Thursday, February 28, 2008

Did he seriously just say that?

The other day Mr. O'Dipshit said that Arianna Huffington was a Nazi- not, apparently because of anything she herself actually said (that would make way too much sense), but because some moron commenters on her blog said some pretty tasteless things about Nancy Reagan. Bill then immediately backtracked, saying he didn't call Ms. Huffington a Nazi, he was saying there was no difference between what she and the Nazis did. Got that? Ok.

Now, I've previously written to Mr. O'Moron personally explaining that, as someone who lost several dozen family members (that I know of) to the Nazis, I find it rather offensive when he compares people who say or do things he finds odious to the murderers of my family. I have never received a response. However this evening another gentleman, who wrote a similar email, did.

O'Schmuckles' response:

First of all, I appreciate your letter, sir, and have thought about it. If you look back at what happened in Germany -- you cannot escape the similarities between what Hitler and his cut-throats did back then ... and what the hate-filled blogs are doing now.

From the late 1920's to 1933...when Hitler became Chancellor...the Nazis used vile propaganda to demonize Jews and others in the eyes of the German people. They used newspapers, radio, leaflets and rallies to build up enormous hatred towards your family. Today, we are seeing the same thing on the 'net. There is no difference. When Arianna Huffington allows people to say that Nancy Reagan should suffer terribly and then die -- that is completely unacceptable and no different than what Dr. Joseph Goebbels and others were putting out there. Again, I thank you for your thoughtful letter.

There are several things I want to say. First of all, as reprehensible or offensive as any speech is, it cannot hold a candle to actual physical actions that lead to the pain, suffering or death of innocent people. That's logic 101. Writing an editorial, or giving a speech, or performing a godamn interpretive dance about killing children may be in bad taste, but it is NOT EVEN CLOSE to, say, this scene from Spiegelman's MAUS. There's no comparison. On that basis alone, Bill's lame attempt at apologetics (and at moving the goalposts so that he's comparing "hate speech" to Nazi propaganda, as opposed to Huffington to Nazis) should embarrass him to the point that his mouth, humiliated and ashamed, decides to take one for the team and bites off his tongue. The Nazis are most well known for one particular thing, Bill, and it isn't hurtful leaflets. The "when I say 'Nazis,' what I really mean is 'mean and nasty propaganda'" argument is like me comparing someone to Vlad Dracula, then saying that I'm really talking about how they both have cool mustaches. Either you think we're all really stupid or you don't care that you look like an idiot by inventing your own coded language.

Second, there is a difference between allowing one's organization or medium to become a forum for some distasteful speech and encouraging or promoting that speech. In this case, Huffington is not Goebbels because Huffington is not telling her readers that she thinks Nancy Reagan should die. At most, she is a lazy (or hands-off) owner/editor who refuses- or opts out- of the associated responsibilities by saying she puts freedom of speech above all. (An argument that, in this case, I'm not sure I disagree with.) If merely not censoring or removing distasteful or offensive comments on a blog is the sole criteria by which people can be compared with Nazis and Goebbels, then guess what, Billy? There are thousands of "Nazi" blogs out there, including the Free Republic, Little Green Footballs, and Arutz Sheva, to name a few. Being a "free-speech-uber-alles" zealot may not be the most realistic position to hold, but it doesn't make you Joseph Goebbels, you jackass.

Lastly, unlike Goebbels and his compatriots, there is little here to suggest any causality between some moron writing something hurtful about a former first lady on a blog and it leading to anything concrete, either in action or even in "intellectual radicalism." Nor is there any reason to suspect that this one doofus' goal in writing his screed was to make someone hurt Mrs. Reagan or join his crusade of wishing her ill.

These things aren't equivalent. They aren't in the ballpark. They aren't even in the same moral universe.

The Nazis murdered my family. They shot, gassed, starved, poisoned, and burned them alive. They killed 80 year-olds, and 8-year olds. They took everyday people like butchers, peddlers, midwives, greengrocers, along with the most educated members of our family, dentists and doctors, people that had spent their lives working to help people. The Nazis killed as many as they could, along with all their families and friends. And if they'd had their way, they never would have stopped.

To say that one idiot writing something stupid on the internet is anywhere close to this is myopic and insane. It is unfair to the people you are criticizing and demeaning to the victims of the Holocaust and their families. Sticks and stones, Bill. Somehow, Mrs. Reagan will survive the hurtful slings and arrows of idiots on the internet. My family, and the other victims of ACTUAL Nazis, were not so lucky.

You should be ashamed. For them. And for yourself.

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