zaterdag 22 september 2018

Iranian Army parade attacked by gunmen


WATCH moment Iranian Army parade is attacked by gunmen

WATCH moment Iranian Army parade is attacked by gunmen
Dramatic footage made on the spot shows the moment assailants opened fire at troops participating in an Iranian Army parade in the southwestern city of Ahvaz.
The videos emerged shortly after the attack took place. A trembling camera records soldiers lying on the ground while multiple gunshots are heard in the background. Several seconds into the footage, troops wearing body armor and carrying assault rifles are seen crawling through the area.
WARNING: DISTURBING FOOTAGE
The attack has left multiple people dead and wounded. It triggered a furious reaction from Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who said the “US masters” and regional terrorist forces should be held accountable for the bloodshed.

Ian Buruma's Downfall


Redactrice Jia Tolentino: 'Ian Buruma will likely believe he was pushed out because of a Twitter frenzy of histrionic (theatrale. svh) women'


De Volkskrant-correspondent in New York, Michael Persson, beweerde in zijn krant van zaterdag 22 september 2018 naar aanleiding van de affaire Ian Buruma:

Buruma wilde een discussie beginnen over hoe lang een man aan de maatschappelijke schandpaal genageld mag worden, nadat hij door een rechtbank is vrijgesproken.

https://www.volkskrant.nl/nieuws-achtergrond/de-onvermijdelijke-val-van-ian-buruma-in-het-metoo-debat-~bfea3e4e/ 

Of deze bewering klopt, weet ik niet, en ik vrees dat ook Persson dit niet weet. Wat het ware motief van mijn oude vriend Ian is geweest, kan van alles zijn. Wat ik wel weet, is dat er in Buruma's geest een sluimerende woede schuilgaat, voortkomend uit angst, vervreemding, ontheemding, het gevoel er niet echt bij te horen.  Vandaar zijn
 haat zodra zijn wereldbeeld wordt bekritiseerd, zo weet ik uit eigen ervaring.  


Op 21 juni 2017 schreef ik de volgende e-mail een hem:

beste ian,

je schreef onlangs in nrc handelsblad 


Hopelijk brengt het einde van Pax Americana geen heftige militaire conflicten met zich mee (wat absoluut niet kan worden uitgesloten). Maar dan nog zullen we ons moeten voorbereiden op een tijd waarin we met weemoed terugkijken op het betrekkelijk goedaardige imperialisme uit Washington.

ik heb nu twee vragen:

1. hoe betrekkelijk is het begrip 'betrekkelijk' in jouw optiek? Dit is daarom zo belangrijk te weten omdat een alom gerespecteerde onderzoeksjournalist als Tim Weiner, die jarenlang voor The New York Times werkte, in zijn boek Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA, 720 pagina’s lang het bloedspoor analyseert dat de CIA door de hele wereld trok. De recensent van The Washington Times kwalificeerde dit boek als:

'Een vernietigend rapport van een inlichtingendienst die meestal faalde bij het voorspellen van belangrijke politieke gebeurtenissen op de wereld, mensenrechten schond, Amerikanen bespioneerde, moordaanslagen op buitenlandse regeringsleiders beraamde en geld stak in klungelige doofpotacties dat hij niet toekwam aan zijn eigenlijke werk, het verzamelen en analyseren van informatie.'

De titel is afkomstig van president Eisenhower, die na acht jaar presidentschap

called into his office, the former legendary OSS officer and director of the CIA Allen Dulles, and said to him point- blank. ‘After eight years you have left me, a legacy of ashes.’

Concreet gesteld: zijn Vietnam, Afghanistan en Irak voorbeelden van 'het betrekkelijk goedaardige imperialisme uit Washington'? Of waren de door de VS gesteunde staatsgrepen in Perzië en Guatemala, Chili en Congo voorbeelden van die goedaardigheid? Zo nee, waren dit soort bloedige interventies slechts te verwaarlozen details in een verder goed bedoeld beleid? 

2. Wie zijn 'we' die met 'weemoed terugkijken' naar zoveel 'betrekkelijk goedaardige imperialisme'? Toch niet de vele miljoenen slachtoffers van het uiterst gewelddadig Amerikaans imperialisme. Waarom tellen die -- gekleurde doden en verminkten -- niet mee in jouw beschouwing? 

Ik hoop snel iets van je te vernemen, nu je op het punt staat The New York Review of Books te gaan leiden.

collegiale groet,
 Stan


De dag erna begon Buruma zijn reactie als volgt:

Beste Stan — Leuk van je te horen. Ik hoop dat je het goed maakt. Ik heb af en toe een blik geslagen op je blog, en begrijp je standpunten denk ik goed. De drie kwaadaardigste en gevaarlijkste machten in de wereld zijn de VS, Israel, en Geert Mak. Dit is niet een nieuwe visie (behalve dan Mak, die we even kunnen laten vallen): voor de tweede wereld oorlog was vijandigheid ten opzichte van de VS en de Joden (Israel bestond toen natuurlijk nog niet) iets wat eerder te vinden was in extreem rechtse, en zelfs niet zo extreem rechtse kringen. Aan Joods en Amerikaanse materialisme zou de westerse beschaving ten onder gaan.

In neem niet aan dat je dit standpunt deelt. Jouw ideeën komen eerder uit een wat ouderwetse Amerikaanse hoek, Chomsky, Zinn et al. die door een oudere generatie serieus werden genomen...

Ik verheug me erop je weer eens te zien. Doe mijn hartelijke groeten aan Heikelien.

Hartelijke groet, Ian


Buruma's onderhuidse toorn manifesteerde zich in dit geval allereerst door 'de Joden' erbij te slepen, zodat hij de suggestie van anti-semitisme in stelling kon brengen, de zwaarste beschuldiging in het huidige tijdvak,  een verwijt dat erop gericht is elke discussie te torpederen. Vervolgens karakteriseerde hij de kritiek op de VS als anti-Amerikanisme, wat dit ook moge betekenen. Hij was zo woedend op 'Beste Stan' dat hij mijn gefundeerde kritiek meteen chargeerde met de woorden: 

Ik heb af en toe een blik geslagen op je blog, en begrijp je standpunten denk ik goed. De drie kwaadaardigste en gevaarlijkste machten in de wereld zijn de VS, Israel, en Geert Mak. 

Een dergelijke reactie is, voorzichtig gesteld, ongepast. Zeker voor een 'vriend' die twee maanden lang gratis in ons huis in Amsterdam had gebivakkeerd, om hem de gelegenheid te geven onderzoek te doen naar de sociale gevolgen van de moord op Theo van Gogh. Ian's reactie is tekenend voor een bepaalde botheid, die door de vooraanstaande Amerikaanse columniste Margaret Sullivan van The Washington Post als 'toondoof' werd gekarakteriseerd, een treffende omschrijving aangezien bekend is dat uit 'onderzoek blijkt dat mensen met amusie -- ook wel bekend als toondoofheid -- problemen hebben met het vertalen van emoties in spraak. Hierdoor missen ze emotionele signalen in een gesprek.' 



Buruma is natuurlijk niet letterlijk 'toondoof,' maar hij mist een  subtiel gevoel voor proporties, hij kan geen maat houden. Uit de ervaringen van anderen met hem weet ik dat zijn vriendschappen voor hem geen echte vriendschappen zijn, maar meer tijdelijke, opportunistische, relaties. November 2006 begon de journalist Max Pam naar aanleiding van Buruma's toen recent verschenen boek Dood van een gezonde roker met de opmerking:  

Ach ja, Ian…

In verschillende interviews heeft Buruma gezegd mij als een vriend te beschouwen, maar eerlijk gezegd voel ik mij in zijn boek niet als een vriend behandeld. Die paar keer dat hij mij citeert, citeert hij mij verkeerd. 

http://www.maxpam.nl/2006/11/twee-jaar-na-de-dood-van-theo/

Ik sta hier even bij stil omdat Michael Persson in zijn krant meldde dat volgens de redactrice Jia Tolentino van The New Yorker, Buruma lijdt  aan 


‘een pathologische afstand van de textuur van de tijd,’  ‘Waarom geven literaire instituten als Harper’s en The New York Review of Books deze mannen eigenlijk een platform?,’ vraagt Constance Grady zich in Vox af.


Dat zijn geen inhoudelijke argumenten meer. Dat zijn andere woorden voor een taboe.


https://www.volkskrant.nl/nieuws-achtergrond/de-onvermijdelijke-val-van-ian-buruma-in-het-metoo-debat-~bfea3e4e/



Jia Tolentino had op Twitter opgemerkt dat:

Ian Buruma will likely believe he was pushed out because of a Twitter frenzy of histrionic (theatrale. svh) women, but the Ghomeshi essay & Slate interview added up to a truly abysmal (ontzettend slecht. svh) professional performance: you can't be a good editor with such pathological distance from the texture of the world

https://twitter.com/jiatolentino/status/1042482095933796352


Die 'ziekelijke distantie van de structuur van de wereld' is opnieuw een treffende beschrijving van wie Buruma is. Zijn houding wordt dan ook doorgaans als kil en onecht ervaren. En ook zijn bewering dat  


 we ons [zullen] moeten voorbereiden op een tijd waarin we met weemoed terugkijken op het betrekkelijk goedaardige imperialisme uit Washington,


getuigt van een angstwekkende kilheid en onverschilligheid over de miljoenen slachtoffers van de Amerikaanse terreur in ondermeer Vietnam, Chili, Afghanistan, Irak, Libië, om slechts enkele voorbeelden te geven. Buruma suggereert dat de


United States always meant well. No matter how bad their foreign interventions may have looked, America’s heart was always in the right place. The current US secretary of Defense, James Mattis, recently stated: 'We are the good guys. We’re not the perfect guys, but we are the good guys. And so we’re doing what we can,'


aldus de beschrijving van deze mythe door de joods Amerikaanse historicus William Blum


https://williamblum.org/aer/read/160

Welnu, volgens Persson bevatten de kwalificaties van de vrouwelijke critici van Ian Buruma's optreden in deze affaire 'geen inhoudelijke argumenten meer. Dat zijn andere woorden voor een taboe.' 

Volgende keer zal ik proberen aan te tonen dat Persson geen gelijk heeft. Ian Buruma heeft geen 'taboe' doorbroken, hij geeft zijn diffuse woede salonfähig proberen te maken.  In dit opzicht, lijdt ook Persson aan een typisch betweterig botheid die Nederlandse journalisten typeert. 




Constance Grady: ‘Waarom geven literaire instituten als Harper’s en The New York Review of Books deze mannen eigenlijk een platform?’ 


John Piger on Liberal Journalism





Hold the Front Page: The Reporters are Missing

By John Pilger

September 20, 2018 "Information Clearing House" -  The death of Robert Parry earlier this year felt like a farewell to the age of the reporter. Parry was “a trailblazer for independent journalism”, wrote Seymour Hersh, with whom he shared much in common.

Hersh revealed the My Lai massacre in Vietnam and the secret bombing of Cambodia, Parry exposed Iran-Contra, a drugs and gun-running conspiracy that led to the White House. In 2016, they separately produced compelling evidence that the Assad government in Syria had not used chemical weapons. They were not forgiven.

Driven from the “mainstream”, Hersh must publish his work outside the United States. Parry set up his own independent news website Consortium News, where, in a final piece following a stroke, he referred to journalism’s veneration of “approved opinions” while “unapproved evidence is brushed aside or disparaged regardless of its quality.”

Although journalism was always a loose extension of establishment power, something has changed in recent years. Dissent tolerated when I joined a national newspaper in Britain in the 1960s has regressed to a metaphoric underground as liberal capitalism moves towards a form of corporate dictatorship. This is a seismic shift, with journalists policing the new “groupthink”, as Parry called it, dispensing its myths and distractions, pursuing its enemies.

Witness the witch-hunts against refugees and immigrants, the willful abandonment by the “MeToo” zealots of our oldest freedom, presumption of innocence, the anti-Russia racism and anti-Brexit hysteria, the growing anti-China campaign and the suppression of a warning of world war.

With many if not most independent journalists barred or ejected from the “mainstream”, a corner of the Internet has become a vital source of disclosure and evidence-based analysis: true journalism sites such as wikileaks.org, consortiumnews.com, wsws.org, truthdig.com, globalresearch.org, counterpunch.org and informationclearinghouse.info are required reading for those trying to make sense of a world in which science and technology advance wondrously while political and economic life in the fearful “democracies” regress behind a media facade of narcissistic spectacle.

Propaganda Blitz

In Britain, just one website offers consistently independent media criticism. This is the remarkable Media Lens — remarkable partly because its founders and editors as well as its only writers, David Edwards and David Cromwell, since 2001 have concentrated their gaze not on the usual suspects, the Tory press, but the paragons of reputable liberal journalism: the BBC, The Guardian, Channel 4 News.

Their method is simple. Meticulous in their research, they are respectful and polite when they ask why a journalist why he or she produced such a one-sided report, or failed to disclose essential facts or promoted discredited myths.

The replies they receive are often defensive, at times abusive; some are hysterical, as if they have pushed back a screen on a protected species.

I would say Media Lens has shattered a silence about corporate journalism. Like Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman in Manufacturing Consent, they represent a Fifth Estate that deconstructs and demystifies the media’s power.

What is especially interesting about them is that neither is a journalist. David Edwards is a former teacher, David Cromwell is an oceanographer. Yet, their understanding of the morality of journalism — a term rarely used; let’s call it true objectivity — is a bracing quality of their online Media Lens dispatches.

I think their work is heroic and I would place a copy of their just published book, Propaganda Blitz, in every journalism school that services the corporate system, as they all do.

Take the chapter, Dismantling the National Health Service, in which Edwards and Cromwell describe the critical part played by journalists in the crisis facing Britain’s pioneering health service.

The NHS crisis is the product of a political and media construct known as “austerity”, with its deceitful, weasel language of “efficiency savings”  (the BBC term for slashing public expenditure) and “hard choices” (the willful destruction of the premises of civilized life in modern Britain).

“Austerity” is an invention. Britain is a rich country with a debt owed by its crooked banks, not its people. The resources that would comfortably fund the National Health Service have been stolen in broad daylight by the few allowed to avoid and evade billions in taxes.

Using a vocabulary of corporate euphemisms, the publicly-funded Health Service is being deliberately run down by free market fanatics, to justify its selling-off. The Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn may appear to oppose this, but is it? The answer is very likely no. Little of any of this is alluded to in the media, let alone explained.

Edwards and Cromwell have dissected the 2012 Health and Social Care Act, whose innocuous title belies its dire consequences. Unknown to most of the population, the Act ends the legal obligation of British governments to provide universal free health care: the bedrock on which the NHS was set up following the Second World War. Private companies can now insinuate themselves into the NHS, piece by piece.

Where, asks Edwards and Cromwell, was the BBC while this momentous Bill was making its way through Parliament? With a statutory commitment to “providing a breadth of view” and to properly inform the public of “matters of public policy,” the BBC never spelt out the threat posed to one of the nation’s most cherished institutions. A BBC headline said: “Bill which gives power to GPs passes.” This was pure state propaganda.

Media and Iraq Invasion

There is a striking similarity with the BBC’s coverage of Prime Minister Tony Blair’s lawless invasion of Iraq in 2003, which left a million dead and many more dispossessed. A study by the University of Wales, Cardiff, found that the BBC reflected the government line “overwhelmingly” while relegating reports of civilian suffering. A Media Tenor study placed the BBC at the bottom of a league of western broadcasters in the time they gave to opponents of the invasion. The corporation’s much-vaunted “principle” of impartiality was never a consideration.

One of the most telling chapters in Propaganda Blitz describes the smear campaigns mounted by journalists against dissenters, political mavericks and whistleblowers. The Guardian’s campaign against the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is the most disturbing. Assange, whose epic WikiLeaks disclosures brought fame, journalism prizes and largesse to The Guardian, was abandoned when he was no longer useful. He was then subjected to a vituperative – and cowardly — onslaught of a kind I have rarely known.

With not a penny going to WikiLeaks, a hyped Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie deal. The book’s authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, gratuitously described Assange as a “damaged personality” and “callous.” They also disclosed the secret password he had given the paper in confidence, which was designed to protect a digital file containing the U.S. embassy cables.

With Assange now trapped in the Ecuadorean embassy, Harding, standing among the police outside, gloated on his blog that “Scotland Yard may get the last laugh.”

The Guardian columnist Suzanne Moore wrote, “I bet Assange is stuffing himself full of flattened guinea pigs. He really is the most massive turd.”

Moore, who describes herself as a feminist, later complained that, after attacking Assange, she had suffered “vile abuse.” Edwards and Cromwell wrote to her: “That’s a real shame, sorry to hear that. But how would you describe calling someone ‘the most massive turd’? Vile abuse?”

Moore replied that no, she would not, adding, “I would advise you to stop being so bloody patronizing.” Her former Guardian colleague James Ball wrote, “It’s difficult to imagine what Ecuador’s London embassy smells like more than five and a half years after Julian Assange moved in.”

Such slow-witted viciousness appeared in a newspaper described by its editor, Katharine Viner, as “thoughtful and progressive.” What is the root of this vindictiveness?  Is it jealousy, a perverse recognition that Assange has achieved more journalistic firsts than his snipers can claim in a lifetime? Is it that he refuses to be “one of us” and shames those who have long sold out the independence of journalism?

Journalism students should study this to understand that the source of “fake news” is not only trollism, or the likes of Fox News, or Donald Trump, but a journalism self-anointed with a false respectability: a liberal journalism that claims to challenge corrupt state power but, in reality, courts and protects it, and colludes with it. The amorality of the years of Tony Blair, whom The Guardian has failed to rehabilitate, is its echo.

“[It is] an age in which people yearn for new ideas and fresh alternatives,” wrote Katharine Viner. Her political writer Jonathan Freedland dismissed the yearning of young people who supported the modest policies of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as “a form of narcissism.”

“How did this man ….,” brayed the Guardian‘s Zoe Williams, “get on the ballot in the first place?”  A choir of the paper’s precocious windbags joined in, thereafter queuing to fall on their blunt swords when Corbyn came close to winning the 2017 general election in spite of the media.

Complex stories are reported to a cult-like formula of bias, hearsay and omission: Brexit, Venezuela, Russia, Syria. On Syria, only the investigations of a group of independent journalists have countered this, revealing the network of Anglo-American backing of jihadists in Syria, including those related to ISIS.

John Pilger is an Australian journalist and BAFTA award-winning documentary film maker.  - http://johnpilger.com/


Open Brief aan Mijn Oude Vriend Ian Buruma


Beste Ian,

Laat ik je als oude vriend een advies geven. Zwijg, totdat je hebt begrepen wat er met je gebeurd is, nu je door je werkgever gedwongen bent op te stappen als hoofdredacteur van The New York Review of Books. Je stelt je nu op als slachtoffer van -- in jouw woorden -- 'de sociale media,' en vertoont daarmee dezelfde houding die jij in 2002 bekritiseerde, omdat deze mentaliteit ertoe leidt dat 'the world will be reduced to soulful communities competing for victimhood.' Inderdaad, je had in 1999 gelijk toen je tevens wees op de 'Perils of Victimhood,' en concludeerde dat dit slachtofferisme 'kitsch' is, hetgeen jij als volgt toelichtte: 

By kitsch I don’t mean gaudiness or camp, but rather an expression of emotion which is displaced, focused on the wrong thing, or, to use that ghastly word properly for once, inappropriate.

Voordat je het weet doe je mee aan wat Heikelien (Verrijn Stuart) tegenover jou 'het gecultiveerde slachtofferschap' noemde. Al meer dan een kwarteeuw geleden waarschuwde zij voor het feit dat het cultiveren van het slachtofferisme uiteindelijk in een modern fascisme zou eindigen. Als juriste schreef zij dat 

slachtofferisten via erkenning of genoegdoening uit [zijn] op macht. Een macht die zij menen te hebben verdiend door een onschuld, die is geconstrueerd door hun slachtofferschap. 

Zij bestreed vooral 

het excuus dat het slachtofferschap bood om zich niet verantwoordelijk te hoeven voelen.

Een paar jaar later wees de Duitse filosoof Peter Sloterdijk erop dat: 

Verantwoordelijkheid steeds lager [wordt] ingeschat, terwijl het slachtofferschap steeds hoger wordt gewaardeerd. Het is een ontwikkeling die buitengewoon gevaarlijk is voor onze samenleving. Deze slachtofferistische manier van denken is de belangrijkste vorm van ressentiment geworden… Het slachtofferisme, het verleidelijke gevoel slachtoffer te zijn, kan men overal om ons heen waarnemen, en is een extreem morele kracht geworden.

En de in asiel levende joods-Russische dichter Joseph Brodsky adviseerde, kort vóór zijn dood, in zijn laatste essaybundel On Grief and Reason (1997)

Probeer ten koste van alles te vermijden dat je jezelf de status van slachtoffer toestaat… probeer te onthouden dat menselijke waardigheid een absoluut begrip is… Bedenk tenminste, als dat andere je te hoogdravend in de oren klinkt, dat je door jezelf als slachtoffer te beschouwen alleen maar het vacuüm vergroot dat door gebrek aan persoonlijke verantwoordelijkheid ontstaat en dat demonen en demagogen zo graag opvullen.

Het fundamentele probleem is dat de slachtofferist er voetstoots van uitgaat dat hij (of zij) nooit zelf handelt, dus per definitie meent altijd onschuldig te zijn. Juist naar die onschuld is het slachtoffer op zoek. Het gevoel onschuldig te zijn vormt de kern van zijn valse identiteit. Vandaar dat hij niet anders kan dan zich fanatiek vastklampen aan zijn slachtofferrol. Schuldig is altijd de ander. Hij kent geen relativering, geen nuance, geen scepsis, geen ironie, geen satire. Hij kent alleen zijn eigen, alles overstemmende, weeklacht. Als een wereldvreemd kind weigert de slachtofferist de onvermijdelijke schaduwkant van het moderne bestaan te accepteren: de vervreemding, het isolement, de eenzaamheid, de anonimiteit, de melancholie en de talloze negatieve manifestaties die onlosmakelijk daaraan verbonden zijn, met de angst voor de misdaad en het terrorisme als fixatiepunt. Hij is te vol van zichzelf en bezit te weinig verbeeldingskracht om een innerlijk proces op gang te brengen waarover Albert Camus schreef: 

De eerste stap van een geest die vervuld is van vervreemding is het besef dat hij dat gevoel van vervreemding deelt met alle mensen en dat de mensheid als geheel lijdt onder deze distantie ten opzichte van zichzelf en de wereld,

hetgeen bij een betrokken individu leidt tot een 'solidariteit van de ketenen' die ieder mens aan de ander bindt.

Ian, in het leven van een ieder voltrekt zich tenminste één grote tragedie. Uit eigen ervaring weet ik dat men pas vele jaren later, bij sommigen zelfs decennia, beseft wat de ware oorzaken waren van die tragedie. Jouw ontslag bij The New York Review of Books, zal een klap voor je zijn, een tragedie die je niet simplistisch kunt afdoen als zijnde de schuld van 'de sociale media.' Je hebt de hysterie van wat jij de Amerikaanse 'stedelijke elites' noemt, vreselijk onderschat. Dat is tragisch voor een intellectueel die meent dat hij als opiniemaker zijn publiek kan informeren over de Verenigde Staten. Mijn welgemeend advies is: zwijg en begin na te denken over het land waarover jij moeiteloos beweerde dat -- met het oog op het naderende 'einde' van 'Pax Americana' -- 

we ons [zullen] moeten voorbereiden op een tijd waarin we met weemoed terugkijken op het betrekkelijk goedaardige imperialisme uit Washington.

Vraag jezelf nu af, 'weemoed' waarnaar? Die zoektocht zal je enkele jaren gaan kosten. Je zou er een schitterend boek over kunnen schrijven. Maar wil je voorkomen dat je jezelf nog belachelijker maakt, blijf dan in de tussentijd zwijgen. 

Er bestaat een bepaalde subtiliteit die door de Amerikaanse kunstschilder Wayne Thiebaud in een essay over het werk van Giorgio Morandi als volgt wordt omschreven:

Words and paintings are very strange bedfellows so, it is not a surprise when the ambiguities of Morandi's intentions and a startling kind of innocence in his works tend to disenfranchise and embarrass any words I could think of then or now. But something of wonder happens while looking at these paintings today. They have changed their focus from public to private concerns of awareness. And, therefore, some things more intimate and physical seem te be emanating from these works. It is as if Morandi had included in the paint some of the most basic substances and feelings he has known. So that that things like weather, tremblings, lightnings, odors, and dusts can seem to leave the paintings and hesitate, then settle, before our eyes.

These are visual poems reminding us of the delusions of the self-importance and sweetness of our fragile lives.

Wat in Thibaud's essay alleen over Morandi's schilderijen lijkt te gaan, blijkt bij nadere beschouwing het hele bestaan te betreffen.

groet,

je oude  vriend,

Stan 


Zie tevens Vrij Nederland: https://www.vn.nl/ian-buruma-vertrek/


Ian Buruma Should Have Known: Disgraced Men Aren’t Provocative and New

Essays from disgraced men aren’t provocative and new. They reinforce the status quo.

What’s at stake in publishing essays like Jian Ghomeshi’s New York Review of Books piece?

Jian Ghomeshi in 2014.
 Sonia Recchia/Getty Images for GREY GOOSE Vodka
Ian Buruma, the editor of the New York Review of Books, is out of a job. The news comes following Buruma’s decision to publish a lengthy essay by disgraced Canadian celebrity Jian Ghomeshi about how Ghomeshi’s life changed when, in 2014, he was fired from a radio station after multiple women accused him of sexual assault. (Ghomeshi was eventually acquitted in court after he agreed to sign a peace bond and apologize to one of his accusers.) 
The New York Review of Books has not said whether Buruma resigned or was fired, and has not responded to a request from Vox for comment.
The Ghomeshi essay was published not long after Harper’s magazine published an essay by former radio host John Hockenberry, who retired in December after he was accused of sexual harassment by multiple women. (“Looking back, my behavior was not always appropriate and I’m sorry,” Hockenberry said at the time.) 
Taken together, the two essays seem to form a bizarre new genre: the “I’m sorry you’re offended” apologetic, the “regrettably, mistakes were made” expression of non-guilt. As pieces of writing, they are less interesting for the fact of their existence than they are for the fact that they were granted prestigious platforms in literary institutions like Harper’s and the New York Review of Books.
Titling his essay “Exile,” Hockenberry writes of his fall from grace and defends his actions on the somewhat confused grounds that our pornographic culture has killed romance. 
“Do I dare make a spirited defense of something once called romance from the darkness of this exile?” he asks. “Not only do I dare, knowing what righteous anger is out there, I really believe I have no choice.”
Meanwhile, in “Reflections From a Hashtag,” Ghomeshi writes of experiencing suicidal depression after his fall from grace, and as a result of receiving “a crash course in empathy.” To illustrate his newfound empathy, he describes meeting a woman on a train and feeling an urge “from my days as a Somebody. Tell her about your show. Tell her about your band. Sell your book.” 
But instead, he writes, his newfound empathy led him to listen to his travel companion talk and to ask her questions — “As if maybe I had the ability to be worthy without reciting my résumé” — and to leave without ever giving her his name. (One might assume that he’d also want to withhold his name because he is now famous for being accused of sexually assaulting women, but Ghomeshi does not confront that assumption in his essay.)
Notably, neither Hockenberry nor Ghomeshi engages meaningfully with the accusations against them. Hockenberry will only allow that he is “guilty of bad judgment,” and he condemns his accusers for not responding when he reached out to them, expressing furor over their “stony and, in my view, cowardly silence.” (Some of Hockenberry’s accusers told the Cut that he had never reached out to them.) 
Ghomeshi, for his part, leaves out the number of women who accused him of sexual assault (24), what the accusations include (beating and choking), how far back the accusations go (to his college days; he’s currently 51), and why the charges against him were eventually dropped (he had to “publicly accept responsibility” for his actions but did so while maintaining that he was not admitting wrongdoing). 
As Buruma’s ousting attests, the backlash against essays like Hockenberry’s and Ghomeshi’s was intense.
“The worst thing about this accursed genre of personal essay — ‘My Year of Being Held Responsible for My Own Behavior’ — may be that it consists, almost necessarily, of terrible writing,” wrote Jia Tolentino at the New Yorker
“I feel sorry for a lot of these men, but I don’t think they feel sorry for women, or think about women’s experience much at all,” wrote Michelle Goldberg for the New York Times, adding, “Maybe they’d find it easier to resurrect their careers if it seemed like they’d reflected on why women are so furious in the first place, and perhaps even offered ideas to make things better.”
But what’s at stake here is less the question of whether their essays were any good, and more the question of why they received the platforms they did in the first place. What message was Buruma sending when he put Ghomeshi’s essay in the New York Review of Books, and was it ever worth reading?

Both mea culpas failed to engage with the allegations at hand. Harper’s and the NYRB gave them a platform anyway.

The obfuscations from Ghomeshi and Hockenberry follow a familiar, consistent pattern that we’ve seen time and time again when men accused of hurting women prepare to reenter public life: Be vague, imply heavily that it was all a long time ago and you’re the real victim here, and never discuss what’s happened to the people you hurt. (Men who’ve notably veered away from this pattern include Community creator and Rick and Morty showrunner Dan Harmon, whose apology after a female Community writer accused him of sexual harassment set the high-water mark for this kind of public redemption attempt.) 
So the interesting question here is not, “Why are these men so bad at apologizing?” — it’s pretty clear that they’re bad at apologizing because they don’t seem to want to actually admit that they did anything wrong. They consistently frame themselves, not the people they hurt, as the real victims of their actions. “Here’s the thing about being an erstwhile ‘celebrity’ who is now an outcast,” writes Ghomeshi: “You’re not just feeling sorry for yourself. You’re also feeling sorry for everyone around you — sometimes even the strangers.” 
Instead, the interesting question is, “Why are literary institutions like Harper’s and the New York Review of Books giving these men platforms from which to publish their bad apologies?” What is the literary interest in having a Canadian musician who allegedly abused 24 different women say that now he can no longer use his fame to pick up women? Is there any value at all in that piece of writing, outside of generating hate clicks online?
If Hockenberry’s and Ghomeshi’s essays are supposed to have literary value, why aren’t they engaging in good faith with the counterarguments against them? If they have journalistic news value, why aren’t they engaging with the facts that are already part of the public record? If they are more than self-absorbed excuses and “I’m sorry you were offended but you must understand that in my day, it was considered acceptable for men to attack their colleagues”-ing, then where is that value supposed to lie? 

Buruma said Ghomeshi’s story was valuable because it was rare. Let’s unpack that.

In an interview with Slate’s Isaac Chotiner last Friday, Buruma argued that Ghomeshi’s story was valuable because it had not been heard before. “It is an angle on an issue that is clearly very important and that I felt had not been exposed very much,” Buruma said. 
He added, “I think nobody has quite figured out what should happen in cases like his, where you have been legally acquitted but you are still judged as undesirable in public opinion, and how far that should go, how long that should last, and whether people should make a comeback or can make a comeback at all.” 
In a sense, Ghomeshi’s story is unusual, because he has faced some definite consequences for the actions of which he was accused. There have been a lot of stories told by men who got away with sexual assault — Roman Polanski wrote a memoir! — but it’s relatively rare for those men to lose standing and prestige after facing accusations. The story of falling from grace after being accused of hurting women really is pretty rare.
But we don’t value stories only because they are rare. As Chotiner pointed out in the interview, O.J. Simpson, like Ghomeshi, was acquitted of the charges against him in a criminal court, and like Ghomeshi, he lost his celebrity standing after he was accused of hurting a woman. 
Unlike Ghomeshi, of course, Simpson was accused of murdering two people: his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. And when Simpson tried to tell his side of the story in a book titled If I Did It, the outcry was so massive that the book was canceled and the editor who acquired it was fired. It would eventually be published by a less established publisher, with all proceeds going to Goldman’s family.
If I Did It was a scandal because it allowed Simpson to profit from his alleged crimes. And it prioritized his story over those of the people he was alleged to have hurt. It was unquestionablya rare story, but it was still not considered valuable. 
Nonetheless, if we take Buruma at his word and accept that Ghomeshi’s story has news value because it confronts an underexamined problem, then shouldn’t Ghomeshi have been pushed to accurately characterize both the accusations against him and their legal resolution in his essay?
No, Buruma said when Chotiner asked him that question. A concern like mentioning the peace bond Ghomeshi had to sign as part of his acquittal “does not really add or take away anything from the story at hand, which is what happened afterward and what happened to him.”
In that case, Buruma’s argument is essentially that what’s really valuable here is the story of Ghomeshi’s suffering. The question of what he’s suffering for — the harm he is accused of inflicted on 24 women — becomes irrelevant. His suffering becomes more important than theirs.

Promoting essays like Ghomeshi’s and Hockenberry’s is not a harmless intellectual enterprise in free speech hypotheticals. It has real consequences.

The idea that the suffering of accused men is more newsworthy and valuable than the suffering of those they allegedly hurt is fundamental to the widespread narrative that the #MeToo movement has gone too far. It’s a narrative Buruma appeared to endorse in his interview, in which he also argued strongly that the “Fall of Man”-themed NYRB issue in which Ghomeshi’s essay appeared should not be interpreted as an anti-MeToo statement. He added, however, that he was concerned that the movement may have overreached itself. “Like all well-intentioned and good things, there can be undesirable consequences,” he said.
It’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that for magazines like the New York Review of Books and Harper’s, the value of essays by figures like Ghomeshi and Hockenberry is supposed to lie in a corrective to the dominant narrative, in a sense that the #MeToo movement has gone too far and that we need the voices of those who were hurt by it in order to stabilize the status quo. 
But it’s also difficult to understand how the #MeToo movement can be said to have gone too far when Donald Trump was credibly accused by dozens of women of sexual harassment and still get elected president, when the Supreme Court currently includes one man who was accused of sexual harassment and may soon include another. It’s difficult to understand how one can reasonably make the argument that the men who lost their jobs in the wake of the #MeToo movement were hurt by the movement and not by their own choices to harass and assault their colleagues. 
And it’s difficult to understand how spotlighting their voices in the way the New York Review of Books and Harper’s have is doing anything more than reinforcing a system in which men’s social status is considered to be more valuable than women’s bodily safety, in which accusations of sexual violence are brushed aside as so much shrill hyperbole, and in which powerful men are able to hurt those they have power over with impunity. It’s difficult to understand how these essays are doing anything more than striving to return to the system that necessitated the birth of the #MeToo movement in the first place.

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