Friday, November 12, 2010

"Commies? Good people, nothing wrong with them" - NY Times

Thought experiment: Read the following and answer this question - would the New York Times, or any other serious newspaper, run a story that began and ended this way?
Where Nazis Pontificate, and Play

IF National Socialists have a reputation for anything, it is seriousness. (And if you have seen old photos of Adolf Hitler, you know that he did not smile much.) But at the Reifenstahl Forum, a community center on West Street where revolutionaries and radicals gather daily to ponder and to pontificate, they also play. (Smiles abound.)

Amid the honeycomb of offices and hidden rooms on the ground floor of a shabby brick building facing the Hudson River, activists and agitators unite for classes like “Ernst Haeckel: Revolutionary Strategy and the Historic Bloc” and talks like “Envisioning a Post-Capitalist Future.” Networks of pipes snaking along the ceiling and glimpses of exposed brick give the space a slightly industrial feel, which seems fitting for discussions on labor theory and worker exploitation.

But there is also the monthly Game Night, when regulars put down their copies of “Mein Kampf” and immerse themselves in table tennis, foosball and a complicated Nazi version of Monopoly called, appropriately, Race Struggle.

In a city known for cynicism, the Reifenstahl, which survives on donations, is a surprisingly open and idealistic place.

...

While Mr. Balagun waved me out the front door, I imagined Hitler’s ghost floating in the hazy light of the evening, watching over the poker players. Beneath his famous mustache, I could almost see a grin.
Do you want a little more time to make your decision?

Of course not. They'd never run anything like that. Everyone recognizes the abomination which was the Nazi regime, and everything related to it is tainted.


So why is the Times running this?
Where Marxists Pontificate, and Play

IF communists have a reputation for anything, it is seriousness. (And if you have seen old photos of Karl Marx, you know that he did not smile much.) But at the Brecht Forum, a community center on West Street where revolutionaries and radicals gather daily to ponder and to pontificate, they also play. (Smiles abound.)

Amid the honeycomb of offices and hidden rooms on the ground floor of a shabby brick building facing the Hudson River, activists and agitators unite for classes like “Antonio Gramsci: Revolutionary Strategy and the Historic Bloc” and talks like “Envisioning a Post-Capitalist Future.” Networks of pipes snaking along the ceiling and glimpses of exposed brick give the space a slightly industrial feel, which seems fitting for discussions on labor theory and worker exploitation.

But there is also the monthly Game Night, when regulars put down their copies of “Das Kapital” and immerse themselves in table tennis, foosball and a complicated Marxist version of Monopoly called, appropriately, Class Struggle.

In a city known for cynicism, the Brecht, which survives on donations, is a surprisingly open and idealistic place.

...

While Mr. Balagun waved me out the front door, I imagined Marx’s ghost floating in the hazy light of the evening, watching over the poker players. Behind his famous thicket of a beard, I could almost see a grin.
Ho, ho, ho. That's so amusing. Those serious communists have a playful side!

Let's consider, for a moment, a little bit of historical perspective.

Death tolls:
  • Nazis - 10-25 million
  • Communists
    • Russia - 20-25 million
    • China - 50-65 million
    • Cambodia - ~2 million
    • North Korea - ~2 million
    • and more...
    Total - ~94 million
Someone tell me why the second excerpt, the one that actually ran in the New York Times, isn't more offensive than the first, which no one would ever run.

The answer, of course, is that, for the American left (of which the New York Times is both opinion leader and member), it was the anti-Communists who were wrong. It was Joe McCarthy and Richard Nixon that defined the domestic political opponent, in their eyes, and so whatever they opposed was to be supported. Hitler was a monster, of course, but was he more of one than Stalin? Was he more of one than Mao? Not by body count, he wasn't. Yet affection for those tyrannical monsters is an amusing or serious or admirable trait in the eyes of the Times...

Labels: , ,

|

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Comment?

<< Home

Links to this post

Links to this post:

Create a Link