Thursday, August 07, 2008

Why I posted the Dunner story

Let's get two things out of the way first.

I did not "drag his name through the mud" nor did I "besmirch his reputation." My post provided no commentary or information that had not been published elsewhere. I didn't insult him, I didn't criticize him, and according to the halacha as I understand it, loshon harah no longer applies after the information has been publicized. This story appeared yesterday in the Daily Mail, one of England's most widely circulated newspaper. From a religious point of view, saying "Bension Dunner had cocaine in his blood when he died," is no different from saying "Bill Clinton dallied with an intern." You can't kill someone who is already dead, and you can't besmirch a reputation that has already been besmirched.

So why did I throw the link up on my blog? Two considerations went into the decision, I suppose, a decision that was quickly and haphazardly made (If it surprises you to learn that our editorial policies here are a little loose, well, you're either an idiot, or new to the blog) Here they are:

Main reason for posting: To provoke conversation
I received the link to the Shaviv post from two people, and the Daily Mail article from a third person. I confess to not recognizing the name "Bension Dunner" (and, GH, who also posted the story, but to much less criticism, can vouch for this) I reasoned, "If the Daily Mail and three people think this is a story, it probably is, and people probably want to talk about it, so let's toss it on the blog and see what people have to say." I've done this sort of thing before, and I'll do it again. (This is the blog equivalent of walking into kiddush and saying, "Hey, did you hear Bill Clinton got caught with an intern?") And the comments I received justify this approach: That simple link to someone else's blog produced a very good, very interesting discussion about the Charedi community, and how it tends to deny its own problems.

Ancillary reason for posting: To shine some sunlight on Charedi-style hypocrisy
Posting that link was a chance to point out (yet again) that CC and YW are worthless propaganda tools. Both blogs - and their disgusting commenters - grab every opportunity to denigrate and degrade the modern orthodox community, but neither has ever suggested that anything but champagne and roses can be found beneath the wigs and black hats. (CC, for example, ran interference for Kolko, and YW had the nerve to claim that they'd received a psak halacha that prevented them from saying anything about it. I say nerve because the balance of that blog's postings make it obvious that halacha isn't their concern when someone from another community can be embarrassed) Pointing out the hypocrisy of those blogs, and the hypocrisy of commenters who scream here about Dunner, but never say anything there when, say, Moshe Tendler is insulted, was not the primary purpose of my post, but it was a neat ancillary benefit. (Note: I don't claim to be anything but a hypocrite myself, but I also don't claim to be the blogging voice of Orthodox Judaism, or of the Yeshiva World. Moreover, you'll find plenty of posts about Lanner and other modern orthodox villains here.)

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