Sunday, December 07, 2014

  • Sunday, December 07, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon

groot flower print UK digital 724x1024

I wrote a brief note the other day at my joint discussing the power of female beauty.

This is a place, however, wherein we discuss the Arab-Israel conflict, not abstract concepts like beauty.  The Elder of Ziyon is not a blog devoted to the philosophy of aesthetics, but that does not change the fact that beauty is one of the most powerful forces in this world.

As you guys know in classical mythology, in Homer, the Trojan war was due to the fact that Paris abducted Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world, a daughter of Zeus, and the wife of a king.

But, really, what I want to talk about this rainy morning, if you guys will indulge me is meta and I will in short order bring the conversation back around to beauty which, in itself, is a conversation about meta.

"Meta" within discourse refers to the discussion about the discussion and is therefore ultimately about aesthetics and perception.  Meta is exceedingly important.  It may not be nearly as important as beauty, itself, but it is hugely important to our ongoing conversations around the conflict.

This is why people who closely follow the conflict, like say, Ian, know very well that the terminology that we use to describe the conflict makes all the difference in the world.

"West Bank" versus "Judea and Samaria" is a classic.  After many years using the phrase "West Bank" I realized that it is a term that essentially erases Jewish history on historically Jewish land, so why would any pro-Jewish person do such a terrible thing?  I am not going to refer to the traditional homeland of our people in terms that erase our history and that is precisely why Jordan renamed Judea and Samaria to "West Bank."

The point was to erase us from history and what boggles my mind is how easily we went along with it.

Surely decades ago there must have been people far more intelligent than myself who were already aware of this problem and ringing the alarm bell, but those people would not have included the highest levels of Israeli leadership in all the years following the 6 Day War... with the sometime exception of Golda Meyer who was probably the smartest of the bunch.

So, how we discuss what we discuss makes all the difference in this world.

Meta counts because it represents context.

As a blogger and a writer I understand that, obviously, our product is not merely ideas as expressed in text, but also includes graphic imagery.  As bloggers and editors and newspaper and magazine publishers we are responsible for not just textual content, but the look and feel of our product, including the images that we publish.  The images that we publish tell our readership who we are.

In other words, you do not go to Playboy Magazine for high quality political analysis.  There may sometimes be high quality political analysis in it.  Some of their writers may be exceedingly insightful and have the very best intentions, but most guys are mainly going to oogle the centerfold.

This morning I received an email from Shirlee from Jews Down Under thanking me for this piece, but wondering why I would have the character of Groot as the associated graphic, which I have also put on the top of this piece.

This was my (slightly edited) response:

I love popular culture, Shirlee.
Groot is a character from the MARVEL company that has been putting out a series of films based on comic book characters going all the way back to the 1930s and 1940s.  I do not know about comic books, but these are actually very good films starring big names like Robert Downey, Jr. and Scarlett Johansen, who has done considerable work standing up for Sodastream in opposition to BDS.
Everything is interconnected.  Groot, as a character, is basically a rip-off of JRR Tolkien, who perhaps you have read.  The Lord of the Rings was my favorite novel as a kid and Groot is essentially an Ent.  He is a tree person.  He can be exceedingly fearsome, but also exceedingly kind, which is why I like him as a character.
Thus the image is of Groot giving a flower to young girl.
I understand, of course, that at first glance Groot would seem to have little to do with the piece that I wrote, which was mainly the beginnings of an overview of the pro-Israel / pro-Jewish blogosphere and media and a reminder to myself that I need to get back to Jon Haber.  The image works to my mind, though, because it represents an image of graciousness, of caring, of reaching out, which is all we are doing, those of us who write about the conflict.

We may think of ourselves as hard-nosed analysts, but I know the Jewish blogosphere pretty well and the only conclusion that I can come to is that the main overriding project is one of reaching out to others.  There are hot-heads in the Jewish community who claim not to care what other people think, but they are lying to themselves, if not to you.  They care very much, but that makes them vulnerable, which is why they prefer not to admit it.

And this brings me back to beauty.

Beauty is about vulnerability.

That is, the apprehension of beauty has a wounding quality.  Some of you may recall a scene from Robert A. Heinlein's science fiction book Stranger in Strange Land, wherein one of the main characters had at one time been an exotic dancer.   Through her association with Michael Valentine Smith, the primary character of the story who embodies exceptional wisdom, she comes to understand the nature of her own beauty as seen through the eyes of men and thereby comes to respect her own power.

Beauty pulls at the heart and distracts the mind.  It is, in fact, the greatest power in this world short of brute physical force.  I know nothing in this world more powerful than beauty, thus the images that we put out as publishers, which very often include images of beauty, tell the world who we are and what we are about.

Therefore, I chose Groot despite the fact of his lack of beauty.

Groot is fearsome, yet kind, and that's the way that we should be as a community.

Besides, you know what?

The movie Guardians of the Galaxy, in which we find Groot, along with his little buddy, Rocket Raccoon, is just great fun.

The Arab-Israel conflict is perhaps the most painful and miserable topic that anyone can cover, particularly if you care about the well-being of the Jews in the Middle East.  I despise everything about the conflict.  I don't like Arab theocratically-based bigotry against Jews.  I do not like the terrible genocidal screechings coming out of many of the mosques in that part of the world.  I do not like the violence.  I do not like the hatred.  And I truly despise the fact that western liberals, including many Jewish liberals, tend to blame Jews for the violence against us.

Thus a small meditation this morning on beauty, literature, and film represent a terrific relief and fun is its own reward.

I can go back to grinding my teeth over the conflict later.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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