Jews in Western Europe

Dr. Deborah Lipstadt published an op-ed in the NYTimes yesterday putting together the attacks on Jews over the past year or so in Europe and the rising tide of French Jews immigrating to Israel. “It is not the Holocaust again” she states with good argument but it is still appropriate to worry. The attacks were perpetrated by young men born or raised in Europe, not in Muslim countries. The number of neo-Nazis in Germany is small but the shift from disgust in Israeli government policies to hatred of Jews is large and substantial among the rest of the populaiton.

Ever since Jewish history was subjected to modern critical theory, one pattern has been the departure of Jews from a country signaling a radical downward shift in the abandoned country. No one can predict whether such a pattern holds in the 21st century as it did in previous centuries for many reasons. Even so, when Jews begin in leave in numbers, thought the numbers are still relatively small, it is time to worry.

Reading the Whole Story

As events in the aftermath of the shooting in Ferguson, MO continue to barrel along, the coverage continues likewise, to barrel along, crushing anything in its path. In today’s media, readers are presented with two options while viewers are presented with only one when trying to follow the news and make sense of the police shooting.

For viewers, their only choice is a a quasi-array of politically motivated viewpoints fueled by corporations who have monetized the news cycle with advertizing revenue. One will hear what one prefers to hear by tuning into the proper cable channel. All reports will be short on facts and long on commentary that may or may not rise to the level of critical analysis. Consider that one new tidbit of fact or analysis per hour can be keep a viewer watching fourteen minutes of commercials.

For readers, they can turn to their delivered newspapers or read the various news journals online such as Huffington Post, Slate, Salon, and Politico. All of the websites, including the New York Times online, have discovered that most readers do not read beyond the first page. Most readers of the New York Times in the print edition do not read the articles to the final paragraph either. Readers are not necessarily more driven or virtuous than viewers.

The answers to the pressing questions in Ferguson, MO will not be simple, straightforward or elegant. The answers will be as messy as the event was. Everyone wants to know the answers but the data shows that few will take the time necessary to learn them.

In Memorium Robin Williams

The death of Robin Williams after decades of his iconic talent as a comedian and an actor is a tragic loss for our nation and indeed for the world. He had a lot to say and loads more to give. His mad humor was acutely true and mischievously direct. Manic talent is often accompanied with tragic flaws and Robin William’s flaw was chronic depression. He treated it in a variety of ways for most of his life, all of which ultimately failed. Let us respectfully conclude his life as truly and directly as he would have treated us – Robin did not die of suicide; he died of depression.
Zichrono Livracha! May his memory be for a blessing! Or as Robin would have probably quipped, “Nanu Nanu.”