ModernityBlog

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

Posts Tagged ‘The Independent

The Indie and John Galliano.

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In my view, the British media have, in many ways, contributed to the acceptability of soft antisemitism in modern society.

Nevertheless, when the Independent chose to cover John Galliano’s racist outbursts I was hopeful of a meaningful discussion on the topic.

Yet the concluding paragraph of this piece shows where contemporary interest lies, in celebrity and who wore what dress, that for the Independent is the real issue:

Star’s dilemma

For what she must hope is her crowning moment at tonight’s Oscars for her role in Black Swan, Natalie Portman will have wished for anything but the last-minute fashion crisis she now faces.

She is among a gaggle of high-profile guests, who, having been painstakingly fitted with one of Galliano’s frocks, face a daunting decision over which dress to wear to the ball.

Galliano’s alleged rant could see both Portman and her peers obliged to answer the most untimely and unwanted questions on anti-Semitism.

Penélope Cruz wore Galliano at last year’s awards, as did Cameron Diaz, while Charlize Theron, Slumdog Millionaire’s Freida Pinto, and Heidi Klum are known to be a fans.

Meanwhile, the model Kate Moss recently revealed she asked Galliano to design the dress for her wedding later this year. “

Update 1: The Guardian has a similarly tepid article.

Update 2: This is the first instance of Galliano’s racism captured on camera:

Update 3: Phoebe Maltz explains it clearly:

“Next, there are racists, there are alcoholics, and there those who say dumb things after one too many. Not to rehash the Affaire Gibson, but the people who start holding forth about ‘those people’ once they’ve had a few might be alcoholics, or might not, but are definitely racists.

Drinking to the point of disinhibition, but remaining plenty coherent, is not grounds for rehab, for concern from strangers, for any kind of sympathy. It’s grounds for having the courage to hit on a friend one has been crushing on, perhaps to mingle with ease in a informal-networking-type setting. Going on the anecdotal evidence of someone who attended college in the United States and who is currently in a French department, the amount of alcohol it takes to speak more freely is not what is scientifically referred to as sloppy-drunk, but is in fact a normal and mostly positive aspect of life for many adults in many countries. It is a level of tipsiness that does not indicate that one has a problem with alcohol.

Now, if you know yourself and know that your otherwise hidden views about ‘those people’ have a tendency to seem appropriate to you once you’ve had a beer, it is a problem for you to have alcohol even in amounts that would not damage your liver; having the beer anyway indicates poor judgment, not (necessarily) addiction. In vino veritas is not typically anything along the lines of a “cry for help.” “

(H/T:Eamonn McDonagh)

The Independent’s 21st Century Racism.

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I am indebted to one of my readers, Sarah Annes Brown, for pointing out Mary Dejevsky’s comments in the Independent.

If you read Mary Dejevsky’s appalling article you might be struck, as I was, how attitudes towards the Roma haven’t really changed in the past 80 years.

The Roma have suffered stigmatisation, extermination and marginalisation yet the comment below did not come from a 1930s fascist publication, although given its contents it could have.

It comes from a Western broadsheet, renowned for occasionally provocative but reasoned articles. Surprisingly, in 2004 the Independent won the British Press Awards’ national newspaper of the year.

Mary Dejevsky argues:

“”As it is, though, they [the Roma] are parasites on a state of civilisation, material and cultural, they have done nothing to build and could not reproduce for themselves.”

How such a conspicuous festering pile of racism managed to seep past the Independent’s subeditors I can’t say, but rarely outside of fascist thinking do you see such arguments, and we shouldn’t forget how often they were repeated in the 1930s.

These forms of attack on the Roma are common currency amongst European neofascists, as members of the Vlaams Belang show:

“France’s policy of expelling Roma to Romania and Bulgaria has attracted a storm of criticism at home and abroad from human rights groups and churches but has found support among some far-right politicians.

Philip Claeys, one of two MEPs from the far-right Flemish party Vlaams Belang, said he wants to defend “French policy concerning Roma.”

“The dismantling of illegal camps, the struggle against petty crime, criminality and prostitution, and the expulsion of foreigners with no legal earnings are perfectly legitimate in a democratic constitutional state,” said the Belgian euro-deputy in a statement Thursday (2 September).

Getting rid of the Roma camps puts an end to “public order disturbance,” he continued.

France’s own far-right National Front also agrees with the deportations. Its leader Jean-Marie Le Pen described the situation as “a problem caused by the European Union opening the borders between European countries.”

The Independent really should make an effort to stop publishing this anti-Roma racism.

Update 1: As Sarah AB points out the article receives plenty of support in the comments box.

Written by modernityblog

04/09/2010 at 15:13

Steel’s Hatchet Job.

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I should say upfront that I had a bit of time for Mark Steel, the comedian.

He was often very witty, his past lectures on the radio were funny and informative.

So I am all the more disappointed when I read his hatchet job in the Independent.

We can all argue and disagree about what happened on the Mavi Marmara, but to leave out whole chunks of the IDF soldiers recollections simply because it doesn’t fit the desired political narrative is a little bit annoying.

Mark Gardener explains it better.

I had hoped that when Mark Steel left the SWP that he would leave behind all of their dodgy tactics, pettiness and clumsy sleight of hand politics, which makes much of the British Left a rather uninviting place to be.

I suppose it is a case of:

“you can take the activist away from the SWP, but you can’t get the SWP out of the one-time activist.”

(H/T: Engage)

Written by modernityblog

06/08/2010 at 16:01

Meretz UK

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Meretz UK is organising a number of talks and one of them is particularly topical:

“Sunday, 21 March – 19.30 Hagai van der Horst: Looking into anti-Jewish and anti-Arab racisms in The Guardian and The Independent.

According to Hagai van der Horst anti-Jewish and anti-Arab racisms exists in some of Britain’s finest liberal newspapers. Furthermore, these two racisms, evident in The Guardian and in The Independent, can be viewed as in polar opposition to one another:

1. Hatred towards ‘the Jew’ is often portrayed as the religious and all powerful internal enemy.
2. Hatred towards ‘the Arab’ is often portrayed as the political and weak external enemy.

Recent press coverage will be shown to demonstrate this, including amongst other things, footage about the Peace Talks, the 2006 Israel – Lebanon war, the Palestinian Authority elections, and reports on the Holocaust and the Naqba. A must see informative talk, for anyone interested in the Middle East and the British Liberal tradition. Don’t miss it! Hagai van der Horst is currently completing his PhD research at SOAS (University of London).”

Here’s more.

I do hope that Meretz UK will record the event, either as an MP3 or a video clip.

(H/T: Bob from Brockley)