Captain Boycott’s children

There is a professors’ club called the American Studies Association which recently decided to endorse an academic boycott of Israeli institutions. Now although I don’t usually have much use for guild organizations like this, I propose a toast to the ASA. This was certainly the right thing to do, and even now, a fairly ballsy thing to do, and I hope more such groups follow their example.

It should come as no surprise to hear that the Fort Zion defense team is chewing the carpet. (Of course they’re always chewing the carpet, but now the molars are involved.)

In my home state, one of the most loathsome, squalid, reptilian, stercoraceous, depraved, shameless and dogfaced politicians America has ever produced has leaped into the fray. And no, I don’t mean Bill Clinton: I mean someone even worse, if worse be possible, namely Sheldon Silver, the Democratic speaker of the New York state assembly — itself, of course, the filthiest, most vendible and abject deliberative body ever assembled since Satan called his council to order on the ever-burning sulfur unconsum’d.

(Though the New York state senate might be even worse. It’s a near-run thing.)

Here’s… Shelly!

That faux-chateau in the background is the home of the New York state legislature. The picture doesn’t do it justice. Henry Hobson Richardson designed it, and never, I think, was good solid Victorian architecture more wasted on a stinkpot kennel of slinking soup-hounds.

Shelly has introduced a bill to defund any academic institution in the state of New York which ‘funds’ the ASA. The term ‘funds’ in this context includes things like paying a professor’s dues to the ASA, or defraying his travel costs to a farbrengen thereof.

Now what strikes me most about this measure is the tooth-gnashing impotence of it. Parturiunt montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. The worst thunderbolt that Shelly can fling at this atrocity, from his Olympus in Albany, is to trim the expense accounts of professors. A fleabite. We have come a long way.

If I were running the ASA I would offer a dues and registration waiver to anyone living under Zionist occupation, including the hapless citizens of New York. As for travel expenses — perhaps the Iranian government would be willing to establish a scholarship fund.

It seems to me that this ludicrously damp and inconsequential leven-stroke — a fulguration that signally fails to fulminate — ought to be matter for unbridled rejoicing among the friends of Palestine and foes of Israel (among whom I number myself, though the least).

It puts me in mind of a story told to me by an old friend of mine. My friend’s grandfather had very sensibly gotten himself out of Russia, as a young man, during the bad old days of the Black Hundreds. When the grandfather was a venerable patriarch the family, for his birthday, took him to see Fiddler On The Roof. In this show there is a pogrom scene; a number of Broadway dancers dressed as Cossacks come swirling onstage and behave in a very mean way toward the unfortunate inhabitants of the shtetl. The music, I’m told, gets very loud at this point.

During this scene the patriarch’s shoulders were observed to be shaking. The family were worried: Is this just too intense for the old boy?

At intermission, tender concern was, well, tendered. The grandfather, dissolved in mirth, managed to say, ‘You call that a pogrom?!’

This is sort of how I feel about Shelly’s bill. You call that a pogrom? If that is the best the Zionists can do, then difficult as it may be to accept, we’ve won.

Of course this hasn’t prevented all my academic friends from heating up the mailing lists. The humanity!

I guess it’s all a question of where the shoe pinches.

12 thoughts on “Captain Boycott’s children

  1. Any publicity is good publicity. Zionists have successfully shut out Max Blumenthal from the outlets that toasted him a few years ago for going after nutty Republicans. Incidentally, any chance of seeing the type of crisp language that appeared in a Financial Times editorial in, say, a New York Times editorial (or heaven forbid, an NPR story)?

  2. I love the way you tied this together MJS! That allusion to the grandfather’s reaction to the pogrom scene in Fiddler fits this case like a glove. Winning is scary if you’ve conditioned yourself to being a loser your whole life.

      • We can start with the anti castro cubans
        And other hispanic worms
        Pawning about
        for the various MNC sponsored
        Latino oligarchical circles

        If we must bash a ” community of voters and donors” let’s rhumba !

        • They certainly deserve it. I personally don’t know a thing about these groups and their machinations, other than what everybody knows. They don’t loom large on my local scene in New York — though the Soldiers of Zion do. Hence my greater interest in the latter, perhaps.

          The general topic of how far single-issue lobbies like these — and oh say the China lobby and the gun lobby and the fetus lobby — can succeed in inflecting the course of the Death Star away from the path of realist instrumental rationality is an interesting one. I suspect Lefties may systematically underestimate the possibilities here, because we’re more interested in the explication of deep structure.

          • Exactly

            I guess I too often see
            Mini me as a tar baby
            Able to take as much movement
            Punishment without any change
            And with much dysfunctional adhesion

            Yes i exceeded my narrow
            PC license there

  3. Jeezus, what a skeezy-looking old bastard. He looks as if he could play a crooked lawyer in an old gangster flick.

    What is it these days with all these guys in high government office who look like stereotypical movie villains — Tom Ridge, Michael Chertoff, Harry Reid? Ridge looks as if he’d look more comfortable in a black double-breasted Italian suit with a big snap-brim fedora and a cigaratte hanging off his lip; Reid looks as if he could’ve played the bank examiner in W.C. Fields’ The Bank Dick, and Michael Chertoff… oh, Christ.

  4. …and that said, Mike, that set of images isn’t random coincidence. We’re observing the decades following the official shutdown of organized crime. Elite bratlings who would’ve once been confined to off-the-record gangsterism are now operating openly in the spotlight, simply because domestic crime families became completely legalized. Harry Reid, specifically, coordinated for the (traditionally viewed “Italian” b.s. mob) racketeers after they shifted from east coast high-intensity urban business control to west coast expansive stuff like property development and resorts. The rest of the roaches scuttled right out into daylight, making Richard Nixon look downright handsome by comparison. Guys who would’ve once been eating smoky pastrami in smoky cafes, ordering targeted killings off-camera, are now eating organic pesto in the Congressional cafeteria, ordering targeted killings right in front of the teevee.

  5. Boy howdy, this is a subject that has it all. Sanctimonious liberal professors, fanatical Zionists, venal politicians. It’s a cornucopia of assholes.

    Mind you, I have nothing against boycotts, but American Studies? Israeli institutions? I might be showing my ignorance, but how often does the twain meet? How big of an effect can it have? On the other hand, if this is small beans like I suspect, why the harsh reaction? Because deviant behavior must always be punished, no matter how slight.

    I remember my school days, single file, perfect alignment with the wishes of authority. A fidget here, a misstep there, and the administration went into Defcon 5. They had a right to fear insolence. It wasn’t long before kids were wearing armbands to school. A crack in the dam portends a collapse.

    If the humanities professors don’t get slapped down, next thing you know, engineering and science will be getting ideas.

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