The Year in BS #3 & #2: Bibi's bombs and free-speech freefall
If you don't like mass murder you're an antisemite, and anti-cancelculturists approve of your firing
[I didn’t plan ahead very well for my year-end Top 5, so I’ve got items #3 and #2 in one edition — but they’re thematically connected, so that’s not too weird, right? You can also go back and see #5: “The Potemkin primaries” here, and #4: “Gone kill-crazy” here. Back with #1 on Monday — have a great New Year’s Eve!]
Year in BS #3: When antiwar became antisemitism
While one of the most disgusting developments of 2023 was Hamas’ kidnapping, abuse, and occasional murder of Israeli hostages on October 7, the most disheartening development was Israel’s “kill ‘em all, let G-d sort ‘em out” campaign against Palestinian civilians who had fuck-all to do with it — and Israel’s continued insistence that if you opposed these ongoing war crimes, or were even bothered by them, you’re an antisemite.
This shtick suspiciously resembles American conservatives’ con game in the 2003 Iraq War, when they denounced anyone who thought the war was a mistake (let alone an outrage) as unpatriotic, “objectively pro-Saddam,” and a member of a “fifth column” against the United States.
(I say “suspiciously” because Bibi Netanyahu seems to consciously ape the approach of our own local wingnuts in an attempt to get out from under his many political problems — particularly mirroring Bush in terms of the massive intelligence failure that he seeks to disguise with bellicosity, and Trump in terms of just plain bluster and criminality.)
Also reminiscent of our own rightwingers’ antics: The arrogant shoddiness of the pro-massacre arguments they make whenever someone calls them out – e.g., that the hospitals they bomb (and all the patients in them) are Hamas, that any footage of suffering Palestinians is a “Pallywood” fake; and of course that anyone who finds their absurd claims to be absurd hates Jews.
I get it on the regular on social — some asshole says, “So you’re in favor of Hamas” and I say no, I’m in favor of not bombing hospitals, churches, and refugee camps, and they say “hospitals, churches, and refugee camps are all Hamas, you antisemite,” and I tell them to fuck off into outer space.
That Republicans also exploit the war to portray Biden — of all people! — as soft on Israel’s defense (while also tickling the leftist soreheads who call for a Biden vote boycott) is just an added layer of bullshit. These will probably fade to irrelevance by the election; but the long-term damage to any hope of peace in that region, or of a sane Mideast policy for the U.S., will be more lasting.
Speaking of which…
Year in BS #2: Cancelculture crybabies go cancelculture!
Another knock-on effect of the Gaza war has been a sudden escalation of what under other circumstances would be denounced by the usual suspects as “cancel culture.”
Of course, under normal circumstances this accusation is made whenever some rightwinger is forced to move from one seven-figure job to another, or is merely criticized or discomfited, because he or she said something outlandish (usually racist or misogynist) or is just a dick (like the many dicks who get “canceled” out of paid commencement speaking gigs because students don’t want to hear their bullshit).
I’ve been onto this racket for a long time, and seen cancelculture crybabies like Bari Weiss and Yascha Mounk go silent when the cancellations ran the other way — as happened when red states started firing people over the CRT nonsense.
Now the Gaza war has led to the biggest explosion of reverse-cancelculture cases in the history of that tiresome expression, with dozens (maybe hundreds by now) of teachers, students, poets, journalists, et alia losing their positions because they criticized Israeli war policy (or, in wingnut shorthand, “are antisemites”) — and most of them are less well paid and less able to bounce back from their defenestrations than the team owners and techbros that cancelculture crybabies usually defend. (See my increasingly weary “hey look cancel culture” tweets here.)
Some of the crybabies try to play both ends against the middle; Mounk, for example, suggests that it just means both sides (drink!) engage in cancel culture. But the asymmetry at the heart of this scam remains what it has always been: When the right loses, it’s always a bum rap, and when the left loses, it’s always just desserts.