Saturday, May 30, 2009
Danny's email from the unspeakable Irving reminds one yet again of the human need to group others together and blame, if not actually kill, them. Irving says the Jews in Germany should have asked, 'Why us?' The implication is that there must be a reason, but, of course, there isn't. They were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. There was a Jewish screenwriter - this, I think, is a true story and I apologise if I've told it before - who had to visit a wealthy woman to persuade her to back a movie. She had a wall of shelves on which stood priceless Chinese vases. She complained about the Jews, saying she didn't like them but she didn't really have a reason. Our Jew, no longer interested in her money, stood up, brought the shelves crashing down and said, 'Now you gotta reason!' My kinda guy. MPs have been smashing vases, mostly John Lewis rather than Ming. Doubtless many are at fault and some should go. But even the most guilty should be treated with at least the respect we offer to the accused in court -'due process' it's called. Instead, they are sneered and snarled at. The scrawling of 'That's Life' on the door of Margaret Moran's constituency office, which evoked 'Juden' on the doors of Jewish shops, indicates pretty clearly where we are going here. Daily I hear supposedly angered constituents emitting anti-MP bile. They're not remotely angry, they're loving it; their little lives have been validated by hatred. TV, in particular, is whipping up this feeding frenzy. Television presenters have, for some time, been involved in a sporting competition to see who can sneer most effectively at politicians. This is, for them, the Olympics. MPs are fools like us, greedy like us and, like us, they find themselves set loose in a world devoid of ethos, custom and effective institutions. Like us, they behave badly. And then, suddenly, they find themelves in the wrong place at the wrong time, at the mercy of the mob. 'Why us?' No reason, just following orders.
PS And just as I write this, Guido does this. The Nazis hung Jews with piano wire.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:24 am