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OH PAT CONDELL NO

He’s doing it again. This time he cites Frontpage Magazine…and we could stop right there. That’s ranting neocon loon David Horowitz’s organ (word chosen deliberately) for presenting contrived and fallacious arguments against academics, leftists, feminists, and anyone with a conscience. Facts do not disturb Horowitz’s crusade, ever. I was at a talk he gave at St John’s University in which he claimed persecution by the liberal university (which allowed him to speak, no problem) and made the paranoid argument that the liberal professors wanted to stop students from hearing his words…which led to a student standing up in the Q&A to mention that his entire Peace Studies class was there, and that the professor had dismissed her class and asked them all to attend.

So, yeah, Frontpage Mag — we’re talking lunatic far right ratbags on parade. Just the source says “Pat Condell is a right-wing racist.”

But worse, what is the article he’s citing? A hit piece titled “Gypsies, Camps, and Thieves”, all about the horrible Roma and their filthy, welfare-sucking, child-stealing ways, calling them “sticky-fingered, labor-allergic newcomers”. That part is worth quoting in full. It’s from a section complaining about an article by Helen Pidd on the plight of the Roma.

Yes, she affirmed that Page Hall is a mess: “rubbish fills the gutters, and stained mattresses and sofas are piled up in gardens”; there are garbage bins “crawling with maggots”; garden furniture is being nipped out of people’s yards and garments stolen off of clotheslines. But Pidd preferred to close her article by focusing our attention not on the hundreds of sticky-fingered, labor-allergic newcomers who have turned Page Hall into a toxic- waste site, but on a handful of exceedingly unrepresentative gypsies whom she somehow managed to track down: a factory worker who told her he wants his kids “to be lawyers and doctors”; two teenagers who also said they have career aspirations; and, finally, a 10-year-old (always end with a kid!) who had “already picked up a South Yorkshire twang” and wants to be “a paid interpreter.” This was activist journalism with a vengeance, utterly and willfully blind to the basic realities of gypsy culture.

How dare she point out that poor people can have aspirations and ambition! We all know that the “reality of gypsy culture” is that they’re all shiftless thieves, so finding examples of Roma with the same ideals as Good White British Folk is simply “activist journalism”!

It’s standard far right bigotry, blaming the poor and oppressed for their poverty and oppression. And Pat Condell approves of it.

Comments

  1. borax says

    I guess the Roma should just go out and get all those high paying jobs that are waiting to be filled. All that boot straps and pulling up by them stuff.

  2. says

    I should have been more vocal about Pat Condell years ago when some bloggers, this one included, treated his horrible crap as if it deserved a place in the broader secular movement.

  3. says

    What happened to Condell?!?! He started out great. I was following him for a while on YouTube starting in 2009 after having learned about him here at Pharyngula. Then around 2010 or so his rants kept focusing on “the evil of multi-culturalism,” and the decline of Anglo culture under the weight of immigrants. At first I mistakenly thought it a shift into Colbert style irony but no; I eventually realized he was serious. When I made the blunder of quoting something I found cited on his YouTube page in a comment thread here around 2010 or so someone pointed out that the source was actually Breitbart. (Taught me to examine sources much more carefully and, more importantly, to stop commenting after midnight).

    I have the DVD of his 2007-2008 YouTube rants. Brilliant. But what happened to his brain after that?

  4. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    ^ I agree. He either went of the rails or was better had hiding it at first. Never trust anyone who’s pro-UKIP!

  5. borax says

    @4 Hairy Chris. I had never heard of the UKIP, so I googled it. The official site said they were libertarian and non-racist. I didn’t read further, I just assumed they were racist.

  6. sonofrojblake says

    A primer: the right wing in British politics.

    The British National Party is (was?) the party for those of a right-wing persuasion who are racists.

    The Conservative Party (i.e. the main party of government right now) are the party for those of a right-wing persuasion who are, and let’s be charitable, NOT racists.

    UKIP is the party for those right wingers who are “not racist… but…”.

  7. says

    “finding examples of Roma with the same ideals as Good White British Folk is simply “activist journalism”!

    As the British folk quoted in the article were of Pakistani, Jamaican, sri-lankan and Welsh (which isn’t a race) descent, its a bit dis-ingenuous to add “white” to that sentence.

    I don’t agree with Condell but to insinuate that the only communities in the UK that have concerns about immigration are white is a bit erm…

  8. says

    sadunlap

    What happened to Condell?!?! He started out great.

    Condell speaks his mind, which was a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, as he moved onto topics besides religion, a lot of the stuff on his mind turned out to be ignorant and bigoted.

  9. says

    As the British folk quoted in the article were of Pakistani, Jamaican, sri-lankan and Welsh (which isn’t a race) descent, its a bit dis-ingenuous to add “white” to that sentence.

    since that comment wasn’t about other people quoted in the article, your whine is irrelevant.

  10. says

    I also liked Pat Condell at first. I guess the question is did he believe these things back then and just did not make these things part of his monologues? Or did these things get added to his views as time went on? Both seem possible to me.

    A mind capable of excellent forceful rhetoric has a careful game to play. You likely need to use the same sorts of cognitive systems that black and white thinking uses to make beautifully crafted simple emotional statements. But you can’t let that simplistic thinking capture you to the point of being unable or unwilling to analyze where your rhetoric is inconsistent with reality. Combative thinking (a moral neutral) that that produces and uses such rhetoric is likely able to make one see the world in us-them terms far more easily as well. It’s possible that poor Pat got his ego inflated by the increase in popularity and the simple thinking that made the emotional statements possible switched to a more global black and white thinking about all sorts of things. I feel sorry for him but the ugliness can’t be ignored.

  11. says

    “We can’t let them infect polite society!”

    “Why the hell are these people such criminals!”

    To whatever extent the issues with the Roma he brings up are true, which I’m betting is a much smaller extent than he thinks it is, it seems to me that it’s probably not the fault of the Roma. You give someone a bunch of shitty options for getting through life, and don’t allow them any others, you shouldn’t be surprised when they take a shitty option.

  12. says

    Jadehawk at 10
    The whole of the quoted piece in the blog post comes originally from Helen Pidds Guardian article that I linked to, not from frontpage magazine, as the blog post suggests.
    Pidd interviewed a number of the residents of Page Hall of whom only one could be described as “white British”, suggesting that those complaining of the Roma presence in Sheffield is a specifically white issue is factually wrong.

    As I said, I don’t agree with Condell and personally welcome immigration it the UK, being an immigrant to England myself. However, I find the tarring of all people who suggest that there may be a problem with how immigration is handled by the government as a “white racist” issue, plays in the “im a white victim off multiculturalism/reverse racism” mindset that Condell and BNP/UKIP supporters feed off.

  13. says

    sadunlap (#3) –

    He started believing his own press, pure and simple. His ego grew after some people agreed with him, back when he occasionally had a point. Now he thinks anything he says will be taken the same way, that he can do no wrong.

    There are others more famous than Condell of whom that’s also true.

  14. sonofrojblake says

    You give someone a bunch of shitty options for getting through life, and don’t allow them any others, you shouldn’t be surprised when they take a shitty option

    The UK has pretty successfully integrated some seriously huge waves of immigration since 1945. The Irish, West Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, among others, and more recently eastern Europeans have arrived poor and large numbers. Today, something like 1 in 12 people in this country were born abroad. Yet hardly any of those people took a “shitty option”. They bought homes, got jobs, opened businesses, paid their taxes, and integrated. And yes, they suffered suspicion, and prejudice. And they got through it… to the point that, as has already been observed, they (or their descendants) are now right there among the British who are complaining about people who won’t integrate.

  15. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    without commenting on anything else in Danny Butts statements:

    Welsh (which isn’t a race)

    So much fail here:
    a) Pakistani is a race?
    b) Jamaican is a race?
    c) Sri Lankan is a race?

    why the fuck would you list 4 cars and then specify for the 4th car only that it isn’t a banana?

    Could it be that to be ethnically Welsh ***is to be white*** in the same way that being an isosceles right triangle is to be a polygon?

    White is a race.

    More than one ethnicity is included in the race “white”.

    Singling out “Welsh” above without noticing that conflation of nationality with ethnicity is equally as fallacious when dealing with Jamaicans as with Welsh, and that speaking specifically of being Welsh by “descent” removes it from that dangerous zone of conflation, and insisting, “hey, no whiteness here” is wrong and goes to invisibilize and normalize whiteness.

    Please, Danny Butts, don’t do that.

  16. Artor says

    Of course, there is only a single human race currently, as evidenced by the biological fact that most of us can mate with most others. But the Welsh are a distinct cultural group with their own language. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect they have identifiable genetic markers that would allow them to be discerned from other Celtic populations like Scottish, Irish or Breton, at least those from old families that haven’t intermarried much. But while we’re dividing people by race, if the Roma are considered one, why wouldn’t the Welsh be one? As for distinguishing between white and not-white, does Pantone publish a color guide that can show exactly how much melanin you can have and still be white? White as a classification of humans is meaningless and stupid. I wish people would stop using it. I cringe every time I’m asked to list my ethnicity, and the closest box available is “white.”

  17. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    The distinction is between “race”, “nationality” and “ethnicity.” “White” is a race. “Welsh” is an ethnicity.

    “Asian” is a race. “Sri Lankan” is a nationality, but not an ethnicity – someone from Sri Lanka may be Sinhalese, they may be Tamil, they may be something else.

  18. Rich Woods says

    @Artor #18:

    I cringe every time I’m asked to list my ethnicity, and the closest box available is “white.”

    One of my mates was born in Norfolk. He always ticks the box for ‘Other’ and writes ‘East Angle’ next to it.

    I sometimes follow his example, since it means I get to write ‘Yellowbelly’ on census forms.

  19. says

    This was activist journalism with a vengeance…

    Maybe I shouldn’t be, but I’m still shocked at the ability of people who write right-wing activist journalism to accuse others of the sin of writing activist journalism. They seem completely unaware of the irony. I guess it speaks to a general inability to take a critical look at oneself.

  20. kayden says

    Reading the comments left on his videos makes it clear that Condell supports racism. I had to laugh at his video claiming that liberals are the real racists. Yeah, right.

  21. says

    @Area Man

    I guess it speaks to a general inability to take a critical look at oneself.

    I honestly believe that this is the single greatest challenge of modern humans. But it takes the form of a general problem in determining if ones biases are correct. Walking around and acting as if our biases are reality is normal for us. We can’t do anything else. We are biased about 2+2=4, we are biased that that the atomic mass of hydrogen is about 1, many of us are biased about there being no relationship between mercury preservatives and autism.

    What matters is can we actually determine if our biases reflect reality? Can we all take our beliefs, make mental objects out of their related symbols and representations, and follow the train of supporting information back to the underlying reality. Few can or do and our collective culture is layered with behaviors that actively try to prevent this.

  22. Grue Convention says

    Stereotypes suck. I must relate a story that doesn’t help the cause of the Roma.

    I was traveling in Italy with a group from college. There was an enticing hill with an excellent vantage point overlooking Assisi, and I decided to walk up it. The classics professor warned me about going up the hill, since she had previously had an encounter with Gypsies up there (this was before the more prevalent use of the term “Roma”). I thought that was racist, so I went up there anyway. Coming back down, I was assaulted. A group of Roma confronted me, konked me on the head with a rock even after I had given them all the money I had on hand, and then proceeded to steal everything I had on me, including my shoes. I’m lucky they left my passport.

    This experience has made it nearly impossible for me to generate a lot of sympathy for the Roma.

  23. Pen says

    Hi Pharynguloid echo chamber. Danny Butts is right to point out that PZ is unaware of the racial context of the Page Hall situation. No discredit to him, since he lives in er… somewhere in the cold part of the US. But the whole Good White British Folk thing is mapping a USian trope to a place it doesn’t really belong, namely, the only person in this story I can imagine it applying to is Condell and I would have chosen a phrase like Idiotic Moron myself.

  24. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    Grue Conventioon @25:
    So, the fact that you ran into a group of Roma who were assholes means that all Roma are assholes?

    Riiight.

  25. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Pen, #26, whose comment’s conclusion:

    the only person in this story I can imagine it applying to is Condell and I would have chosen a phrase like Idiotic Moron myself.

    made me spit rice and peas on my sweater.

    Curse you, Pen! There is never an excuse for such behavior!

  26. loreo says

    “Some people beat me up! Everyone who resembles the people who beat me up, to a degree which I determine, must share the blame!”

    - Grue Convention

    This is weapons-grade stupidity.

  27. says

    Pen #26

    The section of the original post where the “examples of Roma with the same ideals as Good White British Folk” were cited had nothing to do with the race/ethnicity of the previously interviewed locals. It wasn’t comparing the Roma, arrivals to the already-established locals in any way.

    And yeah, it’s pretty much established that Pat Condell is a racist, so from that to “Good White British Folk” as his meaning is more of a slight shuffle than a leap.

  28. says

    [mild tangent warning]

    Jeez, the old right-wing dog-whistle of “activist journalism.” “Activist” is right up there with “community organiser” as a way to immediately out someone you don’t like as some kind of bleeding-heart pinko rabble-rouser out to tuk ur jerbs and help the turrsts win.

    But wait, so … when Pat railed, for years and with a global audience, against religious folly, that wasn’t activism?
    And when Pat rails against gyppos and rag-heads and femdyke Vagylons, that’s not activism?
    And when Pat’s skinhead mates line up and fly their St George’s crosses and scream in the streets about how oppressed poor ol’ whitey is, that’s not activism?

    And when Fox produces an endless, decades-long parade of scenery-chewing advocates for war and spying and the state/corporate status quo in general, that’s not “activist journalism”?

    And when lobby groups are paid squillions by the tobacco, fossil fuel and other sociopathically rapacious industries to petition the government to loosen the reins (yet again), that’s not activism?

    It all reminds me of Judge Jones being labelled an “activist judge” after the liars and loonies lost at Dover. Well, of course he was an “activist” – no way in hell was Jones simply ruling on the merits of the case. He was pitching in with the lefties and God-haters! Sneaking Bible lessons into public science classes totally wasn’t activism – it was the Lawd’s work! It’s different! Somehow!

    Seriously, if they loathe “activism” so much that they use it as a pejorative, what the hell do they call it when they do it?

  29. says

    @ Pen 26

    Hi Pharynguloid echo chamber.

    Pen by engaging in the same sort of global stereotyping you pretty much make yourself that which you argue against. I have no problems with anyone pointing out illegitimate characterizations of any sort, but since your implication covers everyone here without precision you might want to rethink your approach.

  30. HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr says

    Grue Convention: So, that was a really long-winded way of trying to justify that you are a massive racist. I’m sorry you were attacked, however, you’re kinda really using it to justify the kind of bigotry that kills.

    I mean, you got beat up, that totally makes your use of slurs (though some Roma groups/individuals have reclaimed it, not all have) and hey, what’s a little genocide versus you getting beat up?

    So, would you have complained about them ruining your day at the beach too, had you been here? : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Cristina_and_Violetta_Djeordsevic

  31. says

    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden @17

    Hi, could you explain to me what being “ethnically welsh” is?

    because having my ethnicity explained to me by someone else always makes my day feel special.

  32. says

    “But the whole Good White British Folk thing is mapping a USian trope to a place it doesn’t really belong”

    what Pen @ 27 said, with fewer words than I needed.

  33. says

    Danny Butts

    When PZ says “so finding examples of Roma with the same ideals as Good White British Folk is simply “activist journalism”!” the only place he is putting those words is in Pat Condell’s mouth. He is saying that’s what Condell means.

    Argue against Condell actually having meant that if you like (warn me though: I’ll want to get popcorn) but at least argue over what was actually said.

  34. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I haven’t made any claims about what being “ethnically Welsh” is, save to say that, when one uses your phrase about “descent” to qualify it, persons who would be described that way might also be reasonably be described as “white”.

    But I will go farther and say that the the Brythonic Celtic group that originally up the Welsh, even as diluted with Normans and with certain others from the rest of Great Britain, would “by descent” create a group that would certainly be described as white in the US and Canada. Perhaps “white” doesn’t have the same definition in the UK.

    But regardless, what I was saying was not about what Welsh is, but about what Pakistani and Jamaican and Sri Lankan are. I agreed with you that Welsh is not a race, but to go out of your way to say that Welsh is not a race while leaving the others unqualified has the same wtF effect that it would have to list 4 cars and then go out of your way to say the 4th isn’t a banana.

    Please, if you feel like you’ve had your “ethnicity explained to [you] by” me, quote some text in comment #18 in which I do some explaining about what Welsh is.

    Long term commenters on Pharyngula can attest that I’m happy to admit error where I’m wrong. Show me where I’m engaging in defining your identity.

  35. says

    Seriously, if they loathe “activism” so much that they use it as a pejorative, what the hell do they call it when they do it?

    That’s just the point — they can’t see the symmetry in what they’re doing and in what their opponents are doing. So they sneer at “activism” without a hint of irony. I don’t believe this is just everyday hypocrisy. They really aren’t capable of seeing things from a different point of view, one of the many reasons why they can be impossible to reason with.

    For a related issue, see IOIYAR.

  36. says

    I haven’t made any claims about what being “ethnically Welsh” is,

    other than to say…

    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    “Could it be that to be ethnically Welsh ***is to be white*** in the same way that being an isosceles right triangle is to be a polygon?”

    So adding a question mark makes it what?

    sorry, but it was there to make use of.

    Maybe we can be more friendly <3 in further looking at…

    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    "But I will go farther and say that the the Brythonic Celtic group that originally up the Welsh, even as diluted with Normans and with certain others from the rest of Great Britain, would “by descent” create a group that would certainly be described as white in the US and Canada. Perhaps “white” doesn’t have the same definition in the UK."

    Maybe the problem you are having is that "British, English. Scottish" etc does not need have the determinative meaning of "white" that nationality/race may have in other parts of the world, in fact "others from Great Britain" would leave a British person wondering "modern Britain or historically speaking?"

    The reason I claimed "Bananaism" for the welsh is that I am one, and unfortunately I am seeing British defined here as white. I thought it would be worth my while to point out that although I am Welsh-British-European-citizen of the world by nationality (ok, European and CofW isnt a nationality, but that's the order I tend to self define ) none of those self identifications have anything to do with my skin colour. However, as none of the "not British by descent" people mentioned in the original Guardian newspaper article can definitively be categorized as people of colour I suppose that I am in error , but no less so than the blog original post.

    So on to your wikipedia (i assume) quote.

    the whole Celtic blah blah blah thing, its total rubbish. It defines Welsh (and by extension English, Irish and possibly even Catalan french) by some ridiculous Victorian ethnic tree of life that has no bearing on the realities of the intermingling that has happened between people over a vast geographic area and expanse of time. So, please dont do that…

    Btw. I'm not used to posting here so sorry if Ive made a dogs breakfast of formatting.

  37. says

    suggesting that those complaining of the Roma presence in Sheffield is a specifically white issue is factually wrong

    and what part of me telling you that it wasn’t about the other people complaining did you not understand the first time?

  38. chigau (違う) says

    Danny Butts
    How it works here

    <blockquote>paste copied text here</blockquote>

    causes

    paste copied text here

  39. says

    Jadehawk @41

    I understand fully your point and the point of other posters who have been pointing out that the slur was directed at Condell.

    However, the point that I am making is that the whole block quote comes from the original Guardian article not the rightwing rag that it is claimed to. The Gruniad has many agendas but racialism isnt one of them.

    In the original article you will find people of many races, all British, complaining that the *authorities* have allowed a situation to get out of hand.

    I understand that people want to tar Condell as a racist and personally I believe he falls into the UKIP category that was amusingly posted above of “im not a racist but…”, and although I havent watched his video, Im sure even he has managed to avoid making this a matter of race.
    The fact that Condell is white is coincidental, there are many “white British folk” who will flatly reject his values, there are many British people of colour who will be appalled at his attitude without feeling the need to refer to his race.

    I dont feel that there was any need to add that particular word into that particular sentence, in fact I think it is counter productive.

  40. jamessweet says

    Have none of these people heard the phrase “cycle of poverty”? Is it really news to anybody that growing up in poverty can have a tendency to damage people and limit both their opportunities and ambitions in exactly the sort of ways that make it more difficult to escape poverty during their lifetime?

  41. says

    sorry, I need to back track. The block quote is from the Frontpage magazine, I read the original Guardian article and the Frontpage article and managed to confuse the two in my muddled head.

    The block quote is full of some pretty horrible racism and Condell’s support for the article does IMO positively prove his own racism. But then, that wasnt something I was questioning.

    What I find concerning about the “Good White British Folk” quote from a UK perspective, is that any attempt to debate immigration is shut down by phrases like “pub racist”, a phrase Ive seen in the comments on this board, which manages to not only make racism a working class white male preserve but also plays into the “multiculturalism privileges everyone but me”you get from Condell.

    It also manages to divert attention away from a genuine criticism of the UK governments appalling ineptitude in managing services, that might have helped both the settled and newly arrived people to integrate.

  42. says

    I understand fully your point and the point of other posters who have been pointing out that the slur was directed at Condell.

    IOW you don’t understand. “Good White British Folk” is not a slur, nor is it a term that was meant to describe Condell. It was meant as a short-hand for the racism involved in the pissiness exhibited by the quote (The long-form version can be found at Avicenna’s blogpost, linked in the second sentence of the OP). Which does not come from the Guardian Article; Pidd doesn’t refer to herself in the 3rd person, for starters.

    And in any case, the race/ethnicity/geographic place of origin of the people quoted as complaining is wholly irrelevant to whether something is racist. This may be a shock to you, but non-white people can be racist against other non-white people.

  43. says

    It also manages to divert attention away from a genuine criticism of the UK governments appalling ineptitude in managing services

    nope. Racism diverts attention from actual causes of things, but pointing out the racism and identifying the actual problems with something does the opposite of diverting attention from the actual problems with something.

  44. says

    This experience has made it nearly impossible for me to generate a lot of sympathy for the Roma.

    And what are you doing to address this character flaw?

  45. dõki says

    The post by Avicenna is very good. The third paragraph is particularly relevant to the discussion of Islamophobia and coded language, in the other thread.

    * * *

    [lesser tangent]

    Danny Butts #14 & #40

    I don’t agree with Condell and personally welcome immigration it the UK, being an immigrant to England myself

    I am Welsh-British-European-citizen of the world by nationality

    I don’t know if I’m getting this right. Because, if I am, your Wales-to-England migration seems to fall in a different category from those immigrants targeted by Condell and the UKIP.

    Anyway, I find the “citizen of the world” descriptor particularly amusing, though. I’ve seen quite a few folks from Europe and North America using it, and was once rather enthusiastically urged to employ it myself instead of my own legal nationality. But I couldn’t wholeheartedly agree with that, because I know I’m not welcome everywhere in the world. I, for one, can’t put on a safari hat and declare I’m going to explore the exotic isles of Britain, because deep down I know that Britons are my superiors.

    So, while I can understand that you may feel frustrated if you’re called “pub racist” for disagreeing with how your government handles immigration, keep in mind that your experiences may be very different from the people sitting on the other side of the fence.

    * * *

    [greater tangent]

    chigau #42

    Welsh

    There’s a special irony in writing, in English, that Welsh is random. For the few words I know, Welsh writing seems to be much more reasonable (not to mention how beautifully it sounds, with the lovely set of open vowels, colorful liquids and aspirated nasals!). *Sigh*, I wish I had a few more resources than Carreg Lafar lyrics to work with.

  46. CJO says

    having my ethnicity explained to me by someone else always makes my day feel special.

    I hate this kind of smug discounting of expertise in the name of lived experience, it’s a well-poisoning tactic intended to deflect critical analysis.

    Distinguish “your ethnicity” from your experience of ethnicity. Indeed, nobody can tell you that your experiences are invalid or did not occur, but simply being of a certain ethnicity gives you no special insight into the social scientific and historical perspectives by which one might come to empirical knowledge on the matter, and subjective familiarity can actually be a barrier to objective understanding. If your smug dismissal had any force, then no expertise could ever be acquired about a group of people by anyone not a member of that group, and any theoretical analysis of ethnicity in general could be gainsaid merely by an appeal to one’s membership in a given group. Which is obviously absurd. Of course, it might be that one is both a member of a given group and an expert on the sociology, history, et al of that group, but it’s not expected and it’s certainly not a given. So it must be allowed that there’s nothing inherently wrong with the notion that “someone else” might actually be perfectly competent to explain your ethnicity to you.

  47. seeker says

    I remember reading that Horowitz was once an extreme left-winger, perhaps a communist, as I believe his father was but then converted to the rabid wing nut side. He co-authored a 1984 book with Peter Collier called “The Kennedy’s”, which was supposedly well researched, every “fact” has at least 2 sources, and which seemed to me at the time an accurate portrayal of the clan. The NYT in its review did not say it wasn’t. JFK came off particularly badly, as an uninterested senator,unqualified to be president, an immoral,
    reckless, ineffectual president who didn’t mean a thing he said. A book by an historian in 89 “A Question of Character” repeated many of the same charges against him. I despised Kennedy for years after reading these books but in later years read many positive things, esp. about his and Bobby’s handling of the Cuban missile crises after the tapes were released. Does anyone know about the 84 book? Where was Horowitz politically then? Was the book a hatchet job? And is there a good objective book about JFK and who he was and what he did? Thanks.

  48. Nick Gotts says

    Which does not come from the Guardian Article; Pidd doesn’t refer to herself in the 3rd person, for starters. – Jadehawk@49

    Here’s a link to the article, confirming what Jadehawk says. The article doesn’t pretend there’s no inter-ethnic tension in the area concerned, nor that all those complaining about the Roma community are white, but does avoid gross stereotyping of Roma people, distinguishes observable fact (such as litter) from allegation and rumour (theft, and offering babies for sale), and notes that the police have not recorded any increase in crime since the Roma arrived. This, of course, is not to the liking of a loathsome far-right rag like Frontline, or a loathsome far-right demagogue such as Condell.

  49. David Marjanović says

    There’s a special irony in writing, in English, that Welsh is random.

    Indeed.

    though
    through
    cough

  50. says

    Grue Convention @26:
    How rational is it to no longer feel sympathetic to the Roma after one terrible interaction with a few Roma?

    Is the withdrawl of your sympathy always dependent upon all people of an ethnic group treating you politely at all times?
    If you were roughed up by several Asian Americans or Hispanic Americans, would you no longer (assuming you do) sympathize with them?

    Does your sympathy flip-flop for non ethnic groups?
    If several gay men accosted you, would you find it difficult to be sympathetic to all gay men?

    Please tell me you can see the utter stupidity of what you said.

  51. vaiyt says

    Is the withdrawl of your sympathy always dependent upon all people of an ethnic group treating you politely at all times?

    Of course it is. When a white man fails, it’s his responsibility alone. When anybody else fails, that’s an intrinsic quality of their entire group. The white man’s support of minority rights is contingent on them avoiding any and all instances of upsetting the white man.

  52. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    No point me explaining the complexities of British culture

    Gee, what complexities? Degrees of bigotry, which anybody knowing dog whistles on either side of the pond has a solid handle on?