You know, I would be completely, totally, utterly disgusted and disillusioned with the non-reaction of international, professional and academic ‘capital F’ Feminism, in the wake of Hamas’ rape, pillage and kidnapping spree of last October … except that I sussed several decades ago that the same international, ‘capital F’ professional and academic feminists didn’t really give a waffle-fried damn about the lives, ambitions, challenges and condition of ordinary women. I had no illusions to lose about the big-name capital F feminists, not after I came to a certain realization sometime around 1985 or so.
Having lived in South Texas since the 7th grade, antisemitism was not something I encountered in my social environment while growing up. That marked the heyday of All in the Family; at least as far as Jews are concerned Archie’s prejudice didn’t go beyond ethnic/religious snobbery and not-always-negative stereotypes (good with money, holiday dedicated to eating young kippers). The signature antisemitism of that decade revolved around Palestinian terrorism. The Holocaust was a subject of history lessons, and the miniseries that aired weeks before my high school graduation.
I didn’t find antisemitism in my adult social circles, either, only in news stories and news commentary – the since-forgotten politician or two whose membership in a country club not allowing Jews drew controversy, the Crown Heights riots, Jewish conspiracy tropes, more Middle Eastern terrorism, sporadic David Duke sightings, the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, the alt-right subculture, and so on. I get the impression that a lot of folks treat antisemitism as a single phenomenon and not several. The following is probably not an exhaustive list.
So a month and a bit after the Oct. 7th pogrom in Israel, the streets of American and European cities, and university/college campuses are filled with rage, and a disgusting display of Jew-hate. It’s as if none of them ever read Shirer’s “Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” or had the slightest clue about what happens when the survivors of a genocide have the chance to pay back the perpetrators of mass murder – the wholesale murder of kin, friends, and coreligionists – with appropriate coin. But mostly … rage. By coincidence, the hand-scribbled ravings of the Covenant School transsexual murderer were leaked to a media outlet – it looks like some local police officers are believed to have been the conduit for the leakage. Because what comes clear about the girl who wanted to be a boy was the pure, white-hot insane and murderous rage, which somehow became focused for whatever reason on the kids, kids who were of a privileged enough background that their parents could send them to a religious-sponsored private school. I wonder if the rage grew out of frustration. The kids had something that Audrey Hale felt that she lacked – a secure sense of self in the world, comfort within their own skin, innocence and trust, parental approval – whatever. They had all that or some other quality – and she didn’t and it wasn’t fair – and so she was consumed with rage, a rage which could only be assuaged by lashing out.
(A reprise post from the early days of the original mil-blog, Sgt. Stryker’s Daily Brief, which was posted so long ago that the only place I had it preserved was in a collection of posts about matters historical.)
In the month of September, 1985, my daughter and I spent a couple of weeks in Italy, before I took the Autostrada north, over the Brenner Pass. I had decided to drive across Europe, when I got orders transferring me from Greece, to Spain. The Air Force generously provided passage on the car ferry from Patras to Brindisi, and Blondie and I were off on a six-week long ramble.
In the space of a day, we went from flat northern Italian landscapes of cypress trees and square campanile towers to green terraced fields clinging to a steep mountainside, and chalets and the onion-domed church towers of Bavaria. Just north of the Austrian border, I got tired of driving. In a little town just off the highway somewhat short of Munich (now, since we were in Germany, it was an autobahn) I spotted a sign for a “Zimmer frei”, and for a night rented a guest bedroom from a nice elderly German woman whose guest bathroom provided hot water only in the sink tap. Complaint in rusty college German only roused mutual incomprehension. The bedroom seemed to be that of her long-grown and departed children, with twin beds and a wardrobe upon which someone had painted a view of the nearby village, as seen from the bedroom windows.