Saturday, July 31, 2004

Another Singer, the same story

I'm just back from another visit to Michael Moore's site. The "News" category brings in some of the latests responses to the Ronstadt episode.

Now I know that Ms. Ronstadt is considered to be a gifted singer, mature. She reminds me of several such singers in Israel who caused a no less uproar when waking up to voice their citizen attitute.

Reminds me above all of Yaffa Yarkoni, a most venerated Israeli singer. An Israeli icon.

Amnon, an Israeli blogger recalls:

"Every Independence Day, light poles in the streets of Jerusalem were loaded with loudspeakers (horns), and Yaffa Yarkoni's voice echoed (literaly) all over the city, all day and all night, as people danced in the streets."It all changed on on the eve of the Independence Day 2002, when Yaffa Yarkoni, in an interview to The Israeli Armi Radio Station related to the Occupation with her trutful response.

"What happened to Yaffa Yarkoni," said Naomi Chazan, a left-wing member of the Knesset, Israel's parliament, "exemplifies the fact that in the current climate in Israel, anything that is not the official line is considered treachery or betrayal."

George Varga at the The San-Diego Union-Tribune sums it up most eloquently:

"Those who complain that Ronstadt should just sing, rather than express her opinions, forget that all art has a responsibility to inspire and provoke, not just soothe and entertain."

Wednesday, July 21, 2004


Mike Kole comments at BlogCritics, relating to The Silenced Singer USA episode:


"If you own land, will you let me erect a pro-libertarian billboard on your land?"

If the land in question is for renting space for billboards yet discriminates than this will be an unlawful business, propagating monoculture.


"If I own a stage, by what right do *you* or anyone else get to impose your will on me?"

The stage is yours in every sense as long as it and the theater are empty.

The moment you open it to the public and to a performer/artist it has become a public space where by law you are not allowed to discriminate, nor announce in words or deeds, before or after: I accept Only people who think uniformly like me.

Eric Olsen did not accept my reference to "Holocaust, Fascism, etc.".

The essence of Fascism is not just Censorship but the Self-Censorship which enables it willingly. It was so throughout history, it spread all over during the Holocaust Era and is evident to this day. If we do not take notice and stay vigilant, then we'll wake up as the protagonist in Eugene Ionesco's play Rhinoceros, or worse:

"The "epidemic" of the rhinoceroses serves as a convenient allegory for the mass uprising of Nazism and fascism before and during World War II. Ionesco's main reason for writing Rhinoceros is not simply to criticize the horrors of Nazis, but to explore the mentality of those who so easily succumbed to Nazism. A universal consciousness that subverts individual free thought and will defines this mentality; in other words, people get rolled up in the snowball of general opinion around them, and they start thinking what others are thinking. In the play, people repeat ideas others have said earlier, or simultaneously say the same things. Once other people, especially authority figures, collapse in the play, the remaining humans find it even easier to justify why the metamorphoses are desirable..."

As long as they do not deter us from staying humanly benign, I do not mind the zoo yet prefer Noah's whole survival kit. He owned that boat, he made it with his own hands, right? Even the almighty did not order him to censor the passengers. It is good for our survival to cultivate differences. Ok, Ok, too bad there was not room for all and each living creature, but the rule was still fair representation of diversity, not so?

This issue comes up more than once in Israel. Some time ago a famous veteran Israeli singer, one of the two singers from the Independence War (1948) performed at a Protest event and expressed her disagreement with the Occupation. As a result she lost many engangements. The "property owners" in that case were goverment officials and private self-censors alike...



Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Sing, but don't Think

A new Brave USA?

Linda Ronstadt dared to speak in favor of Michael Moore, the creator of Fahrenheit 9/11.
At a casino in USA - her own country.

The owner of the casino acted bravely. He threw her out.
Some commentors at Blogcritics are of the opinion that it was merely a Financial Decision...
I cannot but disagree.

The Financial is Political, the Political is Financial.
There is not a single instance in a human's life that is not Political.
It is a complete inversion of Values to consider Money and Business as exterritories of Freedom of Speech.

Gambling is Escapism from this crushing revelation: Humans are supposed to use their brains.
There is a long continuous line from Hitler's Willing Collaborators to all Willing Collaborators wherever and whenever. Step by step, minute by minute they scratch their foreheads until you find yourself with the universal challenge: Join the Rhinoceros or fight back.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Now to the critics

There are so many ways to achieve Power.

What does a critic do?
Murder to Dissect.

So Michael Moore's film is not perfect.
The Iraqi kids were unhappy during Saddam's rule of terror.
Are they now that much better off?
Are there really only two choices, Suffer Tirany or go to war?

It's the 21st decade era.
How come Russia, Romania, East Germany, etc, have known better?

WordNet Dictionary



power hunger - a drive to acquire power

Synonyms: status seeking

Related Words: ambition,
ambitiousness, status seeking, hunger for power...

Saturday, July 17, 2004

To-night I saw Farenheit 9/11

More than one question invades my mind and heart:


How could it be that the death of a soldier is annouced to his parents on the phone?
In Israel the army sends at least two people, one of them will often be a physician.

The mother in this film was told by phone. She was all alone in the house at that time. All she had to hold to was the leg of a table.

At the beginning of the film Bush Junior says a President does not have to be in the office at the White House - there are faxes, e-mails, phones.

Apparently the USA Army did not have the short-sighted parents' e-mail address or fax number. Otherwise it might have sent the family an Incredimail, with flowers, animation in which the dead son waves good bye, music, the President's most warm and human handwritten signature.
How inconsiderate of the parents.


Since USA is across the street from us, and getting closer by the day, I couldn't but compare each line and image in the film with the Israeli reality.

We do have, especially lately, lots of films relating to one single event or experience.

We do not have yet a probe into the pattern repeating itself throughout those last fifty years in my own country, here in Israel. Same as in USA or wherever money translated into power, power translated into money feed on the gullible honest Everyman, trained to trust blindly.

What a mutual trust: In our leaders Citizen X trusts, in Citizen X our leaders trust.

read it in Hungarian;

Thursday, July 8, 2004

Lynch? Yes indeed.

I know none of the protagonists. I do not identify with their populistic ideas. Still when everybody screams righteously in one voice, a bell rings warning that maybe, maybe, something is wrong with the indignant screamers.

A most unpleasant story is being unraveled (and magnified) here for the last two days.
An Israeli Minister was taped by a private detective as enthusiastically encouraging that guy to "sew a file" on another senior member of his Party.
The expression is an Israeli slang for smearing one's reputation with false or demeaning mis/information. More or Less.

The Party, a new one, "Shinuy" (which stands for "Change"), has surprised everybody at the last elections when it won 6 seats, 5% of the 120 Knesset seats.

The tape is two years old. Wednesday night on prime-time it was played with the guilty Minister online.

A modern version of lynch.

The man has since apologised. His party is kicking him out most brutally.

A newspaper wrote in huge letters on it's first page:
"In Japan a Minister will commit Harakiri and here the Minister refuses to step down."

Why was the tape brought out right now?
The private detective was hired by the Workers Guild at the Electricity Company. A most powerful guild. The Shinuy Party has disappointed them somehow, or so it seems. Now the story here is called, ShinuyGate.

Years ago we had a similar story, with the Labor Party. One of it's top members was accused of some mischief. The same pattern occured: All his former buddies left him alone and lonely as a mouse. He committed suicide.
I hope we won't have a replay here.


(c) all rights to the picture owned by Jung von Matt, ad agency. Their honest motto is: "Advertising is Desire and Deception."

shown at Heiko Hebig's excellent blog


Tuesday, July 6, 2004

White Hair is In

An Uncivilized guy took the pain to post on a bloggers panel his bitter spleened hatred of Old People.

They should be locked in a house, he states.
Hitler had a better solution.

Wherever we turn, stereotypes abound.
So here is a benign one, based on scientific research:
Maggie Fox at Reuter writes to say "Old People May Hold Key to Human Success".

Some of us have guessed so ages ago, but now anthropologists have crossed findings to back this up scientifically: "There has been a lot of speculation about what gave modern humans their evolutionary advantage. This research provides a simple explanation for which there is now concrete evidence -- modern humans were older and wiser," Caspari said.

"We think with increases in longevity two things happened to increase survivorship," Caspari, an anthropologist specializing in evolution, added in a telephone interview.

Monday, July 5, 2004

Trust Me

A young Israeli journalist, himself a blogger, called to ask about my Blogging Offensive.
I told him about my encounter last Saturday.
It had to be very light indeed, with the mediator cracking jokes in between speakers.

Coming upstage I whispered, "Ask me if it's true I've met Arik Sharon twice in intimate circumstances.
In the heat of my talk I forgot all about it but he hadn't. I was genuinely surprised by such an intrusive question.
In my childhood and youth my dream was to be an actress...

The audience held their breath. As I got to the story of the second meeting, when asked to guess what, they were sure it had the same outcome as in the first encounter.

Now, it's not that they thought I'm able of such banality, or that they were that gullible.
The audience simply let itself tricked into the side alley of my story, as, after mentioning as an aside the food, I was repeating that "on the second occasion my beauty and decollete were no less attractive".

I've been impersonating a vain woman and they bought the story until the last moment.

Isn't impersonation exactly what Sharon and so many politicians are performing daily from their podium?

During the last elections campaign here in Israel, it was said, and I do not know how true it is but true it sounds, that as Sharon was coached to declare in face of the camera, "I will bring Peace and Security!", at one point, while being masked with makeup powder, he muttered: "I might end up believing it myself..."


read it in Russian;

Sunday, July 4, 2004

Facing Novelty, Gmail or elsewhere

My blog at Blogger was dreaming it's way over there since 2002. Most of my energy was invested in the Hebrew blog, which indeed is a beauty.

Then, you know what happened: Google acquired Blogger and lots of features I, and probably many others, were asking for, materialized.

Meanwhile, I heard about GMail and my immediate response was enthusiastic. I love new things, as long as they do not go against my way of life (the way mobile phones do).

I thought I'll have to wait until Gmail opens to the public.

Imagine how pleased I was when a direct invitation appeared on my entry page at Blogger.

I liked Gmail immediately and am enjoying it to this moment. It's a special opportunity to be involved with a project at its experimental stage.

When the red line, INVITE A FRIEND, started to appear, my healthy goodwill went to work.

Then it reached the level where once or twice a day I would be offered six invitations.

The Hebrew is not yet perfected at Gmail, so of course I offered the toy first to my compatriots, so that more of us will be a asking for the completion of this feature.

I posted a short article on my Hebrew blog and, to my amazement, I got some comments, from very intelligent readers, who did not have yet the chance to sample the novelty, stating firmly that gmail is no good, there are many others like it etc.

On the other hand, some of the people who wrote to ask for an invitation, started posting their enthusiastic experiences.

The invitations kept flooding me so I posted a notice on the excellent Haaretz forum.

What happened there?

Suspicion reigned! How come she's giving something for free. And why the e-mail address, is there a hidden intention to harvest?

Needless to say, Suspicious in Tel Aviv used only nicks.

That was really funny, especially when people who knew me and recipients of my invitations raised to counter attack and war in a cup of tea followed intensely until the enemy was defeated completely.

If you could visit now the forum, you'll find a stream of posts begging for a gmail invitation...

Same at my e-mail arriving via the Hebrew blog. The people who were so negative or suspicious are now mildly asking for an invitation.

This little unintended experiment sheds so much light on our attitudes and responses to new ideas. It's true we do not burn anybody on the stack anymore for such heresy, but still, with too many people the initial response is fear and suspicion.

But now I remember that this is only an initial response. So, if I believe in something, even if it is not that popular in the beginning, why give up. People do listen to reason, not only to demagogues and manipulators.

One person wrote at the forum saying sincerely: "I was also suspicious at the beginning. It really bothers me that this was my initial response."

Saturday, July 3, 2004

The Blogging Offensive

Today was the opening shot of my Blogging Offensive.

No offence meant... just a good fight for a good cause: Make people aware what an excellent tool blogging is in enabling immediate democratic response to reality.

Today I've met with a large group of senior citizens.

Only two persons raised their hands to say they surf the net.

The mediator said: "Ask you grandchildren to teach you how."

"Oh, they have no patience..."

I had no idea what group of people I'm going to meet at that "Sabbath Culture" event, yet senior people are indeed high up on my list. It is one of those groups, if not the major one, who's been told by society, Shut Up!

Gone are the days when the Hebrew "Zakken" (Senior, old person) was a synonym of "Hackham" (Wise).

It leads to Isolation, frustration, helplessness. What a waste of this wonderful human reservoir of intelligence!

I told them how effective the blogosphere was with the Trent Lott Affair, what a great change it enabled.

Then I went to visit my 90 yrs old relative, who refuses even to hear the word "internet".

But she reads Jerusalem Post. Proudly she showed me an article on an 89 yrs blogger: Help Me Bubby.

Not political. Still, an illustration of how empowering blogging can be.