Thursday, October 31, 2013

Defend the Honor Protests PBS Newshour

Defend the Honor
October 31st, 2013

The forwarded message below is from our good friends at the National Institute for Latino Policy. 
Defend the Honor is distressed that PBS has treated veteran journalist Ray Suarez so disrespectfully. Please note that the PBS documentary American Latinos that aired last month is a separate issue. The real issue here is: How many Latinos - in front of and behind the camera - does PBS NewsHour employ? And more to the point, why does PBS think it can treat one of the country's best journalists this way? 
*There's something you can do about it. See below.



Note: Here is yet another response from PBS on why they pushed out Ray Suarez from the staff of the PBS NewsHour: apparently they did so because he was great and they loved him! I guess these people think that Latinos are stupid or they are calling Ray Suarez a liar! (read his side of the story here) As I read these ridiculous responses from PBS, it brings to mind an old Puerto Rican saying, "¡Allá ellos que son blancos y se entienden!"


We also include below another sampling of comments on this issue by members of The NiLP Network on Latino Issues, who are apparently not stupid!


If you haven't done so, please let PBS know how you feel about this outrageous treatment of one of the leading journalists in the Latino community and the country. Write or call:


Paula Kerger

PBS President and CEO

(703) 739-5015


Linda Winslow

PBS NewsHour Executive Producer

(703) 998.2175


---Angelo Falcón


Another PBS 'Splanation


Vivian En Su Casa La Conocen, PBS Audience Services:

Thank you for contacting PBS regarding your concerns.


For nearly fifteen years, Mr. Suarez was a highly respected member of the public media system, PBS and NEWSHOUR. PBS greatly admires his talent, journalistic integrity and constant pursuit of excellence. We are very sorry to lose him and his stellar work and we hope to work with him on future projects.


The decision to depart from the NEWSHOUR staff was entirely Mr. Suarez's. He was recently named Chief National Correspondent on the series and his contributions to the newscast will be deeply missed. We wish him the best of luck in his new ventures.


We were very proud to air LATINO AMERICANS, which was an important collaboration with Latino Public Broadcasting. The landmark series by Adriana Bosch is the first major television documentary series to chronicle the rich and varied history and experiences of Latinos. Mr. Suarez wrote the companion book for the series and was a dedicated champion of the documentary and the education initiative that accompanies it.


LATINO AMERICANS joins many other PBS projects that feature the talents of Latinos, both on-the-air and behind the camera. For example, on October 28 PBS premiered Bernardo Ruiz's "The Graduates/Los Graduados" on INDEPENDENT LENS. This two-part film examines the many roots of the Latino dropout crisis through the eyes of six inspiring young students who are part of an ongoing effort to increase graduation rates for a growing Latino population. The film can be streamed for free at The second episode will debut on November 4.


At PBS, we understand that a cornerstone of our mission is to serve our entire nation, and that we have an obligation to continually build the diversity of our schedule and staff. Our goal is to offer outstanding content that reflects and celebrates America and feels inclusive to all viewers.


We appreciate your interest in our work and hope you will continue to watch and enjoy programming on your local PBS station.


More Reactions from

The NiLP Network


Frank D. Gómez, Veteran Latino activist and a founder of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ):.


In the early eighties, I was on the board of directors of WETA, a PBS flagship station and the home of the NewsHour. At that time, a Hispanic friend produced a documentary about Salvadorans in the Washington, DC area. Salvadorans represented an important demographic shift in the nation's capital, a precursor to the rapid growth in the Latino population. The documentary spoke to their sacrifices, struggles, hard work and daily contributions to the comforts of others.


As a board member, I arranged for WETA producers to view the video, but they rejected it. Shame! That same lack of vision - and courage - plagues PBS and the NewsHour today. Ray Suárez is a treasure. PBS sees neither its value nor the 55 million Hispanics to whom PBS should appeal. After resigning from the board, I resolved not to contribute to PBS until its employees and its programming reflected the community of which I am a part. I am still waiting!


Edgar Moncaleano:

PBS, as all the networks, did not in a benevolent act include "Latinos" in their business in front and behind the camera. It was the selfless labor of the organization: THE NATINAL LATINO MEDIA COALITION, grouping south and north, across east to west that legally brought the networks to task, pushing them to give us the few slots we have today.


Unless Latinos organize and fight back we'll see less of Latino faces in positions of authority and prestige 'in front and behind the cameras. Latinos across the USA and the World fight back. Do it for "the children of tomorrow." The past won't stop us, but why wait? Make your voice heard now at PBS and WNET channel 13 New York. Support Ray Suarez. Not because he is of Latino origin but because he is a great journalist and paid his dues to be there.


Dr. Gilbert Sanchez, Retired Academic Administrator:

As a long-time supporter of PBS stations wherever we have lived, due to my positions as a senior academic administrator, e.g., Washington, D.C., NYC, Boston, San Jose, Los Angeles, Portland, etc., I was truly sorry to hear of Ray Suarez leaving the NewsHour.  We always looked forward to his insights on his segments in which he was involved.  His passion for reporting came through in the form of his sense of humor, respect for the topic and/or the individual involved.  

I met Ray at a meeting in which we spoke with him about issues important to the Latino community and how NewsHour might bring them to the general public.  His dedication to the values of PBS and his commitment to working with the other members of the "team" was very positive.  It is too bad he was not considered for the extended weekend version of the NewsHour as he, in my opinion, could have continued making a great contribution.  

The NewsHour has shown in the past that it was willing to be a beacon of enlightenment in having a representative on-camera team of the diversity of our country.  With Ray no longer there I just don't see how you will fill that void.  I am, to say the least, disappointed in this action, i.e., "his resignation".  I encourage you to seek a solution to this problem of being and of continuing to be open and unbiased as to who reports the news on your program [The NewsHour] which many of us have supported for years.  

The NewsHour needs to reach out to the fastest growing community, e.g., Latinos, for their viewership as well as for their monetary support.  We can't allow NewsHour NOT to be part of the journalistic landscape.  You have much to offer.


Perla de Leon, FOTOGRAFICA productions:

I read with great sadness about the resignation of Ray Suarez. For years I've been wishing someone would address PBS and their lack of diversity not only in reporters but more importantly in news stories. I have no stats to back this up but as a long time viewer, who didn't have cable TV for many years, PBS was a staple on my home. Thinking back to the thousandths of hours of dramatic programming, documentaries and news programs I've watched, it felt as though the Middle East took up 80% of all news programs, with English dramas and middle America documentaries and independent films filling the rest of their schedule.


As a public station that resides in a city that is practically 25% Latino, where are the reports and programs about Latinos, Latin and Central Americans and African Americans? If your organization has any stats on any of this I would be more than happy to spread the word to my fellow artists and filmmakers, many of whom had previously protested individual programs such as Ken Burns multimillion dollar documentary series that routinely exclude minority contributions.


Prof. Sherrie Baver, The City College of New York:

As a longtime devotee of PBS and The Newshour, I wanted to register my profound surprise and disappointment that Ray Suarez is leaving the program (not entirely by choice). Not only is Ray Suarez a first-rate journalist, but it is also a time in America when the growing Latino population needs much more coverage rather than less.


As always, thank you for your support.

Gus Chavez & Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez, Co-Founders, Defend the Honor 
Defend the Honor
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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Angelo Codevilla: The War On Us

This month in Washington DC, Federal police riddled with bullets a woman suffering from post-partum depression who, had she been allowed to live, might have been convicted of reckless driving, at most. She had careened too close to the White House and Capitol, but had harmed no one and her car had stopped. In the same month, California sheriffs’ deputies killed a 13 year-old boy who was carrying a plastic toy rifle. It is not illegal to carry a rifle, never mind a toy one. America did not blink. A half century ago, Alabama sheriff Bull Connor’s use of a mere cattle prod to move marchers from blocking a street had caused a national crisis.
In a casual conversation, a friendly employee of the US Forest Service bemoaned to me that he was on his way to a US Army base, where he and colleagues would practice military tactics against persons who resist regulations. A forester, he had hoped to be Smokey the Bear. Instead, he said, “we are now the Department of Provocation.” In fact every US government agency, and most state and local ones now police their ever burgeoning regulations with military equipment, tactics, and above all with the assumption that they are dealing with people who should not be dealt with any other way.
Modern militarized government stems from the Progressive idea that society must mobilize as for war to achieve “the greater good.” Hence we have “wars” on everything from hunger and drugs and ignorance and global warming. Reality follows rhetoric. Since the health of “the environment” is a matter of life and death, the Environmental Protection Agency must deal with “enemies of the planet” with armored cars, machine guns, and home invasions. Apparently, even the Department of Education has SWAT teams.
The general population is increasingly inured to violence. The latest “Grand Theft” video game, for example, involves torturing a prisoner. Fun. That is only one step beyond the popular TV show “24” in which the audience cheered the hero’s torture of terrorist suspects. Contrast this with Dragnet, the most popular TV cops drama of the 1950s, whose Sergeant Joe Friday knocked on doors and said “yes ma’m, no ma’m.”

Sunday, October 20, 2013

John Armstrong: Reformation & Renaissance
ONE evening I was getting into the crowded lift at my local tube station in Central London, to go down to the train. As the doors closed a middle-aged gentleman squeezed in. I recognised him as a fairly distinguished professor of history from the University of London School of Advanced Study, where I directed the philosophy program. As we descended he suddenly blurted out to everyone and no one: ‘That's it; I've had it. What they're doing to our arts faculties is a complete disgrace.' We looked at our feet as he went on about the government, university administrators and the general ruin of intellectual culture.
I don't know what made him snap at that moment. But the professor in the lift has for me become a symbol of the view that the humanities are hard done-by and that they are in decline – or at least in an extended period of trouble – through no fault of their own, but because of bad decisions by others.
In less dramatic ways I have heard this analysis restated many times during my years in Australia: the academic humanities are doing a good job; they are fine, serious and important disciplines, staffed by able and sincere people. But governments and university administrators set impossible targets, demand crazy workloads, cut budgets, reducing staff numbers and imposing a stultifying managerial regime, and generally forcing the humanities onto the defensive.
There's a simple and morally necessary solution, according to this view: increase our funding, then leave us alone.
When I arrived in Australia, in 2001, this analysis seemed to cohere with a political assumption, even a political blindness. In the years during which John Howard was Prime Minister many humanities academics assumed that he was personally responsible for their situation. A Prime Minister is a terrifying adversary, but also cause for submerged optimism. Howard would (eventually) be defeated and – the thinking went – because he was the sole cause of the troubles, the good times would roll again.
There was in the humanities a generalised, and very honest, inability to imagine John Howard as anything other than an aberration, sustained by deceit and media manipulation, rather than as a man who was exceptionally adept at expressing widespread opinions.
Consequently, there was no self-examination: there was no hint that the humanities might themselves have contributed to their troubles, that they may have failed to win sufficient public respect and admiration to carry weight in national life.

I BELIEVE THE academic humanities require radical reform – not just in their institutional framework but in their intellectual self-conception, their sense of purpose, of mission even; in their habits of mind, their modes of admiration and the direction of effort. Ironically, such reform is needed to return the humanities to their grandest, most longstanding ambitions. Wisdom should be powerful in the world: that is why we teach, research, and engage the public.
And that is why this essay is called ‘Reformation and renaissance'. I want to show how reform is needed in order to accomplish something magnificent and serious. There is a tendency in the humanities to hear a call for reform as a threat. Calls for reform always seem to come from people who don't especially care about the humanities. I want to change that association and to connect the idea of reform to the pursuit of great educational endeavours.

Palestinian Peace Process in Pictures...

Monday, October 14, 2013

The DiploMad 2.0: Is it 1854, yet?

The DiploMad 2.0: Is it 1854, yet?:

The standard meme in a typical American history class or book, and in the media, holds that so-called third parties have no realistic prospect for success in the USA. The leadership of both major parties, naturally, agree with this interpretation and are eager to stifle any moves to create a party outside of the long established two party system--the Democratic party, by the way, has a legitimate claim to be the world's oldest political party. A quick glance through American political history would seem to support the conventional wisdom's argument against a "third" party. We have several examples typically served up to us as part of the cautionary tale.  One of the most famous efforts was Teddy Roosevelt's Progressive Party, aka Bull Moose Party, which he launched in 1912, after becoming upset with Republican President Taft's failure to pursue TR's "progressive" agenda. TR's party succeeded in knocking the Republicans out of the White House for one of the few times since 1861, and putting in place the calamitous Woodrow Wilson. While the Bull Moose Party crumbled away within a few years, many of its platform planks eventually became accepted, e.g., women's suffrage, eight hour day, a form of social security. Another notable "third" party effort came in 1948, with the States's Rights Democratic Party, better known as the "Dixiecrats." Headed by Senator Strom Thurmond, this party argued, inter alia, for the right of Southern states to maintain racial segregation. Former two-time FDR Vice President Henry Wallace's hard left, pro-USSR Progressive Party--another "third" party effort in that same election-- also syphoned off Democratic votes in some key constituencies. Between these two "third" parties eating away at Democratic votes, Truman almost lost the 1948 election to Dewey, but managed to eke out a win. Both of the 1948 "third" parties quickly disappeared. There are other examples, of course, such as George Wallace's American Independent Party, John Anderson's Independents, Patrick Buchanan Reform Party, H. Ross Perot's Independent Party which also failed to win the White House but, nevertheless, had considerable impact on their respective elections and on post-election political developments. There are, of course, other examples of "third" parties.

Oops! Missing, of course, from this history of "third" parties is none other than the Republican Party, itself. Without going into a detailed history, widely available (see for example, Eric Foner's, Free Soil Free Labor, Free Men), the Republican Party began in 1854 with a mix of anti-slavery Whigs and Democrats appalled by the perceived collusion of the Whigs and the Democrats in allowing slavery not only to remain but to expand westward. The Republicans ran their own candidate, explorer and war hero John Fremont in 1856. Although the campaign lost to Democrat Buchanan, it succeeded in destroying the ossified Whig party and lining up the Republicans for victory in 1860 with Lincoln. 

I am not saying--necessarily--that we are at the point of seeking the destruction of the GOP a la the Whigs. I think, however, that the GOP establishment needs reminding of their own party's origins. My gut feeling is that the Tea "Party" cum movement has been growing, despite the media's repeated announcement of its death and attempts to throw it in a grave. This movement still, as noted, is somewhat inchoate; that some might argue is a source of strength in that there is no single Tea leader who can be disgraced by the media, and, hence, bring down the movement. At various times the media seek to name a politician or another as leader of the Tea party, and go gunning for him or her. They fail to understand that unlike the Bull Moose, the Dixiecrat, or most other "third" parties, this is a movement driven not by a dominant personality but by everyday working and tax-paying Americans fed up with the state of the country and the quality of leadership and thought dominating our political discourse. I would like to see the Tea movement take over the GOP and turn it into a genuinely conservative alternative to the progressive Democratic party, rather than have to go through setting itself up as a "third" party. That option, nevertheless, should not be discarded all too quickly.  

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Tuxedoed 1 Percenters Party at Kennedy Center During Washington Shutdown
We were there last night for opening of The Washington National Opera's La Forza del Destino (The Force of Destiny) -- more like "The Twerk of Destiny" in a Crunkfest-style production featuring strippers, pole-dancers and Pulp Fiction gangstas...Don't know what Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, sitting a few rows in front of us, thought of it, though in my youth it was the kind of show the National Organization for Women routinely protested as "degrading to women." But burlesque has somehow become politically correct, don't ask me why...Had to be, as one scene featured a waving red banner, and you don't need a Ph.D. in semiotics to tell you what way that wind was blowing...

In any case, back to the shutdown angle: Lots of swells ogling the strippers, squeezed in their tuxedos, all dressed up for the opening night reception...even saw super-lawyer Kenneth Feinberg in a tuxedo...a true convention of the 1 percent...subsidized
 by US Taxpayers locked out of the National Zoo, National Mall, and WWII Memorial.

Vets Liberate WWII Memorial...

Agustin Blazquez: How To Recognize A Dictator

Do you know how to recognize a dictator?
Dictators are extremely protective and secretive of their past and associations.  They are narcissists, they are deceptive, and they are pathological liars.  They blame others for their failures.
They promise change and a better future with greater benefits to the needy, thereby creating a dependent class.
At the same time, dictators create a ruling elite with salaries and privileges denied to the rest of the population—buying their unconditional loyalty while putting them under constant surveillance, because dictators cannot trust anyone.  They are unforgiving, vindictive and vengeful, punishing anyone who gets in their way.  No one is safe.
Dictators use character assassination, and when completely in control, with absolute power, they do not hesitate to repress and oppress, using imprisonment, “reeducation” and murder.  Their only moral code is self-aggrandizement.
Dictators change the education system into indoctrination machinery, in order to create obedient citizen-robots who adapt to live under a quasi-military discipline where they cannot complain and must accept all of the dictator’s demands: low salaries, meager diet, poor housing and deficient “free” health care.  The new dependent class is “trained” to support him—the provider.
A dictator thinks of his population as a tool to maximize his power.
Dictatorships can happen in any country in the world.  All it takes is someone for whom power is a narcotic to get a foothold in circumstances ripe for accepting a  new leader.  No country is immune.  People fall for dictators out of ignorance.
Not far from America’s shore is the island of Cuba.  In spite of many warnings from War World II European immigrants who used their experience to easily identify that the new ruler was taking his country in a far left direction, Cubans were convinced:  “It can’t happen here.”  But it did.
His name was Fidel Castro.  He promised changes, and he certainly delivered them.  He ruined that prosperous island which, in 1958, ranked 29 among world economies.  His regime has lasted for 54 years and counting.
 Agustin Blazquez has produced and directed 10 independent documentaries. The last one, titled CONNECTING THE DOTS (2012), is an expose of the Obama administration.  See preview at:  /  Available at:

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

The DiploMad 2.0: Progressivism, Chaos, Tyranny, and the Community O...

The DiploMad 2.0: Progressivism, Chaos, Tyranny, and the Community O...In sum, what do we see? We see the community organizer tactic of using lies, chaos, and the uncertainty that flows as tools of blackmail and extortion. The progressives have moved into almost every aspect of our lives, and when they encounter resistance to further encroachment, they threaten us by shutting down the other services on which they have made us dependent. It's blackmail, pure and simple. We have the extraordinary spectacle of an American President predicting economic disaster and warning Wall Street of tough times to come if he does not get his way. We have a President pushing the stock market to crash, and dissuading businesses from investing and creating jobs, all over a dispute about his seriously flawed health care policy. He, again, is the Chicago community organizer threatening the local landlord or McDonald's franchise with instability, violence, and disruption if he does not get what he wants. Imagine what he can do to you, if he controls your health care.

Chaos in the service of tyranny. The only way to defeat this is to stop the encroachment of government on our lives and begin a serious campaign of rollback.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Eliyho Matz: Sometimes a Knish is Just a Knish...



Knish Me, I’m Jewish!
                                             [As Taken From the Internet]

         The documentary, If Knishes Can Talk, by Heather Quinlan, has just débuted at various places around New York City, as well as around the country.  In her film, Quinlan wanders throughout New York City to explore the English accents and dialects of its residents, and through her exploration of the boroughs she finds a diversity that brings the audience to what Marshall McLuhan was saying all along, that “the medium is the message.”  And what exactly this message is I will try to explain.  In her documentary, Quinlan’s subjects, a variety of diverse and engaging New Yorkers, serve to represent the unique way in which the New York region speaks, talks, and expresses itself in New York English.  The documentary is funny and educational.  The filmmaker has done an interesting job filming and exploring New Yorkers in their use of a common lingo, English. 
         I personally like accents.  Anybody who speaks to me immediately recognizes that I am not from New York City.  I was born in Israel, near Tel Aviv, and American English is my third foreign language.  In the early morning I take a Gypsy taxi to the subway station.  The driver, Pedro, is from Argentina and speaks to me in a special dialect of English.  It is exciting to see how he manages, with his unique American English, to navigate the streets of metropolitan New York.  The person who sells me my NY Times every morning is from Pakistan.  He stands on the corner near the subway entrance, clad in Pakistani dress, and welcomes me every morning.  His English is completely incomprehensible to me, but he has been there for a number of years and manages to sell the New York newspapers to a variety of customers. 
         The subway conductor, who is from Guyana or India, makes announcements in “funny” English.  Thus the NY passengers look at each other wondering, trying to figure out what is he actually saying?  But it does not matter; the “E” train is already moving quickly to Manhattan.
         Upon arriving in Manhattan, my first stop is the neighborhood Puerto Rican restaurant, a long-time establishment, well kept, that offers authentic Puerto Rican food.  The workers fall into two groups: native Puerto Ricans, and Mexicans.  I have managed for years to have a wonderful breakfast there – how I order my breakfast I will explain later. 
         The superintendent of the building adjacent to our office, whom I have known for fourteen years, was born in Puerto Rico.  Now in his mid-sixties, he came to New York about 45 years ago, and he speaks a dialect of American English that after fourteen years of “conversations” with him I still cannot figure out what he says. 
         A homeless man whom I used to buy breakfast for once in awhile, who I think was a Jewish New Yorker, once, on a cold winter day, told me that his blood “does not ‘circumcise’ in his body.”
         Most New Yorkers speak with some sort of unique accent, and in contrast even “pure” born-and-bred Americans sound a bit out of place in the City.  It has always been my interest to try to explain the phenomenon of language.  I regularly ask people who enter our stationery store, “What is the value of knowing a foreign language?”  Most immediately answer: communication, exploring cultures, help in traveling, etc.  I prefer my own interpretation, and I most often explain with the story I once read that originated in England, and goes as follows:
A mouse observes a slice of cheese in the corner and wants to grab
it, but it hears “meow” and says to himself, “It’s too dangerous, I’ll wait.”  On the second day he observes a large chunk of cheese.  Again he wants to grab it, but once more he hears “meow” and says to himself, “I’ll wait.”  On the third day he observes a very large chunk of cheese, but this time he hears the sound of a barking dog.  It is well known that cats and dogs do not get along, so he reasons that it safe for him to go and grab the cheese.  But as soon as he gets close to the cheese, the cat pounces on him and eats him up.
         When the cat finishes eating the mouse, she turns to her little kittens
         and says, “See, it’s good to know a second language!”

Most people laugh when they hear the punch line.  Then I ask people what did the cat do?  Most are confused, and then I explain that the cat was using language as a trick.  For, as philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein explained many years ago, in reality, not well known to most people, is the fact that language is “a game of words.”  Of course, scientists up to now have not figured out how our brain processes thoughts and how thoughts are related to speech or writing.  This fact notwithstanding, language can be understood as some sort of a trick that we use to explain, speak, explore, make love, make war, etc. 
         I used the cat and the mouse story at the Puerto Rican restaurant many years ago, but the workers failed to understand it at first.  It was only after I had the story translated into Spanish that they caught on, and they all laughed!  Consequently, every morning when I arrive at the restaurant, I open up the door and say, “Meow;” my breakfast is then prepared, amidst the “meows” of the workers who call me el gato
It is well known to most anthropologists that human evolution is a complex subject to tackle.  We definitely have developed: we speak, write, walk, study -- and multiply, that is, we have sex.  How we have developed as humans is still a mystery.  How and why we speak, act and function is not clear.  It is by now general knowledge that we evolved as human beings, and like other species we have the urge to survive.  It is in our genes.  Women, who are half of the story of human evolution, have developed their own survival technique: approximately every thirty days they menstruate.  The period, which is unique in human evolution, means that the woman loses protein and iron in large quantities.  The iron and protein must be replaced, thus leading to the “Hunter-Gatherer” theory.  The man uses a bow and arrow to hunt, brings the meat, and as a result of his action he receives sex, or love, or both.  The invention and use of language are still a mystery.  Is it possible to think or calculate that the rise of language correlated in one way or another with the basic needs of women during their period?  Let’s say that the woman instructs Schmuel the hunter in a low-pitch voice: Schmuel, go hunting and get me some meat, otherwise I am starving and dying.  The human relationship between woman and man has a long history of deep misunderstanding, in which language plays a large part.  What is the modern hunter-gatherer symbol today?  It is Cupid with a bow and arrow on St. Valentine’s Day, a symbol that we all cherish – a new version of an old story.  And then we arrive at romance stories, but we will start with a New York story.
         New York Jews became prominent in the City only in the last 100 years, between 1900 and 2000.  One of their foremost writers, Henry Roth, in his renowned book Call It Sleep, explores the Jewish life of the immigrants.  Roth’s work is probably one of the most explicitly portrayed American Jewish novels to bring us a clear depiction of one’s transition from an immigrant Jew to a citizen Jew, and the growing up of an American Jewish child in New York City.  Furthermore, Roth brings us this fantastic dialogue that deals with “knishes” and is written in the New York English/Yiddish vernacular:
-- Knish?
   “Between de legs.  Who puts id in is de poppa.  De poppa’s god de
petzel.  Yaw de poppa.”  She giggled stealthily and took his hand. 
He could feel her guiding it under her dress, then through a pocket-
like flap.  Her skin under his palm.  Revolted, he drew back.
   “Yuh must! She insisted, tugging his hand.  “Yuh ast me!”
   “Put yuh han’ in my knish,” she coaxed.  “Jus’ once.”
   “I’ll hol’ yuh petzel.”  She reached down.

Roth’s novel itself is saturated with a Yiddish-English mix.  In any case, as is clearly stated here, the word knish is Jewish-Yiddish slang for the word vagina.  I’m not sure that the maker of the documentary knew this fact, and it is ironical that she based her title on this word without understanding its deeper implication. 
If we believe that there is, or perhaps must be, some sort of relationship between language and the female vagina, then it would be instructive to explore some other literary sources.  For example, James Joyce, in his famous book Ulysses, presents his character Molly Bloom with a monologue that explores the vagina.  In Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ Love in the Time of Cholera, the author explores the narrative of the protagonist and his love of a certain woman that stretched almost seventy years until he finally touches her vagina.  In Miriam at Thirty-four, Alan Lelchuk explores the sex life of his Jewish American heroine, about whom the late professor Gershon Shaked (my Israeli Literature professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem) commented that her ultimate sexual goal was a better orgasm.  Further exploration in American Jewish writing is the famous book, played out on stage, The Vagina Dialogues by Eve Ensler.  Tennessee Williams, in A Streetcar Named Desire, the play in which Marlon Brando became famous for his role as the character Stanley Kowalsky, mentions that “Stanley carries his bowling jacket and a red-stained package from a butcher’s” for Stella, thus the ensuing dialogue:
         STANLEY:  Catch!
         STELLA:     What?
         STANLEY:  Meat!

Thus is suggested the evolving relationship between the hunter and the receiver via the language of the kill.  Is it possible that Quinlan’s film can change its name to If Bagels Can Talk, or If Blintzes Can Talk, or If Matza Balls Can Talk, thus avoiding the use of the word knish -- unless the author is definitely sure that there must be some connection between the knish and language.
         It is sort of strangely illuminating that a Talmudic rabbi is quoted in the Talmud as saying: Kol b’isha erva.  This ruling basically meant that Jewish men should avoid listening to the voice, sound, or speech of a woman, for, to translate, this Talmudic ruling says “the voice of a woman is in the vagina,” a warning meaning that it might lead to sex.  It is sad that this ancient Talmudic ruling is creating confusion in the Israeli military even today, as well as in the general society.  For when a female singer appears before a military audience, religious soldiers leave the room.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Francisco Gil White's Video on the PLO's Nazi Past...

The DiploMad 2.0: A Few Friday Thoughts

The DiploMad 2.0: A Few Friday Thoughts: It's been an eventful week for the media: A government shutdown; a glitch-infested roll out of the disastrous Obamacare; and, of course,...

Execution on DC Streets by Peter Van Buren

We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People by Peter Van Buren
Outside America’s non-working Capitol Building yesterday, cops killed an unarmed woman with a baby in her car after the car had crashed and was stationery. When the cops had her stopped the first time, she did not fire any shots or give any indication she had a weapon.

Not that anyone noticed, but cops in the DC area killed another unarmed citizen on Tuesday.

Typical rules of engagement for soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan require someone to brandish a weapon before he can be blasted away. Not always followed, but cops in America do not even have the paper restriction. I’ve written elsewhere about making life-and-death decisions in ambiguous wartime situations.

We all know that cops have a dangerous job; they know that too. I know they are scared, dealing with unclear, threatening situations.

But none of that grants them the right to conduct executions on our streets.
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