Saturday, January 11, 2014

Kapil on the Dieudonné (non)-Affair

Arun Kapil has a very long post on the Dieudonné business here. He makes many good points, including, perhaps, one hopes at any rate, his smackdown of my expression of alarm at what lies ahead. He may well be right. He is closer to the situation than I am. Nevertheless, I think he underestimates the potential harm of what he concedes is a widespread and increasingly uninhibited antisemitism in certain segments of French society. For Arun, these people are not alarming because they operate at "the degree zero of politics" and are products of a degraded popular culture. One can agree on the last two points and still worry about the potential for disruption and contagion. I've also been struck over the past few days by the crowds gathered at sites where Dieudonné performances have now been banned. Quite a few of the people interviewed on the TV news did not appear to be young denizens of the Paris suburbs or excluded visible minorities. Most seemed closer to 30 than to 20 in age, were well-dressed, and evidently had no difficulty coming up with the minimum 38 euros necessary (as Arun notes) for a ticket. Yet they were eager to tell the national TV audience that they believed their hero was being suppressed by "the Zionist lobby" through its immense and occult influence on the government.

Élie Semoun on Dieudonné

Élie Semoun, the comedian of Moroccan Jewish parentage who was Dieudonné's partner at the beginning of his career, reflects on recent events in a recent sketch that is half-comedy, half-lament:

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