CSotD: The Whole World is (Still) Watching

Fiona Katauskas sets a familiar scene divided between old and young, which may be a stereotype, but putting the old fellow in a suit rather than Archie Bunker mode suggests another division, that between those who have and those who are still setting their goals.

The parallels between the Student Strike of 1970 and the current moment have been much discussed, and I wonder if the conservative students who wanted order and good behavior then are having the same sorts of flashbacks as those of us who followed Bobby in quoting George Bernard Shaw’s “Some men see things as they are and say why, I dream things that never were and say, why not?”

I gather the folks who opposed demonstrations then are, like the fellow in Katauskas’s cartoon, angry to see that the young people who can’t look away in silence are back in the streets.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Bill Bramhall

Mike Smith — KFS

Both cartoonists bring an accusation of elitism and privilege, as well as accusations of phony performative actions.

There is privilege simply by being in college, but, as in 1970, it’s revealing to see where the hell is being raised, and, again, it’s not just Columbia and Harvard. Much of it seems to be happening at state, not private, colleges.

Bramhall is correct that the homeless problem matters, though sleeping under a bridge in NYC seems better than being buried in bombed-out rubble in Gaza. Still, I’d like to have someone grab a clipboard and walk through the demonstrators, polling them to see how many have also worked to aid the homeless.

It was, after all, possible half a century ago to oppose the War in Vietnam, boycott non-union lettuce and grapes, and raise funds for the Free Clinic.

Smith’s accusation is a little tougher, though it sure feels like both-sidesing the issue. It would be nice if the kids were chanting “Stop the Bombing! Free the Hostages!” but that’s not how movements work.

You can care about many things, but you have to focus on one at a time or you’ll have no focus at all.

Joel Pett might have shown those ambitious signs, and had a wise old man sadly note how long people have wanted such things and how long it would take to achieve them.

But putting the scene behind glass shrouded in rich tapestry, and having the quote come from a fat cat in a suit talking to a file-toting bureaucrat, it also carries a clear message of resistance to change and resistance to youth.

Though Republican congressmembers seem determined to change this fact, the administrators at colleges tend to stay in office a long time, and see class after class pass through, most of them facelessly.

They often counsel patience and, in their world, that means wait six years. Most students don’t have six years and don’t believe the people in Gaza do, either.

Maarten Wolterink (Cartoon Movement) cuts through to a central issue that has begun to gain strength in the conversation.

If protesters haven’t, as Mike Smith wanted, called for release of the hostages loudly enough, they did celebrate a large Seder to protest the war and have, in general, brought more recognition to the number of Jews who oppose the attacks on Gaza.

Bernie Sanders issued an open letter to Netanyahu insisting that opposition to government policy is not antisemitic,

and a major newspaper in Israel, Ha-aretz (paywall), ran an editorial calling on the US to recognize Palestine.

It should be as simple as pointing out that Netanyahu’s Likud Party does not have a majority in the Knesset and he is ruling through a coalition of parties: Opposition to Netanyahu’s party is normal political back-and-forth. It’s not antisemitism.

Have there been antisemitic statements and slurs at some of the protests? Sure. But those bigots compare to the cuckoobirds who show up at Trump rallies. Is it the whole crowd, or just the ones whose behavior makes them stand out?

It’s as unfair to typify the protesters as antisemites as it is to go to a Trump rally and only interview the most outlandish crazies.

It is, however, how media works far too often.

“Because half a dozen grasshoppers under a fern make the field ring with their importunate chink, whilst thousands of great cattle, reposed beneath the shadow of the British oak, chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field.” — Edmund Burke

Though when I dream of things that never were, I imagine a middle ground where the grasshoppers aren’t quite so obnoxious but the cattle aren’t quite so silent, either. I still don’t know why not.

Of course, Nick Anderson (Tribune) points out, one reason why that middle ground isn’t coming about this time is that there are powerful people who have already built a reputation for fighting against college administrators and other eddicated pinhead libbrels, and the protests give them a chance to perform for their audience.

Although, Anderson continues, that need to continually perform leaves Republicans in an odd spot.

A couple of odd spots, in fact. They continue to defend the so-called “hostages” of January 6, who were far more disruptive and destructive than the kids sitting on the grass at colleges, but, while ignoring the assaults on police by those “peaceful tourists,” they’re also intent on firing college presidents for not siccing the local cops on their kids.

And then there’s the matter of having to defend Biden’s Gaza policy in order to rage against the Kollege Kommies.

This is a political party that voted down a border solution so they could continue to use it as a weapon in the coming elections, and two weeks ago, they were adamant about denying Biden aid for Israel.

Now they’ve had to line up behind him to prove their patriotic machismo.

Poor babies.

It’s hardly the GOP’s only problem, and I doubt NYC’s tourism board will be asking for reprints of this David Rowe depiction. We all know Rudy Guiliani cleaned up Times Square!

The saddest part is not the grotesque narcissist soliciting for sex in the alley. It’s Uncle Sam and Liberty looking sadly resigned to their roles in the farce.

After all, they symbolize us.

12 thoughts on “CSotD: The Whole World is (Still) Watching

  1. Mike, you bring up so many important points in this article that so many are not even willing to admit exist, let alone, address.
    Yes, the dozens of Israeli hostages Hamas is holding should be freed. But, I don’t hear anyone in the government or media also demanding that the thousands of Palestinian hostages unjustly thrown in Israeli prisons be freed, also. I usually decry ‘bothsidesism’. But, in this case, history proves that, for centuries, the branches of Semitic peoples (Jews and Arabs and others) have been locked in murderous conflict and neither side will begin a process to end the insanity. As, I’ve said often, my organization is pacific (peaceful) but adamant that all people, especially both Israelis and Palestinians must be allowed to live in peace. But, the leaders of both sides are entrenched criminals who won’t let that happen. This conflict is being perpetuated by bigoted propaganda from the mainstream media, government officials and the ignorance of the sheople who will drink any of those flavors of koolaid.

    Prof. PZ Myers and many others others post stories of how most university officials are just corporate/political puppets with NO idea of (and NO interest in knowing) what university education, intellectual questioning and learning are all about. In many cases professors (even many Jewish ones) are standing with the students, because they know all universities should stand for free, open, objective, honest examination and discussion of all topics.

    Over 35,000 so far, how many will it take? And, that is just the tip of the iceberg of mass human suffering in this chaotic insane world.

    1. ShermanJ writes: “both Israelis and Palestinians must be allowed to live in peace.”

      Tuvia Tennenbaum has a book called “Catch the Jew!” It’s an interesting read, and noteworthy for his discussion of just who it is not letting them live in peace.

  2. The GOP demonizing student protesters while lionizing the Jan 6 terrorists/insurrectionists/rioters/etc as “heroes” and “hostages” makes my bile rise

  3. You may decry the knuckle heads in a crowd but too much signage, statements, and attacks on Jews in almost every protest is chilling. Telling a Jew to “Go back to Poland” or that the only Jewish State should be eliminated does not make me feel safe. Assad kills 100,00 people- where is the protest? Iran imprisons and executes woman who don’t wear veils.

    There simply no intersectionality’s with “Gays for Hamas” when Hamas executed Gays. (As does Iran).

    1. I haven’t been to almost every protest. I can only rely on reports from those on the scene. For instance, I have no idea if anyone who objects to bombing Gaza supports Iran’s treatment of women or Assad’s policies in Syria. I rather suspect some crossover, but show your numbers, explain your methodology and we’ll discuss it.

    2. First, implying that support for Palestinians equals support for Hamas is just wrong.
      Second, I bet many of the protesters also oppose Assad and Iran, but neither of them are being provided weapons from the US; there for such protests would do very little, while the Gaza protests are more about opposition to giving weapons to Israel that get used on civilians, including aid workers from other countries.

  4. When someone at Northeastern yells “Kill all the Jews!”, when signs at GW in DC call for Intifada Everywhere, where Jewish students at Columbia are chased and have their head covering knock off, where Israeli Flags are burnt at Harvard, when LA is warned that “Zionist Areas” should be careful- just because you aren’t Jewish doesn’t make it right.

    And please don’t tell me that these protesters give a rat’s ass about Assad’s Murder Spree, or ISIS’s rape and murder of the Yazdi’s, or the Taliban’s treatment of women. If they had cared where were the protests?

    One the other hand Jewish, Muslim, and Christians marched in DC in solidarity protesting against the Assad regime. No press covered it. No overt antisemitism I guess.

      1. Regular readers here will be familiar with my repeated observation that editors and photographers seek the “interesting” rather than the “typical.” Thus we get the impression that everyone at Woodstock had hair to their waists and went naked, despite the fact that the bulk of attendees were suburban Westchester types, and that if 1500 people sit listening to speeches at a demonstration, the papers will feature shots of the guy in the Uncle Sam outfit carrying a toy machine gun.

        As I’ve also written, if you want to know what’s happening in these demonstrations, read the student press, not what’s written by professional sightseers and distant commentators.

        But you can start with this reporter’s notes about having actually spent some time trying to figure out the balance between average protesters, loud extremists and outside agitators:

  5. Violent anti-Jewish words are reprehensible. So are the many u.s. GOP lawmakers calling for all palestinians to be killed!

    Most comments by news media and individuals show significant bias and completely lack objective balance and completeness. I don’t want to see or hear any more violent rhetoric, finger pointing or cheerleading. THIS IS A CENTURIES OLD DISASTER AND SLAUGHTER. As I stated in an earlier comment (though ‘bothsidesism’ is dangerous), there are hostages, innocents and monsters on both sides.

    Theguardian › us-news › 2023 › nov › 10 › florida-republican-michelle-salzman-palestine Last modified on Fri 10 Nov 2023 13.40 EST. Outrage continues to grow over a public comment made by a Florida state Republican lawmaker calling for all Palestinians to die.

    News.yahoo › gop-congressman-sick-palestinian-children-184923458.html
    “Kill ‘Em All,” Republican Congressman Says of Palestinians in Gaza
    Feb 21, 202418. Representative Andy Ogles . . . saying in a recently released clip that America should help “kill ’em all.”.

    NOTE: not showing actual links, they are readily available with a Duckduckgo search.

    Harley Liebenson wrote: One the other hand Jewish, Muslim, and Christians marched in DC in solidarity protesting against the Assad regime.

    I reply: I also see many Jewish university professors shielding all the protesters and standing with them in condemnation of (all) the murder. And, the riot police have arrested professors as well as students. And, some non-students are there to support peace and only some outsiders are fomenting violence.

    We condemn Hamas and the Israeli governments’ crimes, but we care about the innocent Palestinians and Jews caught in this bloodbath.

    Netanyahu said (accusing student protesters of being anti-semitic), “This is reminiscent of what happened in German universities in the 1930s. It’s unconscionable. It has to be stopped.”

    Bernie Sanders (an honest and caring Jewish congressman) replied, “No, Mr Netanyahu. It is not antisemitic or pro-Hamas to point out that in a little over six months your extremist government has killed 34,000 Palestinians and wounded more than 77,000 – seventy percent of whom are women and children. It is not antisemitic to point out that your bombing has completely destroyed more than 221,000 housing units in Gaza, leaving more than one million people homeless – almost half the population,”

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