22 August 2006

Say it again, Elisabeth?

To criticize other bloggers is akin to swatting a fly near a garbage bin - there are plenty more where this one comes from (this imagery is suitable for warm countries only - I realize that for a Dane, for instance, it will be too alien, since flies are not their cup of tea).

However, the case in question is so exceptional that it demands some attention. I have stumbled on this post by mistake, browsing some blog and following a link from a comment. The author calls herself Elisabeth, and claims to be "a former journalist and a current news junkie". She discloses also that she is currently gainfully occupied as psychotherapist. By a dictionary definition, psychotherapist is "A therapist who deals with mental and emotional disorders".

So, the post carries a strong headline:

"Thomas L. Friedman--Racist Again, Wrong Again"

Since Thomas L. Friedman, while not being my favorite source of inspiration, is nevertheless a widely known journalist/author, the headline naturally catches the eye. And the next paragraph does not disappoint, the bomb is dropped immediately:

The egregious Thomas L. Friedman today manages to be both totally wrong and also racist.

The unusual structure of the quoted sentence notwithstanding (strange English for a journalist, I dare say), one is thrilled in expectation of the follow-through, and here it comes:

He claims that after Israel stops bombing Lebanon and international peacekeepers are deployed, the Lebanese will blame Hezbollah!

Even if you take apart the above quote and examine every letter, the proof of Friedman's racism is not there, I can assure you. Amazing, you say? Wait a bit, there is more. I have to copy a whole paragraph now:

Friedman tells Israel not to get too excited about Lebanon because "there's no storybook ending for Israel in Lebanon, and it shouldn't throw more good lives after some elusive knockout blow. It's just not that kind of neighborhood. As they say in the movies, "Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown." In other words: Lebanon is just foreigners, people who aren't worth much and will always be having some type of trouble. That was a racist statement when it was recited in the Jack Nicholson movie (a movie that has not held up well over time in my opinion) and it's a racist statement today.

Due to incoherent use of quotation marks and the lack of link to the quoted article, it is impossible to see where the direct quotation is finished and Elisabeth's commentary resumes. In any case, the brilliant chain of logic: "Chinatown - Lebanon is just foreigners blah blah blah... - racist statement blah blah" left me breathless.

What can I say, Elisabeth? I am both totally thrilled and also confused. Here is our favorite confusion sign to prove that I am telling the truth:

Psychotherapist - heal thyself!