Pistache on the Conditions in Europe

In the comments to previous postings, Pistache, a woman who has done some translating for me, including voluntarily translating the two movies Pallywood and Al Durah into French, wrote some interesting reflections which I post here with my responses.

Richard, Igout and Eliyahu,

Thanks for your words… It’s just that I’m really disgusted right now. Not only about this case, but also about a lot of others things happening in Europe, almost everyday, and almost everyone I know “for real” – I mean, not people I met on blogs and fora such as this one, who obviously are interested and slightly worried about this – just… doesn’t seems to give a damn. Because they don’t know what’s going on in the world, or because they prefer not to know it. I suppose that is this apathy that really gets to me.

I had an interesting conversation with a young frenchman about Europe and its Islamist challenge. “No,” he replied, “Europe’s Judeo-Christian culture is too strong.” When I pointed out that not one demonstrating against the disgusting display of violence objecting to the pope’s comment on Islam’s propensity for violence, nor in defense of the Pope against threats on his life and demands that he convert to Islam, he granted I might have a point. “They wake up soon,” he offered weakly. Well if I understand you, Pistache, they have to rise from a deep slumber of apathy. In the 60s, the French “revolutionaries” complained about the pathetically empty nature of the lower and middle classes — “metro, boulot, dodo [subway, work, sleep].” In the 00s (aughts?), we might complain about “media entertainment, vacation, and medical coverage” as the fillers for empty lives.

And about “faire la révolution”, I wonder if it’s possible… too many sheep asleep, caring only about what’s on telly. Too many people fearing to grow balls. [I take this to be the equivalent in slang (translated) of Harvey Mansfield’s complaint about manliness.] Too many people thinking that whatever’s going wrong is the fault of the USA (for those understanding french, I invite you to check this message board; it is part of one of the main Belgian newspaper’s web site, and the theme is “How to deal with North Korea now?”; seeing the answers, you would think it is actually “how to deal with the evil US and their mad president”. Just plain appalling).

I have already discussed this aspect of current European culture. If one wants to understand how Europe Slept, one must consider this dysfunctional connection between on the one hand an elite determined to inform the public in ways that systematically mislead it about what’s happening — both in the Middle East and in Europe — and, on the other hand, a public that is both intellectually and emotionally lazy. In the past, I’ve focused on the elite’s discourse, including the enormous weight of a “politics of resentment,” that motivates much of the anti-Americanism (and, ironically, the anti-Zionism as well), as well as the proto-Dhimmi behavior of Europe towards their alleged allies in their counter-balance to American hegemony.

But Pistache brings up another element that might be just as crucial — that of a public for whom the anti-American and anti-Zionist discourse of the elites has a profound appleal, on the one hand, and the lack of real interest or concern in “getting the story straight,” that has, till now, marked the “information professionals” of successful civil societies. The question here is, how that “apathetic” public will wake up to the danger its elites have fostered and disguised — from themselves as well as their publics? — that is the growing assertiveness of Islam in Europe, and the gargantuan appetite of this Islamic yearning, which the European (and American) elites have only empowered in their efforts to placate it.

How do we contribute to this awakening, so that it brings out the best and not the worst of the European population? That seems to me, the task of the next few years, and I personally can’t think of too many issues that reveal the full range of both the folly of the French media (and now their courts) in reporting as they do, than the al Durah case.

So… Sorry to digress so much, but at times like that, yes, I do think of leaving.

But I’ll keep fighting in my way, wherever I am. And for now I’ll just keep working on translating the “Second Draft” material…

3 Responses to Pistache on the Conditions in Europe

  1. Antidhimmi says:

    Yes Richard- And our US media are so much more advanced. Why only last week the NY Times had two (2) front page articles on immigrant youth violence (car burnings and attacks on French Police) in France. It was the first mention I’ve seen not in a 2×4 article on page 20. I believe they must have meant the 2nd generation Eastern European youths in France, living in the suburbs and having difficulty assimilating.

    And only today NPR for the first time noticed in a 30 second flash that “immigrant youth” in France were acting against joblessness and discrimination. Surely, we are well-informed by MSM about Europe’s dilemmas with immigrant acculturation even if the French are not.

    Okay, okay. The American MSM is also blinded by PC- and PCP-dictated story-lines. The problem is a Western one, not merely European. But compared with the desert of European monotone media, the variety in the American press looks like a verdant landscape. We have alternatives to the NYT when we finally overcome our reluctance to believe that such a great paper has lost its compass, when the French give up Le Monde, there’s not a whole lot of places to go (unless they learn English, for which they show equally great reluctance).

    The real issue here is, we — Americans, Europeans, Christians, Jews, Muslims and seculars are all threatened by a merciless enemy. Will our press work like some AIDS virus and supress any awareness of the enemy to our body politic (I think largely in the cause of manipulating the public into be good liberals and turning the other cheek and avoiding “provoking” the enemy)? Or will it inform us seriously about what’s going on and let the public make the decisions?

    Ultimately I think that the MSM’s failure at the dawn of the 21st century is largely due to its lack of faith in the public’s capacity to make wise decisions. So they’ve made an extremely unwise one for us.

  2. igout says:

    Does what you might call a loyalist press exist in Europe? Anything like our talk radio? If you don’t have it, start it now. Believe me, our leftish bien-pensants gnash their teeth at the very mention!

    They have talk radio, but it’s not anything like ours. This is an ideologically monotone culture in public space. (Private space, like the blogosphere is very rich but as far as I can make out, almost entirely uncoordinated.) As one person says, in France you have several state-owned public stations and one independent one. And when you toggle between them, you can’t tell the difference.

    I also think you seriously need to rethink your aversion to guns. There’s always a banlieu near you. Lastly, and forgive my presumption here, spiritually you”ve been like trust-fund babies: Living off and squandering the inheritance of 2,000 years of painfully-acquired Western civilization. The appeal of M-C is, I think, that it appeals to those too dainty or lazy to get their hands dirty like their forebears had to. We all are going to have to get our hands very dirty to clear up this mess.

    I’m not sure whom you are addressing so presumptuously, but I agree completely with you, and would address it to American liberals as well. Civil society is a rare and difficult gift to launch and sustain. It takes effort, vigilance, and a constant (or repeated) commitment to renewing the original impulse. The moral equivalence and multiculturalism of our current fashionable academics, talking heads and journalists, is a grotesque gesture of valorization of tendencies we would despise among ourselves but approve of in others (Islamic fundamentalism, which is, currently, by far the worst of the three monotheistic fundamentalisms), and of devalorization of an incredibly diffiicult, even miraculous gift our ancestors gave us through their idealism and sacrifice.

    And anyone who thinks that the major motivations for Western democratic revolutions was merely the self-interest of a competing elite, not only does not understand the nature of civil society, but is on the way to destroying it.

  3. Eliyahu says:

    was listening early this morning to BBC and was informed that “youths” were rioting in the outskirts of Paris, burning cars, and the other things that “youths” do. Although I did not hear any mention of courting or wooing or going on dates with the opposite sex, or anything that may follow from such activities, that some “youths” today may still do, for all that I know.

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