Quote of the day

Ta-Nehisi Coates:

Moreover, I think we often overstate the difficulty of not uttering foolish thoughts. Every one of us has, at one time or another, thought something truly abominable. But we’ve generally learned not to speak those thoughts, not simply out of politeness, but because we know that most of those thoughts are demonstrably wrong. We are, in other words, not just concerned with hurting people feelings, we’re concerned with sounding like idiots. Among people who talk for a living, one would hope that the sense would be better developed–not less. I’m a writer. The bar for me clearly and intelligently expressing myself should be higher, not lower, than someone penning a letter to their Congressman.
Which bloggers at the Atlantic agree with this? Goldberg and Fallows, probably.

Jeffrey Goldberg thinks down near Pamela Gellar’s level

Jeffrey Goldberg has a very small post today, where the content seems to only be him letting off steam — he initially misspelled embarrassment in the title:

Pamela Gellar: An Embarassment to Judaism

Really, how did American Judaism produce this vile, racist creature? I wait for the same rabbis who condemned the racism of Meir Kahane to condemn her.

I had no idea that she was a clerical representative of Judaism. In that case, I will ask that all the rabbinical organizations that count her as a member expel her immediately. I’m embarrassed to say, I didn’t even know Gellar was practicing. I shall condemn her as an embarrassment “to Judaism,” as I condemn all the Jews who I have heard utter racist comments in their own name as opposed to in Judaism’s.

Honestly, I don’t see any reason why any branch of Judaism or any Jewish community has to be embarrassed by one person (unless it’s a Jew who is actively attempting to embarrass Judaism, like Otto Weiniger or Gilad Atzmon). Should Christianity be embarrassed by Reverend Wright? Should Catholics be embarrassed by Michael Moore’s invocation of Catholicism or by what a self-professed Catholic writes on the Daily Dish?

Strongly disassociating yourself from a cleric with whom you have been in association or one who claims to speak for the ideology inside the faith is one thing. A sense of ethnic embarrassment is another (see Weiniger or Atzmon).

Anti-propagandism on the Dish

The Dish affirms the value of anti-propagandistic language, for the first time in a while:

The word I have used is “killing” – not exactly a euphemism along the lines of “enhanced interrogation.” I regard “assassination” as the deliberate murder of a leader or individual for political purposes, not the targeted killing of a member of al Qaeda at war with the US, whom it is impossible or extremely difficult to capture.

I don’t object to Andrew’s narrow use of “assassination,” but I wouldn’t shirk the label for attempts to kill particular individuals in a military campaign. It obviously “sounds” more evil for a brief moment, but then we consider the word referring to different targets: “the plot to assassinate Hitler”

Targeted killing” is an unnecessary euphemism, I think, meant to connote that the killer attempted to avoid collateral damage, but the state should always avoid collateral damage in its military acts and the addition of “targeted” seems to mean that this particular killing, no matter how just, also comes with a hint of a press statement.

An “execution” is something I take to occur when someone is already under the physical control of another, and is usually associated with a legal or civil process, not an act of war.

None of these words quite works with the very difficult case we are discussing and, to be quite frank, Daniel’s attempt to equate my wrestling with this dilemma with the Orwellianisms I have done all I can to expose over the last several years is deeply, deeply offensive and unfair. I am genuinely trying to figure this out and deserve better than this.

Maybe he could remember this feeling.