Saturday, February 14, 2015

Gerald Clayton Trio - Trapped In A Dream

Gerald Clayton Trio

Trapped In A Dream 

Gerald Clayton, piano
Joe Sanders, bass
Justin Brown, drums

The Idiotic Notion That Liberals Can't Be Against Anything To Do With Sex And Why Floyd Abrams is Contemptible

I heard the ad last week on NPR's Morning Edition, as so many others did, for the "50 Shades of Grey" teddy bear and, as so many others did, couldn't believe that something so repulsively sick was being brought to me by what was once quaintly called "educational radio".    But, then, the romance book promoting torture as kewl sex had been promoted heavily in the media, on talk shows, on "news" shows, long enough so a knowledge of it even filtered down to those of us who don't watch TV and have pretty much given up radio, as well.  The little of the actual book I've read in snatches included in written discussions of it were, as is universally acknowledged, badly written, the basis of almost all of the criticism I've read of it.   Though I will admit that there has been some, all too mild, criticism of the idea of a rich man with a yen for sadistic sex preying on a poor girl who is convinced to play along, convinced she is in love with the creep. This week I've read some comparison with a book I did, actually, read quite a bit of before I tossed it away,  "The Story of O", a book recommended to me by a woman who was otherwise intelligent except when it came to what she had imbibed a good, open-thinking, liberal was supposed to favor because, you know, "freedom of the press" "free speech".

The odd thing about this is that it's not an expression of freedom or freedom of thought for liberals to be gulled, duped or coerced out of condemning the promotion of oppression of women, men, children, animals just because sick men can achieve orgasm, or at least arousal, from the act of dominating them.  Freedom to oppress other people is not a liberal virtue. Freedom to hurt other people is not a liberal virtue or anything to champion.  The freedom to promote the domination, torture, harm and rape by stronger men over weaker people, including those who are otherwise already oppressed by them, is not a liberal virtue.  Anyone who mistakes themselves as a liberal who champions those rights is deluding themselves that they are a liberal, they are a tool of the opposite of liberalism.  It would be like the liberals of the mid-19th century supporting the rights of the slave industry to promote the idea of people of African ancestry as sub-humans and liberals of the end of that century championing those who spread the myth of black men as natural rapists of white women spread who could only be kept in check by regular lynchings.  In fact, in the case of some of the crap championed by the "free press-free speech" industry, the distribution of exactly that kind of thing, resulting in murders, is championed.

The idiotic idea that words and books rightly have more rights than the victims of those who are oppressed by those who believe those words and books, is the quintessential means by which liberals were duped by corporate interests and the choice of such "liberals" in what was more important than the rights of the victims of the violence and oppression promoted by those commercial interests were the dead giveaway that they were, really, not especially dependable as liberals.  And the issue over which they abandoned the core values of liberalism, the thing for which those were thrown over the side was nothing more elevated than the sexual arousal of the jaded and bored.

It's an odd notion, a truly perverse notion of liberal virtue, the idea that commercial publishers and sadistic sexual predators promoting the oppression of women in the most obvious of ways is an expression of the good which deserves our support.   I think, oddly enough, that the problem with it came to me when I read another book of that genre, championed as a beacon of liberal virtue by the "free speech" industry, "Last Exit to Brooklyn".   The infamous gang rape scene in it was such a clear expression of hatred, white male privilege and racism that everything I'd heard about the necessity of fighting for the rights of the book to be heard, the enormous fuss over is suppression, was clearly a crock of crap.   The world would have been no worse off and perhaps better off if the auteur of it had, before sending it off, had some remorse and burned the manuscript.  The same with The Story of O, everything by the Marquis de Sade and practically every other title that became Icons of the "free speech - free press" industry.  Other than "Ulysses" I'm hard pressed to remember one of those pieces of "literature" which, when read, didn't turn out to be a sexist, often racist, expression of white male supremacy on rare occasion, gay.

It's one thing to champion the distribution of accurate information about sex, contraception, disease prevention which people need to live better lives and quite another one to distribute encouragement to ignore or not follow that advice.  Pornography has had hundreds of times more of the encouragement to ignore and not follow that advice than it has promoted anything positive.  If it all, miraculously, disappeared tomorrow, never to exist again, the world would be smarter, less oppressive and certainly better.   The men in The Story of O should have all been in prison, the women in therapy.  From what I have seen, the "hero" of 50 Shades should be locked up, away from potential victims, as should his type in real life.   The publishers and authors who promote that kind of oppression certainly shouldn't be seen as having rights to do that which are more important than the rights of people who are victimized by people who learn to oppress through what they publish.

The infamous sexual slave-master and torturer,  Ariel Castro, explained his actions through his addiction to pornography.  He is the only possible expert on what motivated him to do what he did to the woman and girl he imprisoned, tortured, raped and otherwise treated like a character in a book which the "free press - free speech" industry would champion.    Other sadistic sexual abusers and killers have also been inspired by what they read in such books, magazines and see in movies.  Clarence Thomas, in his sexual harassment of Anita Hill parroted what he heard in the porn he is known to have watched.   Sexual hate-talk is hate talk with the added attraction of sexual pleasure as a selling point.

The pseudo-liberal argument about how many men who gorge themselves on pornography don't go on to get convicted of rape is a smoke screen, literally like the arguments the tobacco industry used to make about how many smokers didn't die of tobacco related illness.   It's the ones who are convicted of rape, sexual torture, sexual murder, ... who show the results of pornography in its most oppressive forms.  Those exist on one end of a spectrum of using sex as a means of oppression, not all of which are illegal, though all of them are oppressive to some extent.  As I'll show at the end of this piece, the analogy of the porn industry and the tobacco industry can illuminate the situation quite well.

And it is ultimately a matter of sexual arousal over domination of one person over another who is subjugated.  And in almost all instances that will be a man held up as an example to other men in an instruction of how to enhance their own sexual satisfaction by using someone else as an object.   It's no different from men who achieve a different form of satisfaction by the economic enslavement of people who liberals would have less trouble seeing as being worthy of their protection, despite whatever "consent" could be coerced from them.  But when you throw sex into the mix, they all turn into University of Chicago neo-classical economists of the worst type.

That, alone, should illustrate the problem of liberals who are impotent in the face of sex used to oppress, harm and even kill people.   They've been sold a bill of libertarian goods by the lawyers in the hire of the commercial publishing industry, the Floyd Abrams, that great champion of "free speech", who is, last time I heard, in the hire of the tobacco industry, championing their right to sell their product without the inconvenience of their customers being told of and reminded that the product they are buying can kill them in some pretty horrific ways.   Suppressing vital health information, consumer protection,  as "freedom of speech".  If you need to see a good example of what the "free speech" industry is really all about, there you can see it in its most obvious.  He's in it for the money, in service to corporate interest.  The other stuff is just window dressing. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

New Laws Of Rhetoric

1. The one who makes a reference to a Monty Python skit loses due to over repetition. 

2. The one who makes a reference to Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy loses over over over repetition. 
A comment asserts that I'm supposed to find it upsetting that Mick and his Old Stones, when they were somewhat younger, released an album fifty years ago.  Why that's supposed to upset me, who knows?   I remember when they first broke on the scene here and found them tedious back then, but, then, I'd heard the real thing so the pale imitation was bound to seem flaccid as a lip-sync act at a high school talent show. 

I really couldn't be bothered, I was too busy with this release that month.

UPDATE:  Oh, yeah, now I remember.  I had a blog brawl with him once.  He said that Keith Moon was better than Elvin Jones, the drummer on that album.  I suppose he thinks McCoy Tyner wasn't much of a piano player either.  

It reminds me of the jerk I came across a while back, some guy who toots a bit on tenor sax who got a bit of attention for himself by talking about what a crappy musician Wayne Shorter is.  Wayne Shorter who has worked with the best musicians of the past half century and who on his worst day plays better than his critic will on the best day of his life.  I listened to him, he's got nothing and he plays. 

Update 2:   Sorry, that isn't up to the standards of the music I post on my blogs.  Here's what I mean.

Danilo Perez - Alfonsina y El mar

Danilo Perez, piano
Joe Lovano and David Sanchez, tenor and soprano saxophones 
Santi Debriano, bass, 
Jack DeJohnette, drums,

Alfonsina in the song is the poet Alfonsina Storni who, facing the end of her life from cancer drowned herself.  Here's the classic singer of the song, the great Merceds Sosa 

And, from the Danilo Perez album above, Ruben Blades' simple, beautiful version of Skylark.

Hate-Killings Are Weaned On Hate-Talk: Random Thoughts On The Way The Murders in Chapel Hill Are Playing Out

Count me as one of those who is totally disgusted at how the "parking dispute" angle of the murders of, Deah Barakat, Yusor Mohammad and Razan Abu-Salha, three students who were Muslims, is being played in the media, beginning, as far as I could see, from the confessed killers' wife and immediately picked up and given credibility from such sources as The New York Times, even as the horrific murder of three admirable students in their own home was being soft-peddled in the wider media.

That the killer left a record of anti-religious, anti-Muslim hate on Facebook is certainly more credible in determining his motivations than assertions made by his wife in the wake of his arrest for those murders.  It's not as if she might not have some ulterior motive in trying to make it look like her husband had some "reason" for going into the students' home and shooting them each at closer range in the head, gangster execution style.   Its not dissimilar from the response of the local police and media after the gun-lynching of Trayvon Martin, a way to blame the victim for their own murders.   We have a history of doing that when the victims are not white men of means or influence and the media certainly has a history of it.  I expect to be going over some of that as this case develops.

I started writing about that yesterday but ran up against a wall of exhaustion, and it wasn't all just from shoveling show and dealing with the deluge of winter we've had here and will be getting more, soon.  I'm spiritually exhausted from confronting so much bigotry and hate.  And as soon as I started looking online, the wall of that which you had to get through was pretty high, thick and redolent.

It was tempting to go into the online atheist response to the murders of Muslim students in North Carolina yesterday, considering the automatic atheist "Wurlitzer" of anti-Christian invective that cranks up whenever any violent crime is committed by someone who professes Christianity or who can be imagined to profess Christianity or who can be made up as a Christian.   Aside from the fact that anyone who murders anyone is violating one of the strongest moral prohibitions explicitly and unambiguously set out in the scriptures and in both tradition and law of Christianity, online atheists have tirelessly attributed that kind of violence to some inherent property of Christianity and religion, in general.

In this case, that many of the same people would, in a different context, be slamming Muslims, universally, the hypocrisy is as ubiquitous as it is shameless and unchallenged.  The killer said that his anti-religious fervor was a response to 9-11, citing things that Richard Dawkins had said and, I would imagine, other popular atheist hate talkers, the possible list of Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Bill Maher, and a host of lesser blights were known to him as well.   The ease with which the readers of those guys will go from hating Muslims to loving Muslims, according to the context in which their hate-lurve is expressed, is quite a spectacle to behold.  Salmun Rushdie -> hate Muslims,  Southern Baptist hate talker -> lurve Muslims.   In that it's pretty clear that in the atheist hierarchy of hate, Christians are consistently the group which it is most acceptable to hate on all occasions and about whom any lie is to be encouraged.  It's not much different from how the right-wing media, and even much of the "mainstream" treats "the other" only not generally in such vulgar language.

A few weeks back, in response to a challenge to identify multiple murders committed by atheists, something I did, in even some of the most infamous murders in American history.   I was able to point out, of course, that whereas anyone who murders anyone is violating The Law and the teachings of Jesus and his earliest followers recorded in The Bible, discrediting his sincerity or even honesty in claiming to follow them or even believe in them,  an atheist who murders hundreds of millions of people would not be violating anything that would logically challenge his commitment to atheism.

Well, on some of the comment threads where I followed atheist comment communities blame Christians for murders they not only never had a hand in but condemned,  not infrequently murders committed against Christians (including Dr. Tiller, murdered as he was ushering at his Reformed Lutheran Church, as is asserted in another hate-talk article up on Alternet just now) I found no enthusiasm for owning up to the news that Craig Hicks was a professed atheist and an admirer of Richard Dawkins and an anti-religious hate talker on Facebook.  Typical of what I found were comments like these on the hate-talk webloid, Alternet.

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    Man they are desperate to make this a hate crime. I don't think it's gunna happen. This is the work of a violent nutbag who happens to dislike religion. It's pretty clear he would have shot atheists over the freaking parking situation just as insanely.
    Kinda sad these 3 rather fine people murdered have been reduced to "Muslim's". The story is outrageous enough, don't add crap. It's just disrespectful.

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        The thing about this self-proclaimed "New Atheist" is that he, like many "New Atheists", are really not atheists at all, but rather anti-theists. And he was an extremist one at that.

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            He was a mentally ill nutcase. He had no position worth discussing.
            He belonged in a mental hospital and why he was not is the only discussion worth having about him.
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                There is a certain group of atheists who are rude, nasty, obnoxious bullies who treat anyone who professes to have a religion like dirt. They attack like a pack of coyotes going after a wounded animal. Like fundamentalist Christians who make all Christians look bad, and murderous Islamic cults who make Muslims look bad, these jerks make atheists look bad. Anyone who says atheism is not a religion is intellectually dishonest. It is.

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                    Have you actually met such a "nasty pack" of atheist bullies, or are you alluding to the so called "New Atheist" leaders (e.g. Richard Dawkins)? I have met a lot of atheists, and though I have met a few I didn't get along with well, I have never encountered or witnessed the likes of a group of atheists as you describe.
                    Okay, I'll bite: Atheism is not a religion. The reason I can say that with confidence is that religion requires belief in one or more god(s), and by definition, atheism is the absence of belief (zero) in any gods. (So saying "atheism is a religion" is like saying "zero pounds weighs one or more pounds").
                    I think we would agree that there are rude persons representative of varying religions, and of non-religion (i.e. atheists).

              " Have you actually met such a "nasty pack" of atheist bullies." Can you believe someone could ask that with a straight face on Alternet, one of the premier hate-talk venues on the alleged left?   And, if their sidebar of their top stories is accurate, such hate fests are some of their biggest attractions.   If "Jamie Hunter" wanted to find it, other than in the comment thread he was part of, he could look at several comment threads at Alternet or at Salon, on the "Freethought" blogs, many of the "Scienceblogs" the James Randi "Educational" Foundation,  CFI, Pandagon, Raw Story, etc. etc. etc. and find that anti-Christian and anti-religious hate talk by atheists is as pungent in its stench as that aimed from the official right wing at any focus of its hatred.  In fact, at times, you will find a considerable overlap, even at times in some rather putrid antisemitic content which, if it were not said by an atheist would probably not be allowed to pass without the most severe condemnation.  Even that most consistently observed taboo in hate talk is acceptably violated among today's atheists.

              The violence that comes as a direct result of the proliferation of hate-talk is something that is seldom gone into in the media.  But the fact is that all hate-crime is preceded by hate talk, hate talk heard and imbibed, feeding hate felt and which is eventually expressed in hateful violence and murder.   From these three killings to the greatest mass slaughters based on identity in our history, they are all fed by words of hate, words which the internet have protected with anonymity and made easier to say and more readily available to those who will gorge on the intellectual junk food that they are, eventually to be vomited up in violence, illicit and, with not to much help, in laws.  The fact is that hate-words are the seed of that violence and the undermining of equality and the civil order that is essential for the exercise of that equality and the pseudo-left is no better than the worst of the far right in spreading those hate-words that it figures is in its interest to spread, some of the most allegedly respectable organs of our media as willing to spread them as Stormfront or the Phelps cult.

              I will have more to say about this next week.

              Thursday, February 12, 2015

              So Many of the Great Ones Had an Interest in Continuing the Oppression, That Nothing Was Done: De Las Casas As Read By Anthony Benezet

              Bartolome de las Casas is one of the great figures in the literature of abolitionism and human rights, one of the earliest campaigners for the rights of the people who lived in the Western hemisphere even as the economic interests of Europe were first enslaving and murdering them in the most massive and sustained program of genocide ever undertaken.  His criticisms of the Europeans, many of them Catholics, like himself, were so honest and unbiased that his book, A Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies, was used both by his enemies, all of them with corrupt economic interests and by anti-Catholic British propagandists who published it as an attack citing, "Butcheries, and all manner of Cruelties, that Hell and Malice could invent, committed by the Popish Spanish Party on the inhabitants of West-India."  Considering the author was a Dominican who remained a faithful Catholic till his death, that's quite an odd use of him.

              Quite another sort of British-American reader of de las Casas was the great and early Quaker abolitionist, Anthony Benezet in his book, Some Historical Account of Guinea, Its Situation, Produce, and the General Disposition of Its Inhabitants.  As is usually the case with the Quaker literature on the topic, it is refreshingly liberal, honest and charitable.  And, since you will read the opposite repeated all over the place, notice how forceful their criticism of the christianity of those who enslaved and oppressed people is, remembering that these were both highly committed Christians, one a bishop in the very establishment he's criticizing.

              After the settlement of America, those devastations, and the captivating the miserable Africans, greatly increased.

              Anderson, in his history of trade and commerce, at page 336, speaking of what passed in the year 1508, writes, "That the Spaniards had by this time found that the miserable Indian natives, whom they had made to work in their mines and fields, were not so robust and proper for those purposes as Negroes brought from Africa; wherefore they, about that time, began to import Negroes for that end into Hispaniola, from the Portugueze settlements on the Guinea coasts; and also afterwards for their sugar works." This oppression of the Indians had, even before this time, rouzed the zeal, as well as it did the compassion, of some of the truly pious of that day; particularly that of Bartholomew De las Casas, bishop of Chapia; whom a desire of being instrumental towards the conversion of the Indians, had invited into America. It is generally agreed by the writers of that age, that he was a man of perfect disinterestedness, and ardent charity; being affected with this sad spectacle, he returned to the court of Spain, and there made a true report of the matter; but not without being strongly opposed by those mercenary wretches, who had enslaved the Indians; yet being strong and indefatigable, he went to and fro between Europe and America, firmly determined not to give over his pursuit but with his life. After long solicitation, and innumerable repulses, he obtained leave to lay the matter before the Emperor Charles the Fifth, then King of Spain. As the contents of the speech he made before the King in council, are very applicable to the case of the enslaved Africans, and a lively evidence that the spirit of true piety speaks the same language in the hearts of faithful men in all ages, for the relief of their fellow creatures from oppression of every kind, I think it may not be improper here to transcribe the most interesting parts of it. 

              "I was," says this pious bishop, "one of the first who went to America; neither curiosity nor interest prompted me to undertake so long and dangerous a voyage; the saving the souls of the heathen was my sole object. Why was I not permitted, even at the expence of my blood, to ransom so many thousand souls, who fell unhappy victims to avarice or lust? I have been an eye witness to such cruel treatment of the Indians, as is too horrid to be mentioned at this time.—It is said that barbarous executions were necessary to punish or check the rebellion of the Americans;—but to whom was this owing? Did not those people receive the Spaniards, who first came amongst them, with gentleness and humanity? Did they not shew more joy, in proportion, in lavishing treasure upon them, than the Spaniards did greediness in receiving it?—But our avarice was not yet satisfied;—tho' they gave up to us their land and their riches, we would tear from them their wives, their children and their liberties.—To blacken these unhappy people, their enemies assert, that they are scarce human creatures?—but it is we that ought to blush, for having been less men, and more barbarous, than they.—What right have we to enslave a people who are born free, and whom we disturbed, tho' they never offended us?—They are represented as a stupid people, addicted to vice?—but have they not contracted most of their vices from the example of the christians? And as to those vices peculiar to themselves, have not the christians quickly exceeded them therein? Nevertheless it must be granted, that the Indians still remain untainted with many vices usual amongst the Europeans; such as ambition, blasphemy, treachery, and many like monsters, which have not yet took place with them; they have scarce an idea of them; so that in effect, all the advantage we can claim, is to have more elevated notions of things, and our natural faculties more unfolded and more cultivated than theirs.—Do not let us flatter our corruptions, nor voluntarily blind ourselves; all nations are equally free; one nation has no right to infringe upon the freedom of any other; let us do towards these people as we would have them to have done towards us, if they had landed upon our shore, with the same superiority of strength. And indeed, why should not things be equal on both sides? How long has the right of the strongest been allowed to be the balance of justice? What part of the gospel gives a sanction to such a doctrine? In what part of the whole earth did the apostles and the first promulgators of the gospel ever claim a right over the lives, the freedom, or the substance of the Gentiles? What a strange method this is of propagating the gospel, that holy law of grace, which, from being, slaves to Satan, initiates us into the freedom of the children of God!—Will it be possible for us to inspire them with a love to its dictates, while they are so exasperated at being dispossessed of that invaluable blessing, Liberty? The apostles submitted to chains themselves, but loaded no man with them. Christ came to free, not to enslave us.—Submission to the faith he left us, ought to be a voluntary act, and should be propagated by persuasion, gentleness, and reason."

              "At my first arrival in Hispaniola, (added the bishop) it contained a million of inhabitants; and now (viz. in the space of about twenty years) there remains scarce the hundredth part of them; thousands have perished thro' want, fatigue, merciless punishment, cruelty, and barbarity. If the blood of one man unjustly shed, calls loudly for vengeance; how strong must be the cry of that of so many unhappy creatures which is shedding daily?"—The good bishop concluded his speech, with imploring the King's clemency for subjects so unjustly oppressed; and bravely declared, that heaven would one day call him to an account, for the numberless acts of cruelty which he might have prevented. The King applauded the bishop's zeal; promised to second it; but so many of the great ones had an interest in continuing the oppression, that nothing was done; so that all the Indians in Hispaniola, except a few who had hid themselves in the most inaccessible mountains, were destroyed.

              Wednesday, February 11, 2015

              Fats Navarro And His Thin Men 1947 - Ice Freezes Red

              Recorded: New York City, NY January 29, 1947

              Fats Navarro - Trumpet
              Leo Parker - Baritone Sax
              Tadd Dameron - Piano
              Gene Ramey - Bass
              Denzil Best - Drums

              For some reason, while I was looking at another video of this I noticed the date given for its recording and realized it was thirty years after what is commonly believed to be the first recording of jazz,  by "The Original Dixieland Jass Band." Looking that up I read that though that recording of Livery Stable Blues was recorded February 26th, 1917, the contract for them to record was signed on  January 29, 1917 and there was a trial recording date two days later, from which nothing was released.  So it was about 30 years to the day between Fats Navarro's great recording and the first jazz recording contract was signed.

              Considering the first thirty years of rock and roll, well, there's no comparison in which one developed.   And, yes, that was meant as a provocative statement.  I missed making one on Tuesday.

              Update:  Fats Navarro's least recording is greater than the best of those guys you mention and unlike theirs, his was a live recording.   There's no comparison.

              A Resolution Broken For A Good Reason

              I have broken my resolution to never post a comment from Steve Simels on this blog again because he made a stupid remark on my morning post that is a good illustration of what I mean.  Clearly, it is important for some people to use Poles as a focus of hate and resentment even as the fact that Poles have one of the best records of protecting Jews in defiance of the Nazis.   Especially, I strongly suspect, in the United States,  from people who never experienced any danger such as those Poles who risked and lost their lives in those efforts did.   While there must be a lot of reasons for that, I can't think of any good reason to falsify history.

              On Defaming The Poles

              One of the really stupid things that the contemporary idea of a genius, Stephen Fry, got into hot water for saying really stuck in my mind all of yesterday because it is grotesquely unjust, a total distortion of the history it mangles, clearly based on an ideological hatred of Catholics and a disdain for an ethnic group and promotes lies about them by people who have a lot more to be ashamed of than they do.   I'm hardly an expert on the incredibly complicated and contested history it involves but I know that Fry's idiocy is not a one off but is widely shared even among those who are considered educated people in the United States.  I've encountered it online even, or perhaps, especially on pseudo-leftist websites.  Considering who that idiocy forgets and who it defames, that is especially disturbing.

              That was but a blip on the Richter scale of Fry’s brainless banter when compared with his comments on the Poles. “Let’s face it,” he announced in an interview with Channel 4 news in 2009, “there has been a history in Poland of Right-wing Catholicism, which has been deeply disturbing for those of us who know a little history, and remember which side of the border Auschwitz was on.”

              Even Fry had to admit that was a bit much, apologising a week and a half later. His words were “as idiotic, ignorant and offensive as you could imagine… I mean, what was I thinking? Well, as I say, I wasn’t. The words just formed themselves in a line in my head, as words will, and marched out of the mouth. I offer no excuse.”

              Apparently his geniuship didn't realize who built and operated Auschwitz and that many of the people murdered there were Poles, including many of the Jews who were murdered there.   Nor that it was the Nazis stated intention to obliterate the Polish population, both Hitler and Himmler stated in unambiguous words that as the ultimate goal of the invasion of Poland, to replace them with Germans, with orders to kill as many Poles as possible, regardless of gender or age.

              Our strength is our quickness and our brutality. Genghis Khan had millions of women and children hunted down and killed, deliberately and with a gay heart. History sees in him only the great founder of States. What the weak Western European civilization alleges about me, does not matter. I have given the order – and will have everyone shot who utters but one word of criticism – that the aim of this war does not consist in reaching certain designated [geographical] lines, but in the enemies' physical elimination. Thus, for the time being only in the east, I put ready my Death's Head units, with the order to kill without pity or mercy all men, women, and children of the Polish race or language. Only thus will we gain the living space that we need.

              Hitler in a speech he gave August 22, 1939 to officers who would be in charge of the invasion of Poland the next week.

              While the plans of the Nazis were to murder all of the Jews, in their Generalplan Ost, their intention was to murder up to 85% of the Polish population which they decided were not sufficiently Aryan and could not be "Germanized" over a period of a couple of decades, beginning with the invasion.  Given that the murders committed under that plan, of Poles and other Slavic people have been exhaustively documented and successfully prosecuted* it amazing that Fry could have made such a stupid statement without being called on it more definitively

              I think before I went online I would have thought everyone who had graduated from college had learned that much about the Nazis but I have the feeling since going online that isn't something you should depend on even from a graduate of the most elite of universities in the English speaking world.  I learned as much in history classes in high school and in college, and I wasn't a history major.   I know Fry is a bit younger than I am but he must have been raised by people who were around in the late 30s and 40s.

              More importantly, the ass, as so many others I've heard snarking about Poles in regard to these matters is totally ignorant of the actual history of Poles hiding and rescuing Jews from the Nazis, even as they, themselves risked being killed for it.
              Despite he harshest penalties for aiding and assisting Jews of those imposed by the Nazis, murdering entire families if one member of the family was accused of helping Jews, Poles make up the largest number, by nationality, of those named Righteous Among The Nations at Yad Vashem, 6,394 is the latest number, I've seen.  I'm apparently assuming a lot by assuming that Stephen Fry has ever heard of Yad Vashem, not to mention others who share his bigotry.  I've gotten some pretty angry reactions online to pointing that out.  There are those who love to hate on the Poles as Fry did.

              Neither, obviously,  do they know about the organized efforts by Poles, many of them Catholics to save Jews, even as they, themselves were marked for murder.  The Zegota, the Polish Council To Aid Jews, under The Polish Government in Exile, was one of the largest and most successful of those efforts, believed to have saved almost a half a million Jews.  It was only one of those organized efforts, not to mention the large number of individuals and families who hid or shielded Jews, even as they were under threat of genocide, themselves and as they knew their efforts would get them certain death if they were discovered.   I would expect few of the people who babble like that online know anything about any of it.  For some reason the enormous resistance in Poland is to count for nothing as the far less widespread resistance in France and Holland are exaggerated in size.  I say size because anyone who resisted the Nazis, who aided Jews and other people marked for death to live deserves to be remembered and held up as an example of heroism and morality to be emulated.

              Consider that it was due to the incredibly heroic Polish resistance fighter, Witold Pilecki, who volunteered to go undercover into Auschwitz as a prisoner, who provided the most detailed early intelligence about its being a death camp, for Fry to have said what he did is especially repulsive.  It was certainly not the Poles who are to blame for Auschwitz operating as long as it did, they were begging the allies to intervene to end it for years during the war.**

              The issues of Polish resistance and collaboration in that period in which Poland was being fought over and occupied by both the Soviet and Nazi governments has become thoroughly politicized, it being in the interest of many people to reduce an extremely complex and fraught situation into black and white based on ethnic or other identities and pretending that everyone who can be categorized as a member of that group was either a victim or a perpetrator, a resister or a collaborator, an angel or a genocidalist.  And, to suit some ideological or political interest, today, almost eighty years later, the actual facts of even the most heroic of resistance is discounted in favor of the use to which ethnic classification can be made.   In Fry's case, clearly he wanted to slam Catholics, other people have other agendas.  This exchange in the New York Review of Books shows another popular facet of that.  Unfortunately, the original review under discussion is mostly behind a pay-wall.   Poland is still an ideological football, only the players fighting over it have changed.

              The massive vulgarity of discounting the attempted genocide against one group or another, the ideological desire to hold up the Soviet or some other side, comparing one invasion of Poland over another, the incredibly complex issues of various people and groups in Poland as it was being fought over, and dozens of other issues can't be allowed to discount the incredibly heroic sacrifices of the Polish resistance.   The denial of history is clearly useful to people who want to oppress other people.  In some accounts of that speech by Hitler, he ended with the line

              Who still talks nowadays of the extermination of the Armenians?

              I think it's probable that line was in the speech, though there are various versions of the speech, some without that line.  If Hitler said it on that occasion is a matter of dispute, academic, but also in the attempt by the Turkish government, today, to deny that there was a mass slaughter, an attempt at genocide, committed against the Armenian people after the First World War.   That, alone, shows how important it is to tell history accurately, non-ideologically and without self-interested distortions and fabrications.

              *  The Ninth charge on which Eichmann was convicted in Israel was:

              Crime against humanity, an offenceagainst Section 1(a)(2) of the Nazis and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law 5710-1950 and Section 23 of theCriminal Law Ordinance, 1936.

              Particulars of the Offence

              The Accused, between the years 1940 and 1942 committed acts in Poland, which at that time was occupied by Germany, which are to be defined as crimes against humanity when, together with others, he caused the deportation of more than half a million Polish civilians from their places of residence, with the intention of settling German families in those places. The displaced Poles were transferred, some to Germany and the territories occupied by her for the purpose of employing them and holding them under conditions of servitude, coercion and terror; some were abandoned in other regions of Poland and the German areas of occupation in the East; some were concentrated in labour camps organized by the SS under inhumane conditions; and some were transferred to Germany and were destined for the purpose of Rückverdeutschung ("Germanization"). The Accused committed these acts of his by virtue of a special appointment in the month of December 1939, according to which he was empowered by the Chief of the Security Police in Berlin to act as the person responsible for the "evacuation" of the civilian Population.

              ** What Fry said is certainly worse than what Brian Williams so stupidly claimed about himself.  Apparently exaggerating a war story will get someone like Williams a forced retirement, whereas Fry saying far more outrageously false and clearly bigoted crap is still held up as being some kind of genius and a hero.  The least he should get for that kind of thing is for people to stop calling him a genius.