Thursday, January 04, 2007

Who Do You Hate Today? (Part 2)

The first Who Do You Hate can be found here

These events date back to December, but I haven’t been able to get them out of my head, so out they come, separated from the holiday season where they assuredly didn’t belong.

Judith Regan is not my favorite person in the world. She was a publisher for HarperCollins, a division of News Corp., with her own imprint, ReganBooks. She published junk by Jenna Jameson, and political junk by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Most recently, she published If I Did It, by O.J. Simpson, which got her into immense trouble with her bosses. Her most recent effort was a salacious novel about Mickey Mantle, which was described by those above her as “unpublishable”. She was upset at the lack of support and complained to a friend at the company, corporate attorney Mark Jackson. Here is where the trouble happened. She complained about those who she felt were not being supportive of her book as a “Jewish cabal” – this is troubling. She did elaborate that Jews “should know about ganging up, finding common enemies and telling the big lie.” To me, this takes a bit of the curse off it, since it demonstrates a bit of sensitivity. Mr. Jackson then wrote down what she said and reported it to higher-ups, who summarily fired her for anti-semitism. I find the last part extremely troubling. That someone would write down such things and report them is scary, that a person who does not appear to have any history of anti-semitic acts or statements should be summarily fired for something she said to a third party is really scary. Have none of us ever said anything intemperate about someone else to a third person? What kind of corporate culture are we building, what kind of society are we building, where a remark can result in your immediate dismissal? Now we know why she was really fired – the Simpson book/TV show debacle had made her radioactive and they were looking for an excuse. But I find this being used as an excuse very troubling. Anti-semitic or racist comments are too big to be used as an excuse to fire someone. If there is a history of action or at least of direct confrontation then there is some basis, but on the basis of one remark to a third party...I don’t think so.
Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) sent a letter to a constituent which has reached the rest of the world, in which he decries the election of Keith Ellison, a Muslim from Minnesota, to Congress. He is opposed to Muslims being elected to office and is in favor of changing immigration policy to stop more Muslims from coming in, or else even more Muslims will be elected. He conflates our “values and beliefs” and “our resources” being overwhelmed by such immigration. Of course, Ellison is native-born and a convert to Islam and is probably not a threat to blow up the Capitol – although I’m sure there are many on the right who wouldn’t find it a bad idea, especially if he chose to stand next to Nancy Pelosi when he did it. One of the reasons I took my time writing about this was I wanted to see what became of it and how people would react. Bigotry and xenophobia are hardly new ideas in the halls of Congress, but this seemed to be a tad loony, even for Congress. There are some on the right who have pointed out, not altogether inaccurately, that Islam is different, that it doesn’t promote tolerance, and therefore its values are antagonistic to ours. They point out the Danish cartoon incident, where Muslims took to the streets against free speech, as well as the over-the-top reaction to Pope Benedict’s remarks about Islam. I would be more inclined to say they had a point against the dangers of a sizable Muslim vote if it wasn’t for President Bush’s reaction to the cartoon incident. Rather than standing up for free speech, Bush talked about how people shouldn’t publish anything that offends anyone’s religion – exactly what the Islamists were demanding. So we needn’t worry about enemies of freedom overrunning us, they already are in power. All in all, Rep. Goode needs to understand a bit more about what America stands for. Of course, he’s not alone in this, as I’ll continue this tomorrow by discussing Dennis Prager’s reaction to Ellison’s intention to the oath of office on the Koran.


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