "Eichmann" is referring to when he mentions cell phones:

There is simply no argument to be made that the Pentagon personnel killed on September 11 fill that bill. The building and those inside comprised military targets, pure and simple. As to those in the World Trade Center . . . Well, really. Let's get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America's global financial empire – the "mighty engine of profit" to which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved – and they did so both willingly and knowingly. Recourse to "ignorance" – a derivative, after all, of the word "ignore" – counts as less than an excuse among this relatively well-educated elite. To the extent that any of them were unaware of the costs and consequences to others of what they were involved in – and in many cases excelling at – it was because of their absolute refusal to see. More likely, it was because they were too busy braying, incessantly and self-importantly, into their cell phones, arranging power lunches and stock transactions, each of which translated, conveniently out of sight, mind and smelling distance, into the starved and rotting flesh of infants. If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I'd really be interested in hearing about it.

Yes, okay, that not something that mentions individuals, but it does target a pretty specific group of people. A generalization could have so easily been made against the American government, without resorting to laughter over the deaths of these men and women in these buildings. Couldn't it? Somehow, John Kerry and John Edwards made it all the way through their campaign without once using the word "Eichmann" about anybody. Not even loopy Teresa did that. If you have a beef with the government of this country, then take it up with the government of this country. Call Bush a "little Eichmann," since that seems to be the point people like Churchill are trying to make. To resort to calling thousands of innocent dead "Eichmanns" is grotesque, and not designed to bring your point across as a generalization--it is designed to anger and infuriate. It is designed to enrage. Churchill could easily have made his points without using the dead as scapegoats for his own twisted rage.

I cannot imagine the depth of my own anger at this man if I were Jewish. I posted an article about the Jewish dead specifically to make that point, as well. Were the Jewish dead of 9-11 "little Eichmanns"? Churchill would say that they were. I cannot imagine John Kerry being able to get much support if he had resorted to Churchill's tactics. There are better words Churchill could have used if he had wanted to. The point is, though, he has made a career out of being a screaming agitator (his penned words scream off the page in effusions of hatred and bile) and every book he has ever written has been nothing more than an encouragement of violence. The very fact that he says that pacifists are patholigical and should seek professional treatment should be enough to show exactly where he stands.

I have managed to post on this blog all of my anger at Bush, at losing the election, at what's happening to our planet, and not once have I called anyone a Nazi, generalization or not. It's a dictum in our schools today to "choose your words." If someone comes up to my child and calls her names, then they're exercising their right to free speech. If they then gather their pals around and begin saying that Victoria or Veronica deserves to die, or that they should be taken off the planet, then I have to begin wondering whether those bullies are "choosing their words" in anything like an acceptable manner. "Choose your words." Churchill, being the absolutely brilliant man he is (after all, only the truly genius could possibly achieve full tenure--a six year process at best--in one year) could surely have chosen better words. Right?

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