ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Archive for March 7th, 2011

Antisemitic Rehab And John Galliano.

with one comment

Hadley Freeman takes on the fashionistas and John Galliano’s excusers:

” If Field, Kidman and the rest of the fashion corps took their heads out of their butts for a few minutes and read a book, they would doubtless cite what is known as The TS Eliot Defence, which is that Eliot’s distasteful views of Jews haven’t stopped people reading his work. The answer to this is, quite obviously: 1. While antisemitism is always abhorrent, Eliot did live in a different era and some adjustments of expectations must be made, and, in any case: 2. Eliot, to my knowledge, never said all Jews should have been gassed.

If reading feels like too much of a trial, perhaps they could cite The Coco Chanel Defence, which argues that Chanel herself was not averse to having some sexy time with top-level Nazis during the war but people are not condemned for wearing the Chanel label today. Again, two simple replies: 1. Chanel was punished for her treacherous behaviour and her business suffered (because Parisians in the 1940s understood that wearing clothes by someone who expresses love for a Nazi is not such a good look), and: 2. The clothes are no longer designed by Coco Chanel as she is, in fact, dead. Yes, the designer for the label these days, Karl Lagerfeld, is German but, come on, we’ve all moved on. Well, all of us except Galliano.

While we all wait with bated breath to see how rehab cures Galliano’s antisemitism problem (and how, pray tell, does antisemitic rehab work? Is he force-fed matzo-ball soup? Made to watch Annie Hall on loop? Taught the ways of hypochondria? Gosh, sounds kinda like my childhood), let us muse on how the answer to Lucinda’s question is in fashion patois. The fancy term in fashion land for wearing a designer’s clothes is “showing support”, eg: “Tom Ford’s such a dear friend so I always try to show support for him.” Ergo, perhaps now is not the time to “show support” for Galliano. “

(H/T: Phoebe)

Update 1: At the Poor Mouth, Defending Galliano – When Silence is Golden.

Fred Halliday On the LSE and Libya.

with one comment

OpenDemocracy has Fred Halliday’s memorandum to the London School of Economics from October 2009 concerning Libya and it is a good read:

“While it is formally the case that the QF [Qaddafi Foundation] is not part of the Libyan state, and is registered in Switzerland as an NGO, this is, in all practical senses, a legal fiction. The monies paid into the QF come from foreign businesses wishing to do business, i.e. receive contracts, for work in Libya, most evidently in the oil and gas industries. These monies are, in effect, a form of down payment, indeed of taxation, paid to the Libyan state, in anticipation of the award of contracts. The funds of the QF are, for this reason, to all intents and purposes, part of the Libyan state budget. ‘NGO status’, and recognition of such by UN bodies, means, in real terms, absolutely nothing. Mention has been made, in verbal and written submissions to the School and in correspondence to myself, of the membership of the QF’s advisory board: a somewhat closer examination of the most prominent politicians involved, and of their reputations and business dealings, should also give cause for some concern.

(ii) That the President of the QF [Qaddafi Foundation], and its effective director, is himself the son of the ruler, and, for all the informality of the Libyan political system (even the ‘Leader’, Colonel Qaddafi, has no formal position), in effect a senior official of that regime, confirms this analysis. In Arab states many of the most important positions have no official title, and kinship, and informal links, are more important than state function – and this, above all, in Libya. “