The Unz Review:ㅤLiterary Self-Criticism (Re: “Damn the Jews!”), by Kevin Barrett

the-unz-review:ㅤliterary-self-criticism-(re:-“damn-the-jews!”),-by-kevin-barrett
The Unz Review:ㅤLiterary Self-Criticism (Re: “Damn the Jews!”), by Kevin Barrett

02-02-24 05:00:00,

Posting an article headlined “Damn the Jews!”—even in quotation marks—is asking for trouble. An old friend emailed me with the subject header: “IN REGARD TO DAMN THE JEWS—sad to see you descend into dehumanized hatred.” She pointed out: “There are good Jews ….and bad Jews….good Muslims and bad muslims….good Christians and bad….Good Hindus and bad… Don’t you think, Kevin, we are also individually each a mixture of good and evil?”

A colleague and occasional radio guest wrote: “Conflating Jews with Zionists is what Zionists do best. How could you?!!! You are, effectively, on THEIR side when you repeat their most important fundamental lie.” Other commentators made similar points, arguing for “damn the ZIONISTS!” instead.

My initial response was: “Did you read the article? The title is in quotes! It is a translation of the Houthi slogan! The article is (dark) humor!!!” My old friend admitted she hadn’t read the article and was just reacting to the headline. Others had read it but still found it offensive. I asked whether I should engage in some “literary self-criticism.” Several said “yes!” So here we go.

Literary Self-Criticism

Some writers, like Joyce, Kafka, and Pynchon, have whole industries of scholars interpreting their oeuvres. Others, like me, are condemned to self-exegesis, which I suppose is better than having no exegetes at all.

As Mikhail Bakhtin might say if he were alive and employed by a university that paid him to interpret the works of Kevin Barrett,

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