About Me

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A 40-ish publisher (editor, project manager, etc.), husband, and father of an even number of offspring, I grew up, or failed to, reading fantasy and sci-fi. I still enjoy reading, and now am trying to write. My favorite books include YA fantasy, manga, biography, and advice to authors. I'm also a former history major/grad student/high school teacher and assessment writer. Now I work for a school supplement publisher, specializing in high-low chapter books. I spend a lot of my time controlling reading levels. At night, I cut loose and use long words. W00t!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"Muslims versus Jews" email

I love my aunt and uncle. But they watch Fox.

They recently sent me an email you might have seen going around comparing Muslims and Jews, centering on the number of Nobel prizes each group has won, and on vague, misleading or inaccurate, and ridiculously decontextualized generalizations about propensities toward violence.

Have you seen it? Here are a few gems:

The Jews are NOT promoting brain washing children in military training camps, teaching them how to blow themselves up and cause maximum deaths of Jews and other non Muslims. The Jews don't hijack planes, nor kill athletes at the Olympics, or blow themselves up in German restaurants.

There is NOT one single Jew who has destroyed a church. There is NOT a single Jew who protests by killing people.

Note the artful use of capitals, the clever repetition of the phrase "NOT one single." Just in case the meaning of "one" was unclear.

Recently, the UK debated whether to remove The Holocaust from its school curriculum because it 'offends' the Muslim population which claims it never occurred. It is not removed as yet. However, this is a frightening portent of the fear that is gripping the world and how easily each country is giving into it.
OK, I'm not sure it's metonymy, but I wanted to show off by using the word. Probably the above phrasing is just laziness. The whole UK debated this? A quick search online turns up debunkers and promoters of this meme. I guess people just pick a side and run with the facts that fit their conclusion. The analysis on Snopes does a good job of confirming the predictable - that this is a tempest in a teacup, and a much more interesting and less alarming piece of news than the fantasy version. It boils down to one school reconsidering the teaching of controversial topics in a history class in light of a study on the effects of such teaching methods.

It's almost comforting to think of the world in Glenn Beck diagrams instead. Certainly, it's easier to understand between commercial breaks. It settles my stomach to compare my commute, my sore knee, and my credit card debt to Adolf Hitler.

Back to my massive wimp-out. I wanted to send this reply to the whole mailing list, but I really hate getting emails like that, so why send one? .

So here's the reply I didn't send.


I feel that the intended conclusions of this email are unworthy of anyone with humane intent. I am sure I will see the contents recycled and repackaged as part of an equally loathsome accusation of the imaginary international Jewish conspiracy.

And in the meantime, several thousand emails will be concocted and forwarded around the circles that receive these contents gladly, condemning me for my beliefs, calling me inhumane, stupid, a coward, a criminal, un-American, and counting the achievements and crimes of people somehow like me, and what will that prove? (After all, I am a member of the most despised minority in America!)

Remember, you and I are citizens of the only nation in the world to have used nuclear weapons against humans, and in both cases the targets were, or were surrounded and outnumbered by, large cities.

Our nation recently launched a war to bring down a dictator it had supported and armed, in reaction to an attack with which he was in no way connected, predicated on the spurious charge of a direct connection, killing a million or more people, and displacing tens of millions.

Our nation legalized, regulated, and promoted slavery, and for a hundred years after the end of slavery, resisted legal equality for the descendants of slaves.
Our government practiced genocide against the original inhabitants of the land, and confined the survivors to tiny, resource-poor outposts.

Men mistreated women, Europeans mistreated non-Europeans, Christians mistreated non-Christians, Catholics mistreated non-Catholics (and other Catholics who were unable to defend themselves), and Californians produce more trash, smog and greenhouse gases per capita than almost any other population on earth. What right have I to even live with such a record as a male Californian of European and Catholic descent? 

Some Irish in San Francisco murdered Chinese laborers a century ago. My children are Irish and Chinese? Should they hate themselves, fear themselves, or forgive themselves?

Thinking of people as groups first and individuals second is the source of too many problems to count. Please find in your heart, draw from your belief system, or discover in the support of your friends and family, the will to be better than this.

Practice peace.




OK, tell me, was that "practice peace" just a little to goody-two-shoes? Yeeikes!

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