Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"I could read a hundred of them--I mean, from today!"

I could comment on the specifics of today's shooting at the National Holocaust Museum or even on the background of the accused shooter.

Instead, I'll let Shepard Smith read "a representative e-mail":

This was an important and needed thing he did today. More like it needs to be done.

UPDATE: Putting the moron in "oxymoron": Via hilzoy, here's a snippet from this Washington Post article about the shooter:

[Self-described white-supremacist John] De Nugent called von Brunn a genius but described the shooting as the act of "a loner and a hothead."

"The responsible white separatist community condemns this," he said. "It makes us look bad."


Lyn said...

I agree. Commentators on both the right and left need to appeal to decency and flat out refuse to let vicious rhetoric prevail.

Linda said...

There's a responsible white separatist community? Doesn't that sound like an oxymoron? I can't imagine a day when hate or lack of equality would produce anything positive. What happened to knowing that all humans deserved dignity? Makes me sad beyond words.

aka fnord

John B. said...

Lyn and Linda,
Thanks for commenting.

Lyn, I completely share your sentiment that there's no side whose vitriol should be protected by others who otherwise are in agreement. I've been thinking about doing a post on the importance of adjectives--that it's been my sense that, in a couple of well-known instances, critics have ignored modifiers that clearly qualify their substantives and read those passages as tarring certain groups, positively or negatively, with a broad brush. Such reading practices only raise the rhetorical volume. But in the meantime, the legitimate arguments that can be made for/against people and their policies get covered up by all the resulting noise--or, worse, ignored (because it's so much easier--and more fun!!--simply to name-call.

Who wouldn't like an uncomplicated, black-and-white world? But we don't have one, and our language does the world, and a goodly number of reasonable people that we happen to disagree with, an enormous injustice if it reduces everything to simplistic dichotomies.

But all that having been said, I'm with you, Linda: as a thought-experiment I've tried to imagine what the rhetoric of a "responsible white-separatist community" would sound like, assuming it wanted to participate in our pluralistic society. It, um, doesn't work.