You may only read this site if you've purchased Our Kampf from Amazon or Powell's or me
• • •
"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show

"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket

"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

December 07, 2004

"Keep People In The Mood Of Suffering"

One thing that makes me vomit (figuratively) is anyone who's obsessed with his or her "group"'s suffering. Obviously we should remember horrible events of the past -- but only as examples of what all people are capable of, not to prove "we" are righteous victims and "our" "enemies" are pure evil.

The irony is that every horrible event of the past has been carried out by people who justify their hideous actions on the basis that THEIR GROUP HAS BEEN VICTIMIZED. (See: Hitler, Adolf.) The people they massacre later often support leaders who use their group's genuine victimization as justification for awful actions of their own. (See: Israel, if you really want, but I don't recommend it. Better to See: The Soviet Union's justification of its post-WW II subjugation of Eastern Europe.) It's a perpetual motion machine of human misery.

So you really need to keep an eye on politicians who play the victim card. And they do it constantly -- because it's one of the time-tested paths to power. In fact, politicians become concerned if their chosen herd shows signs of letting go of feelings of victimization.

This was expressed with admirable honesty by Hassan Fadlallah, the news director of Hezbollah's satellite channel Al Manar. Al Manar, Fadlallah explained in a 2002 New Yorker article, is "trying to keep the people in the mood of suffering." According to the article, one weekly Al Manar show is called "Terrorists" and "airs vintage footage of what it terms 'Zionist crimes.'"

Boy, thank god our leaders are completely different from Hezbollah.

Republican National Convention: "September 11... September 11... September 11... September 11... September 11... September 11... September 11... September 11... September 11... September 11... September 11... September 11... September 11... September 11... September 11, 2001"

Posted at December 7, 2004 05:19 AM | TrackBack

The weirdest thing about that Guardian article about the violinist who was mocked by Israeli checkpoint soldiers, was that the writer of the article pointed out that Israelis were not upset because he was mistreated, but because the mistreatment of a Palestinian violinist devalued the suffering of Jews during the Holocaust. I had to read this sentence several times to really understand it. And it strikes me as very, very ironic that Hezbollah feels the same way; basically our core legitimacy is defined by how deeply we have suffered, so our suffering is the most important thing to hang on to. Seems pathological, and seems like it would lead to a very unhealthy attitude about life. What do these people do when they have a good day, or when something good happens to them?

Posted by: Anna in Cairo at December 7, 2004 06:14 AM

A few years ago, Palestinians attempted to send a boatload of refugees to Israel. The idea was that they would be turned back and it would demonstrate the parallel with the 1930s, when Germany sent a ship full of Jews to various countries; it was turned back by the US, Canada and other places (the idea was to show that no one else wanted the Jews either). Israelis complained that the Palestinians were, and I am quoting, trying to "steal the Holocaust."

Posted by: WIIIAI at December 7, 2004 08:04 AM