October 13, 2003



Set aside what it says about Hollywood that today even Disney thinks what the public needs is ever-more-graphic depictions of killing the innocent as cool amusement. Disney's CEO, Michael Eisner, is Jewish; the chief of Miramax, Harvey Weinstein, is Jewish. Yes, there are plenty of Christian and other Hollywood executives who worship money above all else, promoting for profit the adulation of violence. Does that make it right for Jewish executives to worship money above all else, by promoting for profit the adulation of violence? Recent European history alone ought to cause Jewish executives to experience second thoughts about glorifying the killing of the helpless as a fun lifestyle choice. But history is hardly the only concern. Films made in Hollywood are now shown all over the world, to audiences that may not understand the dialogue or even look at the subtitles, but can't possibly miss the message--now Disney's message--that hearing the screams of the innocent is a really fun way to express yourself.
Other than his bizarre vendetta against SUVs, I have always enjoyed Gregg Easterbrook's reporting. He takes seriously many issues that very few reporters take seriously and, even when I disagree with him, I've found his reporting to be excellent. His coverage of the Bush environmental record has been particularly good. As a result, I'm trying hard to find an interpretation of this paragraph that I don't find offensive. So far, I can't really get past this interpretation: given that so many people think of Jews as money-grubbing parasites who would gladly undermine western civilization from within, it's too bad that the Jews Eisner and Weinstein are money-grubbing parasites who, while their country is at war, are undermining western civilization and inciting the enemy in order to make a few bucks.

Posted by David Cohen at October 13, 2003 3:52 PM

Granted that focusing on their Jewishness specifically is Lindberghian and every modern should know better, if we give him the benefit of the doubt, might not his point be that religion imposes certain duties and that among them is not to purvey gratuitous sex and violence? Don't the people who produce and distribute such products bear moral responsibility for the desensitization of their societies? Of course that's true regardless of whether they are Christian or Jew.

Posted by: oj at October 13, 2003 4:36 PM

David -

I agree, it is sinister. I'll offer one *possible* interpretation that could be exculpatory, although I am 98% sure that it is not what he (Easterbrook) meant: Jewish executives are held to a higher standard than others (by implication, they are _capable_ of higher standards than others). The reverse (holding minorities to lower standards) is considered odious when applied to, say, black educational achievement, so this _may_ be viewed as a back-handed compliment of sorts.

But I really doubt that is what he meant, at least consciously.

Posted by: Bruce Cleaver at October 13, 2003 4:43 PM

I think that the reference is to the experience of Jews in Europe during the period 1933-1945. If I were to channel Mr. Easterbrook (who I also enjoy reading), I would venture a guess that he was trying to make the point that Jews more so than most other groups suffered as a result of depersonalized violence becoming an acceptable means of eliminating large populations. They of all people should be sensitive to messages wherein violence against innocents is treated as anything other than an outrage or tragedy.

Of course, such lessons are hardly confined to the Jewish population around the world, which is why Mr. Easterbrook's message seems somewhat off-putting.

Posted by: Matt Thullen at October 13, 2003 6:04 PM

I just think he was tired when he wrote it. Hard to know what he had in mind. Not really good judgement on Gregg's part to whip this out without thinking it through.

Posted by: Hunter McDaniel at October 14, 2003 11:23 AM

I didn't read the whole posting yet, just what was quoted by David.

From reading Easterbrook for a long time, I certainly don't think he's anti-semitic. Even in his NFL column he regularly rants against the
mindless violence and destruction in Hollywood movies (although he admits the minor inconsistency that he has no problem with the
mindless T&A in Hollywood movies)...so I think what he's saying here is that while all of us should be troubled by gratuitous, de-personalizing and desensitizing images of violence, Jews should be especially bothered by it in light of the Holocaust....it probably didn't come out the way he meant to say it, but I think that's it...and, yes, it is to a certain degree holding Jews to a higher standard....and that doesn't bother me....that's my understanding of what it means to be "chosen"...not that we get special love or privileges from G-d, but that we have special obligations and burdens...

Posted by: Foos at October 14, 2003 12:22 PM

I could be reading too much into it, but I took the last sentence of the excerpt ("...hearing the screams of the innocent is a really fun way to express yourself") to be an indirect reference to Palestinian terrorism.

Posted by: Guy T. at October 14, 2003 1:20 PM

let him find some other group to make his piggish comparisons.

Posted by: label at October 17, 2003 5:43 PM

Interesting commentary on this subject from editor Alex Linder at VNN


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Posted by: Mark Konrad at October 20, 2003 1:29 AM