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Dave Barry and Noam Chomsky on Tensions in the Middle East
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With the Middle East back in the news for the umpty-umpth time in my life, I’m reminded of a couple of observations. In his 1986 career advice book Claw Your Way to the Top, Dave Barry notes that the explanations you hear on the news for why stock prices rose or fell today often lack prima facie persuasiveness:

Of course, the people on Wall Street don’t want to admit this, which why they’re alway making up preposterous explanations as to why stock prices rise and fall, such as “tension in the Middle East,” when of course there is always tension in the Middle East. When we finally have a nuclear war and there is no life left on Earth except cockroaches, the cockroaches in the Middle East will be tense.

Noam Chomsky books his globe-spanning lecture tours on current events months and even years in advance. Organizers often ask him for a title for the speech he’s going to give on whatever will be in the news in a year or two. He always suggests “The current crisis in the Middle East” and it hasn’t let him down yet.

 
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  1. If Borat is to be believed, there are already plenty of “cockroaches in the Middle East”.

  2. A Dilbert cartoon from 1989: Eternal, reusable newspaper. One of the headlines, “Unrest in Middle East”.

    Have fun coming up with more headlines for this newspaper. Something about education, perhaps.

  3. While the Western press are (rightly) devoting a lot of coverage to the nearly 300 people who perished in the plane shot down by Russian special forces in Ukraine, there is hardly a peep about the 500+ people Israelis have again killed in the Gaza strip.
    That’s what happens when everyone in the Western mass media is either an Israeli fifth columnist or a shabbos goy who’s afraid to utter a sound about it lest his masters fire his ass.

  4. We Are Doomed, Chapter 11:

    A couple of years ago I took my family on a vacation to Montana, to give them a look at the West. One feature of the trip was a ghost town — the town of Garnet, just off I-90 out of Missoula. Garnet was a gold mining town in the late 19th century. It had a little revival in the 1930s when the price of gold soared. The post office finally closed for good in 1942, though some inhabitants lingered on for a few years more.

    The place is kept in pretty good shape by some kind of preservation group. You can go inside some of the old buildings, and peer into their rooms from behind bars across the doorways.

    Mooching around in the Garnet hotel I spotted, on a table in one of the bedrooms, an old newspaper. Leaning over the bar across the doorway, I could make out the front page above the fold. This was:

    The Montana Standard

    Butte-Anaconda, Montana

    Wednesday Morning, June 2, 1948 Price 5¢

    And what do you think was the main headline above the fold?

    JEWS AND ARABS ACCEPT U.N. ARMISTICE PLEA
    Their replies leave unanswered such questions as when the shooting in Palestine will stop ….

    No-o-o-o-…

    It will never stop, unless the whole place goes up in fireballs. It will never end, just go round and round for ever. You want pessimism? Pick up a newspaper. 1945, 1948, 1967, 1973, … They might as well just recycle the same stories every few years, as the publishers of children’s comics are rumored to do. Who would notice?

    • Replies: @Lurker
    JEWS AND ARABS ACCEPT U.N. ARMISTICE PLEA

    Well one thing has changed. . . . no newspaper today would ever conflate jews with Israel in that manner. Noticing and all that.
  5. The Palestinians have overplayed their hand. Netanyahu distrusts Obama intensely, knows Obama is weak now, and distracted by many other things. Rocketing Ben Gurion Airport might close it, but forces Netanyahu to invade Gaza, likely kick out the Palestinians to … Syria or Lebanon. And offer the rump Palestinian state — most of the West Bank and East Jerusalem or …

    Prices are going up, up, up! Supplies are limited! Buy NOW!

    Egypt detests Hamas which was the Brotherhood’s favorite, Iran is angry that Hamas aided ISIS in Syria, Obama can no longer protext them. So, Hama has a problem. Meanwhile in five years when Israeli gas is online and selling in Europe, the Europeans will forget all about Hamas in searching for an alternative to Crazy Vlad’s High Price Natural Gas Emporium.

    Fundamentally the problem with the ME as opposed to say, Chile or Peru which while not First World are not … that. Is that the ME is filled with cousin-marrying polygamists. And Chile and Peru whatever their other problems are not. Not every place can be Switzerland. They can at least aspire to be Peru.

  6. Well, that’s what happens when the “human rights” community won’t let any side actually win a war.

  7. I don’t suppose Chomsky would be happy to use “The Negro Question” but I suspect that it would be eternally valid in the US. And many other places.

  8. We should probably include this headline in the reusable newspaper Eternal :

    “For Millions, Dream Of Martin Luther King, Jr. Still Unfulfilled.”

  9. Steve,

    I’ve always thought you would make an excellent political cartoonist.

    Steve from Detroit

  10. “Peace” is the ultimate MacGuffin.

  11. PSR says:

    “A Dilbert cartoon from 1989: Eternal, reusable newspaper. One of the headlines, “Unrest in Middle East”.

    Have fun coming up with more headlines for this newspaper. Something about education, perhaps.”

    Great find! I’ll try a couple:
    U.S. Students Lag in Math and Science
    Study Finds Poor Lack Access to Healthy Food Options
    Women Earn Less than Male Colleagues

  12. @John Derbyshire
    We Are Doomed, Chapter 11:

    A couple of years ago I took my family on a vacation to Montana, to give them a look at the West. One feature of the trip was a ghost town — the town of Garnet, just off I-90 out of Missoula. Garnet was a gold mining town in the late 19th century. It had a little revival in the 1930s when the price of gold soared. The post office finally closed for good in 1942, though some inhabitants lingered on for a few years more.

    The place is kept in pretty good shape by some kind of preservation group. You can go inside some of the old buildings, and peer into their rooms from behind bars across the doorways.

    Mooching around in the Garnet hotel I spotted, on a table in one of the bedrooms, an old newspaper. Leaning over the bar across the doorway, I could make out the front page above the fold. This was:

    The Montana Standard

    Butte-Anaconda, Montana

    Wednesday Morning, June 2, 1948 Price 5¢

    And what do you think was the main headline above the fold?

    JEWS AND ARABS ACCEPT U.N. ARMISTICE PLEA
    Their replies leave unanswered such questions as when the shooting in Palestine will stop ….

    No-o-o-o-...

    It will never stop, unless the whole place goes up in fireballs. It will never end, just go round and round for ever. You want pessimism? Pick up a newspaper. 1945, 1948, 1967, 1973, ... They might as well just recycle the same stories every few years, as the publishers of children's comics are rumored to do. Who would notice?

    JEWS AND ARABS ACCEPT U.N. ARMISTICE PLEA

    Well one thing has changed. . . . no newspaper today would ever conflate jews with Israel in that manner. Noticing and all that.

  13. Dearime: Phrase it differently, and he could use it unappologetically. How about “Closing the black-white test gap?” That’s probably an evergreen topic for a talk.

  14. The situation between Israel and Palestine looks to me, as an outsider, to have no solution anyone decent will be able to stomach. Ethnically cleanse the Palestinians (horrific and probably not doable either domestically or internationally), allow the formation of a secure Palestinian state (probably not doable without exposing Israel to a lot of attacks, and they’d have to clear a whole lot of Israeli citizens out of settlements), incorporate everyone into Greater Israel but leave the Palestinians as non-citizens (apartheid state, and probably one where cars and busses blow up all the time), incorporate the Palestinians as citizens (no more Jewish state, and the Palestinians who won elections would likely be inclined to treat the Jews very badly).

    So, I imagine we’ll see unrest in the middle east, Palestinian kids half-starving in an open-air prison or blown up by Israeli bombs, for the forseeable future. All the alternatives may actually be *worse*.

  15. In the Black discussion boards, almost every Black person there is pro-Palestine and anti-Israel. Blacks biting the hand that feeds them (Jews).

    I don’t know why such a high percentage of Blacks who have a hatred of Jews when Jews played in an important role in the civil rights movement.

    Muslim Caucasoids seem to be the only type of Caucasoids that Blacks do not hate. Blacks seems to hate every other Caucasian group that is not of the Islamic faith whether it’s the Italians or the Jews or the Irish or the Slavs or the WASPs.

    Even though many Arab Muslims have murdered Blacks in the Sudan, hate for Arab Muslims is almost non existent in the Black community. Blacks hatred for Caucasians is almost entirely reserved for White Jews, White Catholics, White Protestants, White Evangelicals, etc.

  16. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    @7:43 “I don’t know why…”.
    I attribute that to the influence of Farrakhan who is more influential amongst blacks than is generally known. That he runs a cult that is considered heretical by real Muslims isn’t known by any of them since they are mostly low information people. They like his politics of bashing whitey and go along with him on most things.

  17. Jonathan Silber says:

    We should probably include this headline in the reusable newspaper Eternal :

    “For Millions, Dream Of Martin Luther King, Jr. Still Unfulfilled.”

    Quite so. Would that be the dream of slapping around a white hooker? Perhaps some kind of government program would be in order.

  18. “Dave Barry and Noam Chomsky on Tensions in the Middle East”

    Of the two, I have found Dave Barry to be the far more reliable social and political observer.

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