Présidence Trump: Attention, une faute peut en cacher une autre (Twitter president: That a New York billionaire almost alone grasped how red-state America truly thought, talked and acted will remain one of the astonishing ironies of American political history)

18 mars, 2017
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A working class hero is something to be. John Lennon
Aux États-Unis, les plus opulents citoyens ont bien soin de ne point s’isoler du peuple ; au contraire, ils s’en rapprochent sans cesse, ils l’écoutent volontiers et lui parlent tous les jours. Ils savent que les riches des démocraties ont toujours besoin des pauvres et que, dans les temps démocratiques, on s’attache le pauvre par les manières plus que par les bienfaits. La grandeur même des bienfaits, qui met en lumière la différence des conditions, cause une irritation secrète à ceux qui en profitent; mais la simplicité des manières a des charmes presque irrésistibles : leur familiarité entraîne et leur grossièreté même ne déplaît pas toujours. Ce n’est pas du premier coup que cette vérité pénètre dans l’esprit des riches. Ils y résistent d’ordinaire tant que dure la révolution démocratique, et ils ne l’abandonnent même point aussitôt après que cette révolution est accomplie. Ils consentent volontiers à faire du bien au peuple ; mais ils veulent continuer à le tenir à distance. Ils croient que cela suffit ; ils se trompent. Ils se ruineraient ainsi sans réchauffer le coeur de la population qui les environne. Ce n’est pas le sacrifice de leur argent qu’elle leur demande; c’est celui de leur orgueil. Tocqueville
J’appelle stratégies de condescendance ces transgressions symboliques de la limite qui permettent d’avoir à la fois les profits de la conformité à la définition et les profits de la transgression : c’est le cas de l’aristocrate qui tape sur la croupe du palefrenier et dont on dira «  Il est simple », sous-entendu, pour un aristocrate, c’est-à-dire un homme d’essence supérieure, dont l’essence ne comporte pas en principe une telle conduite. (…) Le consacré condescendant choisit délibérément de passer la ligne ; il a le privilège des privilèges, celui qui consiste à prendre des libertés avec son privilège. Pierre  Bourdieu
Il faut inscrire dans la théorie le principe réel des stratégies, c’est-à-dire le sens pratique ou, si l’on préfère, ce que les sportifs appellent le sens du jeu, comme maîtrise pratique de la logique ou de la nécessité immanente d’un jeu qui s’acquiert par l’expérience du jeu et qui fonctionne en deçà de la conscience et du discours (à la façon par exemple des techniques du corps). (…) Mais on peut refuser de voir dans la stratégie le produit d’un programme inconscient sans en faire le produit d’un calcul conscient et rationnel. Elle est le produit du sens pratique comme sens du jeu, d’un jeu social particulier, historiquement défini, qui s’acquiert dès l’enfance en participant aux activités sociales, notamment (…) aux jeux enfantins. Le bon joueur, qui est en quelque sorte le jeu fait homme, fait à chaque instant ce qui est à faire, ce que demande et exige le jeu. Cela suppose une invention permanente, indispensable pour s’adapter à des situations indéfiniment variées, jamais parfaitement identiques. Ce que n’assure pas l’obéissance mécanique à la règle explicite, codifiée (quand elle existe). (…) On voit qu’il n’y a pas à poser le problème en termes de spontanéité et de contrainte, de liberté et de nécessité, d’individu et de social. L’habitus comme sens du jeu est le jeu social incorporé, devenu nature. Rien n’est plus libre ni plus contraint à la fois que l’action du bon joueur. Il se trouve tout naturellement à l’endroit où la balle va tomber, comme si la balle le commandait, mais, par là, il commande à la balle. Pierre Bourdieu (1985)
Rien n’illustre mieux la liberté extraordinaire que donne à l’émetteur une conjonction de facteurs favorisants, que le phénomène de l’hypocorrection. Inverse de l’hypercorrection, phénomène caractéristique du parler petit-bourgeois, l’hypocorrection n’est possible que parce que celui qui transgresse la règle (Giscard par exemple lorsqu’il n’accorde pas le participe passé avec le verbe avoir) manifeste par ailleurs, par d’autres aspects de son langage, la prononciation par exemple, et aussi par tout ce qu’il est, par tout ce qu’il fait, qu’il pourrait parler correctement. Pierre Bourdieu 
C’est une chose que Weber dit en passant dans son livre sur le judaïsme antique : on oublie toujours que le prophète sort du rang des prêtres ; le Grand Hérésiarque est un prophète qui va dire dans la rue ce qui se dit normalement dans l’univers des docteurs. Bourdieu
Samedi 31 décembre, François Hollande prononçait depuis l’Élysée ses derniers vœux présidentiels. Comme il est d’usage lorsque le chef de l’État prend la parole, le compte Twitter de l’Élysée a relayé les phrases les plus importantes du discours en direct. Sauf que le community manager (la personne en charge des réseaux sociaux) du Président l’a fait avec une foultitude de fautes d’orthographes. Ainsi « je me rendrais » au lieu de « rendrai » pour exprimer le futur ; « vous avez tenu bons » avec un « s » en trop ; « le socle et là » au lieu de « est » ; « la France a un rang et des valeurs a défendre » (sans accent sur le « à ») ; « c’est vous qui auraient le dernier mot », pour « aurez ». Le Lab Europe 1
A toutes les équipes de l’École de Gendarmerie de Tulle, mille mercis pour votre engagement aux côtés de nos personnels de l’Éducation. Votre expertise, votre professionalisme impressionnant nous sont plus que précieux. Amitiés. Najat Vallaud-Belkacem
J’adresse mes plus chaleureuses félicitations au Paris Saint Germain qui a fait rêvé notre jeunesse. Najat Vallaud-Belkacem
La brutalité de la droite extrême vêtue d’une parka aussi rouge que le gros rouge qui tâche, voilà ce qui attend le pays. Najat Vallaud-Belkacem
Twitter users are the least literate of the internet users we looked at, with 0.56% of words on the network being either misspelled or otherwise unofficial, perhaps due to its stricter character limit. Americans tend to deviate slightly more than those based in the UK, with the Brits at 0.53% and the USA at the global average of 0.56%. Interestingly, tweeters have been getting increasingly literate over the past few years, getting 0.01% more literate each year since 2011 – is this a result of increased adoption of auto-correcting devices perchance? Females are more likely to deviate too, using unofficial language every 169 words, whereas males do it once every 192. The fairer gender are also responsible for elongating words like arghhh, awwww, soooo and ahhh much more than males, who instead prefer to shorten them to things like gonna, wanna and kinda. The most common form of ‘error’ is the exclusion of apostrophes, resulting in words like im, wont, cant, theres, hes, womens and parents. The second most frequent deviation was the usage of acronyms, the widest used of which was LOL, followed by WTF, LMAO, YOLO, OMG and FFS. In terms of the actual words that are misspelled, here are the favourites: definitely separate embarrass achieve surprise weird government argument. Brandwatch
Bosses regularly complain about the poor literacy standards among school leavers, whose written English in applications forms and CVs can be shocking. The research uses examples such as one applicant stating: ‘I wont to work wiv you’re company.’ Others regularly confuse the words ‘to’ and ‘too’, such as: ‘I’d like too work with you’, while asking whether job ‘oppurtunities’ are ‘avalible’ at the company. Others sign their letters with several kisses, showing an inappropriate level of friendliness with a potential boss who they have never met. Tracy Newby, head of English at Ringmer Community College in East Sussex, said helping her students to learn good spelling and grammar involves a ‘fight’ with social media. She said: ‘Social media has a massive impact on students every day. The Daily Telegraph
Vous allez dans certaines petites villes de Pennsylvanie où, comme ans beaucoup de petites villes du Middle West, les emplois ont disparu depuis maintenant 25 ans et n’ont été remplacés par rien d’autre (…) Et il n’est pas surprenant qu’ils deviennent pleins d’amertume, qu’ils s’accrochent aux armes à feu ou à la religion, ou à leur antipathie pour ceux qui ne sont pas comme eux, ou encore à un sentiment d’hostilité envers les immigrants. Barack Obama (2008)
Pour généraliser, en gros, vous pouvez placer la moitié des partisans de Trump dans ce que j’appelle le panier des pitoyables. Les racistes, sexistes, homophobes, xénophobes, islamophobes. A vous de choisir. Hillary Clinton
Nous avons gagné chez les évangélistes. Nous avons gagné avec les jeunes. Avec les vieux. Avec les diplômés de l’enseignement supérieur. Avec ceux qui sont peu diplômés. J’aime ceux qui sont peu diplômés. Donald Trump
Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest -and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure, it’s not your fault. Donald Trump (2013)
I’m much smarter than them. I think I have a much higher IQ. I think I went to a better college — better everything. Donald Trump
Maybe if these elites-pretending-not-to-be-elites deigned to talk to some knowledgeable elites in government once in a while, they might emerge from the distorted, belligerent, dystopian, Darwinian, cracked-mirror world that is alarming Americans and our allies. They might even stop ripping off the working-class people they claim to be helping. Maureen Dowd
I was in Doha last week, and a Sudanese woman approached me to explain how desperate she felt about the fact that her son, at school in the United States, now felt unable to travel to see her. He was afraid that if he left he might not be allowed back. In lots of small and not-so-small ways, the mean, militaristic mind of the American president has come to inhabit people’s lives. If a budget can be a portrait of a soul, then this president’s is arid and shriveled. It is filled with contempt for the needy. Here is a man dismissive of the arts, the environment, the humanities, diplomacy, peacekeeping, science, public education and civilian national service — in short, civilization itself. If he could defund goodness he would. Charity is also ripe for the ax. Creativity needs skewering. Giving is weakness. All that counts are acquisitive instinct, walls and bans (of the kind that keep mother and son apart), displays of power, and the frisson of selective cruelty that lay behind his successful TV show. Everyone is now Donald Trump’s apprentice, at least as he sees it. In Doha, at The New York Times “Art for Tomorrow” conference, I met the artist Christo. This was before rumors that Trump wants to cut all funding to the National Endowment for the Arts were confirmed. It’s been a particularly hard couple of months for Christo. He knows all about walls. He knows all about being a refugee. As a young man in the 1950s, he fled communist Bulgaria, then part of the totalitarian Soviet imperium. When the Berlin Wall went up in 1961, he made a wall of oil barrels on the Rue Visconti in Paris. From 1964 to 1967, he lived as an illegal immigrant in New York with his late wife Jeanne-Claude, before getting a green card and becoming a citizen in 1973. By the time America opened its arms to him, he had been stateless for 17 years. Freedom meant something. The United States was more than a country; it was an idea. (…) For more than two decades, Christo has labored to create a work called “Over the River” in Colorado — a canopy of silvery fabric that was to have been suspended for two weeks over 42 miles of the Arkansas River, a flowing, billowing liquid mirror. But now, after spending some $15 million, he has walked away in perhaps the biggest single act of protest by an artist against Donald Trump. Much of the land is federally owned. As Christo explained to my colleague Randy Kennedy earlier this year, “The federal government is our landlord. They own the land. I can’t do a project that benefits this landlord.” In Doha, Christo, who is 81, refused to sit down. Defiance is part of him. To live freely is an immense act of will. For an hour he spoke with irrepressible vitality. Eat little, he counseled, in order to channel energy (in his case yogurt with garlic for breakfast, then nothing until dinner). Decide what you want — that is the most difficult part — and then apply yourself without compromise to that end. (…) The only use I can imagine for Trump’s grotesque wall is for Christo to wrap it and set us free. Roger Cohen
It’s bizarre that Trump, who has bragged about his MBA from the University of Pennsylvania, is now lumping himself in with the « poorly educated. »But it’s true that the more educated Republicans are, the less likely they are to warm up to him. According to exit polls, Trump won Nevada voters without a high school degree with 57 percent of the vote. He won voters with some college with 49 percent of the vote. He won college graduates with 42 percent of the vote. And among those with a postgraduate degree, his share was only 37 percent. Vox
Trump did graduate from the Wharton School of business at the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League college. But Trump did not get an MBA from Wharton; he has a much less prestigious undergraduate degree. He was a transfer student who arrived at Wharton after two years at Fordham University, which U.S. News & World Report currently ranks 66th among national universities. (Besides, simply going to an Ivy League school doesn’t prove you’re a genius.) Gwenda Blair, in her 2001 book “The Trumps,” said that Trump’s grades at Fordham were just “respectable” and that he got into Wharton mainly because he had an interview with an admissions officer who had been a high school classmate of his older brother. And Wharton’s admissions team surely knew that Trump was from one of New York’s wealthiest families. For years, numerous media reports said Trump graduated first in his class from Wharton, but that’s wrong. The 1968 commencement program does not list him as graduating with any sort of honors. In fact, the Boston Globe reported that he barely made an impression at all: “His former classmates said he seemed a student who spoke up a lot but rarely shined in class, who barely participated in campus activities, shunned fraternity parties.” 
He’s done so well with these people with who are high school educated, and I don’t mean this in a demeaning way at all, but it’s the fact, and the more blue collar workers who really are the heart of America and they think finally somebody is speaking for them but the truth is he is not for them not in his real life and that needs to be highlighted. (…) It doesn’t seem like he can be beaten at this point because he not only has all these poll figures in his favor but he has the momentum. The momentum is not only moving with him but ahead of him because people are still excited to see Donald Trump, if for the show if nothing else. (…)  you can’t keep saying he’s not a conservative because no one really cares about that apparently. They’re not driven by ideological arguments; they’re driven by their emotional feel that he’s on their team which is another joke. What they can do is make a very clear case how Donald Trump has crushed the little man on his way to larger and taller monuments to himself. Kathleen Parker (Washington Post)
Les gens  attendaient  Trump  et  son  discours franc, qui dit les choses comme elles sont et qui promet de défendre les intérêts du peuple.  Il  ne  tourne  pas  autour  du  pot  et c’est ça qu’on aime. (…)  et même si Trump ne le sait pas,  je  suis  persuadé  qu’il  a  été  envoyé par Dieu pour réparer ce pays et lui rendre  sa  grandeur  !  Le  système  est  corrompu,  nous  devons  revenir  aux  fondamentaux  :  les  valeurs  américaines,  le travail, le respect. Obama  est  allé  s’excuser  autour  du  monde, et  résultat,  personne  ne  nous  respecte. Cela va changer. Kelly Lee (électeur)
Les choses vont changer avec Trump car ce  n’est  pas  un  politicien,  il  ne  doit rien à cette élite qui vit entre elle depuis si longtemps. Mike Costello (électeur)
Les médias sont en embuscade, mais nous ne sommes pas inquiets parce que le peuple a vraiment vu le vrai visage partisan  de  ces  médias.  Trump  ne  se  laissera pas  faire.  Au  début  j’ai  été  choquée  de voir   son   usage   de   Twitter   car   je   suis conservatrice. Mais maintenant, je comprends.  Il  déjouera  leurs  plans  et  dira aux gens ce qu’il pense vraiment s’ils déforment    ses    propos. Nous avons besoin de lois. Aujourd’hui, les  gardes-frontières  n’ont  pas  le  droit d’arrêter les illégaux et laissent des villes sanctuaires  les  protéger  sans  la  moindre sanction.  Est-ce  normal  ?  La  presse  dit que c’est raciste de penser ce que je vous dis,   mais   c’est   ridicule   !   Nous   serions donc devenus une nation de racistes par- ce   que   nous   ne   sommes   pas   d’accord avec  ce   laxisme ? Annette (électrice)
Ce  qui  nous  plaît   chez Trump, c’est qu’il ne doit rien à personne. Il est milliardaire mais il accepte de faire  ce  job  pour  sauver  le  pays.  Il  n’en   avait pas besoin. C’est son atout. Car il va  pouvoir  se  concentrer  sur  l’essentiel,  au   lieu de penser à être réélu.  Obama  s’est  trop  excusé, nous devons montrer notre force. Nous espérons  que  Trump  sera  le  Reagan  de   notre  génération. James Mack (ouvrier machiniste de Pennsylvanie)
It’s not just visual: In interview after interview in all corners of the state, I’ve found that Trump’s support across the ideological spectrum remains strong. Democrats, Republicans, independents, people who have not voted in presidential elections for years — they have not wavered in their support. Two components of these voters’ answers and profiles remain consistent: They are middle-class, and they do not live in a big city. They are suburban to rural and are not poor — an element I found fascinating, until a Gallup survey last week confirmed that what I’ve gathered in interviews is more than just freakishly anecdotal. The Gallup analysis, based on 87,000 interviews over the past year, shows that while economic anxiety and Trump’s appeal are intertwined, his supporters for the most part do not make less than average Americans (not those in New York City or Washington, perhaps, but their Main Street peers) and are less likely to be unemployed. The study backs up what many of my interviews across the state found — that these people are more concerned about their children and grandchildren. While Trump supporters here are overwhelmingly white, their support has little to do with race (yes, you’ll always find one or two who make race the issue) but has a lot to do with a perceived loss of power. Not power in the way that Washington or Wall Street board rooms view power, but power in the sense that these people see a diminishing respect for them and their ways of life, their work ethic, their tendency to not be mobile (many live in the same eight square miles that their father’s father’s father lived in). Thirty years ago, such people determined the country’s standards in entertainment, music, food, clothing, politics, personal values. Today, they are the people who are accused of creating every social injustice imaginable; when anything in society fails, they get blamed. The places where they live lack economic opportunities for the next generation; they know their children and grandchildren will never experience the comfortable situations they had growing up — surrounded by family who lived next door, able to find a great job without going to college, both common traits among many successful small-business owners in the state. These Trump supporters are not the kind you find on Twitter saying dumb or racist things; many of them don’t have the time or the patience to engage in social media because they are too busy working and living life in real time. These are voters who are intellectually offended watching the Affordable Care Act crumble because they warned six years ago that it was an unworkable government overreach. They are the same people who wonder why President Obama has not taken a break from a week of golfing to address the devastating floods in Louisiana. (As one woman told me, “It appears as if he only makes statements during tragedies if there is political gain attached.”) Voice such a remark, and you risk being labeled a racist in many parts of America. The Joe-Six-Pack stereotype of a Trump supporter was not created in a vacuum; it’s real and it’s out there. Yet, if you dig down deep into the Gallup survey — or, better yet, take a drive 15 minutes outside of most cities in America — you will learn a different story. That is, if you look and listen. Salena Zito
America is coming apart. For most of our nation’s history, whatever the inequality in wealth between the richest and poorest citizens, we maintained a cultural equality known nowhere else in the world—for whites, anyway. (…) But t’s not true anymore, and it has been progressively less true since the 1960s. People are starting to notice the great divide. The tea party sees the aloofness in a political elite that thinks it knows best and orders the rest of America to fall in line. The Occupy movement sees it in an economic elite that lives in mansions and flies on private jets. Each is right about an aspect of the problem, but that problem is more pervasive than either political or economic inequality. What we now face is a problem of cultural inequality. When Americans used to brag about « the American way of life »—a phrase still in common use in 1960—they were talking about a civic culture that swept an extremely large proportion of Americans of all classes into its embrace. It was a culture encompassing shared experiences of daily life and shared assumptions about central American values involving marriage, honesty, hard work and religiosity. Over the past 50 years, that common civic culture has unraveled. We have developed a new upper class with advanced educations, often obtained at elite schools, sharing tastes and preferences that set them apart from mainstream America. At the same time, we have developed a new lower class, characterized not by poverty but by withdrawal from America’s core cultural institutions. (…) Why have these new lower and upper classes emerged? For explaining the formation of the new lower class, the easy explanations from the left don’t withstand scrutiny. It’s not that white working class males can no longer make a « family wage » that enables them to marry. The average male employed in a working-class occupation earned as much in 2010 as he did in 1960. It’s not that a bad job market led discouraged men to drop out of the labor force. Labor-force dropout increased just as fast during the boom years of the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s as it did during bad years. (…) As I’ve argued in much of my previous work, I think that the reforms of the 1960s jump-started the deterioration. Changes in social policy during the 1960s made it economically more feasible to have a child without having a husband if you were a woman or to get along without a job if you were a man; safer to commit crimes without suffering consequences; and easier to let the government deal with problems in your community that you and your neighbors formerly had to take care of. But, for practical purposes, understanding why the new lower class got started isn’t especially important. Once the deterioration was under way, a self-reinforcing loop took hold as traditionally powerful social norms broke down. Because the process has become self-reinforcing, repealing the reforms of the 1960s (something that’s not going to happen) would change the trends slowly at best. Meanwhile, the formation of the new upper class has been driven by forces that are nobody’s fault and resist manipulation. The economic value of brains in the marketplace will continue to increase no matter what, and the most successful of each generation will tend to marry each other no matter what. As a result, the most successful Americans will continue to trend toward consolidation and isolation as a class. Changes in marginal tax rates on the wealthy won’t make a difference. Increasing scholarships for working-class children won’t make a difference. The only thing that can make a difference is the recognition among Americans of all classes that a problem of cultural inequality exists and that something has to be done about it. That « something » has nothing to do with new government programs or regulations. Public policy has certainly affected the culture, unfortunately, but unintended consequences have been as grimly inevitable for conservative social engineering as for liberal social engineering. The « something » that I have in mind has to be defined in terms of individual American families acting in their own interests and the interests of their children. Doing that in Fishtown requires support from outside. There remains a core of civic virtue and involvement in working-class America that could make headway against its problems if the people who are trying to do the right things get the reinforcement they need—not in the form of government assistance, but in validation of the values and standards they continue to uphold. The best thing that the new upper class can do to provide that reinforcement is to drop its condescending « nonjudgmentalism. » Married, educated people who work hard and conscientiously raise their kids shouldn’t hesitate to voice their disapproval of those who defy these norms. When it comes to marriage and the work ethic, the new upper class must start preaching what it practices. Charles Murray
We’re in the midst of a rebellion. The bottom and middle are pushing against the top. It’s a throwing off of old claims and it’s been going on for a while, but we’re seeing it more sharply after New Hampshire. This is not politics as usual, which by its nature is full of surprise. There’s something deep, suggestive, even epochal about what’s happening now. I have thought for some time that there’s a kind of soft French Revolution going on in America, with the angry and blocked beginning to push hard against an oblivious elite. It is not only political. Yes, it is about the Democratic National Committee, that house of hacks, and about a Republican establishment owned by the donor class. But establishment journalism, which for eight months has been simultaneously at Donald Trump’s feet (“Of course you can call us on your cell from the bathtub for your Sunday show interview!”) and at his throat (“Trump supporters, many of whom are nativists and nationalists . . .”) is being rebelled against too. Their old standing as guides and gatekeepers? Gone, and not only because of multiplying platforms. (…) All this goes hand in hand with the general decline of America’s faith in its institutions. We feel less respect for almost all of them—the church, the professions, the presidency, the Supreme Court. The only formal national institution that continues to score high in terms of public respect (72% in the most recent Gallup poll) is the military (…) we are in a precarious position in the U.S. with so many of our institutions going down. Many of those pushing against the system have no idea how precarious it is or what they will be destroying. Those defending it don’t know how precarious its position is or even what they’re defending, or why. But people lose respect for a reason. (…) It’s said this is the year of anger but there’s a kind of grim practicality to Trump and Sanders supporters. They’re thinking: Let’s take a chance. Washington is incapable of reform or progress; it’s time to reach outside. Let’s take a chance on an old Brooklyn socialist. Let’s take a chance on the casino developer who talks on TV. In doing so, they accept a decline in traditional political standards. You don’t have to have a history of political effectiveness anymore; you don’t even have to have run for office! “You’re so weirdly outside the system, you may be what the system needs.” They are pouring their hope into uncertain vessels, and surely know it. Bernie Sanders is an actual radical: He would fundamentally change an economic system that imperfectly but for two centuries made America the wealthiest country in the history of the world. In the young his support is understandable: They have never been taught anything good about capitalism and in their lifetimes have seen it do nothing—nothing—to protect its own reputation. It is middle-aged Sanders supporters who are more interesting. They know what they’re turning their backs on. They know they’re throwing in the towel. My guess is they’re thinking something like: Don’t aim for great now, aim for safe. Terrorism, a world turning upside down, my kids won’t have it better—let’s just try to be safe, more communal. A shrewdness in Sanders and Trump backers: They share one faith in Washington, and that is in its ability to wear anything down. They think it will moderate Bernie, take the edges off Trump. For this reason they don’t see their choices as so radical. (…) The mainstream journalistic mantra is that the GOP is succumbing to nativism, nationalism and the culture of celebrity. That allows them to avoid taking seriously Mr. Trump’s issues: illegal immigration and Washington’s 15-year, bipartisan refusal to stop it; political correctness and how it is strangling a free people; and trade policies that have left the American working class displaced, adrift and denigrated. Mr. Trump’s popularity is propelled by those issues and enabled by his celebrity. (…) Mr. Trump is a clever man with his finger on the pulse, but his political future depends on two big questions. The first is: Is he at all a good man? Underneath the foul mouthed flamboyance is he in it for America? The second: Is he fully stable? He acts like a nut, calling people bimbos, flying off the handle with grievances. Is he mature, reliable? Is he at all a steady hand? Political professionals think these are side questions. “Let’s accuse him of not being conservative!” But they are the issue. Because America doesn’t deliberately elect people it thinks base, not to mention crazy. Peggy Noonan
In 1978, the eminent sociologist William Julius Wilson argued confidently that class would soon displace race as the most important social variable in American life. As explicit legal barriers to minority advancement receded farther into the past, the fates of the working classes of different races would converge. By the mid 2000s, Wilson’s thesis looked pretty good: The black middle class was vibrant and growing as the average black wealth nearly doubled from 1995 to 2005. Race appeared to lose its salience as a political predictor: More and more blacks were voting Republican, reversing a decades-long trend, and in 2004 George W. Bush collected the highest share of the Latino (44 percent) vote of any Republican ever and a higher share of the Asian vote (43 percent) than he did in 2000. Our politics grew increasingly ideological and less racial: Progressives and the beneficiaries of a generous social-welfare state generally supported the Democratic party, while more prosperous voters were more likely to support Republicans. Stable majorities expressed satisfaction with the state of race relations. It wasn’t quite a post-racial politics, but it was certainly headed in that direction. But in the midst of the financial crisis of 2007, something happened. Both the white poor and the black poor began to struggle mightily, though for different reasons. And our politics changed dramatically in response. It’s ironic that the election of the first black president marked the end of our brief flirtation with a post-racial politics. By 2011, William Julius Wilson had published a slight revision of his earlier thesis, noting the continued importance of race. The black wealth of the 1990s, it turned out, was built on the mirage of house values. Inner-city murder rates, which had fallen for decades, began to tick upward in 2015. In one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent memory, a white supremacist murdered nine black people in a South Carolina church. And the ever-present antagonism between the police and black Americans — especially poor blacks whose neighborhoods are the most heavily policed — erupted into nationwide protests. Meanwhile, the white working class descended into an intense cultural malaise. Prescription-opioid abuse skyrocketed, and deaths from heroin overdoses clogged the obituaries of local papers. In the small, heavily white Ohio county where I grew up, overdoses overtook nature as the leading cause of death. A drug that for so long was associated with inner-city ghettos became the cultural inheritance of the southern and Appalachian white: White youths died from heroin significantly more often than their peers of other ethnicities. Incarceration and divorce rates increased steadily. Perhaps most strikingly, while the white working class continued to earn more than the working poor of other races, only 24 percent of white voters believed that the next generation would be “better off.” No other ethnic group expressed such alarming pessimism about its economic future. And even as each group struggled in its own way, common forces also influenced them. Rising automation in blue-collar industries deprived both groups of high-paying, low-skill jobs. Neighborhoods grew increasingly segregated — both by income and by race — ensuring that poor whites lived among poor whites while poor blacks lived among poor blacks. As a friend recently told me about San Francisco, Bull Connor himself couldn’t have designed a city with fewer black residents. Predictably, our politics began to match this new social reality. In 2012, Mitt Romney collected only 27 percent of the Latino vote. Asian Americans, a solid Republican constituency even in the days of Bob Dole, went for Obama by a three-to-one margin — a shocking demographic turn of events over two decades. Meanwhile, the black Republican became an endangered species. Republican failures to attract black voters fly in the face of Republican history. This was the party of Lincoln and Douglass. Eisenhower integrated the school in Little Rock at a time when the Dixiecrats were the defenders of the racial caste system.(…) For many progressives, the Sommers and Norton research confirms the worst stereotypes of American whites. Yet it also reflects, in some ways, the natural conclusions of an increasingly segregated white poor. (…) The reality is not that black Americans enjoy special privileges. In fact, the overwhelming weight of the evidence suggests that the opposite is true. Last month, for instance, the brilliant Harvard economist Roland Fryer published an exhaustive study of police uses of force. He found that even after controlling for crime rates and police presence in a given neighborhood, black youths were far likelier to be pushed, thrown to the ground, or harassed by police. (Notably, he also found no racial disparity in the use of lethal force.) (…) Getting whipped into a frenzy on conspiracy websites, or feeling that distant, faceless elites dislike you because of your white skin, doesn’t compare. But the great advantages of whiteness in America are invisible to the white poor, or are completely swallowed by the disadvantages of their class. The young man from West Virginia may be less likely to get questioned by Yale University police, but making it to Yale in the first place still requires a remarkable combination of luck and skill. In building a dialogue around “checking privilege,” the modern progressive elite is implicitly asking white America — especially the segregated white poor — for a level of social awareness unmatched in the history of the country. White failure to empathize with blacks is sometimes a failure of character, but it is increasingly a failure of geography and socialization. Poor whites in West Virginia don’t have the time or the inclination to read Harvard economics studies. And the privileges that matter — that is, the ones they see — are vanishing because of destitution: the privilege to pay for college without bankruptcy, the privilege to work a decent job, the privilege to put food on the table without the aid of food stamps, the privilege not to learn of yet another classmate’s premature death. (…) Because of this polarization, the racial conversation we’re having today is tribalistic. On one side are primarily white people, increasingly represented by the Republican party and the institutions of conservative media. On the other is a collection of different minority groups and a cosmopolitan — and usually wealthier — class of whites. These sides don’t even speak the same language: One side sees white privilege while the other sees anti-white racism. There is no room for agreement or even understanding. J. D. Vance
Est-ce le plus beau cadeau qu’Hillary Clinton ait fait à son adversaire ? En traitant “la moitié” des électeurs de Trump de “basket of deplorables”, Hillary a donné à l’équipe Trump un nouveau slogan de campagne : Les Deplorables (en français sur l’affiche avec le “e” sans accent, et aussi sur les t-shirts, sur les pots à café, dans la salle, etc.) ; avec depuis hier une affiche empruntée au formidable succès de scène de 2012 à Broadway Les Misérables (avec le “é” accentué, ou Les Mis’, tout cela en français sur l’affiche et sur la scène), et retouchée à la mesure-Trump (drapeau US à la place du drapeau français, bannière avec le nom de Trump). Grâce soit rendue à Hillary, le mot a une certaine noblesse et une signification à la fois, – étrangement, – précise et sophistiqué, dont le sens négatif peut aisément être retourné dans un contexte politique donné (le mot lui-même a, également en anglais, un sens négatif et un sens positif), surtout avec la référence au titre du livre de Hugo devenu si populaire aux USA depuis 2012…  L’équipe Trump reprend également la chanson-standard de la comédie musicale “Do You Hear the People Sing”, tout cela à partir d’une idée originale d’un partisan de Trump, un artiste-graphiste qui se désigne sous le nom de Keln : il a réalisé la composition graphique à partir de l’affiche des Misérables et l’a mise en ligne en espérant qu’elle serait utilisée par Trump. Depuis quelques jours déjà, les partisans de Trump se baptisent de plus en plus eux-mêmes Les Deplorables (comme l’on disait il y a 4-5 ans “les indignés”) et se reconnaissent entre eux grâce à ce mot devenu porte-drapeau et slogan et utilisé sur tous les produits habituels (“nous sommes tous des Deplorables”, comme d’autres disaient, dans le temps, “Nous sommes tous des juifs allemands”). De l’envolée de Clinton, – dont elle s’est excusée mais sans parvenir à contenir l’effet “déplorable” pour elle, ni l’effet-boomerang comme on commence à le mesurer, –nous écrivions ceci le 15 septembre : « L’expression (“panier” ou “paquet de déplorables”), qui qualifie à peu près une moitié des électeurs de Trump, est assez étrange, sinon arrogante et insultante, voire sophistiquée et devrait être très en vogue dans les salons progressistes et chez les milliardaires d’Hollywood ; elle s’accompagne bien entendu des autres qualificatifs classiques formant le minimum syndical de l’intellectuel-Système, dits explicitement par Hillary, de “racistes”, xénophobes”, et ajoutons comme sous-entendus “crétins absolus” ou bien “sous-hommes”, et ajoutons encore implicitement “irrécupérables” et de la sorte “à liquider” ou à envoyer en camp de rééducation ou plutôt à l’asile, comme l’éclairé Bacri conseille de faire avec Zemmour. » Récupéré par les électeurs de Trump eux-mêmes puis par l’équipe Trump, le slogan peu résonner comme un cri de révolte qui pourrait donner un formidable rythme et un atout considérable de communication à la campagne du candidat républicain. Philippe Grasset
Hillary Clinton’s comment that half of Donald Trump’s supporters are “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic”—a heck of a lot of phobia for anyone to lug around all day—puts back in play what will be seen as one of the 2016 campaign’s defining forces: the revolt of the politically incorrect. They may not live at the level of Victor Hugo’s “Les Misérables,” but it was only a matter of time before les déplorables—our own writhing mass of unheard Americans—rebelled against the intellectual elites’ ancien régime of political correctness. (…) Mrs. Clinton’s (…) dismissal, at Barbra Streisand’s LGBT fundraiser, of uncounted millions of Americans as deplorables had the ring of genuine belief. Perhaps sensing that public knowledge of what she really thinks could be a political liability, Mrs. Clinton went on to describe “people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them . . . and they’re just desperate for change.” She is of course describing the people in Charles Murray’s recent and compelling book on cultural disintegration among the working class, “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010.” This is indeed the bedrock of the broader Trump base. Mrs. Clinton is right that they feel the system has let them down. There is a legitimate argument over exactly when the rising digital economy started transferring income away from blue-collar workers and toward the “creative class” of Google and Facebook employees, no few of whom are smug progressives who think the landmass seen from business class between San Francisco and New York is pocked with deplorable, phobic Americans. Naturally, they’ll vote for the status quo, which is Hillary. But in the eight years available to Barack Obama to do something about what rankles the lower-middle class—white, black or brown—the non-employed and underemployed grew. A lot of them will vote for Donald Trump because they want a radical mid-course correction. (…) The progressive Democrats, a wholly public-sector party, have disconnected from the realities of the private economy, which exists as a mysterious revenue-producing abstraction. Hillary’s comments suggest they now see much of the population has a cultural and social abstraction. (…) Donald Trump’s appeal, in part, is that he cracks back at progressive cultural condescension in utterly crude terms. Nativists exist, and the sky is still blue. But the overwhelming majority of these people aren’t phobic about a modernizing America. They’re fed up with the relentless, moral superciliousness of Hillary, the Obamas, progressive pundits and 19-year-old campus activists. Evangelicals at last week’s Values Voter Summit said they’d look past Mr. Trump’s personal résumé. This is the reason. It’s not about him. The moral clarity that drove the original civil-rights movement or the women’s movement has degenerated into a confused moral narcissism. (…) It is a mistake, though, to blame Hillary alone for that derisive remark. It’s not just her. Hillary Clinton is the logical result of the Democratic Party’s new, progressive algorithm—a set of strict social rules that drives politics and the culture to one point of view. (…) Her supporters say it’s Donald Trump’s rhetoric that is “divisive.” Just so. But it’s rich to hear them claim that their words and politics are “inclusive.” So is the town dump. They have chopped American society into so many offendable identities that only a Yale freshman can name them all. If the Democrats lose behind Hillary Clinton, it will be in part because America’s les déplorables decided enough of this is enough. Bret Stephens
Il n’y a évidemment que des coups à prendre – et ils sont nombreux – lorsque l’on dénonce les discours alarmistes qui visent l’Amérique de Donald J. Trump.  Mais, contrairement aux chiens de garde de BFMTV, la Rédaction de Marianne ne « dégage » pas ceux qui font entendre une voix dissonante (un cas de « délit d’opinion » s’y est produit ces jours derniers), ce qui est tout à l’honneur de Delphine Legouté et Renaud Dely, en particulier, mais également de TSF Jazz et Radio Nova qui ont régulièrement donné la parole à l’auteur de ce blog qui existe depuis mars 2012. La démocratie à l’épreuve du verbe est tout ce que ceux qui se revendiquent du camp des « progressistes » redoutent. L’histoire n’est pas nouvelle. Ceux qui se paient de mots et veulent censurer les mots des autres n’ont rien de différents de ces gens qui se rendent le dimanche à la messe et sont, pour quelques un, des salauds hors les murs de l’église ou trop souvent, des intolérants, et de ces autres dont Montaigne disait qu’ils «envoyent leur conscience au bordel, et tiennent leur contenance en règle». Le tout, c’est de conserver un langage agréable à l’oreille, d’afficher des convictions à vous faire croire que certains humains naissent naturellement purs de tout instinct grisâtre et de toute idée injuste et surtout, de défendre la belle idée plutôt que l’action qui elle, comporte toujours sa part de risque et d’échec. Les centaines de milliers de personnes qui viennent de défiler, aux Etats-Unis et à travers le monde, pour crier leur opposition voire leur haine contre le 45ème président des Etats-Unis sont tout à fait en droit de revendiquer, mais que revendiquent-ils au juste ? Ils disent s’opposer à la violence, et la chanteuse Madonna porte leur voix en disant qu’elle a pensé à « faire exploser la Maison-Blanche ». Ils veulent la paix dans le monde et ne se sont pas lancés dans les rues pour demander à « leur » président, Barack Obama, de traiter la montée de l’Etat Islamique et l’effondrement de la société syrienne avec le sérieux nécessaire. Ils demandent le respect vis-à-vis des immigrants mais on ne les a vu nulle part pour s’opposer à la plus grande vague d’expulsions jamais organisée et qui a marqué les deux mandats de Barack Obama, sans compter le travail des fameuses brigades « ICE », en charge de la traque des illégaux. On ne les a jamais vus, non plus, le long des 1300 kilomètres de mur déjà construit à la frontière avec le Mexique. Ils n’ont pas organisé de « sittings » géants pour demander la fin des exécutions capitales ou la grâce de Snowden, Manning ou Bregham. Pire : les « millennials », ainsi que l’on appelle les plus jeunes, ou les Afro-Américains, ont boudé les urnes et ont fait défaut à la candidate démocrate Hillary Clinton le 8 novembre. Ce sont les mêmes qui scandent « Trump n’est pas mon président ». Les femmes ? Offusquées, scandalisées par les propos et les attitudes de Trump, oui, mais leur colère date t-elle de son apparition dans le paysage politique américain ? Et cette colère, dont on ne sait plus ni les contours ni les messages tant ils sont portés par une rage totale, quelle est sa finalité, quelle mesure, quel changement, au juste, peuvent l’apaiser ? On ne sait plus. (…) Comment expliquer tant de frustrations, de colères, de fureurs, au terme de huit années de pouvoir d’un homme aussi célébré que Barack Obama ? On lui impute soudain mille législations et actions positives, alors que l’on dénonçait, hier encore, l’obstruction systématique des Républicains – élus, soit dit en passant, lors des élections intermédiaires – à toutes ses entreprises. On s’attaque à un système électoral que personne ne change depuis sa mise en place et que l’on ne dénonce pas quand il profite à son camp. On annonce une guerre totale contre l’administration Trump lorsqu’hier, on s’en prenait au manque d’esprit bipartite du camp républicain. Tout cela est incohérent. Toute cette séquence, en réalité, est de pure rhétorique. Certes, dans nos pays européens, à l’exception de l’Angleterre, où l’expression publique est bornée par des lois visant à contenir certains outrages, Donald J. Trump se serait exposé à de nombreuses plaintes sinon condamnations. Mais quelle ironie que de voir les Américains, qui vénèrent la liberté d’expression totale et méprisent nos entraves à cette liberté, s’émouvoir soudain des débordements de M. Trump. Le puritanisme américain a encore de beaux jours devant lui. C’est le même qui préside au sentiment de bien faire, d’exporter la démocratie dans le monde, tout en pilotant des drones meurtriers ou en fabriquant de futurs terroristes dans des geôles à Guantanamo ou ailleurs : l’important, c’est de faire les choses avec une bonne intention, de ne pas en parler et d’avoir bonne conscience, bref, de garder son exquise politesse. C’est au nom de cet état d’esprit que l’Amérique – et le monde – célèbre toujours un John Fitzgerald-Kennedy quand bien-même ce dernier fut le premier président autorisant fin août 1961, le premier usage du Napalm sur les paysans vietnamiens. Ce n’est pas une affaire strictement américaine : la France et son Indochine, avec son discours sur la patrie des droits de l’Homme et ses Sangatte, n’a pas de leçon à donner aux Yankees. Tout comme l’époque est au ricanement, comme le dit fort justement Alain Finkielkraut, tout comme l’époque est au souriant antisémitisme ou la célébration de tout ce qui est jeune, femme ou de couleur dans le camp des prétendu « progressistes », elle l’est au déni. Désormais, chaque action, chaque signature du nouveau président américain fera résonner le monde de colère et de condamnation, et la politique américaine va se résumer à un vaste complot visant à l’abattre et avec lui, son administration. C’est cela, désormais, la démocratie, la lutte des gens « bien » contre les méchants et les imbéciles. Le problème, c’est que les gens bien se plaignent de tout ce qu’ils on fait et n’ont pas fait lorsqu’ils en avaient le pouvoir, pour le reprocher à ceux auxquels il a été confié. Une histoire de fou. Stéphane Trano 
Le génie Trump a vu que la classe politique était un tigre de papier et que le pays était en colère. En prenant la main sur un parti politique américain majeur en tant qu’outsider, il a fait quelque chose de jamais vu, et c’est lui qui devrait gagner. Conrad Black
The furor of ignored Europeans against their union is not just directed against rich and powerful government elites per se, or against the flood of mostly young male migrants from the war-torn Middle East. The rage also arises from the hypocrisy of a governing elite that never seems to be subject to the ramifications of its own top-down policies. The bureaucratic class that runs Europe from Brussels and Strasbourg too often lectures European voters on climate change, immigration, politically correct attitudes about diversity, and the constant need for more bureaucracy, more regulations, and more redistributive taxes. But Euro-managers are able to navigate around their own injunctions, enjoying private schools for their children; generous public pay, retirement packages and perks; frequent carbon-spewing jet travel; homes in non-diverse neighborhoods; and profitable revolving-door careers between government and business. The Western elite classes, both professedly liberal and conservative, square the circle of their privilege with politically correct sermonizing. They romanticize the distant “other” — usually immigrants and minorities — while condescendingly lecturing the middle and working classes, often the losers in globalization, about their lack of sensitivity. On this side of the Atlantic, President Obama has developed a curious habit of talking down to Americans about their supposedly reactionary opposition to rampant immigration, affirmative action, multiculturalism, and political correctness — most notably in his caricatures of the purported “clingers” of Pennsylvania. Yet Obama seems uncomfortable when confronted with the prospect of living out what he envisions for others. He prefers golfing with celebrities to bowling. He vacations in tony Martha’s Vineyard rather than returning home to his Chicago mansion. His travel entourage is royal and hardly green. And he insists on private prep schools for his children rather than enrolling them in the public schools of Washington, D.C., whose educators he so often shields from long-needed reform. In similar fashion, grandees such as Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg and Univision anchorman Jorge Ramos do not live what they profess. They often lecture supposedly less sophisticated Americans on their backward opposition to illegal immigration. But both live in communities segregated from those they champion in the abstract. The Clintons often pontificate about “fairness” but somehow managed to amass a personal fortune of more than $100 million by speaking to and lobbying banks, Wall Street profiteers, and foreign entities. The pay-to-play rich were willing to brush aside the insincere, pro forma social-justice talk of the Clintons and reward Hillary and Bill with obscene fees that would presumably result in lucrative government attention. Consider the recent Orlando tragedy for more of the same paradoxes. The terrorist killer, Omar Mateen — a registered Democrat, proud radical Muslim, and occasional patron of gay dating sites — murdered 49 people and wounded even more in a gay nightclub. His profile and motive certainly did not fit the elite narrative that unsophisticated right-wing American gun owners were responsible because of their support for gun rights. No matter. The Obama administration and much of the media refused to attribute the horror in Orlando to Mateen’s self-confessed radical Islamist agenda. Instead, they blamed the shooter’s semi-automatic .223 caliber rifle and a purported climate of hate toward gays. (…) In sum, elites ignored the likely causes of the Orlando shooting: the appeal of ISIS-generated hatred to some young, second-generation radical Muslim men living in Western societies, and the politically correct inability of Western authorities to short-circuit that clear-cut connection. Instead, the establishment all but blamed Middle America for supposedly being anti-gay and pro-gun. In both the U.S. and Britain, such politically correct hypocrisy is superimposed on highly regulated, highly taxed, and highly governmentalized economies that are becoming ossified and stagnant. The tax-paying middle classes, who lack the romance of the poor and the connections of the elite, have become convenient whipping boys of both in order to leverage more government social programs and to assuage the guilt of the elites who have no desire to live out their utopian theories in the flesh. Victor Davis Hanson
Barack Obama is the Dr. Frankenstein of the supposed Trump monster. If a charismatic, Ivy League-educated, landmark president who entered office with unprecedented goodwill and both houses of Congress on his side could manage to wreck the Democratic Party while turning off 52 percent of the country, then many voters feel that a billionaire New York dealmaker could hardly do worse. If Obama had ruled from the center, dealt with the debt, addressed radical Islamic terrorism, dropped the politically correct euphemisms and pushed tax and entitlement reform rather than Obamacare, Trump might have little traction. A boring Hillary Clinton and a staid Jeb Bush would most likely be replaying the 1992 election between Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush — with Trump as a watered-down version of third-party outsider Ross Perot. But America is in much worse shape than in 1992. And Obama has proved a far more divisive and incompetent president than George H.W. Bush. Little is more loathed by a majority of Americans than sanctimonious PC gobbledygook and its disciples in the media. And Trump claims to be PC’s symbolic antithesis. Making Machiavellian Mexico pay for a border fence or ejecting rude and interrupting Univision anchor Jorge Ramos from a press conference is no more absurd than allowing more than 300 sanctuary cities to ignore federal law by sheltering undocumented immigrants. Putting a hold on the immigration of Middle Eastern refugees is no more illiberal than welcoming into American communities tens of thousands of unvetted foreign nationals from terrorist-ridden Syria. In terms of messaging, is Trump’s crude bombast any more radical than Obama’s teleprompted scripts? Trump’s ridiculous view of Russian President Vladimir Putin as a sort of « Art of the Deal » geostrategic partner is no more silly than Obama insulting Putin as Russia gobbles up former Soviet republics with impunity. Obama callously dubbed his own grandmother a « typical white person, » introduced the nation to the racist and anti-Semitic rantings of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and petulantly wrote off small-town Pennsylvanians as near-Neanderthal « clingers. » Did Obama lower the bar for Trump’s disparagements? Certainly, Obama peddled a slogan, « hope and change, » that was as empty as Trump’s « make America great again. » (…) How does the establishment derail an out-of-control train for whom there are no gaffes, who has no fear of The New York Times, who offers no apologies for speaking what much of the country thinks — and who apparently needs neither money from Republicans nor politically correct approval from Democrats? Victor Davis Hanson
In another eerie ditto of his infamous 2008 attack on the supposedly intolerant Pennsylvania “clingers,” Obama returned to his theme that ignorant Americans “typically” become xenophobic and racist: “Typically, when people feel stressed, they turn on others who don’t look like them.” (“Typically” is not a good Obama word to use in the context of racial relations, since he once dubbed his own grandmother a “typical white person.”) Too often Obama has gratuitously aroused racial animosities with inflammatory rhetoric such as “punish our enemies,” or injected himself into the middle of hot-button controversies like the Trayvon Martin case, the Henry Louis Gates melodrama, and the “hands up, don’t shoot” Ferguson mayhem. Most recently, Obama seemed to praise backup 49ers quarterback and multimillionaire Colin Kaepernick for his refusal to stand during the National Anthem, empathizing with Kaepernick’s claims of endemic American racism. (…) Even presidential nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is not really defending the Obama administration’s past “red line” in Syria, the “reset” with Vladimir Putin’s Russia, the bombing of Libya, the Benghazi tragedy, the euphemistic rebranding of Islamic terrorism as mere “violent extremism,” the abrupt pullout from (and subsequent collapse of) Iraq, or the Iran nuclear deal that so far seems to have made the theocracy both rich and emboldened. (…) Racial relations in this country seem as bad as they have been in a half-century. (…) Following the Clinton model, a post-presidential Obama will no doubt garner huge fees as a “citizen of the world” — squaring the circle of becoming fabulously rich while offering sharp criticism of the cultural landscape of the capitalist West on everything from sports controversies to pending criminal trials. What, then, is the presidential legacy of Barack Obama? It will not be found in either foreign- or domestic-policy accomplishment. More likely, he will be viewed as an outspoken progressive who left office loudly in the same manner that he entered it — as a critic of the culture and country in which he has thrived. But there may be another, unspoken legacy of Obama, and it is his creation of the candidacy of Donald J. Trump. Trump is running as an angry populist, fueled by the promise that whatever supposed elites such as Obama have done to the country, he will largely undo. Obama’s only legacy seems to be that “hope and change” begat “make America great again.” Victor Davis Hanson
After the election, in liberal, urban America, one often heard Trump’s win described as the revenge of the yahoos in flyover country, fueled by their angry “isms” and “ias”: racism, anti-Semitism, nativism, homophobia, Islamophobia, and so on. Many liberals consoled themselves that Trump’s victory was the last hurrah of bigoted, Republican white America, soon to be swept away by vast forces beyond its control, such as global migration and the cultural transformation of America into something far from the Founders’ vision. As insurance, though, furious progressives also renewed calls to abolish the Electoral College, advocating for a constitutional amendment that would turn presidential elections into national plebiscites. Direct presidential voting would shift power to heavily urbanized areas—why waste time trying to reach more dispersed voters in less populated rural states?—and thus institutionalize the greater economic and cultural clout of the metropolitan blue-chip universities, the big banks, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, New York–Washington media, and Hollywood, Democrat-voting all. Barack Obama’s two electoral victories deluded the Democrats into thinking that it was politically wise to jettison their old blue-collar appeal to the working classes, mostly living outside the cities these days, in favor of an identity politics of a new multicultural, urban America. Yet Trump’s success represented more than simply a triumph of rural whites over multiracial urbanites. More ominously for liberals, it also suggested that a growing minority of blacks and Hispanics might be sympathetic with a “country” mind-set that rejects urban progressive elitism. For some minorities, sincerity and directness might be preferable to sloganeering by wealthy white urban progressives, who often seem more worried about assuaging their own guilt than about genuinely understanding people of different colors. Trump’s election underscored two other liberal miscalculations. First, Obama’s progressive agenda and cultural elitism prevailed not because of their ideological merits, as liberals believed, but because of his great appeal to urban minorities in 2008 and 2012, who voted in solidarity for the youthful first African-American president in numbers never seen before. That fealty wasn’t automatically transferable to liberal white candidates, including the multimillionaire 69-year-old Hillary Clinton. Obama had previously lost most of America’s red counties, but not by enough to keep him from winning two presidential elections, with sizable urban populations in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania turning out to vote for the most left-wing presidential candidate since George McGovern. Second, rural America hadn’t fully raised its electoral head in anger in 2008 and 2012 because it didn’t see the Republican antidotes to Obama’s progressive internationalism as much better than the original malady. Socially moderate establishmentarians like the open-borders-supporting John McCain or wealthy businessman Mitt Romney didn’t resonate with the spirit of rural America—at least not enough to persuade millions to come to the polls instead of sitting the elections out. Trump connected with these rural voters with far greater success than liberals anticipated. Urban minorities failed in 2016 to vote en bloc, in their Obama-level numbers; and rural Americans, enthused by Trump, increased their turnout, so that even a shrinking American countryside still had enough clout to win. What is insufficiently understood is why a hurting rural America favored the urban, superrich Trump in 2016 and, more generally, tends to vote more conservative than liberal. Ostensibly, the answer is clear: an embittered red-state America has found itself left behind by elite-driven globalization, battered by unfettered trade and high-tech dislocations in the economy. In some of the most despairing counties, rural life has become a mirror image of the inner city, ravaged by drug use, criminality, and hopelessness. Yet if muscular work has seen a decline in its relative monetary worth, it has not necessarily lost its importance. After all, the elite in Washington and Menlo Park appreciate the fresh grapes and arugula that they purchase at Whole Foods. Someone mined the granite used in their expensive kitchen counters and cut the timber for their hardwood floors. The fuel in their hybrid cars continues to come from refined oil. The city remains as dependent on this elemental stuff—typically produced outside the suburbs and cities—as it always was. The two Palo Altoans at Starbucks might have forgotten that their overpriced homes included two-by-fours, circuit breakers, and four-inch sewer pipes, but somebody somewhere made those things and brought them into their world. In the twenty-first century, though, the exploitation of natural resources and the manufacturing of products are more easily outsourced than are the arts of finance, insurance, investments, higher education, entertainment, popular culture, and high technology, immaterial sectors typically pursued within metropolitan contexts and supercharged by the demands of increasingly affluent global consumers. A vast government sector, mostly urban, is likewise largely impervious to the leveling effects of a globalized economy, even as its exorbitant cost and extended regulatory reach make the outsourcing of material production more likely. Asian steel may have devastated Youngstown, but Chinese dumping had no immediate effect on the flourishing government enclaves in Washington, Maryland, and Virginia, filled with well-paid knowledge workers. Globalization, big government, and metastasizing regulations have enriched the American coasts, in other words, while damaging much of the nation’s interior. Few major political leaders before Trump seemed to care. He hammered home the point that elites rarely experienced the negative consequences of their own ideologies. New York Times columnists celebrating a “flat” world have yet to find themselves flattened by Chinese writers willing to write for a fraction of their per-word rate. Tenured Harvard professors hymning praise to global progressive culture don’t suddenly discover their positions drawn and quartered into four part-time lecturer positions. And senators and bureaucrats in Washington face no risk of having their roles usurped by low-wage Vietnamese politicians. Trump quickly discovered that millions of Americans were irate that the costs and benefits of our new economic reality were so unevenly distributed. As the nation became more urban and its wealth soared, the old Democratic commitment from the Roosevelt era to much of rural America—construction of water projects, rail, highways, land banks, and universities; deference to traditional values; and Grapes of Wrath–like empathy—has largely been forgotten. A confident, upbeat urban America promoted its ever more radical culture without worrying much about its effects on a mostly distant and silent small-town other. In 2008, gay marriage and women in combat were opposed, at least rhetorically, by both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in their respective presidential campaigns. By 2016, mere skepticism on these issues was viewed by urban elites as reactionary ignorance. In other words, it was bad enough that rural America was getting left behind economically; adding insult to injury, elite America (which is Democrat America) openly caricatured rural citizens’ traditional views and tried to force its own values on them. Lena Dunham’s loud sexual politics and Beyoncé’s uncritical evocation of the Black Panthers resonated in blue cities and on the coasts, not in the heartland. Only in today’s bifurcated America could billion-dollar sports conglomerates fail to sense that second-string San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protests of the national anthem would turn off a sizable percentage of the National Football League’s viewing audience, which is disproportionately conservative and middle American. These cultural themes, too, Trump addressed forcefully. In classical literature, patriotism and civic militarism were always closely linked with farming and country life. In the twenty-first century, this is still true. The incubator of the U.S. officer corps is red-state America. “Make America Great Again” reverberated in the pro-military countryside because it emphasized an exceptionalism at odds with the Left’s embrace of global values. Residents in Indiana and Wisconsin were unimpressed with the Democrats’ growing embrace of European-style “soft power,” socialism, and statism—all the more so in an age of European constitutional, financial, and immigration sclerosis. Trump’s slogan unabashedly expressed American individualism; Clinton’s “Stronger Together” gave off a whiff of European socialist solidarity. Trump, the billionaire Manhattanite wheeler-dealer, made an unlikely agrarian, true; but he came across during his presidential run as a clear advocate of old-style material jobs, praising vocational training and clearly enjoying his encounters with middle-American homemakers, welders, and carpenters. Trump talked more on the campaign about those who built his hotels than those who financed them. He could point to the fact that he made stuff, unlike Clinton, who got rich without any obvious profession other than leveraging her office. Give the thrice-married, orange-tanned, and dyed-haired Trump credit for his political savvy in promising to restore to the dispossessed of the Rust Belt their old jobs and to give back to farmers their diverted irrigation water, and for assuring small towns that arriving new Americans henceforth would be legal—and that, over time, they would become similar to their hosts in language, custom, and behavior. Ironically, part of Trump’s attraction for red-state America was his posture as a coastal-elite insider—but now enlisted on the side of the rustics. A guy who had built hotels all over the world, and understood how much money was made and lost through foreign investment, offered to put such expertise in the service of the heartland—against the supposed currency devaluers, trade cheats, and freeloaders of Europe, China, and Japan. Trump’s appeal to the interior had partly to do with his politically incorrect forthrightness. Each time Trump supposedly blundered in attacking a sacred cow—sloppily deprecating national hero John McCain’s wartime captivity or nastily attacking Fox superstar Megyn Kelly for her supposed unfairness—the coastal media wrote him off as a vulgar loser. Not Trump’s base. Seventy-five percent of his supporters polled that his crude pronouncements didn’t bother them. As one grape farmer told me after the Access Hollywood hot-mike recordings of Trump making sexually vulgar remarks had come to light, “Who cares? I’d take Trump on his worst day better than Hillary on her best.” Apparently red-state America was so sick of empty word-mongering that it appreciated Trump’s candor, even when it was sometimes inaccurate, crude, or cruel. Outside California and New York City and other elite blue areas, for example, foreigners who sneak into the country and reside here illegally are still “illegal aliens,” not “undocumented migrants,” a blue-state term that masks the truth of their actions. Trump’s Queens accent and frequent use of superlatives—“tremendous,” “fantastic,” “awesome”—weren’t viewed by red-state America as a sign of an impoverished vocabulary but proof that a few blunt words can capture reality. To the rural mind, verbal gymnastics reveal dishonest politicians, biased journalists, and conniving bureaucrats, who must hide what they really do and who they really are. Think of the arrogant condescension of Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of the disastrous Obamacare law, who admitted that the bill was written deliberately in a “tortured way” to mislead the “stupid” American voter. To paraphrase Cicero on his preference for the direct Plato over the obscure Pythagoreans, rural Americans would have preferred to be wrong with the blunt-talking Trump than to be right with the mush-mouthed Hillary Clinton. One reason that Trump may have outperformed both McCain and Romney with minority voters was that they appreciated how much the way he spoke rankled condescending white urban liberals. Poorer, less cosmopolitan, rural people can also experience a sense of inferiority when they venture into the city, unlike smug urbanites visiting red-state America. The rural folk expect to be seen as deplorables, irredeemables, and clingers by city folk. My countryside neighbors do not wish to hear anything about Stanford University, where I work—except if by chance I note that Stanford people tend to be condescending and pompous, confirming my neighbors’ suspicions about city dwellers. And just as the urban poor have always had their tribunes, so, too, have rural residents flocked to an Andrew Jackson or a William Jennings Bryan, politicians who enjoyed getting back at the urban classes for perceived slights. The more Trump drew the hatred of PBS, NPR, ABC, NBC, CBS, the elite press, the universities, the foundations, and Hollywood, the more he triumphed in red-state America. Indeed, one irony of the 2016 election is that identity politics became a lethal boomerang for progressives. After years of seeing America reduced to a binary universe, with culpable white Christian males encircled by ascendant noble minorities, gays, feminists, and atheists—usually led by courageous white-male progressive crusaders—red-state America decided that two could play the identity-politics game. In 2016, rural folk did silently in the voting booth what urban America had done to them so publicly in countless sitcoms, movies, and political campaigns. In sum, Donald Trump captured the twenty-first-century malaise of a rural America left behind by globalized coastal elites and largely ignored by the establishments of both political parties. Central to Trump’s electoral success, too, were age-old rural habits and values that tend to make the interior broadly conservative. That a New York billionaire almost alone grasped how red-state America truly thought, talked, and acted, and adjusted his message and style accordingly, will remain one of the astonishing ironies of American political history. Victor Davis Hanson
After his Nevada win, Donald Trump preened and affectionately recounted the numbers that added up to his huge victory. “We won with young. We won with old. We won with highly educated. We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated, » he said. My Twitter timeline was splattered as suddenly and thoroughly as a windshield in a Florida downpour. That last sentence was repeated in laughing disbelief. What does Trump think about the poorly educated? A man who might be President just said “I love the poorly educated.” “I love the poorly educated” is the drop-the-mic ending to America’s superpower status. I grew up in New York, and have been unhappily acquainted with Trump’s brand of glitzy racist megalomania for decades. This campaign has distilled and revealed him: liar, misogynist, ableist, xenophobe, wannabe war-mongerer. As the man himself might say, Trump is a terrible candidate and person! Sad! But please, stop the titters and eyerolls about his “poorly educated” line. First, his fans – the Trumpkins – already believe Democrats and journalists are snotty elitists. In this case, the cut-ups are proving the Trumpkins right. What is funny about saying “I love the poorly educated”? Of course Trump loves poorly educated voters. Who else would be asinine enough to buy his tripe? But some of the same people who have been laughing because he said he loves the poorly educated also denounce voter ID laws. Why? They disenfranchise Americans who are disproportionately lower-income workers, minorities — and poorly educated. They denounce the laws because they believe — rightly — that an education is neither necessary nor sufficient for thoughtful democratic participation. Of course, “I love the poorly educated” is ostensibly funny because what politician actually says something like that? Any politician who thought for half a second before speaking would say, “I’m grateful for the support of working class Americans.” But Trump does not tiptoe. That is at least partly because, unlike many of the candidates and most of the media, he actually loves the poorly educated. He is not laughing at them or ignoring them or wishing them away or informing them that they are wrong about what is really best for them. Trumpkins say they love how Trump speaks his mind. Maybe some admire his outspoken bigotry. But maybe others also like the way he talks about them. Straightforwardly. Acceptingly. As a friend tweet-stormed, “If you self-identify as undereducated and feel bad about it…the guy ‘loves’ you (after a fashion) and wants to be greedy for you.” A February 24th poll shows Trump beating Hillary Clinton by 46 to 40 among voters without college degrees in the must-win state of Ohio. Meanwhile, the highly educated scratch their heads and cannot understand why he is not imploding like they keep predicting. Elizabeth Priciutto

Attention: une faute peut en cacher une autre!

Intelligence avec l’ennemi, parties fines avec prostituées, racisme, sexisme, homophobie, fascisme, populisme, folie …

Y a-t-il une accusation qui n’aura pas été formulée contre le président Trump ?

Détournement de fonds publics, recel et complicité d’abus de biens sociaux, manquement aux obligations de déclaration à la Haute Autorité pour la transparence de la vie publique, trafic de décorations, prêts, costumes de luxe …

Ou de ce côté-ci de l’Atlantique une révélation qui n’aura pas été faite contre celui qui dans au moins 30 départements différents

Vient de remporter haut la main – qui en parle ? – le premier tour du nombre de parrainages  ?

Pendant que c’est désormais du côté des dollars de parangons de la liberté et accessoirement fourriers du terrorisme comme le Qatar …

Que nos nouveaux résistants et croisés de l’antifascisme nous envoient désormais leurs missives anti-Trump …

A l’heure où pour disqualifier le choix du peuple

Tous les moyens semblent désormais bons pour nos médias et nos juges …

Comment s’étonner que des médias qui nous avaient vendu comme intellectuel …

Un ancien rédacteur en chef de la Harvard Review of Law avec aucun article de fond à son nom …

Ou l’auteur supposé de deux livres écrits on ne sait à combien de mains et dédiés à sa seule propre gloire …

S’attaquent à présent à l’utilisation par son successeur, pour les court-circuiter, de l’équivalent actuel des causeries au coin du feu de Roosevelt ou de Reagan

Et notamment, énième preuve supplémentaire de son impéritie, à son rapport si particulier avec l’orthographe ?

Mais surtout au-delà d’un mode de communication qui avec ses contraintes de 140 signes, ses mots nécessairement tronqués, ses acronymes et ses néologismes

Fait le désespoir de tant d’enseignants et de parents …

Et qui se révèle être à 50% de plus que Facebook et 25% que Google …

Le média social le plus touché, Elysée ou Ministère de l’éducation français compris, par les coquilles ou fautes d’orthographe …

Comment ne pas comprendre du coup leur véritable hargne …

Face à un véritable animal politique qui non content de la proclamer à chacune de ses diatribes …

Incarne face à la rhétorique vide comme au politiquement correct sermonneur et méprisant de ses adversaires …

Et jusque dans ses mauvaises manières et la pauvreté dévastatrice de son langage …

La proximité avec les plus démunis culturelllement de ses électeurs …

Que ceux-ci avaient perdue depuis si longtemps ?

Voices

Donald Trump’s ‘I love the poorly educated’ isn’t actually a bad mantra – and attacking him for it is wrong
Trump actually does love the poorly educated. He is not laughing at them or ignoring them or wishing them away or informing them that they are wrong about what is really best for them
Elizabeth Picciuto
The Independent
25 February 2016

After his Nevada win, Donald Trump preened and affectionately recounted the numbers that added up to his huge victory. “We won with young. We won with old. We won with highly educated. We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated, » he said.

My Twitter timeline was splattered as suddenly and thoroughly as a windshield in a Florida downpour. That last sentence was repeated in laughing disbelief.

What does Trump think about the poorly educated?

A man who might be President just said “I love the poorly educated.”

“I love the poorly educated” is the drop-the-mic ending to America’s superpower status.

I grew up in New York, and have been unhappily acquainted with Trump’s brand of glitzy racist megalomania for decades. This campaign has distilled and revealed him: liar, misogynist, ableist, xenophobe, wannabe war-mongerer. As the man himself might say, Trump is a terrible candidate and person! Sad!

But please, stop the titters and eyerolls about his “poorly educated” line.

First, his fans – the Trumpkins – already believe Democrats and journalists are snotty elitists. In this case, the cut-ups are proving the Trumpkins right.

What is funny about saying “I love the poorly educated”? Of course Trump loves poorly educated voters. Who else would be asinine enough to buy his tripe?

But some of the same people who have been laughing because he said he loves the poorly educated also denounce voter ID laws. Why? They disenfranchise Americans who are disproportionately lower-income workers, minorities — and poorly educated.

They denounce the laws because they believe — rightly — that an education is neither necessary nor sufficient for thoughtful democratic participation.

Of course, “I love the poorly educated” is ostensibly funny because what politician actually says something like that? Any politician who thought for half a second before speaking would say, “I’m grateful for the support of working class Americans.”

But Trump does not tiptoe. That is at least partly because, unlike many of the candidates and most of the media, he actually loves the poorly educated.

He is not laughing at them or ignoring them or wishing them away or informing them that they are wrong about what is really best for them.

Trumpkins say they love how Trump speaks his mind. Maybe some admire his outspoken bigotry. But maybe others also like the way he talks about them. Straightforwardly. Acceptingly.

As a friend tweet-stormed, “If you self-identify as undereducated and feel bad about it…the guy ‘loves’ you (after a fashion) and wants to be greedy for you.”

A February 24th poll shows Trump beating Hillary Clinton by 46 to 40 among voters without college degrees in the must-win state of Ohio.

Meanwhile, the highly educated scratch their heads and cannot understand why he is not imploding like they keep predicting.

Voir aussi:

The strangest line from Donald Trump’s victory speech: “I love the poorly educated”
Libby Nelson
Vox
Feb 24, 2016

Donald Trump loves « the poorly educated. » And they love him back.

In his victory speech after clinching the Nevada caucuses, Trump rattled off the groups he won in the Silver State. But his supporters without a college degree got a special note of praise:

« We won the evangelicals, » Trump said. « We won with young. We won with old. We won with highly educated. We won with poorly educated — I love the poorly educated. We’re the smartest people, we’re the most loyal people. »

It’s bizarre that Trump, who has bragged about his MBA from the University of Pennsylvania, is now lumping himself in with the « poorly educated. »

But it’s true that the more educated Republicans are, the less likely they are to warm up to him. According to exit polls, Trump won Nevada voters without a high school degree with 57 percent of the vote. He won voters with some college with 49 percent of the vote. He won college graduates with 42 percent of the vote. And among those with a postgraduate degree, his share was only 37 percent.

Voir également:

Everyone’s favorite apricot demagogue won big in another state last night. Donald Trump carried Nevada with the support of 45 percent of caucus-goers, 22 points clear of his nearest rival, Marco Rubio. But the specifics of the win—that is, who exactly came out to support him—were just as remarkable. Trump being Trump, he said as much in his victory speech:

« We won the Evangelicals. We won with young. We won with old. We won with highly educated. We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated. We’re the smartest people, we’re the most loyal people. »

Now, it’s obviously unusual to call attention to your supporters’ low level of education—it’s normally a seen-not-heard situation. But Trump, who graduated from an Ivy League school, also seems to be putting himself in this group. We’re smart and loyal, he says to his kindred spirits, We’re just proud Americans with common sense. Trump also has plenty of reason to love the less-educated: the half of voters without a college degree he took in Nevada (including 57 percent of those with no college at all) was right in line with what he’s been doing across the country.

He also had time to gloat about his (admittedly remarkable) support among Hispanics. He took 45 percent of the Hispanic vote in Nevada, about what Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio got combined.

All this is to say that, while identity politics plays a part—South Carolina showed that he has the white supremacist vote locked up—there’s clearly more than that to the Trump phenomenon. After all, he also won among the well-educated last night.

Voir de plus:

Trump, Working-Class Zero
Maureen Dowd
The New York Times
MARCH 18, 2017

It’s not unknown, of course.

In ancient Egypt, there was the symbol of the ouroboros, the snake that eats its own tail. Nerve-addled octopuses sometimes consume their own arms.

But we’ve never watched a president so hungrily devour his own presidency.

Soon, there won’t be anything left except the sound of people snickering.

Consumed by his paranoia about the deep state, Donald Trump has disappeared into the fog of his own conspiracy theories. As he rages in the storm, Lear-like, howling about poisonous fake news, he is spewing poisonous fake news.

The Hirshhorn has a sold-out exhibit of Yayoi Kusama’s stunning infinity mirror rooms. But they are nothing compared to the infinity mirror room of Trump’s mind, now on display a mile and a half away at the White House.

Many voters who took a chance on the real estate mogul and reality TV star hoped he would grow more mature and centered when confronted with the august surroundings of the White House and immensity of the job. But instead of improving in office, Trump is regressing. The office has not changed Trump. Trump has changed the office.

He trusts his beliefs more than facts. So many secrets, so many plots, so many shards of gossip swirl in his head, there seems to be no room for reality.

His grandiosity, insularity and scamming have persuaded Trump to believe he can mold his own world. His distrust of the deep state, elites and eggheads — an insecurity inflamed by Steve Bannon — makes it hard for him to trust his own government, or his own government’s facts.

Angela Merkel did not get a surprise shoulder squeeze from this president. He ignored the chancellor’s request to shake hands. But Merkel still looked jittery.

Many who meet with Trump — from foreign leaders to our own lawmakers — look like cats on a hot stove. One Democratic senator told me he was determined not to smile in a session with the president in case Trump suddenly said something offensive or batty while the senator was politely grinning for the cameras.

Everyone is tiptoeing around the mad king in his gilded, sparse court. His lieges make fools of themselves trying to justify or interpret his transcendentally nutty tweets and willfully ignorant comments.

For two weeks, he has refused to back off his unhinged claim that his predecessor tapped his phones during the election.

According to CNN’s Jeff Zeleny, Trump got furious reading a Breitbart report that regurgitated a theory by conservative radio host Mark Levin that Barack Obama and his allies had staged a “silent coup.”

It is surpassingly strange that the president would not simply pick up the phone and call his intelligence chiefs before spitting out an inflammatory accusation with no proof, just as it was bizarre that Trump shrugged off the regular intelligence briefings after he was elected. He preferred living in his own warped world.

Sean Spicer offered a shaky Jenga tower of media citations to back up the president, including the contention of Fox’s Judge Andrew Napolitano that Obama had used GCHQ, a British intelligence agency, to spy on Trump.

In a rare public statement, the GCHQ called the claim “utterly ridiculous.”

Fox News also demurred, with Shepard Smith saying it “knows of no evidence of any kind that the now president of the United States was surveilled at any time, in any way. Full stop.”

Even Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, gave up the Sisyphean effort of defending Trump’s tripe. He said that if you took Trump’s remarks “literally” — as we expect to do with our commander in chief’s words — “clearly the president was wrong.”

Asked by a German reporter about GCHQ rubbishing the wiretapping claims, Trump was dismissive. “All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind,” he said. “You should be talking to Fox.”

Trump’s aversion to veracity is exacerbated by his inner circle of sycophants and conspiracists. As far as Trump is concerned, his budget and health care plan are going great, when everyone else in Washington is averting their eyes.

In a Wall Street Journal piece, Bannon said his anti-elitist worldview was shaped by his father’s decision during the financial crisis in 2008 to sell his AT&T stock, at a loss of more than $100,000. Marty Bannon, who started at AT&T as a lineman, got spooked by Jim Cramer’s advice on the “Today” show to take “whatever money you may need for the next five years” out of the market.

Even though one son, Steve, was a banker at Goldman Sachs and another son had an investment background, Marty Bannon did not consult them or a financial adviser until the sale was completed.

He preferred, like Trump, to get crucial information from TV pundits and eschew the experts in his own circle who might have told him that selling during panics is not wise and that having one stock in an undiversified portfolio is not smart.

“Everything since then has come from there, all of it,” Steve Bannon, the multimillionaire architect of Trumpworld, said of the stock sale. So, essentially, because Bannon’s father made a bad, hurried financial decision based on watching TV, we now have to slash Meals on Wheels, Big Bird, the arts, after-school programs, health insurance, immigration from Muslim countries, climate change research, diplomats and taxes for the rich.

Maybe if these elites-pretending-not-to-be-elites deigned to talk to some knowledgeable elites in government once in a while, they might emerge from the distorted, belligerent, dystopian, Darwinian, cracked-mirror world that is alarming Americans and our allies. They might even stop ripping off the working-class people they claim to be helping.

Voir de même:

Christo Wraps Donald Trump

I was in Doha last week, and a Sudanese woman approached me to explain how desperate she felt about the fact that her son, at school in the United States, now felt unable to travel to see her. He was afraid that if he left he might not be allowed back. In lots of small and not-so-small ways, the mean, militaristic mind of the American president has come to inhabit people’s lives.

If a budget can be a portrait of a soul, then this president’s is arid and shriveled. It is filled with contempt for the needy. Here is a man dismissive of the arts, the environment, the humanities, diplomacy, peacekeeping, science, public education and civilian national service — in short, civilization itself. If he could defund goodness he would. Charity is also ripe for the ax. Creativity needs skewering. Giving is weakness. All that counts are acquisitive instinct, walls and bans (of the kind that keep mother and son apart), displays of power, and the frisson of selective cruelty that lay behind his successful TV show. Everyone is now Donald Trump’s apprentice, at least as he sees it.

In Doha, at The New York Times “Art for Tomorrow” conference, I met the artist Christo. This was before rumors that Trump wants to cut all funding to the National Endowment for the Arts were confirmed. It’s been a particularly hard couple of months for Christo. He knows all about walls. He knows all about being a refugee.

As a young man in the 1950s, he fled communist Bulgaria, then part of the totalitarian Soviet imperium. When the Berlin Wall went up in 1961, he made a wall of oil barrels on the Rue Visconti in Paris. From 1964 to 1967, he lived as an illegal immigrant in New York with his late wife Jeanne-Claude, before getting a green card and becoming a citizen in 1973. By the time America opened its arms to him, he had been stateless for 17 years. Freedom meant something. The United States was more than a country; it was an idea.

For more than two decades, Christo has labored to create a work called “Over the River” in Colorado — a canopy of silvery fabric that was to have been suspended for two weeks over 42 miles of the Arkansas River, a flowing, billowing liquid mirror. But now, after spending some $15 million, he has walked away in perhaps the biggest single act of protest by an artist against Donald Trump. Much of the land is federally owned. As Christo explained to my colleague Randy Kennedy earlier this year, “The federal government is our landlord. They own the land. I can’t do a project that benefits this landlord.”

In Doha, Christo, who is 81, refused to sit down. Defiance is part of him. To live freely is an immense act of will. For an hour he spoke with irrepressible vitality. Eat little, he counseled, in order to channel energy (in his case yogurt with garlic for breakfast, then nothing until dinner). Decide what you want — that is the most difficult part — and then apply yourself without compromise to that end.

Last year he made another work involving water, called “The Floating Piers,” at Lake Iseo in northern Italy. On top of 220,000 interlocking polyethylene cubes, Christo installed a glowing unfenced walkway connecting an island in the lake with the shore. Over a couple of weeks about 1.2 million visitors came. They wanted to walk on water. It’s possible to walk on water. In times of oppression freedom is also a fierce act of the imagination.

Christo, born Christo Vladimirov Javacheff in communist Bulgaria, wrapped the Reichstag in 1995, six years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Reichstag had burned in 1933, an act of arson three Bulgarian communists were accused of orchestrating. Hitler used the fire, whose cause is still disputed, to impose despotic terror. Christo’s wrapping preceded by a few years the return of the parliament of a free, united Germany to the building that had stood adjacent to the dividing line of Europe. A Bulgarian freed by America declared his liberty — the ultimate freedom of the imagination — at Europe’s pivot. That is worth recalling today.

The only use I can imagine for Trump’s grotesque wall is for Christo to wrap it and set us free.

Voir encore:

États-Unis : Trump tweet sur la Chine avec une faute, les internautes se moquent

En voulant écrire « sans précédent », Donald Trump a tweeté « sans président », avant de corriger son erreur.

Eléanor Douet et AFP

Le président élu Donald Trump a fait savoir son mécontentement après la saisie par Pékin d’une sonde de la marine américaine en mer de Chine méridionale, twittant un message avec une grosse faute qui a fait les délices des réseaux sociaux samedi 17 décembre. « La Chine vole un drone de recherche de la marine américaine dans les eaux internationales – le sort de l’eau et le ramène en Chine dans un acte sans président » (sic), a-t-il écrit de bon matin sur le réseau social, en voulant clairement évoquer un acte « sans précédent ». Dans la version anglaise le mot utilisé, « unpresidented » (au lieu de « unprecedented ») est très vite devenu le mot clé le plus en vogue sur Twitter aux États-Unis.

Le milliardaire populiste a corrigé son erreur en effaçant le tweet erroné et en le renvoyant, cette fois sans coquille, une heure après son message initial. L’auteure britannique J.K. Rowling, auteure de la série des Harry Potter s’amusait de ce message, pointant « l’efficacité non présidentielle » de Donald Trump. Le magnat de l’immobilier avait déjà fait une petite faute d’orthographe dans un précédent tweet jeudi, un message qu’il avait déjà corrigé peu après.

Ses supporteurs le défendaient, estimant qu’au lieu de se moquer de ces petites erreurs les gens feraient mieux de s’intéresser aux vrais problèmes soulevés par les messages du président élu. Au-delà de cette erreur, Donald Trump voulait en effet surtout souligner son mécontentement vis à vis de la Chine, dont un navire s’est emparé jeudi soir d’un drone sous-marin appartenant à la marine américaine, qui évoluait à quelque 50 milles marins au large des Philippines, selon le Pentagone. Toutefois, la Chine a assuré que le drone serait rendu aux États-Unis.

Voir de même:

Ce mot malencontreusement inventé par Donald Trump résume le sentiment de millions d’Américains

Particulièrement virulent sur Twitter, le Président élu des Etats-Unis a laissé passer une petite faute.

Jade Toussay
Huffington post
10/12/2016

INTERNATIONAL – Entre Donald Trump et Twitter, c’est une histoire sans fin. Le président élu des Etats-Unis communique en effet très souvent en 140 caractères, notamment pour répondre à ses détracteurs. Mais sur Twitter comme ailleurs, la relecture s’impose, et ce samedi 10 décembre Donald Trump a laissé passer une faute qui a rapidement été interprétée.

Dans ces nouveaux tweets, Donald Trump répondait à la dernière polémique sur son avenir au sein de son émission de télé-réalité « Celebrity Apprentice ». Le 8 décembre dernier, le site Variety affirmait en effet que le futur président des Etats-Unis continuerait à produire son émission, en tant que producteur exécutif. Des propos repris par CNN, qui précise que cet arrangement « signifie que le Président pourrait avoir un intérêt dans le show diffusé par un média qui rend également compte du déroulement de sa présidence » et souligne le « conflit d’intérêt majeur » provoqué par cette situation.

Alors une fois de plus, Donald Trump a pris le clavier. « Je n’ai rien à voir avec The Apprentice, à l’exception du fait que je l’ai créé avec Mark B (Burnett, ndlr) et que j’ai investi là-dedans. Je ne lui consacrerai pas de temps! », a-t-il posté, avant de s’adresser directement à CNN. « Les informations de CNN selon lesquelles je travaillerai sur The Apprentice pendant ma présidence, même à temps partiel, sont (ridicules) et fausses – FAUSSE INFORMATION! »

Sauf que comme vous pouvez le voir dans la publication ci-dessus, Donald Trump a commis une petite faute de frappe en écrivant « rediculous » au lieu de « ridiculous ». Et si le magnat de l’immobilier a fini par supprimer son tweet et poster une version corrigée quelques heures plus tard, il n’en fallait pas plus pour que les internautes s’emparent de cette méprise et de ce mot absurde, qui en dit long selon eux sur les aptitudes du 45e président des Etats-Unis.

Voir encore:

De Nicolas Sarkozy à Najat Vallaud-Belkacem : quand les politiques sont pris en faute (d’orthographe)

LCI

A PEU PRÈS – Depuis ce week-end, la ministre de l’Education nationale, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, se fait épingler sur les réseaux sociaux pour une faute d’orthographe dans un livre d’or. Elle n’est pas la première, et sûrement pas la dernière, à se faire ainsi taper sur les doigts.

Aïe. L’intention était bonne. Mais elle a mal tourné. Depuis quelques heures, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem se fait étriller sur les réseaux sociaux. En cause, un petit mot que la ministre de l’Education a laissé dans le livre d’or de l’école de gendarmerie de Tulle. Avec une grosse faute d’orthographe.

Alors, vous avez trouvé la faute ? Outre l’oubli de plusieurs accents, c’est surtout l’omission d’un « N » au mot « professionnalisme » qui saute aux yeux… ouvrant la voie aux sarcasmes sur les réseaux sociaux, où l’ortographe est pourtant loin de régner en maître…

Reste que ce petit dérapage orthographique d’un politique n’est pas vraiment une première.

La palme 2017 revenait pour l’heure à l’Elysée, qui s’est fait remarquer dès les vœux du 1er janvier sur Twitter. « Face aux attaques, vous avez tenu bons, vous avez montrez que vous étiez forts, soldaires (sic) » ; « le socle et là et les base sont solides » ; « C’et vous qui auraient le dernier mot », sont quelques-uns des tweets que les followers du palais ont pu voir défiler…

Les fautes sont évidemment dues au community manager, qui a voulu rendre compte en direct de l’intervention de François Hollande. Et semble avoir oublié au passage la première des règles : toujours bien se relire avant d’envoyer son message.

D’ailleurs en la matière, l’Elysée n’en est pas à sa première bourde. En 2015, l’écrivain et essayiste Christian Combaz s’insurgeait dans Le Figaro après avoir vu passer un communiqué de presse truffé de fautes d’orthographe et de grammaire.   « Sait-on parler Français à l’Elysée ? On peut s’interroger sur la qualité (ou l’intention) de ceux qui ont à relire ce genre de prose avant de l’envoyer », écrivait-il. « Ou ils sont carrément nuls, ce qui est une éventualité, ou ils font exprès de laisser passer des bourdes pareilles sans la moindre remise en forme pour accabler leur patron.  »

Nul n’aura sans doute jamais la réponse à cette question. Mais ce petit buzz n’avait cependant pas atteint celui de 2011, à l’occasion d’un hommage à Danielle Mitterrand. Le compte de l’Elysée avait été retweeté des centaines de fois et recommandé 20.000 fois sur Facebook. Trois paragraphes, et six fautes, relevées par l’Express. Pas mal :

Quoiqu’il en soit, les fautes d’orthographe chez les politiques ne sont pas l’apanage de la gauche. Les politiques de droite sont même assez concurrentiels en la matière, rappelait Rue 89 il y a quelques années.  En 2009, le maire de Nice Christian Estrosi, alors ministre de l’Industrie, s’était vu reprocher un message envoyé sur Twitter : « Je commence le bêtisier : Bourquin PS : efficacité du service publique mais cette efficacité pas au détriment du service publique. » Forcément, c’est un socialiste, le sénateur Martial Bourquin lui-même, qui s’était fait un petit plaisir de le corriger publiquement. « Monsieur Estrosi, je suis un autodidacte comme vous. « Service public », c’est un « c », c’est pas « que ». Quand on parle de l’identité nationale… l’orthographe fait partie de l’identité nationale. »

En même temps, sous la présidence de Nicolas Sarkozy, le ton était donné, orthographe approximative et syntaxe douteuse ponctuant allègrement nombre de ses discours et de ses interventions. Sont ainsi restés dans les annales son « Si y en a que ça les démange d’augmenter les impôts..  » ou encore son « Chère Christine Lagarde, monsieur le Sénateur, et tous ceux qui sont importants, bonjour ». Autre jolie faute de Nicolas Sarkozy, griffonnée durant un discours avant d’être relevée par le Petit journal en 2008 : « fréquenter l’infrécentable ». Un président prolixe en la matière, au point qu’en mars 2009, Le Parisien avait publié un recueil de ses meilleurs trouvailles en pleine Semaine de la langue française. Un bel hommage.

Mais ces approximations orthographiques ont le don d’énerver les milieux intellectuels. Comme cette chercheuse au CNRS, Barbara Cassin, qui s’était indignée dans une tribune du Monde intitulée « Sarkozy m’à tuer » de la « présence massive de fautes d’orthographe sur le site de la présidence de la République française » : « Ces fautes, on ne les tolère pas en classe parce qu’elles sont le signe que l’élève ne comprend pas le mécanisme de la langue », écrivait-elle. « Tous les niveaux de discours sont confondus, nivelés au ras de la langue par le plus authentique, irrépressible et immédiat « Casse-toi pauv’ con ». »

Et en matière d’Education, ce ne sont pas les ministres en charge du portefeuille qui sont le plus exemplaires. Luc Chatel, en septembre 2009, avait fait distribuer un dossier truffé de fautes… pour la rentrée scolaire. Extrait : « La rèforme de l’enseignement primaire, qui est entré en application à la rentrée 2008, s’appuie sur des horaires et des Les programmes, redéfinis par arrêtés du 9 juin 2008 qui s’articulent avec les sept grandes compétences du socle commun. »

Une mise en application de la réforme de l’orthographe ?

Magie de l’Internet, les fautes peuvent être rapidement effacées, et nulle trace ne reste… sauf sur certains sites qui se font un plaisir de graver les bourdes dans le marbre de l’Internet. Comme Bescherelle ta mère, qui se fait une joie de nous rappeler que Marine Le Pen, prompte à crucifier sur les réseaux les fauteurs d’orthographe, s’y adonne elle-même… au point qu’il est parfois difficile de percevoir le sens de ses tweets.

Un autre compte, sijauraisu.fr, en a aussi repéré une flopée, qu’on vous rappelle, pour le plaisir…

Mais peut-être les politiques ne font-ils que mettre en œuvre les nouvelles « directives orthographiques » qui sont mises en place en cette rentrée, comme l’explique cette professeure dans un article de Télérama. Atterrée, elle raconte qu’elle a participé à une formation sur l’étude de la langue, où on lui a appris que dorénavant, « en langue, tout est négociable » : « Je vous jure. Si l’élève a fait une faute, mais qu’il est capable de justifier son choix, alors nous devons considérer qu’il a raison », écrit-elle. « Par exemple, s’il écrit ‘Les cadeaux que Lucie a reçue lui ont plue’, nous sommes en droit de lui demander des comptes sur ses accords défaillants des participes passés. Mais si l’élève répond ‘Ben on parle de Lucie, or Lucie est une fille, donc j’ai mis des E’, eh bien cet élève, qui a fait preuve d’une capacité à justifier ses erreurs… a finalement raison ! » Magique.

Voir aussi:

Mangled Trumpian Grammar as New American English?

Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.

Notes from Atlanta

November 13, 2016

The just concluded American presidential election didn’t excite me at all. That was why I didn’t write about it. But now that the election is over, I want to take some time to reflect on the effect the campaigns have had on English grammar and usage. I will start with Donald Trump.

Trump contorted the English language in more ways than any presidential candidate did. First, he was notorious for terrible, sometimes hilarious, misspellings on Twitter. After the Republican primary debates on February 26, 2016, for instance, Trump tweeted: “Wow, every poll said I won the debate last night. Great honer!” He had earlier tweeted the following: “Lying Ted Cruz and leightweight chocker Marco Rubio teamed up last night in a last ditch effort to stop our great movement. They failed!”

Trump became the object of ridicule. Senator Marco Rubio viciously excoriated him for his poor spelling the following day at a campaign rally.  A headline in the website Mediaite.com captured it well. “Donald Trump Is Cluelessly and Hilariously Spelling Everything Wrong on Twitter Today,” it said. Even the Merriam-Webster Dictionary couldn’t help pillorying Trump. It sent out a tweet where it defined “honer” as “one that hones,” and adds: “leightweight: We have no. idea.” It also defined “chocker” in obvious dig at Trump’s clumsy attempt to spell “choker.” (By “honer,” Trump meant to write “honor.”)

But it’s Trump’s unusual turns of phrase and simplistic, repetitive vocabulary that have attracted the most attention from American grammarians. A famous study by Carnegie Mellon University concluded that he speaks at a Third Grade Level, that is, the level of an American Primary School kid.

English teachers have also torn apart his grammar. For instance, he mistook “temper” for “temperament” during one of his debates with Hillary Clinton. He also uttered the nonstandard “you was” during the debate. He said, « But you was totally out of control! » instead of the standard “But you were totally out of control!” Grammar pedants tore him to shreds.

And when he said, « They talk good around election » instead of “they speak well around election time,” many English teachers took to social media to say he had lost their votes. It is impossible to chronicle all the Trumpian solecisms in this article, but others that stood out include, « I pay tremendous numbers of taxes » and « Give economics to people. »

Bad Grammar as Strategy of Condescension 

But as a rhetorician, I know Trump’s mangled, dialectal English isn’t necessarily a product of insufficient mastery of the language. It was a deliberate rhetorical strategy designed to establish identification with the lower end of the American social stratum that constitutes the « base » of the Republican Party. Poor, rural, uneducated white Americans who form the bulk of Trump’s support base speak the kind of regional, nonstandard English Trump spoke on the campaign trail.

In his book Language and Symbolic Power, French theorist Pierre Bourdieu calls this « strategy of condescension. » Bourdieu didn’t mean « condescension » in the everyday sense of the word as disdain for one’s social inferiors; he meant the ability to negotiate and seamlessly traverse several « linguistic markets, » as he called it. He said this ability invests elites with immense social and cultural capital. As Peter Haney puts it, strategies of condescension occur « when someone at the top of a social hierarchy adopts the speech or style of those at the bottom. With such a move, the dominant actor seeks to profit from the inequality that he or she ostensibly negates. »

George Bush used it to maximum effect. People still remember him as the former US president who could barely string together grammatically correct sentences in English, who spoke with a Texan drawl. But Bush is the scion of « old money » who went to elite prep schools and grew up mostly in America’s northeast. If he wanted to sound « polished » and « cultivated, » he could, but he would risk calling attention to his privilege and thereby alienating people he wanted to appeal to. Scholars actually systematically compared his speeches before he became governor of Texas and after he became governor of Texas and found radical differences in his grammar, enunciation, and speech mannerisms. Before he became governor of Texas, he spoke like a typical American northeaster. His grammar and usage were polished and educated.

That doesn’t mean people at the upper end of the social scale don’t innocently mangle the language. For instance, when Hillary Clinton recently characterized some Trump supporters as belonging to a « basket of deplorables, » American English grammarians took her on; they said « deplorable » is an adjective, not a noun, and therefore can’t be pluralized as « deplorables » since only nouns are pluralized. But « deplorables » may well become mainstream in the coming years if enough people with social and cultural capital use it the same way Hillary used it. That’s how language evolves.

In any case, the English language is full of examples of adjectives that became nouns. They are called nominalized adjectives. The word “greats” (meaning great people) comes to mind. It started out as an adjective.

In a February 3, 2013 column titled « How Political Elite Influence English Grammar and Vocabulary, » I pointed out several examples of the changes in the lexis and grammar of the language that were instigated by political and cultural elites across the pond. When former US President Warren Harding first used the word « normalcy » instead of the then usual « normality, » he was ridiculed. But « normalcy » is now mainstream.

As I pointed out in the article, “Even the Queen of England, the unofficial guardian of the English tongue, is given to occasional violation of the rules of her own language. In their book Longman Guide to English Usage, Professors Sidney Greenbaum and Janet Whitcut shared how the Queen misused the expression ‘due to’ and inadvertently caused the rule to be changed in favor of her misuse.

“In traditional grammar ‘due’ is an adjective, and when it is followed by the preposition ‘to’ it should be attached to a noun (example: the cancellation of the event was due to the rain). The use of ‘due to’ at the beginning of a sentence in the sense of ‘because of’ or ‘owing to’ was considered uneducated.

“But when the Queen of England, in a Speech from the Throne, said, ‘Due to inability to market their grain, prairie farmers have been faced for some time with a serious shortage,’ this ‘uneducated’ usage gained respectability. It is no longer bad grammar.

“I once observed that this example shows the arbitrariness and unabashed elitism of (English) usage norms. But that’s only partly true. What is equally true is that research has shown that the Queen of England has lately been speaking like her subjects, leading the Daily Mail, UK’s second-biggest selling newspaper, to write in a recent story that ‘The Queen no longer speaks the Queen’s English.’”

Unfortunately, only native English speakers get to have that much influence on the language, which is both unsurprising and invidious, given the status of English as a world language with more non-native speakers than native speakers. Creative deviations from the norm that emerge from non-native speakers are often condemned to marginality.

There are exceptions, though. Chinese English speakers in the US have made enduring contributions to the lexis and structure of the language in very fascinating ways. For instance, the expression « long time no see » came to English by way of Chinese English speakers in California.

As I pointed out in my book, Glocal English: The Changing Face and Forms of Nigerian English in a Global World, this ungrammatical but nonetheless fixed English expression, which is used as a salutation by people who have not seen each other for a long time, is a loan translation from Mandarin hǎo jiǔ bú jiàn, which literally means « very long time no see. » It was initially derided as « broken » English in California, but because the expression filled a real lexical and idiomatic void in the language, it quickly spread to other parts of the US, then crossed the pond to the UK, and is now part of the repertoire of international English.

Expressions like « no-go area, » « have a look-see, » etc. were also Chinese broken English expressions that are now idiomatic in the language. (Check out my April 19, 2015 column titled « Popular Expressions English Borrowed from Other Languages » and my 4-part series titled « The African Origins of Common English Words »).

Given the impact that the cultural and political elite have on language, would Trumpian grammar change American English in significant ways? Business Insider thinks so: “Donald Trump may have forever changed the English language. Sad!”

Voir également:

America has never been entirely sure what to do with its white poor. For complicated historical and political reasons, we associate “poor” in our public consciousness with “black”. Terms such as “welfare queen” and “culture of poverty” became associated uniquely with the social maladies of African Americans in urban ghettos, despite the fact that poor whites outnumbered poor blacks.

It wasn’t always thus. When President Lyndon Baines Johnson launched his “War on Poverty” in the 1960s, he did so from eastern Kentucky coal country, then and now one of the poorest regions of the country. That region is my ancestral homeland, the place from which my grandparents emigrated to avoid the sort of material destitution President Johnson highlighted. Like millions of southern and Appalachian migrants, they moved north to the booming industrial economies of Ohio, Pennsylvania and similar states.

They moved in the hope of finding better jobs and higher wages and for a time they found those things. Yet in the wake of a long-term decline in manufacturing in the United States, the economic boomtown my grandparents migrated to began to struggle in many of the same ways as the eastern Kentucky town they left behind. By the time their grandchildren reached adulthood in the early 2000s, joblessness and despair had replaced the optimism that characterised my grandparents 50 years earlier. And though the local economies of each region differed – in Detroit, automobile manufacturing; in southern Ohio, steel and paper mills; in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, coal mining – the social problems looked eerily similar. All across Appalachia and the Rust Belt, opioid addiction, family breakdown and rising mortality set in. And the ills afflicting the white working class, so similar to those stereotypically assigned to the black poor, became impossible to ignore.

To many commentators, these problems are statistics to be analysed, but to me, they were the backdrop of my youth. As a kid, I sorted Middletown into three basic geographic regions. First, the area surrounding the high school, which opened in 1969. The “rich” kids lived here. Large homes mixed comfortably with well-kept parks and office complexes. If your dad was a doctor, he almost certainly owned a home or had an office here, if not both. I dreamed that I’d own a house in Manchester Manor, a relatively new development not a mile from the high school, where a nice home went for less than a fifth of the price of a decent house in San Francisco. Next, the poor kids (the really poor kids) lived near Armco, where even the nice homes had been converted into multi-family apartment units. I didn’t know until recently that this neighbourhood was actually two neighbourhoods – one inhabited by Middletown’s working-class black population, the other by its poorest white population. Middletown’s few housing projects stood there.

Then there was the area where we lived – mostly single-family homes, with abandoned warehouses and factories within walking distance. Looking back, I don’t know if the “really poor” areas and my block were any different or whether these divisions were the constructs of a mind that didn’t want to believe we were really poor.

Across the street from our house was Miami Park, a single city block with a swing set, a tennis court, a baseball field and a basketball court. As I grew up, I noticed that the tennis court lines faded with each passing month and that the city had stopped filling in the cracks or replacing the nets on the basketball courts. I was still young when the tennis court became little more than a cement block littered with grass patches. I learned that our neighbourhood had “gone downhill” after two bikes were stolen in the course of the week. For years, Mamaw said, her children had left their bikes unchained in the yard with no problems. Now we woke to find thick locks cracked in two by deadbolt cutters. From that point forward, I walked.

Downtown Middletown is little more than a relic

If Middletown had changed little by the time I was born, the writing was on the wall almost immediately thereafter. It’s easy even for residents to miss how much Middletown has changed because the change has been gradual – more erosion than mudslide. But it’s obvious if you know where to look and a common refrain for those of us who return intermittently is: “Geez, Middletown is not looking good.”

In the 1980s, Middletown had a proud, almost idyllic downtown: a bustling shopping centre, restaurants that had operated since before the Second World War and a few bars where men like Papaw would gather and have a beer (or sometimes many) after a hard day at the steel mill. My favourite store was the local Kmart, which was the main attraction in a strip mall, near a branch of Dillman’s, a local grocer with three or four locations. Now the strip mall is mostly bare: Kmart stands empty and the Dillman family closed that big store and all the rest, too. The last I checked, there was only an Arby’s, a discount grocery store, and a Chinese buffet in what was once a Middletown centre of commerce. The scene at that strip mall is hardly uncommon. Few Middletown businesses are doing well and many have ceased operating altogether. Twenty years ago, there were two malls. Now one of those malls is a parking lot and the other serves as a walking course for the elderly.

Today, downtown Middletown is little more than a relic of American industrial glory. Abandoned shops line the heart of downtown Middletown, where Central Avenue and Main Street meet. Richie’s pawnshop has long since closed, though the hideous yellow and green sign still marks the site, last time I checked. Richie’s isn’t far from an old pharmacy that, in its heyday, had a soda bar and served root beer floats. Across the street is a building that looks like a theatre, with one of those giant triangular signs that reads “ST–L” because the letters in the middle were shattered and not replaced. A little farther down the road is a cash-for-gold store and not far from that is a payday lending outfit.

Not far from the main drag of empty shops and boarded-up windows is the Sorg mansion. The Sorgs, a powerful and wealthy industrial family dating back to the 19th century, operated a large paper mill in Middletown. They donated enough money to put their names on the local opera house and helped build Middletown into a respectable enough city to attract Armco. Their mansion, a gigantic manor home, sits near a formerly proud Middletown country club. Despite its beauty, a Maryland couple recently purchased the mansion for $225,000 or about half of what a decent multi-room apartment sets you back in Washington DC.

Located quite literally on Main Street, the Sorg mansion is just up the road from a number of opulent homes that housed Middletown’s wealthy in their heyday. Most have fallen into disrepair. Those that haven’t have been subdivided into small apartments for Middletown’s poorest residents. A street that was once the pride of Middletown is now a notorious spot for druggies and dealers. Main Street is now the place you avoid after dark.

The white working class had grown angry. And it had no heroes

City leaders have tried in vain to revive Middle-town’s downtown, though in recent years they’ve met with some limited success, as a few businesses have opened near the newest branch of a local community college. Despite some progress, efforts to reinvent downtown Middletown are likely futile. People didn’t leave because our downtown lacked trendy cultural amenities. The trendy cultural amenities left because there weren’t enough consumers in Middletown to support them. And why weren’t there enough well-paying consumers? Because there weren’t enough jobs to employ those consumers. Downtown Middletown’s struggles were a symptom of everything else happening to Middletown’s people, especially the collapsing importance of the local steel mill.

Unfortunately, very few of America’s political or financial classes understood what was happening in towns such as Middletown. And this ignorance comes in part from their increasing segregation from working- and middle-class families. In booming Washington DC, cosmopolitan New York and hi-tech San Francisco, people rarely come face to face with the poor, with the possible exception of the random beggar. Their interactions with the poor of rural and suburban America are rarer still. Meanwhile, as a 2011 Brookings Institute study found, “compared to 2000, residents of extreme-poverty neighbourhoods in 2005–2009 were more likely to be white, native-born, high-school or college graduates, homeowners and not receiving public assistance”. The white poor always existed, but they were rapidly growing in numbers and America’s wealthiest and most powerful residents seemed unaware.

Indeed, if they deigned to care much about the white working class, they often expressed little more than condescension or outright disdain. As my grandma once told me, “hillbillies” – by which she meant poor whites with some connection to Appalachia – were the only group of people that elites felt comfortable stereotyping and looking down upon. From MTV’s chronicle of a “wild” white family in West Virginia to Justified, a popular show about eastern Kentucky, the media’s interest in the region seemed confined to entertaining caricature.

The political system’s response was even worse. While candidate Obama in 2007 secretly chastised poor whites for “clinging to their guns and religion,” the Republican party, where most white, working-class Americans made a political home, seemed completely unaware that its own base was struggling. In 2012, Mitt Romney ran on a platform that celebrated the noble business owner, even as polls showed that the white working class increasingly mistrusted the business owners perceived to push them from their work.

And in late 2015, the party appeared ready to crown Jeb Bush, the scion of a wealthy family whose policy programme differed little from Mitt Romney’s, even as his tone did. This was the brother of a man who started two unsuccessful wars, wars whose burden was disproportionately shouldered by the white middle and working class. And though a number of putative challengers offered stylistic contrasts with the younger Bush brother, no one challenged the core premise at the heart of his candidacy: tax cuts and deregulation at home combined with an active, military-focused foreign policy abroad. Just eight years after George W Bush left office to historically low approval numbers, the party appeared primed to double down on Bush, both in policy and in genetics. And no one seemed that interested in stopping it.

Except for Donald Trump.

In a now famous September debate among Republican presidential candidates, Jeb offered a robust defence of his brother’s foreign policy: “As it relates to my brother, there’s one thing I know for sure: he kept us safe.” In interviews after the debate and on social media, Trump filleted Bush repeatedly, noting the failures of the war and even blaming Bush for his failure to prevent the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It was the third rail of Republican politics and television commentators predicated that it was the end of Trump’s candidacy. How, many asked, could Trump survive such an aggressive criticism of the party’s most recent president? Instead, Trump thrived, building on his lead in the polls and cruising to the Republican nomination.

What so many commentators failed to understand was that the Republican party of George W Bush had changed. In the eight years since Obama’s election, the white working class had grown angry: at the economy that failed to deliver good jobs, at the failed prosecution of two wars, at a government bureaucracy that failed to deliver good healthcare for veterans, at policy-makers who bailed out megabanks in the 2008 financial crisis even as many Americans lost their homes. The party didn’t want another Mitt Romney and it sure as hell didn’t want another Bush. It wanted, most of all, a man whose very existence is the opposite of everything prior nominees stood for.

This was about more than finances and the macroeconomy problem. As a culture, working-class white Americans like myself had no heroes. We loved the military but had no George S Patton figure in the modern army. I doubt my neighbours could even name a high-ranking military officer. The space programme, long a source of pride, had gone the way of the dodo and with it the celebrity astronauts. We had lost any trust in the media as guardians of truth and consequently many were willing to believe all manner of conspiracies about our allegedly foreign-born president and his supposed grabs for power.

In style and tone Trump reminds blue-collar workers of themselves

To understand the significance of this cultural detachment, you must appreciate that much of my family’s, my neighbourhood’s and my community’s identity derives from our love of country. I once interviewed my grandma for a class project about the Second World War. After 70 years filled with marriage, children, grandchildren, death, poverty and triumph, the thing about which she was unquestionably the proudest and most excited was that she and her family did their part during the war.

We spoke for minutes about everything else; we spoke for hours about war rations, Rosie the Riveter, her dad’s wartime love letters to her mother from the Pacific and the day “we dropped the bomb”. My grandma always had two gods: Jesus Christ and the United States of America. I was no different and neither was anyone else I knew.

Many in the US and abroad marvel that a showy billionaire could inspire such allegiance among relatively poor voters. Yet in style and tone, Trump reminds blue-collar workers of themselves. Gone are the poll-tested and consultant-approved political lines, replaced with a backslapping swashbuckler unafraid of saying what’s on his mind. The elites of DC and NY see an offensive madman, blowing through decades of political convention with his every word. His voters, on the other hand, see a man who’s refreshingly relatable, who talks about politics and policy as if he were sitting around the dinner table.

More important is Trump’s message. Implicit in the slogan “Make America Great Again” is a belief that one’s country is not especially great right now and that’s certainly how many of Middletown’s residents felt. In the wake of the Great Recession, there was something almost spiritual about the cynicism of the community at large. If America was the lynchpin of a civic faith, then many in the white working class were losing something like a religion.

In America, commentators have devoted dozens of essays and think pieces to the question of whether Trump’s rise is primarily a function of economic insecurity or racial anxiety. The question is easy to answer – it’s both – and yet not especially helpful. Donald Trump isn’t just the candidate of economically dispossessed whites, though he is that. Nor is he just the candidate of racially anxious whites, though he is also that.

He’s the candidate of the man who opens his morning paper to find that another of his neighbours has died of a heroin overdose; of the woman who proudly sent her son to fight in Iraq only to watch it break his body and mind; of the father who spends hours on the phone with the Department of Veterans Affairs, begging for medical care that his former Marine nephew is owed both legally and morally; of the proud coal miner who voted for Bill Clinton and then watched as his wife promised to “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business”. Donald Trump is the candidate of a patriotic people who feel an almost apocalyptic apprehension about the future. His great insight was to recognise and exploit that apprehension.

The tragedy of Trump’s candidacy is that, embedded in his furious exhortations against Muslims and Mexicans and trade deals gone awry is a message that America’s white poor don’t need: that everything wrong in your life is someone else’s fault. No one doubts that globalisation and automation have disproportionately had an impact on the white working class and no responsible politics should fail to appreciate and address that fact. Yet our neighbourhoods and our communities create certain pressures and instil certain values that make it harder for our children to lead happy lives.

Trump’s entire candidacy consists of pointing the finger at someone else

During my junior year of high school, our neighbour Pattie called her landlord to report a leaky roof. The landlord arrived and found Pattie topless, stoned and unconscious on her living-room couch. Upstairs, the bathtub was overflowing, thus the leaking roof. Pattie had apparently drawn herself a bath, taken a few prescription painkillers and passed out. The top floor of her home and many of her family’s possessions were ruined. This is the reality of our community. It’s not just about hard-working people dispossessed by globalisation, though that’s undoubtedly true for many people. It’s also about a naked druggie destroying what little of value exists in her life. It’s about children who lose their toys and clothes to a mother’s addiction. It’s about families torn apart by domestic violence and students afraid to go home when the school bell rings at the end of the day.

Psychologists call it “learned helplessness” when a person believes, as I did during my youth, that their choices have no effect on their life’s outcomes. We acquired that sense of helplessness from a number of sources: from families who felt that you had to pretend to be “black or liberal” to get into an Ivy League school; from the home life that showed us the world could be turned upside down in an instant; from seeing so few of our neighbours succeed in the modern economy that we wondered whether success was even possible for those like us.

To recognise that these neighbourhoods and attitudes affect us is not to place moral blame on the poor. Indeed, many of the obstacles folks like me perceive are quite real. But it is dangerous, even destructive, to give up completely on the role of agency. The white working class must build a set of values that recognises life’s unfairness while constructively engaging with it – in our community institutions, in our government and in our families. Yet Trump’s message for the white voter so desperately in need of introspection and self-reflection is: it’s all someone else’s fault. His rallies may be cathartic, as he screams and yells at conjured enemies, but he offers no solutions. His entire candidacy is an exercise in pointing the finger at someone else.

In pointing that finger so repeatedly and enthusiastically, Donald Trump has debased our entire political culture. On the right, the party of robust American global leadership now finds itself apologising for a man who apologises for Vladimir Putin even as he scares our staunchest European allies.

The Republican speaker of the house, a brilliant, respected leader, regularly repudiates some noxious statement of Trump’s even as he cannot politically repudiate the man himself. On the left, the cosmopolitan elites of the Democratic party have taken to Facebook and Twitter to denounce half of their fellow citizens, people they rarely see, much less know. In the eyes of American elites, Trump’s voters are racist rednecks, finally reaping what they’ve sown.

In this age of Trump, each tribe has lost the ability to show even a hint of compassion for the other side.

The great irony is that the people who may make Trump president are among those who most need a constructive politics and an engaged leader. They need a life raft and a mirror. Trump instead offers a political high, a promise to “Make America Great Again” without a single good idea regarding how.

Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance is published by William Collins on 22 September, £16.99

Voir encore:

Five myths Donald Trump tells about Donald Trump
Glenn Kessler
The Wall Street Journal

January 28, 2016

All politicians like to brag about their abilities and achievements. But rarely has a presidential hopeful emerged like Donald Trump, who consistently touts his résumé and plans for the nation in sweeping and over-the-top terms. Trump is particularly unique in how he talks about himself. Plenty of would-be presidents make dubious claims about what they have accomplished in elected office (created millions of jobs! slashed spending!). Few make such claims about their personal attributes. Trump has no such hesitation. Just before the Iowa caucuses, here are five of the biggest myths Donald Trump tells about himself.

1. “I’m, like, a really smart person.

Trump is not shy about his intellectual prowess. As he tweeted in 2013: “Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest -and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure, it’s not your fault.”

Of course, “smart” is a bit subjective. There’s book smarts as well as street smarts. Many would say Trump has run a pretty smart campaign. But clearly he’s saying that his brain is very sharp — as he puts it, “super-genius stuff.’’ At one point, Trump rebutted criticism from columnist George Will and GOP consultant Karl Rove by saying: “I’m much smarter than them. I think I have a much higher IQ. I think I went to a better college — better everything.”

Trump’s college background, in fact, is often his key piece of evidence for his intellectual superiority. But there’s less here than meets the eye. Trump did graduate from the Wharton School of business at the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League college. But Trump did not get an MBA from Wharton; he has a much less prestigious undergraduate degree. He was a transfer student who arrived at Wharton after two years at Fordham University, which U.S. News & World Report currently ranks 66th among national universities. (Besides, simply going to an Ivy League school doesn’t prove you’re a genius.)

Gwenda Blair, in her 2001 book “The Trumps,” said that Trump’s grades at Fordham were just “respectable” and that he got into Wharton mainly because he had an interview with an admissions officer who had been a high school classmate of his older brother. And Wharton’s admissions team surely knew that Trump was from one of New York’s wealthiest families.

For years, numerous media reports said Trump graduated first in his class from Wharton, but that’s wrong. The 1968 commencement program does not list him as graduating with any sort of honors. In fact, the Boston Globe reported that he barely made an impression at all: “His former classmates said he seemed a student who spoke up a lot but rarely shined in class, who barely participated in campus activities, shunned fraternity parties.”

2. “I have the world’s greatest memory.

One of Trump’s most controversial claims is that he saw a television news report about thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheering the collapse of the World Trade Center in 2001. That statement ended up on the Washington Post Fact Checker’s list of 2015’s biggest Pinocchios.

Trump insisted he was right because he has such a great memory.

But no television network could find such a clip — though extensive searches were made. No news reports were tracked down to validate Trump’s claim of “thousands.” The closest thing ever found was a local newscast at the time, from a CBS affiliate in New York, that reported on the arrest of eight men who neighbors said had celebrated the attack. That’s a far cry from thousands. There were also video clips of several Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories cheering. But that wasn’t New Jersey — and again, it wasn’t thousands.

Trump also tried to point to a line in a Washington Post article written days after the attacks that said law enforcement authorities detained and questioned some people who were allegedly seen celebrating . But when one of the reporters, Serge Kovaleski, said the article did not validate Trump’s claim, the real estate magnate mocked Kovaleski’s disability. (Kovaleski has a chronic condition that limits his mobility.)

What is Donald Trump’s net worth?

Here’s the answer to one of the most Googled questions about one of the most Googled candidates. (Osman Malik and Sarah Parnass/The Washington Post)

Trump later denied doing so, claiming that he didn’t know the reporter — even though Kovaleski had closely covered Trump in the 1980s and 1990s and had interviewed him several times.

Maybe Trump should rephrase his boast: “I have the world’s most selective memory.”

3. “I’m proud of my net worth. I’ve done an amazing job.

Trump frequently touts his financial acumen. He often says he is worth $10 billion, though most analysts say that is exaggerated. Bloomberg News closely studied his 92-page financial disclosure report and concluded that he is really worth $2.9 billion.

That may sound like a lot of money. But don’t forget that Trump inherited a lot of money, too — about $40 million in 1974. In 1978, his net worth was estimated by BusinessWeek at $100 million. The Post’s Wonkblog calculated that if Trump had gotten out of real estate, put his money in an index fund based on the Standard & Poor’s 500 index and reinvested the dividends, he’d be worth twice as much — $6 billion — today.

National Journal noted that Warren Buffett was also worth $40 million in 1974 — and he managed to turn that into $67 billion today. But then Buffett doesn’t have a long list of business flops, such as Trump Airlines, Trump Vodka, various Trump casinos, Trump Steaks and Trump University.

4. “I’m self-funding my campaign.

Trump keeps saying that unlike his rivals, he’s paying for his own presidential campaign, but that’s largely false.

At the start of his campaign, he loaned his political operation $1.8 million. As of Oct. 1, he had given his campaign an additional $104,829.27 — but he had also received $3.9 million from donors, which accounted for the vast majority of the $5.8 million his campaign had taken in by then. His campaign website features a prominent “donate” button on its homepage. Trump has spent $5.4 million, and interestingly, about one-quarter of his spending has gone to Trump-owned entities (mainly his private jet company).

In January, Trump launched an ad campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire, saying he planned to spend $2 million. He also claimed that his campaign was $35 million to $40 million below budget. Ultimately, all of his spending — and where the money came from — will have to be disclosed in campaign finance reports. The odds are his personal share of the spending will be less than 50 percent.

5. “I’m probably the least racist person on Earth.

When people have criticized Trump for promising to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border or proposing a ban on all Muslims from entering the country, he has defended himself by saying he’s not motivated by racism. Still, he has a pattern of racially tinged remarks and actions.

The very first article about Trump in the New York Times — it appeared 42 years ago — was headlined “Major Landlord Accused Of Antiblack Bias in City.” Trump was quoted saying the charges in a lawsuit brought by the Justice Department against the company he and his father ran were “absolutely ridiculous.” The sides settled — but three years later, the Justice Department charged Trump’s organization with continuing to discriminate against blacks.

When five black and Latino teenagers were implicated in a brutal attack on a white woman jogging in Central Park in 1989, Trump took out full-page newspaper ads calling for the death penalty for “criminals of every age.” The suspects were convicted but later exonerated by DNA evidence — and Trump then called their wrongful-conviction settlement a “disgrace.”

Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino President John R. O’Donnell, in the 1991 book “Trumped,” alleged that Trump once said that “laziness is a trait in blacks.” He also claimed Trump said, of his accountants: “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are little short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.” (Trump has called O’Donnell a disgruntled employee, but he has not disputed the remarks. “The stuff O’Donnell wrote about me is probably true,” he told Playboy in an interview published in May 1997.)

Speaking to the Republican Jewish Coalition in December, Trump made a speech riddled with Jewish stereotypes, such as: “Look, I’m a negotiator like you folks; we’re negotiators.” And: “I know why you’re not going to support me. You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money.”

Another Trump observation: “A well-educated black has a tremendous advantage over a well-educated white in terms of the job market. . . . If I were starting off today, I would love to be a well-educated black, because I believe they do have an actual advantage.’’

When Trump launched his campaign, he made a broad-brush accusation against Mexico: “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing . . . drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

The Washington Post
February 15 2017
President Trump’s administration has a spelling problem, and it seems to be getting worse.The latest cringe-worthy gaffe, courtesy of the Education Department, was a double whammy: In a tweet Friday, the agency misspelled the name of the late scholar-activist and NAACP co-founder W.E.B. Du Bois. Then it followed up with a correction, with its own glaring error: “Our deepest apologizes for the earlier typo.”It wasn’t long ago that pretty much everyone across the political spectrum could agree that it was embarrassing when our elected officials failed to use the English language correctly. Just ask former vice president Dan Quayle how to spell “potato.”

Yet as critics pounced on the latest errors as a sign of carelessness or incompetence, Trump defenders howled back, blasting the criticism as liberal-elite snobbery. It’s come to this: The fault lines of our deeply divided country have crossed into the once-neutral territory of grammar and spelling.

So how problematic is the administration’s spelling — really? We decided to take a closer look at a few recent incidents.

1. The ‘to’/‘too’ mix-up on the official Trump inauguration poster

The poster had to be removed from the Library of Congress website after people noticed that something seemed to be missing from the quote emblazoned on it. Can you spot it? Look closer. Ah, yes — one of those pesky “to”/“too” confusions. Too often the eye just skips over it, and even spell check won’t always help you with that one. Who among us hasn’t committed this offense? (But, no, probably not on an official presidential portrait.)

2. Betsy DeVos’s ‘historical’ error

Plenty of public-school alumni jumped on this usage error by the school-vouchers advocate, who has since been confirmed as education secretary. It might not have been the most egregious error — “historical” is often confused as a synonym for “historic” but actually means “belonging to the past”; and she’s hardly the only person we know who randomly capitalizes nouns such as “inauguration” that don’t actually merit it. But still, not a great look for the nation’s top education policy guru.

3. Trumps great honer

The tweet was sent by Trump on his first full day in office. It was swiftly deleted and reposted with the correct spelling — but not before the original version was immortalized online. It might have been just one misplaced vowel, but he’d made this mistake on Twitter before, after a February 2016 presidential debate. (“Wow, every poll said I won the debate last night. Great honer!” — that tweet, too, was quickly corrected.) We’ll be blunt: “Honer” doesn’t even look close to correct, and we’re not sure how he made this blooper. But in fairness, Twitter is where we make all our finger-slip errors, too.

3. Marco Rubio the ‘leightweight chocker’

In an oft-mocked tweet in February 2016, Trump lashed out at primary opponents Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio: “Lying Ted Cruz and leightweight chocker Marco Rubio teamed up last night in a last ditch effort to stop our great movement. They failed!”

Look, we get that “choker,” though correct, looks nearly as strange as “chocker” the more you stare at it. And we can see how someone focused on getting the e-i order correct in “weight” might overcompensate and screw up the “light” part — but wouldn’t you see “leightweight” and know you’d done something wrong?

As per usual, the tweet was deleted — but not before the dictionary folks supplied a snarky response.

4. Lose vs. Loose

No way around it: There is so much wrong with this one, gnarled syntax as well as troubled spelling. Fortunately, Twitter was there to help.

“Insticts” is pretty odd, but you can see how someone who spends a lot of time tweeting about “losers” could get lost trying to spell “loose.” The standard U.S. spelling, of course, is “judgment,” not “judgement,” but again — Twitter.

5. Terrorist ‘attakers’

When the White House released a list of 78 “under-reported’ terrorist attacks earlier this month — aiming to prove that the media had played down the terrorism threat — reporters found themselves wading through a document riddled with typos and errors. Among other mistakes, the report misspelled “attacker” and “attackers” as “attaker” and “attakers” 27 times. Who does that? And this wasn’t a Twitter typo, but a document prepared for public release by the communications staff. This is — bad. A new level of bad. We’ve left Quayle far, far behind.

6. An unprecedented misspelling

This one was particularly regrettable because of the Freudian-slip undertones. It quickly spawned a trending hashtag, an onslaught of jokes and more than a few anti-Trump protest signs at subsequent rallies. Again, the dictionary couldn’t let this pass without taking a shot.

“Unpresidented” did earn an official entry in Urban Dictionary, however. (It isn’t very flattering.)

7. Theresa May vs. Teresa May

One is the name of the British prime minister. The other is the name of a British former soft-porn actress. Guess which one appeared three times on an official White House schedule?

This one would feel more relatable and excusable — we’ve all done something like this — except we’re not talking about bungling the name of your cousin’s new boyfriend on a party invitation. We’re talking about the name of a foreign head of government, misspelled three times on an official White House document.

Voir par ailleurs:

Research Shows Twitter is Driving English Language Evolution

Joel Windels
Brandwatch
May 29th 2013

It’s no surprise that technology has been a driving factor in how we communicate. 140 character limits, the need to be succinct and other prevailing memes have transformed the ways we talk to each other online.

It’s not rare to hear celebrated literary experts lament the demise of the second-most widely spoken language in the world, but seldom to we ever witness any evidence of such change beyond the anecdotal.

Accordingly, we have taken it upon ourselves to conduct our own research into how social media is helping drive evolution in the English language.

Deviating from official English

Twitter users are the least literate of the internet users we looked at, with 0.56% of words on the network being either misspelled or otherwise unofficial, perhaps due to its stricter character limit.

Twitter                 0.56% or 1 in 179

Google+              0.42% or 1 in 238

Facebook            0.31% or 1 in 323

Forums                0.18% or 1 in 556

Americans tend to deviate slightly more than those based in the UK, with the Brits at 0.53% and the USA at the global average of 0.56%.

Interestingly, tweeters have been getting increasingly literate over the past few years, getting 0.01% more literate each year since 2011 – is this a result of increased adoption of auto-correcting devices perchance?

Females are more likely to deviate too, using unofficial language every 169 words, whereas males do it once every 192. The fairer gender are also responsible for elongating words like arghhh, awwww, soooo and ahhh much more than males, who instead prefer to shorten them to things like gonna, wanna and kinda.

The most common form of ‘error’ is the exclusion of apostrophes, resulting in words like im, wont, cant, theres, hes, womens and parents.

The second most frequent deviation was the usage of acronyms, the widest used of which was LOL, followed by WTF, LMAO, YOLO, OMG and FFS.

In terms of the actual words that are misspelled, here are the favourites:

  • definitely
  • separate
  • embarrass
  • achieve
  • surprise
  • weird
  • government
  • argument
Voir aussi:
‘Twitter will increasingly shape our spelling and grammar – we just have to accept it’

As new research finds Twitter users make more spelling mistake than other social networks, Tech & Gadgets editor Hannah Bouckley confesses to some social networking grammatical shortcuts.

Hannah Bouckley

BT

11 June 2013

According to new research, Twitter users make twice as many spelling mistakes as Facebook users.
The study by Brandwatch analysed 10,000 tweets from 1,000 randomly selected Twitter accounts. 
  • It found one in every 150 words posted on Twitter is spelt incorrectly, in contrast to one in 323 words on Facebook.

    The figure doesn’t just refer to spelling mistakes. It includes the use of abbreviations (such as LOL), grammatical errors, word elongation and shortening.

    Women are more likely to make errors and use abbreviations than men, averaging one in every 169 words, as opposed to one in 192 words.

    I use Twitter quite a lot and I must admit to taking some grammatical shortcuts.

    With just 140 characters to play with per Tweet, it’s really frustrating to get to the end of a sentence and be just one character short.

    Rather than rewriting the tweet, I will go back and substitute the likes of “I’m” for “Im”.

    I think there’s a difference between the odd grammatical tweak and glaring spelling errors. Twitter is a public forum and consistently poor spelling and grammar look like you don’t care.

    In Twitter arguments, spelling mistakes are one of the first things people criticise. Making a spelling mistake on Twitter looks like you aren’t in control – especially as mobile phone spell checks are getting better.

    Out of all the social networks, I think we should be forgiving of mistakes on Twitter »

    Twitter is about spontaneous reactions to events and if you are in a hurry it’s easy to make mistakes, particularly if you’re typing using a small keyboard.

    For the majority of people, it doesn’t really matter if there’s a mistake – for professions like politics or teaching, it’s a different story.

    Interestingly Brandwatch’s study found that on Twitter women tend to elongate words, while men shorten them.

    Common words used by women include: soo, aww and ohh. Men use lota, lol, lonna and wanna.

    I’m guilty of the odd aww and soo. But I would use those terms on Facebook and emails to friends.

    Writing a letter or sending a Facebook message can be unwittingly formal. People can read sentences in different ways and misconstrue the original meaning.  By using such language I’m hoping my message sounds a little more conversational and a little how I’d say it in person.

    According to the survey the most common grammatical errors are related to misuse of the apostrophe: im, wont, cant, dont, id.

    There’s a movement online called Kill The Apostrophe “on the basis that it serves only to annoy those who know how it is supposed to be used and to confuse those who dont.”

    I’m not in favour of removing the apostrophe. Twitter and text speech is only a small facet of the way we use our language, enough people still write emails or letters using the apostrophe for it to be useful.

    In the future Twitter and other social networks are likely to increasingly shape our language and we have to get used to it. Language has evolved centuries and will continue to do so.

    It’s not all bad news: it has also been revealed that Twitter users have been getting more literate each year since 2011.

    Overall, I suggest tolerance towards language quirk on Twitter and yes to abbreviation and elongation – in moderation.

    I advise anyone who cares to take a few seconds to correct typos before hitting send.

    Voir également:

Twitter users ‘can’t spell’

Twitter users make more than twice as many spelling mistakes as those on Facebook, new research has revealed – with apostrophes the most common source of errors.
Jennifer O’Mahony
The Daily Telegraph
29 May 2013

Britons’ well-documented struggles with their own language appear to be particularly acute when they post on the microblogging service, a study by social media monitoring service Brandwatch has found.

One in every 150 English words posted on Twitter is spelt incorrectly, with missing apostrophes the most common grammar crime.

Apostrophes, or a lack thereof, were followed by the use of acronyms such as LOL (laugh out loud) and YOLO (you only live once) as the most frequent examples of misuse in English.

Twitter’s strict 140-character limit for posts is undoubtedly the cause of much mangled language, a constraint that forces users to innovate by cutting linguistic corners.

Brandwatch analysed almost one million randomly selected online interactions across Twitter, forums, Facebook and Google+ in the month of March over a three-year period.

Twitter recently announced it counts an average of 400 million tweets posted by users every day, but it fared worst among all social networks for the quality of spelling and grammar.

By contrast, Facebook’s users compose just one in every 323 words incorrectly, though this rose to one in every 238 on Google+.

The research comes in the wake of comments by Simon Horobin, an English professor at Magdalen College, Oxford, who suggested that “they’re”, “their” and “there” could be spelt in the same way. Prof Horobin, speaking at the Telegraph Hay Festival, said: « I am not saying we should just spell freely, but sometimes we have to accept spellings change ».

Minimal differences were found between the accuracy levels of American and British tweeters, but analysts discovered women tended to elongate words and use onomatopoeia such as « soooo » or « argh », while men favoured shortened slang, including « gonna » and « gotta ».

« Whether through deliberate misuse or ignorance, it is clear that the nature of Twitter and its strict character limit continues to encourage a higher rate of unofficial English. But rather than bemoaning the loss of the language, shouldn’t we instead be recognising this for what it is – a natural evolution? » said Joel Windels, Lead Community Manager at Brandwatch.

« Last year the Oxford English Dictionary added well over 1,000 new words and meanings, including web-speak words ‘lolz’ and ‘tweeps.’ Changes to language are nothing new, but this research highlights just how much of an influence social media is having on how we communicate. »

The government may not welcome the sentiments of Mr Windels and Prof Horobin.

Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has published a list of 162 words which all 11-year-olds would be expected to spell correctly, and has said that « too little attention » has been paid to spelling and grammar in schools in recent years.

Voir encore:

How social media has shaped the English language

Castleford Staff

31/05/2013

The days of writing grammatically correct, perfectly punctuated sentences may seem like a thing of the past – but what role has social media played in this trend?

If new research from Brandwatch is anything to go by, it could be said that social networks have transformed modern day English, with Twitter presenting the greatest threat.

The site analysed the effect of various social media sites on the English language to find that Twitter users are the most likely to deviate from correct spelling and grammar.

A total of 0.56 per cent of words posted on the micro-blogging site are either misspelled or unofficial, although it has been suggested that this might be down to its strict 140-character limit.

Taking up second place is Google+ with 0.42 per cent of misspelled words, followed by Facebook with 0.31 per cent.

However, it’s not all bad news for Twitter users, as the website found that people have become increasingly literate since 2011 – although how much of this is down to autocorrect features?

Women were found to be more likely to deviate from the official language than their male counterparts, as well as being more inclined to elongate their words for effect.

Men, perhaps unsurprisingly, showed a preference for shortening words, instead using phrases such as ‘kinda’ and ‘wanna’.

Now it’s not uncommon for even the greatest of spelling aficionados to struggle with the odd word or two, but Brandwatch’s analysis found that some words are more commonly misspelled than others.

The worst offenders were definitely, separate, embarrass and achieve, with weird and surprise also featuring on the list.

It just goes to show that even in a field as broad as social media, people are still on the lookout for good spelling and grammar – something that people running Twitter campaigns should bear in mind.

 Voir de plus:

Facebook and Twitter ‘harm pupils literacy’: Headmasters claims children are so distracted by the sites they don’t bother to read books

Children’s literacy is being damaged by social media, headmasters claim.

They say pupils are too distracted by sites such as Facebook and Twitter to bother to read a book.

As a result, thousands are poor spellers and have little understanding of grammar.

Children’s literacy is being damaged by social media, headmasters claim. They say pupils are too distracted by sites such as Facebook and Twitter to bother to read a book

A survey of 214 secondary school heads found that 70 per cent believe Facebook and Twitter are ‘bad for literacy’.

Excessive use of such sites means youngsters’ spelling and grammar have deteriorated. For example, some write ‘l8’ rather than ‘late’, while others rely on computer spellcheckers to correct their mistakes.

To make matters worse, many parents do nothing to try to improve these crucial skills.

The research, conducted by Booked, a magazine for schools, found that half of Britain’s headmasters are concerned about their pupils’ approach to reading.

Tsol Keoshgerian, chairman of Booked, said: ‘This is a worrying snapshot of literacy standards.

It appears to confirm that the massive rise in social media use among the young is having a major impact on writing skills th little or no attempt by parents to stop it.’

Tsol Keoshgerian, chairman of Booked, which encourages children to read and write, said: ‘This is a worrying snapshot of literacy standards in the UK today.

‘From a social perspective, it appears to confirm the massive rise in social media use among the young is having a major impact on writing skills with little or no attempt by parents to stop it.’

Bosses regularly complain about the poor literacy standards among school leavers, whose written English in applications forms and CVs can be shocking.

Bosses regularly complain about the poor literacy standards among school leavers, whose written English in applications forms and CVs can be shocking

The research uses examples such as one applicant stating: ‘I wont to work wiv you’re company.’

Others regularly confuse the words ‘to’ and ‘too’, such as: ‘I’d like too work with you’, while asking whether job ‘oppurtunities’ are ‘avalible’ at the company.

Others sign their letters with several kisses, showing an inappropriate level of friendliness with a potential boss who they have never met.

Tracy Newby, head of English at Ringmer Community College in East Sussex, said helping her students to learn good spelling and grammar involves a ‘fight’ with social media.

She said: ‘Social media has a massive impact on students every day.

‘Ask a Year 10 class [aged 14 and 15] how many of them have read a book for pleasure recently and you might get two or three hands.

‘Ask them how many have checked Twitter or Facebook that day and every hand will shoot up.’

Miss Newby runs workshops and competitions at her school to encourage the children to read and to find reading exciting and interesting.

One head teacher, who did not want to be named, said: ‘I do feel that, to a certain extent, the use of electronic media, particularly a reliance on spell checks, has resulted in a decline in old-fashioned grammar and spelling.’

Another said: ‘Parents are less inclined to help children at home with reading.

‘Parents need to be aware of how important their role is. We hold regular evenings for parents and a very low percentage attend.’ It comes after a damning report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development revealed the scale of the problem.

England is the only developed country producing children who are worse at reading and maths than their grandparents, according to a recent report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

John Allan, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: ‘Young people don’t have the literacy and numeracy skills to do the job properly.

‘What we need now is action to improve these crucial basic skills from an early age.

‘While the Government is doing good work to improve the rigour of the curriculum, it must also learn lessons from those countries that perform well, on how to improve and retain these vital skills, to ensure the UK doesn’t find itself with an unskilled workforce.’

Voir de même:

Trump’s tweets are little different from FDR’s chats

Trump’s tweets represent ‘empathy’ but don’t always reflect ‘judgment,’ says Andrew Card
MarketWatch

Jan 23, 2017

‘FDR started it.’ Andrew Card, chief of staff to President George W. Bush
Donald Trump, arguably, has already changed the office of the presidency forever, with his prolific tweets, some of which, at least in the lead-up to his Friday inauguration, endorsed specific companies, lashed out at impersonations and even laid the groundwork for complex policies. Cabinet appointees have found themselves walking back his remarks with some regularity.

Some observers embrace the transparency of the unfiltered Trump experienced on Twitter TWTR, -0.72% . The public wasn’t ruffled one bit when a newly elected Trump’s staff blew off the protocol for press pool reports and end-of-day signoffs.

Trump’s delivery mechanism may be relatively new, but the motivation isn’t. Circumventing the press, and even the carefully crafted press release, is a presidential tack that can be traced as far back as Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “fireside chats,” which leveraged the radio medium to deliver Roosevelt directly into American living rooms, said Andrew Card, in an MSNBC interview. Card, White House chief of staff to the second President Bush, also served in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

And: Trump’s tweets ‘speak for themselves’ as he holds media off for now

FDR delivered his first radio address on March 12, 1933, in the middle of the crisis of confidence over the U.S. banking system. The intent? Reassure the public as if the president had stopped by personally. It was only after the broadcast’s relative success that they eventually earned the “fireside chat” familiarity. Trump’s tweets are the president-elect’s way to get closer to Americans, too, said Card.

And that’s not without risk. Trump’s words represent “empathy” but don’t always reflect “judgment,” said Card.

There have been, of course, other media firsts for the executive office. President Dwight Eisenhower created the White House TV studio, according to NPR. It was Reagan, the former actor, who first went prime time and live on network television to enter American homes.

Presidents have taken liberties with format in other ways, too. Barack Obama, whose White House was no stranger to social media, squeezed in “Between Two Ferns” alongside comedian Zach Galifianakis to promote the contentious Affordable Care Act.

Voir enfin:

“I love the poorly educated”—Read Donald Trump’s full Nevada victory speech

Quartz

February 24, 2016

Oh boy. We love Nevada. We love Nevada. Thank you. Thank you. Oh this is a great place. Thank you very much. Great evening. We will be celebrating for a long time tonight. Have a good time. Have a good time.

You know we weren’t expecting—a couple of months ago, we weren’t expecting to win this one, you know that, right? We weren’t. Of course if you listen to the pundits, we weren’t expected to win too much, and now we’re winning, winning, winning the country. And soon the country’s going to start winning, winning, winning. So I want to thank the volunteers. They’ve been unbelievable. These people, they work like endlessly, endlessly. We’re not going to forget it. And we’ve had some great numbers coming out of Texas, and amazing numbers coming out of Tennessee and Georgia and Arkansas and then in a couple of weeks later Florida. We love Florida so. We’re going to do very well in Ohio. We’re beating the governor. It’s always nice to be beating the governor. And Michigan—the whole thing. It’s going to be an amazing two months.

We might not even need the two months, folks, to be honest. So tonight we had 45 to 46%, and tomorrow you’d hear them say, you know, if they could just take the other candidates and add them up, and if you could add them up because you know the other candidates amount to 55%. So if they could—they keep forgetting that when people drop out, we’re going to get a lot of votes. You know they keep forgetting.

So I want to begin by thanking my boys, Eric has been all over the place making speeches. He’s getting better than me so I’m a little jealous. And Don went to _____, you were all over, right?

He loves the rifle stuff. This is serious rifle. This is serious NRA, both of them, both of them. We love the Second Amendment folks. Nobody loves it more than us, so just remember that.

And Corey and Hope, the staff, the whole group, and Charles and Dan and what a group we have. I want to just thank a couple of friends of mine that are here, the owner of this incredible hotel, Mr. and Mrs. Phil Ruffin, stand up. Great guy. Phil said, “Donald,”—like for the last three months he’s driving me crazy, he said—”Donald, I want to put $10 million into your campaign.” I said, “Phil I don’t want your money. I don’t want to do it. I’m self funding.” Every time I see him. It’s hard for me to turn down money because that’s what I’ve done in my whole life. I grab and grab and grab. You know I get greedy. I want money, money.

I’ll tell you what we’re going to do, right? We get greedy, right? Now we’re going to get greedy for the United States. We’re going to grab and grab and grab. We’re going to bring in so much money and so much everything. We’re going to make America great again, folks, I’m telling you folks, we’re going to make America great again.

And another great friend of mine, someone respected by everybody, a great friend of Phil too—Mr. and Mrs. Steve Wynn. Stand up, Steve. Stand up. Two great people. Steve is always calling. He’s always got advice, right Steve? “Donald I think you should do this and that.” His advice I like to listen to, I’ll be honest. So Phil and Steve and families, we appreciate it. You’ve been great friends. Thank you, thank you.

So this was very exciting tonight. But I’ll tell you it looks like we won by a lot evangelicals. I love evangelicals, and I have to tell you pastor [Robert] Jeffress has been so incredible on television and elsewhere. He has been great. And as you know Liberty University—do we love Liberty University? Huh? Jerry Falwell Jr., an unbelievable guy, and he has been with us and with us from the beginning, and I want to thank Jerry and his family. It’s been amazing, the relationship. So we won the evangelicals.

We won with young. We won with old. We won with highly educated. We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated. We’re the smartest people, we’re the most loyal people, and you know what I’m happy about? Because I’ve been saying it for a long time. 46% were the Hispanics—46%, No. 1 one with Hispanics. I’m really happy about that.

So I’m very proud of you, this is an amazing night. I love the country, I love the country. We’re going in the wrong direction. We’re going to keep—as you know Gitmo, we’re keeping that open, and we’re going to load it up with bad dudes. We’re going to load it up w a lot of bad dudes out there. We’re going to have our borders nice and strong. We’re going to build the wall, you know that. We’re going to build the wall. And I have a lot of respect from Mexico, and you just heard we won Hispanics. But let me tell you Mexico is going to pay for the wall, right? It’s going to happen. It’s going to happen. They know it. I know it. We all know it.

We have a tremendous deficit. We have a trade deficit with Mexico. They’ll pay for the wall. They’ll be very happy about it. Believe me. I’ll talk to them. They’re going to be very, very thrilled. They’re going to be thrilled to be paying for the wall.

We’re going to be the smart people. We’re not going to be the people that get pushed around all over the place. We’re going to be the smart people. You’re going to be proud of your president, and you’re going to be even prouder of your country, OK?

Publicités

Gaza: Ce drapeau du djihad qui trône place de la République et ces Français qui attendent juste que ça passe … (While Paristan burns, will the silent majority finally wake up ?)

28 juillet, 2014

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Gaza: l’indifférence domine. Sondage Ifop (23 juillet 2014)
Des manifestations suivies d’émeutes fleurissent partout, et nous donnent envie de renommer la ville lumière Paristan. Des commerces juifs, des synagogues, des individus juifs, sont pointés du doigt sur les réseaux sociaux et attaqués par une horde de sauvages qui ne savent même pas mettre Gaza sur une carte. Des gauchistes en mal de combats défient le gouvernement en allant manifester là où des émeutiers brûlent des drapeaux israéliens et exhibent des messages antisémites d’un autre âge, accompagnés de drapeaux du djihad et du hezbollah. Des Français « en ont marre » de cette importation du conflit, mais ne se prononcent pas, et attendent juste que ça passe en évitant certains quartiers les jours de manif. (…) Des gens prennent parti sans même se demander ce qu’ils feraient à la place d’un militaire israélien de 20 ans face à un gazaoui de 14 ans qui lui tire dessus avec une mitraillette. Ces mêmes gens prennent parti sans même se demander ce qu’ils feraient si eux et leurs enfants subissaient des bombardements quotidiens, et cerise sur le cheese cake, l’opprobre de la communauté internationale. Ces mêmes gens ne se rendent pas compte que nous aussi, israéliens, avons mal pour les civils tués quotidiennement. Et c’est pourquoi nous sommes fiers de cette armée qui prévient, qui essaye de limiter autant que possible les pertes civiles.  (…) Alors vous savez quoi ? Je crois qu’à un moment, je vais m’en foutre de ce que vous pensez. Du fait que la levée de boucliers a eu lieu quand le gouvernement français a soutenu Israël et a interdit les manifs, mais que personne ne dit rien quand l’état débloque 11 millions pour Gaza, alors que tout le monde sait très bien où va aller cet argent. (…) Nous n’allons pas nous excuser d’être en vie parce que l’état israélien fait tout pour protéger ses civils. Alors non, je ne répondrai plus aux « oui mais à Gaza quand même y’a vachement de morts ». (…) Vous pensez avoir tout compris au conflit israélo palestinien en prenant parti pour le plus faible ? Vous oubliez une chose. Israël n’est pas en conflit contre la Palestine. Mais contre le Hamas. Qui est responsable de la mort de centaines de civils. Le hamas n’est pas plus un mouvement de résistance que Boko Aram. Le hamas ne veut pas deux états, il veut détruire Israël. (…) Alors vous, la « majorité silencieuse » qui a « hâte que cela s’arrête », réveillez-vous. Quant à vous, les manifestants du dimanche (et du samedi aussi), qui vous prenez pour Che Guevara parce que vous brûlez des drapeaux israéliens le visage masqué en criant « Hitler reviens » et parce que vous détruisez le bitume parisien, sachez une chose : personne n’est dupe. Vous n’apportez rien à la cause palestinienne si ce n’est de la désolation. Vous desservez tellement votre cause que plus personne ne vous croit.  Alors oui, peut être que je dormirai mieux si je m’en fous. Si je ne regarde plus ce drapeau du djihad qui trône place de la République un samedi après midi d’été au cours d’une manifestation interdite, et organisée quand même par des partis politiques dont le NPA … Sophie Taieb
Pour séduire les Français issus de l’immigration, le collectif table aussi sur un autre discours : la lutte contre colonialisme. Youssef Boussoumah, du PIR, intronisé porte-parole par le reste du collectif, est, avec trente ans de militantisme derrière lui, le « papa » du collectif. Le PIR est né en 2005 en réaction à la loi d’interdiction des signes religieux à l’école. « La fracture coloniale est à l’oeuvre en France. La Palestine vit aussi une injustice suprême, c’est la dernière cause coloniale. » Tous l’assurent, la question reste avant tout politique. Haoues Seniguer, chercheur au Groupe de recherches et d’études sur la Méditerranée et le Moyen-Orient, confirme en partie cette hypothèse : « Certains dans ces mouvements se mobilisent aussi au nom d’un référent commun à savoir l’islamité des Palestiniens. Mais ils savent qu’ils n’ont pas intérêt à confessionnaliser ce conflit sous peine de perdre des soutiens. » Le NPA, seule formation politique à les soutenir, se dit parfois gêné par les slogans religieux lancés lors des manifestations. Omar Al-Soumi assume pourtant que des groupes très religieux et proches du Hamas comme le Collectif du cheikh Yassine défilent à leur côté : « Cela ne nous dérange pas dans la mesure où nous soutenons toutes les résistances et la lutte armée. La diplomatie et la négociation n’ont jamais abouti. » Le Monde

A l’heure où, entre les djihadistes du dimanche et l’extrême gauche en mal de combats, Paristan brûle et le drapeau du djihad trône place de la République …

Et où, comme le confirme un sondage Ifop, une majorité silencieuse « attend juste que ça passe en évitant certains quartiers les jours de manif » …

Comment, avec l’excellent blog de Sophie Taieb Roots Israel, ne pas avoir envie de se réveiller et de se prononcer enfin ?

Salut à toi l’anti-sioniste, salut à toi l’antisémite, salut à toi l’anti-moi …

Sophie Taieb

Root Israel

27/07/2014

On a tout essayé.
D’expliquer, de concrétiser, d’imager, d’utiliser toutes les métaphores, paraboles, hyperboles, superbowls possibles… mais il n’y a rien à faire, on ne nous aime pas.
Depuis plus d’un mois, Israël est bombardé à l’aveugle par une organisation terroriste, qui prépare depuis des années un plan machiavélique visant à tuer le plus de civils possibles en passant par des tunnels construits avec l’aide humanitaire et les dons de l’ONU.
Gaza est à la merci de ce même groupe terroriste financé par des citoyens pensant aider les « pauvres enfants palestiniens » et par l’emir du Qatar qui aurait pu s’en tenir au PSG.
Paris est à feu est à sang à cause de barbares décidés à en découdre avec la « LDJ » dont ils ne connaissent rien à part la page wikipedia. Des politiques diffusent des photos de « gens de la LDJ » suivis d’appels au meurtre. Des manifestations suivies d’émeutes fleurissent partout, et nous donnent envie de renommer la ville lumière Paristan.
Des commerces juifs, des synagogues, des individus juifs, sont pointés du doigt sur les réseaux sociaux et attaqués par une horde de sauvages qui ne savent même pas mettre Gaza sur une carte.
Des gauchistes en mal de combats défient le gouvernement en allant manifester là où des émeutiers brûlent des drapeaux israéliens et exhibent des messages antisémites d’un autre âge, accompagnés de drapeaux du djihad et du hezbollah.

Des Français « en ont marre » de cette importation du conflit, mais ne se prononcent pas, et attendent juste que ça passe en évitant certains quartiers les jours de manif.

Des médias se saisissent du conflit et des émeutes inhérentes en laissant leurs internautes s’étriper, glorifier Hitler, et se menacer sur les réseaux sociaux sans aucune modération.

De gens prennent parti sans même se demander ce qu’ils feraient à la place d’un militaire israélien de 20 ans face à un gazaoui de 14 ans qui lui tire dessus avec une mitraillette. Ces mêmes gens prennent parti sans même se demander ce qu’ils feraient si eux et leurs enfants subissaient des bombardements quotidiens, et cerise sur le cheese cake, l’opprobre de la communauté internationale. Ces mêmes gens ne se rendent pas compte que nous aussi, israéliens, avons mal pour les civils tués quotidiennement. Et c’est pourquoi nous sommes fiers de cette armée qui prévient, qui essaye de limiter autant que possible les pertes civiles.

JE SUIS TRES ENERVEE ET J’AURAIS PU ECRIRE TOUT CELA EN MAJUSCULES mais les 12 heures de cessez le feu m’ont quelque peu calmée.

Alors vous savez quoi ?
Je crois qu’à un moment, je vais m’en foutre de ce que vous pensez. Du fait que vous n’avez pas l’empathie nécessaire pour vous rendre compte que mes compatriotes, ma famille, mes collègues, mes amis et moi même soyons visés quotidiennement par des bombardements incessants. Du fait que vous n’affirmiez pas haut et fort que ces salopards du hamas méritent d’être tous arrêtés pour ce qu’ils nous font, et pour ce qu’ils font à leurs civils. Du fait que la levée de boucliers a eu lieu quand le gouvernement français a soutenu Israël et a interdit les manifs, mais que personne ne dit rien quand l’état débloque 11 millions pour Gaza, alors que tout le monde sait très bien où va aller cet argent.
Je me rends compte que je deviens israélienne. Vous ne nous aimez pas ? Vous ne comprenez pas que sans cette intervention terrestre nous aurions été massacrés sans discernement à la rentrée ? Vous ne comprenez pas ce que même l’Egypte comprend en prêchant pour l’opération à Gaza ? Vous ne voyez pas que le hamas a le cynisme d’attaquer un hôpital construit par les Israéliens à la bordure de Gaza pour soigner les civils gazaouis ? Qu’il refuse tous les cessez le feu ? Ou alors vous ne vous sentez pas concernés par « les juifs et les arabes » qui « pourraient la mettre en veilleuse » ?
Tant pis pour nous, tant pis pour vous.
Nous n’allons pas nous excuser d’être en vie parce que l’état israélien fait tout pour protéger ses civils. Alors non, je ne répondrai plus aux « oui mais à Gaza quand même y’a vachement de morts ».
Nous n’allons pas arrêter les tirs vers Gaza tant que nous recevrons des roquettes parce que le hamas essaye de nous tuer. Et qu’heureusement, il n’y arrive pas trop (voir point précédent).
Nous n’allons pas vous harceler en vous prédisant une période difficile si les juifs quittent la France, pour Israël ou ailleurs, parce qu’ils en ont tout simplement marre d’être juifs. En France.
Vous pensez avoir tout compris au conflit israélo palestinien en prenant parti pour le plus faible ? Vous oubliez une chose. Israël n’est pas en conflit contre la Palestine. Mais contre le Hamas. Qui est responsable de la mort de centaines de civils. Le hamas n’est pas plus un mouvement de résistance que Boko Aram. Le hamas ne veut pas deux états, il veut détruire Israël. Et mes concitoyens et moi même nous battrons de toutes nos forces pour que cela n’arrive jamais et pour que vous aussi puissiez venir vous la couler douce sous le soleil de Tel Aviv. Alors vous, la « majorité silencieuse » qui a « hâte que cela s’arrête », réveillez-vous. Quant à vous, les manifestants du dimanche (et du samedi aussi), qui vous prenez pour Che Guevara parce que vous brûlez des drapeaux israéliens le visage masqué en criant « Hitler reviens » et parce que vous détruisez le bitume parisien, sachez une chose : personne n’est dupe. Vous n’apportez rien à la cause palestinienne si ce n’est de la désolation. Vous desservez tellement votre cause que plus personne ne vous croit.

Alors oui, peut être que je dormirai mieux si je m’en fous. Si je ne regarde plus ce drapeau du djihad qui trône place de la République un samedi après midi d’été au cours d’une manifestation interdite, et organisée quand même par des partis politiques dont le NPA. Peut être que je dormirai mieux si je ne passe plus de temps à répondre à des adorateurs d’Hitler sur le forum d’itélé. Peut être, ou peut être pas. Mais lundi, je m’y mets.

Voir également:

Les seize commandements de l’Etat islamique en Irak et au Levant
Jean-Pierre PERRIN envoyé spécial en Irak

Libération

23 juin 2014

La charte de l’Etat islamique en Irak et au Levant, distribuée à Mossoul le 13 juin 2014.
Deux jours après leur conquête de Mossoul, en Irak, le groupe jihadiste distribuait une «charte» instituant la terreur.

C’est une charte d’épouvante que l’Etat islamique en Irak et au Levant, Daech comme on l’appelle dans la région qui est son acronyme en arabe, a fait distribuer à Mossoul après la conquête de la ville, le 11 juin. Seize articles terrifiants qui organisent la vie du million et demi d’habitants que compte actuellement la ville.

Dans son article 5, elle promet à ceux qui «détruisent la terre», entendez ceux qui s’opposent à la volonté de Dieu, «l’exécution, la crucifixion, l’amputation des bras ou (et) des jambes, ou l’exil», avant, bien sûr, la géhenne éternelle.

Dans son article 8, elle interdit l’usage de l’alcool, du tabac et des drogues.

L’article 10 interdit désormais toute manifestation publique, sous prétexte qu’elles sont contraires à l’islam.

L’article 13 s’adresse, lui, aux statues auxquelles elle promet la destruction du fait qu’elles étaient adorées avant l’islam. Il se fonde notamment sur la destruction par Mahomet de 360 statues à La Mecque et sur la sourate Al-Maeda : «O les croyants! Le vin, le jeu de hasard, les pierres dressées, les flèches de divination ne sont qu’une abomination, œuvre du diable. Ecartez-vous en, afin que vous réussissiez.» Ce qui fait craindre que Daech s’attaque au site archéologique de Ninive, l’un des plus beaux du Moyen-Orient.

L’article 14 précise que les femmes devront sortir le visage et le corps complètement couverts par un niqab, à la condition que «le déplacement soit nécessaire», autorisé par le père, le frère ou le mari, et accompagné de l’un d’eux.

Par ailleurs, Daech vient d’imposer le statut de dhimmi (statut humiliant de sujétion et de protection des non-musulmans en terre d’islam) aux chrétiens de Mossoul, ce qui se traduit d’emblée par un impôt spécial de 250 dollars par personne et par mois.

Voir encore:

Les extrémistes détruisent une autre mosquée historique à Mossoul

La presse

27 juillet 2014

Parmi les bâtiments religieux détruits à Mossoul la semaine dernière figurent la mosquée du prophète Seth et la mosquée du prophète Younès (en photo), considérée comme son lieu de sépulture.

Après avoir fait d’importants gains en Syrie face aux troupes d’Assad, les djihadistes de l’EIIL ont pris l’Irak d’assaut s’emparant d’importants pans du pays, dont la deuxième ville, Mossoul. Une offensive visant à créer un État islamique en pays sunnite, à cheval sur l’Irak et la Syrie. »

Des résidants de Mossoul, dans le nord de l’Irak, ont déclaré dimanche que les extrémistes de l’État islamique avaient détruit une autre mosquée et un mausolée d’une grande valeur historique.
Selon ces résidants, la mosquée et le mausolée du prophète Jarjis ont été bombardés par des islamistes dimanche soir. Depuis une semaine, les extrémistes ont détruit plusieurs monuments religieux hautement vénérés à Mossoul.

Les résidants se sont adressés anonymement à l’Associated Press par crainte de représailles.

L’État islamique, un groupe djihadiste, a lancé une violente offensive à travers le nord et l’ouest de l’Irak à la fin de l’année dernière et a pris le contrôle de Mossoul en juin.

Parmi les bâtiments religieux détruits à Mossoul la semaine dernière figurent la mosquée du prophète Seth et la mosquée du prophète Younès (Jonas), considérée comme son lieu de sépulture.

Voir enfin:

« Les associations propalestiniennes ont peu de points communs »
Le Monde

25.07.2014

Propos recueillis par Faïza Zerouala

Une nouvelle manifestation de soutien à la Palestine devait se tenir samedi 26 juillet à Paris, à l’appel d’un collectif informel rassemblant, entre autres, plusieurs associations palestiniennes. Mais vendredi, la préfecture de police a interdit le rassemblement, en raison notamment d’un « trajet à haut risque » passant près de synagogues, selon le ministre de l’intérieur, Bernard Cazeneuve.

Comme lors de l’interdiction tombée pour la manifestation du 19 juillet, les organisateurs ont saisi la justice en urgence dans la foulée, déposant recours devant le tribunal administratif.

Marc Hecker, chercheur à l’Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI) et auteur du livre Intifada française ? De l’importation du conflit israélo-palestinien (Ellipses, 2012) détaille pour LeMonde.fr les différences mouvances représentées dans les cortèges.

Qui sont ces groupes propalestiniens qui manifestent en France aujourd’hui, y compris lorsque c’est interdit ?

Marc Hecker : La mouvance propalestinienne a émergé en France dans les années 1960. Elle a connu un regain de popularité depuis le début de la deuxième Intifada en 2000. Dans les grands cortèges propalestiniens – qui ont pu regrouper jusqu’à 50 000 personnes au début des années 2000 – on retrouve aussi bien des partis politiques traditionnels (Parti communiste, Europe Ecologie-Les Verts, Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste) que des syndicats (CGT, FO, etc.), des associations propalestiniennes (dont certaines sont regroupées au sein de la Plateforme des ONG françaises pour la Palestine), des organisations musulmanes ou encore des personnes n’appartenant à aucune structure militante mais qui sont choquées par les images du conflit israélo-palestinien que véhiculent les médias.

Les plus grands cortèges sont difficiles à contrôler. S’y agrègent parfois des individus violents qui cherchent à casser, à en découdre avec les forces de l’ordre ou à attaquer la communauté juive. Rares sont les manifestations propalestiniennes interdites. Lorsque la préfecture de police interdit un rassemblement de ce type, c’est qu’elle dispose d’éléments tangibles laissant à penser que des troubles à l’ordre public sont probables.

Y’a t-il une fracture entre les organisations historiques de soutien à la Palestine et celles qui ont organisé la manifestation qui a été interdite ?

La mouvance propalestinienne agrège des associations très différentes qui ont peu de points communs en dehors de leur opposition à la politique israélienne. Certaines associations sont beaucoup plus consensuelles que d’autres. C’est le cas par exemple de l’Association France Palestine solidarité (AFPS), née au début des années 2000 de la fusion de deux associations « historiques », d’une part, l’association médicale franco-palestinienne, créée dans la première moitié des années 1970 et rapidement noyautée par les maoïstes ; d’autre part, l’association France Palestine (AFP), créée en 1979 sous l’impulsion discrète du Parti communiste.

L’AFPS est sur une ligne proche de celle de l’Autorité palestinienne : elle souhaite la naissance d’un Etat palestinien viable à côté de l’Etat d’Israël, avec Jérusalem comme capitale partagée. Elle demande que la « ligne verte » devienne la frontière entre les deux Etats et que les colonies israéliennes soient démantelées. En privé, certains de ses dirigeants expliquent qu’ils sont prêts à faire des concessions importantes sur la question du retour des réfugiés palestiniens.

Qu’en est-il des autres organisations, comme le parti des Indigènes de la République ou l’Union juive française pour la paix ?

Il existe d’autres associations qui sont moins consensuelles, certains groupuscules allant jusqu’à remettre en cause l’existence de l’Etat d’Israël. Le retour des réfugiés a longtemps été une question clivante au sein de la mouvance propalestinienne. Certaines structures refusent de transiger sur cette question, tandis que d’autres comprennent bien que le retour de tous les réfugiés palestiniens reviendrait à noyer démographiquement la population israélienne. Pour ce qui est de l’Union générale des étudiants de Palestine (GUPS), du Parti des indigènes de la République et de l’Union juive française pour la paix (UJFP), elles sont moins consensuelles que l’AFPS mais elles ne sont pas toutes sur la même ligne et n’ont pas les mêmes origines.

La GUPS est une des rares associations palestiniennes en France. Il y a en effet peu de Palestiniens dans notre pays, probablement aux alentours de 10 000, contre plus de 100 000 en Allemagne. La GUPS est l’association des étudiants palestiniens. Ses origines sont lointaines : elle a été créée au Caire en 1959 et a compté Yasser Arafat parmi ses cadres dirigeants. Elle est traditionnellement proche de l’Autorité palestinienne. En France, elle a connu une crise au cours des années 2000, un petit groupe d’étudiants reprochant aux dirigeants de la GUPS d’être des héritiers de cadres du Fatah. L’Union juive française pour la paix (UJFP) est une des très rares associations juives présentes dans les cortèges propalestiniens. Elle a été créée au moment du processus d’Oslo et a connu une hausse d’adhésions (quelques centaines) au moment où Ariel Sharon était au pouvoir en Israël. Beaucoup de ses membres appartiennent à l’extrême-gauche mais tous ne se disent pas antisionistes.

Le Parti des Indigènes de la République (PIR) est plus récent. Il a été créé en 2010 et procède du Mouvement des Indigènes de la République (MIR) qui date du milieu des années 2000. Lors des manifestations de 2008-2009, les Indigènes défilaient avec une grande banderole de soutien au Hamas et à la résistance armée. Le PIR est des organisations les plus virulentes à l’égard des autorités françaises. Il dresse en effet un parallèle entre la politique israélienne à l’égard des Palestiniens et la politique française à l’égard des « minorités visibles » en particulier dans les banlieues. Selon sa grille de lecture, arabes et noirs vivraient en France sous statut colonial. Le discours des Indigènes de la République pousse les immigrés de la deuxième et de la troisième génération à s’identifier aux Palestiniens.

Les groupes propalestiniens ont-ils les moyens d’assurer la sécurité lors des manifestations ?

En dehors des pics de violence au Proche-Orient, les manifestations propalestiniennes sont généralement calmes. Elles regroupent rarement plus de quelques centaines de participants. Quand une opération militaire israélienne est déclenchée, les mécanismes de la mobilisation militante se mettent en marche, notamment par l’intermédiaire d’Internet. Plus une opération se prolonge et provoque des morts, plus les manifestations montent en puissance.

L’effet de cette montée en puissance est paradoxal. D’un côté, les dirigeants associatifs sont ravis de voir des milliers voire des dizaines de milliers de personnes soutenir les Palestiniens mais d’un autre côté, ils savent que les manifestations risquent de leur échapper.

Je me souviens avoir interviewé un dirigeant de l’AFPS avant la guerre de 2006 (qui avait lieu simultanément à Gaza et au Liban). Il m’a dit qu’il ne tolérerait jamais des inscriptions antisémites dans une manifestation ni des drapeaux du Hamas ou du Hezbollah. Quelques semaines plus tard a eu lieu une importante manifestation propalestinienne. Plusieurs dizaines de personnes sont arrivées avec des pancartes à connotation antisémite et avec des drapeaux du Hezbollah. L’AFPS n’a pas été en mesure de les refouler. Il en va de même pour les casseurs ou pour les jeunes qui veulent poursuivre une manifestation vers les synagogues. Parfois, les organisateurs arrivent à les canaliser mais d’autres fois, ils sont totalement débordés.

Voir enfin:

Derrière les manifestations interdites pour Gaza : un collectif de propalestiniens radicaux
Faïza Zerouala

Le Monde

25.07.2014

Le collectif propalestinien à l’origine de la manifestation interdite de samedi 19 juillet à Paris, qui avait dégénéré en affrontements avec les forces de l’ordre, appelle à défiler, samedi 26. Mais cette nouvelle manifestation a été interdite, vendredi 25 juillet, par la préfecture de police.

« Les organisateurs seront reçus, il sera discuté de l’itinéraire, des conditions d’organisation de cette manifestation », avait expliqué jeudi 24 juillet le ministre de l’intérieur, Bernard Cazeneuve, tandis que le premier ministre, Manuel Valls, exigeait des « garanties » en matière de sécurité.

Pourquoi cette prudence ? C’est que les organisations de soutien aux Palestiniens ne forment pas un front uni. Si le Collectif national pour une paix juste et durable entre Israéliens et Palestiniens, formé d’organisations historiques comme la Ligue des droits de l’homme, le Parti communiste ou la CGT, affiche des revendications consensuelles et pacifistes, ce sont des associations aux revendications plus radicales qui ont appelé les sympathisants de la cause palestinienne à manifester pour la première fois, le 13 juillet.

Ce jour-là, c’est un collectif informel sans nom officiel, composé d’une bande d’amis trentenaires, militants de longue date, qui pilote les événements car les acteurs traditionnels « ne bougent pas », disent-ils. Ce réseau est formé d’un noyau réduit de militants, mais sa capacité de mobilisation sur les réseaux sociaux et sur le terrain compense cette faiblesse. Il réunit des membres de l’Union générale des étudiants de Palestine (GUPS), du Mouvement des jeunes Palestiniens (PYM France), de Génération Palestine, de l’Union juive française pour la paix (UJFP), du Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste (NPA) ou du Parti des indigènes de la République (PIR).

De leur propre aveu, cet appel à la mobilisation est le fruit de réunions improvisées en catastrophe. Leurs associations étaient plus ou moins en sommeil depuis la forte mobilisation contre l’opération « Plomb durci » menée fin 2008-début 2009 par Israël.

Le collectif informel appelle au retour des réfugiés palestiniens ainsi qu’à la libération des prisonniers politiques. Mais ses représentants l’avouent, leur revendication ne porte pas seulement sur la paix. Ce collectif sans nom soutient le Hamas, que rejette le Collectif national. L’un des membres du GUPS, née en 1959 et l’une des rares associations palestiniennes présentes en France, interprète ce besoin d’autonomie comme une réaction au « langage du Collectif national, qui depuis longtemps est politiquement un peu mou. On préfère s’organiser en dehors d’eux ».

« NE PLUS ÊTRE DÉPOSSÉDÉS DE NOTRE COMBAT »

Plus que des divergences politiques, Omar Al-Soumi, du Mouvement des jeunes Palestiniens, explique que ses amis et lui n’ont plus voulu dépendre d’un Collectif national bien peu représentatif à ses yeux. Fils d’un artiste palestinien, il a commencé à militer il y a dix ans à Sciences Po. Il se souvient qu’« à l’époque, le profil type du militant, c’était un retraité de la fonction publique aux cheveux blancs. Nous, on voulait s’ouvrir aux quartiers populaires vers cette nouvelle France issue de l’immigration pour ne plus être dépossédés de notre combat ». M. Al-Soumi assure fédérer largement dans les banlieues.

Pour séduire les Français issus de l’immigration, le collectif table aussi sur un autre discours : la lutte contre colonialisme. Youssef Boussoumah, du PIR, intronisé porte-parole par le reste du collectif, est, avec trente ans de militantisme derrière lui, le « papa » du collectif. Le PIR est né en 2005 en réaction à la loi d’interdiction des signes religieux à l’école. « La fracture coloniale est à l’oeuvre en France. La Palestine vit aussi une injustice suprême, c’est la dernière cause coloniale. »

Tous l’assurent, la question reste avant tout politique. Haoues Seniguer, chercheur au Groupe de recherches et d’études sur la Méditerranée et le Moyen-Orient, confirme en partie cette hypothèse : « Certains dans ces mouvements se mobilisent aussi au nom d’un référent commun à savoir l’islamité des Palestiniens. Mais ils savent qu’ils n’ont pas intérêt à confessionnaliser ce conflit sous peine de perdre des soutiens. »

Le NPA, seule formation politique à les soutenir, se dit parfois gêné par les slogans religieux lancés lors des manifestations. Omar Al-Soumi assume pourtant que des groupes très religieux et proches du Hamas comme le Collectif du cheikh Yassine défilent à leur côté : « Cela ne nous dérange pas dans la mesure où nous soutenons toutes les résistances et la lutte armée. La diplomatie et la négociation n’ont jamais abouti. »


Libertés: A quand la signalisation contenu sensible pour la Bible ? (Should the Bible come with trigger warnings ?)

28 mai, 2014
https://jcdurbant.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/84bf3-trigger-warning.jpghttps://fbexternal-a.akamaihd.net/safe_image.php?d=AQD8Fkvt3yUMcsiP&w=377&h=197&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.newrepublic.com%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Fblindfolded.jpg&cfs=1&sx=123&sy=0&sw=989&sh=517
Et l’Éternel dit: J’exterminerai de la face de la terre l’homme que j’ai créé, depuis l’homme jusqu’au bétail, aux reptiles, et aux oiseaux du ciel; car je me repens de les avoir faits. Genèse 6: 7
Si un homme des enfants d’Israël ou des étrangers qui séjournent en Israël livre à Moloc l’un de ses enfants, il sera puni de mort: le peuple du pays le lapidera. Si un homme couche avec la femme de son père, et découvre ainsi la nudité de son père, cet homme et cette femme seront punis de mort: leur sang retombera sur eux. Si un homme couche avec sa belle-fille, ils seront tous deux punis de mort; ils ont fait une confusion: leur sang retombera sur eux. Si un homme couche avec un homme comme on couche avec une femme, ils ont fait tous deux une chose abominable; ils seront punis de mort: leur sang retombera sur eux. Lévitique 20:2 et 11-13
Fille de Babylone, la dévastée, Heureux qui te rend la pareille, Le mal que tu nous as fait! Heureux qui saisit tes enfants, Et les écrase sur le roc! Psaumes 137
O Dieu, brise-leur les dents dans la bouche! Éternel, arrache les mâchoires des lionceaux Qu’ils se dissipent comme des eaux qui s’écoulent! Qu’ils ne lancent que des traits émoussés! Qu’ils périssent en se fondant, comme un limaçon; Sans voir le soleil, comme l’avorton d’une femme! Avant que vos chaudières sentent l’épine, Verte ou enflammée, le tourbillon l’emportera. Le juste sera dans la joie, à la vue de la vengeance; Il baignera ses pieds dans le sang des méchants. Et les hommes diront: Oui, il est une récompense pour le juste; Oui, il est un Dieu qui juge sur la terre. Psaumes 58: 7-11
Peut-on imaginer personnage littéraire plus désagréable que le Dieu de l’Ancien Testament? Jaloux et en étant fier; obsédé de l’autorité, mesquin, injuste et impitoyable; vengeur et sanguinaire tenant de l’épuration ethnique; tyrannique, misogyne, homophobe, raciste, infanticide, génocidaire, fillicide, pestilentiel, mégalomane, sadomasochiste et capricieusement diabolique. Richard Dawkins
 Parmi tous les écrits présents dans l’Index, la Bible avec ses adaptations, ses commentaires et les études bibliques, est de loin le livre le plus censuré jusqu’à la suppression de l’Index. Les éditions de la Bible en latin, en grec, dans les langues vulgaires en tout ou en partie, ainsi que des commentaires bibliques figurent nombreux dans le premier index roman. L’interdiction, maintenue pendant deux siècles, d’adapter la bible en langue vulgaire finit par assimiler dans l’imaginaire collectif les traductions bibliques aux livres hérétiques dits « Gigliola Fragnito ». Plusieurs raisons justifiaient ces interdictions aux yeux des censeurs, principalement l’existence d’éditions altérées et commentées par des hérétiques, et la méfiance à l’égard d’une interprétation personnelle du texte révélé, que seule l’Église pouvait interpréter d’une façon authentique. Le contact direct avec les sources de la foi pouvait provoquer des remises en question et altérer la doctrine, la morale, et l’organisation de l’Église. Wikipedia
Le monothéisme devient une arme de guerre forgée tardivement pour permettre au peuple juif d’être et de durer, fût-ce au détriment des autres peuples. Il suppose une violence intrinsèque exterminatrice, intolérante, qui dure jusqu’aujourd’hui (…) les juifs inventent le génocide – le premier en date dans la littérature mondiale. Jean Soler
Le schéma judéo-chrétien s’impose, même à ceux qui se disent indemnes de cette religion. Jean Soler pense même le communisme et le nazisme dans la perspective schématique de ce modèle de pensée. Ainsi, chez Marx, le prolétariat joue le rôle du peuple élu, le monde y est vu en termes d’oppositions entre bien et mal, amis et ennemis, l’apocalypse (la guerre civile) annonce le millénarisme (la société sans classes). (…) Toujours selon Jean Soler, le monothéisme devient une arme de guerre forgée tardivement pour permettre au peuple juif d’être et de durer, fût-ce au détriment des autres peuples. Il suppose une violence intrinsèque exterminatrice, intolérante, qui dure jusqu’aujourd’hui. La vérité du judaïsme se trouve dans le christianisme qui universalise un discours d’abord nationaliste. (…) Bien sûr, il ne souhaite pas revenir au polythéisme antique, mais il propose que nous nous mettions enfin à l’école de la Grèce après plus de mille ans de domination judéo-chrétienne. Une Grèce qui ignore l’intolérance, la banalisation de la peine de mort, les guerres de destruction massive entre les cités ; une Grèce qui célèbre le culte des femmes ; une Grèce qui ignore le péché, la faute, la culpabilité ; une Grèce qui n’a pas souhaité l’extermination massive de ses adversaires ; une Grèce qui, à Athènes, où arrive saint Paul, avait édifié un autel au dieu inconnu comme preuve de sa générosité et de son hospitalité – cet autel fut décrété par Paul de Tarse l’autel de son dieu unique, le seul, le vrai. Constantin devait donner à Paul les moyens de son rêve. Michel Onfray
Dans certains des Psaumes l’esprit de haine nous frappe au visage comme la chaleur d’une fournaise. Dans d’autres cas, le même esprit cesse d’être effrayant mais c’est pour devenir (aux yeux de l’homme moderne) presque comique par sa naïveté. (…) Si nous excusons les poètes des Psaumes sous prétexte qu’ils n’étaient pas chrétiens, nous devrions pouvoir montrer que les auteurs païens expriment le même genre de choses et pire encore (….) Je peux trouver en eux de la lascivité, une bonne dose d’insensibilité brutale, une froide cruauté qui va de soi pour eux, mais certainement pas cette fureur ou cette profusion de haine…. La première impression que l’on en retire est que les Juifs étaient bien plus vindicatifs et acerbes que les païens. CS Lewis
Il y a une quantité incroyable de violence dans des pièces telles que Médée ou les Bacchantes, dans la tradition dionysiaque dans son ensemble qui est centrée sur le lynchage. L’Iliade n’est rien d’autre qu’une chaîne d’actes de vengeance ; mais ce que C. S. Lewis et Nietzsche disent sur cette question est sans doute vrai si le problème est défini de la façon qu’ils le définissent il, à savoir en termes non pas de pure quantité de violence exposée mais de l’intensité de la rancoeur ou du ressentiment. (…) Même si les Bacchantes d’Euripide ne sont pas loin de prendre la défense de la victime, en fin de compte elles ne le font pas. Le lynchage du roi Penthée de la propre main de sa mère et de ses sœurs est horrible certes, mais pas mauvais; il est justifié. Le roi Penthée est coupable de s’immiscer dans les rituels religieux des Bacchantes, coupable de s’opposer au dieu Dionysos lui-même. René Girard
On dit que les Psaumes de la Bible sont violents, mais qui s’exprime dans les psaumes, sinon les victimes des violences des mythes : “Les taureaux de Balaam m’encerclent et vont me lyncher”? Les Psaumes sont comme une fourrure magnifique de l’extérieur, mais qui, une fois retournée, laisse découvrir une peau sanglante. Ils sont typiques de la violence qui pèse sur l’homme et du recours que celui-ci trouve dans son Dieu. René Girard
De nombreux commentateurs veulent aujourd’hui montrer que, loin d’être non violente, la Bible est vraiment pleine de violence. En un sens, ils ont raison. La représentation de la violence dans la Bible est énorme et plus vive, plus évocatrice, que dans la mythologie même grecque. (…) Il est une chose que j’apprécie dans le refus contemporain de cautionner la violence biblique, quelque chose de rafraîchissant et de stimulant, une capacité d’indignation qui, à quelques exceptions près, manque dans la recherche et l’exégèse religieuse classiques. (…) Une fois que nous nous rendons compte que nous avons à faire au même phénomène social dans la Bible que la mythologie, à savoir la foule hystérique qui ne se calmera pas tant qu’elle n’aura pas lynché une victime, nous ne pouvons manquer de prendre conscience du fait de la grande singularité biblique, même de son caractère unique. (…) Dans la mythologie, la violence collective est toujours représentée à partir du point de vue de l’agresseur et donc on n’entend jamais les victimes elles-mêmes. On ne les entend jamais se lamenter sur leur triste sort et maudire leurs persécuteurs comme ils le font dans les Psaumes. Tout est raconté du point de vue des bourreaux. (…) Pas étonnant que les mythes grecs, les épopées grecques et les tragédies grecques sont toutes sereines, harmonieuses et non perturbées. (…) Pour moi, les Psaumes racontent la même histoire de base que les mythes mais retournée, pour ainsi dire. (…) Les Psaumes d’exécration ou de malédiction sont les premiers textes dans l’histoire qui permettent aux victimes, à jamais réduites au silence dans la mythologie, d’avoir une voix qui leur soit propre. (…) Ces victimes ressentent exactement la même chose que Job. Il faut décrire le livre de Job, je crois, comme un psaume considérablement élargi de malédiction. Si Job était un mythe, nous aurions seulement le point de vue des amis. (…) La critique actuelle de la violence dans la Bible ne soupçonne pas que la violence représentée dans la Bible peut être aussi dans les évènements derrière la mythologie, bien qu’invisible parce qu’elle est non représentée. La Bible est le premier texte à représenter la victimisation du point de vue de la victime, et c’est cette représentation qui est responsable, en fin de compte, de notre propre sensibilité supérieure à la violence. Ce n’est pas le fait de notre intelligence supérieure ou de notre sensibilité. Le fait qu’aujourd’hui nous pouvons passer jugement sur ces textes pour leur violence est un mystère. Personne d’autre n’a jamais fait cela dans le passé. C’est pour des raisons bibliques, paradoxalement, que nous critiquons la Bible. (…) Alors que dans le mythe, nous apprenons le lynchage de la bouche des persécuteurs qui soutiennent qu’ils ont bien fait de lyncher leurs victimes, dans la Bible nous entendons la voix des victimes elles-mêmes qui ne voient nullement le lynchage comme une chose agréable et nous disent en des mots extrêmement violents, des mots qui reflètent une réalité violente qui est aussi à l’origine de la mythologie, mais qui restant invisible, déforme notre compréhension générale de la littérature païenne et de la mythologie. René Girard
Ceux qui considèrent l’hébraïsme et le christianisme comme des religions du bouc émissaire parce qu’elles le rendent visible font comme s’ils punissaient l’ambassadeur en raison du message qu’il apporte. René Girard 
Ce qui apparait comme une faiblesse est peut-être la clé de son succès. La Bible donne à chaque génération une liberté essentielle d’appropriation et de relecture. (…) La Bible, c’est tout le contraire de « L’Odyssée ». Son imperfection formelle est la preuve de sa véracité. Dieu ne peut être un poète, les poètes mentent, Dieu, Lui, dit le vrai … Jean-Christophe Attias
Une « trigger », ou en français un déclencheur, c’est un contenu — des mots, des images, un son, parfois même une odeur — qui déclenche chez quelqu’un ayant vécu un évènement traumatisant le souvenir de cet évènement, parfois suivi de moments très difficiles comme des crises d’angoisse, des flashbacks et d’autres éléments qui se retrouvent notamment dans le trouble de stress post-traumatique. Pour prendre un exemple qui risque de ne pas déranger trop de monde : si vous êtes phobique, disons, des lapins et que vous étiez dans un parc à boire un Coca quand une boule de poils à oreilles vous a soudain sauté sur le pied, il est possible que le goût ou la vue du Coca vous cause un sentiment de malaise, sans forcément que vous ne vous en rendiez compte. La plupart des déclencheurs concernent des choses plus sérieuses, comme des agressions, des viols, et d’autres traumatismes très violents. Mademoizelle.com
Frankly it seems this is sort of an inevitable movement toward people increasingly expecting physical comfort and intellectual comfort in their lives. It is only going to get harder to teach people that there is a real important and serious value to being offended. Part of that is talking about deadly serious and uncomfortable subjects. Greg Lukianoff (president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education)
On college campuses across the country, a growing number of students are demanding trigger warnings on class content. Many instructors are obliging with alerts in handouts and before presentations, even emailing notes of caution ahead of class. At Scripps College, lecturers give warnings before presenting a core curriculum class, the “Histories of the Present: Violence, » although some have questioned the value of such alerts when students are still required to attend class. Oberlin College has published an official document on triggers, advising faculty members to « be aware of racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism, and other issues of privilege and oppression, » to remove triggering material when it doesn’t « directly » contribute to learning goals and « strongly consider » developing a policy to make « triggering material » optional. Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, it states, is a novel that may « trigger readers who have experienced racism, colonialism, religious persecution, violence, suicide and more. » Warnings have been proposed even for books long considered suitable material for high-schoolers: Last month, a Rutgers University sophomore suggested that an alert for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby say, « TW: suicide, domestic abuse and graphic violence. » (… and now that they’ve entered university classrooms, it’s only a matter of time before warnings are demanded for other grade levels. As students introduce them in college newspapers, promotional material for plays, even poetry slams, it’s not inconceivable that they’ll appear at the beginning of film screenings and at the entrance to art exhibits. Will newspapers start applying warnings to articles about rape, murder, and war? (…) Issuing caution on the basis of potential harm or insult doesn’t help us negotiate our reactions; it makes our dealings with others more fraught. As Breslin pointed out, trigger warnings can have the opposite of their intended effect, luring in sensitive people (and perhaps connoisseurs of graphic content, too). More importantly, they reinforce the fear of words by depicting an ever-expanding number of articles and books as dangerous and requiring of regulation. By framing more public spaces, from the Internet to the college classroom, as full of infinite yet ill-defined hazards, trigger warnings encourage us to think of ourselves as more weak and fragile than we really are. (…)  Trigger warnings are presented as a gesture of empathy, but the irony is they lead only to more solipsism, an over-preoccupation with one’s own feelings—much to the detriment of society as a whole. Structuring public life around the most fragile personal sensitivities will only restrict all of our horizons. Engaging with ideas involves risk, and slapping warnings on them only undermines the principle of intellectual exploration. We cannot anticipate every potential trigger—the world, like the Internet, is too large and unwieldy. But even if we could, why would we want to? Bending the world to accommodate our personal frailties does not help us overcome them. Jenny Jarvie
For those who have not yet caught up with it, in the academic world the phrase « trigger warning » means alerting students to books that might « trigger » deleterious emotional effects. Should a Jewish student be asked to read « Oliver Twist » with its anti-Semitic caricature of Fagin, let alone « The Merchant of Venice, » whose central figure is the Jewish usurer Shylock? Should African-American students be required to read « Huckleberry Finn, » with its generous use of the « n-word, » or « Heart of Darkness, » which equates the Congo with the end of rational civilization? Should students who are ardent pacifists be made to read about warfare in Tolstoy and Stendhal, or for that matter the Iliad? As for gay and lesbian students, or students who have suffered sexual abuse, or those who have a physical handicap . . . one could go on. Pointing out the potentially damaging effects of books began, like so much these days, on the Internet, where intellectual Samaritans began listing such emotionally troublesome books on their blogs. Before long it was picked up by the academy. (…) Suddenly women, African-Americans, and (later) gay and lesbian professors began teaching, in effect, themselves. No serious university could do business without an African-American Studies Department. Many female professors created and found an academic home in something called Gender Studies, which turned out to be chiefly about the suppression of women, just as African-American Studies was chiefly about the historical and contemporary maltreatment of blacks. Something called Queer Studies came next, with gays and lesbians instructing interested students in the oppression of homosexuals. Over time, the themes of gender, class and race were insinuated into the softer social sciences and much of the humanities. They have established a reign of quiet academic terror, and that has made the university a very touchy place indeed. (…) University presidents and their increasingly large army of administrators have by now a 50-year tradition of cowardice. They do not clamp down when students reject the visits on their campuses of such courageous or accomplished women as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Christine Lagarde or Condoleezza Rice because their views are not perfectly congruent with the students’ own jejune beliefs. When students and younger faculty line up behind the morally obtuse anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) movement, wiser heads do not prevail, for the good reason that there are no wiser heads. The inmates, fair to say, are running the joint. The trigger warning is another passage in the unfinished symphony of political correctness. If the universities do not come out against attacks on freedom of speech, why should they oppose the censorship implicit in trigger warnings? The main point of these warnings, as with all political correctness, is to protect the minority of the weak, the vulnerable, the disheartened or the formerly discriminated against, no matter what the price in civility, scholarly integrity and political sanity. Do they truly require such protection, even at the price of genuine education? Nearly 200 years ago Alexis de Tocqueville, in his book on American democracy, feared the mob of the majority. In the American university today that mob looks positively pusillanimous next to the mob of the minority. Joseph Epstein
The bible is a raw, sometimes bleeding text, pulsing with fear and bitterness and the crumbling of will in the face of temptation. I believe that this very rawness is responsible for its endurance. Because what is raw is also tender, and it is in this tender place where real transformation happens. The bible does not shy away from our vulnerabilities, nor does it seek to accommodate them. Instead, when read with an honest mind (which is, regrettably, not a universal phenomenon), it exposes us to them, and ultimately ourselves. It is this intrinsically unapologetic nature of the text, its refusal to soothe or conceal, which not so long ago took me by great surprise and ultimately drew me in. (…) I lack the vitriol some feel against those who are trying to make trigger warnings happen. Those students are well-meaning and want to protect the people among them who have experienced trauma. But the question is, what are they really protecting them from? If it’s from reading something that might take them outside their comfort zone, that might cause more harm than good. (With exception, of course, of serious cases of PTSD.) As Los Angeles Times’ Megan Daum wrote in her column on the topic, we are already self-censoring enough: “Liberals stay away from Fox News. Conservatives shield themselves from MSNBC. We choose to live in particular neighborhoods or regions in part because we want neighbors who share our values. We rant away on social media, but we’re usually just talking to people who already agree with us. We call that an echo chamber, but isn’t it also a way of living inside one big trigger warning?” If the ban is an attempt to shield some individuals from others’ insensitive comments, well this is what a good professor should help out with through the facilitation of nuanced conversation that makes everyone uncomfortable and not just those with a troubled personal connection. When everyone is vulnerable, everyone grows, through the development of empathy for others or a reckoning with their past. This is how we prepare students for a big bad world filled with wounded people and devoid of trigger-warnings. The bible has long-served a similar role. Its nakedness pushes those of us who study it to strip down too, and contemplate just what is at stake for ourselves and those around us. It does not shy away from the dark matter of life, and so we should not shy away from it or any other of the good books that do the same, because reading them together is how we grow. Elissa Strauss

Ames sensibles s’abstenir !

Violence massive (déluge, apocalypse), lapidation, épuration ethnique, sacrifice humain et animal, génocide, infanticide, fillicide, suicide (Saül, Samson et Judas), racisme, colonialisme, hétérosexisme, cisexisme, handicapisme, sadomasochisme, misogynie, homophobie, transphobie, viols, inceste, sexe, sang, insectes …

Alors qu’après les pays musulmans et l’Italie et avec ses places de stationnement réservées (et plus larges et plus longues, s’il vous plait !), la Corée traite la féminité comme un handicap …

Et après le test féministe dit de Bechdel et la signalisation interdit au moins de 14 ans pour le film …

Et alors qu’après les sites féminins et qu’entre Shakespeare, Twain, Dickens, Tolstoy et Stendahl, les universités américaines s’y mettent à leur tour…

Pendant que la Licra fait interdire, pour cause d’antisémitisme, certains commentaires d’une traduction catholique de la Bible …

Ne devrions-nous pas réfléchir, avant son interdiction ou incinération définitive, à une signalisation contenu sensible systématique (« trigger warnings » en anglais) pour l’un des plus violents et pernicieux livres de la planète et de l’histoire ?

Should the Bible Have a Trigger Warning?
The Good Book Exposes Our Vulnerabilities — As It Should
Warning: May contain war, slavery, rape, deceit, plagues, smiting or apocalypse.
Elissa Strauss
May 25, 2014

You know what could use a trigger warning? The bible. If any book merits a note of caution it is the one that is colloquially referred to as good.

In the recent debate over whether colleges should warn students of material that deals with potentially post-traumatic stress syndrome inducing topics like war, sexual violence, racism, and anti-Semitism, I couldn’t help but think about how the raw and vulgar bible has sat warning-less for centuries.

Students at the University of California Santa Barbara and Oberlin College believe novels like Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” (for racial violence) and “The Great Gatsby” (for misogynistic violence) should be presented with a warning label, all the while the world’s most popular book, easily found at safe-seeming places like churches, synagogues and hotel rooms, is brimming with much worse.

The bible is a book without heroes or hagiography; there’s hardly a character who fails to misstep. Instead we get war, slavery, rape, deceit, plagues, smiting, apocalypses and, in some ways the most threatening of them all: soul-crushing doubt in the Almighty. And yet, historically speaking, how many soldiers, victims of sexual assault and believers have found comfort in its words?

For many of us today the bible is the stuff of myth or tribal tales, but in previous generations many took it as God’s word. Imagine the horror of reading about not just people but also God’s capacity for violence while also believing that God was the author.

So why didn’t the architects of the bible (you might believe it is God, I believe it was various people over time) try to do some damage control? If not by way of slapping a warning on the cover, at least in the editing of the text?

Thank God they didn’t.

The bible is a raw, sometimes bleeding text, pulsing with fear and bitterness and the crumbling of will in the face of temptation. I believe that this very rawness is responsible for its endurance.

Because what is raw is also tender, and it is in this tender place where real transformation happens. The bible does not shy away from our vulnerabilities, nor does it seek to accommodate them. Instead, when read with an honest mind (which is, regrettably, not a universal phenomenon), it exposes us to them, and ultimately ourselves.

It is this intrinsically unapologetic nature of the text, its refusal to soothe or conceal, which not so long ago took me by great surprise and ultimately drew me in.

Until five years ago, I had never read the bible and knew of it only through the second-hand sanitized versions I learned at Hebrew school or from watching Disney movies. If I hadn’t been invited to be an artist fellow at LABA, a laboratory for Jewish culture which hosts a non-religious house of study, I am not sure I would have ever gotten around to it. So entranced I became with the unsparing nature of the text on human behavior, I eventually became co-director of the house of study.

Every year as new fellows come study with us, many of whom who have also never read the text, I see them go through the same experience of being caught off guard and shaken up by the piercing directness of the bible. They are triggered, and it is from that place that they are inspired to create.

I lack the vitriol some feel against those who are trying to make trigger warnings happen. Those students are well-meaning and want to protect the people among them who have experienced trauma. But the question is, what are they really protecting them from?

If it’s from reading something that might take them outside their comfort zone, that might cause more harm than good. (With exception, of course, of serious cases of PTSD.) As Los Angeles Times’ Megan Daum wrote in her column on the topic, we are already self-censoring enough: “Liberals stay away from Fox News. Conservatives shield themselves from MSNBC. We choose to live in particular neighborhoods or regions in part because we want neighbors who share our values. We rant away on social media, but we’re usually just talking to people who already agree with us. We call that an echo chamber, but isn’t it also a way of living inside one big trigger warning?”

If the ban is an attempt to shield some individuals from others’ insensitive comments, well this is what a good professor should help out with through the facilitation of nuanced conversation that makes everyone uncomfortable and not just those with a troubled personal connection. When everyone is vulnerable, everyone grows, through the development of empathy for others or a reckoning with their past. This is how we prepare students for a big bad world filled with wounded people and devoid of trigger-warnings.

The bible has long-served a similar role. Its nakedness pushes those of us who study it to strip down too, and contemplate just what is at stake for ourselves and those around us. It does not shy away from the dark matter of life, and so we should not shy away from it or any other of the good books that do the same, because reading them together is how we grow.

Elissa Strauss is a contributing editor to the Forward.

Voir aussi:

What ‘trigger warning’ would the Bible get?
Valerie Strauss
WP
May 23 2014

A ”trigger warning” is a short statement on a written piece of work or even a television show ( think Law and Order: Special Victims Unit) noting that the material may be sexually graphic, violent or in some other way upsetting. This month The New York Times ran a story by Jennifer Medina about the warnings that has sparked a stream of articles in magazines, newspapers and blogs about the subject, many of them ridiculing the idea.

The article, which noted that these warnings ”have their ideological roots in feminist thought,” discussed the traction that “trigger warnings” have gotten on some college campuses this year, with students pushing administrators to institute them. For example, a piece written by Philip Wythe, a sophomore, in the student newspaper at Rutgers University last February, said:

[L]iterature courses often examine works with grotesque, disturbing and gruesome imagery within their narratives. For instance, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s critically acclaimed novel, “The Great Gatsby,” possesses a variety of scenes that reference gory, abusive and misogynistic violence. Virginia Woolf’s famous cerebral narrative, “Mrs. Dalloway,” paints a disturbing narrative that examines the suicidal inclinations and post-traumatic experiences of an English war veteran. And Junot Diaz’s critically acclaimed work, “This is How You Lose Her,” observes domestic violence and misogynistic culture in disturbing first-person narrations….

Reaching a compromise between protecting students and defending their civil liberties is imperative to fulfilling the educational potential of our University’s undergraduates. Within social justice circles, many activists have reached this compromise by implementing “trauma trigger warnings:” a safety system that allows full artistic expression, as well as psychological protection for those who need it.

Trauma trigger warnings are a minimalistic description that tag articles, literature and other works of art for traumatic content. These triggers can cover a variety of topics — from graphic violence to drug abuse — and are intended as vague, abstract descriptions of a work’s content. For instance, one trigger warning for “The Great Gatsby” might be: (TW: “suicide,” “domestic abuse” and “graphic violence.”)

Also in February, members of the student government at the University of California at Santa Barbara passed a resolution called “A Resolution to Mandate Warnings For Triggering Content in Academic Settings,” (see text below) that urges “the instructor of any course that includes triggering content to list trigger warnings on the syllabus.” It urges school officials to meet with students to develop a way for professors to create “trigger warnings” for material including “Rape, Sexual Assault, Abuse, Self-Injurious Behavior, Suicide, Graphic Violence, Pornography, Kidnapping, and Graphic Depictions of Gore.”

There was trigger activity on some other campuses too. The Times story reports, for example, that Oberlin College wrote a draft guide on “trigger warnings” that said, before it was withdrawn for further work:

Triggers are not only relevant to sexual misconduct, but also to anything that might cause trauma. Be aware of racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism, and other issues of privilege and oppression. Realize that all forms of violence are traumatic, and that your students have lives before and outside your classroom, experiences you may not expect or understand.

In March, the student newspaper at the University of California Santa Barbara, The Daily Nexus, published a letter by the student who initiated the resolution, Bailey Loverin, explaining her reasons for taking the action. In early April, the student newspaper published another article, by Marissa Wenzke, further explaining the resolution, saying:

… even while protecting freedoms so crucial to higher education, we must recognize the legitimacy behind the intentions that lie behind this resolution. One of the arguments against this bill claims it would act as a crutch for students who do not wish to be challenged with potentially offensive material, essentially boiling it down to “just get over it.” We’d invite everyone who stands behind this to imagine the most terrifying or painful moment of your life, and then imagine being spontaneously forced to relive that moment in the middle of a lecture in Campbell Hall.

Two days after The New York Times article was posted to the newspaper website on May 17, the newspaper published a piece on its website by Loverin defending the resolution again. What followed was a flood of negative commentary by critics concerned that trigger warnings would amount to censorship, prior restraint and an assault on academic freedom, including an editorial by The Los Angeles Times with this title: “Warning: College students, this editorial may upset you.” It said in part:

The student resolution is only advisory, a recommendation that campus authorities can turn into policy or reject. They should not only choose the latter course but should explain firmly to students why such a policy would be antithetical to all that college is supposed to provide: a rich and diverse body of study that often requires students to confront difficult or uncomfortable material, and encourages them to discuss such topics openly. Trigger warnings are part of a campus culture that is increasingly overprotective and hypersensitive in its efforts to ensure that no student is ever offended or made to feel uncomfortable.

A piece in The New Yorker by Jay Caspian Kang noted other reaction:

Social media, which mostly acts as an agreement machine whenever the liberal consensus squares off with a more radical cousin, seemed to confirm my annoyance [at the idea of trigger warnings]. The novelist Darin Strauss tweeted, “Trigger Warning: All human experience.” Matt Bai, a national columnist for Yahoo News, added, “Maybe the entire Web should have ‘trigger warning’ so I never have to feel uncomfortable or challenged.” Colson Whitehead joined in: “Your face should have a trigger warning for reminding me you exist.” There were dozens of other examples, from jokey to dire, and, by the time the news cycle kicked up on Tuesday, op-eds questioning the use of trigger warnings had been published in the Guardian, the Atlantic, and Mother Jones.

Then there was this reaction on the blog of the UCLA Faculty Association, which raises an issue that may put the idea of trigger warnings in some perspective: What kind of trigger warning would be put on the Bible. It would, the post says, start “with nudity and fratricide in the Garden of Eden and moving on to mass drowning (Noah), polygamy, adultery, etc.”

Sarah Dictum wrote in New Statesman that Shakespeare would surely need a trigger warning too, if trigger warnings ever became policy anywhere:

There are the obvious horrors, like Titus Andronicus with its hideous maternally-directed rape (“Away with her and use her as you will./The worse to her, the better loved of me”) and subsequent mutilation of the victim. But then there are the comedies, which even at their merriest contain intimations of rape. Measure for Measure hinges entirely on a woman being coerced into intercourse to save her brother’s life. Problem play? More like problematic play. Get behind the tape.

Here’s a draft version of the resolution that the UC Santa Barbara students passed in late February:

A Resolution to Mandate Warnings For Triggering Content in Academic Settings (02262014:61) – February 25, 2014

Resolution #805

by Nikki Calderon & Second: Derek Wakefield

Student Sponsor: Bailey Loverin

Resolution Liaison:

Whereas: UCSB CARE (Campus Advocacy Resources & Education) reports that: 1 in 4 college women will be sexually assaulted during her academic career,; 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence; and 1 in 33 men will experience attempted or completed rape. Therefore this is a pertinent and widespread issue that should be acknowledged on campus. (maybe, but this may be better as a separate whereas at the end)

Whereas: Triggers are not limited to sexual assault and violence.

Whereas: Trigger Warnings should be used for content not covered by the rating system used by the MPAA or TV warnings (such as contains violence, nudity or, language).

Whereas: The current suggested list of Trigger Warnings includes Rape, Sexual Assault, Abuse, Self-Injurious Behavior, Suicide, Graphic Violence, Pornography, Kidnapping, and Graphic Depictions of Gore.

Whereas: Triggers are a symptom of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Whereas: UCSB Disabled Students Program recognizes PTSD as a disability.

Whereas: Having memories or flashbacks triggered can cause the person severe emotional, mental, and even physical distress. These reactions can affect a student’s ability to perform academically.

Whereas: College level courses may contain materials with mature content. These particularly affect students if material is being read in the classroom or a film is being screened, as the student cannot choose to stop being exposed to the material.

Whereas: Including trigger warnings is not a form of criticism or censorship of content. In addition, it does not restrict academic freedom but simply requests the respect and acknowledgement of the affect of triggering content on students with PTSD, both diagnosed and undiagnosed.

Whereas: Being informed well in advance of triggering content allows students to avoid a potentially triggering situation without public attention. Having a trigger warning on a syllabus allows a student the choice to be presentgives a student advance notice of possible triggers and the choice to be present or not instead of having to leave in the middle of a class or lecture.

Therefore let it be resolved by the Associated Students in the Senate Assembled:

That the Associated Students of UC Santa Barbara urge the instructor of any course that includes triggering content to list trigger warnings on the syllabus.

Let it further be resolved that: AS Senate urges the instructor of any course that includes triggering content to not dock points from a student’s overall grade for being absent or leaving class early if the reason for the absence is the triggering content.

Let it further be resolved that: AS Senate directs the Student Advocate General Kristian Whittaker to appoint a staff member to review and update the list of Trigger Warnings as needed in collaboration with RCSGD (Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity) and The Women’s Center.

Let it further be resolved that: AS Senate direct External Vice President of Statewide Affairs Alex Choate to bring this to the attention of the UCSA Board at the next board meeting and to advocate for a policy change to reflect the directions of this resolution on a UC wide level.

Let it further be resolved that: AS Senate directs AS President Jonathon Abboud to bring this to the attention of the Academic Senate and advocate for a policy change to reflect the directions of this resolution.

Let it finally be resolved that: AS Senate recognizes the support and passing of this resolution as a stronger stance taken by UCSB against issues of sexual harassment and violence.

Fiscal Impact: $0 from the account.

A New Entry in the Annals of Academic Cravenness
If colleges won’t stick up for free speech, why would they oppose the implicit censorship of ‘trigger warnings’?
Joseph Epstein
WSJ
May 27, 2014

For those who have not yet caught up with it, in the academic world the phrase « trigger warning » means alerting students to books that might « trigger » deleterious emotional effects. Should a Jewish student be asked to read « Oliver Twist » with its anti-Semitic caricature of Fagin, let alone « The Merchant of Venice, » whose central figure is the Jewish usurer Shylock? Should African-American students be required to read « Huckleberry Finn, » with its generous use of the « n-word, » or « Heart of Darkness, » which equates the Congo with the end of rational civilization? Should students who are ardent pacifists be made to read about warfare in Tolstoy and Stendhal, or for that matter the Iliad? As for gay and lesbian students, or students who have suffered sexual abuse, or those who have a physical handicap . . . one could go on.

Pointing out the potentially damaging effects of books began, like so much these days, on the Internet, where intellectual Samaritans began listing such emotionally troublesome books on their blogs. Before long it was picked up by the academy. At the University of California at Santa Barbara, the student government suggested that all course syllabi contain trigger warnings. At Oberlin College the Office of Equity Concerns advised professors to steer clear of works that might be interpreted as sexist or racist or as vaunting violence.

Movies have of course long been rated and required to note such items as Adult Language, Violence, Nudity—ratings that are themselves a form of trigger warning. Why not books, even great classic books? The short answer is that doing so insults the intelligence of those supposedly serious enough to attend college by suggesting they must not be asked to read anything that fails to comport with their own beliefs or takes full account of their troubled past experiences.

Trigger warnings logically follow from the recent history of American academic life. This is a history in which demographic diversity has triumphed over intellectual standards and the display of virtue over the search for truth. So much of this history begins in good intentions and ends in the tyranny of conformity.

Sometime in the 1950s, American universities determined to acquire students from less populous parts of the country to give their institutions the feeling of geographical diversity. In the 1960s, after the great moral victories of the civil-rights movement, the next obvious step was racial preferences, which allowed special concessions to admit African-American students. In conjunction with this, black professors were felt to be needed to teach these students and, some said, serve as role models. Before long the minority of women among the professoriate was noted. This, too, would soon be amended. « Harvard, » I remember hearing around this time, « is looking for a good feminist. »

All this, most reasonable people would concur, was fair enough. Then things took a radical twist. Suddenly women, African-Americans, and (later) gay and lesbian professors began teaching, in effect, themselves. No serious university could do business without an African-American Studies Department. Many female professors created and found an academic home in something called Gender Studies, which turned out to be chiefly about the suppression of women, just as African-American Studies was chiefly about the historical and contemporary maltreatment of blacks. Something called Queer Studies came next, with gays and lesbians instructing interested students in the oppression of homosexuals.

Over time, the themes of gender, class and race were insinuated into the softer social sciences and much of the humanities. They have established a reign of quiet academic terror, and that has made the university a very touchy place indeed.

Meanwhile many of those students who in the late 1960s arose in protest have themselves come to prominence and even to eminence as professors in their 60s and early 70s. Having fought in their youth against what they thought the professorial old-boy network, they now find themselves old boys. Unable to discover a way to replace the presumably unjust society that they once sought to topple, they currently tend to stand aside when students and younger professors cavort in bumptious protest, lest they themselves be thought, God forfend, part of the problem.

University presidents and their increasingly large army of administrators have by now a 50-year tradition of cowardice. They do not clamp down when students reject the visits on their campuses of such courageous or accomplished women as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Christine Lagarde or Condoleezza Rice because their views are not perfectly congruent with the students’ own jejune beliefs. When students and younger faculty line up behind the morally obtuse anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) movement, wiser heads do not prevail, for the good reason that there are no wiser heads. The inmates, fair to say, are running the joint.

The trigger warning is another passage in the unfinished symphony of political correctness. If the universities do not come out against attacks on freedom of speech, why should they oppose the censorship implicit in trigger warnings? The main point of these warnings, as with all political correctness, is to protect the minority of the weak, the vulnerable, the disheartened or the formerly discriminated against, no matter what the price in civility, scholarly integrity and political sanity. Do they truly require such protection, even at the price of genuine education?

Nearly 200 years ago Alexis de Tocqueville, in his book on American democracy, feared the mob of the majority. In the American university today that mob looks positively pusillanimous next to the mob of the minority.

Mr. Epstein’s latest book is « A Literary Education and Other Essays, » published this week by Axios Press.

Voir aussi:

Trigger Happy The « trigger warning » has spread from blogs to college classes. Can it be stopped?
Jenny Jarvie
The New Republic
March 3, 2014

The headline above would, if some readers had their way, include a « trigger warning »—a disclaimer to alert you that this article contains potentially traumatic subject matter. Such warnings, which are most commonly applied to discussions about rape, sexual abuse, and mental illness, have appeared on message boards since the early days of the Web. Some consider them an irksome tic of the blogosphere’s most hypersensitive fringes, and yet they’ve spread from feminist forums and social media to sites as large as the The Huffington Post. Now, the trigger warning is gaining momentum beyond the Internet—at some of the nation’s most prestigious universities.

Last week, student leaders at the University of California, Santa Barbara, passed a resolution urging officials to institute mandatory trigger warnings on class syllabi. Professors who present « content that may trigger the onset of symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder » would be required to issue advance alerts and allow students to skip those classes. According to UCSB newspaper The Daily Nexus, Bailey Loverin, the student who sponsored the proposal, decided to push the issue after attending a class in which she “felt forced” to sit through a film that featured an “insinuation” of sexual assault and a graphic depiction of rape. A victim of sexual abuse, she did not want to remain in the room, but she feared she would only draw attention to herself by walking out.

On college campuses across the country, a growing number of students are demanding trigger warnings on class content. Many instructors are obliging with alerts in handouts and before presentations, even emailing notes of caution ahead of class. At Scripps College, lecturers give warnings before presenting a core curriculum class, the “Histories of the Present: Violence, » although some have questioned the value of such alerts when students are still required to attend class. Oberlin College has published an official document on triggers, advising faculty members to « be aware of racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism, and other issues of privilege and oppression, » to remove triggering material when it doesn’t « directly » contribute to learning goals and « strongly consider » developing a policy to make « triggering material » optional. Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, it states, is a novel that may « trigger readers who have experienced racism, colonialism, religious persecution, violence, suicide and more. » Warnings have been proposed even for books long considered suitable material for high-schoolers: Last month, a Rutgers University sophomore suggested that an alert for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby say, « TW: suicide, domestic abuse and graphic violence. »

What began as a way of moderating Internet forums for the vulnerable and mentally ill now threatens to define public discussion both online and off. The trigger warning signals not only the growing precautionary approach to words and ideas in the university, but a wider cultural hypersensitivity to harm and a paranoia about giving offense. And yet, for all the debate about the warnings on campuses and on the Internet, few are grappling with the ramifications for society as a whole.

Not everyone seems to agree on what the trigger warning is, let alone how it should be applied. Initially, trigger warnings were used in self-help and feminist forums to help readers who might have post traumatic stress disorder to avoid graphic content that might cause painful memories, flashbacks, or panic attacks. Some websites, like Bodies Under Siege, a self-injury support message board, developed systems of adding abbreviated topic tags—from SI (self injury) to ED (eating disorders)—to particularly explicit posts. As the Internet grew, warnings became more popular, and critics began to question their use. In 2010, Susannah Breslin wrote in True/Slant that feminists were applying the term « like a Southern cook applies Pam cooking spray to an overused nonstick frying pan »—prompting Feministing to call her a « certifiable asshole, » and Jezebel to lament that the debate has « been totally clouded by ridiculous inflammatory rhetoric. »

The term only spread with the advent of social media. In 2012, The Awl’s Choire Sicha argued that it had « lost all its meaning. » Since then, alerts have been applied to topics as diverse as sex, pregnancy, addiction, bullying, suicide, sizeism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, slut shaming, victim-blaming, alcohol, blood, insects, small holes, and animals in wigs. Certain people, from rapper Chris Brown to sex columnist Dan Savage, have been dubbed “triggering.” Some have called for trigger warnings for television shows such as « Scandal » and « Downton Abbey. » Even The New Republic has suggested the satirical news site, The Onion, carry trigger warnings.

At the end of last year, Slate declared 2013 the « Year of the Trigger Warning,” noting that such alerts had become the target of humor. Jezebel, which does not issue trigger warnings, raised hackles in August by using the term as a headline joke: « It’s Time To Talk About Bug Infestations [TRIGGER WARNING]. » Such usage, one critic argued, amounted to « trivializing » such alerts and « trolling people who believe in them. » And in Britain, Suzanne Moore, a feminist columnist for The Guardian, was taken to task when she put a trigger warning on her Twitter bioline, mocking those who followed her feeds only to claim offense. Some critics have ridiculed her in turn: « Trigger warning, @Suzanne_moore is talking again. » (Moore’s Twitter bio now reads, « Media Whore. »)

The backlash has not stopped the growth of the trigger warning, and now that they’ve entered university classrooms, it’s only a matter of time before warnings are demanded for other grade levels. As students introduce them in college newspapers, promotional material for plays, even poetry slams, it’s not inconceivable that they’ll appear at the beginning of film screenings and at the entrance to art exhibits. Will newspapers start applying warnings to articles about rape, murder, and war? Could they even become a regular feature of speech? « I was walking down Main Street last night when—trigger warning—I saw an elderly woman get mugged. »

The « Geek Feminism Wiki » states that trigger warnings should be used for « graphic descriptions or extensive discussion » of abuse, torture, self-harm, suicide, eating disorders, body shaming, and even « psychologically realistic » depictions of the mental state of people suffering from those; it notes that some have gone further, arguing for warnings before the « depiction or discussion of any consensual sexual activity [and] of discriminatory attitudes or actions, such as sexism or racism. » The definition on the Queer Dictionary Tumblr is similar, but expands warnings even to discussion of statistics on hate crimes and self-harming.

As the list of trigger warning–worthy topics continues to grow, there’s scant research demonstrating how words « trigger » or how warnings might help. Most psychological research on P.T.S.D. suggests that, for those who have experienced trauma, « triggers » can be complex and unpredictable, appearing in many forms, from sounds to smells to weather conditions and times of the year. In this sense, anything can be a trigger—a musky cologne, a ditsy pop song, a footprint in the snow.

As a means of navigating the Internet, or setting the tone for academic discussion, the trigger warning is unhelpful. Once we start imposing alerts on the basis of potential trauma, where do we stop? One of the problems with the concept of triggering—understanding words as devices that activate a mechanism or cause a situation—is it promotes a rigid, overly deterministic approach to language. There is no rational basis for applying warnings because there is no objective measure of words’ potential harm. Of course, words can inspire intense reactions, but they have no intrinsic danger. Two people who have endured similarly painful experiences, from rape to war, can read the same material and respond in wholly different ways.

Issuing caution on the basis of potential harm or insult doesn’t help us negotiate our reactions; it makes our dealings with others more fraught. As Breslin pointed out, trigger warnings can have the opposite of their intended effect, luring in sensitive people (and perhaps connoisseurs of graphic content, too). More importantly, they reinforce the fear of words by depicting an ever-expanding number of articles and books as dangerous and requiring of regulation. By framing more public spaces, from the Internet to the college classroom, as full of infinite yet ill-defined hazards, trigger warnings encourage us to think of ourselves as more weak and fragile than we really are.

What’s more, the fear of triggers risks narrowing what we’re exposed to. Raechel Tiffe, an assistant professor in Communication Arts and Sciences at Merrimack College, Massachusetts, described a lesson in which she thought everything had gone well, until a student approached her about a clip from the television musical comedy, « Glee, » in which a student commits suicide. For Tiffe, who uses trigger warnings for sexual assault and rape, the incident was a « teaching moment »—not for the students, but for her to be more aware of the breadth of students’ sensitivities.

As academics become more preoccupied with students’ feelings of harm, they risk opening the door to a never-ending litany of requests. Last month, students at Wellesley College protested a sculpture of a man in his underwear because, according to the Change.org petition, it was a source of « triggering thoughts regarding sexual assault. » While the petition acknowledged the sculpture may not disturb everyone on campus, it insisted we share a “responsibility to pay attention to and attempt to answer the needs of all of our community members. » Even after the artist explained that the figure was supposed to be sleepwalking, students continued to insist it be moved indoors.

Trigger warnings are presented as a gesture of empathy, but the irony is they lead only to more solipsism, an over-preoccupation with one’s own feelings—much to the detriment of society as a whole. Structuring public life around the most fragile personal sensitivities will only restrict all of our horizons. Engaging with ideas involves risk, and slapping warnings on them only undermines the principle of intellectual exploration. We cannot anticipate every potential trigger—the world, like the Internet, is too large and unwieldy. But even if we could, why would we want to? Bending the world to accommodate our personal frailties does not help us overcome them.

Jenny Jarvie is an Atlanta-based writer whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Atlantic Cities, Poetry Magazine, and the Sunday Telegraph.

Voir également:

Trigger Warnings and the Novelist’s Mind
Jay Caspian Kang
The New Yorker
May 22, 2014

During a graduate-school lecture on “Lolita,” my professor stood up in front of a crowded classroom and said something I have never been able to shake: “When you read ‘Lolita,’ keep in mind that what you’re reading about is the systematic rape of a young girl.”

I had read “Lolita” in high school and then again in college, when it became my personal literary liquor store—whenever I got stuck in a scene, or whenever my prose felt flat or typical, I’d open “Lolita” to a random page and steal something. My professor’s pronouncement felt too didactic, too political, and, although I tried to put it out of my mind and enjoy “Lolita” ’s cunning, surprising games with language, I could no longer pick up the book without feeling the weight of his judgment. The professor wasn’t wrong to point out the obvious about Humbert and Dolores Haze, and I don’t believe—at least not completely—that literature should only be examined as an object unto itself, detached from time and history, but I haven’t read “Lolita” since.

I thought of that professor and his unwelcome intrusion when I read a page-one story in last week’s Times about how several colleges across the country have considered placing “trigger warnings” in front of works of art and literature that may cause a student to relive a traumatic experience. For example, a student might be forewarned that J. M. Coetzee’s “Disgrace” details colonial violence, racism, and rape with a note on the class syllabus that would read something like “Trigger Warning: This book contains scenes of colonialism, racism, and rape, which may be upsetting to students who have experienced colonialism, racism, or rape.”

The story’s headline, “WARNING: THE LITERARY CANON COULD MAKE STUDENTS SQUIRM,” and the inclusion of some seemingly innocuous titles, like “The Great Gatsby,” as candidates for such warnings, dredged up all my distaste for my professor’s prescriptive reading of “Lolita.” If he could produce such a chilling effect, what harm could a swarm of trigger warnings—each one reducing a work of literature to its ugliest plot points—inflict on the literary canon? What would “Trigger Warning: This novel contains racism” do to a reading of Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man”? What would “Trigger Warning: Rape, racism, and sexual assault” do to a reading of Toni Morrison’s “Beloved”?

Social media, which mostly acts as an agreement machine whenever the liberal consensus squares off with a more radical cousin, seemed to confirm my annoyance. The novelist Darin Strauss tweeted, “Trigger Warning: All human experience.” Matt Bai, a national columnist for Yahoo News, added, “Maybe the entire Web should have ‘trigger warning’ so I never have to feel uncomfortable or challenged.” Colson Whitehead joined in: “Your face should have a trigger warning for reminding me you exist.” There were dozens of other examples, from jokey to dire, and, by the time the news cycle kicked up on Tuesday, op-eds questioning the use of trigger warnings had been published in the Guardian, the Atlantic, and Mother Jones.

Out on the far end of the agreement machine, feminist writers and academics defended the use of trigger warnings, and tried to explain their utility and their history. The modern iteration of “trigger warning,” or “TW,” as it’s commonly written, came out of the feminist blogosphere, and, like many other terms used within insular, politically active communities, addressed a specific need. Roughly ten years ago, editors at feminist and progressive Web sites realized that they needed a way of encouraging frank and candid conversation about sexual assault without catching readers unaware. Many survivors of sexual assault experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress; graphic depictions of rape or violent attacks can trigger flashbacks, nightmares, and crippling anxiety. The editors theorized that a warning posted before disturbing narratives could allow readers to prepare for what might be an upsetting but, ultimately, necessary conversation.

“Censorship was never the point,” Alexandra Brodsky, an editor at the Web site Feministing, told me. “We knew that violent and traumatic narratives could have a grave effect on the reader, so we, working together as a community, created guideposts for people to navigate what has always been a tricky terrain.” Those guideposts helped. Trigger warnings “made people feel like they could write explicitly and honestly about things that they may have not written about under different circumstances,” Brodsky said. “They let people know that this was going to be a different type of conversation.”

That logic eventually found its way into the academy. Last year, Bailey Shoemaker-Richards, a master’s student at the University of Findlay, in Ohio, started using trigger warnings in her academic presentations on cyber sexism and online abuse. The warning, she said, takes up roughly fifteen seconds at the start of a talk, and serves only as a reminder that those who are uncomfortable discussing online abuse are free to leave the room. “I don’t think a trigger warning will prevent conversations that may be upsetting,” Shoemaker-Richards told me. “But they might force people in the class to think through their reactions a little more.” Shoemaker-Richards’s use of trigger warnings largely mirrors the way that they have been implemented in classrooms across the country, and, although the term itself sounds forbidding and censorious, in practice these warnings are meant to protect students from public traumatic flashbacks. “If you know you’re about to read a graphic depiction of state racism, and you know that you’d rather be at home than in the library, the trigger warning is just information you need to make that decision,” Brodsky explained.

Brodsky feels conflicted about university-mandated trigger warnings for potentially troubling works of art and literature, as do other feminist thinkers I spoke to, but she still thinks that they should be used in the classroom. “You can’t copy the language from a Jezebel post and paste it onto a syllabus,” Brodsky explained. “With that being said, literature is important, and has effects beyond momentary pleasure and discomfort. ‘Trigger Warning: Colonialism,’ seems a bit reductive, but there should be a way that we acknowledge that what we’re going to read will have a significant impact.” The expansion of higher education onto the Internet has depersonalized the classroom, Brodsky argued, and with fewer settings in which a professor can adequately prepare a class for a potentially disturbing work of literature or art, trigger warnings could stand in, at least in part, for a nuanced and sensitive introduction.

It should be noted that none of the schools cited in the Times article have actually implemented a policy that would mandate trigger warnings, and that college classrooms have often served as testing grounds for vital policies that might at first have seemed apocalyptic or Pollyannaish. Trigger warnings could eventually become part of academic environments, as unobtrusive and beneficial as wheelchair ramps and kosher toaster ovens.

Many of the op-eds and articles on trigger warnings published this week have argued on behalf of the sanctity of the relationship between the reader and the text. For the most part, I have agreed with them. A trigger warning reduces a work of art down to what amounts to plot points. If a novel like José Saramago’s “Blindness” succeeds because it sews up small yet essential pockets of human normalcy against a horrific backdrop, a preëmptive label like “Trigger Warning: Violence and internment” strips it down to one idea.

I relayed these thoughts to Brodsky, along with the anecdote about my professor and “Lolita.” “What a delight it must be to read a book full of graphic accounts of sexual violence and still have the book not be about sexual violence to you!” she said. “Why is the depersonalized, apolitical reading the one we should fight for?” I admit, this was an angle I had not yet considered, and I recalled the severe annoyance I’d felt in college seminars and coffeehouse conversations whenever a white person would say a bit too ringingly that a book written by a person of color somehow “transcended race,” as if that was the highest compliment that could be paid to a work written by one of us poor, striving minorities. Every reliable figure, whether from academic study or from the Obama Administration, says that somewhere between one in four and one in five women are sexually assaulted during their time in college. To argue that their concerns are somehow marginal does not correlate with the math or the ethos of the classroom.

And yet, as a novelist who spent seven years writing an ultimately unpublished novel and two years writing another, I wonder about the effect a trigger warning—even a discreet, well-placed one—might have on the creative process. I kept thinking of the professor’s pronouncement about “Lolita,” and how difficult it had been for me to get it out of my head. After a few phone calls to fellow former classmates who had attended the same lecture, and who remember the professor’s comments with the same clarity, I finally figured out why. We had all enrolled in this particular graduate program because we wanted to write fiction. This was a foolish, likely doomed endeavor, sure, but if we were to have any chance at writing anything worthwhile, our commitment to the task would have to be irrational and unrelenting. Every young writer has to go through a stage of relating to works of literature as if they’re planets, with their own elegant ecosystems and gravitational pull.

A good reader may very well finish “Lolita” and conclude that the book is about the systematic rape of a young girl, or that such a troubling text should require a trigger warning, but a writer should have the freedom to look at “Lolita” as nothing more than a series of sentences that exist only for their own sake. If reading, as Joyce Carol Oates wrote, is the “sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul,” a trigger warning, even through gentle suggestion, guides us into that skin. For writers, who cull everything from what they read, any amount of guidance will lead to dull conformity.

In a good novel—it hardly needs to be said—every word matters. Dedications matter. Epigraphs matter. The size of the font on the Library of Congress listing matters. The order of the names on the acknowledgment page matters. A writer friend of mine once likened a completed novel to a pressure cooker—the weight placed on every stylistic decision should be extraordinary and evenly distributed. A trigger warning or, really, any sort of preface, would disrupt the creation of those highly pressurized, vital moments in literature that shock a reader into a higher consciousness. I cannot be the only person who believes that James Baldwin’s “Notes of a Native Son” has the power to radically change the way all people look at race in this country—Baldwin’s brutal treatment of himself, his perfect choice of detail, and his mode of dragging the reader through Harlem elevate the story of a young man preparing himself to attend the funeral of his father to a complete, gorgeous whole. Any excess language—in the form of a trigger warning—amounts to a preëmptive defacement. It’s worth considering how the next Baldwin would react to the possibility that his account would be stamped with “Trigger Warning: Child abuse.” How does that moment, when he picks up his head and stares out at his future reader, change the words he chooses? Can we really afford to have “Notes of a Native Son” be three, four, or even one word worse?

Voir encore:

Trigger warnings: What do they do?
BBC
25 February 2014

A bit like a spoiler alert, the phrase « trigger warning » is now often seen online but it has a more serious motive than stopping you from accidentally ruining the enjoyment of a TV show you’ve not seen yet.

What is a trigger warning?

Seen on the web, in tweets and on blogs, it usually takes the form of a sentence or a few words to caution readers about the content which will follow. The author adds a warning in recognition of strong writing or images which could unsettle those with mental health difficulties. They exist so readers can choose whether or not to read any further.

It usually starts with « trigger warning » in bold. It has to be carefully written so it isn’t a trigger itself.

TRIGGER WARNING – rather ironically, this article could be a trigger. If you feel your mental health could be affected by reading stories about how others can be affected, we advise you read no further.
So, what exactly is a trigger?

In the area of mental health, a trigger is something which causes instant distress in a vulnerable person. If you know what can trigger a bad reaction, you can try to avoid those triggers in the same way that someone with an allergy might take steps to avoid dogs.

What kind of things can act as a trigger?

Different things trigger trauma in different people. There is no set list.

The website for Young Minds youth mental health charity uses trigger warnings. A spokesman for the charity, Chris Leaman, says: « If they are feeling particularly vulnerable, illustrative bits of the site like personal accounts, might trigger young people into an action or remind them of a time when they were struggling. »

A woman who wants to remain anonymous tells us that a recent news story about the search for a man who stopped someone from jumping off a bridge in London, was a trigger for her. She says: « What he was doing, raising awareness of suicide, was really great and so positive. But every time I crossed that bridge I thought of jumping off – it triggered suicidal thoughts for me. »

Does everyone appreciate the warnings?

Writing in the New Statesman, Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett says she doesn’t like trigger warnings because they smack of « victimhood ». She says she has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and feels that people she doesn’t know are trying to wrap her in cotton wool.

At the other end of the scale, the mental health charity Samaritans has produced guidelines for journalists which advise against publishing details of how people kill themselves. It also calls for dramatic phrasing to be avoided. Samaritans says reading about the subject can trigger copycat behaviour.

Where did trigger warnings start?

Disabled occupational therapist Claire Jones works in the area of mental health. She says that trigger warnings first appeared on feminist websites to flag up accounts of abuse. The term was adopted by various other groups, particularly the wider mental health community. This happened in the early days of the internet, when the warnings were especially common in online forums.

Viewers of Hollywood films portraying the lives of former soldiers will be used to scenes where characters experience flashbacks brought on by a loud noise, perhaps. Jones says: « A car backfiring can trigger a memory of conflict. It is a very visceral experience, almost like reliving the trauma. »

Are trigger warnings ever considered unhelpful?

The thing about the internet is, if you use the word « trigger » it makes troubling content more findable because you can just type it into a search engine. Before the warning existed, « triggering » content, as it’s referred to, was harder to find.

On some websites, users share pictures of their self-harm scars and write about their suicidal thoughts. They place trigger warnings in front so people can avoid this strong material.

Service user and mental health policy expert Liz Main says that « if someone is feeling particularly grim, they might search out triggers because they want a nudge ». In other words, they might look for material which will inspire them to move from thinking about harming themselves, to actually doing it – which is obviously not positive.

Jones says online forums can be helpful and believes people with mental health difficulties are more likely to seek support if they know there are warnings which will prevent them from seeing traumatic material on their computer screen. She says: « That’s why I think that trigger warnings are broadly a good thing. »

Voir de même:

Suicide reporting – 10 things to remember

Samaritans

Leave out technical details about the method of suicide, such as describing the type of ligature used or the number and types of pills taken in an overdose. Never suggest that a method is quick, easy, painless or certain to result in death.
Language matters. Avoid dramatic headlines and terms such as ‘suicide epidemic’ or ‘hot spot’.
Include references to support groups and places where suicidal people can find help – it really does make a difference.
Treat social media with particular caution and refrain from mentioning websites or networks that promote or glamorise suicide.
Avoid dramatic or sensationalist pictures or video.
Young people are especially vulnerable to negative suicide coverage. Do not give undue prominence to photographs of a young person who has died and avoid repeated use of images such as galleries.
Try not to give a story undue prominence, for example with a front cover splash.
Don’t brush over the complex realities of suicide and its impact on those left behind. Remember that people bereaved by suicide are often vulnerable and are more likely to take their own lives than the general population.
Speculation about the ‘trigger’ for a suicide, even if provided by a close family member, should be avoided.
Use statistics with caution. Check with Samaritans or the relevant national statistical agency to make sure you have the most recent data and are comparing like with like.

Voir enfin:

Bible des Peuples

01/01/1970

LA BIBLE DES PEUPLES :

Une bible nostalgique de la théorie de la «substitution»

M.R. Macina

Debriefing

Rappel des faits

C’est dans le ciel presque serein de relations judéo-chrétiennes en développement positif exponentiel (si l’on en juge par les dizaines de textes pontificaux et épiscopaux concernant le peuple juif, issus depuis le Concile), et après l’apaisement du conflit autour du Carmel d’Au­sch­witz, qu’éclata, dans les premiers mois de l’an­née 1995, ce qu’on a appelé «l’affaire de la Bible des Communautés Chrétiennes».

Peu de temps après sa parution en France (mai 1994), un certain nombre de catholiques impliqués dans le dia­logue judéo-chrétien avaient été choqués par le contenu et le ton, blessants pour les juifs, de quelques commentaires de cette nouvelle bible, dif­fusée en plusieurs langues par les éditions catholiques interna­tionales Médiaspaul, et dont les ventes, toutes versions confondues, dépassaient alors les vingt millions d’exemplaires.

Un examen attentif de l’ouvrage révéla que les passages incriminés ne constituaient pas un faux pas fortuit, mais s’inscrivaient dans la ligne d’une apologétique chrétienne an­cienne manière, très négative à l’égard des juifs.

On y apprenait, entre autres inepties du même acabit,  que la cul­ture juive était «machiste». Que cette religion était «fanatique». Qu’Esdras «encourageait le racisme». Que la désaffection des juifs pour les écrits des pro­phètes «expliquait bien des erreurs commises au nom du sio­nisme». Que «le pharisien ne veut rien devoir à Dieu et qu’il ne veut pas pécher pour ne pas avoir à être par­donné». Que, pour les juifs, «aucun procédé ne sera mau­vais si cela sert les intérêts de leur groupe». Que «le peuple juif soupçonnait que Jésus venait de Dieu», mais ne voulait pas «croire». Que la circonci­sion «ouvrait au païen toutes les portes de la société juive avec ses bonnes affaires». Que «Dieu ne peut nous en­fermer dans des obligations folkloriques de circonci­sion ou de chapeau, ni s’enfermer lui-même dans les problèmes de notre cuisine et de nos temps de prière». Qu’on était fondé à parler du peuple juif «comme de celui qui avait tué Dieu, puisque ce peuple n’avait pu dominer son fanatisme, lié à toute son his­toire». Qu’avant la venue de l’Antichrist, «le peuple juif dé­versera toute sa méchanceté sur l’Église», mais qu’«à la fin, la Colère [de Dieu] va se décharger sur eux», et qu’«ils seront jugés». Enfin, que les fléaux dé­crits dans le chapitre huit de l’Apoca­lypse «évoquent le châti­ment du peuple juif qui n’a pas accueilli le Christ», châ­timent qui «vient des forces de la na­ture qui se retournent contre le peuple coupable.»

Ce n’est pas ici le lieu de relater en détail les péripé­ties tumultueuses de cette affaire. On n’en résumera donc que les grandes lignes.

Devant le tollé soulevé par les commentaires antiju­daïques de cette bible et le large écho médiatique qui lui fut donné, Monseigneur Jean-Charles Thomas, évêque de Versailles, qui avait imprudemment ap­prouvé et même chau­dement recommandé cette Bible, présenta d’abord des excuses publiques à la Communauté Juive de France. Puis, comme le scan­dale ne s’apaisait pas, il retira son Imprimatur et enjoi­gnit à l’éditeur de cesser la diffusion, jusqu’à la réali­sa­tion d’une édition amendée qui devrait alors obtenir un nouveau Nihil obstat (février 1995).

C’est alors que se produisit l’inconcevable. Alors qu’on se fût attendu à ce qu’il adoptât un profil bas, surtout après le désaveu de la hiérarchie ecclésiastique, l’édi­teur – qui s’esti­mait diffamé par la campagne de presse qui faisait rage – ré­pliqua, par la bouche du su­périeur romain de la Congrégation religieuse fonda­trice des éditions Médiaspaul, par un communiqué belliqueux (21 mars 1995). Invoquant le droit canonique, il exprimait son refus caté­gorique de stop­per les ventes de sa bible. Cette attitude «insurrectionnelle» face à l’injonction d’un évêque, d’ail­leurs soutenu par les plus hautes au­torités de l’Église, déclencha, comme on pouvait s’y attendre, l’ire des insti­tutions juives repré­sen­tatives, qui sui­vaient attentivement l’évolution de l’affaire.

Jean Kahn, président du Consistoire Central des Juifs de France, interpella énergiquement les instances ro­maines de dialogue entre l’Église et le judaïsme pour qu’elles mettent fin à ce qu’il considérait comme un scan­dale. De son côté, la Ligue contre le racisme et l’antisé­mitisme (LICRA), assignait en référé la société éditrice.

Le 11 avril 1995, une Ordonnance de référé du Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris condamnait l’éditeur à sup­primer deux passages, considérés comme «de nature à raviver l’antijudaïsme», et «interdisait la dif­fusion et la vente de l’ouvrage, à défaut de ces sup­pres­sions.»

D’abord résolu à interjeter appel du jugement, l’édi­teur condamné finit par se résoudre à accepter la sen­tence ci­vile. C’est ainsi que, dans un communiqué conjoint (octobre 1995), la LICRA, Médiaspaul et la Société Biblique Catholique Internationale faisaient part d’un ac­cord intervenu entre les parties en conflit. Il était convenu que l’édition en cours «ne serait plus dif­fusée, à compter du 21 novembre 1995, qu’avec sup­pression des passages contestés» (au nombre de 19).

En fait, sur décision de l’autorité ecclésiastique, la vente ne reprit pas et les éditeurs durent, pour obtenir un nou­vel Imprimatur, soumettre à un comité d’experts une ré­édition amendée. Ce n’est qu’après une attente de près d’un an, que la décision négative fut rendue pu­blique par un bref communiqué du cardinal Pierre Eyt, président de la Commission doctrinale de la Conférence des évêques de France :

 «La Commission doctrinale a demandé à plusieurs exégètes ca­tholiques reconnus de procéder à une étude complète de la deuxième édition de cette Bible ainsi que des corrections propo­sées par les au­teurs pour une troisième édition. L’étude des avis présentés par les exégètes désignés par notre Commission a conduit celle-ci à voter, le 21 mars 1996, le refus de l’imprimatur pour la troisième édition de la Bible des Communautés Chrétiennes.» (Texte intégral de la décision, suivi de quelques exemples de textes rejetés par les experts, dans SNOP, Service catholique de presse et d’information, n° 994, Paris, 4 octobre 1996).

L’affaire semblait donc close lorsqu’elle rebondit soudain. En septembre 1998, les éditions Fayard tenaient une conférence de presse pour annoncer qu’ils éditaient une version corrigée de la Bible des Communautés Chrétiennes, sous le titre de Bible des Peuples. À la surprise générale, et surtout à celle du cardinal P. Eyt et de sa Commission doctrinale, qui avaient sanctionné cette bible deux ans plus tôt, cette nouvelle version était munie d’un Imprimatur de la Conférences des Évêques du Congo. Après une violente polémique, par journaux interposés, entre les respon­sables éditoriaux du Cerf (Bible de Jérusalem) et de Desclée de Brouwer (TOB) – qui avaient sévèrement critiqué la Bible des Peuples – et Cl. Durand, directeur de Fayard, qui accusait ces éditeurs de diffamer SA bible pour des motifs bassement financiers, les esprits se sont quelque peu calmés, sans que le contentieux soit liquidé pour autant.

Il reste que cette bible, qui a tant fait parler d’elle, continue sa carrière, qui, si l’on tient compte des versions en langues étrangères (espagnol surtout), est un immense succès éditorial, puisque, aux dires de ses éditeurs, plus de 32 millions d’exemplaires ont été vendus depuis le lancement de la version originale en langue espagnole, en 1973.

Ci-après, on pourra lire un florilège de 22 passages qui, s’ils ne peuvent être qualifiés, d’«antisémites», méritent cependant, nous semble-t-il, le label d’«antijudaïques», et sont, en tout état de cause, fortement dépréciateurs, voire diabolisateurs du peuple juif, de sa foi et de ses traditions.

Un florilège de stéréotypes antijudaïques
Ancien Testament

NOTA : N’ont été retenus ici, parmi bien d’autres, que les passages dont le caractère dépréciateur du peuple juif ne découle ni de la théologie ni de la doctrine chrétiennes, mais trouve son origine dans des a priori et des stéréotypes que l’enseigne­ment post-conciliaire de l’Église a répudiés, même s’ils ont longtemps fait partie de son discours. Les citations sont extraites de La Bible des peuples, Fayard, Paris,1998).

Abréviation : BCC:Bible des Communautés Chrétiennes, SOBICAI et Médiaspaul, Arpajon, 1995.

Introduction à l’Ancien Testament, pp. 25* et 26*

“Condamnation d’Israël pour ses infidélités sans nombre […] C’est le temps où Dieu se prépare un “petit reste” au milieu d’une nation sollicitée et emportée par toutes les tentations du pouvoir et la confusion entre royaume de ce monde et Royaume de Dieu.”

• Toujours la même présentation péjorative de la religion juive, sans doute dans le but de mieux exalter la chré­tienne. Ici, l’ignorance du judaïsme se révèle crûment. En effet, quiconque connaît un tant soit peu la Tradition juive sait que les juifs pieux n’attendent rien de bon de “ce monde-ci”, mais soupirent après les temps du Messie, où, ainsi que le leur promet l’Écriture, Dieu régnera, et où ils vivront en paix, à l’ombre de leur Messie, en attendant le “monde à venir”, lorsque la création toute entière sera renouvelée. Il est dommage qu’un commentateur chrétien qui proclame son souci pastoral, non content de passer sous silence ce qui fait le cœur même du message de l’Évan­gile – et qui, repris par sa religion, fut et est toujours le cœur et l’âme de la foi juive – croie bon de discréditer ainsi le peuple dont, spirituellement, il est lui-même issu (cf. Pie XI : «Spirituellement, nous sommes des Sémites!», ne serait-ce que par la relation quasi organique que la foi chrétienne établit entre les chrétiens et Jésus le juif.

2) Sur Esdras 9, pp. 469-470

 «Esdras encourage donc la ségrégation raciale malgré les leçons des pro­phètes qui, un siècle avant, avaient proclamé que toutes les nations feraient partie du peuple de Dieu. Au début, la stricte observance de la Loi est une garantie contre les païens, mais avec le temps, elle de­viendra le mur qui isolera les juifs des autres peuples.»

• Dans cette présentation simpliste de la spécificité du peuple de Dieu, on omet de rappeler les textes bibliques qui enjoignent au juif de se marier avec d’autres juifs et même dans sa parenté (cf. Gn 24, 9 ss.; Ex 2, 1; To 1, 9). Quant à l’accusation de “ségrégation raciale”, outre qu’elle est ridiculement anachronique, elle procède d’une manie de l’amal­game, qui est l’une des plus graves faiblesses de ces Commentaires actualisants et réducteurs, qui font feu de tout bois pour faire du judaïsme et de ses coutumes, auxquels il est visible que l’on ne comprend pas grand chose, le repoussoir pa­radigmatique de tout ce qui est socialement, politiquement et religieusement haïssable, de nos jours. À ce compte, il fau­drait qualifier de “ségrégationnistes” les responsables religieux et les parents chré­tiens, musulmans et autres, qui recom­mandent à leurs fidèles ou à leurs enfants de ne se marier qu’avec un conjoint qui partage leur foi!

3) Sur Amos 5, 18ss., p. 751

 «Puisque les désastres précédents n’ont pas été suffisants pour corriger Israël, Amos en annonce un autre : ce sera le Jour de Yahvé. Quand les Israélites [en] parlaient… ils pensaient à un triomphe, un jour où Dieu viendrait écraser les nations ennemies»

• Désinformation choquante. Maints passages de l’Ancien Testament utilisent l’expression “Jour de YHWH” (Is 13, 6.9; Ez 13, 5; Jl 1, 15; 2, 1.11; 3, 4; 4, 14; Am 5, 18.20; Ab 15; So 1, 7.14; Ml 3, 23. Cf. aussi Is 2, 12; Ez 30, 3; Za 14, 1; etc.). Quiconque voudra bien se donner la peine de les vérifier se convaincra de l’inexactitude des af­firmations du Commentateur. Il est facile de constater que les prophètes, qui l’ont annoncé, ne considèrent pas le “Jour de Yahvé” comme un “triomphe” d’Israël devant la déconfiture des nations. Cet état d’esprit est d’ailleurs ré­prouvé par l’AT: “Si ton ennemi tombe, ne te réjouis pas, que ton cœur n’exulte pas de ce qu’il trébuche” (Pr 24, 17). Tous les passages évoqués disent exactement le contraire, et la perspective de jugement qu’ils annoncent est, à l’évidence universelle (cf. Ab 15 : “le Jour de Yahvé contre tous les peuples”). Le texte d’Amos 5, 18.20 ne signifie nullement, comme l’affirme le Commentateur, que “Dieu vient demander des comptes à son peuple” (et le renvoi à So 2 est trompeur, car ce texte ne vise pas Israël, mais toutes les nations, comme l’indique l’expression du v. 3 : “tous les humbles de la terre”). Il s’adresse à ceux qui appellent la venue de ce Jour, pour voir la fin de leur oppression. Le prophète leur répond que ce Jour sera terrible pour tout le monde, car Dieu viendra alors juger tous les pécheurs, et le peuple de Dieu en premier. Reconnaissons toutefois que le commentaire de la Traduction Oecuménique de la Bible (TOB), sous Amos 5, 18, conforte, avec quelques nuances plus positives, l’exégèse de la BCC. Par contre, celui de la Bible de Jérusalem, à cet endroit, est beaucoup plus objectif, nous semble-t-il.

4) Sur Amos 5, 18ss., p. 751

«Quand les Israélites parlaient du Jour de Yahvé, ils pensaient à un triomphe, un jour où Dieu viendrait écraser les nations ennemies. Amos en inverse le sens et, après lui, dans la bouche des prophètes, le Jour de Yahvé signifiera que Dieu vient demander des comptes à son peuple (voir So 2). Dansl’évangile et les autres livres du Nouveau Testament, le Jour du Seigneur signifie de même le jugement universel (voir Rm 1, 18); mais le terme aura alors un sens plus précis : la venue du Christ. Il jugera ceux qui ont rejeté sa parole et il réalisera les espoirs de ceux qui ont mis leur foi en lui.»

• Quand on lit ce commentaire en relation avec le précédent (dont il fait d’ailleurs partie), on ne peut guère douter de la pensée de son auteur : les juifs “qui ont rejeté la parole” du Christ, seront condamnés lors de la Parousie de ce dernier.

5) Sur Job 29, p. 834

 «Paradoxalement, c’est la défense de Job qui montre le côté faible de cette intégrité, cette “justice” devant Dieu dont il était si fier. Je faisais de la justice mon vêtement. Job était un homme juste, conscient d’être juste, et il remerciait Dieu qui l’avait fait bon. Tout cela ressemble énormément à la “justice”, aux mérites des Pharisiens. Tout en montrant un grand respect pour un Dieu éloigné, Job avait bâti seul sa vie, ses vertus et sa propre image. Finalement, sa perfection n‘existait pas aux yeux de Dieu parce que, sans le dire, Job se faisait un rival de Dieu.»

• Exégèse inouïe! Aucun Père ni écrivain ecclésiastique n’a jamais tiré une telle conclusion. Au contraire, dans la littérature chrétienne, Job est généralement présenté comme le type du Juste éprouvé, qui ne se révolte pas contre Dieu, même s’il crie sous la douleur et l’injustice apparente de son sort. Ses récriminations sont surtout contre l’at­titude de ses faux amis qui l’accablent et l’accusent d’être la cause de ses maux, réputés être la sanction de ses fautes cachées. On ne sait de quoi on doit s’étonner le plus : de l’ignorance dont fait preuve le Commentateur – qui semble n’avoir pas compris que la métaphore de la justice que l’on revêt comme un vêtement est biblique (cf. Is 59, 14; Ps 132, 9, remarquons, au passage, l’absence quasi totale de références bibliques dans les marges du Livre de Job!) –, ou de sa propension à médire des personnages de l’Ancien Testament, au travers desquels, à l’évidence, c’est le ju­daïsme, biblique et rabbinique, qui est visé. Pourtant, le fait même que Dieu reconnaisse, à la fin du livre, que “Job a bien parlé” de lui, au contraire de ses “amis” (Jb 42, 7), témoigne éloquemment de la “justice” –au sens bi­blique du terme et non au sens “pharisaïque” – de ce persécuté. Mais un examen approfondi de la littérature de la BCC aide à comprendre l’intention de ce sermon anti-Job. Il est dans le droit fil de maints commentaires de cette bible, à savoir, que les hommes et les femmes de l’Ancien Testament, en général, et les Juifs contemporains de Jésus et des apôtres, en particulier, si vertueux ou admirables qu’ils aient pu être, ne peuvent arriver à la cheville des chrétiens, à cause de leur “carnalité”, de leur “certitude orgueilleuse d’être des justes”, et de leur “pharisaïsme”.

6) Sur Job 32, p. 837

«Élihu pressent qu’il y a quelque chose de faux dans la justice de Job, mais il ne sait pas le dire, et comme les amis de Job, il cherche des péchés secrets que Job aurait pu commettre. Le fait est que Job n’a pas la justice évangélique qui est l’humble amour de Dieu.»

• Énorme anachronisme missionnaire chrétien de la “justice évangélique” (dont notre Commentateur déplore que Job soit dépourvu). Il devrait suffire à faire classer l’exégèse de la Bible des Peuples au rang de l’aveuglement spiri­tuel le plus notoire de la littérature apologétique chrétienne contemporaine.

7) Sur Esther 3, p. 907

 «L’auteur laisse apparaître les tensions qui opposaient les Juifs aux autres peuples au milieu des­quels ils vivaient. Ils avaient habituellement une supériorité culturelle, et leur étroite solidarité était une véritable force : cela leur valait tout à la fois admiration et envie. Leur mode de vie semblait étrange (Sg 2, 14-15), ce qui fai­sait naître des soupçons dont les conséquences pouvaient être tragiques. La fin du livre montrera que la confiance en Dieu de nos pères dans la foi n’avait pas encore éliminé la violence et la soif de vengeance.»

• Cette “autre lecture” n’est, à l’évidence, pas celle de l’exégète soucieux de replacer les choses dans leur contexte par une analyse historico-littéraire rigoureuse. Au contraire, le contexte lui-même montre que cette lettre n’était qu’un tissu de calomnies, imaginées par Aman, ennemi de la nation juive, qui fut d’ailleurs pendu par le même roi qui avait rédigé ce firman. C’est donc bien ce que pense le Commentateur qui est exprimé ici.

8) Sur Esther 9, p. 913

 «Nous avons bien du mal à comprendre comment le peuple de Dieu peut commettre de tels mas­sacres, et comment ce livre sacré peut les applaudir. C’est qu’à l’origine le fanatisme de nos ancêtres était à la mesure même de leur certitude d’être le peuple élu de Dieu. Dieu a su patiemment les éduquer tout au long de l’histoire, mais ce qui lui a été le plus difficile, semble-t-il, a été de retirer du cœur humain la violence et l’esprit de vengeance. Les prophètes eux-mêmes n’ont guère pris conscience de la violence qui les habitait en dépit de leur communion si étroite avec Dieu. Dans Genèse 34, l’auteur nous montre le scandale qu’avait été le viol de la fille de Jacob, mais il ne porte pas de jugement sur les représailles qui suivirent. L’histoire nous montre que dans tous les groupes humains la solidarité, la justice et la morale ne valaient qu’à l’intérieur d’un groupe […] c’est en­core chez les disciples du Christ qu’on trouvera plus facilement des exemples de pardon.»

• Est-il nécessaire de rappeler qu’au temps de Patriarches, où eut lieu la vengeance sur le clan des violeurs de Sichem, il n’y avait pas de «religion juive», et que les membres d’une tribu ou d’un clan, quels que fussent leur race ou leur appartenance religieuse, pratiquaient la loi du talion, lorsqu’un des leurs était l’objet de sévices?

9) Sur Siracide 42, 9, p. 1002

 «Le texte original, écrit en hébreu, était beaucoup plus long au verset 9 et disait : “Sa chambre ne doit pas avoir de fenêtres et elle ne doit pas voir les portes d’accès de la maison”. Ce conseil est une preuve de plus de la domination des hommes dans la culturehébraïque…»

• “Dans la culture hébraïque” : La moindre honnêteté eût été d’écrire, “dans la civilisation de l’époque”, ou “dans la culture juive, tributaire de la mentalité d’alors”. Toujours la même méthode qui consiste à épingler tout ce qui peut porter atteinte à la crédibilité et à la dignité du judaïsme. Ici, on est en droit de suspecter une véritable intention de le déprécier. En effet, de l’aveu du Commentateur lui-même, le passage évoqué pour fustiger, une fois de plus, la culture juive, ne figure dans le texte d’aucune bible moderne (où le texte de ce livre est une traduction du grec), étant donné qu’il n’existe que dans une très ancienne version hébraïque du Livre de Ben Sira, découverte, à la fin du XIXe s. dans la Guénizah du Caire. Pour relativiser ce commentaire malveillant, signalons que, jusqu’à notre époque, dans de nombreux peuples, le statut de la jeune femme non mariée a toujours été très sévère. On veillait sur elle avec ja­lousie (cf. la duègne, en Espagne). De nos jours encore, dans les contrées européennes et méditerranéennes, il n’est pas rare que certains membres de la famille (père, frère, ou oncle généralement), vengent par le sang l’honneur d’une fille, d’une sœur ou d’une nièce séduites.

Nouveau Testament
10) Sur Matthieu 23, 29, p. 58

 «Le peuple juif, harcelé par les étrangers, serrait les rangs autour du Temple, de la pratique reli­gieuse et du groupe des Pharisiens. Sous l’emprise de la peur, les juifs faisaient ce que fait toute société qui se sent menacée : ils devenaient fanatiquement conservateurs et se sentaient à l’abri dans les institutions que Dieu leur avait données dans le passé.»

• On aura remarqué la généralisation abusive. Dans le texte néotestamentaire, ce sont uniquement les dirigeants religieux qui sont l’objet des objurgations de Jésus, et non le peuple juif dans son ensemble. L’adverbe «fanatiquement» est inutilement blessant. Dira-t-on, aujourd’hui, que certains courants protestants sont «fanatiquement» fondamentalistes parce qu’il pratiquent une lecture littérale des Écritures? Ou que les catholiques at­tachés à l’ancienne liturgie sont «fanatiquement» traditionalistes? Certains émettent de telles appréciations, certes, mais ce n’est pas à leur honneur.

11) Sur Marc 7, 24, p. 91

 «Car ce que Jésus reproche aux Pharisiens se retrouve bien souvent chez ceux qui se tournent vers les institutions religieuses considérées. Au départ, on a un désir de perfection morale qui s’allie inconsciemment au besoin d’être reconnu par la société. On a conscience de sa propre responsabilité, ce qui est excellent et qui était au cœur du pharisaïsme. Ce peut être un point de départ. Mais le temps passe et l’on ne se rend pas compte qu’on s’est attaché moins à Dieu qu’à ses propres vertus : l’amour nous aurait enfoncés dans l’humilité. Confiant en ses propres mérites (en sa “justice” : Lc 17, 9), le Pharisien vise une forme de sainteté à partir de règles, jeûnes, aumônes, et il attend de Dieu, en retour de ses mérites, un traitement privi­légié. Nous voici loin de la grâce et de l’Évangile. Car nous ne pouvons rencontrer Dieu que si nous prenons la mesure de notre faiblesse et de son pardon. Alors nous l’aimons vraiment, humblement, et nous nous sentons frères des plus pauvres et des pécheurs. Le fait d’appartenir à une élite vraie ou prétendue telle nous amène à cultiver notre image, et donc les apparences, de plus en plus à l’écart des “pécheurs” et des gens ordinaires (comme par hasard, Pharisien veut dire : séparé). Ce milieu plus “select” offre une chance à toutes les ambitions, et dès lors, comme dit Jésus, c’est l’hypocrisie qui règne.»

• La dépréciation systématique des Pharisiens, on le sait, est un locus classicus de l’enseignement chrétien tradi­tionnel, qui, de ce fait, mérite bien le label, que lui décernait l’historien juif Jules Isaac, d’«enseignement du mé­pris». Ce thème a tellement fait florès, qu’il est passé dans la langue, au point que l’adjectif “pharisien” – qui signi­fie “séparé”, en hébreu – a fini par devenir le paradigme de la prétention et de l’orgueil de celui qui se targue de sa vertu ou de son impeccabilité au regard de l’observance rigide et de la foi intransigeante. À l’évidence, il y avait de mauvais pharisiens. La tradition rabbinique elle-même, fort critique envers certains d’entre eux, qui devaient être du même acabit que ceux que stigmatisait Jésus, en témoigne par ce texte du Talmud (Talmud de Babylone, traité Sota, 26 a) :

“Le roi Yannaï disait à sa femme : Ne crains ni les Pharisiens ni ceux qui ne le sont pas. Mais redoute les hypocrites, qui ressemblent à des Pharisiens, et dont les actes sont ceux de Zimri [l’Israélite qui avait forniqué avec la prostituée madianite], mais qui réclament la récompense de Pinhas [fils d’Aaron qui, rempli du zèle de Dieu, tua les dévoyés et mérita pour cet acte la prêtrise perpétuelle]”.

 Quant à l’assimilation de la caste pharisienne à un club «select», elle serait risible si elle ne témoignait d’une affligeante ignorance de l’histoire du judaïsme de la période du Second Temple. Loin d’appartenir à un milieu privilégié, la majorité des pharisiens étaient issus du peuple – dont ils avaient d’ailleurs la faveur. Entièrement voués à l’étude et à la prière, ils pourvoyaient à leur subsistance en exerçant de petits métiers, tels que porteurs d’eau, tailleurs de tente (comme Paul). Il n’est évidemment pas exclus que quelques uns d’entre eux aient été de milieu aisé, mais la tradition talmudique, qui n’estimait que la science et la piété, ne leur a pas accordé plus de considération pour autant.

12) Sur Marc 15, 6, p. 115

 «La foule a choisi Barrabas. Pourquoi? Parce que le chemin de libération que Jésus propose exige du temps, un sens des responsabilités et du sacrifice. Barrabas, au contraire, représentait la violence irresponsable qui satisfait notre désir de vengeance. Ici, l’Évangile ne pré­tend pas rendre tous les Juifs du temps de Jésus responsables de sa mort. L’Évangile témoigne d’un fait : l’en­semble du peuple, et non seulement les chefs, avait déjà rejeté Jésus, comme il allait bientôt rejeter la prédication chrétienne (Rm 10, 19) […] Jésus est la victime pour le péché du monde (1 J 4, 10). Il y avait mille façons pour lui d’être victime et de donner sa vie pour ceux qu’il aimait, mais ce rejet du Messie par les siens don­nait à son sacrifice une signification nouvelle. Le reniement de Jésus par son peuple prolonge l’his­toire passée du peuple de Dieu qui tant de fois s’est refusé à entrer dans le chemin de salut que Dieu lui offrait. Dieu avait dit : «C’est moi qu’ils rejettent, ils ne veulent pas que je règne sur eux” (1 Sa 8, 7). Or voici que Dieu envoie son Fils, et la communauté le livre aux païens.»

• Les accusations et les procès d’intention les plus arbitraires côtoient ici les explications les plus absurdes vi­sant, comme toujours, à déconsidérer le peuple juif, pour mieux exalter le christianisme. Certes, il y a plus de ridi­cule que de méchanceté dans certaines assertions – évidemment infondées, mais d’autant plus sûres d’elles-mêmes qu’il suffit, semble-t-il, de les émettre avec assurance pour qu’elles fasse figure de vérités premières. C’est le cas, par exemple, de celle qui prétend expliquer, par la propension à la violence et à la vengeance, le choix fait par la foule d’épargner Barrabas au lieu de Jésus. C’est également cas de l’affirmation selon laquelle «l’Évangile» lui-même «témoignerait» (où, en quels termes?) que «l’ensemble du peuple avait déjà rejeté Jésus», alors que nous lisons, en Mc 14, 1-2 : “La Pâque et les Azymes allaient avoir lieu dans deux jours, et les grands prêtres et les scribes cher­chaient comment arrêter Jésus par ruse pour le tuer. Car ils se disaient: Pas en pleine fête, de peur qu’il n’y ait du tumulte parmi le peuple.” C’est surtout le cas de la présentation scandaleusement accusatrice de l’incrédu­lité des juifs. En effet, on ne leur donne pas la chance que Jésus a accordée à Thomas (cf. Jn 20, 24ss). On ne dit pas : «Il leur a été impossible de croire». On ne leur accorde pas le bénéfice du doute, mais on affirme au contraire, sans hésitation, que s’ils n’ont pas cru, c’est qu’ils n’ont pas voulu croire. D’où le choix du vocabulaire. «Reniement de Jésus», présenté comme une suite logique et fatale de tous les reniements de «l’histoire passée du peuple de Dieu». Refus «d’entrer dans le chemin de salut que Dieu lui offrait». Rejet de Dieu, «refus» de “le laisser régner sur eux” (avec référence tendancieuse à 1 S 8, 7). Et ce lieu commun presque bimillénaire, qui serait risible s’il n’avait eu les conséquences tragiques que l’on sait, et toujours si terriblement efficace : «Dieu envoie son Fils, et la communauté le livre aux païens». La «communauté», donc tous les juifs de l’époque : y compris ceux d’Alexandrie, de Babylonie, et de tout l’empire romain d’alors, qui, bien sûr, suivaient en direct les événements de Palestine dans leurs journaux et sur leurs écrans de télévision! De cet acte d’accusation délirant, il ressort que, bien que la filiation divine et la messianité de Jésus fussent inscrites sur son front, les juifs (tous les juifs), désireux d’entrer dans l’his­toire comme le peuple le plus stupide, le plus ingrat, le plus sceptique et le plus entêté qui soit au monde, ont commis l’irréparable, le péché de démesure : défier et narguer Dieu lui-même en refusant de croire à celui qu’à l’évi­dence ils avaient reconnu comme son Fils et Messie! On croit rêver…

13) Sur Luc 24, 44, p. 184

 «Il fallait que s’accomplisse ce que les prophètes avaient annoncé d’un sauveur qui serait rejeté et qui prendrait sur lui le péché de son peuple. Quel péché? Les péchés de tout le monde évidemment, mais aussi la violence de toute la société juive à l’époque de Jésus. C’est ce péché qui de façon plus immé­diate l’a conduit à la croix. En réalité ce chemin de mort et de résurrection n’était pas réservé à Jésus, mais aussi à son peuple. À ce moment-là Israël, soumis à l’empire romain, devait accepter la fin de ses ambitions terrestres : autonomie, orgueil national, supériorité des juifs par rapport aux autres peuples… pour renaître comme peuple de Dieu dispersé parmi toutes les nations et devenir témoin actif du salut. Une minorité est entrée dansce chemin que Jésus indiquait et cela a été le commencement de l’Église : prêchez en son nom à toutes les nations.»

• En progrès notable sur la version antérieure, qui figurait, en son temps, dans la Bible des Communautés Chrétiennes, et reprenait à son compte l’accusation de déicide, ce commentaire, quoique moins violent, n’en est pas moins préjudiciable au peuple juif. Qu’on en juge. Obligé d’admettre l’enseignement de son Église, déjà présent dans le Catéchisme du Concile de Trente (XVIe s.), – selon lequel «les chrétiens pécheurs sont plus coupables de la mort du Christ que les quelques juifs qui y ont pris part – ceux-ci, en effet, « ne savaient pas ce qu’ils faisaient » (Lc 23, 24), et nous, nous ne le savons que trop bien.» (Pars I, caput V, Quaest. XI) – le Commentateur n’en persiste pas moins à remettre en course la culpabilité particulière du peuple juif dans ce drame. D’après lui, le péché qui a causé la mort de Jésus, c’est «aussi la violence de toute la société juive à l’époque de Jésus». Et l’expression «de façon plus immédiate» laisse percevoir l’adverbe “surtout”. À lire ce texte, on croirait que l’essentiel de la prédication de Jésus était consacré à combattre la violence de son peuple. Or, il n’en est rien. Même la fameuse phrase du Sermon sur la montagne “Heureux les doux, car ils hériteront de la terre”, souvent alléguée pour accréditer l’image du «doux pécheur galiléen» (Renan), ne corrobore pas cette vue de l’esprit. En effet, elle est une cita­tion du Ps 37, 11, où le terme hébreu employé est ‘anawim, qui signifie, ‘pauvres’, ‘démuni’, et au sens moral : ‘humble’. Il est rendu en grec (tant dans la Septante que dans le NT, qui la cite, par praus, qui connote les mêmes sens, mais aussi celui de ‘doux’. En sens inverse, l’Évangile met dans la bouche de Jésus ces propos inquiétants (Mt 10, 34ss) : “N’allez pas croire que je sois venu apporter la paix sur la terre; je ne suis pas venu apporter la paix, mais le glaive” (et cf. Mt 26, 51-52; Lc 22, 36.51s, etc.). C’est donc une contrevérité que d’imputer à la violence de la société juive de l’époque de Jésus la responsabilité, même partielle, ou «immédiate» de la mise en croix de ce der­nier.

Quant à la phrase : «À ce moment-là Israël, soumis à l’empire romain, devait accepter la fin de ses ambitions ter­restres : autonomie, orgueil national, supériorité des juifs par rapport aux autres peuples», outre qu’elle permet, au passage, de faire un catalogue des défauts (en italiques, ci-dessus) traditionnellement attribués au peuple juif de tous les temps, elle aussi serait risible si elle n’avait pour conséquence de rendre, une fois de plus, les juifs responsables de leurs propres malheurs. Pour un chrétien, il est facile, deux mille ans post eventum, de se mettre artificiellement à la place du peuple juif de l’époque, et doctus cum libro (l’Évangile), de décréter : «Israël devait accepter la fin de ses ambitions terrestres». L’historiographie religieuse rapporte un fait analogue – réel ou légendaire : Clovis, à qui l’on faisait la lecture de la Passion du Christ, se serait écrié avec colère : «Que n’étais-je là avec mes braves!». Telle est, peu ou prou, la nature de la “vertueuse” et anachronique indignation du Commentateur. Malheureusement, même si l’on admettait la légitimité de cette dernière, encore faudrait-il savoir de quoi l’on parle en qualifiant les attentes messianiques juives d’«ambitions terrestres». Il n’est pas possible d’esquisser ici un historique, même sommaire, de la notion de Temps messianiques ni de l’attente juive, qui lui est sous-jacente, d’un règne de Dieu lui-même ou par l’entremise de son Oint (Messie), sur la terre. On sait que les chrétiens ont entièrement “spiritualisé”, voire allégo­risé – et donc désincarné et ‘anhistorisé’ – ces perspectives contenues dans l’Écriture sainte et spécialement dans les écrits des Prophètes. Or, il est indéniable que cette dernière annonce un rétablissement et un retour en grâce d’Israël sur son territoire de jadis (cf. Jr 31, 15-17; Is 60 à 62, 12; etc.), après que Dieu ait pris parti pour son peuple en butte à l’assaut des nations coalisées contre lui (cf. Ps 2 = Ap 11, 18; Is 17, 12; 29, 1-8; 30-32; 31, 4-5; 39, 8; 54, 11-17; 63, 1-6; Ez 38-39 = Ap 20, 7-9; Jl 3-4; Mi 4; Ha 3; Za 1, 14-17; 12-14; Lc 21, 20-28; Ap 10, 11 à 11, 18; etc.). Cette conception d’un Royaume de Dieu sur la terre, avec accomplissement littéral des promesses de paix uni­verselle et d’abondance matérielle, étaient prises au sérieux par les presbytres (anciens) des premiers siècles de l’Église. Elles furent ensuite qualifiées de «charnelles» et taxées de «millénarisme grossier», dans l’enseignement d’une Église devenue impériale et, partant, complètement oublieuse des perspectives eschatologiques prêchées par Jésus, conformément aux Écritures et à la tradition juive. Des Pères de l’Église aussi orthodoxes que Justin et Irénée de Lyon (IIe s.) professaient ces croyances et en défendaient le réalisme contre les détracteurs de leur époque. Irénée a même consacré au règne messianique de Jésus sur la terre, durant une période traditionnellement fixée à mille ans (Ap 20, 2-7, d’où la dénomination de ‘millénarisme’), la totalité du Livre V de son Traité des héré­sies.

Quant à la «minorité» qui, selon notre Commentateur, «est entrée dansce chemin que Jésus indiquait», il s’agit des juifs de l’époque qui crurent à Jésus. Ils ont été rapidement noyés, avec les traditions messianiques et eschatolo­giques qu’ils véhiculaient, dans la masse d’un christianisme issu du paganisme. Et il n’a pas fallu plus de deux siècles pour qu’elles soient estimées hétérodoxes, puis, ultérieurement, qualifiées de «rêveries judaïques», ou, plus poliment, mais non moins catégoriquement, dans les commentaires bibliques et théologiques subséquents, comme «irrecevables». Témoin ces deux commentaires :

• Bible de Jérusalem (édition 1981), sur Ac 1, 6-7 : «L’établissement du royaume messianique apparaît encore aux apôtres comme une restauration temporelle de la royauté davidique».

• Bible des peuples, sur He 7 (NT 431) : «Quand les chrétiens lisent l’Ancien Testament maintenant, ils ne peuvent plus le considérer comme font les juifs qui y voient leur propre histoire sur la terre de Palestine et en attendent une réalisation que Jésus a écartée. Pour nous la vérité de l’Ancien Testament a sa clé dans la personne de Jésus : sans lui le livre ne rejoint plus le message de Dieu.»

Dieu merci, les évêques allemands se sont montrés mieux inspirés en prenant au sérieux ce passage, au point d’y lire le rétablissement eschatologique d’Israël (L’Église et les Juifs, Document de la Conférence des Évêques alle­mands, III, 1, Bonn 1980) :

«Dans les Actes des Apôtres, on trouve l’affirmation prophétique du rétablissement eschatologique d’Israël. Ainsi, les apôtres interrogent le Ressuscité : “Est-ce maintenant le temps où tu vas rétablir le Royaume pour Israël?” Dans sa réponse, Jésus ne disqualifie pas cette question des Apôtres comme étant absurde, il fait seulement allusion au fait que le Père seul, dans sa Toute-Puissance, a décidé du temps fixé pour ce “rétablissement” du royaume pour Israël.»

14) Sur Jean 19, p. 229

 «Pilate voulait sauver la vie de son prisonnier quand il le présentait si défiguré. Mais en présen­tant un roihumilié, il offensait profondément le peuple opprimé : ils ne pouvaient que se rebeller.»

• Passons sur le beau rôle si complaisamment donné à Pilate. On sait, par l’histoire, combien ce procurateur était cruel et à quel point il haïssait les juifs et méprisait leurs coutumes. Certains exégètes modernes pensent même que Pilate se livra à cette mise en scène pour humilier et mettre en rage les juifs. Passons aussi sur l’insulte concer­nant “l’orgueil du peuple juif”, poncif éculé. Par contre, il convient de corriger l’erreur très répandue, réitérée ici, se­lon laquelle la possibilité d’un Messie souffrant et méprisé n’ait pu être envisagée par les juifs. S’il est vrai que le thème d’un Messie souffrant, voire tué, n’est pas fréquent dans la littérature rabbinique, il figure cependant en plu­sieurs endroits du Talmud et des Midrashim. Il a même paru assez important aux yeux d’un érudit catholique pour qu’il lui consacre un volume de 180 pages (Jean-Joseph Brierre-Narbonne, Le Messie souffrant dans la littéra­ture rabbinique, Paris 1940). Ajoutons que Justin Martyr (110-167 environ) atteste indirectement que ce n’était pas par orgueil que le peuple juif répugnait à envisager un Messie crucifié. Dans son dialogue avec Tryphon le Juif, le cé­lèbre apologiste chrétien fait dire à son interlocuteur :

«Mais sur la question de savoir si le Messie doit être désho­noré jusqu’au crucifiement, nous doutons; car dans la Loi il est dit du crucifié qu’il est maudit [cf. Dt 21, 23]… C’est un Messie souffrant que les Écritures annoncent, évidemment; mais que ce soit une souffrance maudite dans la Loi, nous voudrions savoir si tu peux le démontrer aussi.» (Dialogue, 89; cité d’après Justin martyr, Oeuvres com­plètes, éditions Migne, Paris 1994, pp. 241-243. C’est moi qui souligne).

À la lumière de ce texte patristique, on comprend que le problème des juifs n’était pas la possibilité d’une déréliction extrême du Messie, mais la formula­tion du Deutéronome : “un pendu [crucifié au bois] est une malédiction de Dieu”. Il se pourrait même que les juifs l’aient utilisée, dès la fin du Ier siècle, dans leur polémique avec le christianisme naissant, comme un oracle scriptu­raire qu’ils estimaient fatal à la messianité de Jésus.

15) Sur Actes 5, 11, p. 247

 «Nous trouvons ici, pour la première fois, le terme Église… Son sens exact est l’assemblée convoquée [par Dieu]. Avant Jésus, les juifs employaient ce terme pour désigner la nouvelle communauté dont Dieu ferait le choix aux jours du Messie. Venus du Judaïsme ou du Paganisme, les croyants ont conscience d’être cette nouvelle communauté : ils sont les vrais juifs, le véritable Israël. Peu à peu l’Esprit Saint va les séparer de la communauté officielle…»

• On ne voit pas très bien d’où le Commentateur tire cette affirmation selon laquelle le terme d’Église désignerait la nouvelle communauté messianique. Sans doute fait-il une vague allusion aux textes de Qumran (Manuscrits du désert de Juda). On ne s’étonnera pas des poncifs habituels de la théologie de la “substitution”, consacrés par un usage presque bimillénaire : “Verus Israel”, “vrais juifs”, “ancien Israël”. Par contre, même un chrétien devrait rester stupéfait face à l’affirmation énorme selon laquelle c’est «l’Esprit Saint [qui] va séparer [les croyants chrétiens] de la communauté officielle». En fait, c’est tout le contraire que dit l’Apôtre Paul, dans un passage célèbre de l’Épître aux Éphésiens : “Car c’est lui qui est notre paix, lui qui des deux [peuples] n’a fait qu’un, détruisant la barrière qui les séparait, supprimant en sa chair la haine, cette loi des préceptes avec ses ordonnances, pour créer en sa personne les deux en un seul Homme Nouveau, faire la paix, et les réconcilier avec Dieu, tous deux en un seul Corps, par la Croix: en sa personne il a tué la Haine. Alors il est venu proclamer la paix, paix pour vous qui étiez loin et paix pour ceux qui étaient proches: par lui nous avons en effet, tous deux en un seul Esprit, libre accès auprès du Père.” (Ep 2, 14-18). Une fois de plus, la formulation de notre Commentateur semble ne laisser aucune chance aux juifs : de fait, à le lire, il ressort que ceux-ci l’auraient-ils voulu, qu’ils n’eussent pu avoir foi au Messie Jésus, puisque l’Esprit Saint lui-même en avait décidé autrement!

16) Sur 1 Corinthiens 11, 1ss., p. 335

 «Dans un paragraphe antérieur (9, 20) Paul a dit qu’il s’était fait tout à tous. Mais ici nous re­marquons qu’il [Paul] n’avait pas toujours un regard juste sur les coutumes contraires aux traditions juives. Il n’ap­préciait guère la plus grande liberté en public des femmes grecques. Paul laisse parler sa formation juive, très masculine (même dans la Bible, voir Qo 7, 28 et Sir 25), et il répète les arguments des maîtres juifs (5-10) diffici­lement compréhensibles pour nous qui font allusion à Genèse 6, 2. Mais tout à coup il s’aperçoit qu’il est en train de nier l’égalité proclamée par Jésus, et il essaie de revenir en arrière (11, 12). À voir la manière dont Paul termine, il devait se rendre compte du peu de force de son raisonnement. Croyait-il vraiment que les anges, chargés de l’ordre dans le monde, seraient choqués de voir la libération des femmes.»

• Toujours le même procédé qui consiste à porter un sévère jugement rétrospectif sur une situation du passé, en partant de nos conceptions actuelles, façonnées par des siècles d’évolution et d’affinement des mentalités. Il est clair que les sociétés anciennes étaient presque toutes patriarcales et que la place de la femme y était inférieure à celle de l’homme, voire, dans certaines civilisations, quasiment inexistante. Ce n’est pas une raison pour jeter l’opprobre sur la seule société juive, comme si ce “machisme” (c’est le terme employé par la Biblia Latino-america, original espagnol de cette bible) était son apa­nage. Ce n’est pas une raison non plus pour insinuer que la pensée de Paul est incohérente, ou, à tout le moins, pleine de contradictions embarrassées. Et mieux vaut passer pieusement sur la prétention qu’a le Commentateur d’avoir un «regard juste», contrairement à Paul qui, lui, ne l’«avait pas toujours»!

17) Sur 2 Corinthiens 3, p. 349

 «Paul souligne au passage l’aveuglement des juifs qui ne reconnaissent pas le Christ comme le Sauveur : pour lui, ils ont perdu la clé de leur histoire et la Bible leur reste un livre fermé jus­qu’au jour où Dieu, par le Christ, en livre le véritable sens (Lc 24, 27; Ap 5, 1). Toute cette histoire devait être comprise comme un mystère de mort et de résurrection : pour entrer dans la nouvelle Alliance, il leur fallait accueillir le Christ sans plus penser à leurs privilèges, et se faire ses disciples avec les autres peuples.»

• À cette condamnation audacieuse et arbitraire, on préférera ce texte d’une des plus hautes instances de l’Église :

«Il est vrai donc et il faut aussi le souligner, que l’Église et les Chrétiens lisent l’Ancien Testament à la lumière de l’événement du Christ mort et ressuscité, et que, à ce titre, il y a une lecture chrétienne de l’Ancien Testament qui ne coïncide pas nécessairement avec la lecture juive. Identité chrétienne et identité juive doivent être chacune soigneu­sement distinguées dans leur lecture respective de la Bible. Mais ceci n’ôte rien à la valeur de l’Ancien Testament dans l’Église et n’empêche pas que les Chrétiens puissent à leur tour profiter avec discernement de la lecture juive.» (Notes pour une correcte présentation des juifs et du judaïsme dans la pré­dication et la catéchèse de l’Église catholique, en date du 24 juin 1985, I, 3. Texte publié dans Documentation Catholique, n° LIX, 1985. Les mises en exergue sont de mon fait).

18) Sur Galates 3, 15ss., p. 365

 «Aussi Paul déclare-t-il que la plupart des juifs se trompent quand ils se préoccu­pent tant d’observer la Loi, et si peu d’ouvrir leur cœur.»

• Paul n’a jamais rien dit de tel, ni ici, ni nulle part dans ses lettres. Et si une grande partie de l’Épître aux Romains semble très critique à l’égard de la Loi, c’est une perception erronée due à une lecture chrétienne des com­plexes méditations de l’Apôtre sur ce point difficile. Paul s’efforce de convaincre les destinataires de sa lettre (des juifs, à l’évidence) de ne pas faire prévaloir l’observance de la Loi sur la foi au Christ. Ce faisant, il ne déprécie pas la Loi, tant s’en faut : il la qualifie, au contraire, de «sainte» (Rm 7, 12) et «bonne» (7, 16). Ce qu’il reproche aux juifs n’est pas leur préoccupation excessive d’«observer la Loi», aux dépens de la charité («ouvrir leur cœur»), comme le prétend le Commentateur, mais de refuser la voie nouvelle que, selon lui, le Christ Jésus a inaugurée par “sa mort au péché une fois pour toutes” (cf. Rm 6, 10). Il craint que le zèle jaloux de se coreligionnaires pour l’ac­complissement des prescriptions de la Loi les remplisse de l’assurance fallacieuse qu’ils ont ainsi atteint la perfec­tion. D’où cette exclamation à saveur scandaleusement hérétique pour un juif convaincu : “si la justice [= perfection] vient de la loi, c’est donc que le Christ est mort pour rien!” (Ga 2, 21). Mais son but est de convaincre ses coreligionnaires que seule “la voie récente inaugurée pour nous” par le Christ (cf. He 10, 20) pourra faire d’eux des “adorateurs parfaits” de Dieu, ce qui n’est pas le cas des “sacrifices et des offrandes” (cf. He 9, 9), puisque, toujours selon Paul, “la Loi n’a rien amené à la perfection” (He 7, 9) et que ses “sacrifices… sont absolument impuissants à enlever les péchés” (cf. He 10, 11). On voit que cette dialectique théologique complexe n’a rien à voir avec l’opposi­tion manichéenne, que croient voir tant de chrétiens, entre la Loi et l’amour (= la charité).

19) Traduction de 1 Thessaloniciens 2, 16,p. 399

 «Ce sont eux qui ont tué Jésus et les prophètes, et maintenant ils nous poursuivent. Ils ne plaisent sûrement pas à Dieu, et ils se font les ennemis de tous les hommes, quand ils nous empêchent de prêcher aux païens pour qu’ils soient sauvés. Ils font tout pour mettre le comble à leurs péchés, mais à la fin, la Colère va se décharger sur eux.»

• Il s’agit d’un passage très dur de l’apôtre Paul, dans lequel il stigmatise ceux de son peuple qui s’opposent violem­ment à la prédication de l’Évangile, en général, et à la conversion des païens, en particulier. L’Apôtre conclut sa dia­tribe par cette phrase terrible : “elle est tombée sur eux, la colère, pour en finir” (Bible de Jérusalem). À titre in­dicatif, voici quelques autres traductions : “Mais la Colère est tombée sur eux, à la fin” (TOB); ou encore : “Mais la Colère est arrivée sur eux pour toujours” (Osty); ou enfin : “Mais la colère a fini par les atteindre” (Segond=Colombe). On remarquera que toutes ces traductions, sans exception, rendent le verbe au passé, confor­mément à l’original grec, qui porte ephtasen, verbe à l’aoriste, temps qui connote, sans le moindre doute, une ac­tion qui s’est produite dans le passé. Or, notre Commentateur n’a pas le même respect du texte reçu, puisqu’il n’hésite pas à rendre ce passage au futur : “mais à la fin, la Colère va se décharger sur eux” (anglais : is co­ming ; espagnol : está para caer ; formules de même signification, avec connotation future également). Cette in­novation – qui ne peut s’appuyer sur aucune autorité, ni aucun précédent sérieux – a, on le comprendra aisément, des implications redoutables. Et si – ce qu’à Dieu ne plaise! – elle était prise au sérieux par un grand nombre de chré­tiens sans connaissances bibliques ou linguistiques suffisantes, elle pourrait avoir des conséquences catastrophiques. Sur le plan doctrinal, elle introduirait un élément radicalement destructeur du “nouveau regard” que porte l’Église sur le peuple juif, depuis Vatican II. Quant aux conséquences pour le peuple juif, on ose à peine penser à l’ampleur pré­visible du regain de l’antisémitisme théologique susceptible de découler d’une perspective spirituellement aussi néga­tive pour le peuple juif, et qui deviendrait désormais d’autant plus crédible, qu’elle semblerait authentifiée par le sceau d’une prétendue prophétie néotestamentaire du destin final catastrophique du “peuple qui a tué Dieu” (l’original espagnol a l’expression terrible : «asesinos de Dios»)! Remarquons que cette traduction fallacieuse n’est assortie d’aucun commentaire. Par contre, la BCC, dans son commentaire de 2 Th 2, 3.6 (p. 401), s’y ré­fère explicitement comme s’il s’agissait d’une prophétie de malheur eschatologique prononcée par Paul contre les juifs exactement en ces termes. Enfin, il paraît utile de citer ici le commentaire de la Traduction Oecuménique de la Bible (TOB), à propos de ces versets (édition 1988, pp. 2873-2874. Les mises en exergue sont de mon fait) :

«Ce jugement sévère contre les Juifs doit être bien compris. Paul revendique toujours avec fierté sa qualité de Juif, et sou­ligne à maintes reprises le privilège d’Israël. La colère et la gloire sont pour le Juif d’abord, et pour le Grec. Cf. Rm 2, 9-10. Au cours de sa mission, c’est aux Juifs d’abord qu’il adresse le message de salut […] Mais chaque fois… des Juifs, non dé­pourvus d’influence dans les cités grecques, empêchent sa prédication aux païens et lui créent des difficultés graves, qui vont jusqu’aux mauvais traitements… C’est ce qui explique la violence des termes employés ici par Paul qui, Juif lui-même, s’in­digne de l’aveuglement de ses frères. Les Juifs, qui eussent dû être les porteurs de l’Évangile, lui font partout obstacle, comme ils ont jadis fait obstacle au message des prophètes, puis à celui de Jésus. Pourtant, lorsque Paul envisage le sort du peuple élu, il n’invoque jamais comme cause du rejet temporaire d’Israël la condamnation et la mort du Christ à Jérusalem ou la persécution contre les chrétiens.»

20) L’enseignement biblique, p. 504, § 84

 «Comment doivent être l’homme et la femme? L’égalité de l’homme et de la femme est affirmée au commencement de la Bible : commentaire de Gn 1, 26 et 2, 20. Mais cela va contre toute l’attitude de la culture hébraïque. Infériorité de la femme, consacrée par la Loi (Dt 24, 1); Nb 5, 11-31; Lv 27, 3-7), acceptée par les sages : Qo 7, 27-28. La femme est tenue pour responsable des péchés des hommes (Pr 7, 5-27; Si 25, 24); il faut la surveiller (Si 36, 42, 9-12), et on la loue pour autant qu’elle sert bien son mari : Pr 31, 10-31; Si 36, 23-25.»

• Tous les textes bibliques invoqués peuvent, en effet, relus avec notre mentalité actuelle, être interprétés comme une preuve de dépréciation de la femme. Mais, outre que, méthodologiquement parlant, c’est une erreur de juger du passé à la lumière du présent, est-il besoin de rappeler que le peuple juif ne faisait qu’appliquer les règles qui régis­saient toutes les sociétés du monde antique? On remarquera enfin la mauvaise foi qui caractérise le commentaire dés­obligeant concernant le texte de l’hymne à la femme parfaite (Pr 31, 10-31), qui – soit dit en passant – est récité chaque Sabbat par les Israélites pieux!

21) L’enseignement biblique, p. 508, § 119

“Le peuple juif, dans son ensemble, ne répond pas à cet appel… des factions fanatiques le mènent à la catastrophe annoncée…”

• La version précédente (BCC) portait : «Une religion fanatique», ce qui était évidemment inadmissible. Mais le remplacement de «religion» par «factions» ne corrige en rien l’injustice du propos. Tout d’abord, s’il est indéniable, en effet, que les factions dont il est question ont eu une part non négligeable de responsabilité dans la révolte déses­pérée contre Rome, la puissance occupante, de son côté, a tout de même été pour quelque chose dans ce soulèvement. En outre, celui-ci a eu lieu en 130-135, alors que les textes scripturaires auxquels fait référence le Commentateur ont trait à la prise de Jérusalem, en 70. Dans les passages apocalyptiques de Mt 24 et parallèles, cette catastrophe histo­rique constitue une typologie prophétique de l’assaut eschatologique des nations coalisées contre la Ville sainte (cf. Is 29, 1-8; Jl 4, 14ss; Za 12; etc. = Ac 4, 24-28)). Mais, à l’évidence, elle n’est pas, comme le prétend le Commentateur, une sanc­tion divine des révoltes juives, dont on ne trouve d’ailleurs aucun écho dans le NT.

22) L’enseignement biblique, p. 509, § 131

“Le Dieu qui punitchassait les pécheurs (Gn 3, 22-23); le Dieu-fait-homme vient sauver les méchants (Jn 1, 11; Mt 21, 37)…”

• Outre l’antithèse à forte saveur marcionite (et très éloignée de l’orthodoxie chrétienne) entre l’action punitive de Dieu, dans l’Ancien Testament, et la sotériologique du “Dieu-fait-homme”, dans le Nouveau, on remarquera que «les méchants» dont il est question sont les juifs. En effet tant Jn 1, 11 (“Finalement il [Dieu] leur envoya son fils, en se disant: Ils respecteront mon fils.”) que Mt 21, 37 (“Il est venu chez lui, et les siens ne l’ont pas accueilli.”) mettent clairement en cause les juifs.

En guise de Conclusion (provisoire) à l’attention des chrétiens

Les polémiques ont ceci de bon qu’elles obligent les antagonistes à réfléchir et parfois à nuancer leurs positions. C’est ce que j’ai fait, pour ma part. Et puisque j’ai joué un rôle actif dans la dénonciation publique des commentaires, per­çus comme dépréciateurs du peuple juif, contenus dans la Bible des Communautés Chrétiennes, je saisis l’occasion de cet article, pour faire une mise au point. Une longue fréquentation des différentes versions de cette bible m’a convaincu que, s’il n’est pas question de qualifier d’antisémites les commentaires de cette bible, par contre on peut, sans injustice, leur reprocher d’être en porte-à-faux, voire en totale opposition avec la réévaluation positive, opérée par l’Église, de la spécificité du peuple juif et de la signification religieuse de sa permanence, malgré toutes les persécutions et tentatives d’assimilation dont il a été victime au fil des siècles.

J’exposerai donc franchement ce qui me heurte encore dans la nouvelle édition de cette bible. Quelques chiffres tout d’abord. Sur 87 passages de la Bible des Communautés chrétiennes, qui témoignaient, à des degrés divers, d’une résurgence de l’«enseignement du mépris», 19 ont été supprimés. Sur les 68 qui se retrouvent dans la Bible des peuples, 15 seulement ont été amendés. À l’exception d’une quinzaine que l’on peut considérer comme acceptables, les autres contiennent des inexactitudes préjudiciables au peuple juif, et au moins 22 d’entre eux émettent des considérations blessantes ou dévalorisantes pour ce dernier (voir plus haut).

 Enfin, il faut savoir que les passages les plus gravement préjudiciables à la dignité du peuple juif, éliminés de la Bible des Peuples, figurent encore dans les centaines de milliers d’exemplaires de la version anglaise (1983) de la Bible des Communautés Chrétiennes. Tandis que ce commentaire inadmissible de 2 Th 2, 6 subsiste dans les quelque 30 millions d’exemplaires de l’édition espagnole, qui circulent dans le monde depuis 1973 : «[Avant la ma­nifesta­tion de l’Antéchrist] le peuple juif doit déverser toute sa méchanceté sur l’Église» (Biblia Latinoamerica, Commentaire du NT, p. 315).

J’en viens à ce qui me paraît être le cœur du malentendu. Puisqu’il semble acquis que les commentaires contestés ne procèdent ni d’une intention maligne, ni d’un antijudaïsme militant, quelle en est donc la raison? C’est, me semble-t-il, la conviction que l’incrédulité des juifs à l’égard de la messianité et de la divinité de Jésus fut une faute, sanctionnée par la déchéance de leur élection, cette dernière devenant le privilège exclusif des chrétiens. C’est ce que les spécialistes nomment la «théorie de la substitution». Selon celle-ci, l’Église a supplanté la Synagogue, et l’«Ancien Testament» est désormais lu uniquement comme une typologie préfigurant le Christ, l’Église et le «véritable Israël» – entendez : les chrétiens. Il faut savoir que tel fut, durant des siècles et jusqu’à Vatican II, l’en­seignement ordinaire de l’Église, dans la ligne de la lecture fondamentaliste et accusatrice des juifs, pratiquée par des “Pères” et des écrivains ecclésiastiques vénérables.

L’histoire de l’Église offre maints exemples des conséquences dommageables qu’ont eues, pour l’unité de l’É­glise, des interprétations réductrices de ce type. C’est ainsi que l’antipape Novatien (IIIe s.) fut à l’origine d’un long schisme en refusant la pénitence aux pécheurs, sur base d’une lecture littérale de ce passage d’Hébreux 6, 4-7 :

“Il est impossible, en effet, pour ceux qui une fois ont été illuminés… de les rénover une seconde fois en les amenant à la pénitence, alors qu’ils crucifient pour leur compte le Fils de Dieu et le bafouent publiquement.”

 Sans se laisser impressionner par la “lettre”, apparemment irrécusable, du texte invoqué, les évêques d’alors ob­jectèrent que l’épître faisait allusion à un second baptême pour la purification des péchés. Ils remontrèrent à Novatien qu’à ce compte, le Christ serait mort pour rien et que Pierre, qui avait renié son Maître, n’aurait pas été absous. Sans ce discernement ecclésial, nul chrétien ne pourrait, aujourd’hui, recourir au sacrement de pénitence.

Il semble que les commentateurs catholiques de la bible contestée aient lu, de manière analogue, les textes scripturaires accusa­teurs des juifs, sans prise en compte critique du contexte polémique dans lequel ils ont vu le jour, et sans tenir compte, comme le fait aujourd’hui leur Église, de la méditation de l’apôtre Paul (Rm 9-11), ni de la déculpabilisation des chefs des juifs, proclamée par Pierre (cf. Ac 3, 17), ni de la formule de Jean-Paul II (Mayence, 1980) : «Le peuple de l’Ancienne Alliance que Dieu n’a jamais révoquée» (alors que la «lettre» d’He 8, 13 semble affirmer le contraire). Dans ces conditions, il n’est pas étonnant qu’un a priori confessionnel aussi négatif ait donné lieu à une interprétation exagérément actualisante des Écritures, où les fautes et les châtiments des juifs, puis leur refus du message chrétien, dûment consignés dans l’Ancien et le Nouveau Testaments, sont perçus et utilisés comme un pa­radigme de l’attitude religieuse qui déplaît à Dieu. De là à présenter le judaïsme comme le mauvais élève du Royaume de Dieu, et à l’utiliser comme le faire-valoir du christianisme, il n’y a qu’un pas, que les commentateurs ont apparemment franchi, certes sans malice, mais non sans conséquences.

En conclusion, mon avis personnel est que les commentaires de la Bible des Peuples et de ses versions anté­rieures ont droit de cité, à côté de ceux d’autres bibles. Toutefois, leurs auteurs ne doivent pas se scandaliser de ce que des critiques légitimes leur soient adressées, pourvu qu’elles ne s’apparentent pas à un lynchage médiatique, mais s’en tiennent à des recensions objectives. Dans ce climat dépassionnalisé, on peut espérer que les auteurs et leurs édi­teurs accepteront, sans crainte d’être infidèles aux Écritures, de faire disparaître de leurs bibles tous les commentaires dépréciateurs du peuple juif,

afin que la Parole de Dieu ne soit plus source de discorde entre ses enfants.


Argentine: Attention, une dictature peut en cacher une autre (Who will even mention Argentina’s forgotten terror victims ?)

23 mars, 2013
https://i2.wp.com/lapoliticaonline.com/data/img_cont/img_imagenes/img_gr/11391.jpghttps://i0.wp.com/www.truthdig.com/images/eartothegrounduploads/kirchnerchavezmorales_300.jpghttps://i1.wp.com/elsolonline.com/archivos/imagenes/2013/03/pagina12_2628963-240.jpgDurant les années 1970, Horacio Verbitsky fut membre des Montoneros, une organisation péroniste pour laquelle il porta les armes. En 1976, quelques mois après le coup d’état militaire, il fut inculpé avec 6 autres Montoneros pour avoir été impliqué dans la planification et l’exécution d’un attentat contre la police fédérale faisant 21 morts parmi les agents du renseignement. La procédure judiciaire sera finalement close en 2007 en raison de la loi de prescription. Dans les années 90, à la direction de Pagina 12, il contribue à révéler plusieurs affaires de corruption et de pot de vins touchant le gouvernement ou la famille du président Carlos Menem puis apporte dans les années 2000 et 2010 un soutien appuyé à la politique menée par les gouvernements de Nestor et Cristina Kirchner. Wikipedia
Les anciens Montoneros, coupables d’attentats sanglants, d’assassinats, d’enlèvements et de tortures, grouillent à la tête de l’Etat à Buenos Aires depuis la présidence des Kirchner, et l’un d’entre eux, Carlos Bettini, est même ambassadeur en Espagne. Eduardo Luis Duhalde, secrétaire aux Droits de l’homme, Miguel Bonasso, député et conseiller présidentiel, Carlos Kunkel, porte-parole de la présidence (amnistié de ses crimes en 1984 par la loi Punto final dont les militaires ont été écartés), Rafael Bielsa, ex-ministre des Affaires étrangères qui a travaillé en exil pour Pinochet, Horacio Verbitsky, conseiller présidentiel, Anibal Fernandez, chef du cabinet présidentiel, Julio Cesar Urien, capitaine de frégate auteur de tortures dans les « prisons du peuple » et du « manuel d’instruction des milices montoneras », réhabilité par Kirchner en 2006 avec paiement rétroactif de sa solde depuis 1972, et surtout Nilda Garré, ex-ministre de la Défense de Nestor Kirchner, devenue ministre de la Sécurité (police et gendarmerie) en décembre dernier sous la présidence de Cristina de Kirchner. « Comandante Teresa » dans la guérilla des Montoneros, elle a été complice de crimes, commis notamment par son mari Juan Manuel Abal Medina et le frère de celui-ci, contre le général Aramburu en 1970 et l’ex-ministre de l’Intérieur Arturo Mor Roig en 1974 (qui avait légalisé les partis politiques et contribué au retour de la démocratie en 1973 avec l’élection de Juan Peron). Quant à Carlos Bettini, impliqué dans le meurtre du capitaine Jorge Bigliardi en 1975, donc en pleine période constitutionnelle sous la présidence d’Isabel Peron, il pourrait quitter incessamment son poste d’ambassadeur à Madrid pour devenir l’éminence grise de Cristina Kirchner, son ancienne petite amie… Jacques Thomet
Chacun sait comment la junte militaire renversa le gouvernement en 1976 et écrasa ensuite sans pitié les mouvements de subversion. Ses abus de pouvoir furent légion et, en 1983, elle quitta le pouvoir dans un pays plongé dans une hyper inflation et le chaos économique. Mais l’Argentine avait vécu une autre tragédie antérieure, et pendant quelque temps après que les militaires eurent saisi le pouvoir. Ce fut une vague de carnage et de destruction déclenchée par des bandes de guérillas s’inspirant de Castro, pour tenter de prendre le pouvoir en terrorisant la nation. Leurs actions provoquèrent le chaos à l’échelle nationale, puis le coup d’Etat militaire. Pourtant, à cause de la fin honteuse de la junte militaire, les terroristes et leurs sympathisants réussirent à réécrire l’histoire en ne relatant que les seuls crimes de leur ennemi en uniforme. D’ex-membres ou membres actuels du gouvernement Kirchner, d’autres du Congrès et d’autres travaillant dans les média furent des membres bien connus d’organisations subversives. . Mary Anastasia O’Grady
Patagonian roots aside, the president’s main interest in escalating the Falklands row may be to deflect looming domestic difficulties. The government is attempting to untangle expensive state subsidies which will hurt its blue-collar base. Analysts say inflation is more than double the official figure. The government is so desperate to massage the numbers it has prohibited economic consultancy firms publishing private inflation estimates. Compounding that unease, a constitutional ban on a third term means Fernández could soon be embroiled in a fraught effort to change the constitution so she can run again. The alternative will be to watch her authority gradually ebb. « A Peronist president without the chance of re-election becomes a lame duck. Once the Malvinas issue fades back into the background, the fight of succession will come to the fore and her monolithic power could reduce her flexibility when it comes to dealing with the Peronists, » said Romer, the analyst. « Her great strength could become her greatest weakness. » Tapping semi-dormant passions over the Falklands is a largely cost-free way to consolidate her base and deter would-be successors from moving too soon. Fernández has also been emboldened by the zeitgeist: South America has discovered it can, perhaps for the first time in its history, safely challenge the old colonial powers. A « pink tide » of nationalistic leftwing governments senses the region’s time has come after centuries of marginalisation. China’s rapid rise as a trading partner has further weakened European leverage. « South America doesn’t have the respect it used to have for Europe. It feels it is on top now and is flexing its new muscles, » said a senior European diplomat. Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva made a global splash railing against western bankers, Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez did the same railing against western imperialism and the Falklands gave Fernández her own cause, said Romer. « She is using Malvinas to expand her visibility on the international arena. » Lucrative fishing concessions have made the Falklands wealthy, and when in 2010 four British companies announced they were going to search for an estimated 8.3bn barrels of oil in Falkland waters, it added resource nationalism to the combustible mix of history and wounded pride. London’s blunt dismissal of Argentinian concerns over financial and environmental implications aggravated Fernández all the more. Rio Gallegos remains cold and windy but nobody expects to see a new generation of conscripts tramping aboard Falkland-bound planes. Fernández is not desperate or stupid. She is simply extracting advantage from a clump of islands her compatriots consider unfinished business. And in the process becoming, for many, Argentina’s own iron lady. The Guardian
Wrapping himself in the mantle of Simon Bolivar, the revolutionary leader of the early 19th century who led the fight for independence from the Spanish empire, Chavez led his own battle to free his country and region from what he saw as the hegemony of the neo-liberal, neo-colonalist superpower north of the Gulf of Mexico. (…) His politics, a blend of socialism, populism, authoritarianism and nationalism, became known as ‘Chavismo,’ his followers were ‘Chavistas.’ His goal was what he called the ‘Bolivarian revolution.’ In foreign policy terms, that meant a dual strategy, of ‘Latin America first’ and “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” (the enemy of course being the Yanqui imperialist.) To advance this strategy, he used Venezuela’s greatest source of wealth and power, its oil. That second rule of thumb basically explained Chavez’ forays outside the Americas: his establishment of an anti-US ‘Axis of Unity’ with Iran, his support for the Gaddafi dictatorship in Libya and most recently for Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria. Anti-Americanism drew Venezuela close to Moscow, and led him to denounce Israel – with whom Chavez broke off diplomatic relations after the 2008/9 war in Gaza – as a “genocidal state” and the “assassin arm of the United States.”(…) And it was over Cuba where Chavez’ impact was greatest. The billions of dollars of aid he gave the island, much in the form of heavily subsidized oil, may have been the difference between survival and collapse for the Communist regime. Over time a pattern developed, as oil-rich Venezuela under Chavez emerged as the leader of the poorer and more leftist countries of region: not just Cuba, but Nicaragua, Ecuador, Bolivia, and some Caribbean island nations. The bloc took formal economic shape in 2004 with the creation of ALBA, the ‘Alternativa Bolivariana para las Americas,’ set up to as a rival to the orthodox, free trade areas in the hemisphere. But it wasn’t just the ALBA members who didn’t want to offend Chavez: his wont to give contracts to non-US companies won him a hearing with the region’s richer countries too. By the time of his illness, however, his influence even in Latin America had waned. One reason was the decline in his physical powers. Another was the arrival of a new administration in Washington: Despite evidence that Venezuela was even abetting drugs trafficking into the US, Barack Obama struck a less confrontational note than his predecessor. For much the same reason, US relations with Brazil and Argentina have been smoother, offering Chavez less leverage. At the same time, left wing governments aligned with Venezuela have run into difficulties. And not least, the regional economic climate has changed. The appeal of ‘Chavismo’ was never greater than after the Latin American financial crises of the late 90s, culminating in Argentina’s 2001 default, seeming proof of the failure of the Western-style capitalism excoriated by Chavez. As it is, the last remotely ‘Chavista’ leader elected was Argentina’s Cristina Kirchner in 2007. The Independent
This article was amended on 14 March 2013. The original article, published in 2011, wrongly suggested that Argentinian journalist Horacio Verbitsky claimed that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio connived with the Argentinian navy to hide political prisoners on an island called El Silencio during an inspection by human rights monitors. Although Verbitsky makes other allegations about Bergoglio’s complicity in human rights abuses, he does not make this claim. The original article also wrongly described El Silencio as Bergoglio’s « holiday home ». This has been corrected. The Guardian
Rien de tout cela n’est important pour ceux qui tentent de faire de l’Argentine le prochain Venezuela. Ce qui les fâche, c’est que le père Bergoglio croyait que le marxisme (et la « théologie de la libération » qu’il avait inspirée) était antithétiques au christianisme et qu’il avait refusé de l’adopter dans les années 1970. D’où les désaccords tant avec ceux à l’intérieur de l’ordre des Jésuites de l’époque qui croyaient à la révolution qu’avec les Montoneros qui multipliaient les mutilations, enlèvements et assassinats de civils pour terroriser la population. Criminels dont un bon nombre sont toujours là aujourd’hui et n’ont toujours pas abandonné leurs rêves de révolution. Mary Anastasia O’Grady
Mr. Treviño’s site mainly went after the opposition leader for anti-Semitic remarks and his alliance with the Islamist party PAS, and even accused him of links to terrorists through the International Institute of Islamic Thought. Mr. Anwar has made anti-Semitic comments—though that’s in part to fend off domestic accusations that he’s too cozy with Zionists. He also has ties to organizations that have taken Saudi money, but the suggestion that he somehow has « ties to terrorism » is preposterous. (…) Influence-peddling has a long and sordid history in Washington, and governments that use repressive methods at home yet want to remain on friendly terms with the U.S. typically have the biggest bankrolls. It’s not unheard of for PR operators to pay less reputable journalists and think- tankers to write favorable coverage, as the Jack Abramoff case in the mid-2000s showed. The Malaysian scheme, however, is notable because it drew in respected writers such as Rachel Ehrenfeld, who has contributed to the Journal in the past and took $30,000, Claire Berlinski, who got $6,750, and Seth Mandel, an editor at Commentary magazine, who was paid $5,500. Some of the articles appeared in well-known publications such as National Review and the Washington Times. Mr. Najib’s falling popularity at home suggests his days as Prime Minister could be numbered. The irony is that he was more democratic and played a more responsible role in the region than his predecessors. Even opposition figures have quietly admitted to us that he has steered Malaysia in the right direction. That should have been more than enough for a legitimate public relations operation to work with. Resorting to underhanded tactics to undermine the opposition has only backfired for Mr. Najib, at home and abroad. The WSJ

Attention: une dictature peut en cacher une autre !

 A l’heure où, ne reculant devant aucune démagogie, la nouvelle Evita argentine (ou Chavista – merci les valises de billets de Chavez !) est en train apparemment de nous refaire le coup des Malouines …

Et que nos médias pressés se font les courroies de transmission, plus ou moins volontaires et des deux côtés de l’Atlantique ou de la Manche (voire jusqu’en Malaisie !), des campagnes de calomnie du moment …

Qui rappellera, hormis un bien solitaire WSJ derrière l’omerta politiquement correcte actuelle, que ceux qui alimentent la pompe à calomnies contre un nouveau pape ayant le tort de penser, sans compter les Malouines ou le mariage homo, que « le marxisme comme la ‘théologie de la libération’ qu’il avait inspirée sont antithétiques au christianisme » …

Sont les mêmes qui,  outre les milliers de victimes commodément oubliées du terrorisme d’extrême-gauche, ont précipité le putsch militaire de 1976 et réécrivent aujourd’hui l’histoire au profit de l’actuel pouvoir argentin en place ?

 

LES VICTIMES OUBLIEES DU TERRORISME EN ARGENTINE

Maria Anastasia O’Grady

The WSJ

3 janvier 2011

traduction Yves/jacqus Thomet

Des milliers de personnes ont souffert du déchaînement de la gauche qui précipita le putsch militaire de 1976.

“Ceux qui contrôlent le passé contrôlent le futur, celui qui contrôle le présent contrôle le passé.”

– Parti slogan de Big Brother, “1984,” par George Orwell

La Justice ne s’installe pas facilement partout dans le monde. Mais dans l’Argentine d’aujourd’hui, il est périlleux de seulement mentionner en public les victimes du terrorisme de la gauche du pays, sans parler de les amener à se présenter eux ou leurs proches parents survivants devant une Cour [pour témoigner]. Essayez et vous serez probablement tancé par la Gauche argentine comme un ami fasciste de l’ex-régime militaire. Les [gens] du “politiquement correct” savent que ceux qui furent brutalisés par les guérillas, que Juan Peron (ex-président) désigna une fois de “jeunesse merveilleuse”, sont censés être effacés de la mémoire nationale.

L’avocate argentine Victoria Villaruel, 35 ans, défenseur des Droits de l’Homme, s’y refuse. Elle a fondé le “Centre Argentin d’Etudes Légales du Terrorisme et de ses Victimes”, avec pour objectif de lister les milliers de crimes terroristes commis entre 1969 et 1979.

Elle pense qu’apporter la lumière sur cette sombre décennie aidera à fournir un meilleur et juste futur à tous les Argentins. Chacun sait comment la junte militaire renversa le gouvernement en 1976 et écrasa ensuite sans pitié les mouvements de subversion. Ses abus de pouvoir furent légion et, en 1983, elle quitta le pouvoir dans un pays plongé dans une hyper inflation et le chaos économique.

Mais l’Argentine avait vécu une autre tragédie antérieure, et pendant quelque temps après que les militaires eurent saisi le pouvoir. Ce fut une vague de carnage et de destruction déclenchée par des bandes de guérillas s’inspirant de Castro, pour tenter de prendre le pouvoir en terrorisant la nation. Leurs actions provoquèrent le chaos à l’échelle nationale, puis le coup d’Etat militaire. Pourtant, à cause de la fin honteuse de la junte militaire, les terroristes et leurs sympathisants réussirent à réécrire l’histoire en ne relatant que les seuls crimes de leur ennemi en uniforme. D’ex-membres ou membres actuels du gouvernement Kirchner, d’autres du Congrès et d’autres travaillant dans les média furent des membres bien connus d’organisations subversives.

Lors d’une interview à Buenos Aires en novembre 2010, Mme Villaruel m’a raconté que même les politiciens de l’opposition ne parlent pas des victimes du terrorisme car cela est devenu “tabou” de le faire. L’Etat, dit-elle, les traite comme s’ils n’étaient jamais nés.”

Le résultat est qu’une génération d’Argentins a grandi sans aucune conscience de la vraie histoire de cette époque de terreur. Mme Villaruel est de l’opinion que la “Vérité et la Justice” requiert que ces victimes soient reconnues. Son livre, “Ils s’Appelaient Les Jeunes Idéalistes”, de 2009, est un pas en avant vers ce but. Dans celui-ci, elle documente avec des photographies et des coupures de presse la dévastation que ces terroristes ont infligé à leur propre peuple. “Vaincre ou mourir”, le slogan de l’Armée Révolutionnaire du Peuple (ERP), apparaît en graffiti sur un camion dans un cliché. Ce livre comprend les photos de quelques milliers de victimes : des bébés, des adolescents, des diplomates, des businessmen, des juges, des policiers.

Les uns furent enlevés et assassinés. D’autres furent tués ou mutilés simplement parce qu’ils se trouvèrent à proximité d’une bombe qui venait d’exploser. Les mineurs (d’âge) furent enrôlés dans les armées révolutionnaires. Tous furent considérés comme du simple gibier par les rebelles qui cherchaient à refaire le monde à travers la violence. Dans cette même interview de novembre 2010, Mme Villaruel décrit le travail de son centre sur le terrorisme : consultation des archives de journaux et dialogue avec les membres des familles et les témoins quand ils y sont disposés. Beaucoup d’entre eux vivent dans la peur de représailles, dit-elle.

Elle m’a appris que le Centre est parvenu à identifier par leur nom 13.074 victimes du terrorisme. Ce sont des bilans préliminaires. Mme Villaruel est tellement soucieuse de la justesse de son travail qu’elle a fait faire un audit indépendant à deux reprises. Elle espère que les décomptes définitifs seront prêts pour le milieu de cette année 2011. Il est intéressant de noter que le nombre de procès contre la junte militaire pour abus de pouvoir totalise moins de 9.000 cas. Pendant ce temps, la justification du gouvernement Kirchner pour nier l’existence des victimes de ce terrorisme de gauche consiste à les considérer comme des victimes de crimes ordinaires, leurs auteurs étant désormais exempts de poursuites de par la loi Statut des Limitations (NDLR : sorte d’amnistie).

Mais Mme Villaruel affirme démontrer que les victimes ont été des civils attaqués par des mouvements de guérilla dans leur quête sans merci pour le pouvoir. Si ce qu’elle avance se confirme, il ne s’agirait plus en l’occurrence de Statut de Limitations, en vertu de la Convention de Genève de 1949 ratifiée par l’Argentine. Dans son étude du terrorisme des années 70, elle n’a jamais “compris les raisons pour lesquelles un groupe, s’attribuant [arbitrairement] la représentation du peuple, a décidé d’assassiner son propre peuple.

Voir aussi:

Behind the Campaign to Smear the Pope

Argentines who want their country to be the next Venezuela see Francis as an obstacle.

Mary Anastasia O’Grady

The WSJ

March 17, 2013

Argentines celebrated last week when one of their own was chosen as the new pope. But they also suffered a loss of sorts. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a tireless advocate of the poor and outspoken critic of corruption, will no longer be on hand locally to push back against the malfeasance of the government of President Cristina Kirchner.

Argentines not aligned with the regime hope that the arrival of Francis on the world stage at least will draw attention to this issue. Heaven knows the situation is growing dire.

One might have expected a swell of pride from Argentine officialdom when the news broke that the nation has produced a man so highly esteemed around the world. Instead the Kirchner government’s pit bulls in journalism—men such as Horacio Verbitsky, a former member of the guerrilla group known as the Montoneros and now an editor at the pro-government newspaper Pagina 12—immediately began a campaign to smear the new pontiff’s character and reputation at home and in the international news media.

The calumny is not new. Former members of terrorist groups like Mr. Verbitsky, and their modern-day fellow travelers in the Argentine government, have used the same tactics for years to try to destroy their enemies—anyone who doesn’t endorse their brand of authoritarianism. In this case they allege that as the Jesuits’ provincial superior in Argentina in the late 1970s, then-Father Bergoglio had links to the military government.

This is propaganda. Mrs. Kirchner and her friends aren’t yet living in the equivalent of a totalitarian state where there is no free press to counter their lies. That day may come soon. The government is now pressuring merchants, under threat of reprisals, not to buy advertising in newspapers. The only newspapers that aren’t on track to be financially ruined by this intimidation are those that the government controls and finances through official advertising, like Mr. Verbitsky’s Pagina 12. Argentines refer to the paper as « the official gazette » because it so reliably prints the government’s line.

Intellectually honest observers with firsthand knowledge of Argentina under military rule (1976-1983) are telling a much different story than the one pushed by Mr. Verbitsky and his ilk. One of those observers is Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, winner of the 1980 Nobel Peace Prize. Last week he told BBC Mundo that « there were bishops that were complicit with the dictatorship, but Bergoglio, no. » As to the charge that the priest didn’t do enough to free junta prisoners, Mr. Pérez Esquivel said: « I know personally that many bishops who asked the military government for the liberation of prisoners and priests and it was not granted. »

Former Judge Alicia Oliveira, who was herself fired by the military government and forced into hiding to avoid arrest, told the Argentine newspaper Perfil last week that during those dark days she knew Father Bergoglio well and that « he helped many people get out of the country. » In one case, she says there was a young man on the run who happened to look like the Jesuit. « He gave him his identification card and his [clergy attire] so that he could escape. »

Ms. Oliveira also told Perfil that when she was in hiding at the home of the current minister of security, Nilda Garré, the two of them « ate with Bergoglio. » As Ms. Oliveira pointed out, Ms. Garré « therefore knows all that he did. »

Graciela Fernández Meijide, a human-rights activist and former member of the national commission on the disappearance of persons, told the Argentine press last week that « of all the testimony I received, never did I receive any testimony that Bergoglio was connected to the dictatorship. »

None of this matters to those trying to turn Argentina into the next Venezuela. What embitters them is that Father Bergoglio believed that Marxism (and the related « liberation theology ») was antithetical to Christianity and refused to embrace it in the 1970s. That put him in the way of those inside the Jesuit order at the time who believed in revolution. It also put him at odds with the Montoneros, who were maiming, kidnapping and killing civilians in order to terrorize the population. Many of those criminals are still around and hold fast to their revolutionary dreams.

For them, the new pope remains a meddlesome priest. In the slums where the populist Mrs. Kirchner claims to be a champion of the poor, Francis is truly beloved because he lives the gospel. From the pulpit, with the Kirchners in the pews, he famously complained of self-absorbed politicians. He didn’t name names, but the shoe fit. Nestór Kirchner, the late president and Cristina’s husband, responded by naming him « the head of the opposition. »

As Ms. Fernández Meijide observed last week, « I have the impression that what bothers the current president is that Bergoglio would not get in line, that he denounces the continuation of extreme poverty. » That’s not the regime’s approved narrative.

Voir aussi:

Le pape et les « années de plomb » en Argentine

Christine Legrand

Le Monde

16.03.2013

Le rôle de Jorge Mario Bergoglio, le pape François, pendant la dictature militaire (1976-1983) fait l’objet de controverse depuis plusieurs années à Buenos Aires. A l’origine, le directeur du quotidien progouvernemental Pagina 12, Horacio Verbitsky, avait publié, en 2005, un livre polémique, El Silencio (non traduit), où il dénonce la complicité de l’Eglise catholique argentine avec les militaires.

Le journaliste accuse en particulier Jorge Bergoglio, qui était à l’époque responsable de la Compagnie de Jésus en Argentine, d’être impliqué dans l’enlèvement de deux jeunes prêtres jésuites qui travaillaient dans un bidonville, en 1976. Torturés pendant cinq mois, Orlando Yorio et Francisco Jalics avaient été remis en liberté et s’étaient exilés. Le premier est mort en 2000, le second vit en Allemagne. Dans un communiqué publié, vendredi 15 mars, sur le site Internet des jésuites en Allemagne, ce dernier déclare qu’il ne peut « prononcer sur le rôle du père Bergoglio dans ces événements ». Il indique aussi avoir eu « l’occasion de discuter des événements avec le père Bergoglio qui était entre-temps devenu archevêque de Buenos Aires. Nous avons ensemble célébré une messe publique (…). Je considère l’histoire comme close », a-t-il précisé.

De son côté, le porte-parole du Vatican, le Père Federico Lombardi, a dénoncé « le caractère anticlérical de ces attaques, allant jusqu’à la calomnie et la diffamation des personnes ». « La justice l’a entendu une fois et à simple titre de témoin et le père Bergoglio n’a jamais été suspecté ou accusé ». « Dans l’élaboration de la demande de pardon, Mgr Bergoglio a déploré les défaillances de l’Eglise argentine face à la dictature », souligne le Vatican.

« TALENTS D’ACTEUR »

Dans un article publié au lendemain de l’élection du pape François, M. Verbitsky, qui est également directeur du Centre d’études légales et sociales, une organisation non gouvernementale de défense des droits de l’homme, a renouvelé ses attaques, qualifiant le nouveau pontife de « populiste conservateur », qui introduira « des changements cosmétiques » au Vatican, « avec ses talents d’acteur ». Le même jour, M. Verbitsky publie un courrier électronique de Graciela Yorio dans lequel la sœur du prêtre décédé exprime « son angoisse et sa colère ». Selon elle, il aurait « laissé sans protection » les deux prêtres, adeptes de la « théologie de la libération ».

Le dictateur Jorge Rafael Videla reçoit la communion de l’évêque Octavio Derisi, en décembre 1990.

Depuis l’élection surprise d’un pape argentin, une photo montrant un prêtre de dos, donnant l’hostie à l’ancien dictateur Jorge Rafael Videla, circule sur les réseaux sociaux. Cette photo avait fait la « une » de Pagina 12, le 27 mai 2012. Aucune légende ne précisait l’identité du curé de la photo, prise en 1990, au lendemain de la sortie de prison du général Videla, gracié par l’ancien président péroniste Carlos Menem. Le photographe, travaillant pour l’AFP et le quotidien argentin Cronica, l’a identifié : l’évêque Octavio Derisi, mort en 2002.

De leur côté, deux journalistes argentins, Francesca Ambrogetti de l’agence italienne ANSA et Sergio Rubin, spécialiste des affaires religieuses du quotidien Clarin (opposition), ont publié en 2010 l’ouvrage El Jesuita (non traduit), portrait élogieux de Mgr Bergoglio. Les témoignages recueillis, en particulier d’anciennes victimes, démentent toute collaboration avec les militaires, affirmant qu’au contraire il a aidé de nombreuses victimes, dont l’avocate Alicia Oliveira. Juge au moment du coup d’Etat de 1976, elle fut persécutée par les militaires. « Il m’a sauvé la vie », dit-elle. « Il y a eu des évêques complices de la dictature militaire, mais pas Bergoglio », ajoute Adolfo Perez Esquivel, prix Nobel de la paix.

Estela de Carlotto, présidente de l’Association des mères et grands-mères de la Place de Mai, à Buenos Aires, le 15 mars. Elle reproche au pape de n’avoir jamais parlé des personnes disparues pendant la dictature argentine (1976-1983), malgré l’avénement de la démocratie dans ce pays il y a trente ans.

La présidente Cristina Kirchner a salué froidement l’élection du pape. Mais sur les réseaux sociaux, les partisans des Kirchner ont durement critiqué le choix de l’archevêque de Buenos Aires, qui entretenait des rapports tendus avec les gouvernements péronistes du président Nestor Kirchner (2003-2007) et aujourd’hui celui de son épouse Cristina. Il avait coutume de centrer ses homélies sur des thèmes brûlants, des inégalités sociales jusqu’à la traite de personnes, en passant par la corruption.

Voir également:

Starting a Papacy, Amid Echoes of a ‘Dirty War’

Simon Romero and William Neuman

The New York Times

March 17, 2013

BUENOS AIRES — One Argentine priest is on trial in Tucumán Province on charges of working closely with torturers in a secret jail during the so-called Dirty War, urging prisoners to hand over information. Another priest was accused of taking a newborn from his mother, one of the many baby thefts from female prisoners who were “disappeared” into a system of clandestine prisons.

Another clergy member offered biblical justification for the military’s death flights, according to an account by one of the pilots anguished about dumping drugged prisoners out of aircraft and into the sea.

As he starts his papacy, Francis, until this month Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, faces his own entanglement with the Dirty War, which unfolded from 1976 to 1983. As the leader of Argentina’s Jesuits for part of that time, he has repeatedly had to dispute claims that he allowed the kidnapping of two priests in his order in 1976, accusations the Vatican is calling a defamation campaign.

Now his election as pope is focusing scrutiny on his role as the most prominent leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Argentina, an institution that remains under withering criticism for its role in failing to publicly resist — and in various instances actively supporting — the military dictatorship during a period when as many as 30,000 people are thought to have been killed or disappeared.

This stance by Argentina’s church stands in contrast to the resistance against dictatorships by Catholic leaders elsewhere in Latin America at the time — notably in Chile and Brazil, two nations where far fewer people were killed. Even as the head of the Argentine Conference of Bishops from 2005 to 2011, Francis resisted issuing a formal apology for the church’s actions during the Dirty War, disappointing human rights campaigners.

“The combination of action and inaction by the church was instrumental in enabling the mass atrocities committed by the junta,” said Federico Finchelstein, an Argentine historian at the New School for Social Research in New York. “Those like Francis that remained in silence during the repression also played by default a central role,” he said. “It was this combination of endorsement and either strategic or willful indifference that created the proper conditions for the state killings.”

Francis, 76, has offered a complex description of his role during the dictatorship, a period officially called the Process of National Reorganization, in which the authorities installed a terrifying campaign against perceived opponents.

While refraining from public criticism of the dictatorship, Francis said in his autobiography that he pressed military officials behind the scenes to free the two priests from his order — Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics — even meeting with top military officials.

Francis also said that he hid at a Jesuit school several people persecuted by the dictatorship, and even helped one young man who resembled him to flee Argentina, via Foz do Iguaçu on the Brazilian border, giving him priest’s garb and his own identity documents.

The Rev. Ignacio Pérez del Viso, a Jesuit who is a longtime friend of Francis’, said that a small number of Argentine bishops spoke out against the military dictatorship. But they were clearly in the minority, he said, and others in the Argentine church, including the new pope, who was 39 at the time of the 1976 coup, adopted a far more cautious position.

“When you saw that the majority of the bishops preferred to have a dialogue with the military,” Father Pérez del Viso, 78, said, “it’s not easy to say, ‘We will do something different.’ ” He added: “Many of the bishops opted, rather than to confront the military head on, to try to intercede in private conversations for those they could save.”

“Later the bishops realized this was a mistake,” Father Pérez del Viso said. “But to see the mistake at that moment was difficult.”

Religious scholars attribute such passivity to remarkably close ideological and political links between the church and the armed forces. Some priests have even been forced to stand trial on charges of human rights abuses.

After a previous military coup in Argentina in 1930, the church forged a role as a spiritual guide for the armed forces. By the time military rule was established again in the 1970s, their operations overlapped to the point where some bishops were provided soldiers as personal servants in their palaces, and only a handful of bishops publicly condemned the dictatorship’s repression.

“Of all the national churches in Latin America, Argentina is where ties were closest between the clergy and the military,” said Kenneth P. Serbin, a historian at the University of San Diego.

This legacy presents a challenge to Francis. Last week, a judge who took part in an investigation into a clandestine prison at the Naval Mechanics School said the inquiry uncovered no evidence that Francis was involved in the kidnapping of the Jesuits. “It is totally false to say that Jorge Bergoglio handed over those priests,” the judge, Germán Castelli, was quoted as saying in the newspaper La Nación.

But doubts persist, based on the priests’ own accounts, including a 1977 report by Father Yorio to the Jesuit authorities, obtained by The New York Times, and a 1994 book by Father Jalics.

Father Yorio wrote that Francis, who was then the top Jesuit in Argentina, told them he supported their work even as he sought to undermine it, making negative reports about them to local bishops and claiming they were in the slum without his permission.

“He did nothing to defend us, and we began to question his honesty,” wrote Father Yorio, who died in 2000. Finally, without telling the two priests, Father Yorio wrote, Francis expelled them from the Jesuit order.

Three days later, hundreds of armed men descended on the slum and seized the two priests. Father Yorio was interrogated and accused of being a guerrilla. The priests were kept for five months, chained hand and foot and blindfolded, fearing they would be killed.

Finally, they were dropped off in a drugged state on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.

In a statement posted on a Jesuit Web site last week, Father Jalics said he would not comment “on the role of Father Bergoglio in these events.” He said that years after the kidnapping, they celebrated a Mass together and he solemnly embraced him. “I am reconciled to the events and view them from my side as concluded,” Father Jalics wrote.

But in an interview, Father Yorio’s sister, Graciela Yorio, accused Francis of leaving the priests “totally unprotected” and making them an easy target for the military. She said that her brother and Father Jalics, whom she referred to using his name in Spanish, were in agreement about Francis’ role. “My brother was certain,” she said, “And Francisco, too, Francisco Jalics. I have no reason not to believe my brother’s word.”

Still, several prominent leftists here have defended Francis, emphasizing his openness to dialogue and austere habits. “He is questioned for not having done all he could do,” said Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, a pacifist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. “But he was never an ally of the dictatorship.”

Though Francis has had to respond to doubts about his own past during the Dirty War, he has faced other issues that still haunt the church. He was head of Argentina’s bishops’ conference in 2007, when the Rev. Christian von Wernich, a former police chaplain, was found guilty of complicity in the killing and torture of political prisoners.

Even after his conviction, Father von Wernich was allowed to offer Mass to fellow prison inmates. Other priests have similarly faced charges related to abuses from the dictatorship era. And still there are other priests who have not been charged with a crime, but who face serious accusations about their connection to the armed forces.

The church has tried to account on different occasions for its actions during the dictatorship. In 2000, it apologized for its “silences” that enabled rights abuses. And last November, after the future pope’s tenure as head of the bishops’ conference had ended, the church issued another statement in response to the assertion by Jorge Videla, the former head of the military junta, that Argentine bishops had in effect collaborated with the dictatorship.

The church rejected Mr. Videla’s claim, but said it would “promote a more complete study” of the Dirty War years.

Reporting was contributed by Fabián Werner, Emily Schmall and Jonathan Gilbert from Buenos Aires; Mauricio Rabuffetti from Montevideo, Uruguay; and Nicholas Kulish from Berlin.

Voir encore:

New pope’s role during Argentina’s military era disputed

Accusers draw ties between Catholic church and 70s junta, saying Jorge Bergoglio failed to shield two priests

Jonathan Watts and Uki Goni in Buenos Aires

The Guardian

15 March 2013

JorgeBergoglio

A young Jorge Mario Bergoglio pictured in Buenos Aires. Photograph: Argenpress/Rex Features

Pope Francis is known in his native Argentina as a man of austere habits, long pregnant pauses in conversation and a reticence about discussing himself. For supporters, this is proof of his humility, which was further underlined for them in his first address as pope to the masses in St Peter’s Square, where he eschewed the usual jewelled crucifix in favour of a simple wooden cross.

For critics, however – and there are many in his home country – it may have more to do with allegations that he and the Roman Catholic church were guilty of the sin of omission – and perhaps worse – during the brutal military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983.

Those dark years cast the longest shadow over the elevation of Jorge Bergoglio, the former archbishop of Buenos Aires, as the new Vicar of Christ, and continues to divide a nation.

While Argentina rang with celebratory church bells at the news of the first Latin American pope, some were seized by doubt and confusion. « I can’t believe it, I don’t know what to do, I’m in so much anguish and so enraged, » wrote Graciela Yorio in an email published in the Argentine press on Thursday morning.

In 1976, her brother, Orlando Yorio, along with another Jesuit priest, Francisco Jalics, were seized by navy troops in the slums of Buenos Aires and held and tortured for five months at the ESMA camp, a navy base in the capital where 5,000 people were murdered by the military junta.

The two priests served under Bergoglio, who is accused in some quarters of abandoning them to the military after they became involved in leftist social movements.

His chief accuser is journalist Horacio Verbitsky, whose book El Silencio paints a disquieting picture of Bergoglio’s relationship with the priests who sought his protection when they felt their lives were in danger from the military because of their social work in the slums.

Verbitsky believes the then chief of the Jesuits in Argentina played a double game, aiding Yorio and Jalics while expressing concern about their activities to military officers.

But Verbitsky’s views are seen as overly simplistic by other observers of that era. « Verbitsky is not wrong, but he doesn’t understand the complexity of Bergoglio’s position back then when things were so dangerous, » said Robert Cox, a British journalist and former editor of the Buenos Aires Herald, the only newspaper in Argentina that reported the murders as they happened. « He can’t see how difficult it was to operate under those circumstances. »

But Cox, who moved to North Carolina after death threats against his family in 1979, suggests Bergoglio could have done more. « I don’t think he gave them in, » he said. « But Bergoglio didn’t protect them, he didn’t speak out. »

Adolfo Perez Esquivel, who won the 1980 Nobel peace prize for documenting the junta’s atrocities, takes a similar view. « Perhaps he didn’t have the courage of other priests, but he never collaborated with the dictatorship, » he told the Associated Press. « Bergoglio was no accomplice of the dictatorship. He can’t be accused of that. » The vast majority of Argentinians view the dictatorship era as appalling.

Others suggest that Bergoglio was actually a hero. Francesca Ambrogetti, co-author of The Jesuit – a flattering biography of the new pope – says Bergoglio told her he met the dictator Jose Rafael Videla and Eduardo Massera, the head of the navy which was in charge of some concentration camps, to try and intercede on behalf of the priests.

She said he took great risks to save others. « I believe he did all he could at that time, » she said. « It’s a complex issue that is very difficult to explain after so many years. »

In a 2005 interview Bergoglio himself said he moved fast to save their lives. « That same night when I heard of the kidnappings I started to move. In one of my attempts to meet Videla I found out who the military chaplain was who gave mass to Videla and convinced that priest to call in sick and I managed to be named to replace him. »

Bergoglio said that after the mass he managed to speak to Videla about the case, which would not have been an easy task at the time, given the climate of fear that reigned over these issues in Argentina then.

That era continues to polarise Argentina, where the current left-leaning government has reopened several prominent cases in the past decade. Details are murky. Few from that era can escape with entirely clear consciences. Many turned a blind eye and kept silent. Accusations of this sin of omission have been levelled at Bergoglio.

Myriam Bregman, an Argentine lawyer in the continuing trials of crimes at the ESMA death camp, says Bergoglio’s appointment to the papacy left her confused. « It gave me a feeling of amazement and impotence, » said Bregman, who took Bergoglio’s declaration regarding Jalics and Yorio in 2010.

« Bergoglio refused to come [and] testify in court, » she recalled, making use of Argentine legislation that permits ministers of the church to choose where to declare.

« He finally accepted to see us in an office alongside Buenos Aires cathedral sitting underneath a tapestry of the Virgin Mary. It was an intimidating experience, we were very uncomfortable intruding in a religious building. »

Bregman says that Bergoglio did not provide any significant information on the two priests. « He seemed reticent, I left with a bitter taste, » she said.

Estela de la Cuadra’s mother co-founded the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo activist group during the dictatorship to search for missing family members. She was at first astonished, then appalled when a friend texted the news that Bergoglio had been chosen as the new pope.

« It is unthinkable, horrifying given what I know about his history, » she said, recalling the disappearance of her sister.

The last time they saw each other was in January 1977 when they were members of leftwing groups formed among the students at La Plata University, then one of the most radical in Argentina.

Her sister, Elena, was three months pregnant and in hiding in Buenos Aires from military snatch squads that had already seized her husband. She « disappeared » a month later and was later seen by survivors in a concentration camp run by the navy.

Desperate, the family used a connection with the global head of the Jesuit order – the « black pope », Pedro Arrupe – to lobby for her release. He put them on to Bergoglio, who provided a letter of introduction to a bishop with connections to the military dictator.

The only answer that came back, said Estela, was that her sister’s baby was now « in the hands of a good family. It was irreversible. » Neither mother nor child were heard from again.

For Estela, Bergoglio did the bare minimum he had to do to keep in line with the black pope. She says the story underlines the close connections between the Catholic church and the military junta, as well as what she sees as lies and hypocrisy of a new pope who once claimed to have no knowledge of the adoptions of babies being born in concentration camps and then adopted by families close to the regime.

« I’ve testified in court that Bergoglio knew everything, that he wasn’t – despite what he says – uninvolved, » said Estela, who believes the church worked with the military to gather intelligence on the families of the missing.

She is also furious that Bergoglio refused to defrock another priest, Christian von Wernich, who was jailed for life in 2007 for seven killings, 42 abductions and 34 cases of torture, in which he told victims: « God wants to know where your friends are. »

She is now requesting classified documents from the episcopal and Vatican archives, which would shed more light on the issues.

That is unlikely to be approved in Rome, though it would – until Wednesday at least – have probably gone down well in the government of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

The Argentine president is a staunch advocate of taking to court not only military officers responsible for the killing of thousands of young activists, but also civilians who may have played a role back then.

Fernández has an icy relationship with Bergoglio – who is seen as a conservative – and has studiously avoided him over the last years, moving out of the city every 25 May when Bergoglio gave his annual mass at Buenos Aires Cathedral.

As he has shown by rising through the ranks of the church Bergoglio is an extremely astute politician, who uses the sparseness of words and space to press home his considerable influence on government and legislature.

« He is a participant in Argentine politics, but in his own way – very low profile. More politicians pass through his office than either the opposition or the government would care to admit, » said Washington Uranga, social science professor at the University of Buenos Aires.

« People go in search of coverage, to ask him to use his influence. In other cases, he calls on them to come, but it is always in his territory. It’s always in his office. »

When Bergoglio does occasionally speak out in public, it tends to be with allusions rather than direct references to Argentina’s darkest era. When trials reopened in 2006, he suggested it was not a good idea to churn up the problems of the past, although this was seen as a comment on the rise in the number of trials.

« We are happy to reject anger and endless conflict, because we don’t believe in chaos and disorder … Wretched are those who are vindictive and spiteful, » he said in a public sermon.

Additional reporting by Sebastián Lacunza

Voir aussi:

The sins of the Argentinian church

The Catholic church was complicit in dreadful crimes in Argentina. Now it has a chance to repent

Hugh O’Shaughnessy

The Guardian

4 January 2011

Benedict XVI gave us words of great comfort and encouragement in the message he delivered on Christmas Eve.

« God anticipates us again and again in unexpected ways, » the pope said. « He does not cease to search for us, to raise us up as often as we might need. He does not abandon the lost sheep in the wilderness into which it had strayed. God does not allow himself to be confounded by our sin. Again and again he begins afresh with us ».

If these words comforted and encouraged me they will surely have done the same for leaders of the church in Argentina, among many others. To the judicious and fair-minded outsider it has been clear for years that the upper reaches of the Argentinian church contained many « lost sheep in the wilderness », men who had communed and supported the unspeakably brutal western-supported military dictatorship that seized power in that country in 1976 and battened on it for years. Not only did the generals slaughter thousands unjustly, often dropping them out of aeroplanes over the River Plate and selling off their orphan children to the highest bidder, they also murdered at least two bishops and many priests. Yet even the execution of other men of the cloth did nothing to shake the support of senior clerics, including representatives of the Holy See, for the criminality of their leader General Jorge Rafael Videla and his minions.

As it happens, in the week before Christmas in the city of Córdoba Videla and some of his military and police cohorts were convicted by their country’s courts of the murder of 31 people between April and October 1976, a small fraction of the killings they were responsible for. The convictions brought life sentences for some of the military. These were not to be served, as has often been the case in Argentina and neighbouring Chile, in comfy armed forces retirement homes but in common prisons. Unsurprisingly there was dancing in the city’s streets when the judge announced the sentences.

What one did not hear from any senior member of the Argentinian hierarchy was any expression of regret for the church’s collaboration and in these crimes. The extent of the church’s complicity in the dark deeds was excellently set out by Horacio Verbitsky, one of Argentina’s most notable journalists, in his book El Silencio (Silence). He recounts how the Argentinian navy hid from a visiting delegation of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission the dictatorship’s political prisoners on an island linked to senior clerics.

One would have thought that the Argentinian bishops would have seized the opportunity to call for pardon for themselves and put on sackcloth and ashes as the sentences were announced in Córdoba but that has not so far happened.

But happily Their Eminences have just been given another chance to express contrition. Next month the convicted murderer Videla will be arraigned for his part in the killing of Enrique Angelelli, bishop of the Andean diocese of La Rioja and a supporter of the cause of poorer Argentinians. He was run off the highway by a hit squad of the Videla régime and killed on 4th August 1976 shortly after Videla’s putsch.

• This article was amended on 14 March 2013. The original article, published in 2011, wrongly suggested that Argentinian journalist Horacio Verbitsky claimed that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio connived with the Argentinian navy to hide political prisoners on an island called El Silencio during an inspection by human rights monitors. Although Verbitsky makes other allegations about Bergoglio’s complicity in human rights abuses, he does not make this claim. The original article also wrongly described El Silencio as Bergoglio’s « holiday home ». This has been corrected.

Voir par ailleurs:

Is Celibacy a Sin? The NYT Has a View

Walter Russell Mead
The Americain interest
March 3, 2013

Over at the New York Times where hostility to all things Roman Catholic is a longstanding tradition, Frank Bruni has mixed a unique cocktail of one part sharp observation, two parts confusion about Christian teaching, a dash of schadenfreude and splash of scandal. It is, in other words, business as usual at the newspaper of record, where passionate disagreement verging into bitter resentment at the sexual teachings of the Catholic Church (that homosexuals can’t marry, heterosexuals can’t divorce, and that abortion is the willful destruction of innocent human life) is almost as widespread as hatred of the KKK.

(I say almost, noting Ross Douthat’s piece this morning. Maureen Dowd, however, proudly upholds the paper’s traditional foam-flecked hatred of Rome, with the difference that loathing and contempt for Catholic ideas is expressed in our more democratic era by the Catholic or ex-Catholic children of Eire rather than toffee nosed WASPs. In the old days, hatred of Rome was a bond in New York journalistic and intellectual circles between nativist Protestants and aspiring Jewish intellectuals remembering centuries of Catholic persecution. These days everybody is in on the Church-hating.)

For those looking to cast stones at the Vatican there is no shortage of ammunition at hand, and Bruni’s piece, entitled “The Wages of Celibacy,” gives us a full measure of Catholic woe: tortured, self-rejecting gay priests and maybe cardinals and archbishops, ‘elite’ rings of transsexual prostitutes, hints of Vatican blackmail, pedophilia and tragic isolation. (Dowd takes it closer to the bone in a column dripping with juicy innuendoes about the Pope Emeritus’ relationship with his private secretary.)

All these troubles, Bruni maintains, spring from priestly celibacy and homosexual repression. Bruni’s core message is that celibacy is a “trap,” a bad idea all round:

No matter what a person’s sexual orientation, the celibate culture runs the risk of stunting its development and turning sexual impulses into furtive, tortured gestures. It downplays a fundamental and maybe irresistible human connection. Is it any wonder that some priests try to make that connection nonetheless, in surreptitious, imprudent and occasionally destructive ways?

Now I’m no Roman Catholic and my father is a happily married Episcopal priest; after 61 plus years of marriage my parents have four children, seven grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and over the decades their home has been a warm and welcoming place, a visible sign of God’s love for friends, family and strangers alike. It’s not for me to advise a religious body to which I don’t belong how to manage its affairs, but if I were designing a new Church of St. Mead from the ground up, I’d have no problem with married priests.

There are good arguments against a celibate priesthood, even in the special context of Roman Catholic doctrine about the nature and function of priests. It’s not, however, clear that these arguments are as strong as Bruni and many others assume. The last time I looked, college football coaches, BBC celebrities, public school teachers and scout leaders weren’t required to be celibate, but we’ve seen high profile sexual scandals in these fields—complete with coverups. Horatio Alger was a Unitarian minister when he was fired for “unnatural familiarity” with boys, and there have been some recent high profile cases of married Jewish and Protestant religious leaders involved in inappropriate sex with young people.

Human sexuality is tricky ground; many married people have from time to time resorted to exactly the kind of “furtive, tortured gestures” that Bruni thinks characterize celibacy. Few of us live up to our own sexual ideals or standards; gay or straight, single or married, drunk or sober, large numbers of human beings look back on certain incidents with sadness and regret. Not even Maureen Dowd can believe that America’s burgeoning porn industry survives on the patronage of furtive and twisted celibates alone. Celibacy, like monogamy, is a sexual ideal. Not many people live up to either ideal fully, and many fall sadly, woefully, and even horrifically short of the standards their own consciences declare.

But ideals, even unattainable ones, are often there for a reason. The Christian ideal of celibacy wasn’t invented by the Catholic hierarchy and didn’t originate as a tool to capture and repress homosexual men. Nor was it rooted in either Jewish or Roman antiquity. Caesar Augustus passed laws to penalize bachelors, and while Rome had its Vestal Virgins, they had no male counterparts. While ancient Greek culture celebrated many forms of what we today would call pedophilia, it strongly condemned adult men who engaged in passive homosexual intercourse and placed strong social pressure on men to marry women even as they continued to accost high school age boys. The closest thing to the Christian ideal of celibacy was found among some Middle Eastern cults and mystery religions, but the voluntary castration among some devotees of these cults never really caught on among the followers of Christ (Origen excepted).

The Christian ideal of celibacy comes straight from the source: Jesus, despite repeated attempts by later writers to whomp up romances with everyone from Mary Magdalene to St. John the Divine, never married. (I’m waiting for the Maureen Dowd column on Jesus the pedophile: What can we expect from a man who hung around playgrounds saying “Suffer the little children to come unto me?” Sounds pretty suspicious and, of course, he was celibate.)

Jesus’ example got a powerful boost and some theological buttressing from the life and writings of Christianity’s greatest early leader and thinker, St. Paul. So far as we know, Paul never married in the years before his conversion; certainly, he remained single during his life as the first Christian missionary.

Neither Jesus nor Paul demanded celibacy of their followers. We know that St. Peter had a mother-in-law and St. Paul said that bishops should have no more than one wife. If Jesus ever said anything about his decision to remain unmarried, the Gospels don’t report it, and his recorded teaching on marriage is largely confined to an absolute prohibition on divorce. But Paul was more forthcoming. In his first letter to the Christian community in the Greek city of Corinth, the apostle wrote that while ideally both women and men should remain unmarried, not everybody had the ability. For those who could not, ahem, contain themselves in the single life, he wrote, there was a less demanding if perhaps less noble course. “It is better to marry than to burn.

The examples of Jesus and Paul’s celibacy have resonated since the early centuries of Christian life, but choosing the celibate life was also often mixed up with pragmatic considerations. Centuries of persecution reinforced the idea that the leaders of the Christian community, bishops and priests for whom martyrdom was in the job description, should avoid earthly entanglements. One can sympathize with their point of view. It is bad enough being fed to the lions without worrying about the hungry family you are leaving behind.

When the persecutions ended with the conversion of the Emperor Constantine, Christians had a new reason to want celibate bishops and priests. The Church became one of the wealthiest institutions in the Empire, and its officials controlled great resources and had immense political power. That power only grew when the Empire fell and feudalism appeared. In an era of weak states and institutions, powerful families constantly sought to appropriate ‘common’ property; much like oligarchs pillaging state property after the fall of the Soviet Union, people sought to ‘privatize’ both church and state property when opportunities rose.

Without celibacy, clerical dynasties would surely have emerged, and lucrative offices would almost inevitably become hereditary. Even humble parish priests would try to ensure that their sons followed them in their calling and, in a period of weak institutions and little central authority, the positions and the possessions of the Church were all too likely to fall under private control. Celibacy ensured that priests had no children, or that, if they did (and there have never been many illusions in the Church about the weakness of the flesh and the powers of temptation), those children would at least be illegitimate and unable to claim a right of succession.

Even with celibacy, life in the Church got pretty corrupt. Clerics high and low struggled to make careers for their illegitimate children or their nephews (the word ‘nepotism’ comes from the Latin word for nephew); powerful families intrigued to control the more lucrative posts. But while the ban on clerical marriage didn’t necessarily make the clergy more moral, it helped assure the independence of the Church and kept its property and offices from falling completely and irrevocably into the hands of church dynasties. From this point of view the discipline of celibacy was less a means to sanctify priests than to protect the institutional integrity of the Church.

In the West today these dangers have receded, but in much of the world they remain real. Many African and Asian believers remain very poor, and priests would face overwhelming temptations to, for example, ensure that their own kids received whatever educational opportunities were on offer. A wealthy and well connected archbishop in a non-democratic developing country would have powerful reasons to make sure his kids were plugged into the power system—and also have powerful reasons to keep his mouth shut about corruption and the abuses of human rights. Moral heroes might stand up against the pressure, but not every archbishop is going to be that kind of person. A perennial problem for Rome is that it must legislate for Catholics throughout the world; a system that allowed priests to marry in rich countries but demanded celibacy of priests from poor countries would not go over well.

Even so, there are real questions about requiring celibacy of all clergy. The priesthood is a less economically and socially attractive profession today, but in past centuries (and still in many poor countries) choosing a career in the Church was the only avenue for kids without wealthy parents to get a good education or a job that didn’t involve digging ditches. A hunger for education, a desire to see the wider world, and the hope of a brilliant career are not the same things as a religious vocation, much less a divine call to the single life, but the Church insisted on a package deal. Some young people honored the bargain, many found it beyond their power or were cynics from the start.

More recently, many women faced a similar choice. For poor girls in much of Europe and North America, entry into a religious order was their only way into professional life and their only chance for a college education. As Bruni and others note, the celibate priesthood also provided an honorable exit for another group: young homosexual men. If you told your mother that you weren’t getting married because you liked guys, you got one reaction. If you said God was calling you to the priesthood, you got something else. This doesn’t require conscious hypocrisy; sexual identity and spiritual yearning are both complicated things, and young people in the throes of adolescence jump to lots of conclusions.

It seems pretty clear that many people in religious orders and the priesthood didn’t have a true calling to the celibate life, and one reason that tens of thousands of people left the orders and the priesthood after Vatican II was that in a changing world they had other options. Young Catholic women, whatever their sexual orientation, and young Catholic gay men now have more choices, and the Church seems to be finding that while there are fewer young people entering orders and the priesthood, those who come are better suited to the calling.

I don’t know that it’s fair to blame all the resulting problems on either the Church or on celibacy. One can say that it was less than fair of the Church to offer education and careers to the poor, to women and to homosexuals with such difficult conditions attached—but then nobody else was offering them anything at all. Surely some of the blame has to fall on societies and cultures that consigned whole swathes of their population to ignorance and oppression, leaving the Church to deal with the results as best it could. Within the framework of its doctrinal structures and its institutional requirements, the Church opened a door of opportunity for people who the rest of the world rejected. Surely even the Rhadamanthine judges at the New York Times can give it a few points for trying?

But many critics of the Church, and, unless I am misreading him, Bruni is one of these, don’t just think that the Church has misused the discipline of celibacy. They want to say that celibacy doesn’t even make sense as a religious ideal. One doesn’t want to judge a person’s entire world view on the basis of a single newspaper column, but Bruni seems to make the argument that celibacy is an unnatural state that involves a crippling loss of human connection. As Auden once put it: “Envy warps the virgin as she dries.”

The critique is not new; the belief that the Catholic view of celibacy leads either to futile isolation or to sexual deviance and depravity or both was one of the core arguments that the Reformers made against the Church. Lurid ‘confessions’ of nuns allegedly seduced by priests and darker rumors were widely disseminated during and after the wars of religion. As late as the 1830s a Protestant mob in Boston burned an Ursuline convent after reports of wicked goings on got into the press.

In Victorian times Protestants frequently contrasted what they saw as the healthy, masculine and extroverted nature of the Protestant clergy and its spirituality and the ‘diseased’, ‘feminine’ and introverted qualities they claimed to see among Catholics. Homophobia and anti-Catholicism ran together in 19th century England, and the Protestant cult of ‘muscular Christianity’ claiming that Jesus was an extroverted jock rather than a sensitive momma’s boy was particularly popular among the headmasters of boys’ boarding schools. In the minds of people like Charles Kingsley, tutor of the Prince of Wales, chaplain to Queen Victoria and the man whose attack prompted Cardinal Newman to write his great autobiography, suspiciously celibate Catholic priests with their crafty ways, lace gowns and aversion to marriage were exactly the sort of person one kept away from the vulnerable young.

Today the attack on celibacy, at least in elite circles, cannot base itself on overt homophobia any longer, although it was not all that long ago that the New York Times led the charge against gays and their wicked agenda. Where the Victorians attacked the celibate priesthood because they believed it sheltered homosexual men and gave them social position and power they could never otherwise have, our contemporaries attack priestly celibacy because it warps homosexual men, steeping them in self-hatred, twisting their desires, and forcing the natural healthy channel of their sexuality into at best sordid and furtive affairs and at worst leading otherwise normal gay men into the horrors of pedophilia.

Charles Kingsley would have interpreted the current avalanche of stories about pedophile priests and the rumors of gay sex rings in the Vatican as clear proof that Catholicism was rotten to the core and that a hierarchical culture resting on priestly celibacy was a big part of the problem. That is not as far from the Bruni position as either Kingsley or Bruni would like, but where Kingsley saw celibacy as tailor-made cover for insidious homosexuals and sexual predators, Bruni sees it as an instrument of homophobia and sexual repression.

From my wretchedly Anglican standpoint, I can only say that the problem seems less about celibacy as a sexual ideal than about the attempt, intrinsic to Catholicism, to embody the ideal Kingdom of God in a human institution. Priests, nuns, bishops and monks are not going to be perfect. They are going to abuse their power; they are going to misread the will of God even on those occasions when they summon up the fortitude to try to follow it. Catholics believe that even so the purposes of God are being worked out through the visible Church on earth, and that the institution, however weighed down with crooked bankers, bent priests, conniving bishops and hypocritical pedophiles really is the primary channel of grace into this fallen world, and the place par excellence where God’s perfect love meets human failure.

That Catholic approach to the institutionalization of the ineffable has led to great triumphs of the human spirit and nourished extraordinary saints down through the ages, but there is a darker side too. The attempt to bond a high and difficult sexual ideal to the routine business of running a global institution is bound to create some big problems; I wish the next pope every success in managing this great institution in tumultuous times, but I don’t have a lot of advice to offer.

There is a final point to make. It’s striking that Bruni’s discussion of celibacy omits any possible benefits that might flow from this way of life. Proponents of celibacy have often spoken of a closer union with God as both the motive and the consequence of their choice. Pastor Rick Warren tells the story of the bride who insisted that as she came down the aisle to meet her future husband the choir sing the old hymn “I’d Rather Have Jesus.” For millions of Catholic and Orthodox monks, priests and nuns down through the centuries, that was a choice that they consciously made. They felt called to sacrifice earthly ties to deepen their relationship with God and to focus exclusively on serving him rather than tending families on earth.

Bruni doesn’t even think this idea is worth discussing; as far as I can tell, there are no ‘brides of Christ’ in his world view, only delusional and embittered old maids.  The argument boils down to this: since human beings can’t be satisfied or fulfilled by relationships with God, celibacy has no point. It subtracts but it does not add. The celibate priest or nun is running away from normal human life and running toward… nothing.

Bruni is of course entitled to his opinion, and it’s one that many great scholars and philosophers have held. God either doesn’t exist or is so much in the background of things that he might as well not be there at all. Satisfaction is to be sought in the here and now; this life on earth offers all we need and in any case is all we have. Forget all this talk of mystical unions with Christ, forget the ecstasies of the saints, the Beatific Vision, the dream of fulfilling your life by picking up your cross and following Christ as closely as you can. Find an age-appropriate spouse of whatever gender works for you, and lead the rich and satisfying life of an upper middle class professional who enjoys the newspaper of record, and try not to think about old age, death, or anything else that suggests that the natural order is either incomplete or flawed.

This is a perfectly coherent point of view, but it is not very rational to suggest it to the Catholic Church. Bruni’s argument against celibacy is predicated on the disappearance of God; he is giving the Church advice on how to organize its affairs in the absence of Christ.

If Bruni is right, we shouldn’t just get rid of priestly celibacy. We should get rid of priests. We should turn our churches into art museums. Perhaps a few should stay open for the old people and the poor people and the semi-literate immigrants still bitterly clinging to their missals and their rosaries, but the Catholic Church is of value only insofar as it adds texture and color to the wonderful pageant of civilized modern life.

A lot of modern and progressive thinking people think this way in America and beyond; it’s a safe bet that the new pope, whoever he is, won’t agree.

Voir aussi:

LE CASTRISTE HUGO CHAVEZ A FINANCE SECRETEMENT LA CAMPAGNE EN 2007 DE LA PRESIDENTE ARGENTINE AVEC 6 MILLIONS $

Auteur jacquesthomet

25 septembre 2008

Un document tendant à le prouver a été présenté jeudi par l’homme d’affaires américano-vénézuélien Guido Antonini Wilson, cité comme témoin à Miami dans le procès sur le transfert illégal de 800.000 dollars du Venezuela vers l’Argentine.

Guido Antonini Wilson avait été intercepté le 4 août 2007 par la douane argentine en provenance de Caracas, avec une mallette contenant 800.000 dollars.

Selon l’accusation, il s’agissait d’argent destiné à la campagne présidentielle de la candidate Cristina Kirchner, qui a ensuite remporté les élections en octobre 2007. Mme Kirchner a nié avoir reçu des fonds provenant du Venezuela.

Guido Antonini Wilson est un témoin clé dans ce procès de trois Vénézuéliens et un Uruguayen –Moises Maionica, Franklin Duran, Carlos Kauffmann, Rodolfo Edgardo Wanseele Paciello– que les Etats-Unis soupçonnent d’avoir agi en tant qu’agents du Venezuela à Miami. Ils sont accusés d’avoir fait pression sur M. Antonini Wilson, qui avait introduit des fonds non déclarés en Argentine en août 2007, pour cacher la provenance et la destination de cet argent. Antonini Wilson a présenté un document, que lui avait remis Franklin Durán, dans lequel ce dernier détaillait les points importants concernant le supposé transfert de fonds.

« D’où vient l’argent: PDVSA (la compagnie pétrolière publique du Venezuela). A qui est-il destiné: à la campagne (de Cristina Kirchner) (…) deux mallettes (…) 6 millions de dollars… », indique notamment le document.

L’homme d’affaires américano-vénézuelien a affirmé avoir rencontré dans un hôtel le vice-président pour l’Argentine de PDVSA, Diego Uzcategui, peu de temps après avoir été appréhendé. « L’argent venait de PDVSA, ce n’était pas le mien », a-t-il expliqué. « J’ai demandé (à M. Uzcategui) pourquoi il m’avait placé dans une telle situation, et il m’a répondu: +où est le reste de l’argent ?+ Je lui ai dit: +De quoi est-ce que tu me parles ?+ Et il m’a dit: +Il y avait une autre valise avec 4,2 millions+ », avait-t-il raconté devant la cour.

M. Antonini Wilson a aussi révélé mercredi s’être entretenu à deux reprises au téléphone avec le chef des renseignements du Venezuela, Henry Rangel Silva, qui tentait de le convaincre d’occulter le scandale.

Voir enfin:

Malaysia’s U.S. Propaganda

Kuala Lumpur paid American conservative journalists to smear an opposition leader.

The WSJ

March 8, 2013

A general election is expected next month in the Southeast Asian nation of Malaysia, and that usually means political shenanigans—abuse of national security laws, media manipulation and character assassination. After the last election in 2008, when the ruling coalition barely held on to power, public anger at such practices prompted Prime Minister Najib Razak to redraft laws and reform the electoral system. However, new revelations that his government paid American journalists to attack opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim raise questions whether those changes went far enough.

In January, conservative American blogger Joshua Treviño belatedly registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, revealing that from 2008-2011 he was paid $389,724.70, as well as a free trip to Malaysia, to provide « public relations and media consultancy » services to the Malaysian government.

These consisted of writing for a website called Malaysia Matters, now defunct, as well as channeling $130,950 to other conservative writers who wrote pro-government pieces for other newspapers and websites. When questioned in 2011 by the Politico website about whether Malaysian interests funded his activities, Mr. Treviño flatly denied it: « I was never on any ‘Malaysian entity’s payroll,’ and I resent your assumption that I was. »

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim

The campaign was more targeted than the Malaysian ruling coalition’s domestic attacks on Mr. Anwar. Mr. Treviño’s site mainly went after the opposition leader for anti-Semitic remarks and his alliance with the Islamist party PAS, and even accused him of links to terrorists through the International Institute of Islamic Thought. Mr. Anwar has made anti-Semitic comments—though that’s in part to fend off domestic accusations that he’s too cozy with Zionists. He also has ties to organizations that have taken Saudi money, but the suggestion that he somehow has « ties to terrorism » is preposterous.

The site also defended an outrageous charge of sodomy brought against Mr. Anwar from 2008- 2012, and it criticized the U.S. State Department and The Wall Street Journal for taking Mr. Anwar’s side. These postings were clearly aimed at sowing doubt among other would-be Anwar defenders in the U.S., especially on the right of the U.S. political spectrum.

Mr. Treviño paid other writers who know almost nothing about Malaysia but mimicked his propaganda. The New Ledger, edited by Ben Domenech, was even more vociferous, calling Mr. Anwar a « vile anti-Semite and cowardly woman-abuser. » One posting was entitled, « Muslim Brotherhood’s terrorist money flowing to Anwar Ibrahim. » According to Mr. Treviño’s filing, he paid Mr. Domenech $36,000 for « opinion writing. » Three contributors of anti-Anwar items to the New Ledger—Rachel Motte, Christopher Badeaux and Brad Jackson—were paid $9,500, $11,000 and $24,700 respectively.

Mr. Treviño was initially paid by public relations multinational APCO Worldwide, which had a longstanding contract with the Malaysian government. APCO’s Kuala Lumpur representative through 2010, Paul Stadlen, now works in Prime Minister Najib’s office. David All, who at the time ran his own PR firm and collaborated on Malaysia Matters, also provided cash.

But from 2009-11, the Malaysian money came through Fact-Based Communications, which under the leadership of journalist John Defterios produced programs on client countries for CNN, CNBC and the BBC. After this was revealed in 2011, the three networks dropped all FBC programs, and Atlantic Media Company President Justin Smith resigned from its board.

Influence-peddling has a long and sordid history in Washington, and governments that use repressive methods at home yet want to remain on friendly terms with the U.S. typically have the biggest bankrolls. It’s not unheard of for PR operators to pay less reputable journalists and think- tankers to write favorable coverage, as the Jack Abramoff case in the mid-2000s showed.

The Malaysian scheme, however, is notable because it drew in respected writers such as Rachel Ehrenfeld, who has contributed to the Journal in the past and took $30,000, Claire Berlinski, who got $6,750, and Seth Mandel, an editor at Commentary magazine, who was paid $5,500. Some of the articles appeared in well-known publications such as National Review and the Washington Times.

Mr. Najib’s falling popularity at home suggests his days as Prime Minister could be numbered. The irony is that he was more democratic and played a more responsible role in the region than his predecessors. Even opposition figures have quietly admitted to us that he has steered Malaysia in the right direction. That should have been more than enough for a legitimate public relations operation to work with. Resorting to underhanded tactics to undermine the opposition has only backfired for Mr. Najib, at home and abroad.


Société: Cachez cette différence que je ne saurai voir (When in doubt, sexualize or butcher the quote!)

21 novembre, 2012
http://vulpeslibris.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/victorians.jpg?w=280&h=443Il n’y a plus ni Juif ni Grec, il n’y a plus ni esclave ni homme libre, il n’y a plus ni homme ni femme; car tous vous êtes un en Jésus-Christ. Paul
C’est dingue ! Si on n’est pas branchée sex-toys, si on n’aime pas parler de masturbation en gloussant autour d’un mojito, et qu’on ne cumule pas les amants, on est… nulle. Anonyme
It’s easier to mangle an analogy and ridicule it than grapple with its reality. Volkoh
« Hooking up » is a common phrase among young people today, but as journalist Stepp (author of Our Last Best Shot, 2000) discovered, the term is nebulous in meaning. Covering a range of sexual behavior, hooking up can mean anything from kissing to intercourse, as well as everything in between. Stepp conducted extensive interviews with young women in high school and college to find out how this casual approach to sexual encounters is affecting a generation. What she learned is that in large part hooking up had supplanted dating, with both young men and women eschewing deeper relationships for casual encounters with little or no commitment involved. Stepp looks at how the culture of today fosters these attitudes, noting that when young women are expected to excel at school and have numerous outside activities, many feel they don’t have time to form a deeper bond with a significant other. Eye-opening and powerful, Stepp’s book also offers empowering advice for women as they navigate today’s sexual landscape. Kristine Huntley
What makes hooking up unique is that its practitioners agree that there will be no commitment, no exclusivity, no feelings. The girls adopt the crude talk of crude boys: They speak of hitting it, of boy toys and filler boys, « my plaything » and « my bitch. » Why hook up? According to Stepp, college women, obsessed with academic and career success, say they don’t have time for a real relationship; high school girls say lovey-dovey relationships give them the « yucks ». Stepp is troubled: How will these girls learn how to be loving couples in this hook-up culture? Where will they practice the behavior needed to sustain deep and long-term relationships? If they commit to a lack of commitment, how will they ever learn to be intimate? These questions sound reasonable at first, until one remembers that life just doesn’t work that way (…) In fact, Unhooked can be downright painful to read. The author resurrects the ugly, old notion of sex as something a female gives in return for a male’s good behavior, and she imagines the female body as a thing that can be tarnished by too much use. She advises the girls, « He will seek to win you over only if he thinks you’re a prize. » And goes on to tell them, « In a smorgasbord of booty, all the hot dishes start looking like they’ve been on the warming table too long. » It seems strange to have to state the obvious all over again: Both males and females should work hard to gain another’s affection and trust. And one’s sexuality is not a commodity that, given away too readily and too often, will exhaust or devalue itself. Tell girls that it is such a commodity (as they were told for a number of decades), and they will rebel. The author is conflating what the girls refuse to conflate: love and sexuality. Sometimes they coexist, sometimes not. Loving, faithful marriages in which the sex life has cooled are as much a testament to that fact as a lustful tryst that leads nowhere. In the final chapter, Stepp writes a letter to mothers and daughters, in which she warns the girls: « Your body is your property. . . . Think about the first home you hope to own. You wouldn’t want someone to throw a rock through the front window, would you? » And: « Pornographic is grinding on the dance floor like a dog in heat. It leaves nothing to the imagination. » The ugliness of these images seems meant to instill sexual shame. Stepp is most thought-provoking when she considers the culture at large: All the females she interviews come from reasonably well-off families, we’re told, and all are ambitious. « Hooking up enables a young woman to practice a piece of a relationship, the physical, while devoting most of her energy to staying on the honor roll . . . playing lacrosse . . . and applying to graduate programs in engineering. » In a culture that values money and fame above all, that eschews failure, bad luck, trouble and pain, none of us speaks the language of love and forbearance. But it is not hooking up that has created this atmosphere. Hooking up is either a faithful reflection of the culture, a Darwinian response to a world where half the marriages end in divorce, or it is an attempt at something new. Perhaps, this generation, by making sex less precious, less a commodity, will succeed in putting simple humanity back into sex. Why bring someone into your bed? Maybe because she is brilliant and has a whimsical sense of humor, or he is both sarcastic and vulnerable, and has beautiful eyes. And perhaps as this generation grows up, they will come to relish other sides of an intimate relationship more than we have: the friendship, the shared humor, the familiar and loved body next to you in bed at night. This is the most hopeful outcome of the culture Stepp describes, but no less possible than the outcome she fears — a generation unable to commit, unable to weather storms or to stomach second place or really to love at all. Kathy Dobie
Suppose that everything we think we know about ‘The Victorians’ is wrong? That we have persistently misrepresented their culture, perhaps to make ourselves feel more satisfyingly liberal and sophisticated? What if they were much more fun than we ever suspected? As Matthew Sweet shows us in this brilliant study, many of the concepts that strike us as terrifically new – political spin-doctoring, extravagant publicity stunts, hardcore pornography, anxieties about the impact of popular culture upon children – are Victorian inventions. Most of the pleasures that we imagine to be our own, the Victorians enjoyed first: the theme park, the shopping mall, the movies, the amusement arcade, the crime novel and the sensational newspaper report. They were engaged in a well-nigh continuous search for bigger and better thrills. If Queen Victoria wasn’t amused, then she was in a very small minority . . . Matthew Sweet’s book is an attempt to re-imagine the Victorians; to suggest new ways of looking at received ideas about their culture; to distinguish myth from reality; to generate the possibility of a new relationship between the lives of 19th-century people and our own. Inventing the Victorians (Book presentation)
Butchering quotations or taking things out of context quotes is unfair, but when the butchered text is then ridiculed further, the unfairness tends to be compounded. So it was with great interest that I followed Glenn Reynolds’ « ridicule and ellipsis » link to Eugene Volokh’s take on a WaPo book review which butchered the author’s words until they looked ridiculous enough to ridicule, then ridiculed them for looking ridiculous! (…) Although times have changed (along with, fortunately, the consequences of lost virginity), this is not complicated stuff. To understand it does not involve social conservatism, nor is it necessarily about morality. (I think it’s more about mechanics, laws of physics, coupled with basic self awareness.) It’s just that on this one key point, there is a huge difference between men and women. A Basic. Biological. Difference. (Sorry if I plagiarized your technique, Rachel Lucas, wherever you are.) Mechanically and from a mental perspective, sex is just very different for the two sexes. It’s inherently more special for women than for men, and that’s reflected in the nature of the way the gametes are both presented and delivered. One egg released per month versus hundreds of millions of sperm cells released for every male ejaculation. The rare and precious versus the common; the internal versus the external. Because of the mechanics involved in sexual penetration, the loss of virginity in women is accomplished by the breaking of something which can never be restored as it once was. The « loss » of virginity in men, on the other hand, is not a loss, but a gain. A man’s first sexual experience involves a physical venturing out and a penetration into a hitherto unknown area, into which an invading army of tiny millions is released. The accomplishment of this act for the first time is a demonstration to the man that his reproductive system is functional and working properly. In this regard, it makes no sense to speak in terms of a « loss » of male « virginity »; it is actually a gain of a new skill, one which is required if he is to do it again. Thus, what has been « broken » for the woman has, for the man, been « fixed. » I don’t think it’s complicated at all. I just don’t think most people are comfortable recognizing any reality which goes to the difference between the sexes.(…) It strikes me that shaming virginity is just as bad as shaming the loss of it. And why the refusal to acknowledge that it’s a different thing for men and women? I can’t help but wonder whether the deliberate disregard of the differences between the sexes might be another form of sexual shame. Classical values
In a 2000 lecture dealing with (among other things) the mutation of « virtues » into « values, » Gertrude Himmelfarb asked whether the covering of piano legs by Victorians really involved sexuality: This mutation in the word « virtue » has the effect first of narrowing the meaning of the word, reducing it to a matter of sexuality alone; and then of belittling and disparaging the sexual virtues themselves. These virtues, chastity and fidelity, have been further trivialized by the popular conception of Victorians as pathologically inhibited and repressed. Thus « Victorian values » have been associated with piano legs modestly sheathed in pantaloons, human as well as table legs referred to as « limbs, » and books by men and women authors dwelling chastely on separate shelves in country-house libraries. In fact, these were not the normal (or even abnormal) practices of real Victorians. They were often the inventions of contemporary satirists (writers in Punch, for example), which have been perpetuated by gullible historians. « The woman who draped the legs of her piano », one historian solemnly informs us, « so far from concealing her conscious and unconscious exhibitionism, ended by sexualising the piano; no mean feat ». In fact, it is this historian who has sexualized the piano and has imposed his own sexual fantasies upon the Victorians. Classical values

Refus de la différence, quand tu nous tiens!

Découvert sur le net …

En ces temps étranges de parent 1 (ou A) et de parent 2 (ou B) …

Et en ce bientôt meilleur des mondes de mamans (porteuses) ou de putains remboursées par la sécu

Cet intéressant site de réinformation culturelle (Classical values) qui prétend, ô périlleuse mais louable ambition, « mettre un terme à la guerre culturelle en restaurant les valeurs culturelles » …

Où l’on apprend par exemple comment pour mieux enfoncer un livre déplorant la véritable mise au ban de la virginité dans certains milieux, un critique du Washington post n’hésite pas, au point de la dénaturer complètement voire de lui faire dire le contraire de ce qu’elle disait vraiment, à charcuter une citation …

Ou, alternativement, comment,  pour ridiculiser la prétendue obsession de la même virginité de nos arrières-parents victoriens, certains de nos historiens trop crédules ont pu prendre pour argent comptant les plaisanteries des Victoriens eux-mêmes (sur leurs cousins… américains!) et ainsi, pour des générations après eux, sexualiser malgré eux les pieds de leurs pianos …

Shaming the unshattered?

Classical values

March 03, 2007

Butchering quotations or taking things out of context quotes is unfair, but when the the butchered text is then ridiculed further, the unfairness tends to be compounded. So it was with great interest that I followed Glenn Reynolds’ « ridicule and ellipsis » link to Eugene Volokh’s take on a WaPo book review which butchered the author’s words until they looked ridiculous enough to ridicule, then ridiculed them for looking ridiculous!

The book in question is Laura Sessions Stepp’s Unhooked, and as Volokh makes clear, the butchery of the quote renders her thought almost incoherent.

Here’s the mangled (and subsequently ridiculed) WaPo quote:

Your body is your property…. Think about the first home you hope to own. You wouldn’t want someone to throw a rock through the front window, would you?

Yeah, that makes very little sense. But here’s what’s omitted:

Your body is your property. No one has a right to enter unless you welcome them in. Think about the first home you hope to own. You wouldn’t want someone to throw a rock through the front window, would you? Is your body worth less than a house?

And here’s Eugene Volokh:

The second sentence (the omission of which the Post noted with the ellipses) explains why we’re talking about nonconsensual rock-throwing. In this paragraph, the author seems not to be faulting fully consensual, enthusiastic casual sex, but rather casual sex of the sort that is at least not entirely welcome (a characteristic that I take it the author thinks is not uncommon in casual sex). Many young women, the author is suggesting, let men have sex with them even though they do not fully « welcome them in, » perhaps because they feel pressured by the man or by social expectations. Not-fully-welcome sex is not the same as rock-throwing, but at least the analogy is closer than it is between presumably enthusiastic « hooking up » and rock-throwing.

The fourth sentence (which is also omitted in the Post review, though conventions of quotation allow the omission not to be marked with ellipses) then tries to tie the body with the house: They aren’t the same (for instance, in the sense that they’re both great places to have a party), but rather they’re both valuable, and your body is if anything even more valuable. Again, not a terribly convincing metaphor, but not as zany or worthy of derision as some might think. Among other things, try the lampoon quoted above on the whole paragraph:

I don’t think Stepp’s broken window analogy is either zany or worthy of derision, although I understand why others would. I suspect that those who derided the analogy are only pretending not to understand it, and I think they wouldn’t want to get it (and would claim not to get it if someone explained it). That’s because the broken window analogy goes to the center of the difference between the sexes that people imagine can be dismissed. Therefore, it’s easier to mangle an analogy and ridicule it than grapple with its reality.

The broken window analogy (to a woman’s loss of virginity) is hardly new. Ask anyone who studied art history.

There’s Bouguereau’s Broken Pitcher, Greuze’s Broken Pitcher, and I even found a cute little narrative about the subject coming up in an art history class:

She is actually relieved to be in Art History discussing Greuze’s Broken Pitcher, even if there are idiots in her class. The girl with the jewel-encrusted crucifix obscuring all her other features insistently claims the girl in the painting signifies the masses, and the broken pitcher is their broken relationship with Christ. The cocky guy who has missed half the classes since joining his frat, is spinning the class all off on a tangent somehow connecting the broken pitcher to unemployment rates during the Great Depression. Stupid.

Sighing, she is patient, sighing again and again as she digests her so-called peers’ comments and systematically discards their worth. The class wallows in a pit of circular reasoning. Just as she is about to reach her limit and set them all straight, the teacher says, « What if it’s about sex? What if the pitcher is her virginity? »

Silence blooms. Her classmates look at each other, some giggling.

I don’t know whether the teacher planned on show-and-tell, so I’ll complement her lecture by adding Bouguereau’s Broken Pitcher:

It’s tough to unwrite Art History, but I’m sure they’re working on it.

Although times have changed (along with, fortunately, the consequences of lost virginity), this is not complicated stuff. To understand it does not involve social conservatism, nor is it necessarily about morality. (I think it’s more about mechanics, laws of physics, coupled with basic self awareness.) It’s just that on this one key point, there is a huge difference between men and women. A Basic. Biological. Difference. (Sorry if I plagiarized your technique, Rachel Lucas, wherever you are.) Mechanically and from a mental perspective, sex is just very different for the two sexes. It’s inherently more special for women than for men, and that’s reflected in the nature of the way the gametes are both presented and delivered. One egg released per month versus hundreds of millions of sperm cells released for every male ejaculation. The rare and precious versus the common; the internal versus the external.

Because of the mechanics involved in sexual penetration, the loss of virginity in women is accomplished by the breaking of something which can never be restored as it once was. The « loss » of virginity in men, on the other hand, is not a loss, but a gain. A man’s first sexual experience involves a physical venturing out and a penetration into a hitherto unknown area, into which an invading army of tiny millions is released. The accomplishment of this act for the first time is a demonstration to the man that his reproductive system is functional and working properly. In this regard, it makes no sense to speak in terms of a « loss » of male « virginity »; it is actually a gain of a new skill, one which is required if he is to do it again. Thus, what has been « broken » for the woman has, for the man, been « fixed. »

I don’t think it’s complicated at all. I just don’t think most people are comfortable recognizing any reality which goes to the difference between the sexes.

As to what is going on in the mind in the mental or moral sense, that’s more complicated. The WaPo reviewer touches on a favorite subject of Classical Values, and that is sexual shame:

In the final chapter, Stepp writes a letter to mothers and daughters, in which she warns the girls: « Your body is your property. . . . Think about the first home you hope to own. You wouldn’t want someone to throw a rock through the front window, would you? » And: « Pornographic is grinding on the dance floor like a dog in heat. It leaves nothing to the imagination. » The ugliness of these images seems meant to instill sexual shame.

Look, I’m more against sexual shame than anyone I know. Seriously, I am not kidding; just poke around the blog.

But I have one question for the WaPo writer. Since when is a dog in heat (actually, it should be « bitch in heat ») an ugly image? The reason I’m asking is because I’m harboring a bitch in heat right now, and Coco does not take kindly to being called ugly by the MSM! She’s not ugly, and she leaves plenty to the imagination. Well, maybe not when she’s waving her little vagina around and her tail curls and the coat of hair on her butt gets all wrinkly and slitherers forward in anticipation of a tie-up. But even that is not without it’s charm, at least for a shameless relativist like me. The bottom line is that Coco is not ugly, and I don’t consider any of this shameful. (Although I suspect the WaPo might be trying to shame Ms. Stepp.)

I keep saying that what we call the Culture War is really a war over sex, because I think it is. At the heart of that, though, is a war over sexual shame. While I don’t know whether Ms. Stepp is trying to instill feelings of sexual shame as the Post says, I do know that plenty of people are very frustrated by the absence of sexual shame in others.

The problem is, as I keep saying, you can’t feel what you don’t have, nor can you expect that if you’re disgusted with something, that others will share your disgust. Sometimes, I think there’s on one « side » a demand that others not be disgusted by things which disgust them, while on the other « side » there’s an equally shrill demand that they be disgusted by things that don’t disgust them.

Right now though, I’m feeling a little disgusted by the lack of honesty in the way this argument is being addressed, because it just isn’t being addressed. People yell at each other’s tastes or what they perceive as a lack thereof, and they don’t even seem to realize that what they’re doing is demanding not accommodation or tolerance of their tastes or disgusts, but a sharing of them. While this strikes me as an unreasonable argument, there’s no way to discuss whether it’s a reasonable argument if people aren’t even aware that it is in fact an argument.

Take Leon Kass’s wisdom of repugnance. Please!

No seriously, let’s take it, because I’ve devoted time to it and gotten not very far. There is no question that sexual shame varies from person to person, as do sexual tastes. From a previous post, here’s Martha Nussbaum, interviewed by Reason’s Julian Sanchez:

Unlike anger, disgust does not provide the disgusted person with a set of reasons that can be used for the purposes of public argument and public persuasion. If my child has been murdered and I am angry at that, I can persuade you that you should share those reasons; if you do, you will come to share my outrage. But if someone happens to feel that gay men are disgusting, that person cannot offer any reasoning that will persuade someone to share that emotion; there is nothing that would make the dialogue a real piece of persuasion.

Reason: As a follow up, can you say something about how that cashes out into a critique of communitarian ideals?

Nussbaum: The prominent defenders of the appeal to disgust and shame in law have all been communitarians of one or another stripe ([Lord] Devlin, [Amitai] Etzioni, Kass), and this, I claim, is no accident. What their thought shares is the idea that society ought to have at its core a homogeneous group of people whose ways of living, of having sex, of looking and being, are defined as « normal. » People who deviate from that norm may then be stigmatized, and penalized by law, even if their conduct causes no harm. That was the core of Lord Devlin’s idea, and it is endorsed straightforwardly by Etzioni, and, in a rather different way, and in a narrower set of contexts, by Kass. My study of disgust and shame shows that these emotions threaten key values of a liberal society, especially equal respect for people and for their liberty. Disgust and shame are inherently hierarchical; they set up ranks and orders of human beings. They are also inherently connected with restrictions on liberty in areas of non-harmful conduct. For both of these reasons, I believe, anyone who cherishes the key democratic values of equality and liberty should be deeply suspicious of the appeal to those emotions in the context of law and public policy.

While I think trying to make someone feel shame who does not feel it is a waste of time, my point is that even if you put sexual shame aside, in logic something is being given up by a woman that is not being given up by a man. To deny this denies reality.

Denial of reality has a way of annoying me, but it’s even more annoying when it’s done in the name of reality.

But I think there’s something more going on than denial. I think the attempt to tar Ms. Stepp with the accusation that she’s fostering sexual shame obscures something else which Eugene Volokh mentioned, and that is the pressure of what he calls « social expectations. »

From the Amazon book description:

In Unhooked, Stepp follows three groups of young women (one in high school, one each at Duke and George Washington universities). She sat with them in class, socialized with them, listened to them talk, and came away with some disturbing insights, including that hooking up carries with it no obligation on either side. Relationships and romance are seen as messy and time-consuming, and love is postponed-or worse, seen as impossible. Some young women can handle this, but many can’t, and they’re being battered-physically and emotionally-by the new dating landscape. The result is a generation of young people stymied by relationships and unsure where to turn for help.

If it is true that some of the young women doing this cannot handle it, then I wonder why. I haven’t read the book, but might another form of shame be going on?

Is it possible that not wanting to have sex might be considered shameful in some circles? Might there be a stigma attached to virginity?

Apparently, there is. And it didn’t take me long to find it. Here’s the (U Va) Cavalier Daily’s Kate Durbin:

Having or abstaining from sex is a personal decision. Like drinking alcohol or eating meat, it is a choice that each person must make for him or herself, free from the pressures of peers and society in general. No reason need be given as to why someone chooses to abstain from sex, just as no reason need be given when someone chooses not to consume alcohol. Personal decisions are just that — personal. They should be respected as such. Virgins, angered by the negativity surrounding their choices, should seek to change societal attitudes instead of spending time enumerating the reasons they chose to be a virgin.

[…]

….if society is really so open when it comes to sex, why is it that virginity remains such a curse for those college students choosing it? For whatever reason, abstaining from sex has somehow come to be a socially isolating factor, making virgins feel like their choices are somehow viewed as wrong.

As long as current attitudes about sexual choices persist, refraining from sex will continue to be seen as some kind of problem. Having sex or not having sex is a personal choice. This fact must be accepted and respected by our generation.

Hmmm….Virginity a curse? At the University of Virginia at that!

Oh the irony!

I don’t know how typical the above complaint is (there’s more, of course, and it seems to be a response to another column poking fun at virgins), but as someone who is against sexual shame, I try to at least be consistent about it, and it strikes me that shaming virginity is just as bad as shaming the loss of it. And why the refusal to acknowledge that it’s a different thing for men and women?

I can’t help but wonder whether the deliberate disregard of the differences between the sexes might be another form of sexual shame.

Voir aussi:

Without Victorian modesty, even pianos can get carried away!

Classical values

March 13, 2007

In a 2000 lecture dealing with (among other things) the mutation of « virtues » into « values, » Gertrude Himmelfarb asked whether the covering of piano legs by Victorians really involved sexuality:

This mutation in the word « virtue » has the effect first of narrowing the meaning of the word, reducing it to a matter of sexuality alone; and then of belittling and disparaging the sexual virtues themselves. These virtues, chastity and fidelity, have been further trivialized by the popular conception of Victorians as pathologically inhibited and repressed. Thus « Victorian values » have been associated with piano legs modestly sheathed in pantaloons, human as well as table legs referred to as « limbs, » and books by men and women authors dwelling chastely on separate shelves in country-house libraries.

In fact, these were not the normal (or even abnormal) practices of real Victorians. They were often the inventions of contemporary satirists (writers in Punch, for example), which have been perpetuated by gullible historians. « The woman who draped the legs of her piano, » one historian solemnly informs us, « so far from concealing her conscious and unconscious exhibitionism, ended by sexualising the piano; no mean feat. » In fact, it is this historian who has sexualized the piano and has imposed his own sexual fantasies upon the Victorians.

I have a minor correction. While I must necessarily take no position on the perpetuation of satire by gullible historians (lest I get into a conflict of interest), and I cannot claim to know who is right about sexualizing the Victorian penchant for covering piano legs, I can state with some confidence that the historian Himmelfarb criticized was not the first to sexualize the piano.

Unless the Victorian satirists were first, I’m afraid the credit must go to Salvador Dali, who did a pretty good job of it back in the 1930s:

Once again, here’s « Atmospheric Skull Sodomizing a Grand Piano » (1934):

atmospheric_skull_sodomizing_a_grand_piano.JPG

And from the same year, here’s « Skull with its Lyric Appendage Leaning on a Bedside Table which Should Have the Exact Temperature of a Cardinal’s Nest »:

SkullWithLyricAppendage.jpg

I don’t know whether this means the couple had a child or just merged with each other, but the presence of the bedside table indicates some that some sort of ongoing intimacy occurred.

I scrupulously take no position on whether any of this could have been avoided had the piano been appropriately covered.

And at the risk of being anthropopianomorphic, I have to venture that Dali might have been using the pianos as some sort of substitute for his own libido, or maybe his sex life. Because in the same year he painted the indisputably sexualized pianos, he also painted « Cardinal, Cardinal! »:

cardinal.jpg

Note the same bedside table. The man (IMO) is clearly Dali, and he’s leaning towards the bedside table at the same angle as the skull does. His shirt even looks like a skull! Not only that, he’s holding a pitcher (the breaking of which artistically symbolizes lost virginity), and seems unable to put it back where it belongs. The uncovered woman is of course his wife Gala. (A divorcee who could not be considered virginal by any definition.)

As to what the reference to the « exact temperature of a cardinal’s nest » might mean, I’m tempted to speculate that it might involve a failure of the human fertility cycle, and I’d note that by 1934 Gala seems to have left her fertility cycles behind her.

Whether Dali was making any judgment about virtues or values (or what that judgment might have been) I’ll leave to others.

Politics is surreal enough as it is.

(I’ve tried not to politicize art, but the piano meme seems to have legs.)

MORE: While I wasn’t thinking about her when I wrote the post, a Hot Air commenter named OBX Pete says that Hillary Clinton looks like a piano:

I’ve seen her legs and believe me you don’t want to see them. If you take a picture of her and crop everything above the waist she could be mistaken for a grand piano. Actually she is doing us all a favor by wearing those pantsuits.

On the other hand, she has to work with what she was born with (as we all do) so she can’t help it if she has piano legs. I’m more concerned with that ultra-liberal mind.

I looked into this and discovered that it’s worse than I imagined — to the point where the Urban Dictionary includes Hillary in the very definition of « Piano Legs »:

1. piano legs

Disproportionately thick calves and/or ankles on a woman with otherwise normal body weight.

No wonder Hillary Clinton always wears pant suits. She’s got a humongous set of piano legs.

Voir également:

Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love, and Lose at Both (by Laura Sessions Stepp)

Going All the Way

 By Reviewed by Kathy Dobie

The Washington Post

February 11, 2007

UNHOOKED

How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love, and Lose at Both

By Laura Sessions Stepp

Riverhead. 288 pp. $24.95

Reviewed by Kathy Dobie

Articles, op-ed pieces and radio shows have been devoted to the sexual practice of « hooking up, » but Washington Post reporter Laura Session Stepp’s Unhooked is the first book on the phenomenon and, one hopes, not the last. For when someone takes such a volatile aspect of young people’s lives and puts it under a microscope — or in this case, a concerned, disapproving gaze — you want the large, well-lit view.

Stepp follows three high school girls and six college women through a year in their lives, chronicling their sexual behavior. These girls and women don’t date, don’t develop long-term relationships or even short, serious ones — instead, they « hook up. » Hooking up, Stepp writes, « isn’t exactly anything. » It can « consist entirely of one kiss, or it can involve fondling, oral sex, anal sex, intercourse or any combination of those things. It can happen only once with a partner, several times during a week or over many months . . . . It can mean the start of something, the end of something or the whole something. » If that sounds as if hooking up can mean almost anything but « fried fish for dinner, » Stepp goes on to offer something more definite: What makes hooking up unique is that its practitioners agree that there will be no commitment, no exclusivity, no feelings. The girls adopt the crude talk of crude boys: They speak of hitting it, of boy toys and filler boys, « my plaything » and « my bitch. »

Why hook up? According to Stepp, college women, obsessed with academic and career success, say they don’t have time for a real relationship; high school girls say lovey-dovey relationships give them the « yucks. »

Stepp is troubled: How will these girls learn how to be loving couples in this hook-up culture? Where will they practice the behavior needed to sustain deep and long-term relationships? If they commit to a lack of commitment, how will they ever learn to be intimate? These questions sound reasonable at first, until one remembers that life just doesn’t work that way: In our teens and early twenties, sexual relationships are less about intimacy than about expanding our intimate knowledge of people — a very different thing. Through sex, we discover irrefutable otherness (he dreams of being madly in love; she hates going to sleep alone ), and we are scared and enraptured, frustrated and inspired. We learn less about intimacy in our youthful sex lives than we do about humanity. And of course, there is also lust, something this very unsexy book about sex doesn’t take into account. In fact, Unhooked can be downright painful to read. The author resurrects the ugly, old notion of sex as something a female gives in return for a male’s good behavior, and she imagines the female body as a thing that can be tarnished by too much use. She advises the girls, « He will seek to win you over only if he thinks you’re a prize. »And goes on to tell them, « In a smorgasbord of booty, all the hot dishes start looking like they’ve been on the warming table too long. »

It seems strange to have to state the obvious all over again: Both males and females should work hard to gain another’s affection and trust. And one’s sexuality is not a commodity that, given away too readily and too often, will exhaust or devalue itself. Tell girls that it is such a commodity (as they were told for a number of decades), and they will rebel. The author is conflating what the girls refuse to conflate: love and sexuality. Sometimes they coexist, sometimes not. Loving, faithful marriages in which the sex life has cooled are as much a testament to that fact as a lustful tryst that leads nowhere.

In the final chapter, Stepp writes a letter to mothers and daughters, in which she warns the girls: « Your body is your property. . . . Think about the first home you hope to own. You wouldn’t want someone to throw a rock through the front window, would you? » And: « Pornographic is grinding on the dance floor like a dog in heat. It leaves nothing to the imagination. » The ugliness of these images seems meant to instill sexual shame.

Stepp is most thought-provoking when she considers the culture at large: All the females she interviews come from reasonably well-off families, we’re told, and all are ambitious. « Hooking up enables a young woman to practice a piece of a relationship, the physical, while devoting most of her energy to staying on the honor roll . . . playing lacrosse . . . and applying to graduate programs in engineering. »

In a culture that values money and fame above all, that eschews failure, bad luck, trouble and pain, none of us speaks the language of love and forbearance. But it is not hooking up that has created this atmosphere. Hooking up is either a faithful reflection of the culture, a Darwinian response to a world where half the marriages end in divorce, or it is an attempt at something new. Perhaps, this generation, by making sex less precious, less a commodity, will succeed in putting simple humanity back into sex. Why bring someone into your bed? Maybe because she is brilliant and has a whimsical sense of humor, or he is both sarcastic and vulnerable, and has beautiful eyes.

And perhaps as this generation grows up, they will come to relish other sides of an intimate relationship more than we have: the friendship, the shared humor, the familiar and loved body next to you in bed at night. This is the most hopeful outcome of the culture Stepp describes, but no less possible than the outcome she fears — a generation unable to commit, unable to weather storms or to stomach second place or really to love at all.


Médias: Pallywood pour les nuls (Leading French newsmagazine falls in big for Palestinian street theater)

21 mai, 2012

Pendant 24 mn à peu près on ne voit que de la mise en scène … C’est un envers du décor qu’on ne montre jamais … Mais oui tu sais bien que c’est toujours comme ça ! Entretien Jeambar-Leconte (RCJ)
Au début (…) l’AP accueillait les reporters à bras ouverts. Ils voulaient que nous montrions des enfants de 12 ans se faisant tuer. Mais après le lynchage, quand des agents de l’AP firent leur possible pour détruire et confisquer l’enregistrement de ce macabre événement et que les Forces de Défense Israéliennes utilisèrent les images pour repérer et arrêter les auteurs du crime, les Palestiniens donnèrent libre cours à leur hostilité envers les Etats-Unis en harcelant et en intimidant les correspondants occidentaux. Après Ramallah, où toute bonne volonté prit fin, je suis beaucoup plus prudent dans mes déplacements. Chris Roberts (Sky TV)
La tâche sacrée des journalistes musulmans est, d’une part, de protéger la Umma des “dangers imminents”, et donc, à cette fin, de “censurer tous les matériaux” et, d’autre part, “de combattre le sionisme et sa politique colonialiste de création d’implantations, ainsi que son anéantissement impitoyable du peuple palestinien”. Charte des médias islamiques de grande diffusion (Jakarta, 1980)
Il s’agit de formes d’expression artistique, mais tout cela sert à exprimer la vérité… Nous n’oublions jamais nos principes journalistiques les plus élevés auxquels nous nous sommes engagés, de dire la vérité et rien que la vérité. Haut responsable de la Télévision de l’Autorité palestinienne
Je suis venu au journalisme afin de poursuivre la lutte en faveur de mon peuple. Talal Abu Rahma (lors de la réception d’un prix, au Maroc, en 2001, pour sa vidéo sur al-Dura)
Karsenty est donc si choqué que des images truquées soient utilisées et éditées à Gaza ? Mais cela a lieu partout à la télévision, et aucun journaliste de télévision de terrain, aucun monteur de film, ne seraient choqués. Clément Weill-Raynal (France 3)
Nous avons toujours respecté (et continuerons à respecter) les procédures journalistiques de l’Autorité palestinienne en matière d’exercice de la profession de journaliste en Palestine… Roberto Cristiano (représentant de la “chaîne de télévision officielle RAI, Lettre à l’Autorité palestinienne)
La mort de Mohammed annule, efface celle de l’enfant juif, les mains en l’air devant les SS, dans le Ghetto de Varsovie. Catherine Nay (Europe 1)
Dans la guerre moderne, une image vaut mille armes. Bob Simon
Oh, ils font toujours ça. C’est une question de culture. Représentants de France 2 (cités par Enderlin)
L’image correspondait à la réalité de la situation, non seulement à Gaza, mais en Cisjordanie. Charles Enderlin (Le Figaro, 27/01/05)
J’ai travaillé au Liban depuis que tout a commencé, et voir le comportement de beaucoup de photographes libanais travaillant pour les agences de presse m’a un peu troublé. Coupable ou pas, Adnan Hajj a été remarqué pour ses retouches d’images par ordinateur. Mais, pour ma part, j’ai été le témoin de pratique quotidienne de clichés posés, et même d’un cas où un groupe de photographes d’agences orchestraient le dégagement des cadavres, donnant des directives aux secouristes, leur demandant de disposer les corps dans certaines positions, et même de ressortir des corps déjà inhumés pour les photographier dans les bras de personnes alentour. Ces photographes ont fait moisson d’images chocs, sans manipulation informatique, mais au prix de manipulations humaines qui posent en elles-mêmes un problème éthique bien plus grave. Quelle que soit la cause de ces excès, inexpérience, désir de montrer de la façon la plus spectaculaire le drame vécu par votre pays, ou concurrence effrénée, je pense que la faute incombe aux agences de presse elles-mêmes, car ce sont elles qui emploient ces photographes. Il faut mettre en place des règles, faute de quoi toute la profession finira par en pâtir. Je ne dis pas cela contre les photographes locaux, mais après avoir vu ça se répéter sans arrêt depuis un mois, je pense qu’il faut s’attaquer au problème. Quand je m’écarte d’une scène de ce genre, un autre preneur de vue dresse le décor, et tous les autres suivent… Brian X (Journaliste occidental anonyme)
Pour qui nous prenez-vous ? Nous savons qui vous êtes, nous lisons tout ce que vous écrivez et nous savons où vous habitez. Hussein (attaché de presse du Hezbollah au journaliste Michael Totten)
L’attaque a été menée en riposte aux tirs incessants de ces derniers jours sur des localités israéliennes à partir de la zone visée. Les habitants de tous les villages alentour, y compris Cana, ont été avertis de se tenir à l’écart des sites de lancement de roquettes contre Israël. Tsahal est intervenue cette nuit contre des objectifs terroristes dans le village de Cana. Ce village est utilisé depuis le début de ce conflit comme base arrière d’où ont été lancées en direction d’Israël environ 150 roquettes, en 30 salves, dont certaines ont atteint Haïfa et des sites dans le nord, a déclaré aujourd’hui le général de division Gadi Eizenkot, chef des opérations. Tsahal regrette tous les dommages subis par les civils innocents, même s’ils résultent directement de l’utilisation criminelle des civils libanais comme boucliers humains par l’organisation terroriste Hezbollah. (…) Le Hezbollah place les civils libanais comme bouclier entre eux et nous, alors que Tsahal se place comme bouclier entre les habitants d’Israël et les terroristes du Hezbollah. C’est la principale différence entre eux et nous. Rapport de l’Armée israélienne
Après trois semaines de travail intense, avec l’assistance active et la coopération de la communauté Internet, souvent appelée “blogosphère”, nous pensons avoir maintenant assez de preuves pour assurer avec certitude que beaucoup des faits rapportés en images par les médias sont en fait des mises en scène. Nous pensons même pouvoir aller plus loin. À notre avis, l’essentiel de l’activité des secours à Khuraybah [le vrai nom de l’endroit, alors que les médias, en accord avec le Hezbollah, ont utilisé le nom de Cana, pour sa connotation biblique et l’écho du drame de 1996] le 30 juillet a été détourné en exercice de propagande. Le site est devenu en fait un vaste plateau de tournage, où les gestes macabres ont été répétés avec la complaisance des médias, qui ont participé activement et largement utilisé le matériau récolté. La tactique des médias est prévisible et tristement habituelle. Au lieu de discuter le fond de nos arguments, ils se focalisent sur des détails, y relevant des inexactitudes et des fausses pistes, et affirment que ces erreurs vident notre dossier de toute valeur. D’autres nous étiquètent comme de droite, pro-israéliens ou parlent simplement de théories du complot, comme si cela pouvait suffire à éliminer les éléments concrets que nous avons rassemblés. Richard North (EU Referendum)
Lorsque les médias se prêtent au jeu des manipulations plutôt que de les dénoncer, non seulement ils sacrifient les Libanais innocents qui ne veulent pas que cette mafia religieuse prenne le pouvoir et les utilise comme boucliers, mais ils nuisent aussi à la société civile de par le monde. D’un côté ils nous dissimulent les actes et les motivations d’organisations comme le Hamas ou le Hezbollah, ce qui permet aux musulmans ennemis de la démocratie, en Occident, de nous (leurs alliés progressistes présumés) inviter à manifester avec eux sous des banderoles à la gloire du Hezbollah. De l’autre, ils encouragent les haines et les sentiments revanchards qui nourrissent l’appel au Jihad mondial. La température est montée de cinq degrés sur l’échelle du Jihad mondial quand les musulmans du monde entier ont vu avec horreur et indignation le spectacle de ces enfants morts que des médias avides et mal inspirés ont transmis et exploité. Richard Landes
Nous avons commis une terrible erreur, un texte malencontreux sur l’une de nos photos du jour du 18 avril dernier (à gauche), mal traduit de la légende, tout ce qu’il y a de plus circonstanciée, elle, que nous avait fournie l’AFP*: sur la « reconstitution », dans un camp de réfugiés au Liban, de l’arrestation par de faux militaires israéliens d’un Palestinien, nous avons omis d’indiquer qu’il s’agissait d’une mise en scène, que ces « soldats » jouaient un rôle et que tout ça relevait de la pure et simple propagande. C’est une faute – qu’atténuent à peine la précipitation et la mauvaise relecture qui l’ont provoquée. C’en serait une dans tous les cas, ça l’est plus encore dans celui-là: laisser planer la moindre ambiguïté sur un sujet aussi sensible, quand on sait que les images peuvent être utilisées comme des armes de guerre, donner du crédit à un stratagème aussi grossier, qui peut contribuer à alimenter l’exaspération antisioniste là où elle s’enflamme sans besoin de combustible, n’appelle aucun excuse. Nous avons déconné, gravement. J’ai déconné, gravement: je suis responsable du site de L’Express, et donc du dérapage. A ce titre, je fais amende honorable, la queue basse, auprès des internautes qui ont été abusés, de tous ceux que cette supercherie a pu blesser et de l’AFP, qui n’est EN AUCUN CAS comptable de nos propres bêtises. Eric Mettout (L’Express)
Comment expliquer qu’une légende en anglais qui dit clairement qu’il s’agit d’une mise en scène (la légende, en anglais, de la photo fournie par l’AFP: « LEBANON, AIN EL-HELWEH: Palestinian refugees pose as Israeli soldiers arresting and beating a Palestinian activist during celebrations of Prisoners’ Day at the refugee camp of Ain el-Helweh near the coastal Lebanese city of Sidon on April 17, 2012 in solidarity with the 4,700 Palestinian inmates of Israeli jails. Some 1,200 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails have begun a hunger strike and another 2,300 are refusing food for one day, a spokeswoman for the Israel Prisons Service (IPS) said. »), soit devenue chez vous « Prisonnier palestinien 18/04/2012. Mardi, lors de la Journée des prisonniers, des centaines de détenus palestiniens ont entamé une grève de la faim pour protester contre leurs conditions de détention », étonnant non ? David Goldstein
A l’heure où des rédacteurs en chef d’un magazine à la réputation établie de longue date laissent passer des bavures aussi mahousses que celle que vient de nous pondre le tout nouveau blog de l’Express d’Eric Mettout …
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Dans un pays où une importante exposition parisienne sur les photos controversées du siècle peut tranquillement faire l’impasse sur l’un des plus grands faux de l’histoire récente …
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Petit cours de rattrapage, avec le site Arrêts sur images, pour nos journalistes distraits ou pressés
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Qui via notamment quelques uns des cas de la flopée de photomontages qui avait marqué la 2e Guerre du Liban de 2006 et que nous avions évoquée ici
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Et malgré quelques dument douteuses plaisanteries de potache (sur les « Amerlocains »?) …
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A le mérite de rappeler le relatif degré de sophistication que permettent les technologies numériques actuelles ???
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Et surtout la véritable guerre d’information et d’image dont semblent souvent peu conscients non seulement le grand public mais ceux qui sont censés l’informer …
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souvenirs souvenirs

Avant les missiles iraniens, les fumées sur Beyrouth

Alain Korkos

Arrêts sur images

11/07/2008

L’art éternel de la retouche-photo

Bien avant l’affaire des missiles iraniens, Alain Korkos avait traité de l’art de la retouche des photos d’actualité sur son ancien blog, La boîte à images.

Pour ceux qui l’auraient manqué, ce cours magistral du professeur Korkos, donné le 8 septembre 2006, reste d’actualité !

Que ce soit pour lisser la peau tavelée du jeune marié ou pour truquer une image à des fins politiques, la retouche photographique existe depuis l’invention de la photographie – ou presque.

J’avais publié, dans le Manuel à l’usage des petites Staline de banlieue, des photographies truquées datant de la Commune de 1871 et j’avais rappelé que ce genre de manipulation existait avant même l’invention de la photographie, en citant pour exemple le Sacre de Napoléon peint par David.

La manipulation d’images à des fins politiques ne date pas d’hier, et il n’est pas étonnant qu’elle fleurisse de nos jours avec le perfectionnement des techniques. Avec parfois quelques couac aussi, dont la récente affaire Adnan Hajj nous fournit une belle illustration.

Le 5 août dernier, l’agence Reuters diffuse cette image du bombardement de Beyrouth par les Israéliens :

beyrouth-01petit
La tricherie est éventée le jour même par Charles Johnson sur son blogue littlegreenfootballs.com. Il nous révèle que l’auteur de la photo a utilisé la fonction « tampon » de Photoboutique pour dupliquer la fumée, sans oublier quelques immeubles par la même occasion :

beyrouth-02

Et l’on voit par là que Adnan Hajj ne maîtrise pas bien l’objet. N’importe quel photoboutiquier un tant soit peu expérimenté eût fait beaucoup mieux ! Résultat des courses : le photographe bidouilleur s’est fait virer de Reuters.

L’affaire avait également été dévoilée par le blogue The Jawa Report qui prouva aussi que Adnan Hajj avait truqué d’autres photos le 2 août dernier :


> Cliquez sur l’image pour un gros plan <

> Cliquez sur l’image pour un gros plan <

Nous sommes censés voir trois missiles alors qu’il n’y en a qu’un, dupliqué deux fois.

Au risque de choquer, je dirai que l’affaire du bombardement de Beyrouth – dont on peut lire les très intéressants développements sur cette page de la Wikipedia, est tristement banale. Nous sommes abreuvés de vidéos et de photos truquées, vingt-quatre heures sur vingt-quatre. Que l’on songe, par exemple, aux photos publiées par la presse à emballer le poisson qui nous montrent régulièrement des couples illégitimes de vedettes n’existant que sur le papier. Que l’on songe à toutes ces photos de chanteuses auxquelles on a ajouté des seins, allongé les jambes, gommé les bourrelets.

De nos jours, la manipulation naît dans les bas-fonds de la presse pour grandir dans ses étages. Une foule d’exemples amerlocains relevant de la politique ou du pipeule est fournie sur cette page de l’indispensable Dartmouth College.

Souvenons-nous de l’affaire Brian Walski, par exemple. En avril 2003, ce photographe du Los Angeles Times livra cette image d’un soldat britannique à Basra, en Irak :

beyrouth-05

Image bidon qui raconte une histoire inventée grâce à la compilation de deux photos :

beyrouth-06 beyrouth-07

Rien que de très banal, disais-je.

Nous vivons une époque où il est impératif de ne plus croire en la véracité d’une image, une époque où l’on nous ment à tout bout de champ. Apprenons à faire avec en aiguisant notre regard, cultivons la suspicion au risque de sombrer dans la paranoïa, et tout ira presque bien dans le pire des mondes.

Sauf que…

Sauf que certains veulent se croire encore plus malins que les trafiquants d’images. Profitant de leur confortable position de chevalier blanc, ils abusent le monde ou s’abusent eux-mêmes.

Rien qu’un exemple éclairant, toujours à propos de cette affaire Adnan Hajj.

Fort de sa découverte concernant le bidonnage du bombardement de Beyrouth, le ouèbemaistre de littlegreenfootballs.com publie peu après une photo qui, selon lui, serait l’image originale trafiquée par Adnan Hajj. Il s’agit d’un cliché pris le 26 juillet 2006 par Ben Curtis pour Associated Press :

beyrouth-08

Et ledit ouèbemaistre, de mettre en ligne une animation prouvant qu’il s’agit bien de la même image :

beyrouth-09

Sauf que voilà, seul un tiers de la photo est commun, et bizarrement, la petite maison sur la hauteur n’est pas dans le même axe vertical si l’on prend comme point de référence l’immeuble entouré d’un carré rouge :

beyrouth-10

Ce seul point nous indique que nous n’avons pas affaire à la même photo. La chose se confirme si l’on se réfère à la ligne verte du bas nous montrant que la position de l’immeuble encadré de rouge est différente. La ligne verte du haut nous indique, elle, que la hauteur de la colline a considérablement varié ! Elle a grandi à un point tel que c’est impossible et l’on va bientôt comprendre pourquoi (voir plus bas les points 1. et 4.).

Un peu plus tard dans la journée, l’agence Reuters reconnaissait « l’erreur ». Elle publiait le lendemain la photo originale d’Adnan Hajj, avant retouche :


> Cliquez sur l’image pour un gros plan < Photo originale

> Cliquez sur l’image pour un gros plan < Photo retouchée

Peut-on accorder du crédit à Reuters, qui diffusa plusieurs photos bidon d’Adnan Hajj sans jamais sourciller ? Oui. Ces deux photos n’en sont qu’une, en voici une preuve parmi d’autres :

beyrouth-12

À gauche, un extrait de la photo originale ; à droite la photo retouchée. S’il est une chose que l’appareil photographique le plus rapide au monde ne peut capter de manière absolument identique sur deux prises de vues différentes, c’est bien la fumée qui a la mauvaise habitude de se déplacer plus vite que son ombre. Ici, on s’aperçoit que la découpe du panache est absolument identique. Il s’agit bien de la même photo. Les immeubles au-dessous sont différents, certes. L’explication est fournie quelques lignes plus bas, aux points 1 et 4.

On voit par là que le ouèbemaistre de littlegreenfootballs.com s’était un peu emballé, avait pris ses désirs pour des réalités. L’erreur est humaine, ne lui jetons pas la pierre. Il publia ensuite la photo originale divulguée par Reuters, sans un mot d’excuse à l’attention de ses lecteurs.

Dommage.

PETIT EXAMEN DES RETOUCHES EFFECTUÉES PAR ADNAN HAJJ


> Cliquez sur l’image pour un gros plan <

1. Cette partie de la colline a été déplacée vers le haut afin d’exagérer le côté tapi, vulnérable de la ville.
2. et 3. La fumée a été dupliquée au tampon.
4. et 5. Les immeubles ont été dupliqués au tampon.
6. Le bas de la photo a été coupé, afin d’enfoncer encore un peu plus la ville. Pour s’en convaincre, il suffit de regarder à nouveau la photo originale ci-dessous. La partie encadrée de rouge est celle qui a été ôtée :

beyrouth-14

Enfin, le contraste a été accentué sur toute la surface de l’image afin de la rendre plus dramatique.

CADEAU BONUS

L’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, académique institution s’il en est, dispose d’un blog intitulé Actualités de la recherche en histoire visuelle. À propos de l’affaire Adnan Hajj, on peut y lire ceci en date du 8 août :
Pendant plus d’une dizaine d’années, pour montrer les manipulations permises par l’image numérique, les manuels de visual studies n’ont eu recours qu’à une seule illustration: l’altération du visage d’O. J. Simpson en couverture de Time. [1994](…) A en juger par les effets produits par l’affaire Adnan Hajj, nous disposons maintenant du premier exemple emblématique de manipulation de l’ère de la photographie numérique.

L’auteur de ces lignes semble avoir oublié l’affaire Brian Walski de 2003, qui fit pourtant bien du bruit dans le landerneau. Le même auteur publie un dessin de presse résumant l’affaire, sans en comprendre tout le sel :

beyrouth-15

Source.

Allusion au fait qu’un cliché peut être photoboutiqué, mais aussi rappel d’une autre photographie d’Adnan Hajj qui fit couler quelques filets d’encre une poignée de jours plus tôt :

beyrouth-16

A rescuer carries the body of a toddler victim of an Israeli air raid on Qana that killed more than 60 people, the majority of them women and children, in south Lebanon, July 30, 2006. REUTERS/Adnan Hajj (LEBANON)

Cette image honteuse d’un sauveteur exhibant un gamin sous les objectifs des reporters évoque – involontairement – une célèbre photographie de guerre prise par Eugene Smith en 1944 à Saipan. Cette île, qui fait partie de l’archipel des Mariannes dans le Pacifique, avait été investie par les Amerlocains pour y déloger les Japonais.

beyrouth-eugenesmith

Voir aussi:

Le mea culpa de l’Express, qui s’excuse, mais qui n’a rien compris !

David Goldstein

Haabir-haisraeli

Beaucoup ont vu la vraie photo publiee par l’Express : de faux soldats israéliens qui maltraitent un pseudo prisonnier palestinien, et le menacent cruellement de leurs armes. Cette photo a créé un scandale, justifié, sur le net et ailleurs parce que même si elle existe, cette photo ne montre qu’une comédie de très mauvais goût montée par des Palestiniens du Liban – sauf que l’Express n’a pas mentionné que c’était une mise en scène et l’a montrée comme une preuve de la cruauté inhumaine de Tsahal et d’Israel. Le 18 mai, l’Express, par l’intermediaire du responsable du site Eric Mettout, s’excuse de la bavure et écrit un pamphlet appelé : « Non, nous ne sommes pas antisémites ». Extrait et analyse.

« Nous avons commis une terrible erreur, un texte malencontreux sur l’une de nos photos du jour du 18 avril dernier (à gauche), mal traduit de la légende, tout ce qu’il y a de plus circonstanciée, elle, que nous avait fournie l’AFP*: sur la « reconstitution », dans un camp de réfugiés au Liban, de l’arrestation par de faux militaires israéliens d’un Palestinien, nous avons omis d’indiquer qu’il s’agissait d’une mise en scène, que ces « soldats » jouaient un rôle et que tout ça relevait de la pure et simple propagande.

C’est une faute – qu’atténuent à peine la précipitation et la mauvaise relecture qui l’ont provoquée.

C’en serait une dans tous les cas, ça l’est plus encore dans celui-là : laisser planer la moindre ambiguïté sur un sujet aussi sensible, quand on sait que les images peuvent être utilisées comme des armes de guerre, donner du crédit à un stratagème aussi grossier, qui peut contribuer à alimenter l’exaspération antisioniste là où elle s’enflamme sans besoin de combustible, n’appelle aucune excuse. Nous avons déconné, gravement. J’ai déconné, gravement : je suis responsable du site de L’Express, et donc du dérapage.

A ce titre, je fais amende honorable, la queue basse, auprès des internautes qui ont été abusés, de tous ceux que cette supercherie a pu blesser et de l’AFP, qui n’est EN AUCUN CAS comptable de nos propres bêtises.

Cela dit – et que les choses soient claires, ce que j’écris ci-dessous n’enlève rien à ce que j’ai écrit ci-dessus ».

Merci monsieur Mettout pour ces excuses, sûrement motivées par l’incendie allumé par votre rédaction irresponsable (eh oui, même si vous en êtes le responsable, vous n’êtes pas seul). Bien sûr, on ne peut qu’accepter vos excuses, mais cela ne suffit pas monsieur Mettout pour vous débarasser du reste de cette boulette. Vous avez fait une erreur, soit. Vous vous excusez, bien. Vous n’êtes pas antisémite, ou anti-israélien, cela reste a voir !

Comment vous expliquez monsieur Mettout que l’Express publie une photo legendee avec de telles accusations ? Moi j’ai deux explications:

– La premiere : vous et vos collaborateurs êtes des gens manquant de professionalisme, et ça vous l’avez prouvé, vous devriez donc en tirer les conséquences et agir en conséquence – mais j’ai bien compris que vous pensez que votre lettre d’excuse soit suffisante !? Vos lecteurs prendront donc leur décision en conséquence ; s’ils pensent pouvoir continuer d’accorder leur confiance à un journal géré par des gens qui font de telles erreurs…

– La deuxième (qui n’exclut pas la première) : vous et vos collaborateurs êtes bel et bien des journalistes anti-israéliens (voir antisémites puisque vous vous en défendez) et je m’en explique. Comment expliquer que vous ayez décidé de publier une photo aussi grave sans même vérifier correctement ce que vous alliez publier ? Comment expliquer qu’une légende en anglais qui dit clairement qu’il s’agit d’une mise en scene (la légende, en anglais, de la photo fournie par l’AFP: « LEBANON, AIN EL-HELWEH: Palestinian refugees pose as Israeli soldiers arresting and beating a Palestinian activist during celebrations of Prisoners’ Day at the refugee camp of Ain el-Helweh near the coastal Lebanese city of Sidon on April 17, 2012 in solidarity with the 4,700 Palestinian inmates of Israeli jails. Some 1,200 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails have begun a hunger strike and another 2,300 are refusing food for one day, a spokeswoman for the Israel Prisons Service (IPS) said. »), soit devenue chez vous « Prisonnier palestinien 18/04/2012. Mardi, lors de la Journée des prisonniers, des centaines de détenus palestiniens ont entamé une grève de la faim pour protester contre leurs conditions de détention », etonnant non ?

Vous et votre rédaction vous vous êtes précipités sur une photo sans intérêt pour pouvoir accuser Israel et Tsahal, vous l’avez légendé de vos propres phantasmes, de votre haine latente de ce pays – exutoire de vos esprits malades.

Et que dire de votre agressivité envers ceux qui vous critiquent…

Monsieur Mettout, vous et vos collègues faites bel et bien partie des journalistes engagés contre Israel, tout comme le triste sieur Enderlin. Vous avez saisi l’occasion de prendre une photo truquée et d’en modifier la légende originale pour faire un coup contre l’armée la plus morale du monde et la seule démocratie du Proche-Orient, sans vous soucier du mal que vous pouviez faire – ou peut-être en l’espérant. Alors antisémite ou non ? Moi je ne sais pas vraiment comment vous qualifier, vous ne m’inspirez en fait pas grand chose.

Voir enfin:

Non, nous ne sommes pas antisémites

le 18 mai 2012 15H48 | par

Eric Mettout

Nous avons commis une terrible erreur, un texte malencontreux sur l’une de nos photos du jour du 18 avril dernier (à gauche), mal traduit de la légende, tout ce qu’il y a de plus circonstanciée, elle, que nous avait fournie l’AFP*: sur la « reconstitution », dans un camp de réfugiés au Liban, de l’arrestation par de faux militaires israéliens d’un Palestinien, nous avons omis d’indiquer qu’il s’agissait d’une mise en scène, que ces « soldats » jouaient un rôle et que tout ça relevait de la pure et simple propagande.

C’est une faute – qu’atténuent à peine la précipitation et la mauvaise relecture qui l’ont provoquée.

C’en serait une dans tous les cas, ça l’est plus encore dans celui-là: laisser planer la moindre ambiguïté sur un sujet aussi sensible, quand on sait que les images peuvent être utilisées comme des armes de guerre, donner du crédit à un stratagème aussi grossier, qui peut contribuer à alimenter l’exaspération antisioniste là où elle s’enflamme sans besoin de combustible, n’appelle aucun excuse. Nous avons déconné, gravement. J’ai déconné, gravement: je suis responsable du site de L’Express, et donc du dérapage.

A ce titre, je fais amende honorable, la queue basse, auprès des internautes qui ont été abusés, de tous ceux que cette supercherie a pu blesser et de l’AFP, qui n’est EN AUCUN CAS comptable de nos propres bêtises.

Cela dit – et que les choses soient claires, ce que j’écris ci-dessous n’enlève rien à ce que j’ai écrit ci-dessus:

– Il arrive, quand nous nous trompons – parce que ça arrive, personne n’est parfait – que nous en soyons avertis directement, que celle ou celui qui a repéré une erreur nous envoie un mail, nous passe un coup de téléphone, nous écrive pour nous demander de nous expliquer, de corriger, de supprimer – il est assez facile de nous contacter si on le souhaite vraiment. J’attends toujours. Dès que j’ai eu connaissance, par le patron du service Monde de L’Express, de cette bourde, j’ai fait supprimer l’image et sa légende.

– Sur de nombreux sites pro-israéliens où l’affaire (!) a pris son envol et son ampleur, elle a servi à nourrir de vieilles rancœurs. Pour résumer: les médias français dans leur ensemble désinforment sciemment, s’acharnant sur Israël en toute (mé)connaissance de cause – quand nous ne sommes pas tout bonnement accusés d’encourager le terrorisme; j’ai lu tout à l’heure que nous aurions « fabriqué » Mohamed Merah…

Naturellement, ont resurgi à cette occasion d’autres incidents, au premier rang desquels figure, comme d’habitude, la mort du petit Mohamed Al-Durah, filmée par l’équipe du correspondant de France 2 à Jérusalem, Charles Enderlin – formidable journaliste, dont le courage n’a d’égal que le professionnalisme, j’en profite pour le répéter ici. Il faut avoir le cuir épais pour résister aux pressions brutales et inqualifiables dont il est la cible depuis ce jour-là. Il l’a, fait toujours bien son métier, rend coup pour coup, malgré les attaques infamantes et les calomnies dont il est l’objet, respect.

C’est d’ailleurs un regret supplémentaire: en manquant de rigueur, nous avons involontairement contribué à discréditer nos confrères qui font bien leur travail, qui relatent les emprisonnements arbitraires des uns, l’extrémisme religieux et les diatribes antisémites des autres, les opérations militaires implacables comme les tirs de roquettes, les colonies illégales comme les attentats aveugles – et rappellent aussi, ne serait-ce que par leur liberté d’y travailler, qu’Israël est la seule véritable démocratie de la région, qu’on y vote sans contrainte, qu’on y lit des journalistes indépendants, qu’on peut y manifester et s’y opposer sans risquer la torture et la mort.

– Marre de lire que tous autant que nous sommes, nous, journalistes français, nous cultivons non seulement un antisionisme atavique (ce qui est faux), mais aussi un antisémitisme historique – ce qui, pour le coup, me fait hurler. Evoquer, comme je l’ai lu ici ou là, « la connotation antisémite » de ce qui, encore une fois, n’est rien d’autre qu’une bévue, ce n’est pas seulement disproportionné et inutilement insultant, ce n’est pas seulement banaliser le Mal, c’est aussi un avertissement à peine déguisé.

J’ai utilisé le mot propagande au début de ce post, à propos de l’image qui l’a motivé. Il n’y en a pas d’autre pour qualifier les méthodes d’intimidation mises en oeuvre pour nous empêcher de parler librement du conflit israélo-palestinien. Et si reconnais bien volontiers, et bien tristement, notre erreur, je tiens à confirmer que nous continuerons, malgré elle et les réactions qu’elle a provoquées, à le faire.

PS qui a tout à voir: le sujet de ce post est éminemment sensible. Je ne vais être épargné par personne, ni par les défenseurs les plus intransigeants de la politique israélienne, ni par ceux qui dénoncent sans nuance le vil « colonisateur ». J’aimerais simplement que tous les autres, et j’espère qu’ils sont majoritaires, liront ce que j’ai écrit et pas ce que ces jusqu’au-boutistes en auront dit.

*PS qui a tout à voir aussi: pour information, la légende, en anglais, de la photo fournie par l’AFP: « LEBANON, AIN EL-HELWEH: Palestinian refugees pose as Israeli soldiers arresting and beating a Palestinian activist during celebrations of Prisoners’ Day at the refugee camp of Ain el-Helweh near the coastal Lebanese city of Sidon on April 17, 2012 in solidarity with the 4,700 Palestinian inmates of Israeli jails. Some 1,200 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails have begun a hunger strike and another 2,300 are refusing food for one day, a spokeswoman for the Israel Prisons Service (IPS) said. »


Réseaux sociaux: Attention, une émeute peut en cacher une autre (Vancouver rioters face unprecedented tyranny of social networks)

27 juin, 2011
We gonna be burning an a-looting tonight (…) burning all illusion tonight … Bob Marley
Les vrais fans ne font pas d’émeutes. Page Facebook
J’ai participé aux émeutes, j’ai renversé une voiture, fracassé la Banque de Montréal, les arrêts d’autobus… Une grosse soirée! Sienna St-Laurent (14 ans)
Je ne sais pas, je voulais me sentir cool. Sienna St-Laurent
Près d’une semaine après les émeutes de Vancouver — pour une vulgaire histoire de hockey et de défaite — la Toile s’est mise en mouvement, à l’appel de la police, pour se transformer en immense espace de délation des émeutiers. Une justice populaire, numérique, instantanée, nominative, faisant fi des cadres légaux en place qui inquiète quelques juristes, protecteurs des droits civiques et pourfendeurs des dérives contemporaines. Alors que la jeunesse branchée qui a accepté d’alimenter ce nouveau travers des réseaux sociaux ne semble pas vraiment s’en formaliser. Le Devoir

Jeune vandale contraint de se livrer aux autorités et de s’excuser publiquement, déménagement de la famille d’un vandale sous la pression publique, adolescents victime de messages haineux après s’être vantée sur son blog de sa soirée d’émeutes, émeutière perdant son emploi à temps partiel après avoir été reconnue sur des images sur l’internet, arrestations d’émeutiers reconnus par leurs voisins et amis à partir d’images diffusées sur les réseaux sociaux …

Les réseaux sociaux, en  cette véritable société orwellienne où l’on ne peut même plus casser en paix, ont encore frappé !

En ces temps étranges où, pour avoir l’aval des médias ou être élus, nos responsables politiques se félicitent comme à New York de voter des aberrations du type droit au « mariage homosexuel » …

Où le maire d’une ville de nos banlieues françaises ravagée par le trafic de drogue et prise les échanges de tirs entre gangs de trafiquants en appelle démagogiquement à la fois à l’envoi de casques bleus et à une dépénalisation de l’usage du cannabis qui ne peut que pousser les trafiquants à passer à d’autres drogues plus dures et plus lucratives …

Et où , dans la Région Centre , une rectrice se voit contrainte à la rétractation pour avoir osé évoque le secret de polichinelle du rapport entre une immigration non choisie et la baisse des résultats du système éducatif français dans les comparaisons internationales …

Véritable « émeute » de bons sentiments chez nos courageuses belles âmes …

S’inquiétant suite à la mise à sac de la ville de Vancouver (117 arrestations, 150 blessés hospitalisés, pillages de magasins, voitures brûlées, des millions de dollars de dégats dans la nuit du 14 au 15 juin) par de jeunes émeutiers en furie après la perte par leur équipe du championnat de Hockey de …

la réaction citoyenne d’internautes outrés par un tel déferlement gratuit de violence gratuite !

Émeutes : le rôle des médias sociaux et des internautes

Le Devoir

21 juin 2011

Des témoins des émeutes ont capté des images des évènements

Près d’une semaine après les émeutes qui ont suivi la finale de la Coupe Stanley à Vancouver, Internet est devenu la plaque tournante des témoignages entourant les événements. La chasse aux malfaiteurs se poursuit dans les médias sociaux, et plusieurs Vancouvérois l’apprennent à leurs dépens.

Alors que certains utilisent Internet pour excuser leurs méfaits, la majeure partie d’entre eux dénoncent et publient les photos et les identités des suspects. Depuis mercredi dernier, la police de Vancouver a reçu des centaines de photos, de vidéos et d’images des émeutes.

Le professeur de sociologie à l’Université de la Colombie-Britannique, Christopher Schneider, parle d’une tyrannie des médias sociaux sans précédent.

C’est problématique parce que la protection de l’identité des présumés délinquants mineurs n’existe plus.

— Christopher Schneider, professeur de sociologie

Par voie de communiqué, la police de Vancouver a d’ailleurs demandé aux citoyens lundi de résister à la tentation de se faire justice eux-mêmes, en raison du danger grandissant des médias sociaux.

Aucune vengeance physique n’a été rapportée pour le moment, mais les menaces sont bien réelles pour ceux qui figurent sur ces images.

En quelques heures seulement, le nom de Nathan Kotylak, 17 ans, s’est retrouvé partout sur Internet, en plus de l’adresse de sa famille et de son numéro de téléphone. L’étoile montante de l’équipe canadienne junior de Water Polo s’est livrée aux autorités vendredi et s’est excusée publiquement d’avoir commis des actes de vandalisme.

Malgré tout, les menaces se poursuivent. Craignant des représailles, la famille Kotylak a même dû quitter son domicile de Maple Ridge le week-end dernier.

Des feux brûlent sur la rue Georgia à Vancouver

De son côté, Sienna St-Laurent, 14 ans, a elle aussi appris à ses dépens l’effet pervers des médias sociaux. En rentrant chez elle le soir des émeutes, elle a publié un message sur son blogue. « J’ai participé aux émeutes, j’ai renversé une voiture, fracassé la Banque de Montréal, les arrêts d’autobus… Une grosse soirée! », a-t-elle écrit.

Des dizaines de messages haineux ont ensuite rempli sa boîte de courrier électronique. « Trouve un pont et saute en bas. […] Tu es la honte du pays », disaient certains d’entre eux. D’autres ont demandé l’adresse de sa résidence.

« Je ne sais pas, je voulais me sentir cool, dit-elle. Je sais très bien maintenant que ce ne l’était pas. » Elle se dit aujourd’hui navrée pour ses gestes.

Pour sa part, Camille Cacnio a créé un blogue pour exprimer ses regrets et reconnaître ses torts. L’étudiante en biologie à l’Université de la Colombie-Britannique a notamment été prise en photo en train de s’amuser au milieu des émeutiers et a avoué avoir volé une paire de pantalons. Ces images lui ont fait perdre son emploi à temps partiel chez un concessionnaire automobile.

Quoi qu’il en soit, les images publiées sur Internet ont grandement aidé la police de Vancouver. Cette dernière a reçu près de 3500 courriels de gens qui dénoncent des participants aux émeutes de mercredi dernier à l’adresse de courriel robbery@vpd.ca et plus de 900 autres courriels ont été envoyés à son bureau de relations publiques.

Il reste toutefois beaucoup à faire, car même s’il y a eu plus d’une centaine d’arrestations, des mises en accusation formelles ne sont toujours pas garanties.

Voir aussi :

http://blogs.hbr.org/samuel/2011/06/in-vancouver-troubling-signals.html

http://www.arretsurimages.net/contenu.php?id=4122

Cyber-délation à grande échelle, après des émeutes à Vancouver

Une défaite en hockey avait provoqué pillages, affrontements et arrestations

Gilles Klein

Arrêt sur images

24/06/2011

Polémique au Canada : après les violentes émeutes qui ont choqué Vancouver (117 arrestations, 150 blessés hospitalisés, pillages de magasins, voitures brûlées, des millions $ de dégats dans la nuit du 14 au 15 juin après un match de hockey) des internautes via blogs, Twitter et Facebook se sont lancés à la chasse aux images d’émeutiers pour les identifier, répondant à l’appel lancé par la police. Certains approuvent, d’autres sont choqués par le procédé.

La page Facebook « Vancouver riot pics: post your photos » (Photos des émeutes de Vancouver : mettez en ligne vos images) illustrée par un slogan tagué sur un mur « Les vrais fans ne font pas d’émeutes » a attiré plus de 100 000 fans.

Sur son blog VanCity Justice, un internaute présente « une galerie d’images de ces salauds, ces déchets impliqués dans les émeutes de la Stanley Cup le 15 juin 2011 ».

Exemple avec « Est-ce quelqu’un peut identifier ce type ? »

On trouve de très nombreuses vidéos sur YouTube montrant les incidents.

Ici un jeune homme (chauve, sac à dos, tee-shirt noir) essaie de protéger sa camionnette entourée par la foule qui crie « brulez le camion ». Il finit par frapper celui qui vient de jeter un cocktail molotov dans son véhicule, mais il est aussitôt submergé par des manifestants qui le rouent de coups.

Les commentaires sur YouTube sous la vidéo saluent son courage et dénoncent ceux qui l’attaquent « comme un troupeau de singes sans cerveaux »

« Les médias sociaux rassemblent les images pour aider la police à épingler les émeutiers » constate le quotidien 24 Hours Vancouver qui estime que près de 70 000 personnes ont envahi les rues dans la nuit du 14 au 15 juin après la défaite de l’équipe de Vancouver, puis tout a dégénéré en émeutes pendant plusieurs heures.

Après avoir lancé un appel aux témoignages, selon l’agence La Presse Canadienne, le 20 juin, la police a déjà « reçu quelque 3500 courriels du public, qui contenaient 53 vidéos en pièce jointe, 676 liens vers YouTube, 708 images et 1011 hyperliens pour aider à identifier les émeutiers. L’émeute a fait l’objet d’une forte réprobation du public, et plusieurs casseurs ont également été identifiés par des amis et des connaissances dans des photos publiées sur divers sites web. Dans certains cas, les adresses et les informations personnelles sont également accessibles à tous. La policière Lindsey Houghton a indiqué que la police était au courant de l’existence de sites comprenant des messages de ces défendeurs de l’ordre, mais qu’elle ne les condamnait pas. »

« Nous recevons encore des centaines d’informations et d’images concernant les émeutes. Voci comment nous faire parvenir vos images et vidéos au Vancouver Police Department » (VPD) explique un Tweet sur le compte officiel de la police de Vancouver

Sur son site la VPD demande, le 20 juin, aux émeutiers de se rendre eux-mêmes à la police. Puis le 21 juin souligne le « Danger d’une justice expéditive » :

« Vu l’émotion provoquée par les émeutes dues au hockey, il y a un danger croissant que les outils du réseau social soient utilisés pour mettre en place une justice sommaire. »

« Le Vancouver Police Departement et son équipe d’enquête demandent au public de résister à la tentation de faire la justice eux-mêmes. Nous vous demandons d’être patients et de continuer à vous comporter en citoyens responsables alors que l’enquête avance »

Une « tyrannie des médias sociaux »

Le professeur de sociologie à l’Université de la Colombie-Britannique, Christopher Schneider, parle d’une tyrannie des médias sociaux sans précédent : « C’est problématique parce que la protection de l’identité des présumés délinquants mineurs n’existe plus. » souligne Radio-Canada.

« Aucune vengeance physique n’a été rapportée pour le moment, mais les menaces sont bien réelles pour ceux qui figurent sur ces images.En quelques heures seulement, le nom de Nathan Kotylak, 17 ans, s’est retrouvé partout sur Internet, en plus de l’adresse de sa famille et de son numéro de téléphone. L’étoile montante de l’équipe canadienne junior de Water Polo s’est livrée aux autorités vendredi et s’est excusée publiquement d’avoir commis des actes de vandalisme. Malgré tout, les menaces se poursuivent. Craignant des représailles, la famille Kotylak a même dû quitter son domicile de Maple Ridge le week-end dernier. »

« De son côté, Sienna St-Laurent, 14 ans, a elle aussi appris à ses dépens l’effet pervers des médias sociaux. En rentrant chez elle le soir des émeutes, elle a publié un message sur son blogue. «J’ai participé aux émeutes, j’ai renversé une voiture, fracassé la Banque de Montréal, les arrêts d’autobus… Une grosse soirée!», a-t-elle écrit. Des dizaines de messages haineux ont ensuite rempli sa boîte de courrier électronique. « 

Camille Cacnio, étudiante en biologie à l’université de Colombie-Britannique, a été brièvement filmée, joyeuse, sortant du magasin Black & Lee pillé, un pantalon volé à la main (1mn30 à 1mn33 dans cette vidéo).

Cacnio a perdu son emploi à temps partiel dans une concession automobile, Burrad Acura, dont le patron, comme il l’a expliqué à CBC News, a reçu une série d’appels téléphoniques et d’e-mails furieux et/ou menaçants évoquant la présence d’une de ses employées dans l’émeute. Elle a ouvert un blog pour publier un message d’excuse, après avoir rapporté le pantalon, et s’être présentée à la police.

Elle s’excuse auprès des habitants de Vancouver, du magasin, de son employeur, et de son université.

Certains n’apprécient pas du tout cettte chasse aux délinquants via Internet.

« « Je ne crois pas que j’ai envie de vivre dans une société qui transforme les réseaux sociaux en outil de contrôle et de surveillance sociale et collective. Ça me rend d’autant plus inconfortable quand je pense que cela pourrait être repris par le lobby pro-vie pour dénoncer les femmes sur le point d’avorter, des régimes totalitaires ou des patrons homophobes pour traquer les employés qui participent au défilé de la Gay Pride ». « écrit dans la Harvard Business Review Alexandra Samuel, directrice du Centre des médias sociaux et interactifs de l’Université Emily Carr

Sous le titre « Vancouver: après les émeutes, les réseaux sociaux livrent leur pire côté »le quotidien francophone Le Devoir s’inquiète le 21 juin : « Près d’une semaine après les émeutes de Vancouver — pour une vulgaire histoire de hockey et de défaite — la Toile s’est mise en mouvement, à l’appel de la police, pour se transformer en immense espace de délation des émeutiers. Une justice populaire, numérique, instantanée, nominative, faisant fi des cadres légaux en place qui inquiète quelques juristes, protecteurs des droits civiques et pourfendeurs des dérives contemporaines. Alors que la jeunesse branchée qui a accepté d’alimenter ce nouveau travers des réseaux sociaux ne semble pas vraiment s’en formaliser. »

Voir enfin:

After a Loss in Vancouver, Troubling Signals of Citizen Surveillance

Alexandra Samuel

Harvard Business Review

June 16, 2011

Last night’s post-Stanley Cup riots left me disappointed in my community. Not my local community in Vancouver: after a decade living here, I can no longer be surprised by the intensity of this city’s hockey madness. And to be fair, most of my fellow Vancouverites took the loss in stride. It was only a handful of drunken hooligans who turned the let-down into a crime spree.

The community that disappointed me was my community online. No sooner were the riots underway than the tweets began:

One thing. Social media should be used to arrest all the idiots being, well, idiots. #canucks #riots

So anyone going through their PVR when they get home and posting screenshots of rioters? Website idea: « Identify this Idiot »

Hey riot dummies: social media didn’t exist in ’94. You’re gonna get busted, and I hope you do #canucksriot

Dear Vancouver, #riot degenerates are still out. I hope with social media, these douchebags are identified by their own family and friends.

This enthusiastic embrace of social media’s potential role in identifying the trouble-makers immediately troubled me. I wasn’t alone. As one widely-retweeted message put it:

This is the downside of smartphones and social media: douchebags taking pics and tweeting about being in the midst of the riot.

But the worrying thing about social media users turning into riot documentarians wasn’t (just) the way they contributed to the crowding of Vancouver’s streets. I was deeply disturbed to see the community of social media enthusiasts embrace a new role: not in observation, not in citizen journalism, but in citizen surveillance.

Documentation and narration is a core part of social media culture. There’s nothing wrong with social media users snapping photos or video as part of their organic experience of an event. Whether it’s for a Facebook update now or a blog post you’re writing tomorrow, posting live images is a routine part of telling a story online.

But it’s one thing to take pictures as part of the process of telling your story, or as part of your (paid or unpaid) work as a citizen journalist. It’s another thing entirely to take and post pictures and videos with the explicit intention of identifying illegal (or potentially illegal) activity. At that moment you are no longer engaging in citizen journalism; you’re engaging in citizen surveillance.

And I don’t think we want to live in a society that turns social media into a form of crowdsourced surveillance. When social media users embrace Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and blogs as channels for curating, identifying and pursuing criminals, that is exactly what they are moving toward. It may seem constructive to post photos of someone burning a car in a hockey riot, and it certainly satisfies the online community’s craving to show that yes, social media can have a tangible impact. (See! The cops got a measurable ROI from their investment in Twitter!)

I am much less comfortable when I think about other ways that crowdsourced surveillance has been or might be put to use: By pro-life demonstrators posting photos of women going into clinics that provide abortions. By informants in authoritarian states tracking posts and tweets critical of the government. By employers that scan Facebook to see which of their employees have been tagged in photos on Pride Day or 4/20.

Social media users need to decide whether surveillance is going to be part of our collective mission and culture online. We need to distinguish between the opportunity (and perhaps even responsibility) that comes with widespread ownership of camera phones, and the decision to post what we snap or film. Beginning with Rodney King, we’ve learned that citizens with cameras may often capture the footage that is key to addressing an injustice or resolving a crime, and it’s in that spirit that the Vancouver Police wisely tweeted this request last night:

Anyone with photos of people committing criminal acts, please hold onto them. With the situation on-going we will need them later. thnx

But passing along the odd photo isn’t the same as turning yourself into a security camera. And it’s certainly not the same as tweeting, Facebooking or blogging your way to a comprehensive portfolio of public crimes and misdemeanours.

What social media is for — or what it can be for, if we use it to its fullest potential — is to create community. And there is nothing that will erode community faster, both online and off, than creating a society of mutual surveillance.


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