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  • Im Lost For Words (almost)

    https://amp.theguardian.com/books/20...ter-complaints

    How far are people willing to go these days in the cause of self-punishment? We’ve already seen this ludicrous over-reaction to 10 year old Tweets made by crickets Olly Robertson now we have an author asking for her own book to be censored because someone called a small passage “casual anti-semitism.” Did she make some poor taste comment on the Holocaust? Did she make a joke about Jews being very savvy in business? No, she said this…..


    “It features a short passage in which Vivi, as a child, is planning to stay in her friend’s attic. “‘You’re suggesting I hide here all summer?’ Vivi asks. ‘Like … like Anne Frank?’ This makes them both laugh – but is it really funny, and is Vivi so far off base?”
    Readers on Instagram criticised its inclusion, describing it as “casual antisemitism” and asking for an apology. Hilderbrand initially responded directly, telling one reader that she “absolutely REVERE[s] the story of Anne Frank”, and describing the line as “not a throwaway quip” but “an expression of angst from someone who felt marginalized socioeconomically”.
    She subsequently posted a formal apology on Instagram, in which she “wholeheartedly” apologised for the comparision to Anne Frank. “It was meant as hyperbole but was a poor choice, that was offensive and tasteless,” the author wrote. “Those of you who have read Summer of ’69 will realize Anne Frank was a courageous young woman whom I revere, and her story remains deeply influential in my life. I always strive to write in good faith. Golden Girl is a novel I wrote for my children and I want them to be proud of every word.”


    I read this 3 times just to ensure that I hadn’t missed the anti-Semitic part but I haven’t because it’s not there. There’s nothing ‘offensive’ in the slightest. It’s not remotely tasteless. She was describing the act of hiding and so mentioned Anne Frank. What the hell is wrong with that? If she’d wanted to describe running away from something at speed and had said “I flew down the street like Usain Bolt,” would that have been considered racist? Who was the moron that asked for an apology? And why did this cowardly author give the request even the briefest of considerations? And why didn’t she simply tell this idiot to “f^*#k off?”

    We have people smashing up statues that they don’t like and the law sits meekly in silence. We have 10 year old Tweets from a cricketer treated like the confessions of a serial killer. Now we have people popping up everywhere to demand apologies for non-existent anti-semitism (and no, I’m not saying that anti-semitism doesn’t exist but that it didn’t exist in this case.) This author is a perfect example of how scared as a society we have become when it comes to thinking, speaking and writing freely. Freedom of speech is now close to being a thing of the past. We’ve now reached the stage where supposedly intelligent people are no longer even prepared to stand up and defend themselves and their own work. The default position is now to go into cringing, hand-wringing apology mode even when they’ve done nothing wrong because they are terrified that a publisher might ‘cancel’ them or they might have speaking engagements ‘cancelled.’ Or, even worse that they might be ‘branded’ by the PC Thought Police. How can anyone read that excerpt and see anti-semitism? People are now on the lookout for things to get outraged about and if they can’t find anything real they will ‘imagine’ it. We have a world full of rats looking for victims to demonise…..yes, like those that informed on families hiding their Jewish friends during the war. The worst of it is that the ‘accused’ have had their collective spines removed and it’s immediately out with the whips and the hair shirts.
    Regards

    Herlock



    “All conspiracy theories are the product of the subconscious attempt of an ignorant yet creative mind to counteract the fear of the unknown with the tales of fantasy.” Abhijit Naskar.

    “Conspiracy theorists, she knew, were paranoid by definition, and usually with good reason - they were indeed being watched, largely because they were standing on an upturned bucket, haranguing the sheeple with their wingnut delusions.” Mick Herron.

    ”The most confused you will ever get is when you try to convince your heart and spirit of something your mind knows is a lie.” Shannon L. Alder.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
    https://amp.theguardian.com/books/20...ter-complaints

    How far are people willing to go these days in the cause of self-punishment? We’ve already seen this ludicrous over-reaction to 10 year old Tweets made by crickets Olly Robertson now we have an author asking for her own book to be censored because someone called a small passage “casual anti-semitism.” Did she make some poor taste comment on the Holocaust? Did she make a joke about Jews being very savvy in business? No, she said this…..


    “It features a short passage in which Vivi, as a child, is planning to stay in her friend’s attic. “‘You’re suggesting I hide here all summer?’ Vivi asks. ‘Like … like Anne Frank?’ This makes them both laugh – but is it really funny, and is Vivi so far off base?”
    Readers on Instagram criticised its inclusion, describing it as “casual antisemitism” and asking for an apology. Hilderbrand initially responded directly, telling one reader that she “absolutely REVERE[s] the story of Anne Frank”, and describing the line as “not a throwaway quip” but “an expression of angst from someone who felt marginalized socioeconomically”.
    She subsequently posted a formal apology on Instagram, in which she “wholeheartedly” apologised for the comparision to Anne Frank. “It was meant as hyperbole but was a poor choice, that was offensive and tasteless,” the author wrote. “Those of you who have read Summer of ’69 will realize Anne Frank was a courageous young woman whom I revere, and her story remains deeply influential in my life. I always strive to write in good faith. Golden Girl is a novel I wrote for my children and I want them to be proud of every word.”


    I read this 3 times just to ensure that I hadn’t missed the anti-Semitic part but I haven’t because it’s not there. There’s nothing ‘offensive’ in the slightest. It’s not remotely tasteless. She was describing the act of hiding and so mentioned Anne Frank. What the hell is wrong with that? If she’d wanted to describe running away from something at speed and had said “I flew down the street like Usain Bolt,” would that have been considered racist? Who was the moron that asked for an apology? And why did this cowardly author give the request even the briefest of considerations? And why didn’t she simply tell this idiot to “f^*#k off?”

    We have people smashing up statues that they don’t like and the law sits meekly in silence. We have 10 year old Tweets from a cricketer treated like the confessions of a serial killer. Now we have people popping up everywhere to demand apologies for non-existent anti-semitism (and no, I’m not saying that anti-semitism doesn’t exist but that it didn’t exist in this case.) This author is a perfect example of how scared as a society we have become when it comes to thinking, speaking and writing freely. Freedom of speech is now close to being a thing of the past. We’ve now reached the stage where supposedly intelligent people are no longer even prepared to stand up and defend themselves and their own work. The default position is now to go into cringing, hand-wringing apology mode even when they’ve done nothing wrong because they are terrified that a publisher might ‘cancel’ them or they might have speaking engagements ‘cancelled.’ Or, even worse that they might be ‘branded’ by the PC Thought Police. How can anyone read that excerpt and see anti-semitism? People are now on the lookout for things to get outraged about and if they can’t find anything real they will ‘imagine’ it. We have a world full of rats looking for victims to demonise…..yes, like those that informed on families hiding their Jewish friends during the war. The worst of it is that the ‘accused’ have had their collective spines removed and it’s immediately out with the whips and the hair shirts.
    I completely agree Herlock.

    We seem to be intent on dredging through past Facebook or Twitter comments made by people when they were young and daft.
    Young people do and say daft things.
    Get over it, it is not, nor should it be a life destroying event.

    Words do matter, and language should be used carefully, but satire and irony have their place.

    Randy Newman is one of the truly great songwriters, one of his best and most biting songs is called "Sail Away". (lyrics reproduced below)
    It is about a slave ship sailing from Africa to America, and is told from the point of view of the captain.

    The song contains a derogatory term about African people, and Newman faced a backlash from some people for his use of that particular word, and the fact that the subject matter of the song is approached through the prism of a racist captain.

    Newman's reply to a journalist who queried the basic thrust of the song is worth quoting in full

    "What......you wanted me to say that slavery is bad!

    SAIL AWAY

    In America you'll get food to eat
    Won't have to run through the jungle
    And scuff up your feet
    You'll just sing about Jesus and drink wine all day
    It's great to be an American

    Ain't no lions or tigers ain't no mamba snake
    Just the sweet watermelon and the buckwheat cake
    Everybody is as happy as a man can be
    Climb aboard little wog sail away with me

    Sail away sail away
    We will cross the mighty ocean into Charleston Bay
    Sail away sail away
    We will cross the mighty ocean into Charleston Bay

    In America every man is free
    To take care of his home and his family
    You'll be as happy as a monkey in a monkey tree
    You're all gonna be an American

    Sail away, sail away
    We will cross the mighty ocean into Charleston Bay
    Sail away, sail away
    We will cross the mighty ocean into Charleston Bay

    Comment


    • #3
      My mind boggles at most comment, comedy, writing and reportage being cancelled as unwoke and/or politically incorrect because the humour comes from the transgressive nature of the comedy and in so doing is actually a better reinforcer of the wrongs being shored up than any suppression of such thoughts.

      A society surely breeds seriously concerning, possibly deadly misogynists and bigots by murdering all artistic and even casual conversational outlets expressing such sentiments.

      My feeling is that it is as old as bread and circuses as a social engineering control - divide the plebeian opinions and conquer them?

      Comment


      • #4
        It’s all about using proper judgment and balance because without that we’re heading into (and I’d suggest that we’re already in it) a climate of fear. If someone can read that Anne Frank comment and see anti-semitism without the world of reason screaming “noooo,” then it’s a lost cause. I’d say that it’s doing important causes a dangerous disservice because we will arrive at a ‘boy who cried Wolf’ situation. Someone will mention an instance of genuine racism and the reaction will be “yeah, yeah, another ludicrous exaggeration.” Political Correctness causes strong opinions on both sides but essentially it came from a good intention and it probably still does with most people but with some it seems to be a power grab; a desire to punish. I think it’s scary that the author capitulated on this. Surely she knows if she’s anti-Semitic or not? Surely she knew her intention? Surely she can see that there’s not the slightest element of anti-semitism present in that piece of writing? But rather than standing up for herself she’s immediately on her knees begging them “please don’t dislike me. Please don’t cancel me.”

        I think it’s nauseating. I’d have told that person “f*^#k off, get a life and mind your own business. I’m NOT anti-Semitic and anyone who believes that that piece of writing was anti-Semitic is a contemptible cretin.”
        Regards

        Herlock



        “All conspiracy theories are the product of the subconscious attempt of an ignorant yet creative mind to counteract the fear of the unknown with the tales of fantasy.” Abhijit Naskar.

        “Conspiracy theorists, she knew, were paranoid by definition, and usually with good reason - they were indeed being watched, largely because they were standing on an upturned bucket, haranguing the sheeple with their wingnut delusions.” Mick Herron.

        ”The most confused you will ever get is when you try to convince your heart and spirit of something your mind knows is a lie.” Shannon L. Alder.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hmmmmmm!

          At risk of gaining an undeserved reputation as this site's resident snowflake, if I'm completely honest I did find the passage a TINY bit, I dunno, flippant? in poor taste?

          I think it's just because I recall reading the Diary of Anne Frank as a girl and finding it deeply upsetting (as I'm sure many others on here have too).

          I do not personally see the passage as being anti-Semitic, and I don't feel the author had any need to capitulate or apologise.

          Her initial defence that it was hyperbole and "an expression of angst from someone who felt marginalized socioeconomically" is sufficient explanation to my mind.

          I'm not Jewish though, so I feel like it's not for me (and other non-Jews) to arbitrate as to exactly what is anti-Semitic and what isn't.

          What I really hate about the cringing, hand-wringing apology merchants (to paraphrase Herlock), is that it prevents genuine, honest dialogue and detracts from the real issues around actual, genuine, destructive examples of bigotry which exist.

          Agreed it can stifle art, culture and comedy too to everyone's detriment.








          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Ms Diddles View Post
            Hmmmmmm!

            At risk of gaining an undeserved reputation as this site's resident snowflake, if I'm completely honest I did find the passage a TINY bit, I dunno, flippant? in poor taste?

            I think it's just because I recall reading the Diary of Anne Frank as a girl and finding it deeply upsetting (as I'm sure many others on here have too).

            I do not personally see the passage as being anti-Semitic, and I don't feel the author had any need to capitulate or apologise.

            Her initial defence that it was hyperbole and "an expression of angst from someone who felt marginalized socioeconomically" is sufficient explanation to my mind.

            I'm not Jewish though, so I feel like it's not for me (and other non-Jews) to arbitrate as to exactly what is anti-Semitic and what isn't.

            What I really hate about the cringing, hand-wringing apology merchants (to paraphrase Herlock), is that it prevents genuine, honest dialogue and detracts from the real issues around actual, genuine, destructive examples of bigotry which exist.

            Agreed it can stifle art, culture and comedy too to everyone's detriment.







            That’s fair Miss D.

            There’s certainly nothing offensive or anti-Semitic though as it Anne Franks Jewishness isn’t mentioned and there’s not even an implication that it’s relevant to the intent of the quote. She could have phrased it differently but there’s nothing to apologise about. And certainly no need to have it chopped from her book.
            Regards

            Herlock



            “All conspiracy theories are the product of the subconscious attempt of an ignorant yet creative mind to counteract the fear of the unknown with the tales of fantasy.” Abhijit Naskar.

            “Conspiracy theorists, she knew, were paranoid by definition, and usually with good reason - they were indeed being watched, largely because they were standing on an upturned bucket, haranguing the sheeple with their wingnut delusions.” Mick Herron.

            ”The most confused you will ever get is when you try to convince your heart and spirit of something your mind knows is a lie.” Shannon L. Alder.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post

              That’s fair Miss D.

              There’s certainly nothing offensive or anti-Semitic though as it Anne Franks Jewishness isn’t mentioned and there’s not even an implication that it’s relevant to the intent of the quote. She could have phrased it differently but there’s nothing to apologise about. And certainly no need to have it chopped from her book.
              I suppose I'm comfortable with saying that I don't personally find the passage offensive or anti-Semitic, but I pull up short of stating that "There's certainly nothing offensive or anti-Semitic though" as I feel that's not for me (as a non-Jew) to pronounce upon.

              Perhaps if I had lived my life as a Jew (with all the history and experience that entails), I would feel differently.

              Or maybe, I'd feel the same.

              Who knows?


              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
                ...

                I think it’s nauseating. I’d have told that person “f*^#k off, get a life and mind your own business. I’m NOT anti-Semitic and anyone who believes that that piece of writing was anti-Semitic is a contemptible cretin.”
                Yep, it's all part of this "everybody want's to be a victim" crap.
                Then there's the "I'm entitled" crowd who think the whole world revolves around their wants & needs. The rest seem to be members of the, "it's not my fault" club.
                Is there anybody normal out there any more?

                Bring conscription back I say, teach this generation what is important in life.
                Regards, Jon S.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I’ve been thinking about this and initially I thought it was just in poor taste but not necessarily Anti Semitic/racist.
                  I agree with Herlocks Comments for the most part, but just to consider this particular quote……


                  “If she’d wanted to describe running away from something at speed and had said “I flew down the street like Usain Bolt,” would that have been considered racist”

                  No definitely not…
                  However, I would say it would be different if Usain Bolt was forced against his will to run the race out of fear, due to his religion or racial background.
                  And as it happens, he wasn’t.
                  so I wouldn’t say that’s fair comparison.

                  With that in mind, I do appreciate how the Ann Frank comment could be offensive to anybody who’s very recent ancestors were in that situation.
                  Perhaps I would feel offended too if I had a grandmother or grandfather in that situation, I dunno…. I’m lucky that that’s not the case.

                  So could we say that the racist/Anti Semitic aspect to it is that it’s a line that would understandably offend a lot of people of certain race/religion?

                  It’s a complicated one, but I thought I would throw that out there…..

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ms Diddles View Post

                    I suppose I'm comfortable with saying that I don't personally find the passage offensive or anti-Semitic, but I pull up short of stating that "There's certainly nothing offensive or anti-Semitic though" as I feel that's not for me (as a non-Jew) to pronounce upon.

                    Perhaps if I had lived my life as a Jew (with all the history and experience that entails), I would feel differently.

                    Or maybe, I'd feel the same.

                    Who knows?

                    Wouldn’t we be in danger of creating the circumstances where grievances can be imagined if we have look to reading between lines though? For me when you read the passage, Jewishness isn’t mentioned. There’s no implication of any criticism of Jews or Judaism in general or Anna Frank individually as a Jew. She was talking about hiding away and Anne Frank hid away. I’d say that it’s not within a thousand miles of being anti-Semitic. Where does it end? If a writer wrote “I led my family across town like Moses leading his people across the desert.” Would that be anti-Semitic? I’d say absolutely not and that it was a direct parallel.

                    We can agree to disagree on this one Miss D.
                    Regards

                    Herlock



                    “All conspiracy theories are the product of the subconscious attempt of an ignorant yet creative mind to counteract the fear of the unknown with the tales of fantasy.” Abhijit Naskar.

                    “Conspiracy theorists, she knew, were paranoid by definition, and usually with good reason - they were indeed being watched, largely because they were standing on an upturned bucket, haranguing the sheeple with their wingnut delusions.” Mick Herron.

                    ”The most confused you will ever get is when you try to convince your heart and spirit of something your mind knows is a lie.” Shannon L. Alder.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Wickerman View Post

                      Yep, it's all part of this "everybody want's to be a victim" crap.
                      Then there's the "I'm entitled" crowd who think the whole world revolves around their wants & needs. The rest seem to be members of the, "it's not my fault" club.
                      Is there anybody normal out there any more?

                      Bring conscription back I say, teach this generation what is important in life.


                      I think that some people know that they can’t be important figures like Martin Luther King or Rosa Parks or Nelson Mandela so they take to ridiculous nitpicking to try and make themselves feel good. “Look at the cause that I’m championing.” It really is insanity. Authors will soon have to send off their manuscripts to the Department For Correct Thinking for approval. Each sentence of a conversation will need a 5 minute ‘consideration period’ so that the speaker can ensure that the ensuing sentence will be acceptable to all.

                      Im glad that I grew up when I did Wick and not now.
                      Regards

                      Herlock



                      “All conspiracy theories are the product of the subconscious attempt of an ignorant yet creative mind to counteract the fear of the unknown with the tales of fantasy.” Abhijit Naskar.

                      “Conspiracy theorists, she knew, were paranoid by definition, and usually with good reason - they were indeed being watched, largely because they were standing on an upturned bucket, haranguing the sheeple with their wingnut delusions.” Mick Herron.

                      ”The most confused you will ever get is when you try to convince your heart and spirit of something your mind knows is a lie.” Shannon L. Alder.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Yabs View Post
                        I’ve been thinking about this and initially I thought it was just in poor taste but not necessarily Anti Semitic/racist.
                        I agree with Herlocks Comments for the most part, but just to consider this particular quote……


                        “If she’d wanted to describe running away from something at speed and had said “I flew down the street like Usain Bolt,” would that have been considered racist”

                        No definitely not…
                        However, I would say it would be different if Usain Bolt was forced against his will to run the race out of fear, due to his religion or racial background.
                        And as it happens, he wasn’t.
                        so I wouldn’t say that’s fair comparison.

                        With that in mind, I do appreciate how the Ann Frank comment could be offensive to anybody who’s very recent ancestors were in that situation.
                        Perhaps I would feel offended too if I had a grandmother or grandfather in that situation, I dunno…. I’m lucky that that’s not the case.

                        So could we say that the racist/Anti Semitic aspect to it is that it’s a line that would understandably offend a lot of people of certain race/religion?

                        It’s a complicated one, but I thought I would throw that out there…..
                        I take your point Yabs but like Miss D we can agree to disagree with no problem.

                        For me this one is black and white. There’s nothing remotely offensive or anti-Semitic.

                        I need to stop getting annoyed about this stuff. It’s been annoying me (and scaring me) for years but I’d always hoped for a kick back against it but we’re accepting it meekly. It’s sickening cowardice. The battle is lost. We are irrevocably heading toward a world where everything is censored. Who’d have thought that Big Brother would emerge from the Left?
                        Regards

                        Herlock



                        “All conspiracy theories are the product of the subconscious attempt of an ignorant yet creative mind to counteract the fear of the unknown with the tales of fantasy.” Abhijit Naskar.

                        “Conspiracy theorists, she knew, were paranoid by definition, and usually with good reason - they were indeed being watched, largely because they were standing on an upturned bucket, haranguing the sheeple with their wingnut delusions.” Mick Herron.

                        ”The most confused you will ever get is when you try to convince your heart and spirit of something your mind knows is a lie.” Shannon L. Alder.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post

                          I take your point Yabs but like Miss D we can agree to disagree with no problem.

                          For me this one is black and white. There’s nothing remotely offensive or anti-Semitic.

                          I need to stop getting annoyed about this stuff. It’s been annoying me (and scaring me) for years but I’d always hoped for a kick back against it but we’re accepting it meekly. It’s sickening cowardice. The battle is lost. We are irrevocably heading toward a world where everything is censored. Who’d have thought that Big Brother would emerge from the Left?
                          Hi Herlock

                          I have difficulty with this example. I can see why the comparison might be considered offensive and how it trivialises the horrific experience of Anne Frank and her family which was rooted in prejudice and anti-semitism. I very much doubt the author intended to cause offense, but once pointed out to her, it's her decision whether she feels she should apologise.

                          But I also do not believe that people have a right not to be offended. Authors, journalists and others should not be censored, although they need to keep within the bounds of the law (eg not incite violence). I think the wider issue, about where we draw the line of what is generally acceptable, is part of a conversation society is currently having, which inevitably leads to some tension and anger as well as an over zealousness, which as you say can undermine an important issue.
                          Last edited by etenguy; 06-10-2021, 12:02 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            right on herlock
                            "Is all that we see or seem
                            but a dream within a dream?"

                            -Edgar Allan Poe


                            "...the man and the peaked cap he is said to have worn
                            quite tallies with the descriptions I got of him."

                            -Frederick G. Abberline

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by etenguy View Post

                              Hi Herlock

                              I have difficulty with this example. I can see why the comparison might be considered offensive and how it trivialises the horrific experience of Anne Frank and her family which was rooted in prejudice and anti-semitism. I very much doubt the author intended to cause offense, but once pointed out to her, it's her decision whether she feels she should apologise.

                              But I also do not believe that people have a right not to be offended. Authors, journalists and others should not be censored, although they need to keep within the bounds of the law (eg not incite violence). I think the wider issue, about where we draw the line of what is generally acceptable, is part of a conversation society is currently having, which inevitably leads to some tension and anger as well as an over zealousness, which as you say can undermine an important issue.
                              Hi Eten,

                              I just don’t see it to be honest. She’s simply talking about hiding and uses an example of someone hiding. She’s not making any comment on Anne Frank in person or Jews in general. I know what you’re saying Eten but if authors have to analyse every single phrase to that length then the act of writing a book will become more trouble than it’s worth. I think that if we have a situation where we get a piece of writing where someone says that “well x might interpret that in this way and therefore be offended by that” then the response has to be “tough.” People aren’t just easily offended to the point of fragility these days they’re actively rooting around in the dusty archives to find things that they can become offended about. If something is to be considered genuinely racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic or misogynistic then it shouldn’t be via vague interpretation. Or by reading between the lines. If it were then we’ll be at a stage where anyone can ‘interpret’ anything in a way that allows them to assume offence. Actually I think that we’re already at that stage.
                              Regards

                              Herlock



                              “All conspiracy theories are the product of the subconscious attempt of an ignorant yet creative mind to counteract the fear of the unknown with the tales of fantasy.” Abhijit Naskar.

                              “Conspiracy theorists, she knew, were paranoid by definition, and usually with good reason - they were indeed being watched, largely because they were standing on an upturned bucket, haranguing the sheeple with their wingnut delusions.” Mick Herron.

                              ”The most confused you will ever get is when you try to convince your heart and spirit of something your mind knows is a lie.” Shannon L. Alder.

                              Comment

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