Friday, October 12, 2007

On Anne Coulter's latest brawl

I mentioned the recent brouhaha here, because the incident illuminated the primary topic of that post in an interesting and unexpected way (at least, for me). I see the blogosphere is abuzz and I feel duty- bound to put in my two-cents, hopefully the only two-cents that I'll spend on this matter. That is, unless some new and unbeatable argument pops up somewhere:

I can’t get too exercised over this kerfuffle. I worry about the Tartuffes of this world, saintly archbishops and former presidents and distinguished university professors when they resort to antisemitic tropes in an underhanded subversive way.

This brawl is stupid, illiterate, vulgar, manufactured, in the best tradition of a brawl . Coulter’s type of antisemitism is of the kind that existed even before the term antisemitism was invented. A believing Christian believes that Jews made a mistake in rejecting Christ, that Christians know better. Attempts to convert the Jews ended up in the creation of the Inquisition which targeted everyone, not just the newly converted. And Christians realized that doing something about actually converting the Jews is a really bad idea. The conversion of the Jews has become a sort of a goal which is beyond the horizon, which is there, theoretically, but never reachable. It’s like waiting for the Messiah or the Second Coming. No one really thinks it is going to happen, but they still believe it. As is evident in the choice of metaphor in this seventeenth century poem which my erudite and very intelligent readers will surely recognize:

“Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love’s day;
Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood;
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.”

Coulter does not scare me. What scared me in my own experience was how fast a devout born-Again Christian who had been a good friend of mine turned into “all Hezbollah” in the summer of 2006. But the seeds were there all the time, which I chose to ignore, for the sake of our friendship. Coulter and people who think or feel like her are in no imminent danger of getting into bed with Islamofascists in order to bring about the perfection of the Jews… She does not worry me… yet.

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