Raybon Kan on his tweet

An excellent blog post by Raybon Kan about the media generated nonsense regarding his tweet:

Three days later, the Herald on Sunday rang, shrill with anger. I asked her to email me questions, but she refused: “I’ve got you on the phone!” She’d located people who’d been offended. What did I have to say? Didn’t I have a responsibility? I asked the reporter to get these complainants to contact me, so I could respond. (Twitter is an open forum of back and forth, but when offended parties don’t use Twitter — for example, when a reporter uses GPS, CSI and DNA to geo-locate the most offendable people on any given topic, to tell them of a tweet that plainly wasn’t meant for them; and then with emotional, loaded questions, demands a response on the spot — well, for that, try Facebook, or this site.)

I wonder how many phone calls it took for the HoS to find someone who said they were offended? One of those quoted even said later on Twitter that while he thought the tweet was a bit offensive, he was not calling for it to be deleted.

Since the article, however, I’ve attracted much, much stronger criticism. This is what I want to address here. I’ve been accused of anti-Semitism. In fact, if you read the article at the Herald online, a picture of evil fashion designer John Galliano appears adjacent, from an article months before. Visually, the effect is ‘Holocaust joke’, and next-door, John Galliano, and in the middle, me. I wind up being painted anti-Semitic by association, innuendo, or worse, by defamatory web layout.

My tweet was anti-Adidas, anti-Nazi, and obviously, anti-bad trains. It was also really rude to Germans. But it was not anti-Semitic. If anything, it was anti-anti-Semitic. Referring to something isn’t always a recommendation. An allusion doesn’t have to be an alleluia.

Anyone who calls my tweet anti-Semitic is doing real, foaming anti-Semites a disservice. Crazy Mel Gibson is anti-Semitic. The barking mad leader of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (who pledges to wipe Israel off the map) is anti-Semitic. Neo-Nazis are anti-Semitic.

It’s not like I released an album with the Hamas Symphony Orchestra.
It’s not like I designed a new Spring Collection with John Galliano.
It’s not like I sent al-Qaeda flowers of condolence to mark the tragic loss of Osama bin Laden.
It’s not like I went into Anne Frank’s house with members of the SS and shouted in my best German: she’s in the bookcase!

My tweet wasn’t anti-Semitic. It was insensitive (in other words, I brought up, obliquely, the subject of a tragedy, but without wearing black, playing an anthem, or making a two-part documentary.) But as Steve Martin said, comedy ain’t pretty.

Somewhere in the world, right now, there’s a disaster, a genocide, a tragedy. And quite soon, somebody will make a joke about it. But it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re cheerleading for it. A mention isn’t a manifesto.

Exactly. And if you’re offended by someone’s tweet, well how about you just quietly stop following them.

Just for balance though. I include this You Tube video done by a reader, showing Hitler’s reaction to Raybons tweet.

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