The question of when to talk to your children, when you live in a repressive dictatorship was something I remember from reading James Michener’s essay into political reporting The Bridge at Andau; an account into the Hungarian Revolt of 1956 against the Soviet Union, published the following year. There came a time when parents of school-aged children, Michener wrote, had to open up to their children, if they were anti-Soviet dissidents, religious, or simply Hungary-first patriots. It was a fine line; either live a lie in front of your children regarding your own beliefs, and at worst, see them irretrievably buy into the whole Soviet system if you left it too late, or trusting that they were sufficiently mature, to be adept at concealing such dissident beliefs in front of their schoolfellows, Communist-indoctrinated teachers – and informers among them. How old did your children need to be, before they could dissemble in front of peers, teachers and spying informants among them? It was a matter of deep concern to Hungarian parents, as Michener related. (Parenthetically, as a teenager and young adult I had never been the least bit enchanted by the golden chimera of communism in any guise. Growing up, my parents knew too many people who had fled from Communist-dominated or threatened countries and had heart-rending stories to tell of their experiences in living in and fleeing Cuba, Russia, Eastern Europe, the far East. Reading Michener’s account of the Hungarian Revolt definitely drew a line under my antipathy towards all-powerful dictatorships of the so-called proletariat.)
So serial plagiarist and Professional Womyn of Color (Academic Division) Claudine Gay has been turfed from the comfy corner office at Hah-vaard, to the tune of much lamenting from The Usual Suspects. Frankly, I’m long past caring very much about what goes on in the hallowed halls of an increasingly overrated, intellectually debased institute of so-called higher learning. I was never in a position to be an Ivy student/alum, contribute monetarily to an Ivy, or in a position to hire a graduate from one of them, so the matter to me would be moot. Except…
Unfortunately, the ruling class, intellectual elite of this increasingly bedraggled nation have been overimpressed for decades with Hah-vaard and other enormous hedge funds with a finishing school of storied history attached, so willy-nilly, we must pay attention to the place. Apparently, MS Gay achieved her exalted position through the magical combination of possessing a vagina, a melanin-enhanced epidermis, and an expertise at vicious academic infighting, but no great intellectual shakes, literary skills, or any but the most banal insights into the human condition in evidence. Nice work, if you can get it, I suppose. A triumph of the Diversity, Inclusion and Equity industry, or as we like to abbreviate it around here, DIE.
Many professors at Columbia University are dismayed that a campus culture with a long history of demonizing Israel as a barbaric imperialist state, and little to no history of criticizing terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians in the past, now actively embraces such attacks against Israelis today. “We are horrified that anyone would celebrate these monstrous attacks or, as some members of the Columbia faculty have done in a recent letter, try to ‘recontextualize’ them as a ‘salvo,’ as the ‘exercise of a right to resist’ occupation, or as ‘military action.’”
This attitude toward Israel is an outgrowth of the modern leftist doctrine that the West is history’s greatest aggressor. The sum of the West’s interventions in non-Western lands is automatically regarded with cynicism, including the post-WWI nation-building in the former Ottoman provinces – and especially the formation of Israel. Anti-Zionist leftists blindly trust the Arab side of the story, that the Israelis and not the Arabs instigated the 1948 war. Many if not most of this group – certainly the loudest – reject the notion that Jews have rightful claims to any of the territory west of the Jordan River; it was Arab-ruled before the Turkish occupation (albeit under governments headquartered outside of the region), it should be Arab-ruled again.
Almost as horrifying as Hamas going all murderously Einsatzgruppen in Israel two weekends ago, is the realization that yes, indeed – is the realization there are a not-inconsiderable number of Americans (and Americans-in-name-only) cheering them on. Cheering the remorseless slaughter of young and old alike, kidnapping for extortion and/or jollies, mutilation, torture, burning whole families and individuals alive, gang-rape … it’s a sobering spectacle. I expect any minute a rousing chorus of “Tomorrow Belongs To Me” from the Jew-hating undergrads and their professors on the campus too many colleges and universities.
I used to wonder how Germans under Adolph Hitler came around to accept, support, or at least turn a blind eye towards the so-called “Final Solution”, during the 1930s and ’40s. Well, wonder no more – I’ve seen it play out now in real time. Corked up resentments, envy and pure unadulterated hatred, given voice in classrooms, newsrooms, in social media and from the pulpits of certain churches, spewing from so-called leaders of various communities … all spilling out, in the wake of October 7 … it’s as sick-making as reports of all the rejoicing in the Arab streets, and the comments about how we Americans had it coming, after 9-11. To try and focus on the horror and misery inflicted on the innocent and the self-justifying replies from the usual pro-Palestinians boils down to something like the rationale from an abusive spouse – “Look at what you made me do!”