Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More Responses to the New Yorker (and I don't mean the Obama cover)

The American Chesterton Society's own William Oddie (speaker at the 2008 conference) was quoted in this unfavorable account of the New Yorker article by the British Catholic Herald as a counter to the 9/10ths of the article which repeats the same anti-Semite accusations. (H/T Ellen F.)

And Rod Dreher pipes in.

And I still take umbridge and will be commenting again soon. As soon as I finish reading the terribly long article of which I am only half way through due to a lack of interest on my part in reading the rest of the diatribe against the man I love and refuse to see that I myself cause disinterest in--Chesterton.


  1. "The trouble for those of us who love Chesterton's writing is that the anti-Semitism is not incidental: it rises from the logic of his poetic position. The anti-Semitism is easy to excise from his arguments when it's explicit. It's harder to excise the spirit that leads to it - the suspicion of the alien, the extreme localism, the favouring of national instinct over rational argument, the distaste for 'parasitic' middlemen, and the preference for the simple organ-grinding music of the folk."

    That's the most fatuous substitute for logic it has ever been my displeasure to read. Distributism constitutes an attack on Jews? Only if you accept all the most hackneyed caricatures of Jewishness, and are on acid.

  2. I would definitely enjoy hearing what your thoughts are on the Obama cover.

  3. The Obama cover is done as satire. As such it is funny in that it contains more than a grain of truth with all of Obama's past associations (terrorists, etc.) The funny part is the far, left wing is being criticized by the far left wing! What a hoot!

    As to Chesterton being anti-semitic, that's clearly not a part of his writings IMHO. It is like criticizing Mark Twain for the N word when he was one of the least "racists" of his time. Ridiculous, oversensitivity. Remember what 1 Cor. 13 says about those easily offended...Love is NOT easily offended, does this mean those that are easily offended, the thin-skinned are, in fact, hateful??? What do you think?

  4. "As such it is funny in that it contains more than a grain of truth with all of Obama's past associations (terrorists, etc.)"

    Do you believe that Obama has associations to terrorists?

  5. Vagabond,
    I don't necessarily think people are trying to be hateful, but certainly a lack of love is what fuels these easy offenses. We all suffer from a lack of love, to one extent or another. I've certainly been quick to judge from time to time.

  6. David,
    I was not offended by the Obama cover, I've seen far worse done to Bush almost every day of the week in newspapers all over the country.

    I think, because so many people are talking about it, the illustrator must have hit some nail on the head. Don't we all have a bit of fear about who Obama really is? What do we really know about him? Where is he from? What school did he go to? What does he really believe? From what kind of thinking will he run the country?

    The cartoon plays on all those fears, which normal people have about a person who seems marginally qualified, marginally American, marginally Christian, marginally "average", marginally capable of understanding the normal American experience of being American. Yet, he is totally an American that other people can relate to. And even if he is a Moslem? Moslems are Americans too, aren't they? Are we going to do to them when they do to a Catholic or a Jew if they choose to run for president? And it isn't like we haven't already seen a photo of Obama in Moslem dress.

    I think it's funny that people are up in arms about it when, although not on the cover of New Yorker, plenty of stuff's been done to Bush and no one gives a peep about it.

  7. The Obama cover is satiric, but the satire is more involuted than vagabond and Nancy seem to realize. The cover isn't criticizing anything in Obama's c.v. (real or imagined). It's a caricature of what the right THINKS of Obama -- or rather what readers of the New Yorker think the right thinks of Obama. (Whew!) I'm sure that 99% of the New Yorker's left-liberal core readership "get" it. I gather that critics on the left are concerned because the New Yorker is widely distributed to venues such as airport newsstands and chain bookstores, and the cover will be seen by many people who'll take it at face value. So the cover may reinforce the stereotypes it was intended to mock.

  8. Re Nancy's post:

    I don't think all the criticism of Bush has been entirely gratuitous - because he has actually done things that outrage a lot of people. He hasn't governed from the center but from a fairly extreme ideological position.

    That said, you have a point that when the President is frequently pictured as a monkey, then all bets are off in our political life.

    Given the reality of America's history, however, I doubt anyone is going to have the cojones to draw a caricature of Obama as a monkey. And that's probably a good thing.

  9. I've always defended Mr. C against the anti-s charges in the past and have generally put down his non-fiction comments about Jewish bankers etc as just being common sense at the time. What he said was true even if people didn't want to hear it.

    However, an associate at a Charles Williams society told me that it's C's fiction that really has the more blatant anti-s stuff in it, and after having read _The Man Who Knew Too Much_ recently, I have to wonder if he wasn't correct. In particular, I'm thinking of the tales called: "The Bottomless Well" and "The Tower of Treason".

    I'm still giving Mr. C the benefit of the doubt, but my trust is waning.

    BTW, anybody seen this film footage of C at Worcester College on YouTube?



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