Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Something to offend everyone

This one is not going to endear me to a lot of people, but I have to say it. I have never understood the penchant that otherwise intelligent, sensible people have for sending frequently inane chain letters via email*.
*Disclaimer: I do have a few friends who occasionally send intelligent, fun, quirky, interesting stuff.
Do not ever send me anything that says I have to send it in turn to another 10 people. I don't care if it's a baby with leukemia in Nova Scotia, or 55 years of bad luck, or the Buddha himself bringing enlightenment to me personally, or else. If I could sue you over it, I would. At one point, I asked friends and relatives to refrain from sending me those pesky chain mails. Some people took it badly and I've never heard from them since.
But once in a while, I still get mostly the ones by Jews, about Jews.
Email has been great for the Jews. There are entire collections of Jewish jokes, and to our endless self-mortification, equally big numbers of emails about somebody somewhere being evil to the Jews and exhortations to boycott whoever is being evil to the Jews that week. I don't think there is anything wrong in alerting your correligionaries that evil idiots continue to lurk in your midst, but what bothers me is the tone. What bothers me in many instances is the lack of proper context, the lack of nuance, shading or analysis, the kneejerk, over-the-top reactions. For instance, several people sent me one about a man who lost his son in a suicide bombing and therefore saw it fit to attack the movie Munich as if Steven Spielberg had suddenly become a card-carrying member of Hamas. Munich is a flawed movie and you may like it or not, but Steve-O had every right to express his point of view without people turning him into some kind of traitor. I find that many Jews who live outside of Israel are far less inclined to accept open political debate or even mild dissent. This is not good for the Jews. The sooner some Jews open their shtetl-like minds to more complex, rational debate, the better it will be for all of us.
Another email I got was some triumphant poem on how we have survived through centuries of persecution. There is no arguing with that. But at one point it said that we vanquished the Nazis. Excuse me, but we didn't vanquish the Nazis. The Red Army and the American Army and the RAF and the Nazis' own lunacy vanquished the Nazis. We survived the Nazis, which is very different.
Jews live now in more freedom, prosperity and peace than they have ever known before. Shouldn't we at least enjoy it? While we can? Woudn't it be great to shake that eternally persecuted feeling for one full minute? Shouldn't we be saving that kind of thinking for if and when the shit hits the fan again?

No comments:

Post a Comment