The Holocaust happened. The Exodus didn’t. Exodus-denial isn’t antisemitism, so why is Holocaust-denial? 

It’s all about context, you say. Unlike Exodus-denial, Holocaust-denial is taken as an antisemitic trope. If a word means what it’s taken to mean, then why can’t an historical claim – that the Holocaust didn’t happen – mean the antisemitism it’s taken to mean?

I find this distressing. If what it means to ask a question, say about the Holocaust, is taken to have answered that question – “Oh, it wasn’t as bad as people make out!” – then one can’t ask a question, and so the narrative stands, even if otherwise it wouldn’t. And so what else can one conclude, other than the narrator is hiding something. Perhaps more than something. Perhaps the whole thing’s been made up.

This is why people have to stop treating an interrogative sentence as a declarative one. It’s because they perform two very different perlocutionary functions that we decided to introduce the ? and the inversion of the noun and verb. In some languages – Italian, for example – it’s all done with inflection. Where we can say, “Is it time to go?”, Italians can only ask, “It’s time to go?” But in our language – English being the language spoken by God – “It is” and “Is it” mean two very different things.

I would like to introduce a law … No, not a mere understanding, an actual criminal offence, punishable by public flogging. A law outlawing answering a question with a refutation rather than an answer. If you don’t have an answer, then say so. If you do have an answer, then spill it. If the answer’s self-evident, indulge me. If the answer’s embarrassing, say nothing. But do not, on pain of the lash, ask me “How dare you ask that?!”

Second complaint. Politicians think they’re adept at the pivot. They’re not. It’s just that journalists are inept at calling them on it. What’s the journalist afraid of? That if she keeps asking the same question, word for word, over and over, that he won’t like her? Getting a date is not her job. Getting an answer to the question she’s asked is.

Of the people for whom I have the least respect, university administrators and journalists are in a dead heat. Kant argued that it must be our belief in God that accounts for why we don’t go postal when we know we’re dying but we’re still ambulatory. Bad theory. I’m an atheist.     

Categories: Editorials, Humour

1 reply

  1. We are all dying. You can smell the change in the wind.
    With love from Edmonton, your gypsy friends x


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