A New Kind of Anti-Semitism?

by Daniel on January 23, 2004

Via Normblog, a piece in the nation on “The New Anti-Semitism, that being the kind practised by people like Paul Krugman when they criticise the Likud party, as opposed to the old kind of anti-Semitism – things like saying Mussolini wasn’t all that bad, which used to be unacceptable but apparently isn’t anymore.

The Nation piece argues that this new knd of Anti-Semitism doesn’t exist and isn’t anti-Semitism. Norm doesn’t like the article and he’s right; it’s a pretty weird and unsatisfying piece. But it contains one really odd standout line:

But the evidence suggests that the perpetrators of the anti-Jewish attacks in France were animated by political outrage, not bigotry.

Surely if this were true, it would mean that there was a new kind of anti-Semitism around, wouldn’t it? I know I’d certainly be a lot less vocal in criticising the Israeli government if I thought I was encouraging the “political outrage” of the kind of person who sets fire to synagogues. Wouldn’t you?

(and btw, this is the answer to Norm’s final question of “who cares?”. Liberal gentiles who oppose the actions of the current government of Israel care, because if there is a new kind of anti-Semitism, we’re potentially allying ourselves to a social trend which leads to racist attacks, and if there isn’t, we’re not. Personally I think there isn’t, but I begin to think I ought to make sure).

(by the way, I’ve not enabled comments because past experience suggests that links to Normblog have an almost pheromonal quality when it comes to bringing out the nasty side of otherwise lovely CT commenters. C’mon guys, you should be grateful. I’ve saved you from wasting Friday night on a pointless bulletin board flamewar).

Random Finds in Heterodox Economics, #1

by Daniel on January 23, 2004

I stole this idea from Cosma Shalizi, who got it from something else. Anyway, it’s basically an irregular sampling of economics things that interested me. Mainly post-Keynesian, econophysics or sociology of economics stuff, but if I see a good Austrian piece I’ll use it. Also a few things that aren’t really all that heterodox but struck me as good. I’m trying to put in a few bits that will interest fellow nerds and obsessives, and a bit of didactic stuff for the layman, so if any of it strikes you as incomprehensible and/or patronising, then I’ll hide behind the excuse that it probably wasn’t meant for you. Email suggestions very welcome.

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Citizens or data subjects

by Maria on January 23, 2004

Just by the by, and for those with more than a passing interest in the subject, here’s a draft of a rather opinionated survey article on privacy that I’ve just written for a UK think tank. Health warning; it’s over 2000 words. Plus side; I’ve tried to keep it reasonably chatty. Apologies to any commenters (if indeed there are any) – I’m off to Chamonix for two days of terror on the nursery slopes so won’t be checking back in until Monday.

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Welcome back

by Ted on January 23, 2004

– Ana Marie Cox, formerly of The Antic Muse, formerly of Suck.com, formerly of a lot of things, has a new political gossip site: Wonkette.

Ana Marie is an outstanding, witty writer who makes most of us look like we’re blogging in crayon. Long live the Wonkette.

– Michael Pine, of Off the Pine, is back to semi-regular posting on a new site. I was fond of Off the Pine before he gave it up, and I can’t imagine that he’s gotten any dumber.

– The Mr. T Experience, aka MTX, has a new album out called Yesterday Rules. It’s very good, and you should buy it. Full review shortly.

Noise and nonsense

by Chris Bertram on January 23, 2004

The “Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy” is organizing a conference with the nonsense title of “NOISETHEORYNOISE#1”:http://www.mdx.ac.uk/www/CRMEP/events/noise.htm although NONSENSETHEORYNONSENSE might be more appropriate. The “theme” of the conference is described thus:

bq. Noise is an unprecedented harbinger of aesthetic radicality: no-one yet knows what it is or what it means. This non-significance is its strength rather than its weakness. Noise is ‘non-music’ not because it negates music but because it affirms a previously unimaginable continuum of sonic intensities in which music becomes incorporated as a mere material.

And further elaborations include:

bq. Where a ‘new aestheticism’ might present itself as a resistance to pragmatic instrumentality, postmodern academicism continues to adopt theory as ballast: works are mere pretexts for ostentatious displays of theoretical chic. But in what way could noise change the conditions of theoretical possibility, not to say intelligibility or even sensibility?

In what way indeed? Explanations on a postcard please …. (or in comments).


by Daniel on January 23, 2004

Not often I admit this, but this Spectator article makes a lot of the points I’ve been trying to make myself on this issue rather better than I did. I’m not sure myself about whether or not the military-industrial complex is a red herring (I think that the defence procurement industry is too small to be as important as most conspiracy researchers think it is), but the rest is dead on. Thanks to the chaps at Slugger O’Toole for the link.

By the way, while we’re on the subject of defence procurement, why is it that every Army surplus shop in the world appears to have rack after rack of German army surplus shirts? Is this the result of a monumental purchasing error by the German Army or something?