Sunday, June 26, 2011

Another attack on Avrech's article about People Magazine and Huma Aberdin

A guest post by an anonymous reader who is irritated that five people shared Avrech's article with her.

RE: People Magazine’s Fashionable Anti-Semitism, by Robert Avrech

Usually, I ignore all political posts (from anyone but my little brothers and maybe Dov Bear), because they seem to be more about electronic emotional displays that anything else, but when I see posts and re-posts, I may pay attention. It is difficult to reply to my FB/E-mail friends, because in most cases, they are my real friends and neighbors, but this particular political post deserves a response.

I hate false claims of antisemitism, because I think real antisemitism exists, but with pointless noise like this, nobody is going to pay attention.

Is sum, this article is a knee-jerk mess of supposedly conservative and Jewish outrage. It is difficult to understand what the author is really mad about, but I suppose the author and his wife are mainly concerned about People magazine's supposed antisemitism. So here are some counterpoints:

1. The author is anti-Muslim in exactly the same way he decries People's supposed antisemitism:

"Last week’s issue of People magazine published a typically squishy article on Weinergate that focused on Weiner’s Muslim wife Huma Abedin."

First description of Huma is her religion, thus focusing on her religion as the most relevant descriptor.

2. The post is pointless, in that it is complaining that People is being People, i.e. a semi-respectable gossip and human interest rag known for the quality of its photography.

"The purpose of the article was to paint Mrs. Weiner as a noble victim.

This is a standard liberal strategy: the victim as hero.

The mainstream media carried out exactly the same campaign on behalf of Hillary Clinton when it was revealed that her husband, then President of the United States, was receiving oral sex in the Oval Office from intern Monica Lewinsky, a girl young enough to be his daughter.

Vogue immediately did an expert makeover on Hillary—kill the pants suit, cried the stylist—and splashed her on the cover in deep soft-focus.

The liberal media are reliable enablers to emotionally dysfunctional, if not criminal, Democrats."

Is there even a scintilla of evidence that People or Vogue would not dress up and soften portraits of any other wronged woman of any political persuasion? The supposedly liberal Vogue and People are capitalist enterprises in the business of selling ads and magazines. Thus, they cater to their readers desire to read sensationalist stories about pretty people. How Averich connects this to a dysfunctional, and possible criminal enterprise aimed at enabling Democrats is unclear.

3. The claim that the People article is a partisan article is absurd, in that it's chosen villain as well as its chosen hero (per the author's description) are both Democrats.

4. The author is reading non-existent anti-antisemitism in its descriptions:

In People’s profile of the Weiners, Huma Abedin is painted as a glamorous, virtuous and pious Muslim. So pious that out of respect, husband Anthony Weiner fasts during Ramadan....But here’s the kicker: People, in their bathroom-ready prose, defines Mrs. Weiner as a “refined Muslim” in contrast to her husband, a “brash New York Jew.”

The author quotes his wife's letter to People:

"To label him a “brash” Jew in contrast to a “refined” Muslim, is to engage in the lowest form of stereotyping."

What about this description is at all inaccurate? There is zero evidence that Abedin is anything other than a "glamorous, virtuous and pious Muslim."

In an illustrated dictionary, under "glamorous" or "refined" it would have Abedin's picture. Not because she is a Muslim, but because she is the child of university professors who grew up in more than one country, is a graduate of a fairly elite university, is gorgeous and thin, wears designer clothes, and has a respectable career working hand in hand with one of the most powerful people on the planet, she is glamorous and refined.

Not being a Muslim myself, and the authors not being Muslims, we are not in a position to judge whether she is pious according the the Muslim faith. There being no evidence to the contrary, we are not in the position to say she is anything other than pious or virtuous. (The author's snide allusion to her marrying outside her faith in the list following the article is not credible, unless the author is knowledgeable about Islamic standards of piety and marital laws and there application to a secular society).

Likewise, is there anything inaccurate about the description of Anthony Weiner as a "brash New York Jew"? New York and Jew are not in dispute. And unless you don't consider his famous House-floor rants and his propensity to send pictures of his genitals to strange women "brash," he is certainly "brash." I realize one can be both accurate and racist/antisemitic, but I don't think this description alone rises to the level of "broad brush" slur that the Avrech's are reading into it, because Wiener is so fascinating in large part because he is a "brash New York Jew."

Here is the deal, Karen and Robert Avrech, and all my friends sending me this link, People was not engaging in unfair stereotyping or making generalizations about Jews or Muslims. People was painting a portrait of a fairly interesting couple. They are a contrast, in that they are a Muslim-Jewish couple as much as they are both part of a power elite to which the vast majority of People readers have no access.

I am ignoring the list of absurd conspiracy theories mentioned in the bottom of the article. But really, it is amusing to note that one of them is about how Wiener is probably a "Secret Muslim."

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