"Like saying Italians..."

You probably shouldn't take pop culture seriously as a source of ideas.
"It's crazy," said Rogan. "Did you see him sitting next to Ilhan Omar, where she's apologizing for talking about it's all about the Benjamins? Which is just about money. She's talking about money. That's not an antisemitic comment, I don't think that is. Benjamins are money." He went on: "The idea that Jewish people are not into money is ridiculous. That's like saying Italians aren't into pizza. It's f****** stupid."

Rogan later said about Oman: "Whether you agree with her or not, she has a bold opinion, and that opinion is not her own. There's many people that have that opinion, and they should be represented.

Sharing a snippet of the podcast on Twitter, Baddiel, the author of Jews Don't Count, wrote... "For the hard of understanding, 'Jews are into money' is not like 'Italians are into pizza. Because unless my history lessons really missed something out, no-one has exterminated a large section of the entire Italian community because of their love for pepperoni."

This debate makes me feel dumber for having encountered it. The only reason to even mention it is that while everyone knows that 'pizza' as we have it here in America is American, not actually Italian, not everyone knows that pepperoni isn't either. If an American were to naively ask for a 'pizza with pepperoni' in Italy, they would be very surprised at the flatbread topped with peppers that came out. 

All analogies always break, though we have no choice but to reason with them as they are the only tool that works for most practical situations. This whole set of analogies, however, are too weak to hold any weight whatsoever. 

Rogan does kind of have half a point, though: Omar is clearly antisemitic, but she really does authentically represent her particular district.  The people who vote for her are disproportionately bad people just like her. 

There's a kind of democratic authenticity to that. Our system tries to express all three of the Aristotelian divisions of government: government by the many, few, and one. Congress is thus the democratic branch to the executive's tyrannical branch and the judiciary's oligarchical branch; and the House is the democratic wing of the democratic branch, with the Senate also representing a kind of oligarchy (though less so than before the 17th Amendment). If it is important for a democratic branch to authentically represent its voters and their interests, arguably she does the job better than anyone else could. 


james said...

Did you mean to write "clearly anti-emetic"? The reverse seems more accurate.
Or antisemitic?

Grim said...

I swear, increasingly I often can't tell if I'm just forgetting how to spell or if my crusading Spellcheck is against me. This one's on the machine, though: I went back and retyped it, and it wanted to correct to "antiemetic" or, as a secondary suggestion, "anti-Semitic."

Tom Grey said...

So many say they support "Democracy" -- yet not when they don't like what the majority likes.

I support Human Rights, and know that Democracies have been far better at supporting Human Rights than other forms, tho a good Dictator like Lee Kwan Yew in Singapore can often get more good done by dictating good rather compromising as most Democracies mostly do.

Glad to see you're keeping up your good work.

But now I'm to start doing more with ai / ChatGPT & other ai stuff. Wondering if Gab will be successful in the near or mid term.

Lars Walker said...

As a member of Omar's district myself, it hurts a little to hear that her constituents are largely bad people. But, like other generalizations, it's not entirely wrong. The people where I live know what they want. I see complaints on NextDoor about stores closing in North Minneapolis. I want to say, "You voted for people who promised to punish business. It worked. Be happy."

Grim said...

I assure you, Mr. Walker, that I hold you in the highest regard. I assume that "the people who vote for her" does not include you and that you are thus excluded from the set I was describing (and I only said, even of that set of people, that they were disproportionately bad people like herself).

Texan99 said...

It's conceivable to me that someone could say "It's all about the Benjamins" without intending an anti-semitic slur. In context, though, if the person is clearly antisemitic according to other reliable indicators, I'd assume it was a sly and cowardly way of slipping in a little extra Jew-hatred. There are lots of ways to criticize someone for excessive love of money without dragging in a semitic trope like "Benjamin." Omar doesn't get much benefit of doubt from me.

On the other hand, in the current insane atmosphere, it's not a bad idea to exercise skepticism about racist intent, especially when a common and ambiguous term is being tossed about casually.

Grim said...

That's a fair point, Tex. If it were the only reason to think it, I would agree with you.

Pat Buchanan used to court accusations of antisemitism too, as I recall; in particular his criticism of Israel in the context of US foreign policy occasionally drew fire. I remember him responding to one of those accusations quite caustically, something along the lines of "Well, there goes the B'nai B'rith man of the year award."

A lot of people might have interpreted that as proof of the charge; others as justifiable irritation at the constancy of the charge. Maybe Omar feels the same way, and is just tired of hearing about what people think of her opinions of Jews. Still, I think we've seen enough examples from her to make a fair judgment -- and not just in the arena of foreign policy criticisms of Israeli-American relations, which might arguably be fair game.

E Hines said...

...it's not a bad idea to exercise skepticism about racist intent, especially when a common and ambiguous term is being tossed about casually.

The only ones tossing about accusations of racism casually are the Left and politicians of the Progressive-Democratic Party. Not only are they projecting, Rule #4 applies.

Apart from that generalization, Omar's rhetoric extends far beyond her Benjamins slur. With her in particular, it's not a matter of benefit of doubt: she's an antisemitic bigot.

Eric Hines

douglas said...

Am I the only one old enough to remember that the phrase referred to the portrait of Franklin on $100 bills?? How is that anywhere close to anti-semitic? Just more nonsense in a nonsense age.