Tag Archives: holocaust


Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I train my snarkiest comments on the pious hypocrisies and various insanities of the nutty right. But every once in a while, it’s important to concede that the left has its own conspiracy theorists and virtue signalers. Len Farber identified them perfectly in a comment to a previous blog about anti-Semitism. At the end of his comment on the content of that post, he wrote “As for Whoopi – Yes, her statement offended me, but it meant that she needed to learn, not to be banished. I believe that the first part has happened from news reports. I can only hope that ABC comes to its senses. Do I think it was “racism” that got her banished? No, it was “liberal” hypersensitivity, which is also why we have “former Senator Franken.”


For those of you who inexplicably missed the explosion of finger-pointing and recriminations,  let me fill you in. On a session of “The View,” Whoopi Goldberg and others were discussing the recent banning of Art Spiegelman’s graphic memoir “Maus.” She opined that the Holocaust “was not about race” and that it was instead an example of “white-on-white” violence.

Given the blowback, she might just as well have said that Hitler wasn’t such a bad dude. She was accused of minimizing the Holocaust, and misunderstanding Nazism, and ABC suspended her from the show for two weeks.

As Whoopi now knows, the Nazis insisted that Jews are a race–and an inferior one that needs to be eradicated. They considered Jews to be biologically different from “Aryan” people (and because we have white skin, and can “pass,” they feared we could intermarry and “pollute” the “Master Race.”)

The remarks provoked outrage. Whoopi apologized on social media, and opened the View the next day with an apology.

“Yesterday on our show, I misspoke. I tweeted about it last night but I want you to hear it from me directly,” the comedian and actor said. “I said something that I feel a responsibility for not leaving unexamined, because my words upset so many people, which was never my intention. I understand why now, and for that I am deeply, deeply grateful because the information I got was really helpful, and it helped me understand some different things.”

“I said the Holocaust wasn’t about race and was instead about man’s inhumanity to man,” Goldberg said Tuesday on “The View.” “But it is indeed about race because Hitler and the Nazis considered Jews to be an inferior race.”

 “Now, words matter and mine are no exception. I regret my comments, as I said, and I stand corrected. I also stand with the Jewish people as they know and y’all know, because I’ve always done that.”

You would think that might be the end of it, but of course, it wasn’t.

One of the websites I visit regularly is Talking Point Memo. Josh Marshall–the editor, who is Jewish–echoed Len’s observation about the reaction to Whoopie’s remarks. 

I read this morning that Whoopi Goldberg has been suspended for two weeks from The View for her earlier comments about the Holocaust. This whole episode is a testament to the general insipidness of our public culture.

Goldberg’s comments were clearly rooted in ignorance rather than malevolence. She not only issued a genuine apology rather than a half-assed ‘I’m sorry if anyone was offended’ type apology. She also spoke to people, privately and publicly, and seemingly learned why her comments were wrongheaded and corrected herself. ABC’s suspension was needless and stupid. It will be derided as “cancel culture.” But it’s really more the kind of corporate ass-covering that only discredits the values it purports to serve. It’s a consequence that, as far as I can tell, basically no one was asking for.

Marshall also noted that, in a show that advertises itself as a freewheeling conversation, you should expect that sometimes someone will say something  inartful or dumb. As he says, if it is neither mean-spirited nor resistant to correction, it’s usually worth moving on.

Marshall also noted that Goldberg’s comments grow out of an” essentialism about racism and “whiteness” that reduces not only the magnitude of the Holocaust but, more importantly, the history and anti-Semitism that led to it.”  Because science confirms that there really is no such a thing as “race,” race becomes whatever a given culture decides it is.

Whoopie’s apology indicates that she now understands that.

ABC’s decision just blurs the line between performative “inclusion” (virtue signaling) and appropriate negative responses to bigotry; it encourages people to cry “cancel culture” even when there is a legitimate reason to censure someone.

I love Whoopi Goldberg–and I desperately miss Al Franken.


Texas, Education And The Holocaust

It sounded like snark.

When the reports first emerged that a Texas school administrator was advising schools to teach “both sides” of the Holocaust, I assumed that some late-night comedian was making a point. After all, what are the arguments for genocide? But I was wrong. Texas–where the governor insists that life-saving vaccines are optional–wants schoolchildren to have the benefit of “both sides” of the argument whether it’s okay to murder six million people.

The Guardian, among other news sources, has the story.

A Texas school district official told educators if they kept books about the Holocaust in their classrooms, they would have to also offer “opposing” viewpoints in order to comply with a new state law.

In an audio clip obtained by NBC News, Gina Peddy, the executive director of curriculum and instruction for Carroll independent school district in Southlake, offered the guidance to teachers during a training on which books teachers can keep in classroom libraries.

The directive came as part of a training session during which a fourth-grade teacher was reprimanded for having a book on anti-racism in her class.

It followed the passage of a new Texas law that requires teachers who discuss “widely debated and currently controversial issues of public policy or social affairs” to examine the issues from diverse viewpoints without giving “deference to any one perspective”.

At the training, Peddy advised teachers to remember the requirements of the new law, according to the audio. “And make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust,” she said, “that you have one that has an opposing, that has other perspectives,” which prompted a teacher to ask how one could oppose the Holocaust.

Given that this is Texas, one distinct possibility is that Gina Peddy has no idea what the holocaust was. Teaching accurate history–okay, history–is evidently not a priority for Texas school systems. After all, this is a state that celebrates a fictitious version of the Alamo, a state that passed a law banning the teaching of Critical Race Theory, despite the fact that it wasn’t being taught and despite considerable evidence that the legislators and governors involved in the frenzy couldn’t have defined it if their lives depended on it.

If Texas’ governor and legislature weren’t so determined to make themselves ridiculous–not to mention dangerous– it would be unfair to pick on the state. After all, twenty-two states have passed laws prohibiting their public schools from discussing “uncomfortable” elements of the nation’s historical bigotries.

The directive to “teach the other side” joins the equally asinine efforts to “teach the controversy” over evolution. Religious zealots who denied science created the “controversy” and then used it to justify bringing religious dogma into science classrooms. People desperate to protect their children from the less glorious aspects of American history seized on a theory being pursued by a subset of legal scholars–creating the “controversy”– and are using it as blunt instrument to defend the indefensible.

In fact, Texas’ current embarrassment is just the latest iteration of the persistent American divide between people who want the public schools to educate and those who want them to indoctrinate–between those who want to limit the nation’s schools to the inculcation of skills needed to participate in the economy, and those who want educators to encourage intellectual curiosity and growth.

The order to “balance” condemnation of the holocaust with–what? Mien Kampf?–was entirely foreseeable. After all, the attacks on school boards (in all fairness, not just in Texas but around the country) have come almost exclusively from parents and others demanding that history be whitewashed (pun intended), turned into soothing stories that allow Americans to brag about “exceptionalism” and who believe political rhetoric about the country’s past, unblemished “greatness.”

Unfortunately, their preferred stories aren’t history, and if they are taught in place of history, they’ll ensure that we keep making the mistakes that have kept us from greatness in the past.