music of the week
music of the week
Scandinavian Jews were stunned following news that activists with reported communist ties tried to bar Jews from a Kristallnacht commemoration in Norway, while a ceremony in Denmark marking the same Holocaust-era rampage was used to raise funds for Gaza. In both cases, activists tried to draw an equivalency between Nazi Germany and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
According to the Norwegian English-language blog Norway, Israel and the Jews, an anti-racism group known as New SOS Racism demanded that Jews in Bergen be excluded from a weekend commemoration of Kristallnacht — the night of broken glass — a series of widespread attacks 76 years ago targeting Jews living under Nazi Germany.
In neighboring Denmark, a socialist alliance used the Kristallnacht ceremony to raise funds for Gaza, according to the New Antisemite, a blog that tracks European anti-Semitism. Kristallnacht took place on Nov. 9 and 10, 1938.
“[S]elf-labeled anti-racists have a difficult time internalizing that on the Kristallnacht we commemorate Jews and the destruction of Jews in Europe,” a blogger at Norway, Israel and the Jews observed.
“In Bergen the ‘new’ SOS Racism (the old one was closed down due to massive fraud) refused to participate in the Kristallnacht commemoration since a representative from the Mosaic Congregation was invited, yes, they balked at a Jew participating,” Israel, Norway and the Jews blog added.
One observer commented on the irony of the effort at excluding Jews from a rally against anti-Semitism:
Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Israel office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights group, called the Norway incident a “classic” example of “’Holocaust inversion,’ using the events of the Holocaust to attack the Nazis’ primary victims, the Jews.”
“In Norway, one of the only two Western countries in the world in which Nazi war criminals cannot be brought to justice, a group ostensibly against racism uses Holocaust events to promote racism against Jews, and thereby totally distorts the historical lessons of the unique tragedy of European Jewry, a genocide in which Norwegians actively collaborated both in Norway and in Eastern Europe,” Zuroff told TheBlaze Monday.
The New Antisemite wrote about the coverage on a Norwegian news site, “Dagen’s headline to this article is ‘Demanded Memorial Without Zionists,’ but as you can see below, the issue wasn’t Zionists, it was Jews, plain and simple.” The New Antisemite reported that the protesters tried to equate Nazi Germany with Israel today:
An anti-racism group called “Nye SOS Rasisme” will not take part in the general Kristallnacht memorial march in Bergen, since their demand to exclude representatives of the Jewish community was not accepted. Anne Sender, a former leader in the community, will speak at the memorial. It is interesting to note that Anne Sender is a vocal critic of Israel.
“Nye SOS Rasisme” say they will conduct their own procession with banners against Israel, such as “Zionism is Racism”. On their website they explain that the day marks opposition to racism, harassment and genocide, but that today Israel is a racist state.
Quoting a Danish news site, the New Antisemite blog reported Monday that the Danish Jewish community is upset a socialist alliance in Copenhagen used the Kristallnacht anniversary to raise funds for Gaza.
According to the report, the Red-Green Alliance solicited contributions to purchase ambulances in Gaza in the context of the commemoration of the Nazi atrocity.
Dan Rosenberg Asmussen, a Jewish Community leader in Denmark noted that the alliance was showing support for Gaza’s Hamas leadership which rejects the existence of the state of Israel.
Organizers said the Kristallnacht anniversary should not only be for Jews, but highlight discrimination against others.
The New English Review blog which focuses on issues of anti-terrorism, jihad and Shariah called the effort to exclude Jews from the Kristallnacht commemoration a “moral inversion.”
“There were bizarre attempts in Norway to exclude Jews from participating in commemorations because they were ‘racists.’ The conceit of these anti-Semites, whether nativist or Islamic is moral inversion,” New English Review wrote. “Call it anti-Israelism or Palestinism, it depicts IDF soldiers defending the sovereignty the Jewish nation as the equivalent of Nazi storm troopers.”
Well, you could see this coming. Twitter announced last Thursday that it was teaming up with a left-feminist activist group to investigate gender-based harassment on the social networking site:
A group called Women, Action, and the Media, which advocates for better representation of women, is testing a new reporting process for gender-based harassment. The group developed a tool for reporting harassment and will forward confirmed reports to Twitter. “If it checks out, we’ll escalate it to Twitter right away (24 hours max, hopefully much less than that) and work to get you a speedy resolution,” says the group, which abbreviates itself as WAM. “But please note: we’re not Twitter, and we can’t make decisions for them.”
I wondered what exactly this small non-profit believes in. You can check them out hereor check their agenda from the statements in the video above. Their core objective is what they call “gender justice in media.” That means that they are interested in far more than curbing online harassment. They want gender quotas for all media businesses, equal representation for women in, say, video-games, gender parity in employment in journalism and in the stories themselves. They are outraged by the following:
Less than 1 in 100 of classical pieces performed in concert in 2009-2010 were written by a female composer (and 1 in 15 was written by Beethoven!). Women make up 2% of the standard repertoire of pieces (Repertoire Report 2009-2010).
Less Beethoven – more, er, women! The crudeness of their identity politics is of a piece with their analysis. Instead of seeing the web as opening up vast vistas for all sorts of voices to be heard, they seem to believe it is rigged against female voices, or that women are not strong or capable enough of forging their own brands, voices, websites and fighting back against ideas they abhor with wit and energy and passion and freedom. Instead, WAM’s goal is to police and punish others for their alleged sexism – along the well-worn lines of contemporary and controlling left-feminism. Here’s the mindset behind the project:
“I see this as a free speech issue,” Friedman said. She said she knew some would see the work WAM does as “censorship,” but that a completely open and unmoderated platform imposes its own form of censorship. It effectively prevents women, especially queer women and women of color, from getting to speak on the service.
How exactly? Does Twitter prevent women of color from using the service? Or is it simply that WAM believes that women cannot possibly handle the rough-and-tumble of uninhibited online speech? And WAM’s intent with Twitter is not merely to highlight physical threats, abuse or stalking. They are quite upfront about casting a much wider net against those insufficiently committed to “gender justice in media”:
“We’ll be escalating [harassment reports] even if they don’t fit Twitter’s exact abuse guidelines,” Friedman said. WAM intends to “cast a wider net” and see what Twitter’s moderators address.
I can find no reason to oppose a stronger effort by Twitter to prevent individual users from stalking or harassing others – but if merely saying nasty things about someone can be seen as harassment, then where on earth does this well-intentioned censorship end? Is it designed to censor only misogyny and not racism? What about blasphemy? Are the only suspects in this brave new Twitterverse the “straight, white males” disparaged as a group in the video above? And yet, among those liberals who might worry about policing free speech in this way – let alone handing over the censorship tools to a radical activist group bent on social transformation – it’s hard to find anyone anywhere who has any qualms. Jesse Singal wonders if it’s enough to keep the trolls at bay:
and this cunt is a fan of beach whale Andrea Dworkin who calls for beating up men to bloody pulps
It’s the plot of a seedy Hollywood thriller.
Nicole Ryan, a small town school teacher from Digby County, N.S, was desperate to escape a loveless marriage.
But rather than go for a divorce, she decided it would be more expedient to have her husband murdered.
So she hired a hit man to kill Mike Ryan for a cool $25,000.
However, the man simply took the money and bolted.
But that didn’t stop the woman, who appeared hell bent on murder. She kept shopping around the county for an assassin, and after two more failed attempts, she reeled in a trigger man. Or at least she thought he had.
Unfortunately for Nicole, and luckily for Mike, the would-be killer turned out to be an undercover RCMP officer posing as a gun for hire.
At a meeting outside a gas station in March 2008, Nicole tells him: “I need the job done. I need it done this weekend.”
The hitman asks about Mike Ryan’s new, 19-year-old girlfriend. “If she’s in the way, is that a problem?” Nicole shakes her head, no.
The undercover cop also asks: “Any beatings? Like did he beat you or anything? Every laid a hand on ya?”
Nicole responds: “No.”
She then tells the cop that she’d been planning the hit for the past seven months. And he elicits a possible motive: Money.
With her husband out of the way, she stands to inherit three properties and his $500,000 military pension. Mike Ryan is worth well over $1,000,000 dead.
Nicole drives to her home in Church Point to get photographs of her husband. She has no idea that she is under secret surveillance by Mounties in unmarked cars.
At the second clandestine meeting hours later, she provides the would-be assassin with photos of her husband’s house, his vehicle, his cell phone number and a physical description of Mike Ryan.
Then within minutes of leaving the car, Nicole Ryan is arrested. The next day, she is taken to court and charged with counselling to commit murder.
A month later, Herbie Boudreau, her father, who allegedly put up the hit money, is also charged with the same offence.
For the prosecution, the case was straight forward. No way they could lose, or at least that’s what they thought.
In the 21 months between her attempt to have her husband killed, and her trial, Nicole Ryan got divorced, reverted to her family name, Doucet, and radically changed her story: levelling allegations against Mike Ryan that had never been heard before. Not by the police, her therapists, or in family court during divorce or custody hearings over their young daughter.
At her trial in 2009, Nicole pleaded not guilty claiming that she had been under duress when she committed the crime. She alleged that Mike Ryan was a violent and abusive husband; and that for nearly 15 years he threatened and bullied her. She swore that he had pinned her up against the wall, squeezed her throat and had put a gun to her head.
She also testified that she was afraid for her herself and for their young daughter, Aimee, adding that the RCMP had ignored her many pleas for protection.
Former RCMP Cpl. Chris Thibeaudeau sat through the trial, stunned at what he was hearing.
“I’m like, first time I hear this. Like we’re like dumbfounded basically,” he told W5 in an interview.
Key figures not called as witnesses
Cpl. Thibeaudeau was the RCMP authority on the file, but was not called to testify. Neither was anyone else on the force.
And neither was the man Nicole portrayed as a monster, her ex-husband Mike Ryan, who was sitting in his car in a nearby parking lot outside the courthouse, waiting to be called as a witness.
“I was very anxious to get on the stand and testify, and rebut anything she had to say,” he told W5. But “I was never called.”
During the three-week trial, Mike Ryan had several conversations with the Crown prosecutor who reassured him that “there’s no way that a judge could not see that she tried to hire a killer
In other words, the case was a slam dunk.
But in March 2010, Justice David Farrar of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court decided: “I have no difficulty in finding that Mr. Ryan was an abusive and manipulative individual,” adding that “the one person that could have rebutted all of these accusations…was Mr. Ryan himself…However, he never gave evidence.”
Then in acquitting the accused, the judge noted that “a reasonable person in the circumstances of Ms. Ryan…would have acted in the same manner.”
Adding insult to injury, the Crown ultimately dropped the charges against Nicole’s co-conspirator, Herbie Boudreau.
This means more money and audience for Drama Fever most of the audience are non-Asian. who want to see Asians on screen living ordinary lives without KKK Hollywood
Marco Polo. Not quite the Christopher Columbus of Asia, but similar idea: Before him, no puffy-sleeved white guy had traveled the continent and come back with such detailed accounts of Europe’s neighbor to the southeast. Of course this makes him very important. And though Polo’s journey did not lead directly to war and genocide, it did prompt a truly awful-looking new series coming to Netflix on Dec. 12.
Following in the footsteps of such popular offerings as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, the trailer for Marco Polo is here. And in the grand tradition of Dances With Wolves and The Last Samurai, it promises a sweeping, sumptuously rendered look at a non-white culture through the only perspective Hollywood seems capable of privileging consistently: a white one.
That’s only half the problem: The Netflix iteration of Polo’s travels looks so steeped in Orientalist stereotypes it’s hard to stop rolling your eyes. From mysterious women flitting about shadowy doorways to what appears to be — as Angry Asian Man points out — a naked guy doing some kind of aerial kung fu move, Polo’s “greatest adventure” is so heavy on gongs, swords and silk-clad women blowing opium powder into the camera it’s a shock the soundtrack isn’t just a rehash of the “Asian riff.”
Background: In 2008, the Media Action Network for Asian Americans put together a helpful list of the limiting ways Asians are represented in the American media. It was meant to “encourage Hollywood’s creative minds to think in new directions,” but it also serves as a damning indictment of how unimaginative the industry remains when it comes to rendering these characters.
“For decades, American entertainment media have defined the Asian image to all the world,” the reportreads. “And usually, that image has been shaped by people with little understanding of Asian people themselves — and with little foresight into how such images would impact the Asian-American community.”
Marco Polo seems to have missed this memo entirely. The pattern it perpetuates is decades in the making — ever since the “yellowface” heyday of Fu Manchu in the 1930s, Hollywood has correlated Asian-ness with an “Otherized” exoticism, usually with sinister or mysterious subtexts. Not only does this violently narrow the diversity of Asian cultures and histories, it does so in a way that’s consumed by millions of people around the world, thereby etching its ignorance onto the popular imagination.
And considering recent tries to introduce more diverse Asian characters into the pop culture sphere — from Marvel Comics’ Cindy Moon to ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat sitcom — one would hope for a more enlightened media offering in 2014.
Do better, Netflix.