Is your crazy contagious?
February 9, 2007 6:28 PM   Subscribe

Elie Wiesel was attacked in a San Francisco hotel today by a Holocaust denier, intenton forcing the Nobel Prize winner confess that his book Night was a fictionalized account of his survival of Dachau. Incredibly, someone is taking credit for the attack.
posted by mkb (123 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Actually he was attacked on Feb. 1 and the guy intended on forcing Wiesel to admit his book was fiction.

Are Holocaust deniers normal in their rest of their lives or are they totally batshitinsane all across the board?
posted by fenriq at 6:43 PM on February 9, 2007


After ensuring no women would be traumatized by what I had to do (I had been trailing Wiesel for weeks), I stopped the elevator at the sixth floor. I pulled Wiesel out of the elevator. I said I wanted to interview him. He protested, grabbed at his chest as if he was having a heart attack. He then screamed HELP! HELP! at the top of his lungs. This is someone who in his public appearances, speaks so softly, that when he appeared on Oprah, they had to use subtitles throughout. Wiesel had dropped this phony persona and assumed his actual personality, of an insane lunatic.
Yes, the guy you pulled from an elevator (after following him for weeks) kicking and screaming is the "insane lunatic" here. Not you, the attacker, no sirree.
posted by mathowie at 6:48 PM on February 9, 2007 [7 favorites]


Hate sites are not generally good links in FPPs, even if they are relevant. The second link, to Ziopedia, probably qualifies, given its sections like "Jews Anonymous" which "is to help Jews to rid themselves of any sense of chosenness and superiority over their fellow human beings and embrace all of mankind, regardless of heritage, nationality, religion or race.”

Lets not give them any clicks.
posted by blahblahblah at 6:50 PM on February 9, 2007


There was an episode of Without a Trace where a dude notices that nobody is calling in ransom for a kidnapping, so he figures it will be some easy money and makes a ransom call. He is stunned when the police arrest him when he comes to pick up the money.

"Didn't you think the police would be all over this," says Anthony Lapaglia.

"I told her not to call them," says the perp.

Anthony Lapaglia shakes his head and says, "You may be the biggest idiot I have ever met."

It is really quite a droll moment.

That being said, that pales in comparison to stalking and assaulting a well known author and then relating details of the assault with your real name in a public forum. Mr. Holocaust Deniar, sir, as a criminal, you are an abject failure.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:52 PM on February 9, 2007


What is extra creepy is that some of the comments on Hunt's ziopedia entry say things like "the first part was normal and then ..."
posted by mkb at 6:54 PM on February 9, 2007


I read about this earlier today, fucking scary. Elie Wiesel is lucky the guy didn't do more since he clearly could have if he had chosen to. It comes across as derangement / psychosis, and the individual probably obsessed on the topic of Holocaust denial? I would guess it is similar to the recent astronaut case of derangement / psychosis, at least in terms of psychiatric illness, not in topic.
posted by bhouston at 6:54 PM on February 9, 2007


Almost the entirety of white people are completely brainwashed.

at least WE have brains to wash, mr hunt
posted by pyramid termite at 6:57 PM on February 9, 2007


Wiesel had dropped this phony persona and assumed his actual personality, of an insane lunatic.

Luke! You've switched off your irony detector! What's wrong?
posted by grobstein at 6:57 PM on February 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


You know, it worries me: in another few decades, everyone who was actually in the camps will have died, and the deniers' job will get so much easier.
posted by hattifattener at 6:58 PM on February 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


I don't believe a word of it.
posted by pruner at 7:00 PM on February 9, 2007


This is awful. It's a shame a man who's gone through as much and done as much as Elie Wiesel needs a 24-hour security team. You'd think he's seen enough goons in his lifetime, bad or good.

And I always find it strange that Holocaust deniers and Holocaust celebrators mix so well, sometimes even in the same person. I guess there will always be those who cling stubbornly to lunacy.
posted by breezeway at 7:00 PM on February 9, 2007


It's nice that he gave so much thought to ensuring no women would be traumatized by what I had to do. He's a regular knight in batshit armor.
posted by maryh at 7:01 PM on February 9, 2007 [6 favorites]


You know, it worries me: in another few decades, everyone who was actually in the camps will have died, and the deniers' job will get so much easier.

that's why the Shoah Foundation is collecting video testimony from survivors.
posted by pruner at 7:04 PM on February 9, 2007


"is to help Jews to rid themselves of any sense of chosenness and superiority over their fellow human beings and embrace all of mankind, regardless of heritage, nationality, religion or race.”

I'm willing to stipulate that Ziopedia is a hate site (I have no idea, and no interest in finding out) but the highlighted statement isn't in and of itself hateful.
posted by Kwantsar at 7:06 PM on February 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


*blink*
posted by mzurer at 7:10 PM on February 9, 2007


I'm willing to stipulate that Ziopedia is a hate site (I have no idea, and no interest in finding out) but the highlighted statement isn't in and of itself hateful.

Sorry - posted only a partial quote, the full statement: "the only requirement for membership with 'Jews Anonymous' is a desire to stop being a Jew. The primary purpose of J.A. is to help Jews to rid themselves of any sense of chosenness and superiority over their fellow human beings and embrace all of mankind, regardless of heritage, nationality, religion or race. Asked about detailed plans for ‘Jews Anonymous’, Andrew said, “I am going to stick as closely as possible to the successful model of ‘Alcoholics Anonymous. The biggest challenge for both Jews and alcoholics is the realisation that they have a problem. They need to overcome the ‘river of denial’ and need the help of others to recover from their condition and solve their common problem.”


So, not so much with the tolerance. Again, can we remove the ziopedia direct link? I'd rather not have MeFi infalting their hit or ad count.
posted by blahblahblah at 7:12 PM on February 9, 2007


If there's one thing people never seem to get tired of, it's treating others like shit...
and then denying it.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 7:15 PM on February 9, 2007


What a pathetic escalation of tactics on the part of the deniers. And yeah, I think it'd be nice to have some kind of "this is a hate site" warning added to the 2nd link, if it's indeed a racist site.
posted by mediareport at 7:16 PM on February 9, 2007


I deal with these people all the time on Wikipedia. They don't respond to logic and use demagoguery. In Europe it has been outlawed. IMO it should be in the US as well.
posted by stbalbach at 7:17 PM on February 9, 2007


"The primary purpose of J.A. is to help Jews to rid themselves of any sense of chosenness and superiority over their fellow human beings..."

Apparently, they've never met any real Jews.
posted by turducken at 7:18 PM on February 9, 2007 [5 favorites]


My question, which is the same one I asked the 9/11 conspiracy nuts is, well dumbass where did all the people go?

Its not like they wandered off into the forest and turned into chipmunks. In order to the holocaust deniers to have anything resembling logical credibility, they would have to prove that several million people never existed, despite records to the contrary.
posted by MrLint at 7:24 PM on February 9, 2007


MeTa for the hate-site linkage discussion.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:25 PM on February 9, 2007


Errol Morris made a very interesting documentary several years ago called Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. about an American execution device maker who was hired by a German holocaust denier (on trial in Canada for publishing material likely to incite violence against Jews) to prove there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz.
posted by pruner at 7:25 PM on February 9, 2007


Re: the hate site...

I'm big on free speech. I think it's an essential right. But what happened to the principle that with rights come responsibilities?

I believe that words carry weight, and I should think that speech that incites, encourages and splatters hate like a gaping wound would be prosecuted for assault against humanity.

So why aren't they?
posted by deCadmus at 7:35 PM on February 9, 2007


deCadmus: "I'm big on free speech. ... I should think that speech that [does something I don't like] would be prosecuted for assault against humanity."

Those two statements strike me as contradictory.
posted by Plutor at 7:43 PM on February 9, 2007 [3 favorites]


I believe that words carry weight, and I should think that speech that incites, encourages and splatters hate like a gaping wound would be prosecuted for assault against humanity.

So why aren't they?


So, you want thoughtcrime to be prosecuted? Is Guantanamo the right way to respond?
posted by b1tr0t at 7:46 PM on February 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


I believe that words carry weight, and I should think that speech that incites, encourages and splatters hate like a gaping wound would be prosecuted for assault against humanity.

Sounds nice.

Who gets to define this hate speech?

I've heard that Turkish prosecutors have brought charges against Armenians who dare to call the events of 1918-1920 genocide. The name of the charge:

"Promoting Racism"

The real test of your commitment to free speech isn't speech that makes you nod and smile. The real test of your commitment to free speech is speech that makes you want to holler, cry and put a foot in someone's ass.
posted by jason's_planet at 7:47 PM on February 9, 2007 [4 favorites]


Am I the only one who thought Elie Wiesel had already been dead for several years already?
posted by Target Practice at 7:49 PM on February 9, 2007


If you wanted to modify the FPP with a warning about that link, that seems more appropriate, like a NSFW warning, and it might be important to do so for people at work who's internet access is monitored.
posted by bhouston at 7:52 PM on February 9, 2007


I am absolutely shocked that a holocaust denier would do something this stupid.

oh wait, no I'm not.
posted by ryanfou at 8:00 PM on February 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


NSFT (Not Safe For Tolerance)? Or NSWJ?
posted by davejay at 8:06 PM on February 9, 2007


Argh. NSFJ.
posted by davejay at 8:07 PM on February 9, 2007


It's one thing for the loonies to go about having and talking about their crazy ideas, but when they start attacking people because of them it is time for the lock-up. This guy is an idiot to post and boast. Hopefully it leads to a long incarceration.

Am I the only one who thought Elie Wiesel had already been dead for several years already?

perhaps

Also, as for the second link needing a hate site label, it seems sort of obvious from the wording of the post. Where else do you think you are going to find such boasting. Anyways, an admin edit would not be a horrible thing.
posted by caddis at 8:09 PM on February 9, 2007


After ensuring no women would be traumatized by what I had to do

So it's okay to traumatize the rest of us?
posted by hadjiboy at 8:21 PM on February 9, 2007


That sucks. I guess it's not the worst thing to happen to Elie Wiesel.

Heads to hell, probably
posted by graventy at 8:22 PM on February 9, 2007


I believe that words carry weight, and I should think that speech that incites, encourages and splatters hate like a gaping wound would be prosecuted for assault against humanity.

You're against racism and hatred. Great, so am I. But, banning the expression of scuh things is not an effective means of beating it. How are we supposed to combat something if we can't even see what it is we're supposed to be fighting? That's not anti-racist action, it's denial.

Are you afraid ideas will jump out and possess your mind while your back is turned? The fight against hatred needs open dialogue and clear thinking, not quasi-superstition.
posted by jonmc at 8:23 PM on February 9, 2007 [6 favorites]


Are you afraid ideas will jump out and possess your mind while your back is turned?

BTW guys Jewish professor sez blood libel is true
posted by grobstein at 8:29 PM on February 9, 2007


hattifattener: You know, it worries me: in another few decades, everyone who was actually in the camps will have died, and the deniers' job will get so much easier.

Here's the irony: there's another one happening now, and there'll be another happening then. The reality of genocide will not be forgotten, because it will never be out of earshot.
posted by kid ichorous at 8:29 PM on February 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm a woman. I'm traumatized. So there.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:31 PM on February 9, 2007


In America, the Jewish controlled "neoconservative" right pretends to argue with the Marxist, communist left.

Sweet Lord. Upgrade the hat to Reynolds Wrap, Colonel Klink. And that goes for all your Sofa Spud SS pals, too.
posted by jonmc at 8:33 PM on February 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Also, what's with making everybody scroll down for the articles, ziopedia? You'll never defeat ZOG with an interface that clumsy, guys.
posted by jonmc at 8:35 PM on February 9, 2007


Ok, people that are pissed off and blame Jews for the ills of the world are one thing.

But holy crap, the Holocaust deniers take bat shit insane to a whole new level.
posted by drstein at 8:36 PM on February 9, 2007


the global warming deniers are the new holocaust deniers
posted by caddis at 8:46 PM on February 9, 2007


which nobody can deny, which nobody can deny...
posted by jonmc at 8:48 PM on February 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


I believe that words carry weight, and I should think that speech that incites, encourages and splatters hate like a gaping wound would be prosecuted for assault against humanity.

So why aren't they?


Well, I think the basic assumption was that people could think for themselves, and would, and that the government had no business in the matter. If you want to assume that people can't think for themselves then go ahead, but it complicates things if you want to continue being fond of democracy or the republic.

Which brings up an interesting point: if some work is so treacherous that the public needs to be protected from it, then how is it that the censors are somehow immune to its perniciousness?
posted by Tuwa at 8:54 PM on February 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


The trivializing comments in this post disturb me as much as the assault. It's pretty shocking that a well-read audience like metafilter's doesn't 'get' the depth and weight of the holocaust.

Fucking a. You want to make jokes about Anna Nicole Smith dying? Well go for it. It only makes you look pathetic. But making lighthearted jokes about the holocaust is really something you should be embarrassed and ashamed about.

Do I need to link to a reading list on holocaust 101 here?
posted by serazin at 8:57 PM on February 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


"The sickening fact is that the poison gas the jews claim was used to murder them was actually used to save their lives."

Unfortunately, it turned out the Jews were, in fact, human beings and not citrus plants like we'd previously thought. By the time we realized it, well...
posted by katillathehun at 8:58 PM on February 9, 2007 [3 favorites]


In America, the Jewish controlled "neoconservative" right pretends to argue with the Marxist, communist left.

Sweet Lord. Upgrade the hat to Reynolds Wrap, Colonel Klink. And that goes for all your Sofa Spud SS pals, too.


Have you ever seen that old Nazi election poster, "Marxism is the guardian angel of Capitalism"? Fascists are very confused people.
posted by stammer at 9:00 PM on February 9, 2007


But making lighthearted jokes about the holocaust is really something you should be embarrassed and ashamed about.

Yes. But I'm actually making jokes about idiot holocaust deniers, who deserve all the mockery that can possibly be heaped on them. There's a difference.
posted by jonmc at 9:01 PM on February 9, 2007


"is to help Jews to rid themselves of any sense of chosenness and superiority over their fellow human beings and embrace all of mankind, regardless of heritage, nationality, religion or race.”

I'm willing to stipulate that Ziopedia is a hate site (I have no idea, and no interest in finding out) but the highlighted statement isn't in and of itself hateful.


Are you mad? The statement wouldn't have been made unless the presumption is that Jews are constitutionally beset with an extraordinary sense of their superiority, and that this is a thing so unique to Jews that they must be disabused of the notion, so they can join the rest of humble humanity. It is inherently an antisemitic statement.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:02 PM on February 9, 2007


I believe that words carry weight, and I should think that speech that incites, encourages and splatters hate like a gaping wound would be prosecuted for assault against humanity.

So why aren't they?


You might be happier in Europe, which, for the most part, is how they roll there.
posted by Scoo at 9:05 PM on February 9, 2007


The trivializing comments in this post disturb me as much as the assault.

Are you suggesting that the moronic blather of a holocaust denier deserves to be taken as seriously as he wanted it to be?

I doubt seriously that anyone here would laugh at the expense of a victim, but the deniers are nothing more than ridiculous. They're runt mice squeaking from the back of a herd of elephants. They want to shock more than they want to be proven right. I don't want to give them that.
posted by katillathehun at 9:07 PM on February 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


JonMC

It's tempting to see holocaust deniers simply as pathetic weirdos, especially today when homophobia for instance is much more visible than anti-Semitism - at least here in the US.

But clearly, this isn't a joke. A holocaust denier just physically assaulted the man who is arguably this country's most famous holocaust survivor. That's not just wingnut behavior. That is frightening, violent, behavior.

Take the homophobia metaphor here: sure we can laugh at the folks who think gay people are destroying straight marriage, but when you look at the Mathew Sheppard case, is homophobia 'funny'?
posted by serazin at 9:11 PM on February 9, 2007


So these holocaust deniers, they wear diapers?
posted by dhartung at 9:13 PM on February 9, 2007


serazin: for the most part they are pathetic weirdos, who's biggest contribution (for the most part) to any race war is sitting on the couch complaining. Most of the rest are ex-con losers who join up with 'Aryan' groups in jail to protect their sorry asses just like any other gang.

When they commit crimes like this, take them seriously, prosecute them and throw their as in jail for sure. But I don't submit to Bush & Company's panic mongering and I won't submit to it here. They are a fringe group and always will be since most people see them for what they are: liars and paranoids.

Our fear and indignation is these people's fuel. It gives them satisfaction and vindication, make sthem think they're making the 'Zionist Establishment" quake with fear. I refuse to give them the satisfaction. I refuse to make them Satan. I'd rather make them Bozo the Clown.
posted by jonmc at 9:17 PM on February 9, 2007 [4 favorites]


They are funny individually, but, en masse, less so.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:19 PM on February 9, 2007


Clowns and holocaust deniers both.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:19 PM on February 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


posted by dhartung So these holocaust deniers, they wear diapers?

Depends.

Although today's Nazis prefer Mein Pantf brand diapers. Kinder-tested, Fatherland-approved.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:29 PM on February 9, 2007 [8 favorites]


Pro Tip #37: the Jews did not fuck up your life. You did a better job than anybody else ever could have.

Pro Tip #49: meth kills brain cells.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 9:33 PM on February 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


Where's Vidal Sassoon when some twat needs a serious 43 Group restyling?
posted by Abiezer at 9:35 PM on February 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


(and since when is humor de facto 'trivializing'? Was Spike Jones' 'Der Fuhrer's Face,' trivializing? Dick Gregory's anti-racism rants? Lenny Bruce's riffs on censorship? Mockery is a legitamite weapon and expression of disgust, my friend.
posted by jonmc at 9:35 PM on February 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


I hear where you're coming from. It's a valid point. But I don't agree with it - particularly in this thread.

Careful about comparing yourself to Lenny Bruce and Dick Gregory there...
posted by serazin at 9:42 PM on February 9, 2007


Not in terms of quality, my man, just in terms of intent. and I think you knew that from the jump.
posted by jonmc at 9:44 PM on February 9, 2007


This is another extremely important post that gets less commentary than the A.N.S. post which must mean that it's not nearly as important. Consider this my "Starting to Lose My Faith In MetaFilter" comment +1.
posted by matty at 9:44 PM on February 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


jonmc is funnier than Dick Gregory.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:45 PM on February 9, 2007


Also, I have no weight loss secrets for you.
posted by jonmc at 9:45 PM on February 9, 2007


jonmc is funnier than Dick Gregory.

thanks for the compliment, but you've obviously never heard Gregory's 'fried chicken' riff from Nigger: An Autobiography, which is pants wettingly funny and a perfect example of what I'm talking about.
posted by jonmc at 9:47 PM on February 9, 2007


Are you mad? The statement wouldn't have been made unless the presumption is that Jews are constitutionally beset with an extraordinary sense of their superiority.

Meh. Replace "Jews" with "straight people," change a few words, and you've got a perfectly acceptable statement.

Or, coming from another angle altogether, is Pandagon a hate site?
posted by Kwantsar at 9:49 PM on February 9, 2007


Meh. Replace "Jews" with "straight people," change a few words, and you've got a perfectly acceptable statement.

I dunno. Most reasonable people would still consider it kind of paranoid, I think. And there's no history of genocide against straight people behind it, so it's less worrisome.
posted by jonmc at 9:52 PM on February 9, 2007


We should really rank our hate sites so we won't have this problem in the future.
How does Biting Beaver stack up with Stormfront?
posted by kid ichorous at 9:55 PM on February 9, 2007


jon, I am all for expressing one's opinion but when the opinion in quesiton manifests itself in the form of aggression and stalking, then freedom of speech has left the building.

I've always liked this one:

“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.”

-Soren Kierkegaard
posted by Dagobert at 9:56 PM on February 9, 2007


You know, you could change the words from Jew to Pizza and it would make the sentence all right too. So I guess you're right: obviously the sentiments aren't antisemitic.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:58 PM on February 9, 2007


jon, I am all for expressing one's opinion but when the opinion in quesiton manifests itself in the form of aggression and stalking, then freedom of speech has left the building.

Dagobert, in this comment I explicitly say that when people cross the line from speech to action then they should be prosecuted. All I've done in this thread is heap scorn upon him and say that it's better to expose these people to the cold light of day than live in fear of them*. What's your beef with me here?

*and FWIW, as a man with a Jewish wife, a half-Arab neice and nephew, a bunch of 'mud people' and 'sodomites' for friends..if these people ever took over I'd be led to the gallows as a 'race traitor' based on the propoganda I've seen. But I'm not losing sleep over them
posted by jonmc at 10:01 PM on February 9, 2007


You need to take a long, hard look at the Turner Diaries, my friend.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:14 PM on February 9, 2007


This post is placed here as a marker to indicate the point at which this thread will become yet another multi-post rant from jonmc about how everybody is racist, including him, but he's not really racist, because even though he makes lots of racist jokes, and lots of his friends are black and his wife is Jewish, so it's cool, but the rest of y'all just don't get it, because everybody is racist, including him...
posted by fandango_matt at 10:14 PM on February 9, 2007 [3 favorites]


And you know was racist? That's right: Cheap Trick.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:18 PM on February 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


Now, fandango_matt, jonmc can actually link top photos of himself with his arm around black people. Can you do the same?
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:19 PM on February 9, 2007


Photo-ops don't make the man.
posted by matty at 10:20 PM on February 9, 2007


no beef jon. As simple misunderstanding.

Easy on.
posted by Dagobert at 11:05 PM on February 9, 2007


dag it all, 'just a simple misunderstanding'
posted by Dagobert at 11:05 PM on February 9, 2007


You might be happier in Europe, which, for the most part, is how they roll there.

Europe bans display of race hate
USA bans display of titties on TV

Of the two, I know which I prefer.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:00 AM on February 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Europe bans display of race hate
USA bans display of titties on TV


It's done wonders for clearing up all that racial tension in Europe, and keeping sex off the minds of hardworking Americans.
posted by kid ichorous at 12:33 AM on February 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think hate speech is noxious. I think trying to suppress hate speech is even worse. Free speech matters; as the Supreme Court has said, the antidote to speech you don't like is more speech. Passing a law against expressing an idea is pointing a gun at someone and telling them to shut up.

It occurred to me, finally, a month or so ago, just exactly why it's so bad to outlaw hate speech. When some ideas are illegal to express, they gain energy, because to understand the law at all, people have to understand the idea that the law is trying to prevent. So a law against race hate absolutely ensures that the idea of race hate will continue to exist.

Further, when ideas like this are made illegal, they don't go away, they go covert. People who believe them will meet, in secret, and discuss them. This always happens; it is inevitable.

The problem is the echo chamber effect. When all you have is people around you agreeing, and you can't by law talk about the idea with the outside world, you lose a sanity check. The ideas fester in the darkness, protected by the laws that are trying to eliminate them.

Holocaust denial always wilts when it's faced with the light of truth, and the only way that can happen is if someone is allowed to bring up the subject. If J. Skinhead can't assert that Jews were never burnt in ovens, then he won't ever be forcefully corrected by people who can prove that they actually were. If J. Skinhead can't plainly express his opinion, you can't successfully disprove it to him. (and yes, with some people, no amount of evidence will disprove it... but you can still address their potential converts.) Given enough J. Skinheads muttering amongst themselves, you can end up with an enormous problem.

The antidote to speech is more speech, not pointing guns at people and telling them to shut up.

If you're truly right, you don't need the gun.
posted by Malor at 12:35 AM on February 10, 2007 [8 favorites]


re: Humor and this topic.

I don't find the assault on Mr. Wiesel funny, or the holocaust funny. I do find a criminal stupid enough to post a first person report of his crime on his website using his own name to be hilarious. The criminal deserves all the mockery we can muster because - and this is important, in my opinion - it reinforces the fact that this dude deserves to be treated as no less than an absolute moron. Taking him any more seriously than that empowers him.

It will be even funnier when he is arrested and tries to use the "I was trying to take the mask off Oz for the good of the Scarecrow" defense.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:43 AM on February 10, 2007


If you're truly right, you don't need the gun

...and who remembers Saunaktuk? They may have been perfectly right, in every possible sense, and yet it means nothing. Chopped into pieces, they can't claim their righteousness. The only ones who speak for Saunaktuk are the bones themselves; even the victors didn't bother to remember.

Or, to pick a more Western-significant event, who speaks well of the Mallians? Anyone?

Might doesn't always equal right, but it usually does. Right in theory, and right in practice, are usually pretty different things.
posted by aramaic at 2:51 AM on February 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


You're confusing speech with action, aramaic. Someone who's saying something I don't like is speaking. If he physically attacks me, that's quite different. Someone who says black people are inferior is speaking; someone who puts burning crosses on lawns is acting.

Laws against action are often reasonable; they are a proportional response. Laws against speech, on the other hand, are an escalation to violence. They are using the state's monopoly on weaponry to shut someone up.

Ultimately, they mean you're not sure that you're correct.
posted by Malor at 3:25 AM on February 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


In addtion to the idiocy of holocaust denial, I qwould note that there are a lot of "educated" people who edge toward the strange whenthey make stupid statements. Years ago, I had the pleasure of bring Elie Wiesel to a university where I worked. At a reception given after his talk, I brought him over to meet the president of the university. It was a few days before Thanksgiving. The president shhok hands with Wisel and then ask "Do Jews celebrate
Thanksgiving"?

As Vonnegut would say: So it goes....
posted by Postroad at 3:46 AM on February 10, 2007


> So it goes....

So it goes indeed, Postroad. Those who fall all over themselves outing instances of near-antisemitism (or near-sexism or near-racism or near-homophobia or near-whatever-hobgoblin) are contributors to the problem, very effective fellow travellers and hangers-on of the antisemites and sexists and racists and homophobes themselves. You all need each other for your daily outrage fix and life satisfaction.

In fact whether or not Jews may celebrate Thanksgiving is not an open-and-shut question and has been the subject of considerable halakhic (wiki) wrangling. Here's some. To many traditionalist Jews, however, commemorating any non-Jewish holiday raises questions about biblical and rabbinic law forbidding Jews to imitate non-Jewish customs and traditions.

It's a perfectly legitimate question to ask, in spite of your smug conclusion leap.
posted by jfuller at 5:24 AM on February 10, 2007 [3 favorites]


Wait, on Metafilter? Someone arguing semantics for the sake of a deranged supremacist lunatic? Say it ain't so!
posted by kalessin at 6:02 AM on February 10, 2007


P.S. I think that one of the problems of the bell curve (in measuring any factor or combination of factors) is that various people on the tippy top high end tail have to, on occasion, deal with various people from the other tail.

As my future mother in law says, "It doesn't take all kinds, but they're there anyway."
posted by kalessin at 6:05 AM on February 10, 2007


In Europe it has been outlawed. IMO it should be in the US as well.

In Europe they don't believe in free speech. That's one of the few remaining reasons to be proud to be American. Props to Malor and my man jonmc for standing up for what's right.

...and who remembers Saunaktuk?

Interesting story. What I take away from it is this:
Even as the evidence for prehistoric violence has mounted, discussion of it has become politically incorrect, especially where aboriginals are concerned. In 1994, University of Toronto anthropologist Jerry Melbye published research indicating a massacre and cannibalism had taken place at Saunaktuk, but the media ignored the news. When an Alaskan anthropologist found human skeletons that had been similarly taken apart and the flesh cut off, he rejected cannibalism in favour of unknown but "elaborate methods of human disposal." Dr. Melbye comments: "They were stepping over themselves backwards to say it's not violence."

The Provincial Museum of Alberta used to describe the self-torture of the Plains Indians' Sun Dance, but dropped that aspect when exhibits were revamped with aboriginal consultation. "We knew that wouldn't be acceptable, so we didn't even ask [aboriginals]," explained curator of ethnology Susan Berry. Vancouver Island's Alberni Valley Museum recently removed a South American shrunken head from display because it was giving children "the wrong idea" that B.C. natives were head hunters. Nonetheless, "head taking was a fairly common warfare-related practice on the West Coast," says Jerome Cybulski, curator of physical anthropology at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. He once helped identify the remains of five massacred and decapitated natives found in Prince Rupert, B.C. Dr. Cybulski recalls that in the '60s the Field Museum in Chicago also had shrunken heads on display, "but they're not there any more. Times have changed."
When you don't have freedom of speech, when people are afraid to say things because someone won't like it, science and people's understanding of the world suffer.

When people cross the line from hate speech to criminal action, that's when you do something about it. But a Jew isn't any less harmed by someone hitting him if that person has never in his life spoken his hateful thoughts out loud.
posted by languagehat at 6:22 AM on February 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Apparently he's against torture at Gitmo:
"What kind of torture investigation does not include testimony of the alleged victims? A total whitewash.

Literally hundreds of reports and testimonies make it as clear as day that there is a systematic and routine program of torture at Guantanamo Bay, a creation of the CIA which has long been in existence and has been exported all over the world by the U.S. military. "

The irony is staggering.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:48 AM on February 10, 2007



In Europe they don't believe in free speech.


yeah, we don't really dig slavery or segregation either. and, to stick to current events (the Sixties are, like, ancient history) Guantanamo is not exactly in Scandinavia, is it.

don't worry though, the few remaining Jews that Hitler didn't manage to murder in the camps are all dying of old age, it'll be much easier to argue -- with that sweet, sweet "Made in USA" free speech, I guess -- that they told a bunch of lies and Auschwitz was just a detention camp.

you wait long enough, the eyewitnesses die. and then the revisionist gangbang can really begin -- and history can finally get the brisk rogering she deserves, right?
posted by matteo at 6:49 AM on February 10, 2007


(and please follow the nice Secret Service gentleman's directions and go protest the Bush administration where they tell you to, languagehat)
posted by matteo at 6:51 AM on February 10, 2007


languagehat:

"In Europe they don't believe in free speech."

Is incitement to violence a crime in the USA?

(Serious question, I assumed that it was, since it's a principle of English Common Law. However I can't find any evidence for it in a quick search.)
posted by mr. strange at 6:56 AM on February 10, 2007


To you, matteo, I say (con amore, naturally): vaffanculo.

mr. strange: Good question. I believe it's one of the more contentious issues in constitutional law, since it's a place where important principles collide, but IANAL; I expect one of our more legally knowledgeable MeFites will weigh in.
posted by languagehat at 7:05 AM on February 10, 2007


In Europe they don't believe in free speech.

I don't even know where to begin with this moronic statement. Last time I checked the Freedom of the press index, Finland topped the chart. The UK was at 27. The US was at 53 in spite of your progressive 'free speech zones'. Try to understand that Austria does not represent the entirety of Europe.

And since we're generalising about entire continents, I'd actually say that 'in America' you have the least freedom of speech on the planet thanks to Mexico (132) & Cuba (165) drawing down the average.

See also this conversation we had a while ago.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:34 AM on February 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm big on free speech. I think it's an essential right ... I should think that speech that incites, encourages and splatters hate like a gaping wound would be prosecuted for assault against humanity.

*rolls eyes* That's idiotic, in no way are those two statements comparable.
posted by delmoi at 7:51 AM on February 10, 2007


I don't even know where to begin with this moronic statement. Last time I checked the Freedom of the press index, Finland topped the chart.

The freedom of the press index also measures things like the ability to keep sources confidential. Would you rather see scooter Libby walk, or get a couple points higher on that index?

The freedom of the press index isn't about freedom of speech You can say whatever you want here, but about special rights for reporters.
posted by delmoi at 7:53 AM on February 10, 2007


Is incitement to violence a crime in the USA?

Can be, but the standards for this are pretty high.

One way you might be able to convict someone is if their speech really did incite violence.

The other, assuming Brandenburg is still more or less in force, is to convince a judge and/or jury that there was immediate real danger of actual harm to actual, specific people because of the speech. A vague concern that someone hearing the speech might eventually inflict violence on some random person at an unknown time in the future doesn't cut it.

Kinder-tested, Fatherland-approved.

Strong enough for an Obersturmbannfuehrer, made for a Fraulein!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:17 AM on February 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


(btw - fanatically pro-free speech, but it's been so well defended by all here, no need to comment other than just so...)
posted by Smedleyman at 8:44 AM on February 10, 2007


Is incitement to violence a crime in the USA?

Yes. In very limited circumstances. The one example that jumps to mind is the case of Charles Price who was convicted for inciting anti-Jewish violence during the Crown Heights riots during the early nineties.
posted by jason's_planet at 9:40 AM on February 10, 2007




You know, it worries me: in another few decades, everyone who was actually in the camps will have died, and the deniers' job will get so much easier.

that's why the Shoah Foundation is collecting...


Yes. And also why Eisenhower ordered extensive filming of the corpses, the ovens, etc., and why German citizens living near the camps were forced to visit them after they were liberated. That generation would not be allowed to claim the horror never existed.
posted by etaoin at 10:08 AM on February 10, 2007


Aramaic -- by "Mallians," do you mean Melians?
posted by Slap Factory at 10:14 AM on February 10, 2007


Elie Wiesel is one of the greatest individuals of our time -- he is a gifted writer, and he is a hero in the truest sense of the word for bearing witness to the evil of the Holocaust.

That said, it would have been pretty cool if he had used some sort of Krav Maga to incapacitate his attacker. Probably would have really sent the holocaust denier into a tailspin of anger and self-hate. Not saying that Weisel, at his advanced age and with all that he has been through, could have been expected to overpower the assailant, just that it would have been cool.
posted by Slap Factory at 10:17 AM on February 10, 2007


As Richard Rorty recently said: "Take Care of Freedom And Truth Will Take Care of Itself."

Also, I think Planned Parenthood of the Columbia/Willamette Inc. v. American Coalition of Life Activists gives a pretty clear indication of the status of incitement on the internet; the bar is UNBELIEVABLY high.
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:19 AM on February 10, 2007


In Europe they don't believe in free speech. That's one of the few remaining reasons to be proud to be American.

Last I checked, Free Speech is dead in America too.

Sure, it's not Cambodia or China, but American speech is only free within certain well-accepted norms. Want to protest the use of NYC as a GOP prop? Go to jail. Want to protest outside of the designated protest area? Go to jail.

In an ideal world, I would be able to say anything I want. But given the choice, I would rather have the right to openly criticize my government than the right to be openly racist.

America hasn't represented freedom in better than a hundred years. Anybody who claims otherwise would fail a class in modern american history.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 10:53 AM on February 10, 2007


Want to protest the use of NYC as a GOP prop? Go to jail. Want to protest outside of the designated protest area? Go to jail.

Yes, things have gotten a lot dicier under the current administration. The fact remains that the U.S. guarantees freedom of speech in its foundational law, and the courts can strike down the inevitable encroachments by power-mad governments. There's a huge difference between that and being told right there in the laws that you're not allowed to talk about X, Y, and Z. And spare me the condescending lectures about how bad things are in the U.S. these days; I'm at least as aware of it as you are. I also know the difference between temporary setbacks and giving up the game altogether.

But given the choice, I would rather have the right to openly criticize my government than the right to be openly racist.

Ah, reveling in Sophie's Choice, are we? "So, citizen, which right would you rather keep? Ah-ah-ah, you can only keep one!" Freedom of speech is indivisible. Some people get it, some don't. But to accuse those of us who get it with being racist or otherwise responsible for whatever anyone might take it into their heads to use their freedom for would be to reveal yourself as childishly unable to think or argue straight, just in case anyone was thinking of trying that tack.
posted by languagehat at 11:43 AM on February 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


orcinus, as always, has extensive background stuff on the growth and strength of these hateful asses.
posted by amberglow at 11:45 AM on February 10, 2007


In the German concentration camps, there were indeed violins. There were full camp orchestras, movies, swimming pools, plays, painting facilities, a post office, maternity wards, etc.. Even Schindler's List shows the construction and use of wonderful playgrounds for the inmates' children.

I just wanted to register this here as an example of the profound depth of the delusion this guy is labouring under. Carry on.
posted by jokeefe at 2:03 PM on February 10, 2007


*reads previous comment*

Uh oh, call the metaphor police.
posted by jokeefe at 2:04 PM on February 10, 2007


and SPLC--with its Hatewatch and other reports..
posted by amberglow at 2:32 PM on February 10, 2007


I believe with this comment, languagehat has proven himself to be ignorant and offensive to me. But that's the beauty of free speech: it brings concealed prejudices and ignorance to the foreground. Now that I'm aware of how languagehat truly feels, I can freely ignore him and what he has to say.
posted by slimepuppy at 1:37 AM on February 11, 2007


I believe with this comment, languagehat has proven himself to be ignorant and offensive to me.

And I imagine if you had the chance you'd ban my speech because you consider it ignorant and offensive.
posted by languagehat at 8:23 AM on February 11, 2007


Nope, not in the slightest. I would actually defend your right to be as loud and obnoxious as you want. You think all Europeans are against free speech. I think you're an idiot. We'll see which argument stands up to vocal public scrutiny and debate.

I was against David Irving being imprisoned in Austria. Morons like him shouldn't be silenced and thrown into prison, they need to be outed and publically humiliated through reasoned discourse.
posted by slimepuppy at 8:41 AM on February 11, 2007


Well then, we're on the same side of the barricades.
posted by languagehat at 9:03 AM on February 11, 2007


You think all Europeans are against free speech. I think you're an idiot. We'll see which argument stands up to vocal public scrutiny and debate.

Wellll . . . this member of the public finds languagehat's contributions to this item much more compelling than your own gratuitous personal attacks.

You don't demonstrate strong reasoning chops when you call somebody an idiot.
posted by jason's_planet at 11:39 AM on February 11, 2007


I would like to state that I hate Jews no more and no less than I hate any other ethnic or religious group (including my own) anywhere anytime.

( I feel that's these anti-semites main problem. They're overspecialized.)
posted by telstar at 2:42 PM on February 11, 2007


Bus with 44 humans crashes, the Holocaust survivors are 33 of the bodies, the other 11 are deniers.

Golly how do we separate the ones going to each funeral director's vans?

Well, the 44 with NUMBERS tatooed on their arms all the same age and with the remaing ink showing the same aging process might be a clue. Funny how they all got together in 1940 to set that up huh?

Deniers are self imploding self hating sub humans.

And Mr. Wiesel needs some mace and a pointy shoe to kick these motherfuckers in the balls.
posted by Freedomboy at 7:33 PM on February 11, 2007


Jason's_planet, you're seriously asking for strong reasoning against a comment that states 'in Europe they don't believe in free speech'? Which he then doesn't support with any actual facts.

I don't feel my 'personal attacks' were necessarily gratuitous. I have issues with people telling me what I think and with people who generalise an entire continent under one broad statement. I don't think I need to justify my anger any more than I would against your average racist remark. Most people would be able to figure out, without proof, that the statement 'all X are Y' is generally untrue. Except Americans I guess.
posted by slimepuppy at 1:22 AM on February 12, 2007


Chill, slimepuppy. Obviously my generalization, like all generalizations, was an overstatement; I had no desire or intention to insult you, and I'm happy to welcome you as a comrade in the endless battle for free speech. What I meant was that Europeans, by and large, seem less interested (as measured by their laws) in the importance of free speech as Americans (by which, in line with common usage, I mean citizens of the U.S.) have traditionally been, although I worry that Americans are rapidly forgetting the importance of the concept due to repeated applications of the "Look, there's a Bad Guy, we must curtail your freedoms for your own good!" treatment. Is that better?
posted by languagehat at 6:28 AM on February 12, 2007


An update.
posted by fandango_matt at 12:10 AM on February 13, 2007


A further update (arrest).

[posted this first in meta, then realized it really belonged here instead.]
posted by Tuwa at 6:01 PM on February 17, 2007


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