Note to the reader: The following was submitted to the Globe and Mail in response to their repeat of the net-infamous N.Y. Times Article of Jan. 10
January 20, 1996
I spent some time today looking through the window of the language laundry. I could be mistaken, but it seems to me that everytime someone inadvertently pushes the "freedom of speech" button, the anti-static compound (which, in theory at least, should remove all traces of unsightly pro-censorship wrinkles) fails miserably. And when the wash is finally hung out to dry, I find that truth has been taken to the cleaners.
As an example, I find in today's issue of the Globe and Mail, an article on the timely topic of "Internet Racism". No doubt the Globe has performed an invaluable service by apprising its net-literacy challenged readers of this ten-day old US take on a controversial issue.
The Globe's made in Canada headline did take a slightly different tack. ("Group Urges an International Ban On Hate Groups' Messages Joins in Move to Censor Offensive Material" had been the cry of the NY Times on Jan. 10) and I'm sure that the Aryan Nations appreciated the additional attention accorded their website. I rather think though, that the folks at imusic.com will be somewhat surprised to learn that Canada's National Newspaper has described them as a "hate organization on the World Wide Web" and that theirs is "the home-page of a white-supremacist network".
Unless imusic.com has significantly changed its tune (or perhaps there are some hidden notes that I missed - I do surf graphically light with my autoload images off), I think the Globe has given imusic.com a bad rap. When I visited the site there was indeed a link to the Aryan Nations noble parent, described quite accurately by imusic as "a slick white supremacy page" - exactly as "advertised" in the Globe. imusic.com does take a firm position against censorship of music. But I don't understand how this makes it a "hate organization".
Since I was in a surfing mood anyway, I re-visited the Simon Wiesenthal Center website. I scoured their Jan. 12 News Release again, certain that when I first read it on Jan. 13, I must have missed statements confirming their alleged alliance with those who call for "censorship" and "banning". I did notice that they had made some modifications to the wording on the page and one might fault them for not noting that this was a Jan. 15 News Release. But I could find no mention of the dreaded c-word - nor of the dreaded b-word.
I did find, on both visits, that they called for the adoption of "voluntary acceptable-use guidelines" and "acceptable-use standards similar to those used by other media providers". But how does requesting that a business tell groups to "take their money elsewhere" translate into a call for "censorship" or "banning"?
And I found it curious, to say the least, that Peter Lewis should choose to describe a debate topic as "whether the Holocaust actually occurred" - a more accurate description would be the refutation of unsubstantiated assertions by those who would deny that the Holocaust occurred. It is quite apparent that Mr. Lewis has never had occasion to read the IHR's "publications". Had he done so he would have recognized that these pseudo-intellectual tracts, whose authors masquerade as the voices of reason and seekers of truth - and who mistakenly call themselves "revisionists" - do not "challenge the existence of the Holocaust": they spin webs of deception and disinformation.
I'm sure there must have been a very good reason for assisting the mouse-dependent by pointing the way to the beleaguered bastions of doublespeak - at the expense perhaps of using the space to provide the mouse-clicker's guide to the context galaxy.
How unfortunate that, when doing his research for the article, Lewis did not scroll down David Abitbol's "Net Hate" page, where he would also have found a link to The Nizkor Project described by Abitbol as: "... by far, the best and most extensive anti-racist, anti-holocaust denial site on the internet. It's run by Ken McVay and a whole slew of volunteers and contains every bit of information you could possibly want on the subject."
Run your words through the machines at the language laundry and active promotion of hatred and violence can be sanitized. Just mention "challenge", "point of view", "offensive", or "bad speech". Why it almost approaches respectability! But the active promotion of "tolerance" and education becomes "banning" and "censorship" - almost as unsightly as static-cling.
Is it time to call the Maytag repairman?
| Hilary's Home Page | The Un-Index | All About Hilary |
Revised October 19, 1997
Copyright © 1996 Hilary Ostrov