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January 25, 2017


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There is an unfortunate cast among modern day scholars of all stripes to seek attention. In our celebrity culture, academics seek fame and notoriety in all sorts of dysfunctional ways. One of these ways to join a stampede, pander to a mindset, stroke the group think of the day, and slavishly adhere to the "common wisdom" in the academic community (which is often shockingly out of step with both reality and the tenor and needs of the times).

Trump hating is an accepted part of the new normal in academia. Those who whined the loudest about the former President not "being supported" (and accusing all who did not support him of being racists) are those who are now shaming themselves in their efforts to unseat the winner of the last election.

All of the self righteous clap trap that resulted in the revulsion with the Party that led to the present circumstances has not deterred these folks. They are oblivious to the disgust they inspire in so many!

Now, we come to the above. Where were these folks on the concessions to a country that has vowed to repeat the Holocaust (while simultaneously denying that it ever happened)? Where were these folks on interfering with elections in Israel? Did they speak out? Were they outraged?

The bandwagon is passing by, and all the attention seekers want to get on it. Let's stage a letter to the Senate! (How many is it now, Steve? will you need to post every one that slams the new administration? Suppose so .... inquiring minds need to know every negative tidbit you can drudge up.)

What a load of self serving nonsense. The examples cited in the letter are trivial, taken out of context and poorly explained by the "protesters." The letter is an embarrassment. They state: "We reject the use of the Holocaust to reinforce contemporary political messages and view this tactic as grossly trivializing the historical reality of the death and concentration camps." are they equally outraged every time a commentator on MSNBC likens Trump to Hitler or labels his inaugural address "Hitlerian"? Do these "scholars" need to chime in? Will they? Bet not.

ANd, for that reason, by all means let this letter be sent! The hole that the Party has dug itself into gets deeper every time one of these staged, juvenile, partisan efforts is undertaken, and those who participate are shown to be shallow thinkers and basically sheep led around by the whims of the Party rabble rousers.



Perhaps needless to say, a letter of this type has zero present day or historical consequence. No one (other than a small group of self regarding academics) will know of it, care about it, record it or take any note of it. That is not to say that a Party rep in the Senate might not refer to it, but, other than careful viewers on C-Span, does anyone really think any such letter will have any meaning or importance? It is so unconvincing and so hyperbolic that it can't be taken very seriously.


I do not want to diminish the holocaust as a crime, in its magnitude, in how evil it was. But someone many years pointed out to me a key aspect of the holocaust and why we talk about it; the NAZIs failed, Hitler failed, the Jewish people survived, there were survivors from the camps. Articulate people to bear witness.

There were no survivors of other holocausts, or few articulate ones, smaller genocides in number maybe, but genocides nonetheless - the Dutch in the Spice Islands come to mind. Namibia, etc. And the "etc" is appalling.

Kevin Jon Heller

If there was ever any doubt why "anon" writes anonymously, the comment at 04:29 puts it to rest once and for all.

Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King

First off, the word Holocaust itself is a proper noun and is capitalized as such for a reason. Trump maybe mendacious, ADHD, gross, undemocratic, whatever. However, he is not Hitler. Not even close.



ONe supposes you agree that every aspect of the Holocaust is too terrible to be mentioned meme, except by "historians and scholars," (like you). And, you must agree as well that these "historians and scholars" would never, ever, use "the Holocaust and its victims for present political gain" (i.e., by attacking a nominee of the new administration and trying to garner attention by signing a "letter to the Senate" which seems to be the grandstanding tool du jour.)

Of course, your comment doesn't really assert anything, and, as such, it means nothing: other than a gratuitous, unsupported insult and the now very worn out calumny thrown around about "anonymous" commenting (as if this wins the point - any point - merely by its assertion).

Just Me

My mother fled Nazi Germany in December of 1938. I am weary of but accustomed to views such as Mr. Friedman's, or Anon's. But I simply did not expect to find myself distracted and/or unsettled by vague and purple anti-Semitism when reading comments to a post on an inside-baseball academia blog. It devalues TFL when it is so easily side-tracked. I am sure that this post will now be attacked by at least Anon -- Anon seems immune to self-awareness or empathy or changing of one's mind. I apologize to other readers in advance for encouraging Anon to once again activate Anon's purple-prose megaphone.


Just Me

Weird attack.

First, some readers here might remember the poster who labeled, in so many words, another black man as an "Uncle Tom" and "a race traitor." I objected at the time, but not because I thought that such accusations trivialized the awfulness of the institution of slavery. I didn't think that the speaker actually meant that this person cooperated with slave holders to torture his brothers and sisters. I just thought the accusations were over the top and inappropriate.

When someone calls someone a "kapo" I tend to agree: that's an awful and inappropriate remark. But I don't think that a person using this term would actually believe that the target of the accusation was cooperating in sending Jewish people to the gas chamber.

Now, accusing me of being anti-Semitic, because I have called into question the political motivations of a group of academics calling for the professional destruction of a person based on use of term like "kapo" is, to say the least, a different matter. That is an illogical stretch. Actually, it is a vile and unfounded accusation.

Moreover, as I said above, where were these academics on the treaty with a country that regularly calls for another genocide for the Jewish people? Where were they on the abstaining on a vote to label Jewish residents in Jerusalem "settlers"? Where were these folks on interfering with elections in Israel?

Where is their outrage about commentators on MSNBC calling the new administration "Hitlerian" and a "Nazis"? Do not these references represent as much of a "callous disregard for history" as referring to the coverage of the death camps in the NYT (which, by the way, was a factually accurate observation, was it not?)

In my view, the examples I've cited could be argued to be only possible in a climate of Jew hate.

To throw the accusation of "anti-Semitism" at me for daring to argue that the letter mentioned above was politically motivated is bizarre. To claim that I am an anti-Semite because I argue that the examples mentioned just above are far, far worse than calling someone a "kapo, is just weird and offensive. Frankly, a vile, muddle headed personal attack labeling someone an anti-Semite for arguing that the examples above reflected anti Jew bias should be removed, as there in NO, absolutely NO, basis for any such claim.

And, BTW "Just Me," are YOU are referring to "purple prose"? Project much?


Purple prose

"[the] obvious use of certain effects, [such] as exaggerated sentiment or pathos, especially in an attempt to enlist or manipulate the reader's sympathies."

Exactly right.

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