Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Defining Deviancy Downward

Visitors to Mustard Street will know of our disgust over the "rehabilitation" of radio personality Don Imus.   His hurtful and racially derogatory comments led to his sacking – rightly so, for reasons we’ve discussed.

Since then, we’ve expressed dismay that, except for the writer of a Democrat and Chronicle editorial we admired, no one else seems to be upset that this man is back on the air, or to be concerned about the message that sends.

Jim Lawrence of the D&C could have been speaking for us when he wrote recently, in the paper’s Editorial Blog:  “I must admit that I was taken aback by the exclusion of the Imus controversy from the list of top stories for 2007.”   So were we, and for the same reasons stated by Mr. Lawrence in his posting.

We’ve also witnessed a vigorous reassertion of both subtle and not-so-subtle antisemitism in the past five years or so.   On some elite college campuses it’s practically fashionable, at least in the faculty room.

As if to illustrate the point, yesterday’s news brought word of Arun Gandhi, a professor affiliated with the University of Rochester, standing by his statement in a Washington Post blog, that Jews “overplay” the Holocaust for sympathy.   When you read Gandhi’s posting, note the antisemitic reader comments in response.

In the same posting Gandhi said:   “We have created a culture of violence (Israel and the Jews are the biggest players) . . .”

Is this the Washington Post we're reading, or Der Stürmer?

Until a few years ago, most ordinarily astute people would have said we’re moving away from this sort of thing.   So how can this be happening?

We don’t want to be part of a society where this is considered acceptable.  And every time it’s accepted, it makes acceptance the next time around that much easier.   Thus, as Senator Moynihan once admonished Americans, does our society “define deviancy downward.”

We ask once more:   Where’s the Outrage?

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